including Falcone, Hobart M. Cable, Geo. Steck
1590 S. Milliken Ave., Unit H
Ontario, California 91761
Pianos made by: Sejung Corporation, Qingdao, Shandong Province, China
Sejung is a Korean-based company established in 1974. The musical instrument division of the business began production in 2001 with the creation of a partnership with Qingdao Sejung Musical Instruments in China. They began by building a 700,000-square-foot factory in Qingdao, a port city on the eastern coast with a temperate climate; hired dozens of managers who had once worked for Young Chang and Samick; and staffed the factory with some 2,000 workers. In order to attract skilled labor and reduce turnover, the company built dormitories to house and feed this labor force. The company has invested substantially in automated production equipment to achieve high quality standards, and produces just about every piano component in its own factories.
Sejung currently manufactures the Falcone, George Steck, and Hobart M. Cable brand names. These lines are technically similar and are differentiated mostly by their cabinet styles. Most of the models have a solid spruce soundboard, slow-close fallboard, cast pedals, and maple trapwork. In addition, an upscale Falcone Georgian (FG) series includes such features as Abel hammers on grands 5' 4" and larger, upgraded soundboard material, bubinga veneer on the inside of the grand rim, real ebony sharps, and gold-plated hardware.
The first pianos from Sejung were sold in the U.S. in fall 2002, less than one year after production began. A number of their first offerings were examined by technicians, and although still a little rough, they were definitely satisfactory, and remarkably good for such a new company. Since then, the factory has grown to become one of China's largest exporters of musical instruments, production has been refined, and quality has improved. After proper regulation and tuning, the pianos offer good value in an entry-level instrument. The 4' 8" grand and the continental console are most appropriate for those buyers whose primary considerations are price or appearance.
In 2012, the Sejung factory was acquired by Parsons Music, a major Chinese piano maker affiliated with a chain of music stores and schools in Hong Kong and China. As a result of the acquisition, Sejung stopped making pianos under the Falcone, Hobert M. Cable, and Geo. Steck brand names, but as of publication date, current inventory of these lines on dealers' showroom floors is still from Sejung. Beginning in summer 2013, new models under these brand names will be imported from Nanjing Moutrie Piano Company in Nanjing, China.
For model and price information, see under Sejung in the "Model & Pricing Guide."
Warranty: 12 years on parts, 10 years on labor, to original purchaser.
Persis International, Inc.
2647 N. Western Ave. #8030
Chicago, Illinois 60647
Founded by German immigrant Hugo Sohmer in 1872, Sohmer & Co. was owned and managed by the Sohmer family in New York City for 110 years. Having no descendants to take over the business, the founder's grandsons sold the company in 1982. As the company changed hands several times over the following decade, limited production of Sohmer pianos took place in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, finally ceasing in 1994 (see the Sohmer entry in The Piano Book for a more detailed recent history).
Pianos are once again being made under this venerable name, once considered among the finest of American-built instruments. Sohmer pianos from Persis International are manufactured by Royale, a Korean firm descended from a former joint venture between the German manufacturer Ibach and the Korean manufacturer Daewoo, neither of which any longer makes pianos. During the German-Korean joint venture, the string scales, bridges, soundboards, rib dimensions, actions, keys, and hammers were redesigned by Ibach to German standards. Models include a 50" vertical and 5' 3" , 5' 10" , and 7' 2" grands. The pianos have high-quality European components, such as Renner actions, Abel hammers, Delignit pinblocks, Röslau strings, and Ciresa solid spruce soundboards.
Note that, for a number of years, there was a legal dispute over the ownership of the Sohmer trademark, and from 2003 to 2010, Sohmer-branded pianos were distributed by both Persis International and Samick Music Corporation (SMC). That dispute has been settled in favor of Persis, and SMC stopped selling Sohmer pianos in 2010. However, the Samick-made pianos can be expected to remain on dealers' showroom floors for the near future, until sold, and Samick will continue to honor the warranties of the instruments it manufactured. (Note: Persis's pianos are labeled "Sohmer," and SMC's are labeled "Sohmer & Co.")
Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.