Until a couple of years ago, Pearl River's Ritmüller line used the same strung back (structural and acoustical components) as the Pearl River line, but with different cabinets. Piano designer Lothar Thomma, mentioned above, was hired to completely redesign the Ritmüller line from the ground up so that it would be distinct from the Pearl River line. The new models are those with model numbers beginning with UH (verticals) or GH (grands). All the new models feature solid spruce soundboards, Renner hammers, and Röslau strings, among other higher-quality features. Piano Buyer's reviewers have tried out several of the new grand models and have been very impressed (see reviews in the review issue and in the current issue). For a time, the old and new models will coexist on showroom floors.

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


including Carl Ebel and Gerh. Steinberg

Piano Empire, Inc.
13370 East Firestone Blvd., Suite A
Santa Fe Springs, California 90670

Pianos made by: Yantai-Perzina Piano Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Yantai, Shandong Province, China

The Gebr. Perzina (Perzina Brothers) piano company was established in the German town of Schwerin in 1871, and was a prominent piano maker until World War I, after which its fortunes declined. In more recent times, the factory was moved to the nearby city of Lenzen and the company became known as Pianofabrik Lenzen GmbH. In the early 1990s the company was purchased by Music Brokers International B.V. in the Netherlands. Eventually it was decided that making pianos in Germany was not economically viable, so manufacturing was moved to Yantai, China, where both verticals and grands were made for a number of years by the Yantai Longfeng Piano Co. under the Perzina name. In 2003 Music Brokers International established its own factory in Yantai, called Yantai-Perzina, where it now builds the Perzina, Carl Ebel, and Gerh. Steinberg pianos. (Note: Do not confuse Gerh. Steinberg with Wilh. Steinberg, a German piano brand.)

The Carl Ebel and Gerh. Steinberg pianos are based on the same scale design, but the Perzina scale design is different. Further technical differences revolve primarily around the choice of action, hammers, and soundboard design, among other things. In particular, the Perzina brand is distinguished by use of a tapered soundboard of solid Austrian white spruce in both verticals and grands, whereas the Carl Ebel and Gerh. Steinberg soundboards are of veneer-laminated Austrian white spruce. The Perzina pianos also receive greater attention to detail than the other two brands. In addition, the Perzina verticals have several interesting features rarely found in other pianos, including a "floating" soundboard that is unattached to the back at certain points for freer vibration, and a reverse, or concave, soundboard crown. (There may be something to this; the Perzina verticals are the best-sounding verticals from China, their bass being particularly notable.) The company plans to introduce a premium series of vertical pianos featuring the German Renner action.

Perzina grands are available with a Detoa (G models) or a Renner (E models) action. Also available are three new deluxe grand models featuring new scale designs and other upgrades and modifications, with three different actions available. The GX has a factory action (with European materials and design); the DX action is made by Detoa (Czech Republic); and the EX has a Renner action. All three have Renner AA hammers.

The company's European headquarters says it ships many European materials to Yantai, including Degen copper-wound strings, Röslau strings, Delignit pinblocks, Renner hammers, English felts, European veneers, and Austrian white spruce soundboards. New machinery is from Germany, Japan, and Italy. According to the company, all the piano designs are the original German scales. The Renner actions used by Perzina are ordered complete from Germany, not assembled from parts.

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