Viewing the Latest Entries From Ric's Blog

Finding A Piano

Posted December 27th, 2023 by Ric Overton | No Comments »

By now you may have figured out that I am the owner at R. Kassman Piano in Berkeley, CA. I just finished an article regarding “Getting A Piano In San Francisco” and thought that it was easy to give you a few ideas about finding a piano practically anywhere you are.

Finding A Piano

Finding a piano is easy, you can find one almost anywhere if you know where to look. Whether it’s on social media, Google, or at a piano store near you, there are plenty of options to choose from.

However, the real challenge comes when you need basic services like delivery and tuning. It can be quite a hassle to find these services if you’re not familiar with the piano business.

R. Kassman Piano

 In 2019, Ric Overton took over ownership of R. Kassman Piano in Berkeley, CA, after 40 successful years of operation under Mr. Kassman.

Keeping true to his commitment to providing top-notch Fine European Pianos and more budget-friendly options, I also introduced a new rental business and implemented some minor adjustments to continue the tradition while bringing in fresh ideas. That’s why I always suggest going to a local dealer to find your piano. The benefits of doing so are clear and will make your piano buying experience much smoother.

Without a doubt, I am still managing, along with an exciting online piano store called, and of course,

Ric Overton

I really hope that someday you’ll be in the Bay Area, and you’ll take a quick detour to say hello and let Ric Overton help you find the perfect piano.

I can’t wait to assist you. 

Ric Overton

Fine European Pianos

Posted December 19th, 2023 by Ric Overton | No Comments »

Fine European Pianos at R. Kassman Piano

When R. Kassman Piano first opened its doors in San Francisco in 1979, their aim was to bring Fine European Pianos to the area. Mr. Kassman quickly became a powerhouse in the bay area by offering top-notch Fine European Pianos. He even proudly adopted the title of “purveyor of fine pianos” to set himself apart from other piano dealers in the bay area. 

Steingraeber Piano

Okay, get ready to experience the top of the line German piano brand, Steingraeber, offered by R. Kassman. Steingraeber has consistently been recognized as the pinnacle of Fine European Pianos. Situated in Bayreuth Germany, they are known for hosting exceptional piano competitions and performances. Obviously, this is a brand you won’t want to miss out on!

Additionally, Steingraeber also builds one of the very finest pianos available on the planet. It is important to note that they also build one of the most expensive pianos as well.

Understandably, you simply have to experience this piano for yourself to understand its incredible sound and touch. It’s the top-rated choice but, if you’re serious about spending time at the piano, Steingraeber is the ultimate option for you.

Grotrian Piano

Grotrian Piano Grotrian piano is also in a league of its own. The sound of the Grotrian combined with the touch makes Grotrian one of the top ranking pianos.

Of course, when I bought the store from Mr. Kassman, I made a choice of was the best option for the business. Grotrian was the right choice.

Throughout the year, R. Kassman Piano has been busy selling and ordering Grotrian pianos for our customers. These pianos consistently arrive in pristine, top-notch condition, and it’s a rare occasion for us to have to make any adjustments to their sound or regulation.

While looking for one of the finest (ranked in the top 5 in Piano Buyer) pianos,then Grotrian is a piano that you have to experience.

Estonia Piano

Anyone who follows my blogs will know how much I love Estonia pianos. The tone is quite nice. It always comes in very smooth. It has a slightly brighter tone than some of it’s European counterparts but it’s not a percussive type of bright but more of a sparkling sound.

Obviously, the touch is incredible. R. Kassman Piano sells approximately 5 to 6 of these magnificent pianos a year and I am happy to be able to represent this work of art.

R. Kassman Piano

R. Kassman PianoR. Kassman has held the title of best piano store in the bay area for Fine European Pianos since 1979. I was truly grateful when I was given the chance to become part of this incredible legacy. He specifically mentioned that one of the reasons he reached out to me was because he knew my passion for European Pianos. 

Ric Overton has had a passion for exquisite pianos for a long time. The first time I played a Grotrian, I wasn’t as knowledgeable about sounds and touch as I am now, but I remember being blown away by the sparkling sound. I was completely amazed and couldn’t even find the right words to express it. 

Take the opportunity to drop by and play a European Piano at the best piano store in the Bay Area at R. Kassman Piano soon.

Thank you.

Ric Overton

How To Buy Your New Piano

Posted March 14th, 2019 by Ric Overton | No Comments »

Ric Overton

Here is a blog that I wrote more than 4 years ago and apparently, I have never changed my thoughts about How To Buy Your New Piano.

Take a look at the similarities of something that I wrote more than 4 years ago and what my thoughts are today.

The question is: What piano do I buy? How much should I spend? Which piano is right for me? What is the most important feature? Grand or Upright, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, U.S., European, OMG !!!! There is so much to know.

There Is An Answer

New or Used

How To Buy Your New PianoThe answer is: Yes! Buy a piano! Now let’s figure out which one is the best one for you. Now the next question is: What’s the right piano for you? The answer to that question is a “little” more complicated.

Of course, There are so many name brands in every price range imaginable. You can buy new or used. The biggest question starts with: What can I afford? Once you get to this point you can begin the next steps.

If you are like most people you have no idea how much pianos even are. You have no idea how much a new piano might be. The answer is very simple. You can find them free on some websites and you can mortgage your home to buy one.

Alright Already – How Much is buying your new piano going to be

A decent used upright piano might be as low as $1,500.00. From that price range you begin to add value for things like, the condition of the piano, the age of the piano, the brand name will have an effect as well.

To give you an example: I live in Los Angeles, CA. The market here is very competitive which is good for the consumer. So, a local piano dealer presently has a nice spinet for $795.00. And, from $795.00 the next step is $1,495.00 which is for an older American Case Style piano but is a console. But, the prices then go to $2,495.00 which is for a nice shiny mahogany piano from the mid 1980s.

However, Any of these pianos would make a nice piano for a beginner. However, if the player is a little more advanced, it may not be the best solution.

The more you are able to devote the more features and benefits you will be able to enjoy. So this is where I would start.

This is How To Buy Your New Piano

Test Out Your Local Dealers. Ask in Person. How to buy your new piano.

R. Kassman PianoI put very little value in Social Media posts from people as a whole. I find that often times the “reviews of XYZ company” are misleading. The best way to investigate a dealer is to visit them. You will know usually within a few moments what type of people you are dealing with.

Most dealers will have a decent amount of inventory in all price ranges. Most of the them will have both new and used. If you have no starting point or reference point I would suggest starting there.

Start Here

Start by looking at the selection of inventory and asking questions. Notice how much the sales person is trying to help you by asking questions about you and what your application is. Be very detailed about what you have in mind (if you do) and if you have someone who is playing or starting to learn.

Additionally, Be sure to discuss where you are planning to place your instrument, who is going to play it, what there experience level is, where in the room will the piano be placed, delivery instructions (stairs, steps, turns,etc). Additionally I would take the time to decide what your dollar will buy.

Often times when looking at pianos people will forget everything and get caught up in the moment. You will be surprised at how affordable you can make a piano purchase by using financing and other terms that may be available through a piano dealer.

Going To A Small Piano Dealer

Don’t discount the small dealer. How to buy your new piano can be simple. You can often find really good pianos at very good values at small dealers. Listen carefully to their guarantees and what they are offering to you besides a nice piano. For example, do they tune your piano after delivery, do they provide additional warranties, do they offer money back guarantees or price matches, etc.

However, The best advise I can give you is to seriously stop and consider your personal application and then start the next questions. Here’s an example of some of the questions I think you should be asking yourself.

Good Questions To Ask

  1. Who is playing the piano? If its your 6 yr. old that has never played before then you might consider a digital piano that is less expensive and can be traded in for a nicer instrument in the future (depending, of course, on the dealer you are doing business with). Check on the trade in policy of your dealer. If you are not buying from a piano dealer – reconsider your decision – consider a local dealer first.
  2. Where is it going? If you don’t have room for a grand piano you will have to consider an upright. Is it going under a window, if so, how low does the window go? Are there any special needs in that particular area? Is there a door in the way? What type of floor is the piano going to sit on? Carpet will deaden the sound a little while tile and wood will carry the sound. Is it going in front of a glass wall? If so, you should stay away from wood tones because the light will fade the wood of any furniture. Is there direct sunlight? Direct sunlight will not only fade out wood but could also dry out the soundboard and cause it to crack. Is it going in front of a window or vent where the humidity will constantly affect the tuning and possibly the wood.

Additional Questions You may Consider

  1. What are your expectations? Do you want a musical instrument or do you want a pretty piece of furniture?
  2. How long do you expect to own the piano? Are you investing in something that you intend to be a fixture in your home? Do you just need something to fill up a space? Are you trying to find a certain “look” in your home or are you going to use it on a regular basis?
  3. How about a player system? Player pianos are really nice. You push the “PLAY” button and it plays. You can watch the keys go up and down and listen. There is also ALWAYS that one person who wants to pretend they are playing or pretend its a ghost.
  4. What can you afford? Now you know that prices for a decent USED upright will start around $2,000.00 and go up from there. New upright pianos will start around $3,000 and go up from there. Used grands will start around $5,000 and new grands will start around $8,000. The level of quality and age will determine the price.

I Understand How Difficult It Can Be

Obviously, I know its hard to know exactly what to buy when you have no idea what you are doing. My biggest suggestion is ” You should find a dealer that you feel comfortable with”. Trust your dealer and listen closely to the things they tell you. Verify with a technician that you trust.

Ric OvertonIf you feel as if you just can’t afford or do not want to visit a local dealer (a decision that I personally disagree with) then you really need to find a qualified technician or tuner that will help you.

How to buy your new piano. Here is more information that will help you.

Generally speaking, the tuner/tech is going to charge you a fee. That fee can range from free to a couple of hundred dollars. If you are spending several thousand dollars then a couple of hundred wont hurt additionally, the comfort in knowing that you have made a good purchase is worth the additional fee.


The tuner/tech should be a certified technician from the Piano Technicians Guild. You can find a piano tech at or The tech will already know what to look for. They will spend time looking at the strings, soundboard, plate and action.

Consequently, The strings should appear new and shiny. The soundboard should not show any signs of stress, no compression ridges or splits or separation. The plate should not show any cracks and finally, the action should be playable and smooth. All of the keys should play comfortably.

One of the most important if not THE most important is that you need to feel good about your purchase, feel good about the piano, feel good about the people you are buying your piano from. If at anytime during the sales process you don’t feel good OR you feel pressured, make up your mind to simply walk away.

Visit R. Kassman Piano in Berkeley. We feel it is the best piano store in the bay area.

Ric Overton

Never Too Late

Posted February 15th, 2024 by Ric Overton | No Comments »

To learn to play the piano

Never to late to learn It’s never too late to learn to play the piano I recently wrote an article in the news section of This is the other blog that I often write for. The article was about learning to play the piano as an older adult.

There is an article in AARP this month that discusses at length the importance of learning to play a musical instrument. It will help you as you age because it keeps you mind alert and your motor skills working.

it's never to late to learn to play the piano Constantly, I am amazed at the amount of older people who are learning to play the piano in their advanced age. I put some links for people over 100 years old that enjoying the thrill of playing the piano.

Consequently, This is the reason I found it so important to explain why I think it’s never too late to learn to play the piano.

The Article

If you get a chance to hop over to my other blog at R. Kassman Piano and take a look at it.

Ric Overton

I that you will enjoy the article. Perhaps it will motivate you to do the same thing OR support someone who does.

Thank you

Ric Overton

Grotrian Piano

Posted January 13th, 2024 by Ric Overton | No Comments »

Grotrian Piano

Grotrian PianoThe Grotrian Piano company has been renowned for its exceptional craftsmanship, and exquisite tonal quality for over 180 years. Grotrian offers a unique combination of tradition, and innovation, that sets them apart in the world of fine European pianos.

What makes Grotrian pianos stand out?

One of the key factors that makes Grotrian pianos exceptional is their unparalleled craftsmanship and design. Each piano is meticulously handcrafted by skilled artisans, ensuring that every detail is perfected to achieve the highest level of quality. This dedication to craftsmanship results in pianos that are beautiful to look at but also a joy to play.

Furthermore, Grotrian pianos are celebrated for their exquisite tonal quality. The company’s commitment to producing the finest sound has earned them a reputation for creating pianos that deliver a rich musical experience.

In addition to their craftsmanship and tonal quality, Grotrian pianos also stand out for their innovative technology integration. The company continuously explores advancements in piano design and cutting-edge technology to enhance the overall performance of their instruments.

Where can I purchase a Grotrian piano?

Grotrian PianoIf you are considering purchasing a Grotrian piano, there are several options available to you. Authorized dealers and showrooms such as R. Kassman Piano in Berkeley, CA are ideal places to explore and experience the range of Grotrian pianos in person. Here, you can receive expert guidance from Ric Overton who can assist you in finding the perfect piano for you.

Are Grotrian pianos worth the investment?

Investing in a Grotrian piano offers long-term value. These pianos are built to last for generations, making them a cherished heirloom that can be passed down. Their enduring quality and timeless appeal ensure that they hold their value over time.

When considering the value of Grotrian pianos, it is essential to compare them with other fine European pianos. Grotrian stands out as a premier choice among connoisseurs and musicians alike. With a reputation for excellence that is upheld by numerous testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers and renowned artists.

What are the unique features of Grotrian pianos?

Grotrian pianos offer a range of unique features that set them apart from other instruments. One of these features is the ability for customization. Customers have the opportunity to tailor certain aspects of the piano to their preferences, allowing for a bespoke musical experience.

Moreover, Grotrian pianos are crafted using premium materials, ensuring that each instrument meets the highest standards of quality and durability. This meticulous attention to materials results in pianos that not only look stunning but also perform at the highest level for years to come.

Additionally, Grotrian pianos boast exclusive design elements that contribute to their distinctive aesthetic appeal and innovative functionality, further enhancing the overall musical experience for players and listeners alike.

How does the Grotrian piano compare to other high-end pianos?

When comparing Grotrian pianos to other high-end instruments, it’s important to consider other renowned brands such as Estonia and Steingraeber along with Wilh. Steinberg. While these manufacturers produce exceptional pianos in their own right, Grotrian offers unique advantages and benefits that set them apart.

Comparison with other Fine European Pianos underscores Grotrian’s commitment to innovation, precision, and artistry, qualities that contribute to their exceptional reputation and desirability among discerning musicians and collectors. The advantages of choosing a Grotrian piano extend beyond its superior craftsmanship and tonal quality, offering an unmatched musical experience that resonates with the most seasoned performers and aficionados of fine pianos.

R. Kassman Piano

R. Kassman PianoR. Kassman Piano has been happy to provide Grotrian Piano for many years. Ric Overton is more confident than ever in the Grotrian brand. This is one of the reasons that some people consider R. Kassman Piano to be the best piano store in the bay area.

Ric OvertonRic Overton

Finding a Piano In San Francisco

Posted January 9th, 2024 by Ric Overton | No Comments »

This article is about finding a piano in San Francisco. I recently wrote a blog at R. Kassman Piano about how to find a piano on sale. It is a simple little article about how simple it is to find a piano that is on sale.

R. Kassman Piano, finding a piano in San Francisco
R. Kassman Piano

In the article I explain my long career in the piano industry and how R. Kassman Piano is my latest destination. I hope that this article will explain to you how I feel this is the best piano store in the bay area and how dealing with Ric Overton will be simple and easy.

It is paramount that you find the piano that is right for you and I hope to be part of your journey. Finding a piano in San Francisco is not difficult if you deal with us. Feel free to drop in at R. Kassman Piano and say hello. I want to show you why we feel this is the best piano store in the bay area. I will be happy to meet you.

R. Kassman has always had a reputation of selling the very best piano for the very best price. 40 years later that tradition continues. This is whole idea behind what we do. I strive to find really good pianos at the very best possible price and that is what we sell.

Even though we are known for fine European pianos, we also have many more affordable pianos available that are fully serviced, covered by a warranty and ready for you to enjoy in your home.

Feel free to click on our link and look around and you will see some of our offerings. I know you can find the piano of your dreams. I will be happy to help you.

Thank you for reading

Ric Overton

Finding A Piano On Sale

Posted January 7th, 2024 by Ric Overton | No Comments »

Finding A Piano On Sale

Finding a piano on sale is not difficult. Trying to Find the right piano for YOU might be a different thing.

Interestingly, When you look around on the internet you find all types of sales. Some offer you savings by using “a year free financing”, “up to 70% off, and the list goes on. These sales are misleading or simply false.

Let’s go about sales in a different way. Find the piano that is right for you. Find the right price for you that makes you (the customer) feel comfortable with it. Of course, this is not the norm for the way it’s supposed to work, BUT, it seems to work just fine for me.

Consequently, In the past 40 years, R. Kassman has never been noted to be the “low price leader”. What has always been the norm for R. Kassman is finding the right piano for each customer and then the price comes next. However, Who cares how much it is if you don’t like it? It matters that you are happy with the right piano for you.

R. Kassman PianoRic Overton has been the catalyst for much of what we are talking about here. I believe that the most important person is the customer and then the piano and next the price. Not visa versa.

For over 40 years R. Kassman has been known as a Fine European Piano Store and that legacy remains the same.

I look forward to serving you at the best piano store in the bay area.

Ric Overton

Happening Now In The Piano Business

Posted December 17th, 2023 by Ric Overton | No Comments »

Ric Overton

Happening Now In The Piano Business? It has been some time since I last posted here but I am planning new things so hopefully, I will see you again soon.

R. Kassman Piano

R. Kassman PianoFirst let me start with the biggest change. In August of 2019 I purchased

R. Kassman Piano in Berkeley, CA. It was a major change for me that I would go back into the piano business as an owner but we found a way to make it happen and moved to the Bay Area in 2019.

Obviously, the pandemic happened not long after we arrived here. It has been challenging to stay afloat but we have managed to stay in business and doing okay.

Fine European Pianos

The cool thing about the change was that R. Kassman Piano has been known as the best piano store in the bay area for many years. A lot of that has been because R. Kassman Piano has always carried more luxury pianos along with Baldwin Piano and Ritmuller Piano which are a little more affordable.

The biggest names in the industry are Steingraeber, Estonia, Grotrian along with Schulze Pollman and Wilh Steinberg are among the names I carry in the store (more about them later). I also have more affordable lines like Baldwin, Ritmuller and some others from time to time.

Happening Now In The Piano Business

The world of pianos has stayed the same, while everything has changes. What I mean is that the business is basically the same, the pianos are basically the same BUT, the business itself has made a dramatic shift. Distribution has changed dramatically and the situation surrounding the industry has begun to retract in some ways.

China has made some drastic changes in the way they handle music education and this has slowed our availability some. We are watching carefully some of the policy changes that have been made and some initiatives that are altering the way the country is viewing extracurricular activities.

I will keep you updated as we move through these difficult times.

Thank you for your patience and we look forward to new things coming down the pike.R. Kassman Piano

Merry Christmas to you all and let’s see what the New Year brings.

Ric Overton


Posted March 10th, 2019 by Ric Overton | No Comments »

The folks at Piano Marketing Group are telling me that the Brodmann PE187V has become the most sold grand piano in their line up. What makes that interesting is the 187 is a 6 ft grand. Its important to note that this is unusual because most companies sell 5 ft to 5 1/2 ft pianos more than the larger model. Few companies can boast that their number one seller is so large.


The PE 187 is a hit because it was originally designed in Austria as an exact duplicate to another very famous European piano. The scale design was altered slightly to make it more European in design and appearance.

Of course, the piano has a special sound and touch with wooden sharps and a beautiful bronze plate. Additionally the piano has a very clear and distinctive sound that demands your attention.


Simply amazing. Brodmann is available in the U.S. through Piano Marketing Group. Contact us for more information.


Posted March 2nd, 2019 by Ric Overton | No Comments »

In 1877 A. Geyer Piano Company began in Eisenberg, Thuringia Germany. At that point in piano history Eisenberg was an important area for building pianos. At that time they also made pianos for other companies as well.

The New A. Geyer Piano Company

While strict attention to detail is still a major point of what they do, the company has changed a bit. The new company is headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany. Christoph Schulz is a fifth-generation piano builder. His partner is Frederik Steffes who is the former owner of Wilh Steinberg factory. Rounding out the trio is Colin Taylor, formerly with Bosendorfer and former partner of Joseph Brodmann Group.

Colin Taylor

The actual manufacturing of the piano located in an area just outside of Shanghai (another major area for piano building). Additionally, the piano is still designed by the German engineers. As a result, The founding trio says that they believe the German techniques and Chinese resources have led them to a superior product for a lower price.


A. Geyer piano has three uprights and five grands in their lineup. As a result, several parts of the piano are made in China, many of the musical parts of the piano are made in in Europe. German Wurzen felt is used for the upright hammers, and Abel hammers for the grands. All pianos have a solid-spruce-core veneered soundboard and Japanese Suzuki strings. Additionally, the actions are designed by Germany and assembled in China. All pianos are carefully examined by European craftsmen before shipment.

A. Geyer Upright Piano NAMM 2019

How Can I Find The A. Geyer Piano

In the United States, Piano Marketing Group is the exclusive distributors to piano dealers across the country. You can contact Piano Marketing Group by responding to this blog post OR email Scott Schebeck, the National Sales Manager at

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