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The Definitive Piano Buying Guide for
Kimball, a name with a long history in the piano world (see The Piano Book for details), is now being produced by Kimball Piano USA, Inc., which acquired the rights to the Kimball name in 2005. Kimball International, which previously owned the Kimball brand and produced Kimball pianos from 1959 to 1996, was primarily a furniture maker that mass-produced a very average piano.
In contrast, Kimball is now controlled by a Registered Piano Technician (RPT) who has returned Kimball to its historical roots in Chicago and says he is placing the company's focus on the musical instrument and on technical details of American piano design and construction. The result of this focus is two new collections of Kimball pianos: Classic and Artist.
The Kimball Classic Collection consists of the 5' 1" model K1 and 6' 2" model K3 grands. Parts and components for these models are being sourced primarily from China and Europe. They include a rim made of maple and oak (grands); full-length back posts (vertical); bridges planed and notched by hand in the traditional manner; a wet-sand cast plate; Herrburger Brooks keys, action, and hammers; Röslau strings; Delignit pinblock; and a solid spruce soundboard.
The Kimball Artist Collection includes the 5' 8" model A2 grand and the 49" model A49 vertical. The company says that the Artist Collection embodies its commitment to producing high-quality performance pianos by paying great attention to the design of the scale, soundboard, and action, and to proper execution and attention to details. High-end components, primarily from Germany, include a rim of European beech (grand), Renner action (grand), Strunz premium solid spruce soundboard and ribs, Delignit pinblock, Röslau strings, Klinke agraffes, and Abel hammers. The vertical has full-length spruce back posts and a Herrburger Brooks action; cabinets are from China.
In the U.S., Kimball is doing final assembly and detailing of the instruments, with a major focus on proper action, hammer, and key installation to ensure superb playability. At its facility in Chicago, Kimball now has a showroom where, by appointment, both individual customers and dealers are welcome to see and play the new pianos.
Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.
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