Boston Pianos | Designed by Steinway
The Boston line of grand and upright pianos was introduced by Steinway & Sons in 1992. This was done to allow Steinway Dealers to sell a more complete piano line, with the Boston taking its place as a quality mid-tier instrument with Pearl River built Essex pianos placed at the entry level. The initial introduction of these instruments caused a mild ‘panic’ within the piano world. It was seen as concerning that Steinway would place their name on another company’s pianos. [More on that in a bit.] However, over time, Boston pianos have found popularity with those seeking a quality piano and amongst those looking for an instrument linked with the Steinway family name. Schools often purchase several New York or Hamburg Steinway Grand Pianos and dozens of Boston instruments to fulfill their ‘All-Steinway School’ requirements. Only authorized Steinway dealers are permitted by the company to carry new Boston pianos.
Designed by Steinway | Built by Kawai
Boston grand and upright pianos utilize several unique Steinway patents and designs, however, are not built at the New York or Hamburg Steinway Factories. Boston pianos are manufactured by Kawai at their Japanese and Indonesian factories. Kawai’s journey began in 1927 and they are still under family leadership, ensuring top standards. They are one of the largest, most respected piano makers in Japan, second only to Yamaha in terms of size. The high efficiency and quality found at the Kawai facilities made them an obvious choice to produce Steinway’s Boston line.
2009 | The Performance Edition
In 2009, Steinway introduced their Performance Edition (PE) version of the Boston pianos. These grand and upright instruments feature the patented Steinway Octagrip pinblock, a hard maple rim and several improvements to keytop material, hardware, etc. This was followed in 2016 by the Performance Edition II (PE-II) grands. A lower tension scale was introduced, along with several cosmetic improvements. One of the main features of Boston series grand pianos is a ‘wide tail’ design. Similar in function to the wider tale found on Steinway Model L Grands, this design allows for a greater soundboard area and more centered positioning of the soundboard bridges. The soundboards are made of quality spruce, are thin and carefully tapered. New Boston by Steinway PE-II pianos are said to include a list of quality features rarely found on comparable instruments.
Boston vs. Kawai | What’s the Difference?
With the Steinway connected Boston pianos being built by Kawai, there are many similarities between the two. Many of the major structural and functional components are shared. When comparing them side by side, it is fairly obvious that they belong to the same ‘family.’ One of the major differences is found in the action. Boston pianos utilize traditional wooden parts, while Kawai continues to prefer their exclusive carbon fiber reinforced ABS, Millennium III Action. The hammers utilized on Boston pianos are different than Kawai or even Steinway hammers. Although voiced by the same factory technicians, Boston pianos are tone regulated differently than name brand Kawai.
Some pianists and technicians prefer the Boston pianos, due to the Steinway name connection, the use of several Steinway designs and a unique quality of tone. Others point to the lower price point of the comparable Kawai Grand Pianos and the fact that Kawai leadership has gone on record saying they will not build a piano better than the ones bearing their own name. Kawai pianos offer a warm, full tone all their own along with a quick responsiveness, thanks to the Millenium III action.
During our time as a Kawai dealer, we have found them to be preferred by many. Due to the combined value, quality and innovation in design, we recommend you consider the purchase of a Kawai grand or upright.
Boston Piano Models
Steinway offers five sizes of Boston Grand Pianos, including:
- GP-156 PE
- GP-163 PE
- GP-178 PE
- GP-193 PE
- GP-215 PE
Boston Grand Pianos range in size from 5’1½ ” to 7’1/2”. The largest of these, the GP-215 PE is used by a number of institutions and at music festivals because of its ability to perform well at mid-sized venues. The two smallest models, the GP-156 PE and the GP-163 PE, are ideal for those who wish to own grand pianos at home, but lack the space for traditionally sized grands. Both produce big sound from a small frame.
There are four models in the Boston Upright Piano line, including:
- UP-118E PE
- UP-118S PE
- UP-126E PE
- UP-132E PE
Boston Upright Pianos range in size from 46 ½” to 52”. The smallest of the models are popular in classrooms institutional use, while the largest of the uprights is capable of rivaling the sound of a smaller grand. If you are looking for a Boston Piano for sale or you have questions about restoring a Boston or any Steinway Piano, get in contact with us today.