Buying A Fine European Piano: Is It Worth It?
I could make this a very short blog by just answering the question. Yes, it’s worth it. Of course, I can’t stop there because your next question is going to be, Why?
As many of you already know, R. Kassman Piano was established in 1979 in San Francisco Bay Area, specifically on Franklin Street in San Francisco. Besides some of the obvious answers, Mr. Kassman felt the need to separate himself from the other piano dealers in the Bay Area by caring a product that very few if any were carrying at the time.
Yes, from the very beginning there have been challenges. Specifically, the cost of buying, transporting and maintaining a European piano inventory is expensive. They need little when they arrive. Very little as far as service is concerned. However, because the price of inventorying such lines also means that you go to great lengths to ensure they are in tip-top condition at all times.
I have our technician test each of our European pianos every week which means that he will go to each piano ( 15 or so) and tests the tuning and regulation. While this doesn’t require a lot of time, it still takes his time to identify any touch ups, etc. that need to be done. With an inventory of up ro 125 pianos at any given time you can imagine the overwhelming responsibility this is.
When You Own A European Piano
You will quickly identify the unique nature of most European Pianos once they are sitting in your home. With reasonable care and attention paid to it’s
environment, European pianos will perform very well for many, many years without concerns of deterioration. However, like any European automobile, watch, leather goods, etc. Because of it’s unique manufacturing process you have to pay attention to anything you find unusual.
Buying A Fine European Piano: Is It Worth It?
Here Are Three Differences Of Owning A Fine European Piano
1. Very Careful Manufacturing Process
Most every European Piano, that is in fact 100% European meaning that they aren’t partially constructed in Asia or other parts of the world, but fully manufactured in Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Austria, etc. is manufactured to an extreme level of quality.
The soundboards of these manufacturers, strings, action and all other major parts are made to specific measurements without a tolerance. In other words, if the part calls for it to measure exactly 2″ then you can bet that part is 2″ and not 1 13/16ths. It measures 2″ on the nose.
Most every manufacture will make or at least participate in making the strings as well as the soundboard. These are not mass manufacturers that simply order parts and then install them out of box when they arrive. The painstakingly visit with every part of the piano to be sure that they are perfect in every way.
In my many years in the industry, I can’t remember ever getting a piano that was damaged by the manufacturer or opening a crate and finding a finish flaw, broken parts or damages in any way that could have possibly left the manufacturing plant in this condition. Every European piano company that I have dealt with in the 35 or 40 years in this business has always taken great care in ensuring the piano leaves their hands in perfect condition.
I have received a few that have been damaged in transport. However, I can say with some sense of confidence that in the few situations I have seen they were rather extreme. Most of the companies I have dealt with go to extremes to see that the piano is safely and securely packaged.
You can be assured that in most cases when the piano arrives at the dealership, there is very little to do other than to tune it. Last year I received a Grotrian that arrived late on a Friday, the tuner did not have a chance to come in that day to service it, a customer came in and purchased the piano BEFORE I could even tune it.
When you purchase a Fine European piano you can expect it to last for many years. It’s not unusual that I see European pianos that are 100 years old or older and still functioning well. The classic design of the piano has not changed for many years so parts are easy to come by. However, you seldom see one that has any unusual problems at all and certainly less than pianos that are mass produced.
European pianos actually set the standard for proper manufacturing practices. As far as I am aware each of the European piano companies that I recognize have some type of research and development program that has people specifically hired to detect unusual reactions or unexplained occurrences to avoid any future problems.
I don’t need to remind you that the art of piano building came from Europe in the first place. Europe were the first to create a “piano market” followed by the U.S. a little later in the 1,800’s with Asia following in the early 1,900’s of any significance.
You have nothing to worry about when purchasing a fine European piano and yes, is the answer to the question. You can feel good about investing in a piano of this nature and expect many years of service to come.
R. Kassman Piano, the Best Piano Store In The Bay Area and Ric Overton
This is the reason that R. Kassman Piano invested in European pianos all the way back in 1979. Mr. R. Kassman’s vision is still alive today. R. Kassman Piano
continues to carry Fine European Pianos and very proud to do so for many years to come.
Drop by and take a look at one of our Fine European Pianos. We have Steingraeber Piano, Grotrian Piano, Estonia Piano and Wilh. Steinberg Piano. I am sure we can find exactly what you are looking for.