Laul Estonia Piano Factory Ltd.
7 Fillmore Drive
Stony Point, New York 10980
[email protected]

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. Prices here include Jansen adjustable artist bench.

Model Feet Inches Description MSRP* SMP*
Estonia Grands
L168 5 6 Satin and Polished Ebony 43,800 41,538
L168 5 6 Satin and Polished Mahogany/Walnut 47,380 44,641
L168 5 6 Polished Kewazinga Bubinga 51,395 48,564
L168 5 6 Polished Pyramid Mahogany 56,873 53,814
L168 5 6 Satin and Polished White 49,880 46,927
L168 5 6 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Bubinga 48,473 45,603
L190 6 3 Satin and Polished Mahogany/Walnut 57,298 54,212
L190 6 3 Polished Pyramid Mahogany 68,400 63,318
L190 6 3 Polished Santos Rosewood 68,400 63,146
L190 6 3 Polished Kewazinga Bubinga 61,688 58,256
L190 6 3 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Bubinga 56,570 53,399
L190 6 3 Satin and Polished Ebony 53,789 50,496
L210 6 10 Satin and Polished Ebony 63,300 60,796
L210 6 10 Satin and Polished Mahogany/Walnut/White 69,630 66,778
L210 6 10 Polished Pyramid Mahogany 79,125 75,746
L210 6 10 Polished Kewazinga Bubinga 74,700 71,560
L210 6 10 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Bubinga 67,230 64,293
L225 7 4 Satin and Polished Ebony 79,689 74,297
L225 7 4 Satin and Polished Mahogany/Walnut/White 85,727 80,667
L225 7 4 Polished Pyramid Mahogany 95,156 90,710
L225 7 4 Polished Kewazinga Bubinga 86,100 83,597
L225 7 4 Hidden Beauty Polished Ebony w/Bubinga 84,635 79,451
L274 9 0 Satin and Polished Ebony 127,140 112,678
L274 9 0 Satin and Polished Mahogany/Walnut 139,430 124,475
L274 9 0 Polished Pyramid Mahogany 144,254 137,514
L274 9 0 Satin and Polished White 131,177 119,193

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