As promised in my previous posting we are continuing our discussion about piano brands that we are stocking at Pianolobby.
In the previous blog I mentioned that we will no longer sell Kingsburg or Lippmann pianos but Barber and Bentley pianos will continue to be an irregular feature in our stock. As you read from the previous blog, we are now stocking the wonderful A Geyer pianos and adding to that are pianos by Hailun. That is the feature in this blog.
When I knew we would be lucky enough to be having Hailun pianos I sent out a tweet saying that Hailun is probably the best pianos you have never heard of. They really are a very good quality product and we feel that we are now on a little bit of a mission to tell the world. We know there are many others equally passionate about this wonderful piano builder and we are keen to join in.
So, who are they? Graduates of the Beijing Piano Technology School Mr & Mrs Hailun Chen are the owners, founding the company together with the Chinese government as co-owners. They started out as makers of piano parts and established a reputation for building semi-finished pianos for other companies. Mr Chen eventually bought out the Chinese government with the aim of building the best pianos in the Far East. At this time he met and became friends with Peter Veletzky, himself a well respected piano builder. They swapped ideas and technologies in order to compete with Japanese and European pianos.
Hailun also invested heavily in the very latest manufacturing equipment and most advanced technologies available to piano builders. They have now been successfully building pianos for 20 years in their 430,000 sq ft factory employing 800 workers and 37 piano engineers. They insist on the highest quality in materials and production standards, always striving for excellence. They have made partnerships with experts in the fields of design, piano engineering, voicing and sound and production techniques to ensure long term quality and innovation. They are a much bigger company than we might imagine with 360 European dealerships, 80 in the USA and over 40 in Japan.
We now know a little about who they are and that they really have done their homework, but what about the pianos. There are 5 grand piano models and 5 upright models. For the moment let’s focus on the uprights because Pianolobby is an upright piano dealership. Grand pianos are in our medium term plan, more about that another time!
Hailun claim that from the first touch this piano outperforms all others in other pianos in this class. That is quite a claim! Given its price, that its component parts are of such high quality and it does produce a powerful and colourful tone, they may be on to something. Let’s compare it to a Yamaha U1, which on the surface looks to be a fairly equal comparison. They are pretty much the same size, both insist on highest quality materials and exacting standards. The Yamaha is a little easier to play and does feel a better instrument to be honest. Hold on though, the Yamaha is at least double the price brand new, however I don’t think it is twice as good. To get a Hailun and Yamaha U1 at the same price, the Yamaha will be getting on for 40 years old!
The Hailun is a well built instrument with a beautiful and balanced sound which feels great to play. It looks beautiful too and makes a very strong argument to be the perfect piano for the home and for all the family. This piano is £3300, comes with a 10 year warranty and as with all pianos from Pianolobby that prices includes an adjustable stool, free first tuning and free local delivery to a ground floor room.
Would I buy one for myself? I really think I would, this is a lot of piano for the money, I would just about buy a new Hailun instead of a used Yamaha or Kawai. This is a serious manufacturer and they will be interesting to watch over the next few years as they could well be the breakthrough piano company from China. If I was at the helm of Yamaha or Kawai I would be keeping a sharp and slightly anxious eye on the progress of Hailun.
Part 3 is our journey into finding starter pianos and our rental/rent to buy programme.