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Re: Mason and Hamlin in China [Re: victor kam] #2771195
10/10/18 06:31 PM
10/10/18 06:31 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 109
Foster City, CA, US
K
Ken Iisaka Offline
Full Member
Ken Iisaka  Offline
Full Member
K

Joined: May 2011
Posts: 109
Foster City, CA, US
I was fortunate to be spotted that I am currently in Shanghai to play concerts by a piano manufacturer and was invited to attend Music China, on what was supposed to be a trade-only day.

I probably got to see hundreds of pianos and tried a few dozens. I can unequivocally say that while the quality of some China-made pianos are getting better, none is what I’d call a concert quality instrument, even though I only tried larger grand pianos only.

Then I can across the big Mason&Hamlin booth. There were signs everywhere about its history and technological innovations, but I didn’t see a single genuine Mason&Hamlin on display.

Mason&Hamlin wasn’t the only current brand getting ripped off. There was a big booth under the name of Steinbourg that was peddling Stuart&Sons as a German piano.

The scene is desperate, with the growth slowing down and the sales figure expected to take a nose dive in the near future. There were female models, many European, many in skimpy dresses, garnering attention of potential buyers. There was even one dressed in an 18th century outfit, peddling ornately decorated instruments.

The reality is that the vast majority of these makers will be history soon. The big ones like Pearl River, Hailun and others will probably be around but most others will not weather the downturn.

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Re: Mason and Hamlin in China [Re: Ken Iisaka] #2771202
10/10/18 06:45 PM
10/10/18 06:45 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,964
Phoenix, Arizona
Carey Offline
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Carey  Offline
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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,964
Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted by Ken Iisaka
The scene is desperate, with the growth slowing down and the sales figure expected to take a nose dive in the near future. There were female models, many European, many in skimpy dresses, garnering attention of potential buyers. There was even one dressed in an 18th century outfit, peddling ornately decorated instruments.

The reality is that the vast majority of these makers will be history soon. The big ones like Pearl River, Hailun and others will probably be around but most others will not weather the downturn.
Is the anticipated downturn in piano production/sales due to economic conditions in China - or to a declining demand for pianos by the Chinese?


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: Mason and Hamlin in China [Re: Ken Iisaka] #2771667
10/11/18 10:54 PM
10/11/18 10:54 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 203
Sydney, Australia
C
CJM Offline
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CJM  Offline
Full Member
C

Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 203
Sydney, Australia
Originally Posted by Ken Iisaka
Mason&Hamlin wasn’t the only current brand getting ripped off. There was a big booth under the name of Steinbourg that was peddling Stuart&Sons as a German piano

I can assure you that Mr Stuart does a very poor German accent smile

We’ve known about this for quite some time. There’s not much that can be done since once you manage (expensively) to close one down it pops up again very quickly in a different place. In fact this is not as creative as one effort which was in the news a little while back - https://www.facebook.com/7NewsMelbourne/videos/10156742627629301/, not to mention this - https://www.facebook.com/1780185172194905/posts/2146641395549279/.

Otherwise Ken’s post is very close to the mark.

Regards
Chris


Stuart & Sons 2.2 metre #25
Re: Mason and Hamlin in China [Re: Ken Iisaka] #2771902
10/12/18 03:47 PM
10/12/18 03:47 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,037
San Francisco Bay Area
master88er Offline
1000 Post Club Member
master88er  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,037
San Francisco Bay Area
Mr. Iisaka,

The REAL Mason & Hamlin has a booth at Shanghai under the name "Henry Mason." It is old news that the Mason & Hamlin folks have been fighting for years to get the rights to their name in China. At the Shanghai show, brands like Mason & Risch, Bush & Gerts, and even Ravenscroft (uprights) are to be found and have no connection to the genuine product! It is the nature of the business in China, and in the past 10 years of attending the show, I have seen many of these come and go. The use of female models is not new, and if you've ever attended NAMM in LA, the Chinese models are modest by comparison with those used in the MI section of NAMM.

But I'm curious, just what about the Yangtze River concert grand, or Kayserburg concert grand that were on display did you find to be "not concert quality?"


Russell I. Kassman
R.KASSMAN, Purveyor of Fine Pianos
Berkeley, CA

FORMER US Rep.for C.Bechstein

SF Area Dealer: Steingraeber•Grotrian•Sauter•Estonia•Kayserburg•Baldwin•Brodmann•Ritmüller
www.rkassman.com
russell@rkassman.com
510.558.0765
Re: Mason and Hamlin in China [Re: Carey] #2772753
10/15/18 02:56 PM
10/15/18 02:56 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 109
Foster City, CA, US
K
Ken Iisaka Offline
Full Member
Ken Iisaka  Offline
Full Member
K

Joined: May 2011
Posts: 109
Foster City, CA, US
Originally Posted by master88er
The REAL Mason & Hamlin has a booth at Shanghai under the name "Henry Mason." It is old news that the Mason & Hamlin folks have been fighting for years to get the rights to their name in China. At the Shanghai show, brands like Mason & Risch, Bush & Gerts, and even Ravenscroft (uprights) are to be found and have no connection to the genuine product! It is the nature of the business in China, and in the past 10 years of attending the show, I have seen many of these come and go. The use of female models is not new, and if you've ever attended NAMM in LA, the Chinese models are modest by comparison with those used in the MI section of NAMM.

But I'm curious, just what about the Yangtze River concert grand, or Kayserburg concert grand that were on display did you find to be "not concert quality?"


I will never have the level of experience and knowledge of the piano industry and pianos as you do. I am sorry to have pointed out something that is obvious and old news to you. If I had offended you, I apologize.

I did not have a chance to play a Kayserburg concert grand, but I did try a Hailun, Niendorf and several other concert grand pianos. Both appeared to be a copy of Steinway D (as are most concert grand pianos in the world) which isn't surprising, but Music China really isn't a good place to judge the quality of instruments due to literally hundreds of pianos being pounded simultaneously. However, I can certainly say that the amount of friction in the action was excessive, Hailun had a twangy bass, and that's not from being out of tune, and both were generally unpleasant to play. Niendorf fared much better. This was on the first day of Music China. First-rate makes such as Fazioli, Blüthner were clearly far superior.

I have had a chance to try Yangtze at a Parsons store alone, far far away from the cacophony however. It is again a copy of the Steinway D, except with the inner rim that looks more like a Fazioli. Again, it was quite an unsatisfying instrument. While its regulation was much better, it really didn't possess the dynamic range required for the stage. While it was lovely at mezzopiano, it really couldn't go beyond forte. The more you give, the less it responded. The sound became muddier as the volume / hammer volume increased. What I found amusing is that it too had the devil's octave,

Chinese pianos are clearly getting better, and some are tapping into European makers legitimately to improve their quality. However, I have not yet encountered an instrument that is equal to Yamahas or Kawais. However, it's just a matter of time that they produce something much better.

Originally Posted by Carey
Is the anticipated downturn in piano production/sales due to economic conditions in China - or to a declining demand for pianos by the Chinese?


It's just a number thing. With 50 million people taking piano lessons, and 5 million pianos being made every year, the demand growth is slowing down. Soon, the demand itself will go down, and when that happens, mediocre makers will disappear. It's fair to say that the piano market in China resembles that of the 1920s in the US, and the 1980s in Japan. There were hundreds of piano makes in US back then, and there were hundreds in Japan at the peak of its market. The vast majority of the makers will disappear soon as the market shrinks.

Re: Mason and Hamlin in China [Re: Ken Iisaka] #2773001
10/16/18 10:25 AM
10/16/18 10:25 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,964
Phoenix, Arizona
Carey Offline
8000 Post Club Member
Carey  Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,964
Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted by Ken Iisaka
Originally Posted by Carey
Is the anticipated downturn in piano production/sales due to economic conditions in China - or to a declining demand for pianos by the Chinese?
It's just a number thing. With 50 million people taking piano lessons, and 5 million pianos being made every year, the demand growth is slowing down. Soon, the demand itself will go down, and when that happens, mediocre makers will disappear. It's fair to say that the piano market in China resembles that of the 1920s in the US, and the 1980s in Japan. There were hundreds of piano makes in US back then, and there were hundreds in Japan at the peak of its market. The vast majority of the makers will disappear soon as the market shrinks.
Thanks for the response, Ken. I agree that the piano market in China was bound to reach a saturation point. I wasn't aware of a similar phenomenon in Japan in the 1980s - but it makes perfect sense. The piano industry in the USA was decimated in the 1930s due largely to the Great Depression - and the increased popularity of the more affordable radio and phonograph (which tended to replace the large player pianos that so many folks owned back then). The smaller (more affordable and modern looking) spinet models were developed in response to that trend.

While it may be :"old news" that the M&H "folks have been fighting for years to get the rights to their name in China" it is relatively "new news" to many of us here on PW. So I appreciated your observations regarding the Music China Trade Show.


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
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