The company now offers two series of vertical and grand pianos. The Heritage Series is a popularly priced line of verticals and grands with a Storytone II soundboard--Story & Clark's name for the veneer-laminated soundboard developed by Samick (see Samick).

The Signature Series also comes in both vertical and grand models. These pianos feature premium Renner hammers, Röslau strings, maple and mahogany rims, solid brass hardware, Bolduc tapered soundboards of solid spruce, sand-cast plates, and advanced low-tension scales. The pianos have cabinet designs that offer lots of detail for the money and coordinate with major furniture trends. In spite of their beauty, the company says, these pianos are also appropriate for school and commercial applications.

In keeping with the tradition begun by Hampton Story of integrating technology into pianos, all Story & Clark pianos are now equipped with an exclusive feature called PNOscan(TM). PNOscan is an optical sensor strip attached to the key frame directly under the keys. It senses the velocity and up/down movement of each key so that it can precisely re-create every detail of an original performance, including the force, speed, and duration of each note played, without affecting the touch or response of the keyboard. The data captured by PNOscan is then transmitted through either a USB connection or MIDI output to a computer, general MIDI sound module, or other digital device. The addition of PNOscan to every Story & Clark acoustic piano gives customers the potential to have all the features of a digital piano. When combined with various accessories, PNOscan gives users the ability to learn, record, compose, practice in silence, and more.

Warranty: 15 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser. Lifetime limited warranty to original purchaser and 25-year transferable warranty to subsequent purchasers on the Storytone II soundboard.

SUZUKI

Suzuki Corporation
P.O. Box 261030
San Diego, California 92196
800-854-1594
858-566-9710
www.suzukipianos.com

Pianos made by: Possibly Artfield Piano Co., Qingpu, Shanghai, China

Suzuki Corporation, the world's largest producer of musical instruments for education, has entered the acoustic piano business with a line of vertical and grand pianos made in China. The pianos are sold online at www.suzukipianos.com and through Costco, as well as through regular piano dealers. The company prefers not to be specific as to the source of its pianos.

Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.

VOGEL -- See Schimmel.

VOSE & SONS

Wrightwood Enterprises, Inc.
717 St. Joseph Drive
St. Joseph, Michigan 49085
616-828-0618

Pianos made by: Dongbei Piano Company, Ltd., Yingkou, Liaoning Province, China

Vose & Sons was established in 1851 in Boston by James Whiting Vose. Ownership eventually transferred to the American Piano Company, and later to Aeolian Pianos, which went out of business in 1985. Since 2004, the brand has been used by a different distributor on pianos from the Dongbei Piano Company, in China (see Dongbei).

WALTER, CHARLES R.

Walter Piano Company, Inc.
25416 CR 6
Elkhart, Indiana 46514
574-266-0615
www.walterpiano.com

Charles Walter, an engineer, was head of Piano Design and Developmental Engineering at C.G. Conn in the 1960s, when Conn was doing important research in musical acoustics. In 1969 Walter bought the Janssen piano name from Conn, and continued to make Janssen pianos until 1981. In 1975 he brought out the Charles R. Walter line of consoles and studios, based on his continuing research in piano design. Walter began making grands in 1997.

The Walter Piano Company is fairly unique among U.S. piano manufacturers in that it is a family business, staffed by Charles and his wife, several of their grownup children, and various in-laws, in addition to unrelated production employees. The Walters say that each piano is inspected and signed by a member of their family before being shipped. Dealers and technicians report that doing business with the Walters is a pleasure in itself.

The Charles R. Walter line consists of 43" and 45" studio pianos in various decorator and institutional styles, and 5' 9" and 6' 4" grands. Note that both vertical models have full-size actions and therefore are studio pianos, not consoles, as I define those terms. In fact, they are identical pianos inside different cabinets. Walter calls the 43" model a console because of its furniture styling, but due to its larger action, it will outplay most real consoles on the market.

 

FALL 2009 -- page 182

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