Welcome to the latest news update.

With 2017 now well underway we have enjoyed a really busy start to the year. Things are still a bit gloomy outside after a few brighter days tempting us of better weather ahead. As I write we are expecting the wrath of storm Doris to arrive which sounds far worse than heavy rain and wind! Our first unit at Ash Park used to experience worrying leaks when heavy rain and wind combined, I used to cover the pianos with polythene sheeting paranoid that they may get dripped on. I even remember going up in the middle of the night to check that all was dry. Eventually of course we moved to a bigger unit on Ash Park which has never experienced any such vulnerability, and the suspended ceiling we fitted would catch any errant drops anyway, I can sleep peacefully.

What a start to the year we have had with a level of activity in the showroom that I would describe as perfect. We have been kept really busy at a level that we have been able to fully enjoy showroom visits and consequent correspondence. January was predominantly a Kawai month and February has so far been a Grotrian-Steinweg month! Quite exceptionally we had four upright Grotrian-Steinweg pianos selected in the showroom last week alone, one has been delivered and three are on order with the factory. One request was for our model Cristal upright but with chrome fittings instead of brass and with blue key slip felt instead of the usual black. These requests are always possible with Grotrian-Steinweg as the pianos are hand crafted allowing for ‘personalisation’ in the process. I remember supplying a Grotrian-Steinweg upright to a very accomplished musician a few years ago. He was thrilled with the piano but found that he was loading so much music onto the music desk that the lid would sometimes tip forward. Although this was rather exceptional, and hadn’t been identified before, Grotrian took the piano back to Braunschweig where they custom made a new lid set up to allow for a greater load to sit on the music desk. Needless to say the piano was then perfect for my customer to enjoy. I enjoyed a long conversation with Konrad at Grotrian-Steinweg this week and am very excited by recent developments and their continued commitment to making the finest pianos. More details to follow all in good time.

I think I may have mentioned in past updates a few other pianos that I have brought into the showroom to test and try for myself and gauge the response of customers playing them. One of these was the Haessler 124cm model made by Bluthner. I have been really impressed with this piano, the build quality is of the highest quality, as you would expect of Bluthner in Leipzig, and the tonal quality impressive and widely enjoyed. Having been so impressed I have just ordered two more models of Haessler, the 115cm and 118cm uprights. The addition of these pianos will enhance the selection in our showroom with the Haessler prices sitting between Kawai and Grotrian-Steinweg presenting a range of genuine hand crafted German pianos at very reasonable prices. We have a long association with Bluthner pianos and their Heassler range is a perfect addition to our showroom at this time. It is worth mentioning the very high quality of cabinet finishes on these pianos with a wide choice of styles and finishes available. The additional models will be with us in around six weeks time, as ever we invite you to visit the showroom where you can experience these pianos first hand. The other piano that we have recently added to our selection is the impressive Feurich 122cm upright model. The Feurich sits below Kawai in price and offers a mature piano at a fantastic price. I am looking to order a second 122 model for the showroom as the mellow, rich tonal performance has been well received and the recent changes to the action/key set has improved the touch response immeasurably. In time I will look again at 178cm grand piano that we used to stock under the Wednl & Lung name, this piano has also seen recent development that I will explore in time.

Other arrivals we that we eagerly wait are an ornate Scheidmeyer baby grand piano that is currently in the workshop part way through restoration. The Scheidmayer pianos were beautifully made and are one of my favourite pianos to see restored. This particular model has attractive turned legs and a fretted music desk giving an aesthetic appeal to support the musical performance. Another small Bluthner grand is also going through the workshop in Suffolk, another fine piano to see restored. I’m not sure where we are going to put them at the moment but there is potential for a third showroom unit that I am considering, watch this space!

The piano tuning life is enjoyable as ever. Vicky has had to have some time off with a nasty virus but John and Richard have been able to cover some of the work. I am pleased to report that she is on the mend and hopefully managing her first full day back tomorrow. John has been helping to keep the showroom pianos in good tuning order which is such an important role, we can’t possibly present our pianos to customers if they are out of tune. It is a real challenge to keep them 100% in tune all of the time but John is doing a great job of keeping them in good shape. For me life on the road is just great, as Chris Evans quotes on radio two in the morning |(yes, I’ve reached the age of radio two appreciation) ‘ if you find a job you love, you’ll never do a days work in your life’. How fortunate I am to be able to relate to this.

I think I really ought to devote a paragraph in appreciation of Michelle who is doing a fantastic job within the business. We were really pleased to support an ABRSM concert last weekend by supplying them a Kawai grand piano for the event. Michelle was there to present our business and chat with the audience, she even spoke a few words before the concert began which is something I am never comfortable doing. Day to day Michelle is a huge help meeting customers, answering and making phone calls, marketing, arranging tunings…etc etc. Her knowledge of the piano trade has grown incredibly since she started and a list of questions accompanies most meetings, her thirst for knowledge and her genuine interest is admirable. Michelle is a perfect fit for the business, we share the same work ethic and drive to always do things as well as we can, this is very evident in all of her meetings and dealings with customers. Final word is that I must give myself a pat on the back for inviting Michelle into the business, I must hasten to add that this said ‘tongue in cheek’ knowing Michelle will be reading this soon…

Thanks must also go to Sharad at cloud Pursuit for recent improvements and development of our web site. Most of our new customers come through referral or Internet searches so our web site presentation is vital. Sharad has recently modernised the site in many ways including display improvement and the addition of reviews to name just two. Take a look at the new presentation, I hope that you will agree that it offers a true presentation of our business.

So, in summary all is well at Ben Wheeler Pianos. We have enjoyed a great start to the year, enjoyed meeting many new customers and helped in the selection of many fine pianos. There is much to look forward to in the coming months, if it wasn’t for the weather I’d say we were feeling rather spring like.

Visitors most welcome, all the best.

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