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Posted By: Almaviva How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 04:29 AM
Let me put this hypothetical scenario to you.

Christian Bluthner visits Ningbo, China, and proposes to Hailun Chen that the former's company build the premium line of Bluthner pianos to be sold to the domestic Chinese market. Herr Bluthner explains to Mr. Chen, "Now Hailun, these will be the exact same piano models that we build in Germany. The design, touch, tone, quality of materials, fit and finish, and longevity of the pianos made in Ningbo will be just as good as the ones made in Leipzig. Some of our quality control staff from Germany will be working with your staff to ensure that Bluthner quality standards are maintained. Can we do business according to those terms?"

Mr. Chen can reply in one of two different ways:

Answer #1 - "Sure, Chris, no problem. These Chinese-built Bluthners will be more expensive to build than the other OEM pianos we are currently making, but we at Hailun can build a piano to the design and quality standards of Bluthner or anybody else for that matter. Let's work up a rough draft of the contract, then let's do lunch."

Answer #2 - "Chris, we can do business, but not according to those terms. We'd love to build a piano just as good as the ones that Bluthner makes, but we don't have that capability - at least not yet. Our workers don't have the necessary training and experience for such a task. Not all of the parts and raw materials of Bluthner-level quality standards can be obtained from Asian suppliers. Our factory is not configured to build limited-quantity, high-quality pianos requiring high levels of time-intensive hand preparation. What we can do for you is build our basic Hailun piano, make a few minor changes, slap the Bluthner name on the fallboard, and voila! - a Bluthner piano made in China. If you're interested in such an arrangement, let's work up a rough draft of the contract, then let's do lunch."

My question is - which of the above answers will be the real-world answer that Herr Bluthner will get from Mr. Chen? Or will the real-world answer be something in between?

Please don't get bogged down in the specific brands mentioned. The performance-grade manufacturer in this scenario can be Bluthner, Steingraeber, Steinway, Fazioli, Bosendorfer, Sauter, whomever. The OEM can be Hailun, Pearl River, Parsons, Samick, Young Chang, whomever.

My question can be rephrased as follows: Can an OEM build a piano to the exact same design and quality standards that the customer wishes, or is he limited to making "stencil brand" near-duplicates of his own models? Or is the real-world answer something in between?

I look forward to reading your posts.

Posted By: Alex Hernandez Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 07:17 AM
Dear Sir,

I don't know who you are or what your agenda is by using the Blüthner name in this way. I would hope the administrators of this site would try and determine if you are a dealer or other piano industry professional. I think your stated rephrasing would have served your stated purpose without planting the seed of an unfounded rumor.

As an industry professional with 35 years of experience let me share what I have learned on this subject. If Brand A gave materials to Brand X to build a piano the result would be a brand x piano.

I would also like to share this link which I feel is a service for those here looking for the truth in origin of any prospective purchase claiming a German pedigree.

http://www.pianos.de/en/bvk_certificate/index.php?id=2
Posted By: ando Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 07:43 AM
Geez, settle down, Alex! There was nothing offensive toward Bluthner in the OP. There's no reason to be so defensive. It was a pure hypothetical. Several other brands were mentioned and none were particularly targeted.

I found it to be an interesting question and I'll be interested to hear what others have to say about it.
Posted By: Withindale Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 08:15 AM
Isn't the question in the OP being answered by the changes that piano manufacturers are making guided by American and European designers. For example, Young Chang new models designed by Del Fandrich?

Yamaha say it took 19 years to develop the new CF series. These things take time so #2, roughly speaking.
Posted By: Joseph Fleetwood Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 10:16 AM
Didn't Ibach build pianos in Korea that were identical to the German ones? In all honesty I can't see a premium European or American builder moving production for the Chinese market. in the case of Bluthner, their factory means too much to them to do that.

What I could see in the future is Hailun building his own premium piano when the time is right. Brodmann has already produced an artist series grand with the rim and frame being the same as the p.e models but with different actions and soundboards. I believe they cost the same as the equivalent yamaha C series model, and apparently they are finished in Germany or Austria.

Posted By: Jolly Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 12:26 PM
Originally Posted by Alex Hernandez
Dear Sir,

I don't know who you are or what your agenda is by using the Blüthner name in this way. I would hope the administrators of this site would try and determine if you are a dealer or other piano industry professional. I think your stated rephrasing would have served your stated purpose without planting the seed of an unfounded rumor.

As an industry professional with 35 years of experience let me share what I have learned on this subject. If Brand A gave materials to Brand X to build a piano the result would be a brand x piano.

I would also like to share this link which I feel is a service for those here looking for the truth in origin of any prospective purchase claiming a German pedigree.

http://www.pianos.de/en/bvk_certificate/index.php?id=2


Shucks...somebody took a shot through the chicken house and one of the chickens cackled loudly.

I'm always just a tad suspicious at such an immediate and vehement denial.

Oh well, nothing to see here, move along now...
Posted By: Del Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 12:43 PM

Originally Posted by Withindale
Isn't the question in the OP being answered by the changes that piano manufacturers are making guided by American and European designers. For example, Young Chang new models designed by Del Fandrich?

There is no easy or simple answer to any of this. Nothing is all that clear cut.

Can a company like Hailun build a piano like one of those mentioned in the OP? Yes, given enough time and a sufficient commitment of money. Would it be wise for them to do so? Probably not. Which begs the question, “Why not?” Most of the so-called “modern performance-grade” pianos are not modern at all and at least some of them are unnecessarily complex for their level of performance. Hence the closing performance gap between them and the more mass-produced instruments built by manufacturers whose heavy investments in automated and semi-automated machinery are paying off in pianos that play quite nicely for very modest sums of money. To be sure, a performance gap still does exist but it is a much smaller one than existed 20 to 40 years ago.

Most, if not all of the mass-produced pianos of today had their start as “performance-grade” instruments some decades—centuries?— back. Their designs and sometimes the antique machinery used to make them were shipped en masse from closed or nearly closed factories in America or Europe to some Asian country where—after some translation—they were put into production as pseudo-clones of their original glory complete with photocopied artwork and long defunct family histories.

It has only been fairly recently that people with any real piano design knowledge and skills have been brought in to try to make some sense of it all. And what has been going on these past few years has been the optimization of those old designs to accommodate the modern reality of mass-production techniques and modern materials at least some of which would have been discarded as scrap by the original builders but which is now used as a matter of necessity since all the “good stuff” is mostly long gone. The trick has been to figure out how to work with the declining quality of materials and the rapidly developing numerical- and computer-controlled equipment that is replacing the work of those skilled artisans and sometimes doing their tasks better and more precisely than they ever dreamed possible. The result is a whole new concept of piano building technology.

So, while it might be possible for Mr Chen’s factory to someday build a high-end piano in the manner of some traditional Germany (or wherever) factory it would not be wise of him to attempt doing so. In my opinion, at least, it would be much wiser to start from scratch and design a new instrument that is conceived to take full advantage of the skills and technologies that already exist in a manufacturing company such as Hailun.

And were I one of those high-end builders of a traditional piano I’d be some concerned of the prospect. Just the thought of some new very high performance instrument coming on the market, optimized to be built on the modern manufacturing equipment—again, this equipment is already in place in the modern Asian factory—to a quality standard at least as good as that possible using traditional techniques and performing at least as well as anything available from either Europe or America and selling for half to two-thirds the price would keep me awake at night. The whole industry is poised, I think, on the edge of the next big step in the ongoing evolution of the piano. It remains to be seen whether anyone has the vision and courage to take that step.

ddf
Posted By: Withindale Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 01:27 PM
Originally Posted by Del

Originally Posted by Withindale
Isn't the question in the OP being answered by the changes that piano manufacturers are making guided by American and European designers. For example, Young Chang new models designed by Del Fandrich?

... So, while it might be possible for Mr Chen’s factory to someday build a high-end piano in the manner of some traditional Germany (or wherever) factory it would not be wise of him to attempt doing so. In my opinion, at least, it would be much wiser to start from scratch and design a new instrument that is conceived to take full advantage of the skills and technologies that already exist in a manufacturing company such as Hailun....

Precisely.
Posted By: Jolly Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 01:52 PM
Can a performance grade piano be built in a Chinese factory? Performance grade as defined in the current issue of PB rankings?

Yes.

Why?

Because it's already been done.

Never sold to the public, the piano was a one-off, done by the best workers employed by the Chinese factory. People who test drove the piano could not tell the difference between it and its siblings.

For various reasons, including some Del mentioned, it was decided not to put the piano into even limited Chinese production.

So...can it be done? Yes.

Will it be done? At least on a decent scale? That's a topic for debate.
Posted By: Almaviva Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 01:52 PM
Originally Posted by Alex Hernandez
Dear Sir,

I don't know who you are or what your agenda is by using the Blüthner name in this way. I would hope the administrators of this site would try and determine if you are a dealer or other piano industry professional. I think your stated rephrasing would have served your stated purpose without planting the seed of an unfounded rumor.


Dear Mr. Hernandez (or can I call you Alex?),

Calm yourself, sir. I meant no offense. It was a hypothetical scenario. The top-tier piano CEO in this scenario could have been August Bluthner, Ulrich Sauter, Udo Steingraeber, AnneKatrin Forster, Paolo Fazioli, Dana Messina of Steinway - makes no difference. The OEM CEO could have been Hailun Chen, Tong Zhi Cheng of Pearl River, Baik Lee of Samick - makes no difference. I stated as much in the thread.

By the way, I am NOT affiliated with the piano industry in any way. I am simply a piano player and enthusiast.
Posted By: pogmoger Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 02:35 PM
From my completely non-expert view of the piano industry:

I would say that any manufacturing company of any kind has to be very careful in thinking that they can transfer competitive successes from operations based in one country directly to a totally different company with ease. The success of a company such as a high end piano manufacturer depends on the sum of all of its parts and how they interact with each other (sales, marketing, production, logistics etc.) Change one and it has huge implications for the rest of the company which would have to be thought through and managed very carefully.

Specialist piano building in Germany has such a long tradition that the expert knowledge and craftsmanship can't simply be transported across the world to another location with ease. If it were that easy, there wouldn't be any manufacturing industries of any form in Germany anymore.

The bigger question is perhaps whether a European/US piano maker would ever want to make such a change? To save money? Sure, but whatever way you look at it, they will devalue their brand. I would feel like a sucker paying the same price for a piano previously made in Germany as I would the 'same' piano made in China (if this were even possible) - because I would know that production costs are cheaper and I would expect part of the benefit to be passed on to the end customer.

So is there any evidence to suggest that the consumers in the very high end piano market in question are so price-sensitive that a decrease in price would create a big enough increase in sales? My gut feeling is probably not. Would a traditional low-volume, high-quality manufacturer want to voluntarily devalue their premium brand in this way to attract customers in different market segments? Doubtful. That's why we have Boston, Essex and others on the market.
Posted By: Minnesota Marty Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 02:44 PM
Originally Posted by Almaviva
By the way, I am NOT affiliated with the piano industry in any way. I am simply a piano player and enthusiast.

And a good researcher!
Posted By: Rank Piano Amateur Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 03:05 PM
What I find surprising about the above thread is the assumption that the owner of any company, if asked a question like the one in the OP, would give any answer other than Answer #1 or some variant thereof. My view on this would be the same whether the products are cars, refrigerators, or pianos, and whether the country is China, Indonesia, or whatever. You get the idea. Of course, Answer #1 may be a truthful response; all I am saying is that there will be no way of knowing in advance of the project getting under way absent personal knowledge about the person providing the answer.

Posted By: Almaviva Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 03:50 PM
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted by Almaviva
By the way, I am NOT affiliated with the piano industry in any way. I am simply a piano player and enthusiast.

And a good researcher!


LOL. Thanks, Marty. smile
Posted By: Nick Mauel Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 04:09 PM
Short Answer: They can get as good as a Brodmann (until now at least).
Posted By: phacke Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 05:37 PM
Hello Mr Del. Fandrich,

We are very fortunate to have your insights here.

you wrote>>And what has been going on these past few years has been the optimization of those old designs to accommodate the modern reality of mass-production techniques and modern materials at least some of which would have been discarded as scrap by the original builders but which is now used as a matter of necessity since all the “good stuff” is mostly long gone. The trick has been to figure out how to work with the declining quality of materials

Can you please be more specific about the declining quality of materials? Is this just soundboard wood? What else?

If the "good stuff" is mostly gone, this would affect all makers. Or are we in a state where some makers will still pay the price for available, highest desirability grade of wood?

I understand "The whole industry is poised, I think, on the edge of the next big step in the ongoing evolution of the piano." Actually, it seems from my not so good vantage point that the Germans are on the forefront of the avant-garde designs, carbon soundboards, etc. Some advances will stick I think, but it seems many do not.

Thanks-

Originally Posted by Del

Originally Posted by Withindale
Isn't the question in the OP being answered by the changes that piano manufacturers are making guided by American and European designers. For example, Young Chang new models designed by Del Fandrich?

There is no easy or simple answer to any of this. Nothing is all that clear cut.

Can a company like Hailun build a piano like one of those mentioned in the OP? Yes, given enough time and a sufficient commitment of money. Would it be wise for them to do so? Probably not. Which begs the question, “Why not?” Most of the so-called “modern performance-grade” pianos are not modern at all and at least some of them are unnecessarily complex for their level of performance. Hence the closing performance gap between them and the more mass-produced instruments built by manufacturers whose heavy investments in automated and semi-automated machinery are paying off in pianos that play quite nicely for very modest sums of money. To be sure, a performance gap still does exist but it is a much smaller one than existed 20 to 40 years ago.

Most, if not all of the mass-produced pianos of today had their start as “performance-grade” instruments some decades—centuries?— back. Their designs and sometimes the antique machinery used to make them were shipped en masse from closed or nearly closed factories in America or Europe to some Asian country where—after some translation—they were put into production as pseudo-clones of their original glory complete with photocopied artwork and long defunct family histories.

It has only been fairly recently that people with any real piano design knowledge and skills have been brought in to try to make some sense of it all. And what has been going on these past few years has been the optimization of those old designs to accommodate the modern reality of mass-production techniques and modern materials at least some of which would have been discarded as scrap by the original builders but which is now used as a matter of necessity since all the “good stuff” is mostly long gone. The trick has been to figure out how to work with the declining quality of materials and the rapidly developing numerical- and computer-controlled equipment that is replacing the work of those skilled artisans and sometimes doing their tasks better and more precisely than they ever dreamed possible. The result is a whole new concept of piano building technology.

So, while it might be possible for Mr Chen’s factory to someday build a high-end piano in the manner of some traditional Germany (or wherever) factory it would not be wise of him to attempt doing so. In my opinion, at least, it would be much wiser to start from scratch and design a new instrument that is conceived to take full advantage of the skills and technologies that already exist in a manufacturing company such as Hailun.

And were I one of those high-end builders of a traditional piano I’d be some concerned of the prospect. Just the thought of some new very high performance instrument coming on the market, optimized to be built on the modern manufacturing equipment—again, this equipment is already in place in the modern Asian factory—to a quality standard at least as good as that possible using traditional techniques and performing at least as well as anything available from either Europe or America and selling for half to two-thirds the price would keep me awake at night. The whole industry is poised, I think, on the edge of the next big step in the ongoing evolution of the piano. It remains to be seen whether anyone has the vision and courage to take that step.

ddf
Posted By: Almaviva Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 06:00 PM
Originally Posted by Nick Mauel
Short Answer: They can get as good as a Brodmann (until now at least).


Careful, Nick. We might have to start calling you "Norbert Junior"! wink
Posted By: Almaviva Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 06:38 PM
Originally Posted by Jolly
Can a performance grade piano be built in a Chinese factory? Performance grade as defined in the current issue of PB rankings?
Yes.
Why?

Because it's already been done.

Never sold to the public, the piano was a one-off, done by the best workers employed by the Chinese factory. People who test drove the piano could not tell the difference between it and its siblings.


Interesting, Jolly. Which Chinese piano factory made this one-off piano, and when? Did they design this piano from scratch, or was it a copy of a well-known top-tier model like the Bluthner 1, Steinway D, Fazioli 278, etc?
Posted By: Alex Hernandez Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 06:54 PM
Folks,

Reckless rumor mongering is not something that should go by unaddressed regardless of one's good intentions. Nice to meet you OP.

I would encourage any person posing a hypothetical to be responsible in their examples.

We do make a Chinese piano, it's called an Irmler. Though Irmler pianos shipped to the States contain sufficient parts and finishing to be shipped as German made we don't trade on that and maintain total transparency regarding its Chinese origins.

Jolly,

I think it's hilarious that somebody would call me a chicken while using an alias.
Other then that I always enjoy your contributions and I hope all is well with you.

Posted By: ando Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 07:04 PM
Originally Posted by Alex Hernandez
Folks,

Reckless rumor mongering is not something that should go by unaddressed regardless of one's good intentions. Nice to meet you OP.

I would encourage any person posing a hypothetical to be responsible in their examples.

We do make a Chinese piano, it's called an Irmler. Though Irmler pianos shipped to the States contain sufficient parts and finishing to be shipped as German made we don't trade on that and maintain total transparency regarding its Chinese origins.

Jolly,

I think it's hilarious that somebody would call me a chicken while using an alias.
Other then that I always enjoy your contributions and I hope all is well with you.



It wasn't rumour-mongering. It was a hypothetical. You have failed to detect the difference. The only thing you have done is suggest to us that there is a rumour out there and you have enlarged it through your defensive response.
Posted By: Almaviva Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 07:24 PM
Alex,

That's "Count Reckless Rumormonger" to you. wink

I repeat, I was putting forward a hypothetical scenario, and was not insinuating anything.

By the way, I like the sound of the Bluthner grands that I have heard. I'm in the market for a grand piano right now, and the Bluthner Models 6, 4 and 2 are on my "short list" of pianos to be auditioned before I make my final purchase decision.

C'mon, let's be friends. smile
Posted By: Alex Hernandez Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 07:24 PM
I understand what the OP was suggesting. And his alternative example accomplished his goal precisely.

I don't look at my response as defensive as much as a call for accuracy. Referring to Dr. Bluthner as "Chris" also demonstrates what I believe to be a regrettable choice in trying to make his point.

Ando, you can believe what ever you want as is your right. But if you are suggesting that a call for respect and accuracy means we are hiding something then you are on your own island. How does one disprove a negative?

I hope my contributions here inform. I encourage all things piano so lets turn this into a positive and be respectful to each other.

I don't believe that money and materials alone can make a world class instrument that can meet international standards of performance. I believe making an instrument that offers color, control and a great dynamic range where the pianist can control every shade and nuance is also the product of the craftsman. Their judgements in establishing precise relationships between the instruments components influence the musical outcome greatly.

In the end one must go out into the world and experience for themselves what each maker has to offer. Every time I come into contact with a person that has found their dream instrument my heart fills with joy for them, even if it is not a Bluthner. Finding that lifetime companion is such a joyous thing, it must be shared and celebrated.



Posted By: Alex Hernandez Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 07:27 PM
Originally Posted by Almaviva
Alex,

That's "Count Ruthless Rumormonger" to you. wink

I repeat, I was putting forward a hypothetical scenario, and was not insinuating anything.

By the way, I like the sound of the Bluthner grands that I have heard. I'm in the market for a grand piano right now, and the Bluthner Models 6, 4 and 2 are on my "short list" of pianos to be auditioned before I make my final purchase decision.

C'mon, let's be friends. smile


Friends? Okay, I'm in. wink
Posted By: Dave B Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 08:02 PM
Alex, Almaviva has been coming into the forum for a while now asking hypothetical, but pointed, questions with annoying instructions on how to respond. - motives and interests are very ambiguous.

When I was enthusiastically asking too many questions to my first composition teacher, I was told, "David, I appreciate your questions. Please keep in mind that if you knew what questions to ask you wouldn't be here."

And then there is always the famous quote by Thomas Pynchon, "If they can get you by asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers."

Enjoy!

Posted By: ando Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 08:59 PM
Originally Posted by Alex Hernandez


Ando, you can believe what ever you want as is your right. But if you are suggesting that a call for respect and accuracy means we are hiding something then you are on your own island. How does one disprove a negative?



Alex, you are jumping to conclusions again. I'm not suggesting anything. I'm not asking you to prove a negative. I have no interest in rumour-mongering. I was merely suggesting that you shouldn't add to the strength of rumours by referencing them so vehemently - especially since they were never referred to in the first place by the OP, only by yourself. Clearly there has been some rumour that has irritated you, and that would explain your defensiveness, but I don't think it's even been mentioned on PW. Bluthner is a highly respected and revered brand. Nobody around here is seeking to mess with that. Let's just relax and take the discussion in good faith.
Posted By: Jolly Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 10:06 PM
Originally Posted by Alex Hernandez
Folks,

Reckless rumor mongering is not something that should go by unaddressed regardless of one's good intentions. Nice to meet you OP.

I would encourage any person posing a hypothetical to be responsible in their examples.

We do make a Chinese piano, it's called an Irmler. Though Irmler pianos shipped to the States contain sufficient parts and finishing to be shipped as German made we don't trade on that and maintain total transparency regarding its Chinese origins.

Jolly,

I think it's hilarious that somebody would call me a chicken while using an alias.
Other then that I always enjoy your contributions and I hope all is well with you.



1. I didn't call you a chicken. Re-read what I wrote, it's an old Southern saying...it basically alludes to somebody firing a shot in the dark and see if they get a response. A vehement response usually means something akin to Baptists having sex - you know they're doing it, but they're just hard to catch at it.

Or, to put it another way, it may be artificially generated smoke, but you still look for the fire.

2. Jolly is my name.
Posted By: Keith D Kerman Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/14/13 10:37 PM
You cannot make a great copy of the serious European pianos. The more specific the voice, the more true I think this is. So, actually, Bluthner might be the most difficult to reproduce because of its unique sound. It is probably not the best analogy, but it is a little like no one can make your Mom's meatloaf, or chicken soup other than your Mom. Even with the recipe. Even if it comes out really good, the more it reminds you of Mom's cooking, the more you notice that it is different and are inevitably dissapointed. OK, I don't want to hear about how your mother was a rotten cook!

I also don't think that current manufacturers think in terms of having a unique voice with lots of identifiable character. They think in terms of more objective things like getting the piano to work well and predictably. I think the mass produced pianos generally have a fairly generic sound and have had a generic sound for a long time. Oddly, I do think Yamaha has a more distinct sound than the other mass producers.

Generic is not necessarily bad. A generic sounding piano may still be sensitive and expressive and a piano with its own special voice may be expressively limited.

Actually, I think there has been a general movement towards generic sounding pianos the world over.

Posted By: Alex Hernandez Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/15/13 12:00 AM
Ando,

I think playing with somebody else's name and reputation in this way is, as I have said before "reckless" regardless of the innocent intentions. I wouldn't do it and if had been another maker used instead I would have reacted in the same way. I just don't think its nice to do something like that, and I spoke up based on a principle.

Jolly, My apologies. I thought Jolly was an alias. Is there a last name, first name or is just like Cher? j/k. My mother was from Mississippi and I have never heard that phrase before. But I hope you understand my confusion when you responded to my post by saying "Shucks...somebody took a shot through the chicken house and one of the chickens cackled loudly." as you referring to me as a "chicken". Lets just have a good laugh about it.

Keith, great post, well stated.

Thanks for the responses.

Once again please enjoy: ( Not necessarily related to the OP's original topic.)

http://www.pianos.de/en_bvk.html

Posted By: Nick Mauel Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/15/13 02:15 AM
Originally Posted by Almaviva
Originally Posted by Nick Mauel
Short Answer: They can get as good as a Brodmann (until now at least).


Careful, Nick. We might have to start calling you "Norbert Junior"! wink

Difference with me and Norbert is that my answers are shorter! Hope you didn't mind that on your thread.

Some of the known for better quality Chinese piano factories while producing good quality control parts do not have the level of designs for the actual pianos themselves that I am seeing from Brodmann.

Can you hear it in the following video example?:

[video:youtube]B2nFk2_dULs[/video]

Thanks,

Nick
Posted By: Jolly Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/15/13 02:28 AM
Originally Posted by Alex Hernandez
Ando,


Jolly, My apologies. I thought Jolly was an alias. Is there a last name, first name or is just like Cher? j/k. My mother was from Mississippi and I have never heard that phrase before. But I hope you understand my confusion when you responded to my post by saying "Shucks...somebody took a shot through the chicken house and one of the chickens cackled loudly." as you referring to me as a "chicken". Lets just have a good laugh about it.



Look back through Mom's family tree. My family moved from one side of the road to the other right after the Late War of Northern Aggression, but I have some distant cousins on the other side of Big Muddy.

You may be my long lost cousin (fourteen times removed). grin
Posted By: Almaviva Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/15/13 02:45 AM
Nick,

Very nice piano sound. And for once, the piano is in tune! You'd be amazed how many piano stores post videos on YouTube of their out-of-tune inventory, and expect people to appreciate the piano tone!
Posted By: Alex Hernandez Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/15/13 02:48 AM
Actually my maternal grandmother is from New Orleans. From now on I'll think of you not as Jolly, but as a cousin. wink

I'm a Castilian hillbilly, that should explain a lot. Lol!
Posted By: Nick Mauel Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/15/13 02:51 AM
Originally Posted by Almaviva
Nick,

Very nice piano sound. And for once, the piano is in tune! You'd be amazed how many piano stores post videos on YouTube of their out-of-tune inventory, and expect people to appreciate the piano tone!

Thank you very much. I can do a quick tuning and voicing myself if needed before making the video which definitely helps.
Posted By: Jean Claude Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/15/13 06:36 AM
Originally Posted by Almaviva
Originally Posted by Nick Mauel
Short Answer: They can get as good as a Brodmann (until now at least).


Careful, Nick. We might have to start calling you "Norbert Junior"!


Edited by Almaviva (08/14/13 07:18 PM)
Edit Reason: punctuation


You edited this post for punctuation yet still managed to write '...We might have to start calling you "Norbert Junior"!'?
Posted By: Almaviva Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/15/13 07:55 AM
Yes. The exclamation point was originally placed inside the quotation marks, instead of outside them as it should have been.
Posted By: Goof Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/15/13 06:32 PM
Reply to Nick Mauel. Wow that's about the best sounding paino I've ever heard; so clear and a constantness to the notes.
Posted By: Nick Mauel Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/15/13 07:13 PM
Originally Posted by Goof
Reply to Nick Mauel. Wow that's about the best sounding paino I've ever heard; so clear and a constantness to the notes.

Thank you very much. The Brodmann pianos do have to be prepped but when done produce excellent results.

Here is another video of a smaller and much less expensive Brodmann that is also surprising:

[video:youtube]KbzAjaIsGhQ[/video]

Thanks,

Nick
Posted By: Goof Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/17/13 09:48 AM
Right!!
If you have the time what about making a video which compares the two.
If you were to go to a fair ammount of trouble i.e.
Play the same piece.
Use the same recording technique.
I personally would be fascinated to hear the difference between the two pianos.
As I "hear" from the second smaller piano it is no where near in clarity to the larger: BUT maybe this is due to "things" other than the instruments them selves??
Thanks in advance!!
Posted By: Rich Galassini Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/17/13 07:49 PM
Originally Posted by Nick Mauel

Thank you very much. The Brodmann pianos do have to be prepped but when done produce excellent results.

Here is another video of a smaller and much less expensive Brodmann that is also surprising:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbzAjaIsGhQ

Thanks,

Nick


Nice prep work Nick.

For comparison, this is a video made by Hugh Sung that features a 5'10" Cunningham. Hugh has had 20 years as a Curtis Institute prof. and is a collaborative pianist that is in demand in Philadelphia. He also owns AirTurn, a company that makes a silent momentary switch that can turn pages on electronic music without making any noise that might disturb a performance. He is probably using one in this video.

He made this video himself and has told me that between teaching and practice his piano has gotten many hours of play over the 5 years he has owned it. It is one thing for a piano to perform when new and it is another to perform well over time.

Obviously, the piano is well cared for but we are proud of the results.




The details on the new Cunningham can be seen on our website:

http://www.cunninghampiano.com/cunningham/

I am obviously biased, but I like the Cunningham more than I like many more expensive brands available. Read a few of the testimonials on our page. Some of the names may surprise you.
Posted By: Rich Galassini Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/17/13 08:03 PM
Here is the same model of Cunningham being used in performance at The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia's newest art museum. The place is getting a tremendous amount of visitors and they hold regular recitals and concerts. It is a huge space to fill that is quite live, but the 5'10" does the job, I think.

To be fair, because of the music being played, this Cunningham is voiced a bit brighter than Hugh Sung's, but you will hear that immediately.



Great thread, Jolly. Thank you.
Posted By: Minnesota Marty Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/17/13 09:19 PM
Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
For comparison, this is a video of a 5'10" Cunningham made by Hugh Sung, ...

Rich, I didn't know that Hugh built pianos!

grin
Posted By: Rich Galassini Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/17/13 09:31 PM
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
For comparison, this is a video of a 5'10" Cunningham made by Hugh Sung, ...

Rich, I didn't know that Hugh built pianos!

grin


Oops. Thank you for pointing that out Marty. I wouldn't want anybody to think that we have a "Korean Built" piano. wink

(See, Hugh Sung is Korean... get it?)

I will correct my original post.
Posted By: Grandman Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/18/13 01:00 AM
Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
[


I am obviously biased, but I like the Cunningham more than I like many more expensive brands available. Read a few of the testimonials on our page. Some of the names may surprise you.


Thanks for posting this, Rich. How does the cunningham compare to the hailuns you carry? Different tone and touch?
Posted By: phacke Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/18/13 04:05 AM
Hello Mr. Galassini,

Do you have a spec chart for the New Cunningham Pianos, like the following that Estonia made?

http://www.estoniapiano.com/index.php?page=93&

These very informative about the piano (especially brand of components, internal & external dimensions, country of origin, specific materials)

Best regards-
Posted By: Minnesota Marty Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/18/13 04:22 AM
Yes Mr. Galassini,

Sir, you really need a full product list, with all of the specifications for all of the Cunningham pianos. It could be linked from the 'promo' page on your main website. You do your company a disservice, sir.

For the multitudes who favor your product, myself included, it is frustrating to resort to A&D Piano Buyer for only general information on your laudable instruments.

I trust you will attend to this public disservice with the utmost alacrity and speed.

Respectfully,

[school-marm mode-/off]
Posted By: BornInTheUSA Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/18/13 05:24 AM
Rick,

Are Cunningham's only sold in your store? Are they sort of a "house brand" that your team helped design and Hailun manufactures?

Del F - also curious to hear your response about how high quality materials are harder to come by now. Seems like we've cut down too many trees.
Posted By: Minnesota Marty Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/18/13 05:29 AM
His name is Rich, not Rick. Rick is the moderator of this forum.
Posted By: Del Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/18/13 05:57 AM
Originally Posted by michaelh
Rick,

Are Cunningham's only sold in your store? Are they sort of a "house brand" that your team helped design and Hailun manufactures?

Del F - also curious to hear your response about how high quality materials are harder to come by now. Seems like we've cut down too many trees.

Rich can tell you more about the Cunningham pianos but those I saw and heard at their store are a significant upgrade from the standard Hailun pianos. There are changes to scaling, string frame castings, etc. They are not simply rebranded Hailun pianos.

Yes, the declining materials quality I refer to are primarily related to wood. Yes, we have cut too many trees without devoting much attention to sustainability. Most foresters -- at least in North America and Europe -- now replant about as many trees as they cut. Occasionally more. Most of this replanting, however, is in the form of more rapidly growing trees in plantations or tree farms. This is good for raw fiber yield but not for the kinds of woods the piano industry has long depended on.

The wood grades we have long claimed we just must have for soundboard stock requires that the trees struggle somewhat for survival. It has to be what is called "slow growth." Some soundboard makers brag about the "ring-count" of the wood they specify for their soundboards. This varies among manufacturers but it is typically in the 12- to 18-grains/in. That means it takes anywhere from twelve to eighteen years for each inch of growth. Trees grown in plantations and tree farms typically will have less than 8-gr/in. The yield of clear, knot-free lumber will also be less.

Aside from the consistent over cutting of forest lands, much of the world's spruce forests are now being devastated by increasingly aggressive spruce beetle infestations. The warming climate that we are still in denial about has already altered the life cycle of these beetles and they are destroying huge amounts of spruce forests in Alaska and Russia. It remains to be seen whether foresters will be able to find ways of combating these pests.

In some other ways, of course, materials quality has improved. Gray iron castings are better and more consistent than they have ever been. Plastics show a great deal of promise if we can overcome the disinformation still being propagated by some in the industry. Music wire is excellent. Wool is a fairly stable material and is, obviously, renewable. And, of course, we can cope with declining quality of wood, at least in the short term, if we can overcome the disinformation being spread about laminated wood soundboards. Manufacturers are already coping with the lack of stable wood core stock by using man-made materials such as MDF and various grades of "particle board."

ddf
Posted By: Rich Galassini Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/18/13 11:34 AM
Originally Posted by Del

Rich can tell you more about the Cunningham pianos but those I saw and heard at their store are a significant upgrade from the standard Hailun pianos. There are changes to scaling, string frame castings, etc. They are not simply rebranded Hailun pianos.
ddf


Thank you for the comment Del. I was very pleased that you made the time to stop by. Your words mean a great deal to me. In fact, they mean a great deal to anyone that knows anything about pianos.

To Michaelh - The New Cunningham took years to bring back to the marketplace, We totally did it as an exercise of passion for the industry, but as it turns out, it is well liked by many professional musicians and consumers.

We began the project to be a "house brand", but organically, friends in the industry have been impressed by the piano and have become dealers.

We are in the middle of redesigning our website to give more attention to this brand and to offer more specifics on the development of the piano.
Posted By: KurtZ Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/18/13 06:13 PM
Rich,

Are there any west coast U.S. dealers?

Kurt
Posted By: Rich Galassini Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/26/13 04:22 PM
Originally Posted by KurtZ
Rich,

Are there any west coast U.S. dealers?

Kurt


Hi Kurt,

Sorry for taking so long to answer you. There is a Los Angeles dealer/technician who you can speak with about the new Cunningham Pianos. His name is David Andersen and he can be reached at www.davidandersenpianos.com.

Also, here is a picture of Del on his visit to us. He is seated at an 1860 Steinway concert grand piano that we had just completed.

[Linked Image]
Posted By: wouter79 Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/26/13 07:31 PM
I'm sure that Christian would get reply #1. Wouldn't ANY piano factory be delighted to get such an offer? It would be the best way to improve their own machine park, knowledge etc. So saying no would hardly be an option even IMHO.

I'm sure would not be "sure Chris" however, since Chinese seem way too polite for that.
Posted By: Almaviva Re: How good can OEM pianos get? - 08/27/13 01:18 AM
LOL, wouter. I deliberately made the conversation more informal than it probably would be. Make it sound like two Hollywood talent agents talking.
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