The Essex Piano Company

The Essex Piano Company

By James Grebe 

Today, the fastest growing phenomenon in the piano world is the existence of a piano company without the actual existence of a free standing factory building dedicated to the production of an instrument..  It is the process of having clearly defined parameters and choice of materials exacting specifications that is built into a unique instrument though built by a large conglomerate and yet having the distinct characteristics of the design and tonal goals of the designer.  Great confidence and constant inspection is necessary for this process to be successful.  One example of that is the Essex Piano.   It is designed, down to the choice of materials used , and the tonal goals of Steinway, its parent company

The Essex is manufactured by the Pearl River Piano Company of China as well as some models in past years by Young-Chang Piano Company of Korea.  If the name Essex is in Art-Deco script it is made by Young-Chang.  If it is in handwriting script it is from Pearl River.  By using the lower wage rates off shore, the pianos can be built to a higher specification and still lower cost than would be possible by building in this country.  The Essex has at least 23 Steinway features built into it..  Here are some of them:

1.                 Same shape hammer flanges of Steinway Grand (rosette) enabling more frictional area at attachment of hammer rail to ensure exact placement over the years and is less prone to clicking when moisture changes contract the wood.

2.                 All action parts are made of hardwood. (no plastic)

3.                 Steinway designed vertically laminated bridges with a maple cap.

4.                 Tail of piano is more squared off as in a Steinway concert grand to allow more central placement of the bridges toward the middle of the soundboard.

5.                 It features the duplex scale, which was invented by Steinway.

6.                 The entire piano was designed by Steinway engineers and has a Steinway inspector at the factory to ensure strict adherence trio the design and quality of execution.

7.                 Features a low tension scale which allows greater sustain time and a thicker, richer, non-forced tone quality. 

8.                 Has a tapered soundboard (thicker in the middle and thinner along the perimeter to give strength and still have maximum flexibility.

9.                 Features a 10 year guaranty (parts and labor) with full trade in price on a new Steinway grand

Since the Essex has been on the market some exciting veneers have been used, like Kawazinga Bubinga, probably the most handsome wood grain short of Rosewood..  These days the big push is to cram as much value and lasting characteristics into a comfortable price range and the Essex Piano fills that space.

The Essex comes in vertical pianos from 42” to 48’ models and in grand piano sizes from 5’1” to 6’ sizes.  All models and sizes seem to be a solid piano for those interested in buying a piano. 

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