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interesting remark from Sauter’s CEO:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBtq0klOdAM

Minute 2:25

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Originally Posted by zeitlos
A lot of traditional European brands have been bought by Asian companies.

If I am right, C. Bechstein is still an independently operating company, which means they are 100% German (as I understood it).

Which other traditional piano makers are still fully independent? Grotian Steinweg? Steingräber...?

Why does it matter? Superlative piano brands made exclusively in the US or Germany have gone through periods where quality was compromised without outsourcing to other countries.

Isn't the quality what matters?


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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Why does it matter?

To me or to you? Or to someone else? I think this question cannot be answered in general.


Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Isn't the quality what matters?

I cannot speak for others but still I would assume that this goes without saying. But then again, it mostly depends on what each costumer can afford. Lots of people have to compromise.

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I just saw this. Working there seems to be almost like taking part in yoga wink smile

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuD5EIj07JU

But this really looks like a family run manufacture. smile

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Originally Posted by zeitlos
interesting remark from Sauter’s CEO:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBtq0klOdAM

Minute 2:25
Thank you! So glad to see that at least some companies have CEOs confident to go on public record that they 100% source from German suppliers.


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If you compare Sauter (video above) to Schimmel, the differences in production become pretty clear.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNc60ZHFVL4

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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Isn't the quality what matters?

Quality is certainly at the top of the list for many purchasers, but other factors also come into play. Some purchasers insist on goods that either are, or are not, made in a particular country for reasons other than perceived (or actual) quality of workmanship or materials.

Larry.

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Originally Posted by iLaw
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Isn't the quality what matters?

Quality is certainly at the top of the list for many purchasers, but other factors also come into play. Some purchasers insist on goods that either are, or are not, made in a particular country for reasons other than perceived (or actual) quality of workmanship or materials.

Larry.
That's the costomer's side of things. Some customers care, others don't.
Sellers care just as much. Asian parent company of Seiler (SMC) has set the prices for German sourced pianos at 3 to 6 times the retail price of Asian sourced instruments (e.g. SE 132 vs. ED 132 - SMC claims the latter is built to the exact same "plans" as the SE model). So sourcing, and of course assembly and manufacturing, strongly correlate with asking prices and what prices instruments reasonably command (SMP). If it had zero to do with "quality" I wonder how there'd be any market under the marked up prices.

Last edited by Windjammer; 02/02/21 07:19 PM.

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Originally Posted by zeitlos
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Why does it matter?

To me or to you? Or to someone else? I think this question cannot be answered in general.
To whoever was asking the question. If someone cannot answer the question then it likely does not actually matter.


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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by zeitlos
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Why does it matter?

To me or to you? Or to someone else? I think this question cannot be answered in general.
To whoever was asking the question. If someone cannot answer the question then it likely does not actually matter.

I don’t get your “logic”. So why did you ask a question then? Simply stating that for you it doesn’t matter would have been more straightforward.

Last edited by zeitlos; 02/03/21 01:36 AM.
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Reluctantly, and respectfully, I would like to clear up several errors in this thread. Before doing so, I would also like to remind many that, over the years, I have suggested that folks believe only what they have personally seen, and nothing else, especially claims made by manufacturers.

While it has little to do with the resultant product, there are only two German manufacturers that have principal majority ownership by the founding family: Blüthner and Steingraeber.

Grotrian is more than 90% owned by Terence Ng /Parsons. It’s current CEO was, for many years, the director of Kluge, the famous German keyboard manufacturer.

Ulrich Sauter retired about the same time I did, and since then no family member has a vested interest in the company. His former majority partner, Otto Hott, remains the majority owner but is in his 80’s. Hott came to Sauter from the watch business and invested during their bankruptcy, replacing ULRICH’s Uncle as majority owner. There are no foreign ownership interests.

Karl SCHULZE bought C.Bechstein in the mid 1980’s from Baldwin. He then also purchased the Feurich factory and brands, as well as the Zimmerman factory (old East German) and a little known Czech factory. Under his tutelage, what was built where, and by whom with what components was a constantly shifting puzzle. He developed early relationships with Petrof, Hailun, Pearl River, Ningbo and others, all with varying degrees of disaster. More recently, he sold majority interest in the company to a renowned German furniture manufacturer. It is alleged that, over the last two or three years, a “clean up” of the manufacturing process across the various brands they build has ensued. It would help them, in their cause, if they would be more straightforward about sourcing.

To that end: Even the BDK label, in my somewhat educated opinion, should not be looked upon as an absolute guarantee of authenticity. In this case, you do have the “fox running the hen-house.”

There is, however, a little known GERMAN GOVERNMENT entity that does stringent examination of the manufacturing process, the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (Zentralverband des Deutschen Handwerks – ZDH) and who does award limited certification for those who qualify.

Here is an example: Zdh example

I hope the above clears up a few comments in this thread. For those searching for a piano, I again maintain that your ears and hands are the best judge of resultant quality.


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Thanks for sharing, esp. the explanation of the ZDH and how it was created to counteract the easily available "Made in Germany" label - deeply illuminating. Also your point re the BVK is well taken. It's a step forward but clearly not all it could be - and the fact that we can't readily ascertain BVK's criteria hasn't helped clarify the materials standards for German uprights. Quite the contrary, in fact. In that regard, ZDH is a welcome addition - thank you so much.

Originally Posted by master88er
Karl SCHULZE bought C.Bechstein in the mid 1980’s from Baldwin. He then also purchased the Feurich factory and brands, as well as the Zimmerman factory (old East German) and a little known Czech factory. Under his tutelage, what was built where, and by whom with what components was a constantly shifting puzzle. He developed early relationships with Petrof, Hailun, Pearl River, Ningbo and others, all with varying degrees of disaster. More recently, he sold majority interest in the company to a renowned German furniture manufacturer. It is alleged that, over the last two or three years, a “clean up” of the manufacturing process across the various brands they build has ensued. It would help them, in their cause, if they would be more straightforward about sourcing.

..."all with varying degrees of disaster" was very delicate and funny, not least coming from a former US C. Bechstein rep who presumably saw it all. Very refreshing to see this degree of honesty.

The verb "alleged" as to Bechstein's recent efforts seems accurate. Some of the materials quotes (on Bechstein Germany's website) we dug up in this thread, it turns out, date to 2016; Wikipedia provides the archive.org links to prove it. So if there are recent efforts, the firm hasn't updated its website regarding them in five years and counting.

Last edited by Windjammer; 02/04/21 12:46 PM.

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Concerning this ZDH label: you only get it if at least 80% of the raw materials are from Germany. Sounds like an enormously stupid criterion. But I guess Steingräber needs it for marketing.


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Originally Posted by master88er
More recently, he sold majority interest in the company to a renowned German furniture manufacturer.

I've just spoken to this "renowned German furniture manufacturer" and we've had a good laugh about this kind of misinformation. Where did you get this from?

Quote
It would help them, in their cause, if they would be more straightforward about sourcing.

The usual strawman.

Our cause is to build world class pianos and so far we're pretty good at that.

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Originally Posted by master88er
There is, however, a little known GERMAN GOVERNMENT entity that does stringent examination of the manufacturing process, the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (Zentralverband des Deutschen Handwerks – ZDH) and who does award limited certification for those who qualify.

The ZDH "Hergestellt in Deutschland" (HID) standard is of particular interest to me. The "minimum of 80 percent of all raw materials used" criterion is most likely based on value, but I'm curious as to how "80 percent of the processing" is calculated. Labor cost? Labor time? Number of discrete manufacturing steps? If "time spent" is the criterion, does the time spent by German materials/components suppliers count? Again, der Teufel steckt im Detail. I logged onto ZDH, but the website wants me to create an account before it gives me access to specific standards and I'm not sure I want to go that far.

Larry.

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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
[quote=master88er] More recently, he sold majority interest in the company to a renowned German furniture manufacturer.

I've just spoken to this "renowned German furniture manufacturer" and we've had a good laugh about this kind of misinformation. Where did you get this from?

[quote]


Who is the "renowned German furniture manufacturer"? And if he/it doesn't exist, who is it in reality?

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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
Originally Posted by master88er
More recently, he sold majority interest in the company to a renowned German furniture manufacturer.

I've just spoken to this "renowned German furniture manufacturer" and we've had a good laugh about this kind of misinformation. Where did you get this from?

Quote
It would help them, in their cause, if they would be more straightforward about sourcing.

The usual strawman.

Our cause is to build world class pianos and so far we're pretty good at that.


Interesting. OE1FEU butts heads with yet another well-respected life-long industry stalwart!

On the one hand, we have a seasoned industry pro, who's been in the business--if I'm not mistaken--since the 1970s. And when I say, "in the business," I mean a businessman who conducts business, a rainmaker, who operates internationally. On the other hand, we have a guy who hasn't yet reached his 2nd anniversary in his first piano industry job. One guy writes the checks, and the other guy draws a check.

It's clear that OE1FEU loves his job, and is a loyal employee, but I can't seriously accept the unsubstantiated opinion and chiding of a junior employee over the wisdom and experience of someone who's spent his life conducting business in the industry.

Clearly, this round goes to master88er.


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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Originally Posted by OE1FEU
Originally Posted by master88er
More recently, he sold majority interest in the company to a renowned German furniture manufacturer.

I've just spoken to this "renowned German furniture manufacturer" and we've had a good laugh about this kind of misinformation. Where did you get this from?

Quote
It would help them, in their cause, if they would be more straightforward about sourcing.

The usual strawman.

Our cause is to build world class pianos and so far we're pretty good at that.


Interesting. OE1FEU butts heads with yet another well-respected life-long industry stalwart!

On the one hand, we have a seasoned industry pro, who's been in the business--if I'm not mistaken--since the 1970s. And when I say, "in the business," I mean a businessman who conducts business, a rainmaker, who operates internationally. On the other hand, we have a guy who hasn't yet reached his 2nd anniversary in his first piano industry job. One guy writes the checks, and the other guy draws a check.

It's clear that OE1FEU loves his job, and is a loyal employee, but I can't seriously accept the unsubstantiated opinion and chiding of a junior employee over the wisdom and experience of someone who's spent his life conducting business in the industry.

Clearly, this round goes to master88er.

This looks like an unwarranted attack on a PW member.


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Originally Posted by Gretel
Concerning this ZDH label: you only get it if at least 80% of the raw materials are from Germany. Sounds like an enormously stupid criterion. But I guess Steingräber needs it for marketing.
I was just now reading through the complete text of this ZDH label on the Steingräber website.
Steingräber basically invented their own label. Impressive.

Last edited by Gretel; 02/05/21 01:55 AM.

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Originally Posted by Gretel
Originally Posted by Gretel
Concerning this ZDH label: you only get it if at least 80% of the raw materials are from Germany. Sounds like an enormously stupid criterion. But I guess Steingräber needs it for marketing.
I was just now reading through the complete text of this ZDH label on the Steingräber website.
Steingräber basically invented their own label. Impressive.

With all due respect Madame, your posts are so outrageous that you might consider moving to the USA and running for Congress!

The ZDH warrants many manufacturers across many industries.

ILaw (Larry): I asked this question of a ZDH rep in Germany - for example, if a manufacturer buys a Renner hammer is that a 100% German component since the wool is from outside of Germany? The answer was that since the material was used to produce a functioning component for a product by a German company and the material alone could not be used on its own for the same function, it was 93% German. I shook my head.

To those interested, Stefan Freymuth is the current Chairman of C.Bechstein. Here is a link to the nine companies he has been involved with: Freymuth Businesses


Russell I. Kassman
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FORMER/Semi-Retired: USA Rep.for C.Bechstein & Sauter; Founder/owner R. KASSMAN Piano; Consultant - GUANGZHOU Pearl River Piano Co.

russell@rkassman.com
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