The Definitive Piano Buying Guide
Pianos made by: Ningbo Hailun Musical Instruments Co. Ltd., Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China
This German piano manufacturer was founded in Leipzig in 1851 by Julius Feurich. At its height in the early part of the 20th century, the company employed 360 people, annually producing 1,200 upright and 600 grand pianos. Like many German manufacturers, however, Feurich lost its factory during World War II. Following the war, the fourth generation of the Feurich family rebuilt in Langlau, in what became West Germany.
In 1991, Bechstein purchased Feurich and closed the Langlau factory, but in 1993 the name was sold back to the Feurich family. For a time, production was contracted out to other German manufacturers, including Schimmel, while the Feurich family marketed and distributed the pianos. In 1995, Feurich opened a new factory in Gunzenhausen, Germany. Under the direction of Julius Feurich, the fifth generation, the family-owned company once again began building its own high-quality pianos.
In 2011, Feurich was acquired by Wendl & Lung, headquartered in Vienna, Austria, which distributed a line of pianos under that name made to their specifications by Hailun in China. The Wendl & Lung pianos were rebranded as Feurich, and distributed along with Feurich pianos made under license by Julius Feurich in Gunzenhausen.
In 2012, Julius Feurich terminated his licensing agreement with Wendl & Lung, choosing instead to manufacture pianos independently under another name. Wendl & Lung continues to make and distribute Feurich pianos, utilizing a separate assembly line within the Hailun factory. In addition, a new line of German-made Feurichs is under development, to be manufactured near Cologne.
Ernest Bittner, founder and Managing Director of Wendl & Lung, has continued to develop the Feurich line, introducing a new model 115 vertical, designed by Rolf Ibach. The popular model 178 grand has undergone many changes, including refinements of action ratios and the implementation of a completely new cast-iron frame. This piano is becoming the model 179, to further differentiate it from the Hailun-branded model 178.
For its U.S. distribution, Feurich is following its European business model of using distribution centers to complete the musical preparation of the instruments — every piano entering the country is unboxed and completely prepped. In fact, Feurich pianos entering this country have received no voicing at the Hailun factory, which allows the distribution centers to control the critical final hammer preparation and voicing. Currently, Feurich has very limited distribution in the U.S.
Feurich offers an optional Harmonic Pedal on its grand pianos. This fourth pedal is essentially the inverse of a sostenuto — instead of holding up the dampers of notes pressed prior to depressing the pedal, it holds up all but those notes. The effect, known as "remanence harmony," is to allow the overtones of the depressed notes to sing out in a sustained fashion.
Warranty: 5 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.
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