Following on from the article I wrote recently about Petrof pianos, we continue to explore the options for buying or renting a new piano with a review of ‘Bergman’ Pianos. I perhaps ought to begin by taking a small sidestep and explain that the title Bergmann pianos is not really what they are.
The correct name for these instruments is, from the research, I have undertaken, are Bergmann/Young-Chang pianos. This might make any further research you decide to do a little easier especially if you are actively searching for a new instrument.
Bergmann Piano Review
The Bergmann/Young-Chang pianos would appear to be available in both upright and grand varieties and so appeal to all budgets and levels of performer. From discussion forums, I have gathered that the opinion of many pianists is that the Bergmann upright pianos are not, or were not made to reliable or consistent standards. The general advice seems to be fairly consistent to consider a Kawai or Yamaha piano instead.
Opinions about the Bergmann grand pianos are also very mixed, with equal concerns about the quality of the build, the engineering of the mechanisms, and the sound. What may be the appeal with Bergmann pianos is that they are not in the same price range as what could be considered to be the leading piano manufactures.
Young Chang according to various sources holds an impressive fifty-percent of the South Korean piano market. They are a large company not only manufacturing pianos but also apparently supplying wood for instruments across the world. From the mid-nineteen-sixties, Young Chang produced pianos from Seoul and Incheon in South Korea, adding a Chinese-based factory in 1995.
Today, they are still producing pianos and remain amongst the largest manufactures of pianos. Interestingly, Young Chang also manufactures ‘Weber’ pianos, a name adopted knowing the European bias towards the German piano manufacturers. ‘Weber Pianos’ was founded in 1986 and like Young Chang, is available today.
Where the questions surrounding the quality of the Bergmann (Young Chang) pianos may herald from is the fact that shortly after Young Chang opened a $40 million factory in China (Tianjin), the Korean piano technicians did not remain at the plant. Even though the aim in opening this factory was to manufacture entry-level pianos, once the founding and highly experienced workers returned to South Korea, the quality of the instruments dramatically dropped. Any company trying to recover from this has a major battle on its hands, especially given the immense rivalry in the market.
The established Samick Musical Instrument Company purchased a huge amount of the Young Chang stocks in 2004, effectively taking control of the industry. Unfortunately, the takeover was deemed to be an unfair one by the Korean Fair-Trade Commission and this, in turn, led to the bankruptcy of Young Chang.
In 2006, the company rallied and bounced back into the world of piano manufacturing under the new company name of HDC Young Chang. It is this company that now makes the pianos that were once referred to as Bergmann.
The Bergmann/Young-Chang story does not conclude at this stage. Pianos are still being manufactured today by Young Chang but marketed under new names. According to the information on their website, a ‘redesigned’ product line began in 2009 that introduced an exciting collaboration with Delwin Fandrich.
Mr. Fandrich is from the information on ‘Pianos Plus’ not only a contributor to the new design of Young Chang pianos but from 2014 has brought his talents to the name of Weber pianos too. (Remember these are a sub-category of the ‘Bergmann line’). As far as I can ascertain, Delwin Fandrich is renowned as a very fine maker of pianos and is credited with bringing a very high level of engineering to the world of Young Chang pianos.
Young Chang was present and promoting their products at both 2016/17 NAMM but there is no further information that I can discover relating to more current details about the company. What is available in the new range of upright and grand pianos from Young Chang that certainly looks very fine indeed.
In the upright range, Young Chang offers four different pianos; Studio, Institutional, Designer, and Professional. Consider the Studio upright piano (Y-114), and you are looking at a range of different finishes including Polished Ebony, Polished Walnut, and Mahogany. At a glance, the specification Young Chang provides looks excellent with high-quality woods and metals used in the manufacturing process.
What particularly caught my eye on reading through the description is Young Chang’s reference to a ‘floating soundboard’ and a ‘direct coupled bass bridge’. Young Chang claim this offers a better bass response that rivals even the largest pianos. There seems to be little to distinguish the different models on offer as the information is largely the same.
Turning our attention to the Grand Piano range, Young Chang presents the ‘Professional’ (Y-175 & 185), ‘Classic’ (Y-157), ‘Baby Grand’ (Y-150). At the top end of the selection the Professional Grand boats a fine length of 6’1″ and is available in ebony satin and ebony polished finishes. These models have Delwin Fandrich’s name specifically mentioned with his contribution to their design. From the specification, these pianos would seem to be of a quality that could be a consideration for even the most seasoned pianist.
It seems evident that Young Chang has made every effort to re-brand and significantly improve both their instruments and their reputation over the last decade. With the Y-185 wearing a price tag of around $20,000, they are presenting a professional grand piano at a pretty reasonable price.
I have read several reviews of the more recent instruments with pianists who are very enthusiastic about the Young Chang range. It is of course difficult to know whether these individuals are sponsored by the company or offering an objective opinion.
If you are considering an older model of Young Chang or rather Bergmann piano, then take care as it may not be a robust or reliable as you need it to be. Go and play the instrument on offer and if you have the opportunity, take a piano technician with you to check the instrument over before you commit to buy. The new instruments come with a warranty that should provide some quality and reliability assurance.