The World’s Most Famous Piano Manufacturers: Courtney Pianos Every year at Courtney Pianos we restore many different brands of piano. Piano restoration and care is a very customer facing business. We’re invited into peoples homes to work on and remove one of their most prized possessions so that we can restore it. Of course, we have some fascinating conversations with the owners of the pianos we restore, often hearing a long and rich back story of the role the piano has played in the lives of our patrons.
Who Is The Best Piano Maker?
We are often asked, “who are the best piano makers”. It’s a tricky question to answer of course because it’s a subjective question, different people prefer different pianos for different reasons.
There are many piano makers throughout the world but only a handful of brands have the quality and history to be in the running for a title such as “The world’s best piano maker”.
If we were having to judge, we can only do it by personal preference. Such preferences are built on our years of experience of restoring pianos. Tone, sound, action, company history as well as the love and respect of musicians are the factors that influence our choices.
The views of pianists, other restorers like ourselves and piano dealers have helped us create this shortlist.
C. Bechstein Pianos
Bechstein Pianos were founded by Carl Bechstein. He studied and worked in France and England becoming a master piano craftsman, before setting up his own piano making business. After starting out making pianos as an employee, he had a dream of building his own brand.
His piano factory on 1 October 1853 in Berlin. Bechstein set out to create a robust piano that was capable of withstanding the great demands imposed on the instrument by the virtuosi piano players of the era, such as Franz Liszt, known for being a passionate pianist.
These were the days of the virtuoso pianist and young, upcoming artists pianist wanted to emulate their heroes, Bechstein had chosen the right time to launch his brand. Bechstein pianos became a status symbol.
By the 1870s Liszt and Hans von Bülow had endorsed the brand and Bechstein pianos had become the must-have piano. Concert halls and private houses followed the trend.
Bechstein, A Modern Favourite
Bechstein pianos are still popular with more contemporary composers and musicians today. Artists such as Bob Dylan, Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, The Beatles, David Bowie, Elton John, Lou Reed, Carly Simon and Supertramp have all all recorded music using Bechstein Pianos.
Other names such as Freddie Mercury, of the British rock band, and Queen, Elton John both endorsed Bechstein Given that Bechstein pianos are still so popular with performers today, it’s little wonder that the pianos, whether grand or upright are still highly sought after instruments.
Bechstein Pianos for sale
If you’re an admirer of these fantastic instruments, then you’ll be pleased to know that Courtney Pianos, Oxford have a number of Bechstein Pianos for sale.
We’ve spoken about Blüthner before. This East German piano manufacturer from Leipzig Founded In 1853 Julius Blüthner started the company and over 165 years later it is still run and managed by the Blüthner family. Impressive! Blüthners are renowned for their quality and tone, often referred to as the Golden Tone.
Despite the factory being destroyed in WW2, Blüthner has rebuilt and maintained a reputation for delivering outstanding quality. Queen Victoria, Listz, Brahms, Tsar Nicholas II, Rachmaninov, and Tschaikovsky are listed amongst their customers.
Despite the fact that Blüthner builds high-end quality pianos, they are also a modern responsive company. They offer two other, more affordable ranges, the Heassler and Irmler ranges. And also create digital pianos that are gaining a good reputation.
Steinway & Sons
When you think of a Grand Piano, Steinway comes to mind. Steinway & Sons are probably the most well known and highly piano manufacturer in the world. Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg began making pianos in his kitchen in Sessen, Germany when he was aged just 20 years old. in the following twenty-five years he’s built a further 482 pianos.
Steinweg decided to emigrate to America. Setting himself up in In New York City, he changed his name to Henry E Steinway and founded Steinway & Sons in 1853. Steinway & Sons have received accolades from cities such as New York, Paris and many musical organisations for the high quality of their pianos.
The quality of the product is self-evident and it’s because their pianos take over a year to be built by master craftsmen. Every Steinway piano is made of more than 12,000 parts. Steinway & Sons build pianos in New York and they also have a factory in Hamburg, Germany.
The company produces Grand and Upright pianos They have two high-end lines, and two more affordable lines. The high-end bespoke pianos are Spirio and Heliconia for the customer who wants a real high-end, statement instrument. The two more affordable brands are called Essex and Boston.
Of course, we at Courtney Pianos are aware that these two brands are out of reach for most of us, but let’s all celebrate the high standards these brands create, setting the benchmark for all other companies to aspire to.
If you’d like to know more about your favourite brand of Piano, just email us. We’d be happy to feature other brands.