News | Ben Wheeler Pianos - April 2018 Update

April 2018

Welcome to the latest spring news update. It seems the snow has finally finished and we are hopefully looking toward warmer weather and the odd bit of sunshine. The cold snaps certainly played havoc with many pianos as central heating systems worked hard to keep our homes warm. As the warmer weather comes along the heating will get a rest and the humidity in our homes will increase adding moisture back into soundboards of our pianos. The first couple of months of the year were quieter at the showrooms but things have picked up again and we are now incredibly busy. The piano trade always follows this pattern of peaks and troughs, it is impossible to see why at times, things can be busy when you might expect them to be quiet and visa versa. When things are quieter it is a good opportunity to work on the background things like web site improvements and there is always more tuning than we can keep up with.

A big change for us since my last writing is that Neil and Martin decided to retire from delivering pianos. They had a difficult delivery just before Christmas and that was the moment that they both realised that it was time to call it a day. It was sad news for us but completely understandable, they will both be missed although we will, of course, keep in touch away from the running of the business. We have been very fortunate to be introduced to an excellent replacement and Tobie is now in full swing delivering our pianos. He is off to Devon on Thursday of this week delivering our wonderful Shigeru Kawai, a piano that has never failed to impress, and has many deliveries and collections planned for the next few weeks. We are delighted to have him and his team on board.

Exciting news from today; I have ordered a Wilh.Steinberg Signature Series 188cm grand piano! The Frankfurt Music Fair is on, this is the biggest European trade fair for our trade. The manufacturers display their pianos for all to see and always have some offers on for their regular customers. I took advantage of this and ordered the S188 today along with a replacement S125 upright. I literally cannot wait for the grand to arrive to try it, I have heard amazing things about this German grand piano at an amazingly competitive price. When this piano arrives it will take our stock of Wilh.Steinberg pianos to four uprights and two grands, a serious presentation of what is fast becoming a very successful line for us. The Performance Series 121 upright in particular is being selected regularly, our showroom model leaves next week with two on the way that have already sold and another with a Quiet Time silent system fitted in the factory in Eisenberg. I must mention the P178 grand that has arrived since my last update, amazing value piano consistent with the high quality we have seen in the P121 uprights. I will report on the S188 in the next update, if I can stop playing it…

We are also eagerly awaiting the Grotrian-Steinweg Carat in solid Douglas Fir wood. I mentioned this bespoke order in the last update and we are just a couple of week away from receiving it. Look out for images on our Face Book page. The superb 192 Cabinet grand has been receiving much attention recently, I think it will be leaving us soon. I will then travel to Braunschweig to select a replacement and combine it with a trip to Eisenberg to the Wilh.Steinberg factory too. One of our previous 192 customers is relocating to Hong Kong with his work, obviously the 192 will go with him!

Another piano that I am eagerly awaiting is a stunning burr walnut Bechstein that is at the last stages of restoration. It isn’t often that we fully restore an upright piano with the costs being so high, however, this one is stunning and will offer something very different amongst our upright stock. Again, images will undoubtedly appear on Face Book and of course it will be featured on the Restored Pianos page on the web site.

After Christmas we literally didn’t have any used pianos in our stock, at all. It is only recently that we have been able to source some great used uprights. I would estimate that from all the enquiries we get of people selling pianos we are interested in approximately two in every twenty offered. From this two we may actually purchase one! We have recently brought in a Reid-Sohn, Yamaha, Welmar and Niendorf with another Yamaha and Wendl & Lung soon to arrive. It is great to have a good variety of used pianos which always create much interest. As with all of our used pianos they are in excellent condition and are fully serviced by us before leaving for their new homes.

A quick word on tuning, crazy! It has been so busy we have all been fully booked and struggled to keep up with new enquiries. It generally works out in the end, the diaries change daily and gaps appear to offer to new customers. This week is schools week, we are working around our regular schools getting the pianos into good order ready for the summer term. I was at Farleigh School today and will finish off the fifteen pianos there tomorrow Cheam Thursday, Daneshill Friday….Once the new term starts we can concentrate again on our private tunings and start to work around the showroom again. And it will soon be time for me to plan the schedules for May, I can’t believe how quickly this year is going. In all of the twenty seven years of tuning I remember once taking a full day off to work on the schedules, normally it is a task spread out over three or four evenings. I had planned a day in March but a call to step in and get a couple of pianos tuned up for the exam session put paid to my plans. I have booked a day in April to prepare for May, we shall see...

I think I have written more than enough for one update. I am really excited by the activity in the showroom at the moment, we do love it when it is busy. There are many booked appointments to look forward to and every day brings new opportunities at the moment. Come and visit us, we are always so pleased to show off our pianos, they are really rather good!

All the best


Previous Updates

January 2018 December 2017 October 2017 July 2017 May 2017 February 2017 January 2017 November 2016 September 2016 June 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 November 2015 September 2015 July 2015