Pianos made by: Designed by Steinway & Sons, made in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China by Guangzhou Pearl River Piano Group Ltd.
Essex pianos are designed and engineered in New York by Steinway & Sons and made in China at the Pearl River factory. Steinway introduced its Essex line of pianos in early 2001 with a limited offering of models made by Young Chang, and the brand kept an unusually low profile in the piano market for a number of years. In 2006, a major relaunch of Essex included a new and very complete line comprising 35 grand and 31 vertical models and finishes.
Today, two grand sizes and three vertical scales are made. The 42″ model EUP-108 is a continental-style version of the 44″ model EUP-111 console. The 46″ model EUP-116 studio is available in several different and striking cabinets designed by Steinway & Sons and renowned furniture designer William Faber. Styles include: Classic, Queen Anne, Formal French, English Country, and Contemporary. These models incorporate various leg designs (including cabriole leg, spoon leg, and canopy-styled tapered leg and arm designs) and hand-carved trim (such as Acanthus leaf and tulip designs, and vertical bead molding), highly molded top lids, picture-frame front panels, and stylized, decorative music desks. The 48″ model EUP-123 upright comes in a traditional style in ebony and sapele mahogany finishes, two with chrome hardware, along with an Empire style; an institutional model with a wider music desk, the EUP-123S, is offered in ebony polish only.
The Essex grands are available in 5′ 1″ (EGP-155) Classic and French Provincial styles and 5′ 8″ (EGP-173) Classic style. The Classic is offered in ebony high-polish polyester and satin lustre (semigloss) finishes, as well as sapele maghoany veneer and white; the French Provincial is offered in brown cherry satin lustre.
Like Steinway’s Boston pianos, the Essex line was designed with a lower tension scale and incorporates many Steinway-designed refinements. Included in these are a wide tail design that allows the bridges to be positioned closer to the more lively, central part of the soundboard, smoothing out the break between bass and treble. This and a thinner, tapered solid-spruce soundboard, and other scaling differences, produce a tone with a longer sustain. Other Steinway-designed features include an all-wood action with Steinway geometry, and with rosette-shaped hammer flanges, like those used in Steinway grands, to preserve hammer spacing; pear-shaped hammers with reinforced shoulders and metal fasteners; vertically laminated bridges with a solid maple cap; duplex scale; radial bracing (in grands); and staggered backposts (in verticals).
Steinway has put an immense amount of time and effort into the relaunch of Essex, and over 75,000 pianos have been sold since its original launch in 2001. The pianos are entirely new designs by Steinway engineers, not warmed-over designs from other companies. Steinway has a permanent office in Shanghai, China, and employs its own staff of Steinway concert technicians who oversee quality and inspect the pianos made in the Asian factory. I expect that the quality of the Essex pianos will be toward the upper end of what these factories are capable of producing. So far, feedback from piano technicians confirms this expectation.
Steinway guarantees full trade-in value for an Essex piano toward the purchase of a Steinway grand within 10 years.
Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.
Acoustic Piano: Model & Pricing Guide
* See the Introduction for an explanation of pricing.
Essex MSRP is the price at the New York retail store.
|EUP-108C||42||Continental Polished Ebony||6,200||6,200|
|EUP-111E||44||Polished Sapele Mahogany||7,300||7,000|
|EUP-116E||45||Polished Sapele Mahogany||8,400||7,600|
|EUP-116CT||45||Contemporary Satin Lustre Sapele Mahogany||8,900||8,300|
|EUP-116QA||45||Queen Anne Satin Lustre Cherry||8,900||8,300|
|EUP-116EC||45||English Country Satin Lustre Walnut||8,900||8,300|
|EUP-116FF||45||Formal French Satin Lustre Brown Cherry||8,900||8,300|
|EUP-123E||48||Satin Ebony w/Chrome Hardware||9,400||8,540|
|EUP-123E||48||Polished Ebony w/Chrome Hardware||8,400||7,940|
|EUP-123E||48||Polished Sapele Mahogany||9,500||8,360|
|EUP-123FL||48||Empire Satin Walnut||9,600||8,680|
|EUP-123FL||48||Empire Satin Sapele Mahogany||9,600||8,680|
|EUP-123S||48||Institutional Studio Polished Ebony||8,300||8,180|
|EGP-155||5||1||Satin and Polished Ebony||15,100||15,100|
|EGP-155F||5||1||French Provincial Satin Lustre Brown Cherry||19,200||18,980|