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My wife and I attended the Piano World tour of the Mason and Hamlin factory. This was the second time that we have taken this tour. Bruce Clark, as usual, was very knowledgeable and informative as he took us through every facet of building a piano. We did not get to see a bridge being notched this time, but we did get to see the CNC router in operation, which I (being an engineer) found even more interesting.
After the tour we got to play the pianos in the showroom. I was surprised to see Grotrian pianos in the showroom as I was unaware that Mason and Hamlin are now their U.S. distributor. All of the pianos that I tried played very nicely and sounded great.
Many thanks to Bruce Clark and Kirk Burgett for treating us so well. And thanks to Frank for organizing the tour. We had a wonderful time.
the nosy ape - Totally agree. What an excellent opportunity to see how a world-class piano is built; the technical, operations and management team were very gracious and generous with their time.
I was asked to play a few pieces at the end of the tour, which were well received. I've been working on a number of more lyrical works recently and had a chance to record two of the pieces I played during the PianoWorld tour Thursday evening after coming home from work. My wife and twin daughters had not yet returned from their swimming lesson, so I had a few minutes to myself as I readied everyone's dinner. With precious few moments of silence available, I recorded spontaneous 'E-flat' takes of both Grieg's Lyric Piece "Arietta", Op.12, No.1 and Chopin's Nocturne, Op.9, No.2, and thought I might share them. I really rather like the tone, coloring and my recording of the beautiful little Grieg Arietta; the recording of the Chopin Nocturne is just OK, but still demonstrates the character of the new Mason & Hamlin BB:
I did a little research into the building that houses the M&H operation in Haverhill, MA. Apparently it was constructed around 1900 and housed a shoe making business (the Hannanson Shoe Company) until the mid 1920s. Early in the 20th century, the town of Haverhill apparently produced 10 percent of the shoes manufactured in the USA. I'm assuming that pianos were built in the facility prior to when it was purchased in the early 1980s by Falcone. Can anyone here shed any light on that?
The rim presses shown in the photos look almost as old as the building itself !!
Certainly fun to see that M&H's are constructed in such an historic American/New England setting.