Am interested to hear everyone's views on what they think is the greatest British upright piano in terms of tone, performance and quality of construction.
There are many manufacturers and models over the years to select. In more recent times there was the Knight Savoy the Broadwood Barless (manufactured by Ladbrooke pianos) and also the Welmar 126/Model B in the 1980's and 1990's aimed at the higher end of the market.
I'd like to propose the Danemann HS2 which although not as large as more recent 'top end' British pianos had a quality and feel that could really take on some of the German manufacturers.
What is everyone else's opinion on this? Any counter-suggestions welcome....
Web Master UK Piano Page
So for me, one of the best English pianos has to be Challen. I've also enjoyed playing some Broadwoods, Welmar has always been pretty good, and Kemble from both pre and post Yamaha's take over in the 1980s when the pianos became virtually Yamahas with a different badge on them, and I've never had a bad experience with a British Yamaha - even though it's a hybrid Japanese-English piano.
I've never really liked Danemann pianos all that much, but I've only played their grands and not their uprights.
Of the English grand pianos, I've played some very old ones, like Broadwoods and Collards from the 1840s, which were good but can't be compared to a 20th Century instrument. Same with the English Erard.
There were grands built by Chappell, Rogers, and Challen that I've played that have all been quite good. Most of them are baby grands but I've played nice concert grands from Challen and Chappell, and Welmar produced a decent sounding 6' grand that seemed to me to be based on Bluthner's model 6 although it's not comparable to a Bluthner style 8 or new model 6.
Thanks for hearing your views so far. Would like to hear from anyone else who is a regular on the forum.
Re: 2016 piano fair; that sounds like a great idea. The industry really needs to self publicise the skills it has and the manufacturing that still takes place in the UK.
Does anyone know if Clive Pinkham still produces pianos? Phil John in Wales was also building some pianos based on the leftover work in progress from when the British Piano Manufacturing Company went bust.
I can't speak for the new pianos being made because I haven't heard one in the flesh, but if money was no object I'd say a new Yamaha upright YUS1, 3 or 5 would be better than pretty much any of the British pianos reconditioned. Personal opinion only, feel free to totally disagree....
But I tell you what, for sheer warmth and impressiveness of tone, I have also played a very large Hopkinson upright that seemed to just have 'something'. It didn't have the clarity or responsiveness of a new Yamaha (it was nearly 100 years old), and it didn't have a particularly great action (it was nearly 100 years old..... so it probably DID have a great action when new), but it had something, just something special. I don't know what it was.
- Colin Nicholson
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Upright or grand ??