Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin… Over 150 years ago in the 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 matched his entrepreneurial spirit. Founded in 1853, Blüthner pianos have risen to global fame rapidly through the remarkable quality of their instruments and in equal measure through Julius’ ingenious networking. He understood that for pianos to be desired by everyone in the financial position to purchase one, they must be endorsed by celebrated performers and composers and awarded medals at the world’s leading trade shows. These special honors yielded good graces from European Royals, who then ordered special edition ornate pianos for their palaces, which further solidified the brand’s desirability. Julius was a genius of invention and introduced the fourth string (aliquot), which is still a unique 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 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 a bombing raid. After the war, the Blüthner family was able to rebuild it. When the Soviet Union nationalized everything in East Germany, the Blüthner family was allowed to remain in the brand’s reign as the Soviet Union needed massive quantities of high-quality pianos.
The factory returned to its rightful owner after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the liberation of Eastern Europe. Blüthner pianos are still a family business 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 company’s values since its founding in the 19th century. The Blüthner piano purchase is for a lifetime – the well-built pianos will last generations and be passed on as a treasured family heirloom. 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 pin blocks, and Renner action. Industry leader Abel makes the hammers. Blüthner builds about 100 uprights a year in four sizes and 500 grand pianos yearly in six sizes.
The crown jewel of today’s Blüthner output is designer crystal grand pianos, Blüthner Lucid. These remarkable instruments are absolute industry leaders and standard bearers for pianos of the 21st century. More about those later…
Construction and Design
Under the hood, Blüthner pianos are proper German precision machines. Each string is hinged individually to the pin as opposed to being looped. This allows for more precise super-tuning and keeps the piano in tune longer. The soundboard is made of Alpine Spruce, seasoned for over ten years. The soundboard profile is a cylindrical crown rather than spherical, which contributes to better tuning and sound resonance. The above-mentioned 4th string is the fabled aliquot stringing, and it remains a mainstay 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’s tone remains supple and silky while blooming from within with a full range of overtones. Indeed Blüthner grand piano is a pianist’s dream: not to have to rebalance your hands while playing and constantly adjust to register imbalances prevalent in most grand pianos.
There is also a unique feature of the way Blüthner aligns hammers. The hammers are cut at an angle to match the string line and subsequently attached straight on the shanks instead of being cut straight and secured 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 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 the Blüthner family name and carries the same gravitas and commitment to quality as the main line Blüthner pianos. However, Haessler’s simpler technical elements and finishing allow it to fall within a more affordable price range while introducing the customer to Blüthner’s legacy.
For instance, some of the cost-effectivenesses are possible due to looping the strings as opposed to singe-hitching. The absence of the aliquot stringing and conventional straight hammers makes Haessler Pianos cost about 25% less than Bluthner. The outer case is traditional and doesn’t possess the designer panache of the high-end Bluthner grand pianos. All pianos, however, are made at the Bluthner German factory and represent the highest standards one has come to expect from the 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 piano with an 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 an 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, the beauty of sound, and endorsement by the leading musicians.
Model Range & Pricing
Blüthner has a wide range of instruments 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 lineup of traditional art case pianos that can be ordered in a variety of grand piano sizes and further customized. The lineup is:
- Julius Blüthner Edition (all grand piano models)
- Queen Victoria (models 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 in the industry. Regarding 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 of molding larger piano elements out of a single piece of lucite. This technique results in the most genuinely transparent pianos on the market. The illusion of see-through fragility conceals these remarkable instruments’ incredible strength and durability. Models like Lucid EXO utilize the latest aluminum 3D printing technology, allowing impossibly intricate detailing and shapes to come to life.
The 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, and carbon composites will raise the price to the $1-1.5million range.
Special Edition Pianos:
Blüthner also produces a Special Edition piano like the one with an extraordinary 24K gold lid inlay. Often, these are one-of-a-kind instruments made by special order to commemorate an 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 the 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 meets all sorts of different criteria. That portfolio consists of Irmler, Haessler, Rönisch and Hupfeld.
An extraordinary warranty protects Blüthner’s superb quality of the piano building for Blüthner and Haessler pianos — 10 years, parts, and labor, to the 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.