Bye,Bye Baldwin

Posted by: Swell-Schimmel

Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/10/08 08:29 PM

Baldwin shut it's doors.
Posted by: Marty in Minnesota

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/10/08 08:52 PM

Say What?
Posted by: FormerFF

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/10/08 08:56 PM

double post - deleted.
Posted by: FormerFF

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/10/08 08:57 PM

The Trumann factory is shutting down, not all of Baldwin.
Posted by: scepticalforumguy

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/10/08 09:01 PM

I think Gibson is making a big mistake. I just hope that they have the foresight to keep the factory in working condition until the economic situation changes so they can reopen when needed.
Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/10/08 09:01 PM

And then there were three.

What a shame. \:\( \:\(
Posted by: TX-Dennis

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/10/08 09:12 PM

This is very sad. I really love Baldwin artist grands. I always figured that if/when I upgraded to a bigger piano it would be a Baldwin. I guess that dream is now gone. I wonder if they will try to produce them in China, or if they are just gone away.
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/10/08 09:15 PM

No financial bailouts for the piano industry, I reckon.

Dang. \:\(

Steven
Posted by: Bob

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/10/08 09:43 PM

Does this mean we will see Dong-baldwins? (Dongbei) Or is the grand production moving to Gibson's?
Posted by: Terry C.

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/10/08 10:21 PM

Very SAD INDEED!!! \:\( I agree that the Baldwin Artist grands are a pianos!


Terry C.
Posted by: Terry C.

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/10/08 10:23 PM

Meant to say that Baldwin Artist grands are great pianos! Sorry!


Terry C.
Posted by: TX-Dennis

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/10/08 10:39 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Bob:
Does this mean we will see Dong-baldwins? (Dongbei) Or is the grand production moving to Gibson's? [/b]
Dongwin? Baldbei? Hmm . . . you may be onto something there. Gibson Artist Grands produced in Nashville. \:D
Posted by: Norbert

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 12:10 AM

I recently visited a dealer who carried new Baldwins, he only sold a few in over a year.

The uprights were almost pathetic, the grands just soso.

Needless to say such meagre efforts are not enough in today's world of super competitive piano making.

Laugh all you want, but some of the better Chinese today would be sounding like Premium pianos besides some of the recent Baldwins I saw.

Feeling like the German soldier in the Normandy shouting "the Allies are coming" I was heavily ridiculed here only few years ago when pointing out the mass of new Chinese pianos coming onto market, many of which started to impress with a tone quality never seen [heard] before.

Instead of being accused of 'promoting Chinese pianos' - as I inevitably was quickly after - the smart ones in the industry should have recognized mine as well as those of many other industry professionals at least a bit of a warning that things were perhaps changing out there and to be on the look out for themselves.

I can only hope we'll do better with our own auto industry next... \:o

Nostalgia and wishful thinking won't cut it any longer.

There will be more piano makers that will have to go - better brace yourself for some more unexpected moves and surprises in the near future.

Norbert \:\(
Posted by: Avantgardenabi

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 12:15 AM

This is stunning...

Now Baldwin is not making pianos in the United States? \:\(
Posted by: Swell-Schimmel

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 12:55 AM

So at what year of manufacturing of Baldwin did they turn from great or good pianos to poor pianos? I only ask because a used 6' baldwin is in the mix of pianos that I'm considering for a Christmas present for my wife. I'm also looking at used Knabe's and Yamaha's as well.
Posted by: Ric Overton

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 12:57 AM

I am very sad. Both as a former employee and as a dealer.

Ric Overton
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 01:06 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Swell-Gulbransen:
So at what year of manufacturing of Baldwin did they turn from great or good pianos to poor pianos? I only ask because a used 6' baldwin is in the mix of pianos that I'm considering for a Christmas present for my wife. I'm also looking at used Knabe's and Yamaha's as well. [/b]
What Norbert said is the first I've heard of any descent into "poor" or "pathetic" territory, and he doesn't make clear just what the problems were, i.e., whether they were built badly or just poorly prepped.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ric Overton:
I am very sad. Both as a former employee and as a dealer. [/b]
Ric, do you have any further information about what happens to the Artist Grands now?

Unfortunately, that article in the Trumann newspaper is the only mention I could find so far in the media when I googled this sad announcement.

Steven
Posted by: Swell-Schimmel

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 01:48 AM

I was at a local Baldwin dealer here in Las Vegas this afternoon. That is were I heard about it. Steinway and Yamaha are their main lines however.
Posted by: charleslang

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 01:56 AM

Pretty remarkable that in a country of 300 million a company making pianos with less than 100 employees and a brand as valuable as Baldwin can't sell enough to pay the rent. Even if the economy's bad you'd think they could sell the required few hundred pianos per year nationwide. Plenty of European companies manage to do it, as someone said over in another thread.

It makes me sad too. I always thought I'd get a Baldwin grand someday. With also the news from the auto industry I have the feeling we Americans just don't have things together these days.
Posted by: jrcallan

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 05:31 AM

Will Gibson honor warranties on the new pianos that dealers will sell off now?

Continuing parts availability?

Maybe there are some deals to be had?
Posted by: 88Key_PianoPlayer

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 06:06 AM

If they could ever get back on their feet, is there any possible way they could bring back the Hamilton models/designs from the 1950s to early 1960s? Those have been some of the best verticals under 48" I have played. I don't care nearly so much for the newer ones, though, especially mid 1980s forward.
Posted by: NoctuGranes

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 08:28 AM

I have a 6000 (big vertical) from the early 90's that I think is a wonderful instrument. I'm selling it to a (lucky) friend as I take delivery of my rebuilt Baldwin C. I also think their smaller 243's are excellent.

The grands will still be around for rebuilding. I've seen at least three different rebuilders selling them, so don't dash those dreams yet. (Charles, Dennis!)

Norbert: vague negative comments like yours didn't help either. Yes, it's been hard to find nice Baldwin's on showroom floors lately. Put your brands back in your sig.

I knew it was over when I saw the stupid paint jobs...
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 09:20 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by NoctuGranes:
I have a 6000 (big vertical) from the early 90's that I think is a wonderful instrument. I'm selling it to a (lucky) friend as I take delivery of my rebuilt Baldwin C. I also think their smaller 243's are excellent.

The grands will still be around for rebuilding. I've seen at least three different rebuilders selling them, so don't dash those dreams yet. (Charles, Dennis!)

Norbert: vague negative comments like yours didn't help either. Yes, it's been hard to find nice Baldwin's on showroom floors lately. Put your brands back in your sig.

I knew it was over when I saw the stupid paint jobs... [/b]
I have to agree, when I saw some of the crazy cabinets they were coming out with I figured they were grasping at straws.

I worked for a dealer selling Baldwin pianos in the early 80s. They were in Avon CT (high-rent district).
Sold a lot of pianos because they were the "accent" needed for the room (usually chosen by the decorator).
Mostly the R.

We also kept the local concert piano for artist playing in the Hartford area.
They were still highly regarded pianos back then.

Hate to see them stop completely, then we lose another vernerable old brand.
Posted by: Kymber

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 09:37 AM

OH NO!!!!
Balwin was on my top three list for acoustic pianos.

Well I guess that narrows the choices down...

\:\( sadness
Posted by: Rank Piano Amateur

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 09:44 AM

I agree with a suggestion made by Noctugranes. Norbert: I very much enjoy your posts, but you should put your brands back in your signature line. I looked up your site, and you sell some wonderful brands, but it would be helpful to have this information included up front. The fact that you sell competing brands is useful information. It does not, of course, necessarily undercut the accuracy of what you say, but it is information worth having when weighing competing views. By the way, I believe that all dealers should include this information in their signature lines, for the same reason.

I am also sad about Baldwin. I hope that the glorious American piano tradition can continue in the few wonderful brands still being made and sold, and that there are no nasty surprises ahead as we all try to weather this economic catastrophe.
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 09:56 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano World:
I worked for a dealer selling Baldwin pianos in the early 80s. They were in Avon CT (high-rent district).

We also kept the local concert piano for artist playing in the Hartford area.
They were still highly regarded pianos back then.

Hate to see them stop completely, then we lose another vernerable old brand. [/b]
I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Baldwins. Taught at the local studios (Boston north) for about 15 yrs. Had about 40 students so got to play a lot of Baldwins. Same era Frank!

North Shore studio carried the concert grand (for concerts) so loved playing it when time allowed. I rushed to it after a Chuck Mangione concert (to play where his fingers touched!!!) Told the owners not to wipe down the keys and 'others' might get a thrill too!

(Dont' laugh - I've come a long way since then!!!)

;\)

Sad to hear of this plant closing.
Posted by: apple*

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 10:00 AM

i love SF10s....they are such fine pianos.. i hope they maintain a market presence somehow.
Posted by: sophial

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 10:53 AM

A very sad day for the piano industry indeed. My aunt had a Baldwin grand that I loved to play as a kid-- I'd visit her house to play the "real" piano (we had a spinet at home) and it was there I first got a sense of how really "grand" a piano could be.

We can only hope the remaining American piano makers continue and weather this economic crisis. For those around here who seem to look for every opportunity to pull down Steinway-- be careful what you wish for.

Sophia
Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 11:02 AM

As to the future, I see nothing that says Baldwin is gone, just that they are ceasing production in the US.

If this is so, warranties would still be honored.
Posted by: Ric Overton

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 11:13 AM

There are a lot of speculations out there. I can assure you that Baldwin is not gone forever, but, a bit of changes are sorely needed. I still believe in Baldwin and know that we will work through this.

Thanks

Ric Overton
Posted by: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 12:05 PM

It is sad Baldwin is having trouble again. They may surprise us yet!!!

That being said, can we truly be surprised for an American company having trouble when dealers/consumers support off shore manufactures so strongly.

If you want Americans/Canadians to have jobs we have to support them when we can.
Posted by: Alex Hernandez

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 12:31 PM

This is very sad indeed. \:\(

I only hope that Baldwin will find a champion like Mason & Hamlin did with the Burgett family and re-establish themselves someday.
Posted by: mikhailoh

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/11/08 09:58 PM

The new Baldwin grands I played last year were first rate - they sounded like Baldwins from the 50's and early 60's. Gorgeous.
Posted by: RachFan

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 12:56 AM

The demise of Baldwin is devastating news. Sadly, this is probably a predictable turn of events when a venerable piano maker is moved south for cheaper labor rates while leaving many of its master craftsmen behind; principles of soap manufacturing are methodically applied to piano building; the operation is then run by a guitar company; the guitar company refuses to honor prior Baldwin warranties to ingratiate itself with its loyal customer base; an effective and successful dealership network is jettisoned by "management"; instruments become mere "units" in the eyes of the strummers; resources are squandered on the side-shows of Wurlitzer and faux-Chickering pianos; suggested retail prices are raised into the stratosphere with previously successful discounting strategies abandoned; and Mason & Hamlin is passively allowed to displace Baldwin as principal domestic competitor to NY Steinway. This is usually not the way it's taught in business school. But heck, what do I know? I'm just a Baldwin pianist playing a Model L Artist Grand.
Posted by: charleslang

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 01:10 AM

Maybe they'll come back. They went bankrupt twice before, right? Anyone know if they stopped production at those times? It just seems hard for me to imagine that there isn't demand for the artist grands at least.

And it seemed like they had a good market niche: they were the 'Americana' brand, the pop and folk acoustic piano. Steinway and MasonHamlin just don't have that profile. Who is going to fill that niche??
Posted by: theJourney

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 02:34 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by NoctuGranes:
I knew it was over when I saw the stupid paint jobs... [/b]
Yeah. I was still waiting for them to make one with the same fake mother-of-pearle look as on the Baldwin Bowling Balls.
Posted by: FogVilleLad

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 03:22 AM

Ric, [/b]if the owners want Baldwin to retain/regain its status, they might want to think thru what would be needed, to retain/regain their dealer network.
Posted by: Larry Larson

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 07:15 AM

Wow, this is terrible news. I'm grateful to have this forum as a place to share my sadness. I fell in love with Baldwins when I took lessons in the late 70's; my teacher had a couple Baldwin Hamiltons in his studio. I bought a new Hamilton in 2001 and absolutely love it. Then I bought a 1995 Baldwin L 6'2" grand last year, and love it as well. I can't say I'm surprised that they closed the Trumann factory. When they raised prices through the roof I found it hard to imagine them competing with some of the very good pianos coming out of China, especially Broadmann. I was in San Diego about a year ago and I met Ric Overton at his PianoSD store. Like me, Ric is a true Baldwin lover. In addition to Baldwins, he sells Brodmann. He let me practice at his store every day, and let me use a Brodmann grand for a little concert I gave for some friends. It was amazingly good, especially for the price. He also had an incredibly well prepped new Baldwin L that was probably the best L I have ever played. But even so, if I were in the market for a new grand, I would find it hard to justify paying so much more for an L over the Brodmann. So, Norbert, you were right in your predictions, but have a little sympathy for those of us who feel like we have lost an old friend. Larry
Posted by: charleslang

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 03:51 PM

Maybe Samick will pick them up. They seem to be becoming the new Aeolian, with KohlerCampbell, Knabe, Bechstein, Seiler, Sohmer.
Posted by: RachFan

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 04:12 PM

An Aeolian-like rebirth for Baldwin as a stencil piano would be a fate worse than death. Samick can't make a decent piano with its own name on the fall board never mind make a real upper tier high-performance piano. What would benefit Baldwin would be a U.S. private investor rescue opportunity similar to that given to Mason & Hamlin.
Posted by: sleepy

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 04:13 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Rank Piano Amateur:
I agree with a suggestion made by Noctugranes. Norbert: I very much enjoy your posts, but you should put your brands back in your signature line. I looked up your site, and you sell some wonderful brands, but it would be helpful to have this information included up front. The fact that you sell competing brands is useful information. It does not, of course, necessarily undercut the accuracy of what you say, but it is information worth having when weighing competing views. By the way, I believe that all dealers should include this information in their signature lines, for the same reason.[/b]
As a matter of fact, this is not only a fine suggestion, but it is one of the few rules of Piano World Forums. Not sure why the moderators and owner do not enforce this.
Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 04:19 PM

You all seem to be coming from the position that Baldwin is out of business or bankrupt. I see NOTHING to indicate that.

From what I see, Baldwin simply closed the Truman plant. The designs, patents, and trademarks are still owned by Gibson. And, I see nothing to indicate that they have closed their factory in China.

I think it unfair to Baldwin for anyone to imply in their posts that Baldwin is gone, unless they really are.
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 05:06 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Cohen:
You all seem to be coming from the position that Baldwin is out of business or bankrupt. I see NOTHING to indicate that.

From what I see, Baldwin simply closed the Truman plant. The designs, patents, and trademarks are still owned by Gibson. And, I see nothing to indicate that they have closed their factory in China.

I think it unfair to Baldwin for anyone to imply in their posts that Baldwin is gone, unless they really are. [/b]
You're absolutely right, and I think it was worth pointing that out.

But IMHO the direness of the news is due to fact that the Artist Grands are the "real" Baldwins upon which the marque's fame and reputation has always rested. They're wonderful pianos, and if they're no longer made in the U.S.—or no longer made anywhere—it's a lamentable loss.

Steven
Posted by: Swell-Schimmel

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 05:17 PM

Well as I indicted earlier. I got this information from the local Baldwin dealer. They indicted that no new Baldwins were coming to their store. So I would ask the question to the other Baldwin dealers on this forum, what is the word you are getting from your Baldwin supplier?
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 05:27 PM

According to the article in the Trumann Democrat dated December 8, 2008, the announcement of the layoffs and the halt to production was made one week ago, on December 5, to the Trumann Chamber of Commerce. And yet I still can't find a single other mention to this event!

Obviously, what happens in the piano industry won't grab the headlines in the way that the roiling events in the auto industry do, and there's a lot of competing bad news currently. Still, I find it very strange that such an occurrence involving a very famous maker—even to the non-musical public—would go unreported in any other news media.

Steven
Posted by: charleslang

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 05:35 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:


Obviously, what happens in the piano industry won't grab the headlines in the way that the roiling events in the auto industry do, and there's a lot of competing bad news currently. Still, I find it very strange that such an occurrence involving a very famous maker—even to the non-musical public—would go unreported in any other news media.

Steven [/b]
I do think we sometimes overestimate our (the piano-literate community's) relevance to the general public. I know a lot of people who don't even know about the prestige of the Steinway brand, let alone Baldwin. And we're talking less than 100 layoffs, in a month when the US economy lost tens of thousands (or something along those lines).
Posted by: Bob

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 07:47 PM

Charles Lang said "I know a lot of people who don't even know about the prestige of the Steinway brand, let alone Baldwin."

That wasn't the case when I grew up. Sad how things have changed. When Gibson bought Dongbei I predicted we would see Chinese built Baldwins. That's what I would do if I made those decisions. Just think, a Chinese Baldwin M starting at 13k.
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 07:52 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Bob:
Charles Lang said "I know a lot of people who don't even know about the prestige of the Steinway brand, let alone Baldwin."

That wasn't the case when I grew up. Sad how things have changed.... [/b]
Same here, and I guess I still see the world through the same lens. Steinway and Baldwin were the two top-quality American piano brands, and "everyone" knew that (just like they knew Hertz and Avis)—from folks who weren't musically inclined to those of us who were but whose families could only afford Kimballs and Wurlitzers.

Steven
Posted by: TX-Dennis

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 08:27 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Bob:
Charles Lang said "I know a lot of people who don't even know about the prestige of the Steinway brand, let alone Baldwin."

That wasn't the case when I grew up. Sad how things have changed. When Gibson bought Dongbei I predicted we would see Chinese built Baldwins. That's what I would do if I made those decisions. Just think, a Chinese Baldwin M starting at 13k. [/b]
Bob, if the quality is there, I will be one of their first customers. Not an M, though. It would have to be an L or larger to be worth the upgrade.
Posted by: PianoDreamer1531

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 08:53 PM

Very sad..I was hoping that when I became around the age of 18-25..that I could purchase place a beautiful baldwin grand in my house (ish only 13)...

Baldwin have always been my favorite! I wanted a baldwin grand but we decided to buy a Yamaha U3 piano \:D

Bye Baldwin!
Posted by: mikhailoh

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/12/08 10:18 PM

How do you think I feel? My father worked fro Baldwin in the 60's then had a dealership in the 70's and 80's. I grew up with Baldwin.
Posted by: Larry Larson

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/13/08 09:38 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by TX-Dennis:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bob:
Charles Lang said "I know a lot of people who don't even know about the prestige of the Steinway brand, let alone Baldwin."

That wasn't the case when I grew up. Sad how things have changed. When Gibson bought Dongbei I predicted we would see Chinese built Baldwins. That's what I would do if I made those decisions. Just think, a Chinese Baldwin M starting at 13k. [/b]
Bob, if the quality is there, I will be one of their first customers. Not an M, though. It would have to be an L or larger to be worth the upgrade. [/b]
Well, that would be an interesting scenario if they started making the Artist series (M,R and L) in China. The "Hamilton" grands that Baldwin has been making in China have been nothing exceptional, but if they kept the specs the same for the Artist grands and built them carefully in China, there's no reason those pianos could not be competitive if they were marketed properly. If I remember right, Ric Overton told me that production of the Hamilton 243 studio upright has switched to China, and that the quality is very good. So if that happened with the M's R's and L's, that could work out well. I will not miss the crazy color schemes if they decide to drop those. Larry
Posted by: RachFan

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/13/08 10:27 AM

I totally agree on the crazy color schemes. I deeply believe that the only color that befits an upper tier grand is black--period.
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/13/08 10:35 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by theJourney:
 Quote:
Originally posted by NoctuGranes:
I knew it was over when I saw the stupid paint jobs... [/b]
Yeah. I was still waiting for them to make one with the same fake mother-of-pearle look as on the Baldwin Bowling Balls. [/b]
I never understood it at all, except insofar as the garishness made me wonder if it was an homage to perhaps the most famous (and infamous) Baldwin artist of all—Liberace!

The outlandishness of those finishes would have made him proud, but his tastes aren't widely considered worthy of emulation. What were they thinking? It seemed so misguided.

Steven
Posted by: Ric Overton

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/13/08 10:52 AM

The original plan of the custom grands was to show that we could do anything. For example, if you have a particular color scheme in your home, hotel, restraunt,etc. that the customer wanted us to match, we could. I made a purple one for a ministry in Nashville with the signatures of the pastors on the fall board. More recently I matched the tables and cabinets of a big club. I don't think any of us intended for it to take the road that it took, but, it did and we couldnt stop it.

That was the original idea of the custom grands. It is a great plan but, not on the level it became.

Ric Overton
Posted by: charleslang

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/13/08 01:33 PM

As a potential customer of Baldwin I was pretty surprised when I went into a dealer recently and found a brand new Hamilton on the floor done in the celebratory 'Gibson' scheme with sunburst pattern (limited edition, with electric guitar necks as legs, those idiots) and the custom work right there on the front top panel had big cracks in it. The cracks were visible from five feet away.

Clearly something had dried out and/or shrunk in the inlay work between the factory and showroom or after it was on the showroom for a while. All I could think was that it was actually making a worse impression being there than if it weren't there at all.

It apparently was a not so subtle sign that Gibson and Baldwin do not go well together!!
Posted by: Larry Larson

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/13/08 02:22 PM

I bet Liberace would have thought they were too garish. I remember looking at each of the custom pianos on the Baldwin website. There were some combinations of wood finishes that actually looked very nice.
Posted by: 88Key_PianoPlayer

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/13/08 02:57 PM

Ric do you have any 45" or taller Chinese-made Baldwins on the floor? Last time I was there I don't remember seeing any Hamiltons or 6000s (except a couple US-made models).
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/13/08 03:06 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Ric Overton:
The original plan of the custom grands was to show that we could do anything. For example, if you have a particular color scheme in your home, hotel, restraunt,etc. that the customer wanted us to match, we could. I made a purple one for a ministry in Nashville with the signatures of the pastors on the fall board. More recently I matched the tables and cabinets of a big club. I don't think any of us intended for it to take the road that it took, but, it did and we couldnt stop it.

That was the original idea of the custom grands. It is a great plan but, not on the level it became.

Ric Overton [/b]
Ric,

The theory makes sense the way you present it, but I'm thinking some focus groups and market research would have indicated they shouldn't take it too far.

As they say, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should".

My background includes Internet Marketing, Ecommerce (development, marketing, and management), project management (web sites), and usability testing and design. (And no comments from the peanut gallery, I know Piano World needs a make over)

I've been in meetings where I've thought... "you can't be serious". I've also been out voted :-)
Posted by: Ric Overton

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/13/08 04:01 PM

88 key - No I have just about sold out of Baldwin. There is an L-1, R-1 and M-1 left of my inventory. However, I have had the Chinese version fo the 243 and it was a nice piano. The larger pianos have accu just hitch pins and a nice scale design.

Piano World - I agree completely with your sentiments. However, as you know sometimes owners dont listen to anyone except the voices in thier heads. If you could prove a track record or produce customers to back up your thougths or assumptions then perhaps "crazy ideas" may have some merit.

http://www.gibson.com/en%2Dus/Divisions/.../High%2DRoller/

This links should say it all. You will have to copy and paste.

Ric Overton
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/13/08 04:07 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Ric Overton:
88 key - No I have just about sold out of Baldwin. There is an L-1, R-1 and M-1 left of my inventory. However, I have had the Chinese version fo the 243 and it was a nice piano. The larger pianos have accu just hitch pins and a nice scale design.

Piano World - I agree completely with your sentiments. However, as you know sometimes owners dont listen to anyone except the voices in thier heads. If you could prove a track record or produce customers to back up your thougths or assumptions then perhaps "crazy ideas" may have some merit.

http://www.gibson.com/en%2Dus/Divisions/.../High%2DRoller/

This links should say it all. You will have to copy and paste.

Ric Overton [/b]
Yikes!

You're right Ric, the link says it all :-)
Posted by: charleslang

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/13/08 04:17 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Ric Overton:
88 key - No I have just about sold out of Baldwin. There is an L-1, R-1 and M-1 left of my inventory. However, I have had the Chinese version fo the 243 and it was a nice piano. The larger pianos have accu just hitch pins and a nice scale design.

Piano World - I agree completely with your sentiments. However, as you know sometimes owners dont listen to anyone except the voices in thier heads. If you could prove a track record or produce customers to back up your thougths or assumptions then perhaps "crazy ideas" may have some merit.

http://www.gibson.com/en%2Dus/Divisions/.../High%2DRoller/

This links should say it all. You will have to copy and paste.

Ric Overton [/b]
Oh man that's right on I think. It sure does. That paint job is a passive-aggressive expression of "I hate this big clunky thing so get it out of my life and let me go have fun". It brings to mind how differently the Chinese view the piano culturally these days. There's an attitude of respect for a piano shown in this Chinese video just as an example. It's no wonder they're taking over the business if their younger generation takes classical music this seriously:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xx2h9Zuvmw
Posted by: Ric Overton

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/13/08 04:20 PM

This piano retails for approximately $75,000.00. I was told by my rep that is was VERY saleable. But, my requests to make the dice fuzzy was turned down.

Ric
Posted by: charleslang

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/13/08 04:20 PM

It just made me think that maybe it's time to have a piano performance in the US where the performer take a chainsaw to a concert grand.

I think music is at that point. People broke away from tonality, then they broke away from using the keys (by plucking the strings directly), then they broke away from the strings by using the case percussively.

If anyone wants to help me set up a concert for me to take a chainsaw to a concert grand I would be interested

I think it would start some discussion about the future of the piano.

Maybe it's already been done (probably a couple of decades ago ... ?) Anyway, worth the thought...
Posted by: Larry Larson

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/13/08 05:09 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Ric Overton:
This piano retails for approximately $75,000.00. I was told by my rep that is was VERY saleable. But, my requests to make the dice fuzzy was turned down.

Ric [/b]
Ric, I think fuzzy dice would make this piano look tacky.
Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/13/08 05:13 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry Larson:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ric Overton:
This piano retails for approximately $75,000.00. I was told by my rep that is was VERY saleable. But, my requests to make the dice fuzzy was turned down.

Ric [/b]
Ric, I think fuzzy dice would make this piano look tacky. [/b]
I think the piano give fuzzy dice a bad name! ;\)
Posted by: Roxy

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/14/08 07:52 PM

I grew up playing on a Hamilton baby grand piano and a steinway and loved both of them. The case of the Hamilton was a beautiful maple brown exquisitly scrolled french provincial style legs, case, and bench. I now own a 5'8" Baldwin grand model R. I like it very well it has a very full sound with beautiful overtones. I am sorry to hear that Baldwin has gone away. The industry is loosing a wonderful instrument maker.
Posted by: radaddict

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/15/08 03:37 PM

Okay, prediction (ie. wild guess) time... If you want to know the future of Baldwin pianos, look at what Gibson is doing with their Epiphone line of guitars.
Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/15/08 04:16 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Roxy:
I grew up playing on a Hamilton baby grand piano and a steinway and loved both of them. The case of the Hamilton was a beautiful maple brown exquisitly scrolled french provincial style legs, case, and bench. I now own a 5'8" Baldwin grand model R. I like it very well it has a very full sound with beautiful overtones. I am sorry to hear that Baldwin has gone away. The industry is loosing a wonderful instrument maker. [/b]
Again, Baldwin is still in business. They have NOT simply gone away, at least not yet.

They closed the Truman, Arkansas plate, but still own production facilities in China.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/15/08 05:23 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Cohen:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Roxy:
I am sorry to hear that Baldwin has gone away. The industry is loosing a wonderful instrument maker. [/b]
Again, Baldwin is still in business. They have NOT simply gone away, at least not yet.

They closed the Truman, Arkansas plate, but still own production facilities in China. [/b]
I've heard the same thing that Steve says from others in the industry. Baldwin is not gone, only their Arkansas plant.

I imagine we will hear more news, hopefully in the near future. Kinda hoping someone from Baldwin and/or Gibson might join in.

It doesn appear however that we have lost another US piano facility. And then there were 3.
Posted by: mikhailoh

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/16/08 07:16 AM

If they can produce commensurate quality and the same designs elsewhere and keep the brand going, well, so be it. What we mourn is the loss of American made pianos, not the loss of Baldwin itself.
Posted by: Swell-Schimmel

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/16/08 10:41 AM

[/qb][/QUOTE]Again, Baldwin is still in business. They have NOT simply gone away, at least not yet.

They closed the Truman, Arkansas plate, but still own production facilities in China. [/QB][/QUOTE]

That has a sound like Harley Davidson is still in business but using a new plant in China. It is not as much as Baldwin is out of business as it is that Baldwin is not an American made piano after this IMHO.

Scott
Posted by: izaldu

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/16/08 11:25 AM

Those paint schemes are soooo electric guitar like ... they're using the same strategy for 1000 usd electric guitars and for 75k pianos? That doesn't sound too smart.

Anyway, remeber teh Fender guitar company was sold to CBS in the late 60s. Quality and sales both went down until CBS re-sold it to a pool of former employees in the 80s ...
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/16/08 11:28 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by izaldu:
Those paint schemes are soooo electric guitar like ... they're using the same strategy for 1000 usd electric guitars and for 75k pianos? That doesn't sound too smart.

Anyway, remeber teh Fender guitar company was sold to CBS in the late 60s. Quality and sales both went down until CBS re-sold it to a pool of former employees in the 80s ... [/b]
I've heard CBS didn't do too well with pianos, either. ;\)

Steven
Posted by: John Citron

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/16/08 12:25 PM

People keep saying it's only 100 employees and not the thousands like in other industries. Well to me it's still 100 people out of work when times are tough. \:\(

America's small businesses are the ones that support or supported our economy, and when they close, the rest of the US economy shuts down as well. This plant shutting down doesn't just affect the 100 employees in Truman, KY. There are the numerous suppliers and local businesses that grew up around the small plant that will be affected as well.

Case in point. Right now I work for a company, actually it's all that remains of a fomer Polaroid division, that employs 12 people. We all have a decent salary, good benefits, and contribute to our local economy.

This is so typical of today's businesses. Shutdown the American manufacturing plant in favor of the cheap labor overseas so the CEO can still make his 600% over the workers and still meet the stockholder's demands of ever increasing profits.

It's not like they were trying to sell inexpensive pianos either. Their "blonde" model which looked totally disgusting in my opinion was well over $30,000 when I was looking at pianos 4 years ago. If it wasn't so ugly I may have even tried it, but it's looks completely turned me off from even touching it.

John
Posted by: RachFan

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/17/08 05:33 PM

I have checked several times the Gibson-Baldwin website "news" link. They could put all the questions and active speculation to rest by simply putting out an official and factual press release briefly outlining their plans for their Artist Grands line. The fact that they are maintaining silence indicates that they do not want anyone knowing their intentions at the general, industry, dealer, or customer levels. But that's Gibson (especially where they know nothing of pianos). Seems like they prefer a public relations fiasco. So what else is new?
Posted by: Ric Overton

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/17/08 10:27 PM

Okay Everyone

I AM A VERY HAPPY MAN TONIGHT

I spoke with someone in Trumann today that let me know its business as usual in the factory. Yes, the article was accurate that they did lay off people but, they have enough crew to build grands. They are doing some restructuring, and they WILL show a good line at NAMM.

Official letters and information will be sent out soon.

Thanks

Ric Overton
Posted by: RachFan

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/18/08 06:49 PM

That is very good news indeed. Seems though that all the angst could have been spared had Gibson been more timely and shown more PR savvy by making the appropriate announcement much sooner rather than letting speculation run wild in the meantime.
Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/18/08 06:56 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by RachFan:
That is very good news indeed. Seems though that all the angst could have been spared had Gibson been more timely and shown more PR savvy by making the appropriate announcement much sooner rather than letting speculation run wild in the meantime. [/b]
I couldn't agree with you more.
Posted by: arcsound

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/19/08 09:11 PM

Posted by: arcsound

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/19/08 09:13 PM

Pathetic, and sad, as someone mentioned, (I don't understand how to quote...), that we cannot support a quality American product, even in the relatively small numbers needed to keep it in business. Surely there are enough people of means that they could pay the fare for an American-made Baldwin!? Gibson may be the horse's arse when it comes to managing their subsideries, I know they ruined the Oberheim franchise, but the main problem is the public's collective willingness to support the People's Republic of China, in our never ending search for "good deals", instead of supporting our own businesses. I don't care how good the quality has become with these communist-made instruments, I'd rather buy a solid used American-made Japanese-made or EU-made model than a new PRC piano! Don't people see what's going on, with China ascending and America waning as an economic power? Don't think that a military reversal isn't far behind, and then we can all choke on our Chinese pianos as the PRC pushes us into the dustbin of history. Sometimes a "good deal" is not so good when one considers the bigger picture.

Please, do the right thing and do not purchase Chinese goods,(including pianos....)! There are plenty of economically healthier alternatives; Japanese, German, and even a few American makes, like the Charles Walter.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 12/20/08 05:20 AM

Baldwin had a long history of being mis-managed, especially at the factory and service level. Even with the Gibson company at the helm now, it appears that this legacy will continue.
Posted by: Noah Frere

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 02/11/09 09:52 PM

According to the recent PTG Journal:

"...Baldwin laid off 34 employees in February 2008 in a decision to concentrate solely on manufacturing the company's line of custom-made pianos."
Posted by: Steve Marcus

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 02/11/09 10:21 PM

 Quote:
And then there were 3.
Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, Charles Walter.

When did Astin-Weight go out of production?


Steve Marcus
Baldwin District Sales Manager--New England and upstate New York (1985-1991)
Baldwin Chicago Retail Division Manager (1991-1994)
Posted by: Paul2playpiano

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 02/11/09 10:55 PM

I purchased a Baldwin Model M 5'2" grand about a year ago. It was about 1 - 2 years old when I got it. I have been very pleased. My piano teacher, who has a Yamaha baby grand, and my tuner, who was a fabulous concert pianist until he got tired of the constant travel have both indicated that they think the sound from my piano is excellent.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 02/11/09 11:30 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Marcus:
 Quote:
And then there were 3.
Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, Charles Walter.

When did Astin-Weight go out of production?


Steve Marcus
Baldwin District Sales Manager--New England and upstate New York (1985-1991)
Baldwin Chicago Retail Division Manager (1991-1994) [/b]
Good question Steve,

Have you visited their web site lately?
http://www.astin-weight.com/

Kinda hard to tell what they are up to.
And not looking particularly American.
Posted by: hotkeys

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 02/12/09 12:32 AM

Hard to believe that Baldwin shut their doors! I remember talking with the Steinway folks at the Dec 11 tour and one of the techs on the tour mentioned he and his daughter wanted to visit the Baldwin factory before it closed its doors forever.

A friend of mine who lives in West Palm Beach was very fond of Baldwin Grand pianos (she owned a 6'3" grand piano). Wonder what she is thinking now that the last Baldwin factory has closed.

Mark
Posted by: elecmuse3

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 10/22/10 12:24 PM

Originally Posted By: RachFan
I totally agree on the crazy color schemes. I deeply believe that the only color that befits an upper tier grand is black--period.

If it's going to be in a home, as opposed to a venue, certainly at least in my house, a natural wood finish will match more decors and IMHO be much prettier than black.
Posted by: gnuboi

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 10/22/10 01:28 PM

The economics around Baldwin, USA, and China are more complicated than can be solved by consumers alone. There is the cheap and pegged exchange rate, cheap Chinese labor, stagnant US wages, diminishing US middle class (who do you think buys pianos?)... It's not realistic to just ask buyers to all buy-American and take a hit for the team (vs. shopping Chinese, Korean, Japanese, etc.) while other forces encourage the Chinese industry and discourage American businesses.

I liked a used L very much and almost bought it but I came a few hours too late on my second visit. I tried a new L1 and it was very nice but pricey. Chinese pianos are big enough a luxury for families in which the adults do not play... let alone American pianos.
Posted by: bkw58

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 10/23/10 10:01 PM


Very sad about Baldwin.

Will miss the SD10.
Posted by: tonecrafter tuning

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 07/10/12 02:14 PM

I served my apprenticeship in Edmonton, Alberta starting in 1979 at Shaw Piano & Organs. Baldwin was their #1 line. Cam Morin was my mentor, with 34 years as a technician. He was an ingenious fellow, and made many of the tools I still use today. He should have patented some of them.
Sales manager Roger Jolly, Don Veaugois and Rick LeBlanc helped me out a lot. They closed around 1982, then Baldwin Pianos & Organs opened in '83, I think. Helen Kondra owned that store; I was her technician, and we later married. Helen passed away July 19/2004.
I cut my teeth on Baldwins. They had a lot of great features. They almost wrecked my career, though, when I rashly bombed thru 9 tunings one day on brand-new 243's and I strained my shoulder quite badly!
It's a sad sign of the times that a builder that pre-dates Steinway no longer makes pianos in the U.S. For me, the writing was already on the wall in the late 70's, when I discovered they'd stopped notching the rear of the bridges on the uprights. Cam was livid when I pointed this out. He'd been wondering why the tone had become so tubby!
Posted by: Del

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 07/10/12 02:50 PM

Originally Posted By: tonecrafter tuning
It's a sad sign of the times that a builder that pre-dates Steinway no longer makes pianos in the U.S. For me, the writing was already on the wall in the late 70's, when I discovered they'd stopped notching the rear of the bridges on the uprights. Cam was livid when I pointed this out. He'd been wondering why the tone had become so tubby!

You probably should have looked elsewhere for the tubby sound. Deleting the backscale bridge notching had virtually no effect on the tone quality of the piano. At least not right away. That was the problem; someone saw this as a way to save a few pesos (the bridges were made in Juarez) and in side-by-side comparison tone tests—at least according to the reports I read (I was not there at the time)—there was no discernible difference in performance.

The backscale notches came back in the mid-1980s when I was able to demonstrate that the many complaints about string buzzing that were starting to accumulate were traceable to the lack of that backscale notch. As the pianos aged—and in some climates it didn’t take long—and the soundboards settled out the string deflection angle at the back of the bridge decreased and a very slight gap would develop between the strings and the top of the bridge. Instant buzzes! This didn’t, and hasn’t, happened in every piano but it happened in enough of them that I was able to show that the cost of warranty repairs was going to exceed the saving in production cost.

There was never any consideration given to bringing back the backscale notches just because it was good piano building practice.

ddf
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 07/10/12 02:53 PM

Originally Posted By: tonecrafter tuning
They almost wrecked my career, though, when I rashly bombed thru 9 tunings one day on brand-new 243's and I strained my shoulder quite badly!

Those tuning pins on a 243 are tight... all Baldwin tuning pins seem tighter than most, for some reason.

Welcome to the PW forums, by-the-way.

Rick
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 07/10/12 02:59 PM

Originally Posted By: tonecrafter tuning

It's a sad sign of the times that a builder that pre-dates Steinway no longer makes pianos in the U.S.


Steinway was founded in 1853, four years before Baldwin. And... Baldwin did not start manufacturing until 1891.
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 07/10/12 03:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Rickster

all Baldwin tuning pins seem tighter than most, for some reason.



Post-war Baldwin used 41-ply pinblocks... much like the Falconwood pinblocks, drilling must be precise or you could have a problem. Rebuilders who use really dense blocks will often mic the tuning pins for this reason.
Posted by: Del

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 07/10/12 03:18 PM

Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: Rickster

all Baldwin tuning pins seem tighter than most, for some reason.



Post-war Baldwin used 41-ply pinblocks... much like the Falconwood pinblocks, drilling must be precise or you could have a problem. Rebuilders who use really dense blocks will often mic the tuning pins for this reason.

Only the grands used the 41-ply laminated granite blocks. The verticals used a variety of different types of pinblocks depending on the market segment -- i.e., their cost.

Baldwin did, of course, tend to fit all their pins tight no matter the pinblock type.
Posted by: thetandyman

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 07/10/12 07:02 PM

Baldwin was the piano of Liberace. Like him or not, he was a major proponent of these pianos for many years. I respect him for not falling in the rut of the so-called premier piano. (Name of the piano company withheld to protect the innocent)
Posted by: Pianolance

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 07/10/12 07:25 PM

And now a message from Captain Obvious - this thread was started in '08. Of course we all know that Baldwin is still manufacturing pianos in China and is now owned by Gibson. I guess you could say it is technically still Baldwin, but mostly in name only.
Posted by: thetandyman

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 07/10/12 07:47 PM

Let the court reporter strike my comments from the transcript!
Posted by: Pianolance

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 07/10/12 07:57 PM

Actually, Tandyman, your comments about Liberace hold a lot of water. Liberace wasn't the only Baldwin artist though. Dick Hyman. Leonard Bernstein,John Williams, Richard Carpenter,Phillip Glass, Dave Bruebeck, Lawrence Welk, and many others were also Baldwin professionals, and for good reason. Baldwin made a heck of a piano in the day.
Posted by: Mike Carr

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 07/11/12 12:32 AM

Tonecrafter,

The writing was likely on the wall nearly 45 years ago when Baldwin started assembling actions in Juarez. This move, among other things, soon led to an American piano action plant closing its doors.

Mike
Posted by: Cmajor

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 07/11/12 10:29 AM

If they are truly done in the US you will probably see the name stamped on the front of a Chinese piano in the not too distant future, just like Ritmuller.
Posted by: dgybqh

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 07/11/12 10:31 AM

The Baldwins Northeast China factory in 2010 has been shut down.
Posted by: Pianolance

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 07/11/12 10:54 AM

Originally Posted By: Cmajor
If they are truly done in the US you will probably see the name stamped on the front of a Chinese piano in the not too distant future, just like Ritmuller.


That's already been going on of years. For a short time they were making USA pianos and Chinese pianos simultaniously, but they are 100% Chinese made as far as I know, with no "American" option. A real shame. Seems like the employees of Baldwin could get together and make a new American product that could still compete with Mason and Steinway.
Posted by: Del

Re: Bye,Bye Baldwin - 07/11/12 10:59 AM

Originally Posted By: Cmajor
If they are truly done in the US you will probably see the name stamped on the front of a Chinese piano in the not too distant future, just like Ritmuller.

Change "probably will see..." to "have already been seeing..."

ddf