Del Vento When you'll have time, we'll love to hear more on both the instruments you tried and on what you saw at the factory! If they let you take pictures and you can share them that would be terrific too!
MBiG If it would be possible for you and you would like, it would also please me very much if you could report briefly about the factory tour at Grotrian-Steinweg. Pictures, if they were allowed, would be very nice. 👍
Sorry for the delay, I've been busy playing with my new piano VI 😃
So I visited to the Grortian-Steinweg factory in Braunshweig and it was a real pleasure. Not just because of the great pianos they make but also for the interesting history with their connection to Steinway and also the very warm welcoming I received.
I was the only visitor that day and it turned out that my guide was the CEO of the company and he took the rest of the day of and we had a conversation and a factory tour that lasted for more than three hours 😀 We started out with a coffee and he told me about the history of the company, about how the founder of the Steinweg factory moved to America and started Steinway & sons and his son took over the factory and teamed up with mr Grotrian and the company became Grotrian-Steinweg. He also told me that in the early years there was a close collaboration between Steinway and Grotrian-Steinweg and they actualy built the same pianos just with different names. Here are pictures of such a piano:
Later on the companys divided more and more and after a legal process Grotrian-Steinweg had to change name in America and Asia so in those markets they're only Grotrian
After the history lesson we took some more coffee and talked about the philosophy of the company and the future of the piano industri where the market for high end pianos are shrinking and how companys myst Broaden there product lines to meet different demands. One interesting thing was when I told him how much a like the Grotrian-Steinweg uprights he said to me that they se themselves first and foremost as an upright piano company and that the uprights is the heart soul of the company (my interpretation), but of corse they make world class grand pianos as well.
So after about three cups of coffee it was time for the factory tour and he showed me every part of the process from gluing the rim and the soundboard to the voicing process of the hammers and we talked with the workers and they showed me how they made all the parts and why they do as they do to achieve the best result in construction and sound. What's special with Grotrian-Steinwegs pianos is how they attach the soundboard to the iron frame. They don't have the traditional screw with with you can adjust the tension of the soundboard afterwards on most pianos. Instead it's only attached in the corners and they have to get the tension right from the beginning but this lets the soundboard vibrate more freely. They also have the typical wooden cross for increased stability of the wooden construction. You can see it on the back of the pianos in this picture:
He also introduced me to a group of apprentices and their teacher and told me how they educate new piano builders, an education of three and a half year. Some of hem stay at the factory and some goes to other makers.
After the tour I had the chance try out some pianos, uprights and grands. Unfortunately the didn't have that many pianos in the showroom due to the pandemics consequences for the production so the've sold most of their pianos. I did however try the uprights and a few of the smaller grands and they are such lovely pianos. The tone is so pure and transparent and the clarity and warmth of the uprights is IMO unmatched. The grands are more on the intimate side and if I would buy a grand piano for my home a Grotrian-Steinweg would be a strong candidate. It's quite a traditional construction at they lack duplex-scale. But the tone is so delicious and lovely. The action in their pianos is made by Rennner with specifications from Grotrian-Steinweg and the palying feel is superb.
After the tour we had some more coffee, this time with a cookie 😀 and talked some more and then he offered me a ride to the translation from where I went to Berlin and the Bechstein Centrum 😀
I took some more pictures but it's mostly of the staff working in the factory and I'm not sure how they feel about being uploaded to a public forum.
Overall, the visit was a lovely experience.