Posts Tagged ‘PianoSD’

Mason and Hamlin Grands – Who Do They Think They Are?

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

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As you may have gathered from my other posts regarding Mason and Hamlin, I AM A HUGE FAN!!!  I decided to review a couple of grand models that are my favorites. Having these pianos around me everyday leaves me “like a kid…….” nevermind, you get the picture.

The model B is one of my favorites because of its size.  The model B Mason and Hamlin measures 5′ 4″.  If you wanted to compare this piano to some other popular models you would either have to go to Yamaha C1X 5’3″ grand which, of course, Yamaha “claims”  is all Japanese made, or you would compare the Steinway S 5’1″ grand.

Mason and Hamlin B is 1 inch larger than the Yamaha C1X and 3 inches larger than the Steinway S model but would still be comparable as far as the price, length of strings are close as well as the soundboard.  Some of you may wonder if 3 inches make a big difference and the answer would be YES, YES, YES. But. the HUGE difference is a properly built instrument.  Mason and Hamlin knows how to properly build an instrument.

materials_1

The scale design of the B appears to be the same as their larger models with the exception that it is considerably smaller than it’s  closest model (the model A ).  It features their globally famous WNG action, solid spruce soundboard, amazingly perfectly weighted hammers (that are properly voiced), properly placed bridges and the same musically precise strings that are used in their larger models.

What this all means to you is that this small grand piano delivers the musicality and tone that you are expecting from a world class piano but is packed in a very small body.  You will be able to play Chopin or easily move into an Ellington improv, play a moving gospel tune or cry to the blues without that sinking feeling that something is missing.

Steinway, undoubtedly, has a great name and has historically built a great piano.  Steinway’s “S” model is no exception.  It has a great name on the fallboard and is solidly built.  That’s it! The sound tends to be very dark and getting any power or expression is pretty much out of the question.  Of course, Steinway also has Kawai’s made Boston and Pearl River’s made Essex if you are looking for an Asian-made product that is “linked” to the Steinway name.  Either of these two products will give you a product with more musical attributes than their domestic made product.  However, you have to understand that Boston or Essex are NOT in the same category as Mason and Hamlin.

BC-piano-white-30x23

Yamaha’s C1X, they claim is 100% Japanese is quite the piano  as well.  It has many of the same features as Mason and Hamlin.  It has a solid spruce soundboard and does have well made Asian strings.  If you are looking for a piano that will play those bright tones, typical of a gospel piano or perhaps a great blues sound then this may be the perfect instrument for you.  It DOES NOT compare with the Mason in its ability to create tone, color and clarity, but it does have that thin, bright tone that you would expect from an Asian piano.

Here’s the intriguing thing about the Mason and Hamlin B model.  Most pianos in this size are not able to competently deliver the proper tone, touch and clarity of sound that is found in this 5’4″ model.  How they are able to produce a piano in this size with this powerful sound is nothing short of amazing.  It has everything to do with their scale design and the superior components used in the manufacturing process that really sets them apart.  Below is my Pastor’s nephew at a NAMM show playing the Mason and Hamlin.  Enjoy!!!

In a way of full disclosure, the information above is entirely my opinion.  The way that I formed my opinion is from hours of playing different pianos, listening to their characteristics, understanding their abilities and defining their shortcomings.  Don’t take my word for it however, find a company in your area that has Mason and Hamlin pianos and test drive it yourself.  If you find another piano that you like better then, you should buy it. However, before you make any decisions, try Mason and Hamlin.

LASTLY AND MAYBE MOST IMPORTANTLY, SEE BELOW:

Made-in-the-USA-blue-2

 

Ric Overton in Burbank, CA.

 

 

 

 

Chance Meetings – Kindred Spirits

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

I don’t do this very often because it’s too weird when it happens but, occasionally, you meet someone for the very first time and you feel as if you have known them your entire life.  When this happens to me I get caught up in the moment and don’t realize what is unfolding right before  my very eyes.

Yesterday was one of those days.  The first lady that I met was one of those very kind customers that come in from time to time to simply ask a question about digital pianos and perhaps see a model or two to decide if its time to upgrade or not.  After she described the instrument that she presently owns and inquire about some models that she had seen online we both came to the conclusion that I most likely was not going to be able to help her with anything more than personal opinions.  I gave her some suggestions and we had the chance to talk and get to know each other a little and just before she left I asked her if she would play something for me.

PLEASANT SURPRISE

In my mind I had prepared for some simple arrangements of Misty, Ode to Joy or some 1st or 2nd year student recital pieces.  ( Yes, BTW, I know how arrogant that sounded.  It was not intended that way but, that is the norm when you work in a piano store.)  When she sat down and played the very first note I was so taken back by what I heard that I stopped what I was doing and sat down.  By the third measure of the Chopin piece she was playing I realized that this was not your average digital piano customer.

When I complimented her on her playing and how surprised I was I don’t think she realized just how serious I was being with her.  I mentioned that Rachmaninoff was my favorite composer and as you might guess she turned and played (from memory) his Prelude in C sharp minor.  I was absolutely blown away.  I could have listened all day even though we both had work to get back to.

As we were saying goodbye and exchanging business cards I told her that she MUST share her music with the people around her and she told me to visit YouTube and there I would find a few of her songs.  I took her advise and now I am going to share that link with you so you can be as blessed as I was yesterday.  Her name is Jane Fleming and here is her YouTube page.  I know you will enjoy.  Click the image below for Jane’s Music.

Jane Fleming YouTube page

Click here for Janes Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

DOUBLE BLESSING

As I said that this exact same thing happened to me twice yesterday.  The second lady I met was a piano teacher from Orange County.  We had such a delightful conversation and I immediately realized that she was as equally passionate about the piano as I am.    It makes me so happy to meet people from all walks of life that love pianos.

As Piano Social Directory continues to grow I hope some of you will take the time to email me about your experiences and stories that I can use in my blogs and things we can talk about that will be of benefit to others that share our passion.

Take a look at Cool Stuff for Musicians and the PianoSD Gear Shop when you have a chance.  Pull out your credit card and spend some money.  HaHa.

See you soon.

Ric Overton

PianoSocialDirectory

Special Announcement from Pearl River Piano Company

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Several years ago when I worked for Baldwin Piano Company I learned a lot about the various ways that other companies used to market their pianos and how they used their leverages to sell their products.  That’s when I first began to compete with Pearl River Pianos.  At that time, which was about 8 or 10 years ago, I began to see their products on the floor of dealerships more and more and I realized that they really were a force to be reckoned with.

Pearl River Piano and Rittmuller Piano

Pearl River Piano and Rittmuller Piano

Of course, we would use the fact that our pianos were made in America and try to encourage people to look at Baldwin Pianos rather than Pearl River Pianos, obviously because we wanted to make the sale rather than our competitor.  It wasn’t until the NAMM show of 2007 that I learned first hand that this is truly a piano to pay attention to.

As a Baldwin only dealership at the time, I hired two professional piano technicians to review the  Pearl River Piano for me.  I wanted an unbiased opinion on this product before I agreed to carry it in my store in San Diego.  They both independent of each other came back to me with almost exactly the same results.  In every category Pearl River Pianos outperformed  our expectations.  The deal was sealed and I became a Pearl River Piano dealer even to the point of selling out Baldwin and replacing them with Pearl River.

 

Pearl River and Ritmuller Pianos

In 2009 I had the opportunity to review their Rittmuller Piano which is a hybrid of European parts and Chinese manufacturing.  What I learned from this experience changed my opinion permanently.  The Rittmuller piano is an incredible  piano and again outperforms my expectations as well.

Music Trades magazine

Music Trades magazine

 

With all of that being said, this morning I received a note that really sealed my belief in Pear River Pianos.  In todays Music Trades magazine there was an a news brief outlining Pearl River’s  IPO in China.  Unlike Facebook, the stocks on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange sold over 48 million shares which raised more than $103,000,000.00 (yes that’s 103 Million with an M).  Quite impressive and another statement that underlines my belief in Pearl River.  I think that in the coming months we will see many great things from Pearl River and I for one am looking forward to it.

If  you have the opportunity to play, demonstrate or review a Pearl River Piano or Rittmuller Piano, trust me and take the time to do it.  Sure the name on the front does not start with a “Y” or and “S” but, I have no doubt that you will like the tone, texture and touch of this piano.

 

Ritmuller Piano

Ritmuller Piano

My hat is off to Pearl River Piano Group for a successful IPO and my best wishes to their continued success.

When you have a chance drop by http://PianoSD.com and see what’s new.  Also, check out the Gear Shop and find something for yourself.

Ric Overton

 

Wolfgang Forster of August Forster Pianos 5/6/33 – 6/30/12

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Today, I want to celebrate the company and heritage of one of the most famous names in the world of fine pianos.  Wolfgang Forster.  Wolfgang passed away on June 30, 2012.

May 6, 1933 Wolfgang Forster was born into a very famous and important family inLobau,Germany which is located in East Germany moments away from Poland to the East and Czech Republic to the South.  The piano company that he owned and operated with his daughter Annekatrin, this fourth generation piano company is among the most prestigious names in the piano industry today.

Before you read the story below you might find interesting:

August Forster Story

History of August Forster Pianos

 

Friedrich August Forster  was Continue reading “Wolfgang Forster of August Forster Pianos 5/6/33 — 6/30/12” »

Press Release

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

July 12, 2011

VIENNA, AUSTRIA-Brodmann Pianos has come to an exclusive agreement for Piano Social Directory to take control of its social media outlets and internet marketing strategies.

“Because of the growing demand for our products and expansion of our brand offerings, it is time to turn our everyday communication lines over to an expert in the piano business with an emphasis on marketing,” says President of Joseph Brodmann Group, Christian Hoeferl.

Piano Social Directory is a new organization headed by Ric Overton, a piano industry veteran with a new idea of marketing in today’s world. “It’s time the industry we love uses technology that is at everyone’s fingertips,” says Ric Overton, owner of PianoSD. “We utilize a combination of internet resources and social media to creatively market to future and present customers.”

The Joseph Brodmann Group came to this exclusive agreement after announcing its planned expansion in the U.S. as they continue to grow the piano branding they presently enjoy and their newest product line of luxury loud speakers. “The new expansion will necessitate a cutting-edge marketing plan,” says Hoeferl. “That is the reason we chose Ric Overton.”

Because of Brodmann’s committment to the piano industry and the music community as a whole, the already impressive quality of pianos will continue to improve along with their newest edition of loud speakers.

While Brodmann Pianos is the only piano manufacturer that Piano Social Directory will service, they do offer special packages to piano and music dealers including website design, email blasts, and search engine optimization by Max Morgan Design, along with full-blown social media solutions. Max Morgan Design has recently upgraded their web servers in order to handle the expected traffic and improve reliability. Piano Social Directory uses Max Morgan Design exclusively because of the close relationship the companies have had for several years. Max’s contemporary approach to branding, communications, and social media solutions made him the best choice for a brilliant partnership.

Hoeferl and Overton have a desire to “rediscover the pleasure of music appreciation” and will combine their latest expansions in the United States.

For more information concerning Brodmann Pianos or Piano Social Directory, please contact Gary Trafton with Brodmann at Gary.Trafton@Brodmann.at or Ric Overton with Piano Social Directory at Ric@PianoSD.com.

George Gershwin still alive and coming to San Diego?

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

One of the bad things about writing the multiple blogs and press releases, etc. is that I don’t ALWAYS get a chance to completely digest the multiple requests that I get to review a new project or program that is presented to me whether I get it in email or “snail” mail or whatever the case is.

Recently, I was asked to take a look at a play that was coming to San Diego and perhaps do my part to promote it if possible.  I made my normal post on Social Medias,etc. but, did not take it any farther until this morning when I had a follow up email about this performance that will take place in San Diego in July.

I stopped what I was doing and took the time to do a little “on-line” research and was pleasantly surprised NO- actually blown away at what I found.

First I visited the website here:

http://www.gershwinalone.com/home/Home02.html

I couldnt believe my ears.  Its like he has returned to life.  Then I went to You Tube (of course)

Look whos coming to San Diego

And now I see what all of the hubub was about.  Mr. Felders ability to draw you into the event, make you a part of it and then allow you to see George through his eyes is an incredible feat.  I have read all of the review now and his wikipedia information.

This program is a must see.  And here’s how.  The Old Globe was kind enough to offer the following to the people that I was able to attract for them.  I hope you will take advantage of it.  It is sure to be an unforgettable evening.

We would like to offer *20% off of Area A seating. Tickets begin at just $39! Visit www.TheOldGlobe.org and select Hershey Felder as George Gershwin Alone.

Choose from performances July 1st through July 3rd and enter Promo Code: PianoSD or you can call the Box Office at (619) 234-5623.

Ric

posted by Ric Overton of http://PianoSD.com  via http://MaxMorganDesign.com

Hershey Felder as George Gershwin Alone

Old Globe Theatre

Conrad Prebys Theatre Center

Music by George Gershwin
and Ira Gershwin
Written by Hershey Felder
Directed by Joel Zwick

We are thrilled to bring back the show that introduced San Diego audiences to one of the most unique and entertaining performers to ever grace the Old Globe stage.  Hershey Felder as George Gershwin Alone played to sold out houses and standing ovations during its previous appearances at The Old Globe.  Now, to celebrate Hershey’s return with his newest triumph,  George Gershwin Alone will be performed for a 13-performance limited engagement.  The show incorporates Gershwin’s best-known songs, from “The Man I Love” and “Someone to Watch Over Me,” through passages and songs from An American in Paris and Porgy and Bess, to a complete performance of “Rhapsody in Blue.”

*Discounts apply to Area A seating only.

What’s the difference in pianos

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

I am probably asked at least once during a sales presentation the difference in pianos and why one may be $2500.00 and the next piano of comparable size is $7500.00.

Pianos now come from at least three main areas of the globe.  #1 by far is the production that is going on in Asia.  Whether Japan, Korea, Indonesia, China or Vietnam (yes, Vietnam) the largest percentage of piano being produced now are from Asia.

Years ago when you spoke of an Asian piano it was with some disdain that you even mentioned it.  While some still don’t like it, the truth is that they are doing a really good job in building pianos.  For some time we have identified Asian pianos with a really bright, almost “tinty” sound.  Today we are seeing many pianos such as Pearl River’s Rittmueller, Perzina, Brodmann and others that are arriving from China in a near perfect tuning, good regulation and a European smooth sound.

It has been an incredible change in production that we have witnessed right before our eyes.  I for one am constantly amazed at the differnce in quality of the piano as well as the quality of sound that is being produced in Asia.

I will continue to discuss the various areas of the world that pianos are currently being produced in and the sound textures and differences that you can/should expect.

Eventually in the transition of PianoSD I will be discussing various pricing and with the help of some others I will start to hopefully explain piano name brands and give my opinions on what you can and should expect with each.

While pianos are my passion, I have a great love for piano teaching and a respect for the piano teachers and hope to promote thier craft.  I am certainly trying to bring music education to Nipomo, Ca.  where I presently manage The Piano Outlet.  You can find us at www.thepianooutletco.com .

I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I enjoy bringing it to you.

Ric

posted by

The future

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

www.PianoSD.com is undergoing some changes.  You most likely have noticed that I have not had a lot of posts over the past few weeks.  The reason is that Tim and I have moved to the San Luis Obispo area to work for The Piano Outlet under the direction of Bob Auletta.  We arrived in Nipomo, California several weeks ago, remodeled a store here and have opened the doors at the Nipomo, California branch of  The Piano Outlet.  www.ThePianoOutletCo.com

Nipomo is a beautiful town situated north of Santa Maria and south of San Luis Obispo, California in the beautiful wine country of the Central Valley Coast.  There are only about 13,000 residents here and it really has a “hometown” feel.  We are quickly getting settled and life is moving along nicely.

PianoSD in San Diego has a lot of fond memories where we met people that will be our lifetime friends.  I hear from many in the teaching community on a regular basis and truly miss the comraderie of them.  Because of my love for the teaching community we have decided to take www.PianoSD.com and turn it into a site that will direct people to teachers across the country along with tuners, techs, artists and dealers.  While we update the site it may seem to have no direction at times but in the end it will have a complete resource of places for enthusiasts to go and get the help they need for all of thier musical interests.

This has been a very challenging year and if I had been asked a year ago if I would be here today I would have never believed it. However, I believe that we are right where God wants us for the present.

I hope to hear from you in the next few weeks about things you would like to see in a piano website and musical instrument website.  We are open for all of your suggestions.

I will be making some more announcements in the next few days about things that are going on behind the scenes with us that are very exciting.  I love this industry and will attempt to do everything in my power to help build it.

See you soon

Ric Overton

post by Ric Overton of www.PianoSD.com via www.MaxMorganDesign.com

I have returned

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

As many of you know, PianoSD closed last year and I have been working at finding the right fit for me and my family in the piano industry.

Bob Auletta of The Piano Outlet (www.thepianooutletco.com)  requested that I come to a small town called Nipomo, Ca. and take a look at the area.  When I visited the area I was so impressed by the people and culture of the town that I knew immediately that this was IT.  We have worked very hard to get the store ready and open and are getting ready to celebrate the Grand Opening of The Piano Outlet in Nipomo, Ca.  Bob is quite excited to be here and so am I.

Bob has been an icon in the music industry for many years and I am quite excited to be an employee of his.  He has left me the opportunity to build this business in any way that fits the community and would promote music and music education in the Central Valley Coast of California.  I am sure it is going to be a success.

As PianoSD begins a change from a retail site to a referral site I am hoping that you will be patient and go to www.PianoSD.com from time to time and see the changes that are being made.

Thanks as always for visiting us and please feel free to visit The Piano Outlet at 485 N. Frontage Rd.  Nipomo, Ca.  93444 or call us at 805-929-8901 for any special requests that you may have.

Ric Overton

Ric@PianoSD.com

Piano moving is an art form

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

We have talked about some basics in Piano regulation, Piano tuning and Piano voicing this week.  I wanted to talk about Piano Moving and tell you some things that you may or may not be aware of.

While PianoSD uses Paul McCloud at Accutone Piano Service, www.pianoservsd.com for our all of our piano techinician needs.  We use Precision Piano Moving at www.PrecisionPianoMoving.net for all of our moves and heres a few reasons why.

A few of the things that have to be seen and realized about moving pianos is that it is important to understand where the piano is now in relation to where it is going.  For example if it is coming out of a home that is in a humid area or dry area it has to be  taken into consideration.

Precision Piano Movers located in the PianoSD building in Mission Valley, San Diego, Ca moves a lot of pianos every week.  We see them coming from very dry areas moving to very humid areas and vice versa.  When a piano is leaving one climate for another, or from a room that is cool to a fully sunlit room the piano needs to go through an acclimation time of up to three months depending on the extremes in changes.  After the acclimation time the piano should be tuned and if needed a regulation, and voicing would be in order.

Upright pianos are generally the easiest to move.   If the piano is going upstairs Precision would simply bring the necessary tools and equipment to do this.  Of course, some “upright” pianos are 36″ tall while others may be up to 52″.  This is  important information for your movers to know BEFORE they arrive to move your piano.  If the legs are decorative, they are wrapped up and blankets are put around the piano for safe keeping and then the piano is placed on a four wheel dolly and taken to the truck for transportation to its destination.

Grand pianos can be a little more challenging.  Most of the time one leg is taken off and balanced on the lyre that has been very quilted for strength.  It is laid on its side and stood upright.  Then the other two legs and lyre come off .  It is blanketed and put on a skid board, transferred to a dolly and then put on the truck for transportation.  The important thing is how many steps is it going down (or up) and what kind of equipment should be used needs to be understood BEFORE the piano is moved.

Regardless of whether the customer is using Precision Piano Moving or some other company, it is important to note that you should NEVER trust someone who is not a professional piano mover to move your piano and MOST DEFINITELY do not move it alone.  To many injuries and to many accidents are caused every year by people who try to do this by themselves.

Drop by sometime we would love to meet you.

Ric Overton

PianoSD.com Store

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