Welcome to the latest update. We are thankful to be well in these unprecedented times and fortunate that our business is back up and running at full capacity again. I have just read back the last update and see that we are also fortunate to be enjoying similar weather than when I wrote at the end of June. I love the colder nights and mornings that come with the beginnings of Autumn, a time for my annual reinvention of the classic Autumn Leaves. This is a piece I always enjoy improvising with at the beginning of Autumn, by the time the leaves have fallen from the tress I am ready to leave it again for another year…

The showrooms have been exceptionally busy since the end of lockdown, a trend reported through the trade. My view is that we are catching up from being closed for two months but it is always difficult to put reason to the piano trade. We are really enjoying the busy spell and happy to accept that it just is! I reported the imminent arrival of the two Shigeru Kawai grands in my last update, the SK2 and SK3 arrived together in July. Both are exceptional pianos with the SK3 already having been selected by a local family, I am looking forward to preparing it for delivery this Friday. We have had a few Grotrian-Steinweg uprights selected in this time with our wonderful black G124 going to London to a wonderful pianist who played the piano beuatifully. We took a Kawai RX2 in part exchange for this one which proved to be an interesting collection; it was in a basement flat in London. The chaps did an excellent job with two scaffold towers built to facilitate a bridge to pass between them for the winch to attach. The piano was then raised up from the basement to ground level. This was certainly one of the most tricky and memorable collections we have had, I can’t claim to have been there but enjoyed seeing the photos. Interestingly the RX2 was selected very soon after arriving at the showroom, a superb used purchase.  I think we currently have five grand pianos with their lids down in the showroom, this is symbolic of the models that have been selected and are no longer available to be put through their paces by visitors. Our beautiful restored Bluthner grand was delivered a few weeks ago after having a strong emotional impact on the piano player, a reaction like this to one of our piano is our greatest pleasure. 

Exciting news; I have ordered a 192cm Grotrian-Steinweg grand piano. I haven’t had one in stock for a couple of years and have missed it terribly. This would always be my favourite piano of choice and each model we have had has been exceptional. With the extension to the showroom and the purchasing of other stock to fill it I have not been in a position to order one in until now. The busy spell we have had since lockdown has enabled me to consider a purchase and the order is now in. To say I am excited about the planned arrival is an understatement, I am expecting delivery towards the beginning of November and cannot wait! I wonder if I will have overplayed Autumn Leaves by then..

Piano tuning is as busy as ever. Again, I think there is an increased demand after lockdown with people rediscovering the enjoyment of piano playing during this time. We have had many calls to work on pianos that haven’t been tuned for many years, I must admit I don’t usually go out to these myself but Vicky, Richard and John are always up for a challenge. I have recently finished tuning the pianos for the schools we look after, due to lockdown the Easter tunings were missed so they required a bit more work than usual but it is encouraging that they will be in good use again. Michelle is enjoying her new role of organising the schedules for Vicky, Richard and John and as predicted this has helped to free up more time for me to enjoy my tuning and meet more people at the showroom. I think I would have to admit that the efficiency of the diary schedules has benefitted from Michelle’s involvement, it took a peaceful lockdown for me to realise that things had just got too busy for me to keep up with everything.

As ever, we look forward to all new enquiries and visits to the showroom. As the nights draw in the darker evenings encourage indoor entertainment such as piano playing. Traditionally this is the busiest time of the year for the piano trade, I will report if this is the case in my next update, it is impossible to predict in these unusual times. We will be very pleased to see anyone that would like to visit to try our pianos, there may be a few of you making your way over once the 192 Grotrian-Steinweg arrives..

All the best,

Ben Wheeler

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