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#215135 - 04/26/05 08:17 AM What's the best Chinese Piano?
George K Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/20/04
Posts: 999
Loc: The Midwest
(sure to get some responses here...)

In my (continuing) search for a piano, I find myself getting more than a bit confused by all the American/German labeled Chinese pianos. Nordiska, Hallet & Davis, Knabe (or is that Samick?), and all the others leave me totally befuddled.

I've played some that are pretty nice (for the price), and some that are pretty crappy (at any price). So, here's the question:

What do people here consider to be some of the better-made, better-performing Chinese brands.

Of course at the top of the list is the Steigerman (just thought I'd get that in before anyone else - I wonder who - could!). Now that Pearl River is making pianos for Steinway, I'm sure that they are at the top of the list as well (ducking).

Thanks!


George
_________________________

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#215136 - 04/26/05 09:34 AM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
hiracer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/05
Posts: 293
Loc: Puget Sound, WA
George:

Obviously, Darrel Fanrich thinks highly of the Dongbei piano, as he uses that as his starting point. Call him and he will be more than happy to explain why. It has a lot to do with the scale design. He discovered the Dongbei quite by accident at a trade show (they were adjacent) and he was taken by it immediately.

He loves to talk pianos, and is VERY knowledgeable.
_________________________
John, and my two sons play an Estonia 190 and a Samick upright.

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#215137 - 04/26/05 09:35 AM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
hiracer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/05
Posts: 293
Loc: Puget Sound, WA
Edit- - accidental double post.
_________________________
John, and my two sons play an Estonia 190 and a Samick upright.

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#215138 - 04/26/05 10:53 AM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
Paul Y Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/05
Posts: 1083
Loc: Nashua, NH
Hi George. I am not familiar enough with all the Chinese brands available in today's piano world. I can only tell you about what our company has experienced and what Larry Fine thinks about the Chinese piano market.

Our company had been selling Pearl River pianos for a few years. But we recently dropped the line due to a higher than average prep and service situation. There were just too many hours invested in make-ready (for the showroom)and pre-delivery regulation and tuning for the price sold and the realized profit levels.

As expected when I read about the connection to Steinway, the preceived value of Pearl River has risen because of the relationship! I think that is what Pearl River was hoping for! But I cannot fathom that Steinway will be pleased with the current level of Pearl River landed quality. If Steinway wasn't pleased with their relationship with Korean-built "Essex" pianos, it's hard to imagine them being thrilled with pianos made in China. But time will tell. Besides, it's JMHO(just my humble opinion).

Overall, I do realize that Chinese-built pianos are becoming a strong force in the industry. They are a rising star and are surely gaining momentum! Just find the piano that feels good, sounds good and buy it from a dealer that can honestly provide the service and preparation in the early stages of ownership. Finely-prepped and maintained, you will enjoy many years from your piano.

Good luck.
_________________________
Retired Industry Professional

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#215139 - 04/26/05 11:12 AM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
George K Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/20/04
Posts: 999
Loc: The Midwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Y:
Just find the piano that feels good, sounds good and buy it from a dealer that can honestly provide the service and preparation in the early stages of ownership. Finely-prepped and maintained, you will enjoy many years from your piano.
[/b]
If money were not an object (or at least not as serious an object!), I'd jump at a M&H AA (or A). The next "tier" down for me would probably be an Estonia or Bohemia (saw a Bohemia that was sweet, really sweet). The dealer also carried Hallet & Davis, and I was surprised at the richness of the tone and its fullness, though the action was not quite where I'd like it.

So, I ask myself (or tell myself), "I'm 55 years old, a returning intermediate student who's banging away on a 30 year old Baldwin Hamilton. Do I need a piano that'll last 50 years? Nah." It's not an investment, no one else in the house plays. It's for ME. I get the feeling (and that's all it is - a feeling) that the dealership that handles the Hallet & Davis would do a great job of prepping and all that....

Just an (outloud) thought..


George
_________________________

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#215140 - 04/26/05 11:23 AM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
Dongbei makes the Nordiska, which has Abel hammers. Pretty nice pianos at a nice price, if you give them the right prep.
_________________________
Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

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#215141 - 04/26/05 11:57 AM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
Eins Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 748
Loc: Utah
"But I cannot fathom that Steinway will be pleased with the current level of Pearl River landed quality. If Steinway wasn't pleased with their relationship with Korean-built "Essex" pianos, it's hard to imagine them being thrilled with pianos made in China."

China, USA, Germany, Japan--it doesn't really matter where, it matters how and with how much effort and commitment to quality. Quality = $$.

Quality from Germany = $$$$$$$$$$$
Quality from Japan = ............$$$$$$
Quality from China = .................$$$
(prices are estimate \:D )
Quality from the USA = what's that? ;\)

Caveat emptor.
_________________________
One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute.
-William Feather

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#215142 - 04/26/05 12:11 PM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
George K Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/20/04
Posts: 999
Loc: The Midwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Eins:

China, USA, Germany, Japan--it doesn't really matter where, it matters how and with how much effort and commitment to quality. Quality = $$.

Quality from Germany = $$$$$$$$$$$
Quality from Japan = ............$$$$$$
Quality from China = .................$$$

[/b]
As an owner of a Perzina (built in the Far East, I assume that you mean that there is more quality for the buck coming from China or Japan than from Germany, yes?


George
_________________________

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#215143 - 04/26/05 02:27 PM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
ghostclaws Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 382
Loc: Canada
"...If Steinway wasn't pleased with their relationship with Korean-built "Essex" pianos, it's hard to imagine them being thrilled with pianos made in China..."

Isn't the uncertainty of the future of Young Chang the deciding factor behind sourcing another manufacturer. I guess they could have switched to Samick but maybe the analysis done by S/S determined that they could get more bang for their bucks using a Chinese manufacturer since the credibility gap between Chinese/Korean pianos has probably been narrowing quickly in recent years.

Furthermore, can S/S not institute the requirement for Pearl River to do more extensive prepping/tuning of the Essex pianos (using S/S protocls) before they are allowed to leave the factory. It probably does cost more money per unit but it's obvious that the Essex name will command more pricing power than an average Chinese branded Chinese made piano.

GC

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#215144 - 04/26/05 02:45 PM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
ghostclaws Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 382
Loc: Canada
"...Originally posted by Eins:

China, USA, Germany, Japan--it doesn't really matter where, it matters how and with how much effort and commitment to quality. Quality = $$.

Quality from Germany = $$$$$$$$$$$
Quality from Japan = ............$$$$$$
Quality from China = .................$$$ ..."

For fear of an uprising from my fellow Estonia owners (and/or serious fans), please state where Northern European pianos fit into the above quality vs dollars chart!

...not trying to stir up troubles here!... ;\)

GC

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#215145 - 04/26/05 02:48 PM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
pete Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 796
Loc: port washington, ny, us
The best Chinese piano? One made in the Czech Republic.

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#215146 - 04/26/05 04:06 PM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
ghostclaws Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 382
Loc: Canada
DELETED...WRONG THREAD

Sorry! \:o

GC

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#215147 - 04/26/05 08:56 PM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
Eins Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 748
Loc: Utah
 Quote:
Originally posted by ghostclaws:
"...Originally posted by Eins:

China, USA, Germany, Japan--it doesn't really matter where, it matters how and with how much effort and commitment to quality. Quality = $$.

Quality from Germany = $$$$$$$$$$$
Quality from Japan = ............$$$$$$
Quality from China = .................$$$ ..."

For fear of an uprising from my fellow Estonia owners (and/or serious fans), please state where Northern European pianos fit into the above quality vs dollars chart!

...not trying to stir up troubles here!... ;\)

GC [/b]
The answer lies in the part you conveniently ommitted: 'above prices are estimates' ;\)

"As an owner of a Perzina (built in the Far East, I assume that you mean that there is more quality for the buck coming from China or Japan than from Germany, yes?"

I mean that as a German citizen who demands quality but darned well knows it has its price. Normally. Marketing investments, like Perzina, are the exception to the rule.
_________________________
One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute.
-William Feather

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#215148 - 04/26/05 09:06 PM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Eins:
"But I cannot fathom that Steinway will be pleased with the current level of Pearl River landed quality. If Steinway wasn't pleased with their relationship with Korean-built "Essex" pianos, it's hard to imagine them being thrilled with pianos made in China."

China, USA, Germany, Japan--it doesn't really matter where, it matters how and with how much effort and commitment to quality. Quality = $$.

Quality from Germany = $$$$$$$$$$$
Quality from Japan = ............$$$$$$
Quality from China = .................$$$
(prices are estimate \:D )
Quality from the USA = what's that? ;\)

Caveat emptor. [/b]
Did you make that chart? What does it mean?
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#215149 - 04/26/05 09:23 PM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
ghostclaws Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 382
Loc: Canada
apple:
Come to think of it, it's important to get behind the meaning of the chart.
I think eins is trying to quantify the relationship between quality vs cost

According to his graph,
Cost per unit quality is highest in Germany and lowest in China with American an unknown.

However, not given in the little analysis is quantified quality of German vs Japanese vs Chinese pianos

let's do a simple artificial calculation
Let's use Larry Fine's rating system for quality of pianos:
German Tier 1/2 ***** 4.5 units of quality
Japanese Tier 2/3 *** 3.5 units of quality
(C & RX)
Chinese Tier 4 ** 2 units of quality

Using these parameters, we simply multiply the two numbers and voila:
Cost/unit for German 11$
so an average German piano is 49.5$
Cost/unit for Japanese 6$
so an average Japanese piano is 21$
Cost/unit for Chinese 3$
so an average Chinese piano is 6$

Hey, not bad!!! The ratio is roughly correct!

The problem is you cannot get a Chinese piano that's in Tier 1 so even though $/unit quality is the lowest, a comparison of such a parameter with a German piano is moot at this time. If the Chinese pianos can move up to Tier 3 in the future, you can see the direct pressure it can put on Japanese piano especially if China maintains the rough advantage in terms of quality/unit.

GC

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#215150 - 04/26/05 09:50 PM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
Eins Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 748
Loc: Utah
 Quote:
Originally posted by George K:
As an owner of a Perzina (built in the Far East, I assume that you mean that there is more quality for the buck coming from China or Japan than from Germany, yes?
George [/b]
George, I think I misunderstood your post, let me try that again.

Genarally speaking, what I mean is that you can expext to pay a lot less for a quality level x coming from China vs. that level coming from Germany or Japan. It is simply because the labor is so cheap in China.

When ghostclaws stated that you can't expect a tier 1/2 piano coming from China anytime soon, I'd have to agree, but I may have another reason: I believe they can build it, but nobody would pay the price it would have to command. Even from China, it would still have to cost some more than present product from there, and it being from China, I doubt that the market would be willing to pay it (yet). In a not-so distant future, though, I can see it coming. Once they prove they can, and with a few underpriced evidence brands (such as Perzina \:D ), consumer trust will build, and the market will come to an equilibrium again. Take advantage of the investment phase now.

Of course, all this is just MHO.

Thanks ghostclaws for confirming my simplified cost comparison. I didn't know I was so close. \:\)
_________________________
One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute.
-William Feather

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#215151 - 04/27/05 05:56 AM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
Thanks GClaws - I see now. Interesting way to consider piano value..

Has anyone seen those tiny tiny Ellington consoles? If I were a piano factory I would consider making a new tiny piano (like the little ellington) for little studios, students, cramped living quarters, that might not deliver much in the way of tonal quality, but provide a great small practice instrument that would not fall apart if you played it for more than a year or two and would be easy to move.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#215152 - 04/27/05 11:24 AM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
George K Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/20/04
Posts: 999
Loc: The Midwest
Can I jump back in here.....

I started this thread with the hopes that someone can give me a reasonable comparison of the various Chinese pianos - for example what makes a Nordiska different from a Hallet & Davis? I (think I) understand, to at least some extent the comparison of workmanship, sound, and attention to detail of the European, American, Japanese, Korean and Chinese pianos.

My question however, within the realm of the Chinese, what brands do people consider to be of the higher quality. I did look at (one) Hallet and Davis that was surprisingly nice, and I've seen others that left me cold.

Comments?

Thanks,


George
_________________________

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#215153 - 04/27/05 11:40 AM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
george,

this is a question that has been discussed on here in exceptional detail. Do some searches on the various brands and you will find all the information you could ever want.. probably more.
_________________________
Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

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#215154 - 04/27/05 12:09 PM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
mamma2my3sons Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/03
Posts: 746
Loc: Midwest of the great USA
George there is some thought that Hallet-Davis, Story & Clark & Nordiska are all the same[/b] pianos.
All made in the same factory in Dongbei china (according to what I've read on these forums, Dongbei is supposed to be the *best* Chinese factory) Nordiska does claim to have Abel hammers & a letter was published here by the Factory that substantiates that. However as of last year (when I was looking) Story & Clark also claimed to have Abel hammers.

As a novice myself, if I was choosing one of the Dongbei grands, I would simply go with the one that sounded the best to me[/b] , was the least expensive & that had the best dealer support (ie prep)

As Michael said, do a search here & you will find a wealth of information.

I ended up going with a 5'9" Kohler & Campbell made in Indonesia.

Best of luck to you whatever you get.

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#215155 - 04/27/05 01:05 PM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
Eins Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 748
Loc: Utah
"My question however, within the realm of the Chinese, what brands do people consider to be of the higher quality."

Alright then, here goes...

Granted, I am biased. A Chinese piano was never on my list. I was shopping for high quality, high performance US, Japanese and European verticals under $10K selling price. But when I couldn't find anything there that I liked, a dealer steered me towards this piano that I refused at first to even look at: Gebr. Perzina, made in China. But once I opened my mind and tried it, it gave me all what I was looking for but couldn't find elsewhere. After I inspected it, researched it, tried it again and again, I was convinced to have found one of those rare Cinderellas veiled by mindfricks like name recognition, brand image, perceived quality, peer pressure, preconceptions, ignorance, you name it.

I found support in Larry Fine's current supplement*, in Del Fandrich's original comments after seeing one at the 2004 NAMM**, in Rick Clark's account*** after tuning one.

If you are looking for a great performing Chinese upright, I highly recommend looking at the Gebr. Perzina. Right now, it can be had at a genuine bargain price. Once the market grows balls to admit that such high quality and performance can come out of a Chinese factory, the price will change due to demand.


* "the best [Chinese] vertical pianos are those from the Yantai-Perzina factory" -Larry Fine

** "... the bass performance of this piano was clearly better than any other vertical piano of any size or price at the show." -Del Fandrich. Please read his comments in full context HERE

*** "Very good, exacting craftsmanship throughout. Action, keys and keybed appeared to be as nicely done as the best Euro pianos." -Rick Clark here on PW
_________________________
One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute.
-William Feather

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#215156 - 04/27/05 01:18 PM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
fong ll Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 92
Loc: Santa Clara
I am chinese.

Chinese piano company are very good now and I think best value in the world. Chinese cities factories are making improvement and doing very well in economics. Very OK only for beginner piano player.

In china best pianist still like steinway and german piano.

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#215157 - 04/29/05 01:43 PM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
mazersteven Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 184
Loc: Florida
George K,

NORDISKA
_________________________
Piano Pics

http://community.webshots.com/user/maze069

Mazer

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#215158 - 04/29/05 02:10 PM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
Mazer, what Nordiska do you have?
_________________________
Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

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#215159 - 04/29/05 02:43 PM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
mazersteven Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 184
Loc: Florida
_________________________
Piano Pics

http://community.webshots.com/user/maze069

Mazer

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#215160 - 04/29/05 10:48 PM Re: What's the best Chinese Piano?
bassoprofundo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/05
Posts: 231
George,
I am extremely satisfied with my 5'6" Steigerman from Heritage Pianos - (a few tweaks here and there). Very warm and responsive. Good action and the lower registers growl. Upper register is bell like. Good dynamic range.... all in all a good studio instrument. To date as it has played in it sounds better and better. Doesn't look bad either!!
Sure had a bias against Chinese pianos and was shocked when I tried this one!! ....for what it is worth.

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