Steinway Piano Factory-Hamburg

We saw each step of the process in making these handcrafted pianos, from how the lumber is cured to the laying out of the soundboard, the making of the grand pianos' curved cases, to the etching of the metal parts that hold the strings, their polishing, all the way to the final product in its 3 stages of tuning and finally the showroom floor.

Troy outside the gates of the factory

 

These 2 pics show how the soundboard is chosen and laid out. Each board is hand selected for an overall uniform color and no defects allowed. Once placed, the boards are marked with that V-shaped tool so that they can be placed back together in exactly the same order after being cut to shape.

 

Layers of single, long boards are glued together then press-bent into the familiar curved shape of a grand piano.

After it is shaped, the brace pieces are added and it looks like this.

Here you see the two parts, frame and soundboard, after they've been put together.

Next the metal piece the holds the strings is polished by hand and set inside, the pianos are painted, and the strings are put on and stretched in 3 separate steps to give all the parts plenty of time to relax so there are no stress cracks in anything. The piano is then tuned and checked by a sound inspector known at "The Ear". Once The Ear pronounces it satisfactory, it is considered fit to sell and placed in the showroom. The entire process takes about a year. Price for a concert grand piano: about $100,000. Price of unique, fascinating private factory tour: Priceless.

 

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*background image is from a photo of Berlin's stone cobbled streets taken by Troy Torres.