PianoBuyer

ESTONIA

Laul Estonia Piano Factory Ltd.
7 Fillmore Drive
Stony Point, New York 10980
845-947-7763
[email protected]
www.estoniapiano.com

Pianos made by: Estonia Klaverivabrik AS, Tallinn, Estonia

Estonia is a small republic in northern Europe on the Baltic Sea, near Scandinavia. For centuries it was under Danish, Swedish, German, or Russian domination, and finally gained its independence in 1918, only to lose it again to the Soviet Union in 1940. Estonia became free again in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Piano-making in Estonia goes back over 200 years under German influence, and from 1850 to 1940 there were nearly 20 piano manufacturers operating in the country. The most famous of these was Ernst Hiis-Ihse, who studied piano making in the Steinway Hamburg and Blüthner factories and established his own company in 1893. His piano designs gained international recognition. In 1950 the Communist-dominated Estonian government consolidated many smaller Estonian piano makers into a factory managed by Hiis, making pianos under the Estonia name for the first time. The instruments became prominent on concert stages throughout Eastern Europe and, amazingly, more than 7,400 concert grands were made. However, after Hiis’s death, in 1964, the quality of the pianos gradually declined, partly due to the fact that high-quality parts and materials were hard to come by during the Communist occupation of the country. After Estonia regained its independence in 1991, the factory struggled to maintain production. In 1994 Estonia pianos were introduced to the U.S. market.

In 1994 the company was privatized under the Estonia name, with the managers and employees as owners. During the following years, Indrek Laul, an Estonian recording artist with a doctorate in piano performance from the Juilliard School of Music, gradually bought shares of the company from the stockholders until, in 2001, he became sole owner. Dr. Laul lives in the U.S. and represents the company here. In 2005, at its 100th-anniversary celebration, the Juilliard School named him one of the school’s top 100 graduates; and in 2015, the President of Estonia awarded Laul the Presidential Medal, in recognition of the contribution Estonia pianos have made to awareness of that country. Estonia makes 200 to 300 pianos a year, all grands, mostly for sale in the U.S.

Estonia pianos have rims of laminated birch, sand-cast plates, Renner actions and hammers, laminated red beech pinblocks, and European solid spruce soundboards. They come in 5′ 6″, 6′ 3″, 6′ 10″ (new in 2013), 7′ 4″ (introduced in 2011), and 9′ sizes. All have three pedals, including sostenuto, and come with a slow-close fallboard and an adjustable artist bench.

When I reported on Estonia pianos for the fourth edition of The Piano Book (2001), it was a good piano with much potential; but in the decade that followed, Dr. Laul introduced so many improvements to the piano that it became practically a different, much higher-level instrument. In 2010, Estonia began investing in designing new models, and the knowledge gained from designing the 6′ 10″ model L210, introduced in 2013, was used the following year to implement changes to most of the other models. These modifications included a complete soundboard redesign, new support beams of resonant spruce with improved doweled connection to the rim, and new specifications for hammer density. The model L190 also has a new, focused beam structure.

The Estonia factory makes a custom line of piano, offering exotic veneers such as rosewood, bubinga, pyramid mahogany, and Makassar ebony, and is willing to finish instruments to fit the desires of individual customers.

In the short time Estonia pianos have been sold here, they have gathered an unusually loyal and devoted following. Groups of owners of Estonia pianos, independent of the company, frequently hold musical get-togethers at different locations around the country.

The pianos have a rich, warm, singing tone and a wide dynamic range; are very well constructed and well prepared at the factory; and there is hardly a detail that the company has not examined and impressively perfected. The price has risen over the years, but they are still an unusually good value among higher-end instruments.

Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.

Acoustic Piano: Model & Pricing Guide

* See the Introduction for an explanation of pricing.

The Estonia factory can make custom-designed finishes with exotic veneers; prices upon request. Victorian and Queen Anne style, add approx. $5,700 (SMP). For models L168 and L190, prices include Hidrau Concert adjustable bench. For models L210, L225, and L275, prices include Jansen Artist adjustable bench.

Model Feet Inches Description MSRP* SMP*
Estonia Grands
L168 5 6 Polished Ebony w/Karelian Birch 50,470 42,200
L168 5 6 Satin Ebony w/Karelian Birch 54,255 45,290
L168 5 6 Polished White w/Karelian Birch 55,517 46,320
L168 5 6 Satin White w/Karelian Birch 59,680 49,718
L168 5 6 Polished Walnut 60,564 50,440
L168 5 6 Satin Walnut 65,106 54,148
L168 5 6 Polished Mahogany 63,087 52,500
L168 5 6 Polished Pyramid Mahogany 65,611 54,560
L168 5 6 Polished Macassar Ebony 63,087 52,500
L168 5 6 Polished Bubinga 61,573 51,264
L168 5 6 Polished Palisander Rosewood 65,611 54,560
L168 5 6 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Bubinga 57,031 47,556
L168 5 6 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Macassar 58,040 48,380
L168 5 6 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Karelian Birch 58,040 48,380
L168 5 6 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Burled Walnut 65,928 54,818
L190 6 3 Polished Ebony w/Karelian Birch 61,198 50,958
L190 6 3 Satin Ebony w/Karelian Birch 65,788 54,704
L190 6 3 Polished White w/Karelian Birch 67,318 55,954
L190 6 3 Satin White w/Karelian Birch 72,367 60,074
L190 6 3 Polished Walnut 73,438 60,950
L190 6 3 Satin Walnut 78,945 65,446
L190 6 3 Polished Mahogany 76,498 63,446
L190 6 3 Polished Pyramid Mahogany 79,557 65,944
L190 6 3 Polished Palisander Rosewood 79,557 65,944
L190 6 3 Polished Bubinga 74,662 61,948
L190 6 3 Polished Macassar Ebony 76,498 63,446
L190 6 3 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Bubinga 69,154 57,452
L190 6 3 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Macassar 70,378 58,452
L190 6 3 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Karelian Birch 70,378 58,452
L190 6 3 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Burled Walnut 79,942 66,258
L210 6 10 Polished Ebony w/Karelian Birch 76,213 63,214
L210 6 10 Satin Ebony w/Karelian Birch 81,929 67,880
L210 6 10 Polished White w/Karelian Birch 83,834 69,436
L210 6 10 Satin White w/Karelian Birch 90,121 74,568
L210 6 10 Polished Walnut 91,455 75,658
L210 6 10 Satin Walnut 98,314 81,256
L210 6 10 Polished Mahogany 95,266 78,768
L210 6 10 Polished Pyramid Mahogany 99,076 81,878
L210 6 10 Polished Macassar Ebony 95,266 78,768
L210 6 10 Polished Bubinga 92,979 76,902
L210 6 10 Polished Palisander Rosewood 99,076 81,878
L210 6 10 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Bubinga 86,120 71,302
L210 6 10 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Macassar 87,644 72,546
L210 6 10 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Karelian Birch 87,644 72,546
L210 6 10 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Burled Walnut 99,555 82,270
L225 7 4 Polished Ebony w/Karelian Birch 90,588 74,950
L225 7 4 Polished Ebony w/Macassar 95,117 78,646
L225 7 4 Polished White w/Karelian Birch 99,646 82,344
L225 7 4 Polished Walnut 108,705 89,739
L225 7 4 Polished Mahogany 113,234 93,436
L225 7 4 Polished Pyramid Mahogany 117,764 97,134
L225 7 4 Polished Bubinga 110,517 91,218
L225 7 4 Polished Palisander Rosewood 117,764 97,134
L225 7 4 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Bubinga 102,364 84,562
L225 7 4 Hidden Beauty Ebony Polish w/Macassar 104,176 86,042
L274 9 0 Polished Ebony w/Karelian Birch 129,540 106,746
L274 9 0 Polished White w/Karelian Birch 148,971 122,608
L274 9 0 Polished Walnut 161,925 133,184
L274 9 0 Polished Mahogany 164,515 135,298
L274 9 0 Polished Pyramid Mahogany 172,288 141,644

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