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yamaha buys boesendorfer


magronbass

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Somebody posted this on "Piano World" a few weeks back.

 

Not a good year for Austria...first Joe Z., now this.

 

It will be interesting to see if Yamaha stays out of the way or if they introduce the new Bosendorfer 290 Imperial midi grand.

I sure hope not.

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Ulp. This tendency of the globalized "free" (ha-ha) market to concentrate resources in a few big corporations is really scaring me at many levels. One of the most significant results for us musicians is that most specialized, high-quality brands are either disappearing of being bought by large conglomerates. Kurzweil is owned by Hyundai. (No, wait - Hyundai own Young Chang, which own Kurzweil) Ferrari is owned by Fiat, and now Fiat might be bought by some even larger corp...

I agree that given the situation, Yamaha, which is the world's largest instrument manufacturer, is one of the best possible owners for Bosendorfer. For example, the two firms are both pioneers in the 'reproducing piano' technology, and if they decide to join forces on that, we could see some very interesting developments in that field.

On the other hand, both firms have an interest in the higher-end segment of acoustic pianos, and Yamaha now being the boss, could decide at any moment to destroy Bosendorfer (no matter what's written in the contract; they have endless ways to do it).

We can only hope for the best...

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Yikes. I guess it's a good match though, as both pianos are overly-bright. I've always likened the Yamaha sound to falling somewhere in between a Steinway and Bosendorfer. I can't see any reason why they would much with things, unless the scale of production lends itself to shared parts here and there.

 

The good side is that Yamaha would now be inclined to provide Bosendorfer samples alongside Yamaha samples in their digital pianos, synths, and workstations.

 

I loved Bosendorfer in college while at music school, but after some solo piano recitals in my later adult years, began to find the piano too abrasive in its overall timbre. Yet it is for this reason that I find it ideal for orchestral settings, as these characteristics tend to make the piano blend the best with the orchestra and have it remain audible without dominating.

 

All opinions, of course. Yamaha and Bosendorfer build great pianos. The sound is always a personal thing, and I have many times stated my preference for the little-known Mason & Hamlin (Ravel's favourite as well).

 

As Yamaha has always been the most active in schools (well, when I was a kid it was Baldwin, and whatever happened to them...?), another ruboff of this purchase is that music schools and conservatories might get a bigger break on Boseondorfer pricing.

 

Quite frankly, I can't any negatives in this purchase. Although it might make Steinway a bit nervous, or even Fazioli. But as competition is a good thing, it should help everyone improve and learn from each other.

 

And as woods become scarcer, all of the piano manufacturers are going to find themselves in tight competition for newer production standards and newer composite materials that still retain the expected sound of a grand piano.

 

Bosndorfer's uprights are said to be quite good. There's a bit of cache to that name too, so it can only help Yamaha to have that name in the fold and to leave them alone (as they always do with companies they buy -- sometimes so much so that the marriage doesn't work out so well and they part with them later).

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Thank goodness Gibson failed in their earlier attempt to buy them (which I didn't know about), as they take the opposite approach from Yamaha when they buy other companies: they either muck with them until they're worthless, or just flat out kill them (with retroactive implications for current "owners", when it comes to software-related support and tools).

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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A cautionary tale:

I'm also a vibist in addition to pianist. Back in the late 70s, early 80s, there were two remaining great American vibraphone manufacturers: Musser, owned by Ludwig drums, and Deagan, owned by Slingerland drums. Each of these leading brands had a signature sound that was recognizable and uncopied--like, say, Bosendorfer and Fazioli. The J.C. Deagan vibraphone remains one of the best ever built, and they are antiques that are sought after today.

 

Of course, pianos are much more popular than vibraphones, and so there is more incentive to keep a name like that, and I doubt that Yamaha will bury the Bosendorfer design the way they did Deagan. But they've done it before.

 

Yamaha bought Deagan--probably 1982 or so. Yamaha also had their own vibraphones. You would think that they would have kept the Deagan design and line alive. NO. They tucked away all the patents and designs. The result is no one today is building an instrument that sounds like the old Deagans. To be sure, Yamaha vibraphones are great instruments, competitive with Musser. But they buried the Deagan line rather than inject new life into it. And so the option of a really great alternative sound is gone.

 

If the press release says part of the deal is that Yamaha must keep Bosendorfer alive, well, let's hope it is true. But it's worth knowing that whatever their intention when they bought the J.C. Deagan operation, the outcome was the death of one of the best-sounding brands ever built.

 

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A company that has a valuation of only $20 mil but is losing $3 mil annually is NOT in very good financial shape. You can only go so far on your cash reserves (if there are any) or going to the bank constantly for loans. At some point you have to turn out the lights.

 

The real question should be: "are we better off with Bosendorfer in business or not?" As potential users of their products I think the answer is obvious. And actually Yamaha probably makes more sense than just about anyone.

 

Busch.

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Yikes. I guess it's a good match though, as both pianos are overly-bright. I've always likened the Yamaha sound to falling somewhere in between a Steinway and Bosendorfer.

 

Personal impressions are funny.... I never, ever thought of Bosendorfer as a 'bright' piano! In my view, Yamahas have the prize for being overbright, and I always thought of the Bose as darker than *both* the Yamaha and the Steinway. That's generally speaking, of course; but having played several of each brand, I have formed an opinion thru the years. In fact, my overall favorite piano (among those I've played in person) is an amazing Bosendorfer Imperial which I played in Buenos Aires 18 or 20 years ago... it had a wonderfully balanced, full sound from bottom end to top end, an incredible dynamic control... and it was one of the 'darker' pianos I've ever played!

I've also heard many pianists say that the Bose is best suited for chamber music than solo work, because it doesn't have the power and projection of a Steinway...

That doesn't make your opinion less valid, of course... I just like to notice how diverse our individual impressions can be. :)

 

And btw I absolutely agree that if Gibson had bought Bosendorfer, they would have closed doors by now, probably.

 

 

 

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I agree w/ Marino on this...I've never thought of Bosendorfers as being bright...Yamahas, Kawais, that's a different thing.

 

There's always that case of the neglected piano.

I played a Fazioli 228 at the Colbourn School that hadn't been voiced and cared for properly. Ouch, babe....the thing sounded like that old Yamaha CP-80 electric grand. I've heard bright Steinways as well as beautifully maintained "dark" sounding Yamahas.

 

If I were a chamber music player, the Bosendorfer would be my first choice. Great for Mozart, Haydn, etc.

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I too thought Bosies were known for having a more muted high overtone presence, ie a darker sound. Man they're nice.

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There's always that case of the neglected piano.

I played a Fazioli 228 at the Colbourn School that hadn't been voiced and cared for properly. Ouch, babe....the thing sounded like that old Yamaha CP-80 electric grand.

 

Now, here's a piano which I would call "bright" - the Fazioli! Not Yamaha-bright, more tight and full - but I understand that a poorly mantained Fazioli could sound like that.

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Personal impressions are different ... they are all valid. Bosie's have less roar than Steinways in the lower-mids to me. That makes them more polite in small ensembles. But that have an unmatched brilliant sheen, once you get more than an octave above middle C.

 

That's just an opinion. There is one way in which the two instruments are very different. A Bosendorfer, you have work for the sung tone ... in the Yamaha it comes tumbling out ... even in the 10 foot.

 

Jerry

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Actually, Yamaha is a great choice for a large corporate owner of Bosendorfer. What they understand is that you don't mess with a good thing - you *learn* from it.

 

I think that's right. They bought Steinberg and actually helped them improve their stuff. Cubase 4 is certainly a step up, and their customer support responds a lot faster now.

 

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A sneak preview of one new model a year after the Yamaha buyout.

 

http://www.pianomart.com/ViewAds.aspx?type=1&manufacturer=9&piano=6989

 

All you need is a Nord Electro on top and you'd be stylin'.

 

Nah. If you are gonna put an Electro on top, you need some red to match!

 

http://www.cuk.ch/images/articles/3252/ml4_vign.jpg

Moe

---

 

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