Everyone has their favorite piano, and I’m no different!
Having tuned more than 20,000 pianos over the course of my 40-year career, I’ve worked on pretty much every piano brand out there—American, Asian, and European. And let me say, there are aspects (some might say peculiarities) that make each brand special. But, I do prefer some pianos over others, and I’ve narrowed them down to my top five. Alongside this list, I must mention that my 1982 Horugel 48-inch upright, which I bought in 1982, is still my favorite upright, as I do all my composing on this piano and my 1972 Martin D-35 acoustic guitar!
So, without further ado, here are the top five piano brands I love to tune:
Yamaha is the world’s largest maker of musical instruments, including pianos and keyboards, wind instruments, string and percussion instruments, and digital musical instruments. But the company started out as a very small producer of organs, and, in 1889, was Japan’s first maker of Western musical instruments. Driven by the dream to craft the world’s finest concert grand pianos, many Yamaha pianos I’ve tuned are, indeed, among the best pianos out there. This company hasn’t sacrificed quality for quantity.
Kawai is one of the most celebrated musical instrument companies in the world, having received over 43 major international awards for excellence in the past 17 years. In the U.S., Kawai’s K-3 Professional Upright piano was named “Acoustic Piano of the Year” for a record-setting four consecutive years at NAMM. No wonder Kawai now occupies the second largest share of piano sales in the world.
Boston pianos are designed by Steinway & Sons, employing unique patents and piano-crafting expertise that are synonymous with the Steinway name—but Boston pianos aren’t just for the very wealthy, something I can appreciate. In fact, Boston pianos are built at Kawai’s factory in Japan, ensuring their good quality, but, in this case, with Steinway style.
Schimmel’s slogan is “Your keys to happiness.” Cute, right? And true for the many lovers of Schimmel pianos like myself. Schimmel’s product line has been described as the most highly awarded German piano, and these pianos do sound amazing when they’re in tune and played with spirit. The quality of tone and the sheer playability of Schimmel pianos make them an absolute delight for beginning pianists and concert pianists alike.
And now for my all-time favorite, Petrof, which is made in the Czech Republic. Petrof is the leading European piano manufacturer, known for several innovations in piano design, such as ways to adjust the mechanics and particularly pressure point through magnetic systems. I’m in good company, too—Ray Charles, Paul McCartney, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, and Count Basie are all famous Petrof admirers.
If you live in or around Las Vegas and you need piano tuning services, please call me—John Niems—for unmatched tuning skill and precision, no matter what type of piano you own. Your piano will sound better than ever, and I’ll even play you a tune when I’m finished to prove it! I also tune pianos for many concerts on the Las Vegas strip!