DONGBEI

Pianos made by: Baldwin Dongbei (Yingkou) Piano and Musical Instrument Company, Ltd., Yingkou, Liaoning Province, China

The Dongbei Piano Company in China is owned by Baldwin Piano Company, a subsidiary of Gibson Guitar Corporation, and makes pianos that are sold in North America by various distributors and under a variety of names, including Baldwin, Everett, and Hallet, Davis & Co. (see listings under those names). Pianos made under the names Nordiska and Weinbach are no longer distributed in the U.S.

Dongbei is Chinese for "northeast." In 1952 Dongbei was formed by splitting off from a government-owned piano factory in Shanghai and establishing a new government-owned factory in the northeastern part of the country. Dongbei began a process of modernization in 1988 when it purchased the designs and manufacturing equipment for a vertical piano model from the Swedish company Nordiska when that company went out of business. The Swedish-designed model 116 vertical was strikingly more advanced than Dongbei's own Prince and Princess piano lines. (At that time, Dongbei made only vertical pianos.)

In 1991 Dongbei entered into an agreement with Korean piano maker Daewoo whereby Daewoo would assist Dongbei in improving its production of vertical pianos. In 1996 that relationship was extended to the design and production of grand pianos. In 1997, when Daewoo decided to leave the piano business, Dongbei purchased nearly all of Daewoo's grand-piano manufacturing equipment and began making grands. Export to the U.S. began in 1994 under the brand name Sagenhaft, at first only of vertical pianos. When the export of grand pianos began in 1998, other brand names such as Nordiska, Everett, and Story & Clark, began to become available, and over the next 10 years production for both domestic use and for export grew enormously.

In early 2007 Gibson Musical Instruments, parent of Baldwin Piano Company, acquired Dongbei Piano and renamed it Baldwin Dongbei (Yingkou) Piano and Musical Instrument Co., Ltd., thus creating a major piano-manufacturing power in China with two plants. (The other plant, Baldwin (Zhongshan) Piano and Musical Instrument Co., Ltd., is in southern China.) Baldwin has greatly expanded its presence in China over the last five years, and the company says it will use the manufacturing capacity of Dongbei to service the Chinese domestic market as well as the world market (see also under Baldwin). In the four years since Baldwin acquired Dongbei, both the workforce and the production output have been considerably reduced to make the former government-owned operation more efficient and profitable.

When Daewoo left the piano business in 1997, some of the technicians and designers sent by Daewoo to advise Dongbei stayed on with Dongbei for many years, during which they designed numerous new piano models. Some of these technicians had trained in both Korea and Germany. In the opinion of many technicians who have examined a variety of pianos from China, the Dongbei grand-piano designs are among the best and most successful musically.

EDELWEISS

Edelweiss Piano Company
1066 Pianos (USA) Inc.
P.O. Box 7728
Kalispell, Montana 59904
406-863-1066
ustrade@edelweiss-piano.com
www.edelweiss-piano.com

Pianos made by: various Chinese suppliers

Edelweiss Piano Company is a subsidiary of 1066 Pianos, a long-established family-owned U.K. firm specializing in high-end rebuilding and custom-made designer pianos. Although all of the rebuilding and custom manufacture are carried out in 1066's own workshops in Cambridge, England or in the U.S., the company also sells new instruments, under the Edelweiss brand, which it sources from various Chinese suppliers, who build them to 1066's designs. The pianos feature German Strunz soundboards and Abel hammers, among other quality components.

Edelweiss model G50 pianos have the distinction of being, at only 4' 2" (127 cm) long, the shortest grand pianos on the market; and with only 85 notes, they are also a little narrower than other grands. The piano rim, instead of being straight on one side and curved on the other, is symmetrical, and comes in two furniture styles: "half moon" and "butterfly." With half moon, the semi-circular lid is hinged at the front and propped up at the rear. A semi-circular music rack mirrors the lid's shape. With butterfly, the lid is hinged at the middle, creating two mini-lids like butterfly wings, each propped up on the side. The instrument's small size and unusual shape may permit it to fit in places others will not. Stock colors are polished ebony and polished white; custom colors are available.

Other, more standard, models of Edelweiss piano will soon be available in the U.S., but specifications and prices were not available at press time. See the company's website for current information.

Warranty: 10 years parts, five years labor, to original purchaser