PianoBuyer

SAMICK

See separate listings for Wm. Knabe, Pramberger, and Seiler.

Samick Music Corp. (SMC)
1329 Gateway Drive
Gallatin, Tennessee 37066
615-206-0077
[email protected]
www.smcmusic.com

Pianos made by: Samick Musical Instrument Mfg. Co. Ltd., Inchon, South Korea; and Bogor, West Java, Indonesia

In 1958, in South Korea, Hyo Ick Lee founded Samick as a Baldwin distributor. Facing an immense challenge in an impoverished and war-torn country, in the early 1960s, using largely imported parts, Lee began to build and sell a very limited quantity of vertical pianos. As South Korea’s economy improved, Lee expanded his operation, and in 1964 began exporting to other parts of the world, eventually becoming one of the world’s largest piano manufacturers, now making most parts in-house. Over the next several decades, Samick expanded into manufacturing guitars and other instruments and opened factories in China and Indonesia, where it shifted much of its production as Korean wages rose. The Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s forced Samick into bankruptcy, from which the company emerged in 2002; it is now on a sound financial footing.

The company says that “Samick” means “three benefits” in Korean, symbolizing the management’s wish that the activities of the company benefit not only the company itself, but also its customers and the Korean economy.

Samick Music Corporation (SMC), the North American sales and marketing arm of the Korean company, distributes Samick, Pramberger, Wm. Knabe, and Seiler pianos in North America (see separate listings for Wm. Knabe, Pramberger, and Seiler). Samick no longer distributes pianos under the names Bernhard Steiner, Conover Cable, Hazelton Bros., Remington, or Sohmer & Co. The Kohler & Campbell line has been discontinued in North America but is still sold elsewhere. (For historical information about the original Kohler & Campbell piano company, see The Piano Book.) Most Samick-made pianos destined for the U.S. market are made in Indonesia. Some of the company’s upper-level Wm. Knabe and J.P. Pramberger instruments are still made in South Korea. SMC has a warehouse and office facility in Tennessee, at which it uncrates, inspects, tunes, regulates, and voices its upper-level pianos before shipping them to dealers.

In the 1980s Klaus Fenner, a German piano designer, was hired to revise the Samick scale designs to make the pianos sound more “European.” Most Samick pianos now being made are based on these designs. Most Samicks also have veneer-laminated soundboards, which the company calls a “surface tension” soundboard — essentially, a solid spruce soundboard sandwiched by two very thin veneers. With Klaus Fenner’s technical advice, Samick pioneered the use of this soundboard in early 1980, and it is now used by others as well. Tonally, it behaves much like a solid spruce soundboard, but won’t crack or lose its crown.

Quality control in Samick’s South Korean and Indonesian factories has steadily improved over the years, and the Indonesian product is said to be almost as good as the Korean. The company says that new CNC machinery installed in 2007 has revolutionized the consistency and accuracy of its manufacturing. Climate control in the tropically situated Indonesian factory, and issues of action geometry, are also among the areas that have seen improvement. Many of Samick’s Indonesian pianos are priced similarly to low-cost pianos from China. The musical design and performance of Samick’s upper-level pianos — J.P. Pramberger, Wm. Knabe, and Seiler — have met with very positive response.

[Note: Samick-made pianos are identified using an odd system of serial numbers and letters that appears to vary from factory to factory. Please contact SMC for information on the date of manufacture of a Samick-made piano.]

Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, transferable to future owners within the warranty period.

Acoustic Piano: Model & Pricing Guide

* See the Introduction for an explanation of pricing.

Model Feet Inches Description MSRP* SMP*
Samick Verticals
JS-43 43 Continental Satin Ebony 10,679 7,414
JS-43 43 Continental Polished Ebony 9,642 6,791
JS-143F 43 French Provincial Satin Cherry 10,679 7,414
JS-143T 43 Satin Mahogany 10,679 7,414
JS-115 45 Satin Ebony 11,578 7,954
JS-115 45 Polished Ebony 10,679 7,414
JS-115 45 Polished Mahogany/Walnut 11,316 7,796
JS-247 46.5 Institutional Satin Ebony 13,764 9,267
JS-247 46.5 Institutional Polished Ebony 12,865 8,727
JS-247 46.5 Institutional Satin Walnut 13,764 9,267
JS-118H 46.5 Satin Ebony 12,478 8,494
JS-118H 46.5 Polished Ebony 11,578 7,954
JS-121M 48 Satin Ebony 13,764 9,267
JS-121M 48 Polished Ebony 12,865 8,727
JS-132 52 Satin Ebony 16,725 11,045
JS-132 52 Polished Ebony 15,438 10,272
Samick Grands
SIG-49 4 9 Satin Ebony 22,708 14,638
SIG-49 4 9 Polished Ebony 20,997 13,611
SIG-54 5 4 Satin Ebony 27,017 17,226
SIG-54 5 4 Polished Ebony 24,444 15,681
SIG-54 5 4 Polished Fire-Engine Red 33,063 20,858
SIG-54 5 4 Polished Ebony w/Bubinga or Pommele Accents 30,615 19,387
SIG-57 5 7 Satin Ebony 31,265 19,778
SIG-57 5 7 Polished Ebony 29,328 18,614
SIG-57L 5 7 Empire Satin Ebony 34,737 21,863
SIG-57L 5 7 Empire Polished Ebony 33,063 20,858
SIG-61 6 1 Satin Ebony 33,838 21,323
SIG-61 6 1 Polished Ebony 31,777 20,085
SIG-61L 6 1 Empire Satin Ebony 37,048 23,251
SIG-61L 6 1 Empire Polished Ebony 35,124 22,095

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