Sauter pianos are especially known for the variety of finishes and styles in which they are available, many with intricate detail and inlay work. It is common to find such rare woods as yew, burl walnut, pyramid mahogany, and genuine ebony in the cabinets of Sauter pianos, as well as special engravings, which can be customized to any customer's desires. Sauter's M Line of vertical pianos feature exclusive cabinet detailing and built-in features such as a hygrometer to measure relative humidity. Amadeus is a special-edition 6' 1" grand honoring the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth, with styling reminiscent of that in Mozart's time. The natural keytops are of polished bone, the sharps of rosewood with ebony caps. Only 36 are to be made, one for each year of Mozart's life.
The company also has introduced versions of its 48" upright and 6' 11" and 7' 6" grands with cabinets designed by the famous European designer Peter Maly. Some recent designs include the 48" upright Vitrea, after the Latin word for glass, with a veneer of greenish glass covering the front of the cabinet; and Ambiente, a 7' 6" grand that is asymmetrically curved on both the bass and treble sides. In the recent past, Sauter has won several prestigious design awards for its Peter Maly-designed pianos.
A couple of extremely unusual models bear mentioning. The 7' 3" model 220 has colored lines painted on the soundboard and white inlays on the tops of the dampers as guides for musicians performing music for "prepared piano," ultramodern music requiring the insertion of foreign objects between the strings, or the plucking or striking of strings directly by the performer. The 1/16-tone microtonal piano is an upright with 97 keys that has a total pitch range, from its lowest to its highest note, of only one octave, the pitch difference from key to key being only 1/16 of a tone (1/8 of a semitone). You can read more about these strange instruments in The Piano Book.
Sauter pianos are high-quality instruments with a lush, full, singing tone, closer to an "American" sound than most other European pianos.
Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.
including Vogel and May Berlin
Pianos made by: Wilhelm Schimmel Pianofortefabrik GmbH, Braunschweig, Germany (Schimmel pianos); Schimmel Holzwerkstätten Leipzig GmbH, Leipzig, Germany (all cabinets); PianoEurope, Kalisz, Poland (Vogel pianos); various factories in China (May Berlin)
Wilhelm Schimmel began making pianos in Leipzig in 1885, and his company enjoyed steady growth through the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The two World Wars and the Depression disrupted production several times, but the company has gradually rebuilt itself over the past 60 years with a strong reputation for quality. Today, Schimmel is managed by Hannes Schimmel-Vogel, the husband of Viola Schimmel. Schimmel makes about 3,700 verticals and 800 grands per year and is one of Europe's most important piano makers. Yamaha owns a 24.9 percent non-voting interest in the Braunschweig company.
Among European piano manufacturers, Schimmel has been a pioneer in the use of computer-aided design and manufacturing. The company has used its Computer Assisted Piano Engineering (CAPE) software to research, design, and implement virtually every aspect of making a piano, from keyboard layout and action geometry to soundboard acoustics and scale design. According to Schimmel, the combination of CNC machinery and handcraftsmanship leads to better results than handwork alone. Schimmel also believes that precision is aided by controlling as much of the production process as possible. For that reason, Schimmel established its Leipzig factory to produce piano-cabinet components, which it also supplies to other German piano makers. The company also makes its own keyboards.
Over the last few years, Schimmel has reorganized its model lineup into two categories: Schimmel Konzert (models beginning with K) and Schimmel Classic (models beginning with C). The Konzert series consists of some of the newer and larger vertical models, and the six most recently designed and advanced grand models. The company says that the purpose of the Konzert series was to expand the Schimmel line upward to a higher level of quality than it had previously attained, in order to compete with other brands of the highest quality. The Classic series consists of the rest of the verticals, the 6' model 182 grand, and the 6' 10" model 208 grand. This series represents models that have been tested over time and are solid, traditional, high-quality instruments, but without the latest refinements. Certain Schimmel Classic models are getting their finish work done at the Schimmel factory in Kalisz, Poland, before returning to Braunschweig for further preparation and voicing.
FALL 2009 -- page 173
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Hybrid & Player Pianos
New-Piano Buyers’ Reference