Inside The C.Bechstein Manufacturing Process & The New A4 Upright Piano.
When a new C.Bechstein piano comes along, it’s always an incredibly exciting occurrence. Following on from our philosophy of C.Bechstein focus and in depth guide to the C.Bechstein Vario System, we’re incredibly pleased today offer an exclusive insight into the C.Bechstein manufacturing process and offer some insider knowledge into the new C.Bechstein A4 upright piano.
In order to offer the highest level of expertise, we spoke to Werner Albrecht, CTO, Board of Directors for C.Bechstein. Werner’s intricate knowledge and insider expertise of the C.Bechstein manufacturing process has helped offer a glimpse into not only what we can expect from the new C.Bechstein A4, but also also highlight some of the crucial parts of C.Bechstein manufactured pianos.
To begin our journey, it’s important to note the approach of C.Bechstein when it comes to pianos. Unlike many mass produced models, every C.Bechstein is created using a blend of precision machinery and ultimately sensational craftsmanship.
Werner explains how when it comes to working with materials such as metals for cast iron plates or woodworking, the human eye is no match for the highly advanced machinery that can make surgical cuts to an extremely precise level. However, after that and the pieces of the piano have been cut to perfection, craftsmanship steps into the foreground.
The human touch when it comes to creating the perfect piano is crucial as it is what gives any piano it’s tone, feel and character. Finer details that help bring out the piano’s voice all require years of understanding and training, everything from installing the soundboard (which C.Bechstein also calls the ‘soul of the piano’) to assembling the keyboard and action. This attention to detail is so personal and unique that it cannot be done by machines.
This is also why C.Bechstein actively encourages people to visit their factory in Berlin as they believe that a trip around is a complete experience for the senses, from the smell and touch of woodworking to the sound of grand and upright acoustics being tested and created is a completely unique feeling.
Following on from this, perhaps one of the most unique and interesting parts of the C.Bechstein manufacturing process is the production of their own hammerheads. In order to maintain complete control over the tonality and sound of each piano, C.Bechstein are one of the few manufacturers who create their own hammerheads.
This is crucial as it’s easily overlooked but hammerheads, along with soundboards and the skeleton of the piano are one of the crucial areas in determining the voice of a piano. By creating their own hammerheads, C.Bechstein are literally able to shape the tone of every single hammerhead by pressing needles into the head to shape the sound they make when striking the string. C.Bechstein is so precise that even the individual hammer shanks are tested meticulously and dropped onto a stone bed. C.Bechstein does this to listen to the frequency of each individual hammer. From then they are able to determine the precise levels at which the frequency of the hammers ring at and determine which shanks that ring at the highest frequency are best suited to the treble keys and lowest in the bass.
The C.Bechstein quest to create the perfect piano means that research is always required and innovation is always needed. Werner explains how C.Bechstein takes a particularly unique approach to engineering and creation of a new piano such as the Academy A4. They don’t have engineers in white collars in offices, instead their researchers are mostly found in production. When C.Bechstein wants to design an instrument, they sit together with pianists, craftsmen and engineers and ask the question “What do we want to achieve?”.
Of course from there they begin looking at the size of the piano and the different needs or requirements of each piano. After the initial production has occurred, the team then all reconvene, sit around and play the instrument, discuss what is good and what they want to change. It’s always teamwork focused and the process is always followed and monitored by our engineers to monitor every single step and to see if there are any minuscule changes that can be improved upon.
What Is New About The Academy A4?
Now you have a better understanding of the level of meticulous precision that goes into a C.Bechstein piano, we are incredibly pleased to announce the arrival of the new C.Bechstein A4 upright piano.
Werner goes onto explain how this is an entirely new piano in the C.Bechstein line up and will offer users a completely different approach to the C.Bechstein academy line.
The A stands for academy, C.Bechstein’s most prestigious line of pianos that offer a rich warming tone all around that is simply infectious to the ear. The ‘4’ then determines the size of the piano.
This is a new system that C.Bechstein are beginning to use when grading their pianos, the model ‘4’ stands for 120 centimeters, and the A6 (when it is created) will be a 140cm piano. The reason the A4 and it’s 120 cm are so special is because this is an entirely new size from C.Bechstein in the academy line up. Due to its smaller size, this piano is far more suited to the home, or smaller concert hall whilst still ringing true in that classic C.Bechstein tone that is truly unmistakable. This piano was made introducing new materials and techniques not found on any other C.Bechstein model and firmly brings the range into 2021.
The sound is the C.Bechstein sound through and through, it’s warming, unique and simply overwhelming. It has a full body sound that is full of warmth and always offers that clear core that all C.Bechstein pianos are known for. The more you give and the more dynamically the instrument is played, the more you see that core, it’s a truly mesmerising experience.
We’re incredibly excited to be able to reveal the C.Bechstein A4 and are sure it will be an inspirational turning point for many musicians for years to come. For more information on the C.Bechstein A4, please contact our teams today!