Including Weber and Albert Weber

PAL Sound
14115 Pontlavoy Ave.
Santa Fe Springs, California 90670
714-509-9111 (fax)
[email protected] 

Pianos made by: Young Chang Co., Ltd., Incheon, South Korea; and Tianjin, China

In 1956, three brothers — Jai-Young, Jai-Chang, and Jai-Sup Kim — founded Young Chang and began selling Yamaha pianos in Korea under an agreement with that Japanese firm. Korea was recovering from a devastating war, and only the wealthy could afford pianos. But the prospects were bright for economic development, and as a symbol of cultural refinement the piano was much coveted. In 1962 the brothers incorporated as Young Chang Akki Co., Ltd.

In 1964 Yamaha and Young Chang entered into an agreement in which Yamaha helped Young Chang set up a full-fledged manufacturing operation. Yamaha shipped partially completed pianos from Japan to the Young Chang factory in Incheon, South Korea, where Young Chang would perform final assembly work such as cabinet assembly, stringing, and action installation. This arrangement reduced high import duties. As time went by, Young Chang built more of the components, to the point where they were making virtually the entire piano. In 1975 the arrangement ended when Young Chang decided to expand domestically and internationally under its own brand name, thus becoming a competitor. Young Chang began exporting to the U.S. in the late 1970s, and established a North American distribution office in California in 1984. In addition to making pianos under its own name, Young Chang also made pianos for a time for Baldwin under the Wurlitzer name, for Samsung under the Weber name, and private-label names for large dealer chains and distributors worldwide.

Weber & Co. was established in 1852 by Albert Weber, a German immigrant, and was one of the most prominent and highly respected American piano brands of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During the consolidation of the American piano industry in the early 20th century, Weber became part of the Aeolian family of brands. Following Aeolian’s demise in 1985, Young Chang acquired the Weber name.

In 1995, in response to rising Korean wages and to supply a growing Chinese domestic market, Young Chang built a 750,000-square-foot factory in Tianjin, China, and gradually began to move manufacturing operations there for some of its models. Today, the Tianjin facility produces Young Chang and Weber pianos, and components for the Albert Weber line, which is assembled in South Korea.

Hyundai Development Company, a Korean civil-engineering and construction firm, acquired Young Chang in 2006. The company says that Hyundai Development has brought the necessary capital for factory renovations and has instituted new advanced industrial quality-control systems.

In 2008 Young Chang hired noted American piano designer Delwin D. Fandrich to undertake a redesign of the entire Young Chang and Weber piano line. Highlights include extensively redesigned cast-iron plates, new string scales, and new rib designs. New directly-coupled bass bridges, along with unique “floating soundboard” configurations, improve soundboard mobility around the bass bridge for better bass tonal response. At the same time, a revised hammer-making process, in which the hammers are cold-pressed with less felt compression, provides for greater hammer resilience and improved tone, with less voicing required. Fandrich says that all of these features and processes contribute to his goal of building instruments with improved tonal balance and musicality, and provide opportunities to standardize manufacturing processes for better quality control. The new designs were phased in gradually from 2011 to 2013.

Along with being redesigned by Delwin Fandrich, former multiple piano lines were consolidated into just three lines: the Young Chang (Y) and Weber (W) series are entry- and mid-level instruments made in China, and the Albert Weber (AW) line comprises upper-level models made in Korea. The AW grands have lower-tension scales, maple rims, and Renner actions, and higher-quality hammer felt, soundboard material, and veneers (on wood-veneered models). The Y and W grands have lauan rims and Young Chang actions. The AW verticals use slightly better materials than the other verticals for the cabinets, hardware, music wire, and keys, though in general the differences are smaller than with the grands.

The Young Chang and Weber pianos distinctly differ from one another: the Weber models have a low-tension scale and softer, cold-pressed hammers, and the greater warmth and romantic tonal characteristics that often accompany that type of scale; the Young Chang models have a higher-tension scale and firmer cold-pressed hammers, and the greater brightness and stronger projection of a more modern sound. The Weber line, also known as the Premium Edition, also has agraffes in the bass section of the verticals, and beveled lids on the grands.

Quality control in Young Chang’s Korean factory has improved little by little over the years, and is now nearly as good as that in Japan. Most of the problems currently encountered are minor ones that can be cured by a good dealer make-ready and a little follow-up service, and the pianos hold up well in the field, even in institutions. The Albert Weber pianos, in particular, have great musical potential and respond well to expert voicing. Pianos from the factory in China, like other pianos from that country, have been uneven in quality, but in recent years have greatly improved. Young Chang says that Hyundai Development Group has upgraded the factories in both countries, and that the pianos made at the Tianjin factory are now on a par with those made in Korea.

Young Chang also owns Kurzweil Music Systems, a manufacturer of professional keyboards and home digital pianos, which it acquired in 1990.

Warranty: Young Chang and Weber — 10 years, parts and labor, to the original purchaser; Albert Weber — 15 years, parts and labor, transferable to future owners during the warranty period, plus a lifetime warranty on parts to the original owner. 

Acoustic Piano: Model & Pricing Guide

* See the Introduction for an explanation of pricing.

Model Feet Inches Description MSRP* SMP*
Young Chang Verticals
Y114 45 Polished Ebony 5,990 5,900
Y114 45 Polished Mahogany 6,450 6,100
Y116 46 Polished Ebony 7,490 6,900
Y116 46 Satin Ebony/Walnut 7,590 7,000
Y121 48 Polished Ebony 7,090 6,500
Y121 48 Polished Mahogany/White 7,090 6,700
Y131 52 Polished Ebony 7,590 6,900
Y131 52 Polished Mahogany 7,790 7,100
Weber Verticals
W114 45 Polished Ebony 6,390 6,080
W114 45 Polished Mahogany 6,690 6,280
W121 48 Polished Ebony 7,190 6,780
W121 48 Polished Mahogany/Walnut/White 7,490 6,980
W131 52 Polished Ebony 7,890 7,180
Weber, Albert Verticals
AW 121 48 Polished Ebony 11,890 9,980
AW 121 48 Satin Mahogany 11,990 10,380
AW 121E 48 Polished Ebony w/Chrome 12,790 10,980
AW 131 52 Satin Ebony 14,200 12,780
AW 131 52 Polished Ebony 14,090 11,980
Young Chang Grands
Y150 4 11 Polished Ebony 13,290 11,580
Y150 4 11 Polished Mahogany/Walnut/White 13,790 11,980
Y150SP 4 11 Polished White w/Chrome 14,090 12,780
Y157 5 2 Polished Ebony 14,390 12,780
Y157 5 2 Polished Mahogany 14,990 13,380
Y175 5 9 Polished Ebony 16,390 14,180
Y185 6 1 Polished Ebony 20,390 17,180
Weber Grands
W150 4 11 Polished Ebony 14,490 12,580
W150 4 11 Polished Mahogany/Walnut/White 14,790 12,980
W150SP 4 11 Polished Ebony w/Chrome 15,190 13,180
W150SP 4 11 Polished White w/Chrome 15,290 13,380
W157 5 2 Polished Ebony 17,490 14,780
W157 5 2 Polished Mahogany 15,990 13,980
W175 5 9 Polished Ebony 17,490 14,780
W185 6 1 Polished Ebony 21,490 17,780
Weber, Albert Grands
AW 185 6 1 Polished Ebony 37,550 30,180
AW 208 6 10 Polished Ebony 46,350 36,780
AW 228 7 6 Polished Ebony 64,390 50,780
AW 275 9 0 Polished Ebony 116,190 88,780

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