Samick Music Corp. (SMC)
1329 Gateway Drive
Gallatin, Tennessee 37066
Pianos made by: Ed. Seiler Pianofortefabrik, Kitzingen, Germany; with Samick Musical Instrument Mfg. Co. Ltd., Bogor, West Java, Indonesia
Eduard Seiler, the company's founder, began making pianos in 1849, in Liegnitz, Silesia, then part of Prussia. By 1923, the company had grown to over 435 employees, was producing up to 3,000 pianos per year, and was the largest piano manufacturer in Eastern Europe. In 1945 and after World War II, when Liegnitz became part of Poland, the plant was nationalized by the Polish Communist government, and the Seiler family left their native homeland with millions of other refugees. In 1954, Steffan Seiler reestablished the company in Copenhagen under the fourth generation of family ownership, and began making pianos again. In 1962 he moved the company to Kitzingen, Bavaria, in Germany, where it resides today. Steffan Seiler died in 1999; the company was managed by his widow, Ursula, until its sale to Samick in 2008. Seiler produces about 1,000 pianos annually. Samick says it plans to continue Seiler's tradition of making the highest-quality pianos.
Seiler uses a combination of traditional methods and modern technology in building pianos. The scale designs are of relatively high tension, producing a brilliant, balanced tone that is quite consistent from one Seiler to the next. Although brilliant, the tone also sings well, due to, the company says, a unique soundboard feature called the Membrator system, used in all Seiler pianos. The Membrator is a patented construction feature in which the perimeter of the soundboard is sculpted to be thicker and heavier in mass than the interior, to form a frame within the soundboard. The lighter inner area becomes the vibrating membrane — a diaphragm on its own — unimpeded by the larger soundboard's attachment to the inner rim. The company says that use of the Membrator system, as well as effective rib positioning, improves the soundboard's efficiency in radiating sound. It's easy to identify the Membrator by the tapered groove around the perimeter of the board.
The grands have wide tails for greater soundboard area and string length. The pianos feature Bavarian spruce soundboards, multi-laminated beech pinblocks, quartersawn beech bridges, Renner actions, and slow-close fallboards. A few years ago, the grands were redesigned with a duplex scale for greater treble tonal color, and with longer keys and a lighter touch. Musically, these redesigns were very successful. They retained the typical Seiler clarity, but with longer sustain and a marvelously even-feeling touch.
In 2011, Samick expanded the Seiler line to cover three price points. The top-level instruments continue to be handcrafted at the Seiler factory in Kitzingen, just as they have been for many years. They come in two styles, Classic and Trend. The construction and specifications of the two styles are the same, but the Trend looks a bit more modern, and sports a silver-colored plate and chrome hardware, whereas the Classic has the traditional gold- or bronze-colored plate and brass hardware. Both are available in dozens of special furniture styles with beautiful, exotic woods and inlays.
The mid-level Seiler pianos, designated the ES models, and the more affordable ED models, are together known as the Eduard Seiler line. These have cabinet parts and sound bodies (strung backs) constructed at Samick's Indonesian factory using German CNC machinery, and to the exact scales and specifications of the hand-built German models. The ES models are then shipped to Kitzingen, where assembly is completed, full Renner actions and German hammers are installed, and the final musical finishing of the instruments is performed. Final assembly of the ED models takes place in Indonesia, using Renner wippen assemblies and a Samick hornbeam or Delignit action rail. All Seiler pianos distributed in North America, regardless of origin, come with the Seiler name on the fallboard.
At both the Kitzingen and Indonesian factories, strung backs are inspected to make sure that all specifications have been met to the strictest tolerances. Soundboard mass distribution and rib positioning are under strict quality control in order to achieve consistency in the soundboard's acoustical properties. Pre-stretching of the strings is done several times, followed by multiple tunings, to ensure maximum stability. Hammer alignment, voicing, and key weighting and balancing are all carefully performed by experienced Seiler technicians. Renner actions are regulated for maximum performance. All cabinet parts are carefully fitted to exact specifications.
Seiler's 52" upright is available with the optional Super Magnet Repetition (SMR) action, a patented feature that uses magnets to increase repetition speed. During play, tiny magnets attached to certain action parts of each note repel each other, forcing the parts to return to their rest position faster, ready for the next keystroke.
Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.