Pearl River Piano Group Ltd.
The Largest Piano Maker in the World and Fastest Growing in America
In 2004 a blind piano tuner tuned the first Pearl River baby grand here in London. Before he tuned the piano he didn't know the name of the piano, had not been told where the piano was from, or which company made it. The next day he 'phoned me and said, "I tuned some Yamaha-ish piano yesterday. It sounded like a Yamaha. It felt like a Yamaha. But it wasn't. What is it?"
I was happy to tell him it was a five foot baby grand from the Pearl River Piano Group. He was very impressed! - So were we! - We think you will be too!
The Pearl River Piano Group Factory Located on China's Beautiful Pearl River
As I gathered information on them I became convinced they were going to be the next Yamaha. I still believe that. They now have the largest piano factory in the world, with almost three million square feet of manufacturing space. Pearl River employs nearly 5,000 people and most of them are very skilled workers. Along with their own pianos they build pianos for other manufacturers including the best known high quality manufacturer, Steinway.
In 1994 Yamaha approached Pearl River and together they started a joint venture with a separate factory in China, not far from the main manufacturing facility of Pearl River in Guangzchou. In this factory they built pianos with the name Yamaha on some of them and the name Pearl River on others - pianos that were built to the same specifications.
This "Joint Venture Factory" was not a true factory. It was really an assembly point. Pearl River manufactured and supplied the strung backs, actions, and cabinet parts in the main Pearl River Factory and then sent them to this factory to be assembled. Essentially the same materials and the same construction techniques were used on the joint venture pianos as the ones from the Pearl River factory.
The point is that Yamaha was selling Pearl River Pianos with the name Yamaha on them. If Yamaha could trust Pearl River to build these pianos - perhaps you can too, and at a lot less in price.
Why pay $1,000's more for a Yamaha when most people can't tell the difference? They sound like Yamaha, the touch is like Yamaha - but the price is a whole lot less.
You may be interested in what other people are saying about Pearl River pianos.
Click on this link below to view all of the Pearl River pianos available to us
I made a point to view and play their pianos at the Music Industries Association of Canada trade show in Toronto in 2004. A week later I became a dealer and have definitely not been disappointed.
I have personally found that Pearl River is very good to work with and honor warranty claims quickly. I feel their pianos are well built, look good, play well, and are an exceptional value. As well, consider this, Steinway and Yamaha are two of the most well known quality pianos in the world and Pearl River builds pianos for both of them. Do you think companies with the reputation these two companies have would let just anyone build their pianos?
To build for these two companies quality control is extremely important. Do you think Pearl River could build a good quality piano for you? We think the answer is yes. Come and play one -forget the pudding - the proof is in the piano! Come and find out how much piano you can get for a lot less money.
Pearl River is Today's Value Leader in Pianos
We think the Pearl River Piano Group is the value leader in pianos today. Yamaha was the leader in the and 70's and 80's but they are now very expensive.
We're not saying that Pearl River pianos are the best - they are not - but neither is Yamaha. What we're saying is that for the average family, we think Pearl River offers one of the best values of any piano available today. Why pay $9,000 for a Yamaha when you can get a Pearl River for only $2,500 - 4,500. Which of these pianos do you think are the best? Grotrian, Yamaha, Bosendorfer, Kawai, Schimmel, Baldwin, Bechstein, Young Chang, Seiler, Samick.
Most piano players and even many piano teachers may not recognize the names of the most prestigious and highest quality pianos in the world. In the list above the pianos recognized as being the highest quality are Grotrian, Bosendorfer, Schimmel, Bechstein, and Seiler. A rose by any other name is still a rose.
While Pearl River pianos don't come anywhere near the prices of the more expensive pianos, they have many things in common with their more expensive counterparts that make them a very good value.
Sand Cast Iron Plate or Harp
There are two generally accepted methods of building the plate that withstands the enormous pressure placed on a piano by the stress of the strings.
Sand Casting has been the traditional method of producing a piano plate for over 100 years. Using this method the plate is cooled slowly and produces a plate that is very dense. As a result when the piano is played, this type of plate is almost acoustically dead which tends to allow the piano to produce a warmer, richer sound, with less obtrusive overtones. The best pianos in the world use only sand cast plates - nothing else.
The problem with a sand-cast plate is that it comes out of the manufacturing process rough and course, requiring time-consuming sanding. Most mass produced piano manufacturers are not willing to bear this cost.
The other process for producing the iron plate is vacuum process. The vacuum processed plate can be cooled much faster than a sand cast plate and little sanding is required to make the plate smooth. This is a huge savings in cost for piano manufacturers that are mass producing pianos. However, the problem is that this type of plate produces overtones on the piano that some pianists say makes the sound more brittle or even tinny.
Most Asian pianos use plates that are vacuum processed, but not Pearl River. While the process takes much longer, the warmth in the sound is quite evident compared to most Asian pianos of the same rating.
Hardwood Used in Grand Piano Rim
Picture from Steinway Tour showing Rim construction.
Think about two swimming pools, one made of concrete and one with a vinyl liner. Drop an object into the center of each and the ripples generated will last longer in the concrete pool because concrete is harder and more effective in reflecting the waves back toward the center of the pool.
If the rim or frame of a piano absorbs too much vibration, the amount of sustain length is reduced and the overall volume and forcefulness of the piano is reduced. This is why most Asian pianos use a high-tension scale to make a piano louder or more forceful. If the rim or frame of a piano absorbs too much of the vibration thus making the piano weak or thin in tone, a high-tension scale is a very good countermeasure- to increase the force and volume of the piano - but this is done at the expense of the sustain time and expression range.
As well, the rim helps provide stability and strength and enables the other parts of the piano to reach their potential. It is interesting to note that most manufacturers use Mahogany or Luan in their cheaper pianos while using maple or beech in their most expensive pianos.
Almost all Asian pianos use rims made of some form of Philippine Mahogany such as Luann or Nyatoh - a soft wood. The exceptions to that are Yamaha, Kawai, Young Chang and Pearl River.
ALL Pearl River grand rims are made from Manchurian Walnut which is an extremely dense wood with hardness properties similar to maple and beech. Once again, quality materials produces a better piano than is common from Asia, but the price is still extremely competitive.
In the 1890's, German piano manufacturers constructed factories in China to produce European pianos in China for Chinese consumption. In the 1950's, the Chinese government nationalized these factories, but continued with German construction methods. Over the next several decades, quality lowered and most Chinese pianos were poorly made, largely due to improperly seasoned wood. However, The Pearl River Piano Group Ltd. established in 1956, emerged as the largest and most viable of the Chinese manufacturers.
Today, there are over 20 Chinese piano manufacturers. Yet - Pearl River sells over 60% of the pianos purchased in China and more than 70% of the Chinese pianos in the United States. With nearly 4,000 employees and the largest piano factory in the world with 310,000 square meters of production space, they manufacture over 100,000 pianos per year. They also produce an extensive array of orchestral instruments.
They were the first piano factory in China to be awarded the ISO 9001 Certification for quality control on all of their pianos as well as the parts for each piano. As well, in July 2007, they were also awarded the ISO 14001 for environmental compliance.
We'll be the first to say that these pianos are not as good as Yamaha, but they're so close most people can't tell the difference. Why pay thousands more for a Yamaha? You owe it to yourself to at least take a look at these very good quality yet very economical pianos.