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Estonia Pianos
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Exactly, I think the whole premise of the OP's question is outrageously false and unclear.

There are many Chinese made pianos Cunningham, Hailun, Ritmuller, and MANY others that have gotten excellent reviews in the Piano Buyer and on Piano World. And one can listen to many examples online and draw similar conclusions.

Doesn't it go without saying that a Chinese made piano will not be the equivalent of a similar sized piano costing two, three. or four times as much?

Being outrageously false and unclear is not my intent as I am not a Steinway salesman. Just kidding! Anyway, I can see the flaws in my question, so sorry for those. Perhaps the best my question can do is to take the temperature of peoples' perceptions of the quality of Chinese built pianos and why. It certainly seems to have done that. And thanks to Rich for his detailed reply. I love geeking out about pianos so all feedback is immensely valuable and interesting to me.


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Fair enough, I enjoyed reading the answers to your question.


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why always Hailun and pearlriver?

may be we can't offer the best piano in this wolrd ,but we can offer high performance price pianos for you

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Originally Posted by chen
why always Hailun and pearlriver?

may be we can't offer the best piano in this wolrd ,but we can offer high performance price pianos for you

That is maybe because these are the manufacturers in China that we know most about, most of us know little about even these manufacturers.

Could you perhaps enlighten us on which piano manufacturers exist in China, the brands they produce and maybe the markets they are mainly targeting? More information would be interesting to many of us I'm sure.

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This may be interesting to our discussion. Stilwell pianos puts 2 Chinese-made pianos in the Premium Grade A category, alongside the Kawai GX and Yamaha CX lines.

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now in china ,Three largest piano manufacturers is 1, pearlriver 120K/year 2, YAMAHA HangZhou 70K/year. 3 , Parsons music 60K/year , who is No4? Hailun maybe

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Originally Posted by chen
why always Hailun and pearlriver?

may be we can't offer the best piano in this wolrd ,but we can offer high performance price pianos for you

Hailun and Pearl River sell pianos under their own name, and have managed to make a good name for themselves. It's fairly easy to compare to Yamaha, Kawai etc. I've never heard of a Parsons piano that wasn't made for someone else (or with some other stencil name stuck on it), and the manufacturer is not known outside of the industry.

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Estonia is rated too low in that chart along with Yamaha CF. Just my opinion but I don’t think that’s a definitive scale. It’s just what Stilwell thinks. I go by Larry Fine.


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Back to the question about a Baldwin piano made today. Is it as “good and well built” as the original Baldwin. Not speaking of price. Would someone that likes the distinctive Baldwin sound get that sound in a new one?



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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
This may be interesting to our discussion. Stilwell pianos puts 2 Chinese-made pianos in the Premium Grade A category, alongside the Kawai GX and Yamaha CX lines.
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A dealer's piano ratings will almost always be influenced, at least in part, by what they sell. This does not mean I don't think the Stilwell list isn't reasonably good.

I think the Piano Buyer rankings are far better even though they are now to a large extent based on the piano's price. Those rankings, with a few exceptions, are very similar to what they were 20 years ago when they weren't price related. In addition, their specific Staff Recommendations are probably far less biased than a dealer's list.

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Originally Posted by Keybender
If you look at the mobile phone business then you will know that it doesn't NEED to be that way.

That's for sure. All the bleeding edge iPhones and other (arguably more innovative) Android brands are all manufactured in China. Many of them are designed entirely in China as well.


Originally Posted by Keybender
There is currently no tradition of high quality piano manufacturing in China.

Maybe there's an element here of us not knowing what we don't know about the local market? Aren't there some Chinese concert grands showing up in international competitions (what quickly comes to mind is the Yangtze River used in that unfortunate Tchaikovsky Competition where the Chinese pianist was blindsided by a last-minute, undisclosed program change - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6Dpy-AkGNY)?


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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
This may be interesting to our discussion. Stilwell pianos puts 2 Chinese-made pianos in the Premium Grade A category, alongside the Kawai GX and Yamaha CX lines.

This dealer's new inventory seems primarily comprised of new Hailun and midline and less expensive Seiler pianos. We've seen that before, where a "ratings chart" sort of makes sense and then there are outliers that seem 2 tiers too high or low. This specific example is far from what I'd call an egregious case, but one can tell immediately from the list what new piano they don't sell...


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Aren't there other countries in Asia that produce pianos? Why aren't people wondering about them? Why the focus on China?

Moreover, many piano brands that are not identified as made in China have Chinese-made parts. (My guess is that the vast majority of new pianos have some parts at least that were made in China.). Why aren't people wondering about the relevant parts?

Any comparison to be worth while would have to compare pianos at a given price point with other pianos at that price point. One can certainly buy a new Chinese-made piano for less than a new American-made piano. There can be no reasonable comparison, however, because there will be no American-made pianos at the relevant price point, making comparisons a useless exercise. Asking whether Chinese pianos are "inferior" is pointless without an "inferior to what" added on.

Postulate a consumer who wants a new piano. The consumer cannot afford a Steinway, a Schimmel, or a Bosendorfer, or even a Yamaha or Kawai. The only option may well be a Chinese-made piano (or perhaps Indonesian?). It is irrelevant to that consumer that the Steinway is a "better" piano--it is not better for that consumer, because if the Steinway were the only one around, the consumer would have no piano at all.

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Originally Posted by Rank Piano Amateur
[...]
Any comparison to be worth while would have to compare pianos at a given price point with other pianos at that price point. One can certainly buy a new Chinese-made piano for less than a new American-made piano. There can be no reasonable comparison, however, because there will be no American-made pianos at the relevant price point, making comparisons a useless exercise. Asking whether Chinese pianos are "inferior" is pointless without an "inferior to what" added on.

[...]

Yes; that's more or less my line of thought on the question.

Regards,


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Originally Posted by TomLC
Back to the question about a Baldwin piano made today. Is it as “good and well built” as the original Baldwin. Not speaking of price. Would someone that likes the distinctive Baldwin sound get that sound in a new one?


The answer is no. The original Baldwin designs are no longer in production. The new Baldwin line made in China are complete redesigns. They cannot be compared to the original Baldwin (USA Made) pianos of any era.

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Originally Posted by j&j
Estonia is rated too low in that chart along with Yamaha CF. Just my opinion but I don’t think that’s a definitive scale. It’s just what Stilwell thinks. I go by Larry Fine.
Agreed. Wonder what the criteria this dealer is using to make these selections. Curious to know the difference between a "performance" piano vs. a "premium" piano. Odd to see Estonia lumped in with Petrof (just because both are Eastern Euro pianos?)


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A Brodmann PE187/BG187 whatever the designation is now - it's the same piano as the Wilhelm Steinberg 188, I think the Schönbrunn 187 is also the same piano, etc. Anyway it's the Parsons Music 6'2 scale design piano, sold under numerous brand names, with either a wood action (branded Langer, made entirely by Parsons, that's OK), or the carbon fibre mix action (I don't know where this is made). They're also available with Renner actions, and they are available with Laukhuff Keyboards which are pretty much equal to Kluge keyboards, or no doubt they could put in a Kluge keyboard at cost...

Anyway these pianos are facsimiles of the Hamburg Steinway A. They've copied everything from the plate design, to the sound bell underneath. The thing is that somehow the facsimile doesn't come out in anything like the same quality as a real Steinway A. You can clearly hear the reason why a Steinway A costs $90,000 (or whatever it is now) and the Parsons product costs c. $20,000. For some players, there isn't enough of a difference in sound. To some players who aren't professional pianists, and they want an occasional piano to play, or the young student who needs a good start, the Parsons product will be excellent for them. It isn't going to open the door to great heights of artistry but it will be a piano that's good enough - more than good enough - to learn notes on and learn technique on. For a singing teacher's studio where the piano isn't going to endure 8 hours a day of heavy work, the Parsons product will be absolutely fine.

The short answer to the question in my opinion - is a Chinese piano inferior to presumably you mean the best of the European and American pianos, and now we can add Australian pianos to that mix too. Well, they're a lot cheaper. If you take out the price as a factor and look at the pianos as objectively as you can, and somehow imagine both instruments at the same price then yes the Chinese piano is inferior. Is it inferior in every way? Possibly not - it may well have the same quality of hammer heads, it may well have the same quality of pin block, etc. A piano has to be more than a list of components though.

Are the Chinese capable of making, and in fact do they make pianos that are of very good quality, will last a long time and produce pleasing musical result? Yes. They do. I would say that the Chinese piano of 2020 is probably far superior to, say, an average English piano of 1920. They're far more precise. I would say that a 120cm Ritmüller or Feurich upright from 2020 is of better quality than a Knight upright of 1970 or a Challen of 1950. If you owned a Blüthner or Bechstein upright from 1920 and you needed to have it rebuilt for heavy practice, would you be better to do that or spend less money buying a 130cm Hailun/Feurich? Well there are many factors involved but if you take sentiment out of the way, you're probably not going to be disappointed with the Hailun. Rebuilding depends on the rebuilder.

I can't speak for Rich Galassini, but I would hazard a guess that while the Cunningham is a good piano, I'm not sure that even he'd be expecting it to do what a new Bösendorfer can do, but nor would that be a fair comparison.

The question is quite difficult to answer. I would think that if the Chinese produce a piano that is equal in quality to Hamburg Steinway or Bösendorfer - and I don't doubt that they could if they wanted to - they'd end up pricing it accordingly and you wouldn't buy that piano because it was cheaper, because likely it wouldn't be cheaper.


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Yep, that chart stinks. Yamaha CFX not in the Grade A category... yeah, OK.


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I think we should have a thread where we all do our own ratings chart.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
This may be interesting to our discussion. Stilwell pianos puts 2 Chinese-made pianos in the Premium Grade A category, alongside the Kawai GX and Yamaha CX lines.

A dealer's piano ratings will almost always be influenced, at least in part, by what they sell. This does not mean I don't think the Stilwell list isn't reasonably good.

I think the Piano Buyer rankings are far better even though they are now to a large extent based on the piano's price. Those rankings, with a few exceptions, are very similar to what they were 20 years ago when they weren't price related. In addition, their specific Staff Recommendations are probably far less biased than a dealer's list.


Do any piano dealers have input into, or influence over, the staff picks or good value designations at PianoBuyer?


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