Henry F. Miller
236 West Portal Avenue #568
San Francisco, California 94127
Henry F. Miller was the name of an old American piano maker, established in 1863 near Boston, which eventually became part of the Aeolian Corporation, and was discontinued in 1985. The name is now owned by the Sherman Clay chain of piano stores and is used on a mid-priced line of pianos carried by these and other major piano retailers around the country. Current Henry F. Miller pianos are made by Pearl River in China. The product line consists of five vertical models from 43" to 52" and four grand models from 4' 10" to 6' 2".
Pianos made by: Dongbei Piano Company, Ltd., Yingkou, Liaoning Province, China
Nordiska was a 100-year-old Swedish piano manufacturer that sold its designs, equipment, and technology to the Chinese company Dongbei when it went out of business in 1988 (for more information, see Dongbei). Dongbei pianos were sold in the U.S. under the Nordiska brand name until 2007, when distribution was discontinued.
Pianos made by: AXL Musical Instrument Co., Ltd. Corp., Shanghai, China
Although this company is new to the piano world, it is not new to music. For some time, AXL has been manufacturing a full range of musical instruments under its own name and under OEM agreements with other companies. The company says that its factory is very automated, employing CNC routers from Japan and Germany, and that it sources materials for its pianos from around the world.
Palatino makes about 7,000 pianos annually, in three categories: Classic, Professional, and Concert. Among the verticals, most models are in the Classic series; the Professional series consists only of the 48 1/2" model PUP-123TU-A/AR and the 50" model PUP-126TU, and the Concert series the 52" model PUP-132TU. The Classic series grands are the 4' 6" and 5' models, the Professional series the 5' 9" model, and the Concert series the 6' 2" model and larger. Features common to all three include solid spruce soundboard, maple grand rim, hard rock maple bridges and pinblock, Röslau strings, wet-sand-cast plate, Chinese-made Renner-style action, adjustable artist bench, slow-close fallboard, and solid brass hardware. In addition, the Professional and Concert series have higher-grade Canadian white spruce soundboards, agraffes throughout the scale (in the Professional series model 123 uprights), and Abel hammers (Professional series) or Renner hammers (Concert series). A full German-made Renner action is an option in the 6' 2" Concert series grand.
Based on personal observation and dealer reports, Palatino pianos appear to have good quality control and are prepared well at the factory before being shipped to dealers. Our own reviewer tested a couple of the grand models and found them to be very musical and a pleasure to play (see review in the Fall 2009 issue).
Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, transferable to future owners within the warranty period.
Pianos made by: Guangzhou Pearl River Piano Group Ltd., Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China
Originally established in 1954 through the consolidation of several piano-making facilities, the Guangzhou Pearl River factory is now China's largest piano manufacturer and one of the largest in the world, with production of over 100,000 pianos annually by more than 4,000 workers. The government-owned company says the average length of service of its workers is 17 years. Pianos are made under the Pearl River and Ritmüller names, and under a few other names under OEM contracts with distributors, such as Henry F. Miller (with Sherman Clay) and Essex (with Steinway). (See separate listings under those names).
SPRING 2010 -- page 191
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Hybrid & Player Pianos
New-Piano Buyers’ Reference