The Kimball Classic Collection consists of the 5' 1" model K1 and 6' 2" model K3 grands. Parts and components for these models are being sourced primarily from China and Europe. They include a rim made of maple and oak (grands); full-length back posts (vertical); bridges planed and notched by hand in the traditional manner; a wet-sand cast plate; Herrburger Brooks keys, action, and hammers; Röslau strings; Delignit pinblock; and a solid spruce soundboard.
The Kimball Artist Collection includes the 5' 8" model A2 grand and the 49" model A49 vertical. The company says that the Artist Collection embodies its commitment to producing high-quality performance pianos by paying great attention to the design of the scale, soundboard, and action, and to proper execution and attention to details. High-end components, primarily from Germany, include a rim of European beech (grand), Renner action (grand), Strunz premium solid spruce soundboard and ribs, Delignit pinblock, Röslau strings, Klinke agraffes, and Abel hammers. The vertical has full-length spruce back posts and a Herrburger Brooks action; cabinets are from China.
In the U.S., Kimball is doing final assembly and detailing of the instruments, with a major focus on proper action, hammer, and key installation to ensure superb playability. At its facility in Chicago, Kimball now has a showroom where, by appointment, both individual customers and dealers are welcome to see and play the new pianos.
Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.
Doremi USA Inc.
5036 Dr. Phillips Boulevard, Suite 288
Orlando, Florida 32819
Pianos made by: Yantai Kingsburg Piano Co., Ltd., Yantai, Shandong Province, China
Yantai Kingsburg, formerly known as Yantai Longfeng, was established in 1988, and at various times made pianos under the Steigerman and Perzina brand names. It is located in a temperate area of northern China that, the company says, is ideal for piano making because of its moderate humidity level.
All Kingsburg pianos have been designed by well-known piano designer Klaus Fenner, and include components sourced from around the world, such as Röslau piano wire, Abel hammers, Detoa or Renner actions, and Japanese tuning pins. Interesting design features include longer keys on upright models for more grand-like performance, brass-bar duplex scale, and the company’s exclusive Tri Board solid spruce soundboard, which, for better bass tone and improved tuning stability, is unattached to the piano back at the bottom.
At present, the Kingsburg line comprises larger uprights and two sizes of grand, with plans to possibly expand into the market for home console pianos. Custom styles and finishes are also available.
A key focus of Yantai Kingsburg is that the final factory preparation of the pianos be done in such a manner that the dealer can deliver the instrument to the customer’s home with very little additional work being required. To that end, the U.S. distributor’s Japanese affiliate sends highly trained technicians to the factory to fully tune, voice, and regulate each Kingsburg piano to their high standards before it is crated for shipment.
Warranty: 12 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.
See also Samick.
Samick Music Corp. (SMC)
1329 Gateway Drive
Gallatin, Tennessee 37066
Founded in Baltimore in 1837 by Wilhelm (William) Knabe, a German immigrant, Wm. Knabe & Co. established itself in the 19th and early 20th centuries as one of the finest piano makers in America. Over the years, Knabe pianos have left an important mark on the music field, including over 40 years as the official piano of the Metropolitan Opera, sponsoring Tchaikovsky’s appearance at the opening of Carnegie Hall, and their places inside the White House and Graceland. Today, Knabe is the official piano of the American Ballet Theatre at the Met. 2012 marks the company’s 175th anniversary.
As part of the consolidation of the American piano industry in the early 20th century, Knabe eventually became part of the Aeolian family of brands. Following Aeolian’s demise in 1985, the Knabe name became part of Mason & Hamlin, which was purchased out of bankruptcy in 1996 by the owners of PianoDisc. For a time, a line of Knabe pianos was made for PianoDisc by Young Chang in Korea and China. When the line was discontinued, Samick acquired the Wm. Knabe & Co. name. (Note: “Knabe” is pronounced using the hard K sound followed by “nobby.”)