Brand and Company Profiles
[To view the index to the Brand and Company Profiles, click here.]
THIS SECTION contains brief descriptions of most brands of new piano distributed nationwide in the United States. Brands that are associated with only a single dealer, or otherwise have marginal distribution, are omitted unless I believe them to be significant in some respect. These profiles contain, sometimes verbatim, material from the fourth edition of The Piano Book where still relevant and accurate, accumulated changes from past Supplements, and new material gleaned from interviews with manufacturers and industry professionals. The contact information listed for each brand is that of the brand's U.S. distributor, or of the manufacturer itself if there is no separate U.S. distributor. Most manufacturers had an opportunity to see, comment on, and correct for factual accuracy the descriptions of their products. To keep the size manageable, however, much historical and technical information was abbreviated or omitted, including information on older, discontinued models, and on problems and defects that have long since been rectified. Although the information in this publication will usually be sufficient to help guide you in purchasing a new piano, you may wish, at your leisure, to peruse The Piano Book for additional commentary on the brands you're considering. Just be aware that, particularly where it conflicts with information in this publication, The Piano Book may no longer be accurate. In most cases, brands included in The Piano Book but not here, are either out of business or no longer distributed in the United States.
As in The Piano Book, the articles here are a bit quirky — that is, they vary in length, and in the thoroughness with which they treat their subjects. Some companies have more interesting histories, some instruments have more unusual technical features, some brands have more controversial issues associated with them, and some manufacturers were more helpful than others in providing access to interesting material. The comments are more descriptive than evaluative. For a "road map" depicting how I think the piano industry views the different brands relative to one another, see the article "The New-Piano Market Today."
Note: Electronic player-piano systems are covered in "Buying an Electronic Player-Piano System," elsewhere in this issue.
Pianos made by: Beijing Hsinghai Piano Group, Ltd., Beijing, China
This is the house brand of Altenburg Piano House, a New Jersey piano retailer in business for over 150 years, at one time as a manufacturer. This brand is sold via the Internet and through other dealers, in addition to the company's own stores. For many years, Otto Altenburg pianos have been made by Samick in Korea or Indonesia, though sometimes to musical and cabinet designs different from Samick's own. More recently, Altenburg has engaged the Beijing Hsinghai Piano Group in China to make a new line of pianos, some of which are exclusive to Altenburg, with individually hitched strings. The Beijing models are the ones shown in the Model & Pricing Guide of this issue. Grand models up to 5' 3" use a laminated soundboard, larger models use solid spruce.
Warranty: 12 years, parts and labor, transferable to future owners within the warranty period.