NEWS ARCHIVE 2012
15th October 2012
Welcome to the latest news update. Business has been exceptionally busy since my last writing, hence this update is a long time coming! It has been an extremely enjoyable time with many interesting and varied customers visiting the showrooms.
The big highlight for me was a trip a couple of weeks ago to Grotrian-Steinweg in Germany. We have seen sales of our Grotrian pianos steadily increase during the year with more customers than ever discovering the beauty of the pianos. As I write we have three customers waiting for their Cristal uprights which are being made in Germany ready for dispatch to us. For me pianos don’t get any better than the Grotrian range and my trip to the factory only helped to underline this belief. The design, craftsmanship, attention to detail and attainment of excellence in the factory is awe inspiring. Modern machinery mixed with traditional skills creates an impressive working environment. Workers that have been with the company for over forty years share skills with young apprentices striving to become part of the Grotrian story. The ethos of Grotrian-Steinweg has never changed, that is ‘to make fine pianos and the rest will take care of itself’. The demands on every worker are to produce the best quality at every process, not to complete a process in as quick a time as possible. The impressive Konrad Blumberg hosted my trip, Konrad has the responsibility for looking after the European dealerships, he did of course start with Grotrian as an apprentice in the factory learning all aspects of piano making. After spending the day in the factory I was able to play each grand model at my leisure and also the amazing Concertino upright. Everything about Grotrian-Steinweg is impressive, the traditional business values, the skill and dedication of the workforce, the love of music and of course the incredible quality and beauty of the pianos. Our current stock of Grotrian’s is now a Cabinet grand and Chambre grand, Friedrich, Cristal, Carat and Classic uprights. I invite you to come and play them....
Since my last writing sales of our Kawai pianos has bounced back to its normal levels. the fabulous RX-2 was delivered last week to a very happy customer. The RX-2 is a particularly fine piano offering a high performance at a reasonable price. We now have in stock three Kawai grands, the RX-2, GM-30 and GM-10. As ever, the K2 and K3 uprights are very popular choices. We recently supplied a beautiful walnut K3 that not only sounded impressive but looked beautiful to match! Kawai UK continue to offer fantastic support to my business. Michio is a very highly trained technician from Japan who is resident in the UK with the role of supporting us with any technical backup that may be required. In addition to the general support given by Michio he personally prepares every grand piano before dispatch to the trade, the skill of his work is evident as soon as you play a Kawai grand.
Neil continues to help in all aspect of the business and enjoyed a trip to Kawai recently to the launch of the new digital piano models. Needless to say he came back enthused and having ordered five new models which arrived today. Neil shares my own business values and provides an expert and informative service to customers considering a digital piano, with a dash of humour of course! If a digital piano is something you are considering call Neil and he will share his knowledge and give good, honest advice. Please do call Neil, I am not a digital man, although I did enjoy playing one of the Kawai’s the other day..
After struggling to keep up with supply and problems with re-ordering we are now in a better position with the impressive Schreiner & Sohne pianos. These pianos are undoubtedly the most impressive in their class and offer exceptional value for money. They are a pleasure to tune and work on and have proved to be durable and reliable under heavy playing conditions. We are awaiting a replacement grand and have the 112 models on display with 124 models also on the way.
Tuning remains exceptionally busy and thoroughly enjoyable. Vicky and Richard continue to help with the work load and both enjoy the life. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see each other as much as I’d like as we are often working in different areas. However, when we do speak, or meet up the common theme is of enjoying our work and of course the subtlety, or not, of different pianos! It is sometimes difficult to manage the showroom and continue with my regular tunings. However, I am very happy with the balance that it gives my work life and although I have recently considered options to staff the showroom more often I enjoy the mix of it all too much! The system of appointed viewings works fantastically well, I think that comes across in the testimonials that customers have kindly written. There is so much to discuss when considering purchasing a piano and it is incredibly important to me that it should be an enjoyable experience. A local piano teacher visited the showroom on Friday with her husband, she spent well over two hours trying pianos and asking my opinions with many laughs along the way. Without the appointment system I wouldn’t have been able to guarantee her the time to play uninterrupted or to have my attention to give advice where needed, not to mention the supply of quality coffee. In November 2012 I am very content that my business offers fine quality pianos and an honest and high quality service to match. And I do enjoy it so much..!!!
26th July 2012
Welcome to the latest news update. With the sun shining and the excitement of the imminent start to the Olympics there are good reasons for our business to be going through a quieter spell. However, against my own predictions I can’t remember a busier time which I am certainly not complaining about. We have welcomed some fantastic characters to the showroom since the last update and enjoyed some equally fantastic piano playing!
It has been the busiest spell for our beautiful Grotrian-Steinweg pianos. Each one of these pianos offers a fabulous musical experience involving the player at an emotional level to an extent that I have not seen with any other pianos. It is not uncommon for accomplished pianists to be visibly moved by the experience of playing these pianos, the tonal complexity and colour make them a joy to play and inspires such musical piano playing. Since my last writing we have supplied a Friedrich, two Cristal’s, a Classic and a Chambre grand. Sharing my enthusiasm and passion for these pianos is an absolute joy for me, although I do feel a genuine sadness as they leave the showroom. Needless to say all models have been ordered again with the Cristal’s due in next week. The Chambre grand went to a very musical family who found the performance of the piano superior to alternative, well known pianos at at much greater cost. This is becoming a common discovery in my showroom and backs up my belief that Grotrian make not only the best pianos in the world but also the best value for money amongst the top end German piano makers. If you are reading this and considering purchasing a top end German piano I would urge you to experience the pianos of Grotrian-Steinweg!!
Another very exciting development is our supply of five Feurich 122 uprights to Cheam School near to Newbury. Cheam have a fabulous music department led by the inspirational and charismatic Tim Bennett. Tim and I have known of each other for a few years and I was delighted to be invited to the school to help with the supply of five practice instruments. Seeing such a vibrant and active music department was fantastic and a great example of how music can enhance the education of our children. The Feurich pianos are perfect for the job at the school offering a high level of performance along with solid and impressive build quality to stand the rigours of school life! We are due to deliver the pianos on Saturday complete with humidifiers and a plastic trough to fill with water to soak them in! I am also delighted to be looking after the tuning and maintenance of all the school pianos on a regular basis.
Away from Cheam the Feurich pianos have proved very popular with visitors to the showroom. We have just one 122 model left (mahogany) with the 115 going out on Saturday and the impressive 178 grand reserved. We have been a little quieter with Kawai in this period although a K3 is due out this weekend and a K2 has just sold. As ever, these pianos are of a consistently high standard and remain a popular choice. Second hand pianos have been coming and going very quickly often not making it to the web pages! A few made it to the used uprights page as ‘just in and going through the workshop’ but sold before preparation work had been completed. These include a very nice Knight and a small Yamaha in exceptional condition.
On a personal note I am pleased that my daughter Annie has just passed grade 2 piano with distinction. She has also successfully auditioned for the junior girls section of the Farnham Youth Choir which means I won’t be at the showroom on a Monday after 4.30 as from September! We still run the showroom by appointment which continues to work well for us and visiting customers. It sometimes gets tricky working tunings around the activities of the showroom but we are just about managing to keep up! I still thoroughly enjoy life ‘on the road’ and the showroom time complements this perfectly! The phone has been getting incredibly busy lately so if you call and get the voicemail please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can
Enjoy the summer and the Olympics!
29th May 2012
My apologies for not managing more regular updates to the news page. This year has so far been exceptionally busy for the business and combined with a hectic family life the news update task has kept being left for another day! I will try to do better throughout the second half of the year! I can’t quite believe that we are nearly into June already!
The first five months of the year have been the busiest that we have known, surprising given the economic climate! The used pianos continue to be popular with many not making it to the web site pages. We had a lengthy spell when a piano would come in, we would send an image of it to a customer and it would be reserved to be seen and sold. This happened many times and was very satisfying as we seemed to match people to pianos very well! There are signs that things are slowing down a bit now the sun has finally come out and we have a good stock of used uprights building up again. I am thoroughly enjoying having more pianos put through the workshop for complete restoration and they have proved very popular with customers. None of the pianos that we have had restored ourselves have made it to the web site yet but a beautiful burr walnut Ronisch grand is due out soon and will look very impressive in the showroom! We also recently bought a fine Scheidmayer grand and a Bluthner grand which are in line for full restoration. We have also had some older but previously restored grand pianos that have successfully found good homes including a couple of Bechsteins a Bluthner and two Richard Lipp grands. These fine quality old German pianos offer a very different playing experience from modern pianos and are proving popular in performance and aesthetic.
The fabulous Grotrian-Steinweg pianos remain popular with established piano players. We recently supplied a Classic upright (my very favourite upright made in the world today) and also a Friedrich which were both fully appreciated for the supreme quality that this famous German company manages to achieve. Both models have been re-ordered and should be in the showroom in the next couple of weeks.
Kawai continue to be popular with offers on the black K15, K2 and K3 making it a great time to consider buying one of these pianos. The K3 has been the most popular this year with some selling before the next model has reached the showroom! We supplied a K2 ATX which is an impressive instrument with electronic capabilities enabling headphones to be used for a quieter practice time! I even had a demonstration from the customer of a lap top being connected to the piano and a software package enabling all sorts of things including assisted practice; it plays the left hand while you play the right...! The GM-10 baby grand piano has also been popular with great offers available on this model too.
We are very excited to bring Feurich pianos to the business. The Austrian piano maker Wendl & Lung have joined forces with the German company Feurich to produce these exceptional pianos. We used to stock Wendl & Lung and found the 122 upright model to be outstanding. There is now a broader range of uprights including a 115cm, 122cm, 125cm and 133cm models and they are even better than before! Our first 122cm upright sold within days of arriving and we have just taken in our first 133cm Concert model which is fantastic! We currently have all of the uprights except the 125cm and a 178cm grand on the way! The quality of construction and resulting musical performance is truly outstanding and I look forward to demonstrating these fine pianos, they are a very exciting addition to the stock!
I thoroughly enjoyed a blues workshop that Jason from The Winchester Piano Studios hosted in the showroom. There were about 18 pianists, drums, bass, saxophone and a singer all combining to make a terrific din, great fun! A group of piano teachers are getting together at the showroom in a few weeks time to perform and discuss their music. I am always happy for musicians to use the showroom for this type of thing and enjoy the feedback on my pianos!
Piano tuning remains very busy with Vicky, Richard and myself generally flat out. It is such an enjoyable job working on different pianos and meeting such interesting people. It is one of the reasons that I run the showroom by appointment, to be able to still travel around tuning for customers that I have known for many years is so enjoyable. With Vicky and Richard out tuning too I am enable to make time for showroom appointments and activities related to running the business, the odd lunch with trade visitors included! Very exciting news too is that Neil has a new shiny silver van to replace the old red one that has served him so well. The first upright pianos have travelled in it and the first grand is being delivered on Saturday.
That brings things up to date. So much has happened in the first few months of this year that it is difficult to recall everything. There is much to look forward to in the coming months and we hope to welcome many new visitors to the showroom.
9th January 2012
Happy New Year! I am writing this first update of 2012 looking forward to the year ahead. Last year was a good year for our business, especially given the economic difficulties, and we are hoping to continue this into the new year. December was an enjoyable month at the showroom with a handful of deliveries the day before Christmas Eve getting the pianos in before the festive season got underway. We opted to close the showroom for the time between Christmas and the new year and have returned rested, refreshed and looking forward to welcoming visitors during the coming month.
We have a sale on during January and will be offering discounts an all of our pianos throughout the month. Towards the end of last year we had a few older pianos in, both uprights and grands, which proved very popular with customers. Most didn’t make it to the used piano pages before selling and being delivered to the new owners. As a result we are hoping to stock more old, fine quality pianos throughout the year and also increase the amount of pianos that we restore and present in the showroom. As I write we have just taken in a previously restored Bechstein model B and similar sized Grotrian-Steinweg grand. We have just restored and sold a Bechstein upright and sold another previously restored Bechstein upright. Currently going through the workshops are a beautiful burr walnut Ronisch grand, a Grotrian-Steinweg upright and a Grotrian-Steinweg grand which is reserved already. I am very excited with the prospect of sourcing, restoring and supplying these types of characterful, quality pianos which offer something different to new pianos.
Kawai pianos continue to be very popular with special promotions on some models. The K3 has been our most popular upright and the GM-10 the most popular grand. We have just taken in a two year old K5 which will be a very good buy for someone looking for a quality Japanese professional upright. Kawai pianos seem to go from strength to strength and are gaining in popularity all of the time. Most of our customers find the tonal quality and responsive actions superior to other similarly priced pianos on offer. Although we have had many enquiries our RX-2 is still in stock at a very attractive price due to a small cabinet blemish. It had sold but the customer was unlucky enough to have to buy a car instead due to mechanical failure of his old one!
Our beautiful model C Bluthner upright was delivered towards the end of last year. Whilst preparing this piano I was reminded of the unbelievable build quality of these prestigious German pianos. The quality of materials used and the quality of construction are second to none in the industry and the characteristic ‘golden tone’ is beautiful to hear. I am hoping to stock more of these desirable uprights in the future. Our replacement Grotrian-Steinweg Classic upright arrived towards the end of last year and is as impressive as the previous models that we have sold. Both Grotrian and Bluthner are family owned German businesses still producing the finest pianos in keeping with their rich heritage, what an impressive country it is!
We have much to look forward to in the months ahead. Jason from the Winchester Piano studios is holding a blues workshop in the showroom, we have had a cello masterclass and look forward to a choral workshop coming soon. I am always delighted to offer the showroom to local musicians and enjoy ‘showing off’ my stock at the same time! I was pleased to offer the use of my fabulous Grotrian-Steinweg Cabinet grand to a professional jazz pianist recently to record on.
Piano tuning remains extremely busy. Vicky is on two weeks holiday at the moment, well deserved after an impressive cello grade 8 distinction in December! Richard is helping with the workload while she is off but we do seem to have a bit of a backlog to catch up with. We all continue to thoroughly enjoy life on the road; for me it balances perfectly with the showroom business and makes for a fantastic work life.
That just about brings us up to date. Neil and I look forward to welcoming many new customers to the showroom. With special promotions from Kawai and our January sale it is a great time to consider making a piano purchase!