Pianos made by: Bohemia, Heintzman & Co., Dongbei (see text)
In the late 1980s, Darrell Fandrich, an engineer, pianist, and piano technician, developed a vertical piano action designed to play like a grand, for which 10 patents have been issued. You can see an illustration of the Fandrich Vertical Action™, an explanation of how it works, and some history of its development in the third and fourth editions of The Piano Book and on the Fandrich & Sons website. Since 1994, Fandrich and his wife, Heather, have been installing Renner-made Fandrich actions in selected new pianos, selling them under the Fandrich & Sons label. They also sell some grands (with regular grand actions) under that name.
Over the years, the Fandrichs have installed their actions in over 200 instruments, including ones from Pearl River, Wilh. Steinberg, Klima, Bohemia, and Feurich. At present, the action is being installed in 50" and 52" Bohemia uprights (under the Fandrich & Sons label) and 48" Feurich uprights (under the Feurich label). The converted pianos are available directly from the Fandrichs. The Fandrichs say they are working with factory personnel to train them in completing the actions at the factory, at which time these pianos may also become available from other Bohemia and Feurich dealers.
Playing a piano outfitted with a Fandrich Vertical Action is a very interesting experience. The action easily outperforms that of most other vertical pianos on the market, and some grands as well. The Fandrichs have now had years of experience in refining and servicing the action, and reports suggest that customers are very satisfied with them.
Fandrich & Sons grand pianos are made in China and remanufactured at the Fandrich & Sons facility in Stanwood, Washington. The company offers three sizes of grand piano: models 165 (5' 5"), 185 (6' 1"), and 203 (6' 8"), in three configurations, S, HGS, and HGS-A. The HGS-A models feature Arledge bass strings, Renner hammer shanks, and Ronsen hammers with Würzen Weickert felt. The HGS models feature Ronsen hammers with Würzen Weickert felt, but retain the original factory strings. The S models retain both the original factory strings and hammers with German felt. All models also feature redesigned pedal-lyre and trapwork systems, precision touchweighting using the Fandrichs' proprietary method, and a very lengthy and extensive high-end preparation. Models 165 and 185 are built by Dongbei (see Dongbei) and are available in the S and HGS configurations. Model 203 is built by Heintzman (see Heintzman & Co.) and is offered only in the HGS-A configuration. All Fandrich & Sons pianos come with a Dampp-Chaser dehumidifier system and an adjustable bench.
The Fandrichs are passionate about their craft and choose the brands they work with carefully for musical potential. In addition to making standard modifications and refinements to remedy perceived shortcomings in the original Chinese-made instruments, the Fandrichs are inveterate tinkerers always searching for ways to make additional improvements, however subtle. As a result, many who play the pianos find them to be considerably more musical than their price and origin would suggest.
Warranty: 12 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.
Note: Do not confuse the Fandrich & Sons pianos with the 48" Fandrich upright that was once manufactured with a Fandrich Vertical Action by Darrell Fandrich's brother, Delwin Fandrich. That piano has not been made since 1994.
In 1978, musician and engineer Paolo Fazioli of Rome, Italy, began designing and building pianos, with the object of making the finest-quality instruments possible. Now even the most famous piano makers of Western Europe are recognizing his accomplishment, and artists throughout the world are using the instruments successfully on the concert stage and elsewhere.
As a youth, Fazioli studied music and engineering, receiving advanced degrees in both subjects. He briefly attempted to make a living as a concert pianist, but instead joined his family's furniture company, rising to the position of factory manager in the Rome, Sacile, and Turin factories. But his creative ambitions, combined with his personal search for the perfect piano, finally led him to conclude that he needed to build his own piano. With advice and financial backing from his family, in 1977 Fazioli assembled a group of experts in woodworking, acoustics, and piano technology to study and scientifically analyze every aspect of piano design and construction. The following year, prototypes of his new instruments in hand, he began building pianos commercially in a factory housed at one end of the family's Sacile furniture factory, a top supplier in Italy of high-end office furniture.
SPRING 2010 -- page 180
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Hybrid & Player Pianos
New-Piano Buyers’ Reference