Posts Tagged ‘Ric Overton’

Mason and Hamlin BB – A Joke?

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

images

I think NOT!!!

Quite an interesting thing about the Mason and Hamlin BB.  I am simply in love.  I would like to express something more astounding, earth shattering or eye opening, but the simple truth is……I’m in love.

For many years I have carried the torch for a different brand 7 footer but there is a new love in my life.  I am asked frequently, “If I would buy you any piano in the world, what would it be?” I have played many, many pianos in my career, reviewed quite a few and have listened to more than I care to estimate.  From a personal experience with my very best critical ear, I have never played a finer instrument that allows me the ability to express emotions like the Mason and Hamlin BB.

feather

Here’s a special key to me.  Most any piano will sound big when you play loudly.  It will project and generally sound like a piano.  However, the real test to me is when I am playing at ppp with the shift (soft) pedal engaged.  I love the sound the piano makes at it’s very softest.

The sound of most pianos will not fall apart when played at their loudest.  The sound of most pianos  will not speak when played at their softest.  The Mason and Hamlin BB is an exception to the rule.  When played at it’s softest the BB will respond with a very clear and round tone. When banged on with a heavy hand the luscious tones still deliver.

mason and hamlin bb

There has to be a downside, I mean, there is always a downside.  If I had to think of one criticism I would most likely have to say that 7 footers (besides being big) tend to have an overpowering bass register.  While the Mason BB is not really considered an exception, the tone does feel as if it may be a little easier to manage than in some 7 foot models I have played.

When I play I tend to want an evenly balanced tone that delivers all the way across the keyboard with little exception. Often when “critically” playing you have to learn control.  Steinway B has the opposite problem from the Mason BB.  The Mason BB bass is almost too big while the Steinway B feels to small.

Recently, I spoke with Tom Lagomarsino, Vice President at Mason and Hamlin, about the BB and this is what Tom had to say –  “The reputation of the BB comes from it’s unusual power and projection, delicate control of the action, and distinctive well-balanced Mason & Hamlin sound. This combination allows professional and enthusiast alike to create beautiful music of many genres”.

A customer recently asked me if I would or could compare Mason BB with a Steinway B or a Yamaha C7.  My response was that, as far as I am concerned the Mason and Hamlin delivers a more balanced, even tone from the lowest bass note to the highest treble note and simply put the Mason would be my personal choice – period.  If price is a consideration I would rather have the B model (5’4″) than any Steinway that Steinway has ever produced. To end the equation on her question I explained that in my opinion, I would rather have a big screen T.V.

Simply put, if you are looking for a dynamic piano that will deliver exactly what you are trying to express you will find it in the Mason and Hamlin.  The BB 7’0″ is by far the VERY best 7 footer on the market in my humble opinion.

Well, enough for now.  I am off to a new subject which I will be covering in my next Blog.

Ric Overton of Burbank, CA

 

 

Dynatone VGP-3000 Player Digital Grand Piano

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

DYNATONE VGP 3000

Dynatone VGP 3000

Dynatone VGP 3000

 

Here’s the one I wanted to tell you about the most.  Hours and hours of research and development have gone into making this particular model a reality.  The VGP-3000 is an incredible instrument on its own.  First of all (of course, the most important to me) is the fact that it sounds like a traditional piano.  Period, Period, Dot, Dot, Period.  The action of the piano feels realistic, the experience feels like an acoustic piano, sitting and playing it makes you feel as if you are playing an acoustic piano.

 

The “hook” here is this:  while it is a digital piano capable of playing up to 128 different and unique voices, it is also a full-fledged, straight on player piano.  The player works off of an SD card that holds hundreds of prerecorded songs.  These make the keys move up and down and hey, let’s face it, at the end of the day, everybody loves a player piano.

The song list is GIGANTIC and the different types of music available are incredible.

This unit will also allow for a SIM card which will utilize MIDI files and then play on the piano too.  The only differences you will see here is that the keys will not move up and down like it will in player mode.  However, with the on-board recording system, the VGP will allow you to record your music and the keys WILL move up and down.

Knowing what is on the market today, I have to say that I am most impressed with this piano because of its price relative to what you are purchasing.  This product has stood the test of time and will continue for many years to come because of the hard work and effort that has been put into creating this model.

This has been a very popular model all over the United States since being introduced and Piano Marketing Group has done a great job putting on new dealers and taking care of the marketing and sales side of the US distribution.

The GREAT news about this model is that it is affordable.  In order to get a product of this nature from another popular manufacturer could cost you many times what this one will.  This model is perfect for anyone looking for a digital piano in a grand cabinet.

See you soon – from Burbank, CA.

Ric Overton

P.S. One last video from yours truly

 

Dynatone Pianos – Never Heard Of Them

Sunday, March 8th, 2015
Dynatone U.S.

Dynatone U.S.

History

Dynatone Pianos have been around since 1987.  EMI (Electronic Musical Instruments) which was a part of a much larger group known as Korea Electronics Co., LTD also known as KEC.  In 1996, Dynatone took over the digital piano line from the World Famous LG to focus on creating a leading digital piano company.  In 2000, Dynatone separated completely from KEC.

In the United States Dynatone was known as an OEM company.  What this means is that any company could order a product and the OEM company would simply put the brand name that the customer wanted to use.  When Dynatone began to market more worldwide they changed their policy on OEM product and began to only manufacture and sell under their own name brand.  While this was a risk in some ways to Dynatone’s infrastructure it has proven to be a very smart move on their part.

Dynatone U.S.

Dynatone U.S.

Changes

In 2014 Dynatone began using a U.S. distributor for the very first time.  The reception in the United States has been overwhelming.  While Dynatone has grown their business in Europe as well as Korea and in other parts of the world, the U.S. has remained virtually untapped by them.  Marketing in the United States started in 2014 by Piano Marketing Group.

Piano Marketing Group has successfully launched Dynatone into a number of states and is growing by leaps and bounds.  While still relatively unknown it has a bright future ahead of it and should look for many exciting changes coming.

Dynatone New Products

Dynatone New Products

The Products

The models Dynatone offers are fairly comprehensive, Piano Marketing Group chose to only import a small portion of their offerings.  In this brand, you will find only 6 or 7 models.  I have decided to go through each of the models and show you what they look like and even some demonstrations as to what they sound like.

Each of these models are incredible in their own way.  I want to review each product in the coming weeks to show you how different each one is and perhaps you will be able to decide which one is right for you.

See You soon – From lovely Downtown Burbank, CA

Ric Overton

 

Where Have I Been?

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Many things have happened since you last saw me.  I have moved to Burbank, CA where I am the General Manager at Hollywood Piano.

Since 1928

Since 1928

 

 

This is a business that has been around since 1928 and for those of you wondering I was NOT part of the original staff.  We are the dealers for a wide variety of pianos from Mason and Hamlin, Grotrian, Baldwin and many more.  Of course, if you have followed my blog at all, I am also happy to be selling Roland digital and Dynatone digital pianos.

I was pleased to join the staff of Hollywood Piano because they have represented some of the finest lines of pianos on the planet.

In addition to all of the lovely pianos, we also have a great performance hall as well as teaching facilities.If you have a chance to stop by and meet me I would love to see you.

 

I also have taken on a part time job working for Piano Marketing Group as a representative on the West Coast.  We represent several lines of World Class pianos that you will be learning about over the next few weeks.

Lastly, maybe most importantly I found a local church that I love and has been fun and inspiring to me.

Pacoima, CA

Pacoima, CA

 

When I first came to this church it was because the famous songwriter and piano player, Andrae Crouch was the Pastor along with his twin sister Sandra Crouch.  After only a couple of services, I realized I had found a church that I wanted to be my home church.

Not only are the people fun to be around they also have an unusual habit for a church.  It seems they love everyone and not only express this with their mouths but also with their behavior.  It’s amazing to see people like this in action.

Last month we lost our long time Pastor, Pastor Andrae Crouch.  He was a joy to know and serve under.  While I do miss his presence, I am so glad that his sister Pastor Sandra Crouch has taken the reins of the church and is doing great.

I have recently been asked to revive this blog because of the need that many people have to understand what’s going on in the piano business in the past couple of years. Over the next few weeks, I am going to review and tell you some of the products that I represent, and products that I have learned to enjoy and one product that I have been reintroduced to that I have loved for years but had lost close contact with over the past few years.

Great to be back and I look forward to sharing some great information with you and hope that it can in some way help you.

Ric Overton

Happy New Year !!!!!!

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years is behind us and we are looking forward to a new year.   Most of us look at the New Year as a time of new beginnings and fresh starts, new projects and resolutions.  The same goes for Piano Social Directory and for myself as well.

While I am not in a position for full disclosure I will soon be able to make a special announcement about my personal future.  As for Piano Social Directory, we are about to start a few new projects that we have wanted to start for some time.

We are committed to building relationships and helping connect people  that are interested in locating piano professionals from every aspect.  New  strategies will open up Canada, the U.K. and Europe in the coming months and we will begin to grow our business as we make those additions  to these new territories.

Piano Social Directory has now grown to over 13,000 professionals and we have now referred more than 1,00o people to industry professionals nationwide.  We are certainly not the only directory in the piano industry but we are quickly becoming the most visited.

In December we launched PianoSD+ which allows professionals to pay a small fee every month which will allows the individual to advertise at the top of the list of the individual sections.  So far it has been met with a small amount of success and we know that will eventually grow.

This year we will add e-commerce, video blogs and some other products that will take advantage of modern technology.  As we grow we are going to be exploring new opportunities and hopefully add things that will help promote our site as well as the piano industry as a whole.

I pray that you are also looking at opportunities for your business and if we can do anything to help you, please let us know.

Ric Overton

http://pianosd.com

 

The Piano Was Not The Original Keyboard (Part 3)

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

The Virginal

 

The Virginal

The Virginal

 

The precursor to the harpsichord came in the 1400’s known as the Virginal or Virginals.  The logic behind the first virginals came in 1460 when a writer described it in a letter from Paulus Paulirinus of Praguein relation to the clavichord.  History books can differ in their opinions or ideas of its origin.

Quite a bit of music was written on a virginal because of its size and ease of transport.  This is a larger model of a virginal.  Some were quite decorative like this one while others were quite simple in their design and much smaller.

The tone quality or the virginal as compared to the clavichord was/is quite different.  While the clavichord struck the strings the virginal was closer in tone to the harpsichord.  Later as people began to want more sound we started making the harpsichord with longer strings and a larger soundboard with more depth of sound.

The virginal was identical to the harpsichord in the way it was made with the plucking of the strings rather than the clavichord mechanism which struck the strings like the piano.

A Smaller Virginal

A Smaller Virginal

The virginal was very popular during the early Baroque period although like the clavichord and by a large part the harpsichord the tone was to light to be heard with the other instruments and even more difficult in larger public performances.

If you do a quick search on the virginal you will quickly see many different variations of this cool instrument.  It is difficult to imagine that once this was cutting edge technology and this was a privilege to own.  The tone quality of this instrument was among the best available in a keyboard instrument at this point in the 1400’s.

 

Art in a VirginalArt in a Virginal

However, music for the virginal and the clavichord would be written for many years to come BECAUSE of the tone.  You may also note that many, MANY works of art show a young lady sitting in front of an instrument that most people assume is a harpsichord or clavichord but, as it turns out is actually a virginal.

Ric Overton

http://PianoSD.com

The Piano Was NOT The First Keyboard (part 1)

Monday, October 29th, 2012

As most of you know, I am 100% a piano fan.   I love the way they look, feel, sound and maybe even smell ( at least when they are new ).  I thought about the fact, however, that I am never looking past the piano.  I never quite get back to the basics of where it all started at least as far as the lineage of the piano is concerned.

There is a very rich history in piano building that spans back to the late 1300’s into the 1400’s and I thought it would be fun to go back and look at the very beginning and see if we can (at least partially) bring it all full circle.

Although keyboard instruments as we commonly know them today have gone through many changes, the idea of a keyboard instrument  was originally created in 1361.  In 1361 there were essentially no flats or sharps as we know them today.  Although there are physically notes on the keyboard with the 5 incidentals they had different notes in the beginning.  Over the period of the next 300 – 400 years ( yes, that is an accurate number ) we have gone through a number of changes that have brought us to the “newest” scale and was finally publicly and famously endorsed by Bach in the early 1700’s.   Much more about that to come in the next parts.

I will be presenting to you in the next few blogs about the history of the piano.  I learned quite a bit myself and hope that you will as well.  It is a little confusing as you move backward to understand the scale designs so, I have tried my best to put the information in my own words and leave out some of the less famous keyboards.

Over the period since the early 1300’s (over 700 years of history) there have been many, many versions of the piano that did not “take” and were unsuccessful for one reason or another.   Some did not stay in tune for long periods of time, some were too awkward to be moved while others simply did not function correctly.

Over the next few posts I will attempt to put the most popular stringed keyboard  instruments in a logical order so you can easily follow the information and pass it along to others.

Please enjoy.

Visit our new affiliate program at http://coolstuffformusicians.com and our gear shop at http://pianosd.spreadshirt.com and of course http://pianosd.com

Ric Overton

We Have a New Affiliate

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Piano Social Directory is excited to announce we have a new affiliate.  Cool Stuff For Musicians is a really cool (pardon that I just said that twice) website that has things that most people don’t know are available.  The folks at Estey Piano have pulled it all together now to make some of those things available.  I have no doubt that as the website and the business grows you will see more items available and more stuff that you won’t be able to live without.

Check it out here:

Cool Stuff For Musicians

Click Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find some things that you MUST have and order today.  Remember the holidays are coming.

Thanks for your support.

Ric Overton

 

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” »

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