Spring 2014    Page 165

The Definitive Piano Buying Guide

Acoustic Pianos

Brand and Company Profiles


Ciampi USA
1520 Appian Way
Montebello, California 90640

Pianos made by: Burger & Jacobi, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic

In 1872, Christian Burger began making pianos in his workshop in Burgdorf, Switzerland, later moving to larger quarters in Biel. He was joined in 1879 by his son-in-law, Herman Jacobi. For more than a century, aided by good workmanship, thousands of satisfied customers, and the endorsement of Johannes Brahms, Burger, Jacobi, and four generations of their descendants continued making pianos in Switzerland. In 1990, the company was purchased by the Ciampi Group, of Rome, Italy, a leading European distributor of musical instruments, whose founder had once worked at Burger & Jacobi. Ciampi moved production to the Petrof factory in the Czech Republic, where their pianos continued to be produced until recently, with distribution primarily limited to Europe. In 2010, Ciampi purchased its own factory in the same town as Petrof's, and is now expanding distribution to North America.

For North American distribution, Burger & Jacobi is starting with three vertical and four grand models, with prices and features aimed at the middle to upper level of the piano market. The pianos are manufactured at their factory in the Czech Republic, and contain a "Made in Europe" certification. Czech-made Detoa actions and keyboards are used in all models except the two largest grands, which have Renner actions. All models contain a solid spruce soundboard, Röslau strings, and Abel or Renner hammers. The 50" upright has a true sostenuto pedal.

Warranty: 5 years, parts and labor.

CABLE, HOBART M. — See Welkin Sound.

CABLE-NELSON — See Yamaha.

CHASE, A.B. — See Everett.


Chernobieff Pianos & Harpsichords
Lenoir City, Tennessee

Reminiscent of some piano designs attempted 200 years ago, Chernobieff's Mammoth is one of the most unusual pianos being built today. Dubbed a Vertical Concert Grand, Mammoth's model VCG stands 7' 2" tall, weighs 1,200 pounds, and has the scale design and sound of a 9' concert grand.

The piano's immense structure includes six laminated wooden back posts and a welded steel frame, yet despite its bulk, the instrument appears quite attractive in its custom-made cabinet of Brazilian cherry. The soundboard and ribs are of Sitka spruce. The action, invented specifically for this piano, appears superficially to be like that of a vertical, but actually contains the double-escapement feature of a grand piano action.

Inventor-builder Chris Chernobieff got his start assembling dulcimer and harpsichord kits, and branched out into piano service and rebuilding about 15 years ago. Inspired by other technicians who built their own pianos, Chernobieff asked, "Why not me?" Having spent the last several years designing and building the Mammoth, he now has plans for a 6' vertical and some innovative grand models.

Mammoth model VCG retails for $98,000.

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Spring 2014    Page 165

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