To commemorate the company's 175th anniversary, Grotrian has issued the 46 1/2" model Composé Exclusif. Limited to only 50 instruments, this elegant model includes such unusual features as 24-karat gold-plated hardware, inner cabinet veneer of red bird's-eye maple, white keys of satin-finish acrylic glass, and a hygrometer embedded in the case.
Grotrian also makes a lower-cost line, called Friedrich Grotrian, with a beech back frame but no back posts, and a simpler cabinet. It's available in a 43 1/2" model in polished ebony with legs, and in 43 1/2" and 45" models for institutional use, with satin finishes but without legs.
The treble of Grotrian pianos has extraordinary sustaining characteristics. It also has a pronounced sound of attack, subtle and delicate. The tenor is darker than many other brands. The bass can be powerful, but without stridency. Overall, Grotrian pianos have a unique, expressive sound and are a pleasure to play. Over the years, many well-known pianists have endorsed or expressed appreciation for Grotrian pianos.
Warranty: 5 years, parts and labor, transferable to future owners.
QRS Music Technologies, Inc.
269 Quaker Drive
Seneca, Pennsylvania 16346
Pianos no longer made.
Founded in 1904, Gulbransen was a well-regarded maker of pianos and organs in the early 20th century, and at one time was the world's largest maker of player pianos. An indication of the company's stature and success in its early history is the fact, that during World War II, Gulbransen was one of only two piano manufacturers allowed to continue production; along with Steinway & Sons, they made pianos for government use. In more modern times, Gulbransen became known for its electronic organs and MIDI products. In 2004, QRS Music Technologies, maker of the Pianomation player-piano systems and distributor of Story & Clark pianos, purchased Gulbransen's MIDI products and company name. For several years, Gulbransen served as an entry-level piano line for Story & Clark dealers (see Story & Clark), but the line has recently been discontinued.
HAESSLER — See Blüthner.
Pianos made by: Ningbo Hailun Musical Instruments Co. Ltd., Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China
Ningbo Hailun began making piano parts and components in 1986 under the Ningbo Piano Parts Factory name, and began assembling entire pianos in 1995. Its assembly facility converted to a full-scale piano manufacturing facility in 2000. Today, the Hailun factory has over 400,000 square feet of production capacity and 800 employees. A 200,000-square-foot expansion project is underway to accommodate distribution in the U.S. market. Additionally, a new cabinet factory is now complete and began production in 2008. In addition to making pianos under the Hailun name, the company also makes the Wendl & Lung brand for distribution throughout Europe and a few piano stores in the U.S. (see Wendl & Lung). Hailun also makes pianos or components under contract for several other manufacturers and distributors.
Currently, the Hailun line consists of eight vertical sizes (mostly larger uprights) and six grand sizes. In 2010, the company introduced the 52" model HU7 (formerly called PE 33), with a duplex scale, agraffes, and a steel capo bar for, the company says, a "lush and powerful sound in the American tradition"; and a 51" model HU3 (formerly called K 5), "which reflects a brighter, more 'European,' sound philosophy." Both have a middle pedal that operates a true sostenuto mechanism.
Hailun is in the process of introducing several new grand and vertical models it calls the Vienna Series. Available only through select Hailun dealers known as Hailun Vienna Merchants, these instruments are intended to address the need of customers for an exacting, quality instrument that "reflects the European tradition of piano building" at a more favorable price, and to "create a warm tonal experience in the tradition of the Viennese sound." To that end, the pianos use soundboard wood sourced from the North Austrian Alps, and the grands are designed with a wide tail, vertically laminated maple bridges, and a slightly firmer touch and faster action speed. The vertical has a duplex scale, agraffes, a full-perimeter plate, and an enhanced soundboard design. Each purchaser of a Vienna Series piano may, within 18 months of purchase, request that a special highly qualified technician, known as a Vienna Concert Technician, spend a full day of concert-level regulation and voicing on the piano at the customer's home.