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The Definitive Piano Buying Guide

Acoustic Pianos

Brand and Company Profiles


North American Music Inc.
11 Holt Drive
Stony Point, New York 10980

Pianos made by: Schulze Pollmann s.r.l., Borgo Maggiore, San Marino

Schulze Pollmann was formed in 1928 by the merger of two German piano builders who had moved to Italy. Paul Pollmann had worked first with Ibach, then with Steinway & Sons (Hamburg), before opening his own piano factory in Germany. He later moved to Italy, where he met Albert Schulze, another relocated German piano builder. Pollmann managed the combined firms until 1942, and was followed by his son Hans, who had managed the piano maker Schimmel before returning to his father's firm. Recently, the company relocated a short distance to San Marino, a tiny city-state entirely surrounded by Italy.

Schulze Pollmann offers three series of piano: Masterpiece, Studio, and Studio Upgrade. The Masterpiece Series pianos, made entirely in Italy and San Marino, contain Delignit pinblocks and Renner actions and hammers from Germany, and Ciresa solid red spruce soundboards from the Val di Fiemme, in Italy. The company uses both sophisticated technology and handwork in its manufacturing. The verticals have a one-piece wooden frame of multi-laminated beech, and use agraffes. All soundboards have finger-jointed construction to optimize stability and prevent cracking. Many of the cabinets have beautiful designs and inlays. The Studio and Studio Upgrade series are partially made in Asia and finished off (including, for the Studio Upgrades, deluxe cabinet work) in San Marino.

The uprights are well built and have a warm, colorful sound with a good amount of sustain. The treble is not nearly as brittle sounding as in some other European uprights. Schulze Pollmann grands are likewise very nicely crafted and arrive at the dealer in good condition, needing only solid preparation to sound their best.

In 2005, Italian auto manufacturer Ferrari Motor Car selected Schulze Pollmann as a partner in the launch of its new Ferrari 612 Scaglietti series of automobiles. For the occasion, Schulze Pollmann crafted a limited-edition version of its 6' 7" model 197/G5 grand piano, still available, with a case that sports Ferrari's racing red and a cast-iron plate in Ferrari gray carbon, the same color as the Scaglietti's engine. The car and the piano have been exhibited together in cities around the world.

Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor.

Schumann — See Welkin Sound.


including Johannes Seiler

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 (now Legnica) 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, in Bavaria, 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 now produces about 1,000 pianos annually. Samick continues Seiler's tradition of making high-quality pianos, while diversifying the product lineup to suit a wider range of buyers.

Seiler uses a combination of traditional methods and modern technology. The scale designs are of relatively high tension, producing a balanced tone that is quite consistent from one Seiler piano to the next. Although brilliant, the tone also sings well, due to, the company says, a unique, patented soundboard feature called the Membrator system, used in Seiler's SE and ED lines: The perimeter of the soundboard is sculpted to be thicker and heavier in mass than the central portion of the board, forming an internal frame within the soundboard itself. The lighter, inner area becomes the vibrating membrane — a diaphragm on its own — unimpeded by the larger soundboard's attachment to the inner rim. Seiler says that its 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.

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Spring 2014    Page 192

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