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Joined: Apr 2015
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Just got back home from a trip to quite literally the other side of the earth, and wanted to post this fantastic experience.

Had to make a trip to Philadelphia for work recently, and being a bit (ok… a lot) of a piano nerd, of course, the first thing I looked up was the Cunningham Piano Company. Amazingly, their Flagship store was 5 minute walk from my hotel, so of course I had to make a visit.

Still jet lagged having arrived the night before, I was greeted by Rich, who must have noticed my bloodshot eyes and immediately offered me coffee. Although, with or without bloodshot eyes, I think that was just an introductory glimpse of Rich’s hospitality. We talked a little, and he started showing me around the showroom floor… and floored I was!

Boesendorfers, Estonias, Yamahas, Kawais, Baldwin, Mason & Hamlins and the of course the Cunninghams... some incredible instruments, talk about a candy store! Having been to a number of piano stores in the past, Rich’s approach was unique, open and generously inviting me to play on their collection of some of the finest instruments made today.

When presented with such a collection of instruments, it’s almost impossible to decide on a favourite, but the 7” Boesendorfer 225 and the Estonia 190 (?) really stood out. The Estonia had this smooth dark bass set alongside a very clear and clean treble, the word that comes to my mind is “calming”. The Boesendorfer, well, I just got lost in the sound. The Matchless Cunningham 5'10" was a joy to play, beautifully resonant piano, and an instrument worthy of taking on the name of this great establishment.

Rich’s hospitality extended further by suggesting a tour of their factory. Fascinated by the internal workings of a piano having fiddled a bit on my own piano, and the reputation of their quality of rebuilds, who could say no?

Turned out to be a bit of a journey to get there the following day, with the weather in Philadelphia on that day, it ended up taking more than 1 hour to get there by Uber. But in hindsight, worth every second. Some pictures.

On approaching the factory... cloudy day, but great day to be doing a tour of the factory!
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/h0pF95wNltngqVZ73[/img]

Entering the factory, I was greeted by a Matchless Cunningham.
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/qxmd8ribaZxa2yUW2[/img]

And ofcourse by the gracious host, along with one of his many employees who all seemed to be passionate and enjoying what they do.
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/8AORhIorA15dpvlN2[/img]

The factory not only has acoustics (mostly), it also has some hybrids laying around. An NU1 I believe.
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/DrvTRBe1lnpLCSEi1[/img]

And its action
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/Rvd0hJDzfNI9Xx7r1[/img]

A Bosie being restrung
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/NIRNYGjKUe4JGgao1[/img]

And its action
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/7j1T5HaOrEvDDeXs1[/img]

Pianos come from all over the country for rebuilds, quite a number happening at the same time
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/Foq2nF4wKEE34q3m2[/img]

An "abridged" grand... bad joke...
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/mI9YugvENhuiYq2v2[/img]

Gluing the soundboard onto the inner rim...
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/pgRDWekTMl7IriK72[/img]

A fascinating contraption to hold the crown on a soundboard. The factory builds its own soundboard, how cool! smile
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/Zki8K0lATVSXS0Q62[/img]

A soundboard being finished off
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/g10gmrxfNyPEtWRP2[/img]

A frame being completely stripped down
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/L6OEbiHlEBzwEz1g2[/img]

Some buffing to make it all shiney
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/Rv2H43KmVqQ22wPm2[/img]

I guess re-staining the wood?
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/9w6BKlxNUEIjCttq2[/img]

Dampers anyone? Wonder if anyone sprays their dampers to some outrageous colours... like green. smile
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZWA1irpo3KjHGJ712[/img]

A (nearly?) complete Steinway
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/ixMnnAXNxngMwKXy2[/img]

Thanks again Rich, Tim and the puppies for your welcome to the shop and also the factory. Truly a highlight of my very long journey to the other side of the globe!


Last edited by UnderConstruction; 04/22/18 10:06 AM.

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Sans the overhead flourescents and the microwave, I'd say the factory still looks like it did 100 years ago.... smile


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That's a very cool experience! The next time I visit that area, I am going to visit the Cunningham Piano Company as well!



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Thanks so much for sharing the experience and including some great pictures too!

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Sounds like next time I go down to Philly I should stop there, that could be as early as the 13th.


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Thanks for the post and pictures, UnderConstruction! One of these days I'm hoping to make it by there too. If you can make it from down under, then I should be able to make it from 2 states away... wink


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Dear UnderConstruction,

Sorry it took so long for me to respond to this, but I had a blast with you, as I usually do with anyone who really appreciates pianos. As you know, this is a passion for me - and my entire staff. We live for this stuff and some of my people have relocated from famous manufacturers or moved from a long distance away to work with us.

Thank you again for visiting. I hope to see you again!


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Company
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(215) 991-0834 direct
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UnderConstruction,

One small correction after looking at your photos. The action you state as coming from a Bösendorfer actually came from a Steinway. I believe you did take a photo of the action from that Bösendorfer we were stringing.... but that just wasn't it. smile

Cheers!


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Company
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Sounds like a nice trip! Next time I'm in Philadelphia, I'd love to get there.


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Rich G,

Are there still Cunninghams available to see at Kim's on this coast?

TIA,


Kurt


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Originally Posted by KurtZ
Rich G,

Are there still Cunninghams available to see at Kim's on this coast?

TIA,


Kurt


Hi Kurt,

I believe he has stock. I would call ahead and speak with Benjamin Kim if you can. Interestingly, they sold a larger Cunningham to a professor of music who wound up buying it to take to China with her. Sorry, I do not know the details, but I was very happy to hear that.

Let me know your thoughts if you are able to get there.


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Company
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(215) 991-0834 direct
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Was this the King of Prussia location? I'll have to come visit next time I visit my sister (down in Aston).


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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
UnderConstruction,

One small correction after looking at your photos. The action you state as coming from a Bösendorfer actually came from a Steinway. I believe you did take a photo of the action from that Bösendorfer we were stringing.... but that just wasn't it. smile

Cheers!


Ah, oops... yes, the Steinway action that was enjoying hanging out by the Boesendorfer getting some new teeths (pins) smile

Thanks again Rich and Tim for everything, only if there were more piano stores of your caliber around!

Last edited by UnderConstruction; 04/27/18 08:07 AM.

Still deciding whether I am playing for fun or playing to improve... leaning towards fun :-)
2017 Feurich 218

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