Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin… Over 150 years ago in an Eastern German town of Leipzig something very special came to be – a jewel of a piano that will endure and define what a musical instrument is for the new century. But let us begin at the beginning….
Julius Blüthner was a brilliant man whose engineering prowess was equal to his entrepreneurial spirit. Founded in 1853 Blüthner pianos have risen to the global fame rapidly through the remarkable quality of their instruments and in equal measure through Julius’ ingenious networking. He understood that in order for pianos to be desired by everyone in the financial position to purchase one they have to be endorsed by celebrated performers and composers and awarded medals at the world’s leading trade shows. These prized honors yielded good graces from European Royals who then ordered a special edition ornate pianos for their palaces which further solidified the brand’s desirability factor. Julius was a genius of invention and introduced the fourth string (aliquot) which is still a special feature only available on Blüthner Pianos. Positioned in the treble part of the keyboard it is slightly raised which allows for sympathetic vibration that enriches the singing tone of the upper register.
Blüthner pianos have become the talk of the world rapidly as piano luminaries like Franz Liszt, Claude Debussy, Richard Wagner, Anton Rubinstein and Sergey Rachmaninoff owned those beautiful pianos. At the turn of the 20th century Blüthner was Europe’s and world’s largest piano manufacturer.
Bluthner Pianos and Famous Composers
The brand’s history was not without a tragic turn – during WWII the factory was destroyed in the bombing raid. After the war Blüthner family was able to rebuild it and when Soviet Union nationalized everything in East Germany, Blüthner family was allowed to remain at the brand’s reign as Soviet Union needed massive quantities of high quality pianos.
Not until the fall of the Berlin Wall and liberation of the Eastern Europe did the factory return to its rightful owner. Blüthner pianos are still a family business and are owned and operated by the sixth generation of Blüthners.
Bluthner Pianos Today
Currently Dr. Christian Blüthner-Haessler runs the venerable family business. He exemplifies the values of the company since its founding in 19th century. The Blüthner piano purchase is for a lifetime – the well-built pianos will last generations and will be passed on as a treasured family heirlooms. Without this integrity and absolute commitment to excellence fancy styles and innovations would be mere passing fashions – but when built by Blüthner even the most futuristic of experimental pianos will stand the test of time.
Today Büthner pianos have beech rims, solid spruce soundboards, Delignit pinblocks and Renner action. The hammers are made by industry leader Abel. Blüthner builds about 100 uprights a year in four sizes, and 500 grand pianos a year in six sizes.
The crown jewel of today’s Blüthner output are designer crystal grand pianos Blüthner Lucid. These remarkable instruments are absolute industry leaders and standard bearers for pianos of 21st century. More about those later…
Construction and Design
Under the hood Blüthner pianos are true German precision machines. Each string is hinged individually to the pin as oppose to being looped. This allows for more precise super-tuning and enables the piano to remain in-tune longer. The soundboard is made of Alpine Spruce which is seasoned for over 10 years. The soundboard profile is a cylindrical crown rather than spherical – which also contributes to better tuning and sound resonance. The above-mentioned 4th string is the fabled aliquot stringing and it remains a main-stay for over a century lending Blüthner pianos their signature singing treble. The entire spectrum of the keyboard is so well-balanced that even though the bass octaves are rich and dark they don’t overpower the middle register where the melody usually resides. As the register climbs higher the ripe brightness of Bluthner tone remains supple and silky while blooming from within with full range of overtones. Indeed Blüthner grand piano is a pianist’s dream: to not have to rebalance your hands while playing and constantly adjust to register imbalances which are so prevalent in the majority of grand pianos.
There is also a very unique feature of the way Blüthner aligns hammers. The hammers are actually cut at an angle to match the string line and subsequently attached straight on the shanks as oppose to being cut straight and attached at an angle like on all other brands. It allows for an even distribution of the strike energy from the hammer to the string which in turn affords a more even and uniform sound and playing experience.
To gain a more competitive edge on the American Market Blüthner added a Haessler piano line to its offerings. Haessler is part of Blüthner family name and carries with it the same gravitas and commitment to quality as the main line Blüthner pianos. However Haessler’s simpler technical elements and finishing allows it to fall within a more affordable price range while introducing the customer to Blüthner legacy.
For instance, some of the cost-effectiveness is possible due to looping of the strings as appose to singe-hitching. The absence of the aliquot stringing and conventional straight hammers are what makes Haessles Pianos cost about 25% less than Bluthner. The outside case is traditional and doesn’t possess designer panache of the high-end Bluthner grand pianos. All pianos however are made at Bluthner German factory and represent the highest standards one has come to expect from Bluthner brand.
E-Volution by Bluthner
Ever the innovator Blüthner also holds its own in the digital piano player system market. Enter E-volution – a hybrid pianos that have optical MiDi strip, a digital sound source and a silent piano system. This option can be integrated into any Blüthner upright or grand piano for an additional $8200. The piano remains acoustic instrument but with the E-volution system it acquires digital capability.
Bluthner Pianos Ranking
Blüthner is ranked as Iconic brand along with Fazioli, Bösendorfer, Bechstein and Hamburg Steinway. The ranking represents absolute leadership in quality of craftsmanship, beauty of sound and endorsement by the leading musicians.
Model Range & Pricing
Blüthner has a wide range of instruments intended for every possible use and circumstance. Below is a full breakdown of the range.
The Blüthner Classic is a performance instrument line Grand pianos (prices for standard ebony and without e-Volution system):
- Model 1 (280 centimeters or 9.2 feet) from $203,000
- Model 2 (238 centimeters or 7.8 feet) from $151,000
- Model 4 (210 centimeters or 6.10 feet) from $134,000
- Model 6 (190 centimeters or 6.3 feet) from $114,000
- Model 10 (166 centimeters or 5.5 feet) from $100,000
- Model 11 (154 centimeters or 5.1 feet) from $87,000
- Model S (145 centimeters or 57.3 inches) from $68,000
- Model B (132 centimeters or 52.2 inches) from $50,000
- Model A (124 centimeters or 49 inches) from $44,000
- Model C (118 centimeters or 46.2 inches) from $38,500
- Model D (116 centimeters or 45.7 inches) from $34.600
Blüthner Supreme Edition:
Blüthner Supreme Edition is a line up of traditional art case pianos that can be ordered in variety of grand piano sizes and further customized. The line up is:
- Julius Blüthner Edition (all grand piano models)
- Queen Victoria (model 1,2 and 4)
- Dynasty (1, 2, 4, 6 and 10)
- Kaiser Wilhelm II (all grand piano models)
- Louis XIV Rococo White with Gold (2, 4, 6, 10 and 11)
- Ambassador (all grand piano models)
- Senator (2, 4, 6 and 10)
- Nicklaus II (all grand piano models)
- Jubilee (model 6 only)
Prices for Supreme Edition range from $98,500 to $291,000 based on the size and model. Further customizations are likely to raise the prize into the mid-to-high $300,000s.
Blüthner Lucid Crystal Pianos:
Blüthner crystal transparent pianos are the absolute leader of the industry. When it comes to high-concept designer pianos nothing is impossible with Blüthner Lucid. This line of reinforced acrylic pianos uses the least number of bolts and co-joining of parts instead molding larger elements of the piano out of a single piece of lucite. This technique results in the most truly transparent pianos on the market. The illusion of see-through fragility conceals the incredible strength and durability of these remarkable instruments. Models like Lucid EXO utilize the latest carbon fiber 3D printing technology, which allows for the impossibly intricate detailing and shapes to come to live.
Price range of Blüthner Lucid pianos is $59,950 to $950,000 based on the model, size and customization. Some further add-on options of precious materials (stones, gold, carbon-composites will raise the price to $1-1.5million range.
Special Edition Pianos:
Blüthner also produces Special Edition piano like the one with extraordinary 24K gold lid inlay. A lot of the time these are one-of a-kind instruments made by special order to to commemorate and important event in Blüthner’s fabled history. The price of these Special Edition pianos ranges from about $300,000 to over a million dollars depending on the materials used and challenges of the design concept.
As Blüthner is a true industry leader it has a portfolio of brands it owns that address every budget need and meet all sorts of different criteria. That portfolio consists of Irmler, Haessler, Rönisch and Hupfeld.
Blüthner’s superb quality of piano building is protected by an extraordinary warranty for Blüthner and Haessler pianos — 10 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.
If you have further questions about Blüthner pianos our team works closely with the factory and has comprehensive knowledge of the entire range. If you are interested in crystal pianos – look no further as we have curated and delivered a number of one-of-a-kind custom pianos and will be happy to guide you through the process so that you will have an absolute piano of your dreams. Contact our team member here.
We hope this article was informative and gave you a full view of this amazing legacy piano brand.