When faced with the decision to buy or rent a new or used piano, the challenge can feel daunting. Even the most experienced pianists encounter the same dilemma as each year there seems to be an advancement or and enhancement in the manufacturing of pianos that really only makes the choice more complex.
More often than not the purchase of a first piano is heavily influenced by what you have played on before and in all probability, your teacher’s preferences too. Add in the mix budgetary concerns and you have quite a conundrum.
The range of piano manufacturers still producing instruments in the 21st Century is still quite considerable. These include household names such as Bechstein, Steinway, Blüthner, and Yamaha to name but a few. One name that may not be as familiar is that of ‘Petrof’. This could be for a variety of perfectly understandable reasons but this is why this article takes the opportunity to draw attention to Petrof Pianos.
Petrof Pianos Review
It would be possible to assume that Petrof were newbies on the piano manufacturing circuit but that assumption would be wrong. Petrof began making pianos in 1864 and is today the “largest producer of acoustic grand and upright pianos in Europe”. This in itself is quite a sobering thought when we begin to think about acquiring a piano.
Petrof pianos are made in the Czech Republic once again with the Petrof family at the helm, driving the business to success after success. In 1947, the business became part of a nationalized import-export business for musical instruments and the Petrof family had to wait until the fall of the Soviet-Union before regaining control of their precious heritage.
Over the decades Petrof has been awarded numerous accreditations and industry marks of achievement for their pianos, keeping pace with the development in manufacturing technologies and pianistic trends. What has remained true in the production of Petrof pianos is that timbre that has in some ways become synonymous with many instruments that are made in the Czech Republic.
What I refer to is what Petrof describes as their “unusually soft, gentle, rounded and romantic tone”. Throughout their manufacturing history, Petrof has remained true to this tradition without compromising on exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail.
One of the key components of the Petrof pianos is their selection of wood for each instrument. At the very heart of each Petrof piano is a ‘soundboard’ that is made from hand-selected spruce. This is where the warmth of tome perhaps originates alongside the fact that 70% of all components and parts are also made exclusively by Petrof under the auspices of extremely experienced piano makers.
In 2007, Petrof was awarded the European Excellence Certificate as a result of these painstaking labors meaning every piano created post-2007 carries the EEX mark denoting this high standard of achievement.
It is interesting to know that Petrof takes the making of pianos so seriously that in 1954 they established their own ‘Research and Development’ department. This department continues to flourish today. One of the key reasons Petrof decided to take this step was to ensure the standards of piano-making were never compromised yet always on the cutting edge of modern technological possibilities. A major area of research is acoustics.
In 1994 Petrof developed what they call the ‘Anechoic Chamber’ that is used to explore acoustic properties of pianos with the clear aim of creating pianos with that ideal sound quality. Naturally, this is a highly objective area but this type of dedicated research has given the company a raft of different awards and patents.
As if this initiative wasn’t credit enough, Petrof also has ‘environmental test chambers’ or “Feutrons”. The research and experimentation carried out in these meticulously designed chambers enable Petrof to test the effects of climate on the woods and metals they use in their pianos. These tests include the assessment of extreme conditions on the materials that include their artificial aging.
In this way, Petrof can have a better idea of how their pianos will cope with all manner of challenging natural and unnatural environmental situations. What it means for those who buy the instruments is that they can be one-hundred percent certain that every minute care has been taken in the creation of their piano.
Petrof provides a generous range of pianos both upright pianos and grand pianos. Helpfully, Petrof classifies their instruments in a way that seems to be designed with the customer firmly in mind. For the upright pianos, they fall into these categories; Highest, Higher, Middle, Style, and Special collections. In this selection of pianos, there is a huge variety of options that include very different finishes and styles from more traditional looking pianos through to the considerably more exotic pianos made with a ‘tigerwood’ casing.
If a grand piano is on your shopping list then these also come in a broad variety of shapes, styles, and sizes. At the top end of the range comes the ‘Master Series’. These instruments I believe are made to order and take between 9 and 12 months to create. They are aimed at the professional market and exemplify the pinnacle of Petrof piano manufacturing.
Similar to their competitors, Petrof offers a ‘performance player’ system on their grand pianos. This is the 21st Century ‘player piano’ but with all the bells and whistles that you would expect including the possibility to control the piano from your phone or tablet, full wi-fi connectivity alongside numerous other attractive options. You can even record your own performances or upload pre-recorded performances into the piano that will then diligently reproduce your work.
Whether you are looking to buy, rent, or just exploring piano options, Petrof pianos present a complete selection of high-quality instruments to suit all tastes and needs from the keen amateur to the concert professional. Their dedication to academic research together with their manufacturing pedigree should guarantee you a piano that has been made with supreme care and passion that makes Petrof pianos unique.