At Vintage & Rare we are not just into vintage guitars. We’re also into other instruments. Therefore we are lucky to have the piano enthusiast Ric Overton write guest blogs for us. He has been so kind to share how he fell in love with the piano and what he is doing today. We welcome Ric in our community and look forward to his many blog post in the future.
Passionate about the Piano!
It’s hard for some people to understand how I could have fallen in love with an instrument, but, I am in love with the piano. Of course, I like piano music and I enjoy practically every style of music under the sun, but, I love the piano itself. Let me explain:
Several years ago I worked for Baldwin Piano Manufacturing in Arkansas, United States. My first week of training I was asked to work in the factory so that I could capture the story of how Baldwin pianos were made and the steps that we went through to get the finished product and that is when it all began. I was instantly smitten with the process of how it started all the way to the finished product. There are an incredible amount of hours of labor that go into the making of the piano, the hardwood cabinets, the action, stringing, plate, etc. and to think that a person and not a machine actually has to touch each and every part made me realize that what I was playing on would have been touched by perhaps a hundred people or more. These people had families and lives of their own and while they would most likely never be heard of outside of their community, the world would hear their work.
That began my quest to understand how we arrived at where we are today in piano building and where it all first started.
Since Cristofori’s invention in around 1700 there have been vast improvements. Today, we have changed the construction of the plate, integrated new details for the strings, and changed the hammers as well as bits and pieces of the action model. But since the later part of the 1700’s and going into the early part of the 1800’s very little has been altered from the basic original design. Of course we have changed and updated some things because it is more feasible to create and the tone change is dramatic, but, for the most part the piano of today is very close to Cristofori’s first design.
In the early 1800’s we had builders who are still making pianos to this day. That list would include such names as Sauter (my personal favorite), Steinway, Grotrian, August Forester, Bluthner not to mention Bosendorfer and several others that are to long to list. However, these guys knew how to build pianos that would last and have kept the integrity of piano building that would last for generations to come.
I operate a small retail piano store in Nipomo a small piano shop on the Central Coast of California. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be in this business. To see young musicians that are just starting out and entering their formidable years is fun and exciting. I try and explain to each of them the heritage that has shaped the piano building process and where we are today.
Of course, as is with any product on the market, we have products on the market today such as digital pianos that can mimic the piano but there will never be a duplicate of the original.
I look forward to explaining some of the details of the great piano builders of our time and hope to hear comments and questions.