PianoBuyer

PEARL RIVER

Pianos made by: Guangzhou Pearl River Piano Group Co., Ltd., 38, Xiang Shan Avenue, Yong Ning Road, Zengcheng, Guangzhou, China

Established in 1956, Pearl River Piano Group has become the largest and best-selling piano manufacturer in the world, its more than 4,000 workers combining traditional craftsmanship with advanced CNC digital machinery to produce over 150,000 pianos annually. Pearl River recently moved to a new, state-of-the-art facility of 1.2 million square feet—the world’s largest factory dedicated to building pianos. The best-selling piano brand in China, Pearl River also exports to more than 112 countries, and since 1995 has operated a European company headquarters in Braunschweig, Germany. The company builds pianos under the Pearl River, Ritmüller, and Kayserburg brands, as well as under a few other names for OEM contracts.

Pearl River

In recent years, with the assistance of European and American piano-design consultants, Pearl River has revised and streamlined its model line. Currently, they offer acoustic pianos in three series: Traditional verticals and grands, European verticals, and Prestige verticals.

Traditional Series verticals (UP and PE models) have Pearl River actions and hammers, some with imported felt, and veneered spruce soundboards. The model UP115E is a 45″ vertical in a school-friendly institutional style, with special casters and a full-length music desk. Model PE121 has a two-tone cabinet. Traditional Series grands (GP) come in four sizes, from 4′ 11″ to 6′ 2″, including the recent GP150SP and GP160SP models with silver plate and hardware, and have been redesigned over the last several years to include such features as vertically laminated beech bridges with solid beech caps, more responsive touchweights, refined hammers with German felt, beech rims, and new scale designs.

The European Series verticals (EU) come in streamlined cabinets originally designed for the European market, and have Pearl River actions and hammers, some with imported felt, and veneered spruce soundboards. Included in this line is the newly introduced 46″ model EU118S with silver hardware, available in seven finishes: three wood grains, three colors, and polished ebony.

The Prestige Series verticals (PH) feature the innovative PR 2.0 hammers—Pearl River’s answer to Renner hammers—with premium red inner felt from Germany and hammer cores of rare hornbeam wood; the company says that these hammers produce the depth and resonance of a much larger instrument. The models in this flagship line also include Pearl River actions, tapered and veneered spruce soundboards, real ebony sharps, silver hardware, and a decorative upper panel.

Ritmüller

Pearl River also makes pianos under the Ritmüller brand, which originated in Germany in 1795. A European master piano designer was engaged in 2007 to design, from the ground up, a line of higher-end pianos under the Ritmüller name that would be distinct from the Pearl River line, and these new Ritmüller models were introduced to North America in 2009. The Ritmüller line currently includes the Classic verticals, Superior verticals and grands, and Premium verticals and grands. Piano Buyer’s reviewers have been consistently impressed by Ritmüller pianos, choosing the 48″ UH-121R vertical and the 4′ 11″ GH-148R grand as “Staff Picks.”

The Ritmüller Classic Series (UP and RN) verticals include most of the designer furniture models (with free-standing legs) previously made under the Pearl River name. The RN models have some innovative cabinets, available in polished ebony with silver hardware or in grained mahogany with brass hardware; and features such as real ebony sharps, tapered and veneered spruce soundboards, and Pearl River actions.

For the Superior Series (RS) of verticals and grands, Pearl River asked its European experts to produce a completely new design that would link the Ritmüller line to its German heritage, including modern European cabinet styling. The RS models contain Pearl River hammers with imported German felt, ebony sharps, silver hardware (some models), and Pearl River actions.

The Premium Series includes a number of important upgrades from the Superior Series. The RSH vertical models, made for institutional use, have grand-style music racks that, unlike those on most verticals, don’t interfere with a pianist’s hand movements when playing. These models also contain Pearl River’s high-end PR 2.0 hammers, ebony sharps, and a tapered soundboard of solid spruce. The UHX verticals, whose cabinets have sound-hole slits in the upper panel to let sound escape, are outfitted with German Renner hammers, ebony sharps, and a tapered, solid spruce soundboard. Most of the verticals also sport silver hardware. The GHR grands have been upgraded to German Renner hammers, ebony sharps, and a tapered, solid spruce soundboard. The grand models 160 and 170 have Pearl River actions, but the 212 and 275 grands have full German Renner actions—and German soundboards, pinblocks, keyboards, and strings!

One Ritmüller line does not appear on the price list. At present, the Supreme Series comprises a single model, the 9′ 2″ RS280 concert grand, entirely designed and made by hand in Germany, and available only by special order.

Kayserburg

In 2013, Pearl River brought to North America the Kayserburg brand of upper-level pianos, now available in five series: Excellent verticals, Heritage verticals and grands, Nuovo verticals, Artists verticals and grands, and Master verticals. All Kayserburg verticals have two interesting features normally found only on higher-end pianos: a slightly forward-tilting back, which aids in the faster repetition of notes by helping the hammers return to rest faster after each keystroke; and an asymmetric back-post structure that better corresponds to and supports the unequal distribution of string tension across the back frame than does a traditional back structure.

The Excellent Series (KX) verticals have PR 2.0 hammers with German felt, a tapered and veneered spruce soundboard, ebony sharps, and silver hardware.

The Heritage Series verticals (KH) and grands (GH) have similar specs to the Excellent Series, but with Renner instead of PR 2.0 hammers. The KHA models have more traditional cabinetry, the KHBs slightly fancier cabinetry, and the KHC models are in polished white.

The Nuovo Series (KN) has similar specs to the Heritage Series, but with different cabinetry.

The Artists and Master Series pianos are handmade, in a separate “factory within a factory,” by a team of Pearl River’s most experienced craftsmen, trained and closely supervised by Swiss master piano designer Stephan Mohler. These craftsmen complete a rigorous training that includes studying the world’s finest pianos and working side by side with visiting European specialists.

The Artists Series verticals (KAX) have PR 2.0 hammers with German felt, ebony sharps, a tapered solid spruce soundboard, and silver hardware. Depending on the model, the grands (KA) contain such high-end features as soundboards of tight-grained, solid European spruce; Renner hammers and actions; German Röslau strings; vertically laminated beech bridges with solid beech caps; German natural keytops; and German pinblocks and keyboards.

The Master Series verticals (KAM) have been upgraded to exceed even the high-end specs of the Artists Series verticals: from PR 2.0 to Renner hammers, and from a Pearl River to a Renner action.

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

Acoustic Piano: Model & Pricing Guide

* See the Introduction for an explanation of pricing.

Model Feet Inches Description MSRP* SMP*
Pearl River Traditional Series Verticals
UP 109D 43 Continental Polished Ebony 6,804 5,963
UP 109D 43 Continental Polished Mahogany 7,364 6,228
UP 115E 45 Satin Ebony (School) 7,896 6,612
UP 115M5 45 Polished Ebony 6,608 6,347
UP 115M5 45 Polished Mahogany/Walnut 7,168 6,612
PE 121 48 Two-Tone Polished Ebony w/Mahogany Accents 9,688 8,997
Pearl River European Series Verticals
EU 110 43 Polished Ebony 6,496 6,082
EU 118S 46.5 Polished Ebony w/Silver Hardware 7,728 6,877
EU 118S 46.5 Polished Mahogany/Walnut w/Silver Hardware 8,288 7,142
EU 122 48 Polished Ebony 8,456 7,672
EU 122 48 Polished Mahogany/Walnut 9,016 7,937
EU 122S 48 Polished Ebony w/Silver Hardware 8,456 7,937
EU 131 52 Polished Ebony 8,988 8,613
Pearl River Prestige Series Verticals
PH1 47.5 Polished Ebony 11,060 8,732
PH2 48.5 Polished Ebony 11,144 9,262
PH3 50 Polished Ebony 11,312 9,527
Ritmuller Classic Series Verticals
UP 110R2 43 Polished Ebony 7,028 6,347
UP 110R2 43 Polished Mahogany 7,588 6,612
UP 110RB 43 French Provincial Satin Cherry 8,350 7,288
UP 110RB1 43 Italian Provincial Satin Walnut 8,350 7,288
UP 120RE 47 Satin Mahogany 10,080 8,348
UP 121RB 48 Polished Ebony 8,400 7,937
UP 121RB 48 Polished Mahogany/Walnut 8,400 8,202
UP 121RB 48 Polished White 9,072 8,202
Ritmuller Superior Series Verticals
RS 120 47 Polished Ebony 9,520 8,467
RS 125 49 Polished Ebony 10,724 8,997
RS 130 51 Polished Ebony 11,144 9,527
Ritmuller Premium Series Verticals
RSH 119 47 Polished Ebony 10,752 10,057
UHX 121 48 Polished Ebony 11,984 10,587
UHX 121 48 Polished Grained Mahogany 12,656 10,998
UHX 121C 48 Polished Ebony 13,048 10,852
UHX 121C 48 Polished Grained Mahogany 13,720 11,263
RSH 121 48 Polished Ebony 11,368 10,322
RSH 123 48.5 Polished Ebony 11,984 10,587
UHX 126 50 Polished Ebony 14,196 11,647
UHX 132 52.5 Polished Ebony 15,456 12,707
Kayserburg Excellent Series Verticals
KX1 47.5 Polished Ebony 11,704 8,732
KX2 48 Polished Ebony 11,872 8,997
KX3 50 Polished Ebony 12,208 9,262
Kayserburg Heritage Series Verticals
KHA1 46.5 Polished Ebony 12,085 8,997
KHB1 47 Polished Ebony 12,169 8,997
KHA2 48 Polished Ebony 12,253 9,262
KHB2 48 Polished Grained Mahogany 12,253 9,527
KHA3 48.5 Polished Ebony 12,337 9,527
KHC3 48.5 Polished White 12,337 9,527
KHB3 50 Polished Ebony 12,449 9,262
KHA5 50.5 Polished Ebony 12,561 9,792
KHB5 51 Polished Ebony 12,757 10,057
KHC6 51 Polished White 12,757 10,057
KHA6 52 Polished Ebony 13,037 10,057
Kayserburg Nuovo Series Verticals
KN1 48 Polished Ebony 12,376 9,262
KN2 48.5 Polished Ebony 12,488 9,527
KN3 50 Polished Ebony 12,600 10,057
KN6 51 Polished Ebony 12,964 10,587
Kayserburg Artists Series Verticals
KA1X 48 Polished Ebony 18,256 13,767
KA1UX 48 Satin Cherry 18,738 13,767
KA2X 48.5 Polished Ebony 18,704 14,032
KA3X 50 Polished Ebony 19,264 14,297
KA5X 51 Polished Ebony 19,824 14,827
KA6X 52 Polished Ebony 20,384 15,357
Kayserburg Master Series Verticals
KAM1 48 Polished Ebony 27,160 18,537
KAM2 48.5 Polished Ebony 27,720 19,597
KAM3 50 Polished Ebony 28,280 20,657
KAM5 52 Polished Ebony 28,840 21,187
Pearl River Traditional Series Grands
GP 150 4 11 Hand-rubbed Satin Ebony 17,332 15,376
GP 150 4 11 Polished Ebony 16,324 14,521
GP 150 4 11 Polished Mahogany/Walnut 17,332 15,376
GP 150 4 11 Polished Grained Mahogany/Walnut 18,004 15,946
GP 150SP 4 11 Polished Ebony w/Silver Plate/Hardware 16,604 15,376
GP 160 5 3 Hand-rubbed Satin Ebony 18,788 16,801
GP 160 5 3 Polished Ebony 17,780 15,946
GP 160 5 3 Polished Mahogany/Walnut 18,788 16,801
GP 160 5 3 Polished Grained Mahogany/Walnut 19,460 17,371
GP 160SP 5 3 Polished Ebony w/Silver Plate/Hardware 18,060 16,801
GP 160SP 5 3 Polished White w/Silver Plate/Hardware 19,180 17,371
GP 160SP 5 3 Polished Red w/Silver Plate/Hardware 19,180 18,511
GP 170 5 7 Hand-rubbed Satin Ebony 21,140 19,081
GP 170 5 7 Polished Ebony 20,132 18,226
GP 170 5 7 Polished Grained Mahogany/Walnut 21,812 19,651
GP 188A 6 2 Polished Ebony 25,368 21,931
Ritmuller Superior Series Grands
RS 150 5 0 Polished Ebony 20,944 17,941
RS 160 5 3 Polished Ebony 22,624 19,366
RS 173 5 7 Polished Ebony 27,216 22,216
RS 183 6 0 Polished Ebony 30,576 27,916
Ritmuller Premium Series Grands
GH 160R 5 3 Hand-Rubbed Satin Ebony 28,140 22,786
GH 160R 5 3 Polished Ebony 25,956 21,361
GH 160R 5 3 Polished Grained Mahogany 28,140 22,786
GH 170R 5 7 Polished Ebony 32,424 25,351
GH 212R 7 0 Polished Ebony 85,456 66,961
Kayserburg Heritage Series Grands
GH148 4 10 Polished Ebony 20,496 19,095
GH148C 4 10 Classic Polished Ebony 21,616 19,936
GH148 4 10 Polished Grained Mahogany 22,176 19,665
GH160 5 3 Polished Ebony 21,616 19,950
GH160C 5 3 Classic Polished Ebony 22,736 21,047
GH160 5 3 Polished Grained Mahogany 23,296 20,520
GH160YJ 5 3 Crystal Transparent Plexiglass with Silver Plate/Hardware 148,900 142,500
GH170 5 8 Polished Ebony 25,536 22,230
GH170 5 8 Polished Grained Mahogany 27,216 22,800
GH188A 6 2 Polished Ebony 31,696 27,075
Kayserburg Artists Series Grands
KA151 5 0 Polished Ebony 69,216 48,450
KA160 5 3 Polished Ebony 70,896 51,300
KA180 5 9 Polished Ebony 73,696 54,150
KA212 7 0 Polished Ebony 85,456 65,550
KA243 8 0 Polished Ebony 96,656 74,100
KA275 9 0 Polished Ebony 175,800 168,150

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