Welcome to this spring update. I had intended to have included a few more updates since the last one in January, as ever things have been really busy and writing this has been pushed down in order of priority. We are currently experiencing a bit of a lull in activity in the showroom, a great time to catch up with tasks such as this! Although we have experienced some wonderful spring weather, I recently ran the Reading half marathon beneath a beautiful blue sky, today is grey and uninspiring, another good reason to line up a coffee and pitch myself in front of the computer with the Saturday sport in the background.

Despite the current lull the year has been fantastic at the showroom so far. I’ve just had a look back at invoices to remind myself which pianos have been selected during this time, I’m pleased to report it is a healthy list. We have seen many of our exquisite Grotrian-Steinweg uprights selected. The wonderful Concertino model mentioned in my last update found a wonderful home with a very competent piano player/teacher living in Hungerford. After supplying this customer with a silent Kawai model two years ago I was thrilled that she was able to upgrade to such a fine piano, it was a perfect match. We have also seen G124, G118 and G114 models selected and delivered to their homes in this time, all are back in stock except the G114 which is on its way over the Channel. As things stand we are not having to make any changes to the import of pianos from Germany, we are keeping a close eye on the Brexit situation and the fluctuating currency to try to take advantage of spikes in the strength of sterling. I am sure many of you are very Brexit weary now, I have found it fascinating and the twists and turns continue by the day. I suspect that the Brexit situation is now adversely affecting the piano trade now though, I’m sure we will all be relieved when it reaches a conclusion. Anyway, back to pianos.. we are really looking forward to a special order oak G124 Grotrian arriving in the next couple of weeks. I’ll ask Michelle to post an image of it on Facebook, it looks stunning in the images we have received from the factory in Germany. We took delivery of a special order G118 in solid larch wood which went off to Devon to a very happy customer. I find these special order finishes really exciting, it is wonderful to deal directly with a top quality German manufacturer that can deliver these requests in the form of a beautiful piano. 

Our Kawai grand pianos have continued to be popular during this period too with a couple of GL10’s recently delivered. One of these was chosen by a customer who was reluctant to have a black piano in the newly built home with professionally designed interior. We delivered the Kawai on the understanding that we would swap it with a wood finish restored piano if black really wasn’t suitable. I visited the home yesterday and was pleased to see that the piano looks fantastic and the customer is happy, this backs up my theory that a black piano will look great in almost any setting. Wilh. Steinberg pianos also continue to be popular, we recently supplied a P125 model for the ABRSM exam centre and it was very well received. The sale of these pianos across Europe is really impressive, the company is going from strength to strength in a very challenging environment, I am pleased to be part of this success which is due to the high quality and musicality of the pianos. I have ordered a P165 grand which is due in soon, we are looking forward to having it in the showroom.

Piano tuning remains enjoyable and busy, the diaries are generally kept full, life on the road is as varied and unpredictable as ever. We will soon be working around the schools that we look after getting the pianos ready for next term. It seems as though we have only recently tuned them up for the spring term, a measure of how time flies when you are busy! The digital diary has proved to be really helpful, Michelle is able to book tunings in for us and keep us all up to date with frequent changes. There have been a few teething problems but nothing that we haven’t been able to correct and learn from with a few extra checks now in place. Pianos at the moment are predominantly out of tune after the drying effect of central heating over the winter months. Once heating systems go off the humidity in our homes will rise, increasing the moisture in our pianos which in turn affects the tuning. Despite these changes most pianos only need tuning twice a year in a domestic setting which is a testament to the quality of modern piano construction.

I think that is about it for this update. We have had some really enjoyable visits to the showroom so far this year, we are hoping for many more. As ever, we would be pleased to welcome you to Ash Park, if only for the enjoyable experience of playing all of our pianos, both upright and grand. Most of our visitors continue to be referred to us which is how we like it, if you know of anyone who is considering a piano purchase we would be pleased to hear from them. The experience of visiting Ash Park, talking pianos and discovering the personalities of the different instruments is always enjoyable, plus the coffee pot is always ready for action

Best wishes,

Ben

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