What is a ‘Boston’ Piano? – Designed by Steinway?
Question: I’ve been looking at purchasing a new piano. What is the deal with Boston pianos? I was told they were Steinway pianos, but I also heard they are built in Japan. It is getting a bit confusing!
It is first good to know a bit of the back story behind the Boston piano brand. In the early-1990s, Steinway & Sons decided that they wanted to have their dealers offer what they considered to be a full line of pianos. This would range from the highest tier Steinway & Sons, down to entry-level uprights. The introduction of the Boston pianos in 1992 was the first salvo in their battle for a wider range of the piano market. Steinway & Sons contracted with Kawai Musical Instruments in Japan to build pianos under the Boston name. Kawai had, and continues to be a strong competitor to Steinway around the world. Kawai builds the Boston piano for Steinway in Japan, without many of the innovations and improvements that are standard in Kawai instruments. (Including the Millennium III ABS-Carbon Action, keybed reinforcement, etc.)
Boston pianos were ‘designed’ by a group from Steinway that had little experience in actual piano manufacturing. A few little things were changed such as string size, case design, etc. Today, as it was then, Boston pianos have much more in common with real Kawai instruments than Steinway & Sons pianos. As they are built by Kawai, Boston pianos are of solid, good quality – there is no debate on that.
“I would like to emphasize that this is not a Steinway & Sons project.” – Bob Dove, Boston Piano General Manager, 1992
Rare Grand Pianos Restored by Chupp’s Piano Service for Carolyn Ripp
Chupp’s Piano Service recently fully rebuilt two rare grand pianos for Carolyn Ripp, a pianist here in Indiana. The first piano we rebuilt for her was a stunning Steinway & Sons Model AR grand piano in an African Flame Mahogany cabinet. This piano was originally a player instrument, built around the legendary Steinway A-3 scale design. The second was a powerful Everett 9′ Concert Grand Piano. An incredibly rare instrument, this 9′ concert grand boasts an incredible quality of tone and touch. Built during the company’s early days in Boston, this is one of only a handful of these pianos still in existence. Carolyn was kind enough to send in the following letter of recommendation regarding our piano restoration work.
Dear Dennis and the Entire Chupp’s Team,
I am seriously failing for words to describe the beauty of the two pianos you restored for me. The Steinway came first and its remarkable restoration was breathtaking. Then the unusual Everett came and we could hardly believe the volume of sound that it produces. Now I am enjoying picking the piano that will render the music at it’s finest. Every key plays perfectly, every sound is rich.
Now that both are together again, I appreciate these instruments more than ever before. I always knew they were both special, but to play them now, it is just a decadent experience. Even my tuner said that when he presses a key to tune, that it is so beautiful, he feels like he is “playing” these pianos and enjoys every sound! It really shows how much your staff really appreciates and cares for the pianos that come their way. Every step of the process of achieving this remarkable result has only added to the whole, wonderful experience. BRAVO!! I have played many fine instruments of rare value, but I couldn’t want anything more. This IS the most exciting time of my life. Thank you!
Teflon Bushings in Steinway Pianos– The Failed Experiment
If there was one quality that marked the early days of Steinway & Sons, it was the family company’s inherent desire to invent, tweak and improve the quality of their pianos. This led to famous innovations and improvements to grand piano design that continues to be standard a century later. Almost all of the company’s patents were filed during these first years. The study of the lineage of the modern grand piano is a fascinating one, filled with stories of both success and failure. The ‘Teflon Era’ will forever remain an infamous time for Steinway & Sons, but one that forced the industry to adapt around new ideas and parts.
Increased Competition – Attempted Innovation
During the early 1960s, work began on another project that company leadership hoped would again boost the company’s reputation as a world leading instrument. Continued pressure from less expensive yet high-quality pianos from Japanese makers like Yamaha and Kawai began to push Steinway from their position as the North American piano king. (This battle between the ‘east and the west’ wages on even today. ) A number of their major American competitors were either long gone or in decline. A document provided to Chupp’s Piano Service proves interesting. In a letter dated April 6th, 1979 to the late Ed Hendricks, a former Vice President of Marketing and owner of Hendricks’ Pianos in Chicago,….
Steinway Model S vs. Model M Pianos
At Chupp’s Pianos, it’s our goal to help you find the piano that fits your wants in terms of tonality and resonance. We’re proud to offer a wide variety of pianos of all types, from Steinway restored pianos to pre-owned Yamaha pianos. A piano can be quite an investment so we want you to be equipped with all the information necessary for you to make an educated decision on which one is the best for you. That’s why we’ll always be here to help you make the right choice. For your convenience, we’d like to give you a quick rundown of two of our more popular pianos, the Steinway Model S and the Steinway Model M. Both are small grand pianos and are the smallest of the company’s ‘baby’ grand pianos. Because of their manageable size, these have become the preferred Steinway models for a number of smaller venues and personal piano owners.
Steinway Model S
At 5’1” (155 cm), the Steinway Model S is the smallest of the Steinway grands. This design was introduced in the 1930s with the goal of inviting the majesty of the Steinway sound into just about any area, no matter how small. The smaller size and lower cost of this piano are considered to be the Steinway company’s savior during the financial hardships of the Great Depression. It’s main advantage is its small size. This model is perfect for those who want the grand feel of a Steinway piano, but don’t have the room in their house for a larger instrument. While the sound is excellent for a model of its small stature, it doesn’t quite match the tonal quality of longer pianos. Although the
December 2016 | Christmas Music Video Highlights
The holiday season is here! Below are a number of videos we have produced, featuring Christmas music. Enjoy!
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” played on a vintage Steinway Model O Grand Piano by Benjamin Rogers. This classic Christmas song was written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane. The piano was built in 1918 at the New York Steinway Factory and features a figured African Flame Mahogany cabinet. It is currently awaiting purchase or restoration at our New Paris, IN. Rebuilding Facility.
Philip performing ‘Carol of the Bells’ on an Art Case 1917 Steinway & Sons Model B Grand Piano. [George Winston arrangement.] Carol of the Bells was written by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych in 1914. The piano was built during the height of the golden age of piano manufacturing and features a rich, Circassian Walnut cabinet in a Louis XV style. Art Case pianos like this represent the very finest in piano craftsmanship.
The Steinway Model O vs. the Model L | What’s the Difference?
Question: “The Steinway Model O and the Model L grand pianos seem to be about the same? What is the difference?
Similar Yet Different | Steinway Model vs. Model L
There are many differences between the various models of pianos bearing the name of Steinway & Sons. From the diminutive 5’1″ Model S to the imposing 8’11” Concert Model D, Steinway pianos run a wide range of sizes and sound. Each size of piano has its place and purpose. However there are models that are considered to be very similar and the Model O and the Model L are two of those. The Model O and the Model L are both about the same size and have actually both replaced each other during various periods in the Steinway & Sons company history.
Learn About Pianos Throughout Time
The creation of the piano dates back centuries, with many different renditions and imaginings of this instrument. While there are scores of books detailing the rise of this musical titan, here are the must knows of a piano’s history for any piano enthusiast in a handy infographic!
University of Michigan Professor Purchases Restored Steinway
Chupp’s Piano Service has provided many professional pianists and artists with premium restored Steinway instruments. Recently we provided a restored Steinway & Sons Model B Grand Piano to Catherine Walker in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Here is what she had to say:
When I decided to begin the process of “active replacement” for my personal piano, I knew that there was only one call I needed to make. My experience with Chupp’s Pianos, while purchasing pianos for my school some years ago, was stellar and inspired complete confidence in my decision to return to your company. My hope was to upgrade to a more professional instrument but the acquisition of a Steinway seemed like a an unrealistic fantasy. That being said, here I sit with a gorgeous Steinway B in my home. I am still overwhelmed by this gorgeous piano and I still feel like I must be dreaming. This was only possible with your help and guidance.
Ever wonder what instruments appear in Rolling Stone’s Top 100 songs of all time?
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Letter of Recommendation | Concert Pianist on Chupp’s Piano Service
Chupp’s Piano Service has worked with legendary concert pianist Pina Antonelli for over a decade. She has purchased her two Steinway & Sons Model D Concert Grands from us and we then worked with her to later sell one of these instruments and trade the other for one of our premium restored Steinway Model B Grands. She was kind enough to send in this letter of testimony.