Story & Clark offers two series of vertical and grand pianos, which are made to its specifications by various Chinese and Indonesian manufacturers. The Heritage Series is a popularly priced line of verticals and grands with a Storytone II soundboard — Story & Clark's name for the veneer-laminated soundboard developed by Samick (see Samick).
The Signature Series also comes in both vertical and grand models. These pianos feature premium Renner hammers, Röslau strings, maple and mahogany rims, solid brass hardware, Bolduc tapered soundboards of solid spruce, sand-cast plates, and advanced low-tension scales. The pianos have cabinet designs that offer lots of detail for the money and coordinate with major furniture trends. In spite of their beauty, the company says, these pianos are also appropriate for school and commercial applications.
In keeping with the tradition begun by Hampton Story of integrating technology into pianos, all Story & Clark pianos are now equipped with an exclusive feature called PNOscanTM. PNOscan is an optical sensor strip attached to the key frame directly under the keys. It senses the velocity and up/down movement of each key so that it can precisely re-create every detail of an original performance, including the force, speed, and duration of each note played, without affecting the touch or response of the keyboard. The data captured by PNOscan is then transmitted through either a USB connection or MIDI output to a computer, general MIDI sound module, or other digital device. The addition of PNOscan to every Story & Clark acoustic piano gives customers the potential to have all the features of a digital piano. When combined with various accessories, PNOscan gives users the ability to learn, record, compose, practice in silence, and more. In fact, in 2011 the company introduced a hybrid piano (46" model S7) equipped with — in addition to PNOscan — a key stop rail, sound module, speakers, and headphones, allowing the instrument to function as either an acoustic or a digital piano. (Read more about hybrid pianos elsewhere in this issue.)
Warranty: 15 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser. Lifetime limited warranty to original purchaser and 25-year transferable warranty to subsequent purchasers on the Storytone II soundboard.
P.O. Box 261030
San Diego, California 92196
Pianos made by: Possibly Artfield Piano Co., Qingpu, Shanghai, China
Suzuki Corporation, the world's largest producer of musical instruments for education, has entered the acoustic piano business with a line of vertical and grand pianos made in China. The pianos are sold online at www.suzukipianos.com and through Costco, as well as through regular piano dealers. The company prefers not to be specific as to the source of its pianos.
Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.
TAYLOR — See Brodmann.
VOGEL — See Schimmel.
VOSE & SONS — See Everett.
WALTER, CHARLES R.
Walter Piano Company, Inc.
25416 CR 6
Elkhart, Indiana 46514
Charles Walter, an engineer, was head of Piano Design and Developmental Engineering at C.G. Conn in the 1960s, when Conn was doing important research in musical acoustics. In 1969 Walter bought the Janssen piano name from Conn, and continued to make Janssen pianos until 1981. In 1975 he brought out the Charles R. Walter line of consoles and studios, based on his continuing research in piano design. Walter began making grands in 1997.
The Walter Piano Company is fairly unique among U.S. piano manufacturers in that it is a family business, staffed by Charles and his wife, several of their grownup children, and various in-laws, in addition to unrelated production employees. The Walters say that each piano is inspected and signed by a member of their family before being shipped. Dealers and technicians report that doing business with the Walters is a pleasure in itself.