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Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
Tom Lagomarsino #2940912 01/31/20 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom Lagomarsino
Hi PianoWorld Enthusiasts,
Thought I'd fill in some blanks for you on what's new at Mason & Hamlin

In January 2020 Mason & Hamlin introduced two new lines of instruments, the Mason & Hamlin Artist Series and Mason & Hamlin Classic Series pianos. The Artist and Classic Series pianos are produced in partnership with Pearl River and include Mason & Hamlin designs.

The Artist Series upright and grand pianos are offered at mid-market pricing and are equipped with high performance Mason & Hamlin-designed carbon fiber and advanced composite WNG actions featuring anodized aluminum hardware in actions and keyboards. The Artist and Classic Series pianos include traditional Mason & Hamlin cabinet and case part designs, solid spruce soundboards and beech rims and are voiced, tuned, prepared and regulated by Mason & Hamlin technicians to produce the traditional Mason & Hamlin sound. Today, the Artist Series offers two grand sizes, a 5'3 model MHA 160G and a 6'2 model MHA 188G, and two vertical sizes, 48" model MHA 123U and 51" model MHA131U. More sizes and models will be added.

The Classic Series include pianos at affordable entry level prices and include one vertical model MHC 120U and two grand 4’11 models MHC 150G and 5’6 170G. The pianos feature traditional Mason & Hamlin sound and designs with solid spruce soundboards, beech rims and WNG lightweight anodized aluminum action and keyboard hardware. Artist and Classic Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, to the original purchaser.

New Concert Grand: At the 2020 NAMM Show, Mason & Hamlin also introduced a new concert grand model called the VX-94. Designed by Mason & Hamlin engineers and built in the Haverhill, MA factory, the piano features a new scale design and bridge location, a larger capo bar and new implementation of the soundboard cutoff bar. The action geometry has also be redesigned. The VX-94 retains the standard features of the CC-94, especially the Crown Retention System with two tension resonators, thick maple rims and eastern white spruce soundboard.

Photos and video will be available shortly on MH social media pages.
Tom Lagomarsino
Mason & Hamlin/PianoDisc
toml@masonhamlin.com



Thanks for the information Tom! I think this is exciting news. I'll look for the first opportunity I can to play them. I love the WNG action so much I had it put in my Steinway Model B. It's remarkable. Everyone who has played it is quite taken with it. To me it far out-shines the Kawai Millenium action, which is very nice on it's own. My neighbor bought a brand new S&S B last year, and he loves the piano, but he wishes it had the WNG action!

How would one go about encouraging local dealers to pick up the M&H line? We have an area rep in town, but no actual showroom.

Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
wormbot #2940920 01/31/20 08:45 AM
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I, for one, am intrigued by this new line of pianos from M&H. Being a simple working musician/teacher, I cannot afford a Haverhill-made Mason. However, a piano that is designed by M&H but made in China that includes their fantastic WNG action, and prepped at Haverhill, is very interesting, for sure.

Since the thread on a recent Baldwin made in China focuses on its action's limitations, if those limitations are negated by fitting a Chinese-made piano with the WNG action and prepped in Boston, this is an attractive offer. The price is also very competitive with similar offerings from other brands (Hailun, Baldwin, Cunningham).

Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
violarules #2940965 01/31/20 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by violarules
I, for one, am intrigued by this new line of pianos from M&H. Being a simple working musician/teacher, I cannot afford a Haverhill-made Mason. However, a piano that is designed by M&H but made in China that includes their fantastic WNG action, and prepped at Haverhill, is very interesting, for sure.

Since the thread on a recent Baldwin made in China focuses on its action's limitations, if those limitations are negated by fitting a Chinese-made piano with the WNG action and prepped in Boston, this is an attractive offer. The price is also very competitive with similar offerings from other brands (Hailun, Baldwin, Cunningham).
I think it is still unclear as to whether these new pianos will actually be "prepped" in Haverhill. I got the impression from reading Tom L's description that M&H "technicians" will be working in the China based factory to prep the pianos. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.


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Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
wormbot #2940985 01/31/20 12:47 PM
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Thank you all for your interest and questions. We anticipate delivery to our dealers in Q2 2020. Carey, the pianos will be prepped in the factory where they are built wink by very capable technicians who have been trained by MH personnel. Additionally, when the pianos arrive stateside, they will be uncrated, inspected and prepped as needed by MH technicians. We want to do our very best to ensure that these instruments meet the expectations and standards that our dealers, customers and enthusiasts expect.
Below is a 2020 NAMM recap video that our media team put together. Hope you enjoy:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QY8zv2d_TQ&t=7s

Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
Tom Lagomarsino #2941091 01/31/20 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Lagomarsino
Thank you all for your interest and questions. We anticipate delivery to our dealers in Q2 2020. Carey, the pianos will be prepped in the factory where they are built wink by very capable technicians who have been trained by MH personnel.
Makes perfect sense.
Quote
Additionally, when the pianos arrive stateside, they will be uncrated, inspected and prepped as needed by MH technicians.
Even better !!
Quote
We want to do our very best to ensure that these instruments meet the expectations and standards that our dealers, customers and enthusiasts expect. Below is a 2020 NAMM recap video that our media team put together. Hope you enjoy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QY8zv2d_TQ&t=7s


Thanks for the clarification Tom. I really do wish M&H the best of luck with the new lines. I hope our M&H dealer here in Phoenix will carry them soon. smile


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Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
wormbot #3009227 08/01/20 04:13 PM
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Sadly COVID broke havoc shortly after this, but has anybody in this thread been able to see and play the new inexpensive grands?

Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
pianoloverus #3009338 08/02/20 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
"Designed for new creativity and artistry"? What is that supposed to mean?

It means inexpensive offshore piano

Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
Steve Jackson #3009382 08/02/20 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
"Designed for new creativity and artistry"? What is that supposed to mean?

It means inexpensive offshore piano
Yes, I find phrases like the one I quoted a real turn off, and I think they're poor advertising because they seem like obvious BS.

Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
wormbot #3025715 09/16/20 03:32 PM
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8 months later, I'm hoping there is some up-to-date news on this.
I recently played a used Model A M&H. It was amazing, but it is a bit too big for my space and, even used, is a bit outside my budget right now.
It got me thinking of ordering the Artist series 5'3 baby grand. I know that I can't expect Model A performance/quality, but I was able to try one of the verticals in the store and I quite liked it for the price. Of course, a grand isn't a vertical and I'm a bit hesitant to order (=buy) the grand without having seen/heard/played it.
Has anyone actually seen any of these in showrooms anywhere? I haven't seen a single review, post, or youtube video talking about first hand experience with these new models.
Some impressions would go a long way to potentially nudging towards one of them.

Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
BigUnit #3025723 09/16/20 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BigUnit
Has anyone actually seen any of these in showrooms anywhere? I haven't seen a single review, post, or youtube video talking about first hand experience with these new models.
Some impressions would go a long way to potentially nudging towards one of them.

I doubt it. Just the other day I had a conversation with their customer service and they said that they have a single MHA188G in Sacramento, CA and a handful others at some select dealers. They expect delivery to additional dealers to commence next month.

If I were you, I'd talk with your store manager and let them know you are very interested. I am sure that they can prioritize that dealer if they know there's a potential buyer with checkbook in hand, if the piano is of their liking. Or, if you are not in big hurry, just wait for a month (or two laugh ) for when the instruments should finally show up in stores.

I am looking forward to trying one of them, even though I do not anticipate buying one before a year (in fact there is not M&H dealer in my state or the closer state to my home)

PS: let us know how it goes and what you find!

Last edited by Del Vento; 09/16/20 03:48 PM.
Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
BigUnit #3025748 09/16/20 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by BigUnit
8 months later, I'm hoping there is some up-to-date news on this.
I recently played a used Model A M&H. It was amazing, but it is a bit too big for my space and, even used, is a bit outside my budget right now.
It got me thinking of ordering the Artist series 5'3 baby grand. I know that I can't expect Model A performance/quality, but I was able to try one of the verticals in the store and I quite liked it for the price. Of course, a grand isn't a vertical and I'm a bit hesitant to order (=buy) the grand without having seen/heard/played it.
Has anyone actually seen any of these in showrooms anywhere? I haven't seen a single review, post, or youtube video talking about first hand experience with these new models.
Some impressions would go a long way to potentially nudging towards one of them.
Don't buy the name on the fallboard and certainly try one before buying it. I think there is also at least some danger buying a new piano model very soon after it appears. There is a chance that all of the kinks have not been worked out.

Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
wormbot #3025897 09/17/20 05:11 AM
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My marketing instincts would tell me it is always risky to try and milk brand equity by slapping a name on dubious substitute products. Providing your dealers with lower price points entry level items is another issue.

I would not be surprised if Steinway eventually closed the Astoria factory, sold the real estate for another classy condo development fronted by a Hollywood celeb, and used various marketing tricks to pretend it is still an American outfit, while making all their excellent pianos in Hamburg. But at least Steinway has perfectly legitimate German roots.

So there could be an opportunity for Mason & Hamlin to claim the exclusive standard of American piano excellence, a useful worldwide marketing tool. That brand has super potential, and the newer pianos made in Haverhill seem top rate.



Steinway "A". Roland LX 706. Viscount Sonus 45 hybrid organ with 165 real pipes. Harpsichord by Marc Fontaine.
Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
BigUnit #3026056 09/17/20 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by BigUnit
I was able to try one of the verticals in the store and I quite liked it for the price.

Was it the Classic or Artist Series upright? Or their Model 50 upright? Different animals I'd guess. Model 50 is made in Haverhill (and in Sacramento, CA as I heard).


2020 Mason & Hamlin Model 50
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Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
pianoloverus #3026071 09/17/20 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Don't buy the name on the fallboard and certainly try one before buying it. I think there is also at least some danger buying a new piano model very soon after it appears. There is a chance that all of the kinks have not been worked out.

Good points. Not to be driven to the extreme of not considering newly introduced instruments, IMHO, but perhaps to make sure you are not too much risk adverse and have read the warranty carefully. For one, the artist series utilizes the time-tested and well appreciated WNG action. Moreover, if I am not mistaken, these new M&H models have 10y warranty vs the 5y warranty of the US-built models. If so, the company seems to be aware of this concern and willing to offer a safeguard to customers. That does not discount customers from having to do their homework, obviously

Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
wormbot #3026433 09/18/20 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by wormbot
Originally Posted by BigUnit
I was able to try one of the verticals in the store and I quite liked it for the price.

Was it the Classic or Artist Series upright? Or their Model 50 upright? Different animals I'd guess. Model 50 is made in Haverhill (and in Sacramento, CA as I heard).

It was an Artist series. So, it would be more on the comparable side than the Model 50.

Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
Carey #3065494 01/05/21 12:41 PM
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Hi Carey
Very interested in your point/thoughts about:

"For example, if I can purchase a 6'2" M&H Artist Grand with a WNG action and 10 year warranty for $23K, why would I consider spending three times that amount for a 5'8" Model A with a WNG action and only a 5 year warranty?"

Please let me know if you get any information regarding this.

You have answered my question in my thread.
My list is now down to:

M&H A
M&H Artist 6'2"
Essex
Steinway O (but that is becoming less and less an option)

I am seeing the Artist looking like a real financial possibility - but it must must must be played
before I would even consider purchasing.

Brdwyguy
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Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
brdwyguy #3065581 01/05/21 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by brdwyguy
Hi Carey
Very interested in your point/thoughts about:
"For example, if I can purchase a 6'2" M&H Artist Grand with a WNG action and 10 year warranty for $23K, why would I consider spending three times that amount for a 5'8" Model A with a WNG action and only a 5 year warranty?"
They are completely different pianos.

Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
brdwyguy #3065584 01/05/21 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by brdwyguy
Hi Carey
Very interested in your point/thoughts about:

"For example, if I can purchase a 6'2" M&H Artist Grand with a WNG action and 10 year warranty for $23K, why would I consider spending three times that amount for a 5'8" Model A with a WNG action and only a 5 year warranty?"

Please let me know if you get any information regarding this.

I think I was being a tad facetious what I made that statement, but it certainly would be a question that many consumers would ask.

Since I made the statement, additional information has come out regarding the specifications of the Artist and Classic series. I'm going to go into a certain level of detail here because I'm interested in this myself.......

Specs from the M&H Website"

M&H 6'2" Artist Grand

Rim - Beech
Plate - Sand Cast Iron
Pinblock - 17 ply maple
Soundboard - quarter sawn solid spruce
Ribs - Solid spruce, pre-crowned and hand fitted
Treble Bridge - Vertically laminated beech, solid beech caps
Bass Bridge - quarter sawn solid beech
Action - WNG composite
Keyset - solid spruce with WNG keypins and capstans
Warranty - 10 year limited

M&H 5'8" A Grand

Rim - 17 ply, flatsawn hard rock maple
Plate - Sandcast Grey Iron, full perimeter
Pinblock - 7 laminations, quarter sawn hard rock maple
Soundboard - quarter sawn eastern white spruce, multi radius crown,
edge tapering, tension resonator, Rim cut to edge of
soundboard.
Bridge - Laminations of quarter sawn hard rock maple.
Action - WNG Composite
Warranty - 5 year limited

As you can see, other than the WNG action, these are very different pianos.

Quote
You have answered my question in my thread.
My list is now down to:

M&H A
M&H Artist 6'2"
Essex
Steinway O (but that is becoming less and less an option)

I am seeing the Artist looking like a real financial possibility - but it must must must be played
before I would even consider purchasing.

It may be a while before you will access to an Artist Grand. Why are you considering Essex?


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Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
wormbot #3065642 01/05/21 06:19 PM
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Carey you are awesome!
I have crossed off Essex off my list.

I don't really have any intentions of seriously purchasing until summer.
so there is time but the more and more I'm hearing about this, the more interest I'm having.

I am down basically to 3 pianos
all will be depending on feel/touch/tone & price at the time I'm ready to purchase.

M&H A - rebuilt or trade-in that had been recently rebuilt 10 yrs or so.
M&H Artist Series
Steinway O - rebuilt or trade-in same a above.

The thought of having a brand spanking, gleaming new piano with M&H's approval
on it, is becoming more and more appealing to me - especially in my price range!


JDM
Re: New Mason & Hamlin series: Artist & Classic
Carey #3065643 01/05/21 06:19 PM
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Some of these things in the non-artist version (e.g. tension resonator, full perimeter plate) are pretty obviously better than artist counterpart. Others less so (e.g. "quarter sawn solid beech" bridge vs "laminations of quarter sawn hard rock maple").

On the other hand, it's pretty easy to comment on the warranty. M&H is offering 10 year warranty on the artist series because of concerns by customers that being made in china it would be sloppily made and prone to problems compared to the US-made "counterpart". And the manufacturer is willing to say that their products are well designed and well built or they will fix it at no cost to you.

Also, there's also the 80-20 rule: to improve a product which is already "pretty good" (let's say 80% excellent) to the truly excellent level (let's say 100% level), it's going to cost 80% more of the effort/time/money spent in designing and manufacturing. This as a rule of thumb applies to countless things: from bikes, to software, to cars...

Not sure the artist series is "pretty good", but I suspect it is and the rule seems to apply here: the MSRP of 23k for a 6'2" MHA188G is pretty close to 1/4 of the 88k asked for a 6'4" AA in the same finish (the AA should cost more for the rule to exactly apply, but there are other costs which are almost identical, such as transportation and dealer's floor space plus prepping labor, so 1/4 seems still reasonable). I wonder if the same ratio will hold for the street price, when the former will be more broadly available.

I think a much more interesting question is if how good would a Golden Era 6'4" AA be, once restrung and with new WNG action and hammers, possibly with new bridges and pinblock. In price, it can be pretty close to the MHA188G (if you buy a "core" piano and hire a technician for doing the work, rather than buying a "finished" instrument, which may cost you more). Will it be much closer to the AA in performance? One advantage is that you could buy the core instrument first, then use it from some years if you can stand it "as is", then do one thing (either strings/bridges/pinblock or action/hammers) and enjoy it for a little more, then updating the other thing, paying it in small pieces... but also enjoying it in small pieces laugh

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