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RPA - the reason for my question was Steve's statement that:

"The overwhelming majority of the manufacturing process of this series is done in Seifhennersdorf, Germany. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the work done outside Seifhennersdorf is relatively insignificant."

The Bechstein dealer I spoke to said the action is made in China. Bechesteins advertising material fudges the issue. larry Fine also appears to believe that the action is made outside Germany, based on posts about this that I have read here. I regard the action as quite a significant part of the piano. And therefore I was asking Steve whether in his expert opinion the action is one of the insignificant parts that he is referring to.

I am not at all hostile to Steve or anyone else. I am just questioning the veracity of the statements that Steve has made, as they appear to be inconsistent with other Bechstein sources. You never know, Steve might have been fed some nonsense by one of those crafty marketing people?

Since Steve says he is a consultant to Bechstein America, and thus have professional piano expertise, he ought at least to be in a good position to opine on the question of whether the action is a significant part of the piano or not. So, I remain in eager anticipation.

Kind regards

Adrian


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I consider the action to be a significant part of the piano.

I am seeking clarification and permission to discuss the subject further. Until then, my hands are tied.


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AJB: speaking of not answering questions, what does "made in China" mean?

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Adrian,

Can you clear some of your mailbox? I have been trying to send you something in PM..............

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RPF: made in Chine means for me in this context that either the majority of the action components were manufactured in China or the substantially the entire action was manufactured and assembled in China.

But you are trying to argue semantic points.

Steve, thank you for confirming that the action is a significant part of the piano. I agree with you. Now all we need to know is where the Academy action components are sourced from and where those components are assembled.

As well as where the rim is formed and where the soundbaord assembly is fitted.

Dan - I will clear it. I had no idea my mailbox was full so thank you for telling me.

Kind regards

Adrian


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Now all we need to know is where the Academy action components are sourced from and where those components are assembled.
We even know where the piano "is made"....

Norbert help



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The term "Made in" means no less then 50% of a product has been assembled ( put together )in the country stated. to be made and assembled it must say "Fully manufactured in".

just my 2 cents


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Here's an interesting article in a German newspaper about the subject.

Too lazy to translate, but for those who bother - or still remain interested in this subject - it's quite revealing and contains all kinds of little tidbits....

http://www.tagesspiegel.de/zeitung/Die-Dritte-Seite;art705,2523980

Yawn.....

Norbert



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I'm interested.

Enjoyed the article. The 'fertigen' in the title reminded me of the 'fertiggestellt' in another piece. I guess the question is: "What's the meaning of 'finished off' or 'readied' or however you want to translate it?". Between the Bechstein thread sagas and the recent visit to Perzinaville, I'm starting to think a piano must be built in China to really be a German piano and that Bechstein has completly missed the boat on this important discovery. laugh

The references to Ningbo and Mr. Louo seem pretty clear. The article gives a good insight on how a piano maker will work things out with a supplier when the parts ordered aren't up to snuff. You gotta give it to Bechstein that they insisted on improvements. On the other hand, the comment about China's leverage in the parts supply business was interesting: "Duricic ist verbindlich. Er weiß, dass er nicht zu weit gehen darf, denn Bechstein hat eigentlich keine Wahl. Es gibt nicht mehr viele Zulieferer, erst recht nicht solche, die ähnlich günstig produzieren." which I take to mean that Bechstein's choices are limited in that there are not so many suppliers (low-cost Asian) to choose from.

The mention in the subtitle of Korea in addition to China and the Czech Republic got me thinking. Maybe there's more to hybridization than one might think.

The text about 100 Chinese builders in the Shanghai area alone building more low-end pianos than the market will bear seem to validate Bechstein's interest in the emerging category of more affluent Chinese.

I wonder why Mr. Louo pulled the rug out from under the partnership deal. Another partner? Time for idle speculation. laugh

BTW, Norbert

Why is Bechstein's production chief named Norbert?


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Why is Bechstein's production chief named Norbert?
*Was*.

I got fired.....

Norbert laugh



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Wow. Fascinating article Norbert!

Especially liked the wry comment from the German Bechstein worker that, as long as the company continues to get such cr-p from their Chinese suppliers, which he has to spend hours to 'fix' (as far as that's really possible), he won't be losing his job anytime soon.

So, I wonder: Are these problems easily enough seen by a competent technician in the final end product, or are they too well-disguised?

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This highlights the ever apparent issue that the Bechstein corporate machine says one thing and the workers (and in some cases the German dealers) say something completely different.

Bechstein could make a virtue of its "global sourcing" coupled with German quality control, but instead it tries to continue with a pretense. This cannot be sensible marketing - it does not even work in its home country.


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from AJB
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Bechstein could make a virtue of its "global sourcing" coupled with German quality control, but instead it tries to continue with a pretense
Mr. Schulze is quoted widely in the German press about his own company and other German piano makers. I remember reading his somber words on the closure of Ibach months back. His take was that Ibach's experiment with manufacture in Asia had killed it. Recently he has been quoted in a series of Chicago Tribune articles in English on the current state of piano making in Germany. Thanks to silent member lb, I was able to read these articles when he linked to them on another forum.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-piano-0430apr30,0,4712774.story

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-piano-war-0430apr30,0,846194.story

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-piano-boesendorfer-0430apr30,0,7170127.story

I strongly suspect that Bechstein does have a realistic global strategy that it is pursuing and may yet "make a virtue of global sourcing and German quality control", but is reluctant to lay everything out in a public forum (chat room in Steve's words) where issues may not always be treated with fairness and objectivity. laugh eek Even if Bechstein were to give a detailed blueprint of its plan going forward, it would probably not account for many Bechstein pianos in old 'new' stock that are for sale in many markets, so an issue could be made of discrepancies between existing inventory and stated policy. As for retailers and sales professionals, if the ones in Europe and similar to their cousins here in the US, they are apt to say anything.

Still, I agree with you. Silence can be very damaging.


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I agree. It is a known fact that Bechstein was undertaking significant CR manufacture outside Germany circa 2 years ago as Mr Schulz has previously admitted to this. Some of that inventory may well still be on sales floors.

Larry over on the other forum (which has minimal activity except in its religious segment) is generally derogatory about anyone who disagrees with or questions him. He has a narrow band of acolytes who apparently hang on his every word, Larry is a known Bechstein fan and self appointed world expert. He also has a thing about Steve Cohen and runs him down whenever he can. I suspect that poor old Larry has a self esteem problem. He makes me laugh with his indignant ranting and pretense of never visiting here.

LB is a different matter. Not a ranter. Has knowledge.

Anyway, perhaps the pertinent question is whether significant Academy manufacturing is still taking place outside Germany (such as actions in China) or whether it has been brought back within borders. And indeed whether it will stay there once Bechstein gets a grip of quality control.


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I have also enjoyed the article and it seems to me that clarifications from Bechstein are now more necessary than ever.

It is obvious that the company:

1) buys components from over there
2) has quality issues with them
3) does not tell which and exactly for which piano lines these components are used
3) does not want to take any commitment about what components are going to get in what piano lines (otherwise there would be no such reluctance to tell).

To make a parallel, this week's "Autocar" reports that Lamborghini has pledged to have a maximum of 20% of components in common with other makes of the Volkswagen group after complaints that Audi R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo share too much components.

The stated aim is to preserve the identity of the Lamborghini brand.

That's the way to go and to hide behind the finger is in my eyes extremely dangerous for Bechstein in the long run....


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I think Bechstein should be proud of the Academy series. I played them at the last NAMM show and was very impressed. If they can get this kind of a result with global sourcing and German finishing then hats off to them. The question is not if the public will accept this, but rather, will all of the piano "experts" and pundits make something more out of this then is warranted and that is what may keep them from full disclosure.


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Glenn, should Bechstein be proud of *all* Academy series pianos, including the ones (comprising a significant percentage, according to Norbert's article) that had embarrassing defects that had to be worked around after the fact? Or only the "lucky" few ones without those defects that were hand-picked for the NAMM show?

Yeah, sure, I'll take one of those defect-free models...if there was a sure-fire way to know I was looking at one.

I might even take a "defect + workaround" model - for a discount - as long as Bechstein had the guts to admit it and label it as such up front. What are the odds of that ever happening?

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Originally posted by Robert D:
Glenn, should Bechstein be proud of *all* Academy series pianos... ?
It may be totally appropriate to give Bechstein credit for the Academy series designs. Same for the workmanship in their German factor(ies).

But I don't think the issue begins or ends there, IMHO.

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For some people, this thread appears to have been involving personalities or accusations of sorts, claims versus counter claims and the like.

All 'apologies' aside, we're back here to learn - exchange some information, support each other and hopefully have some fun along the way as well...

And,despite all kinds of possible disagreements, make, be and remain friends.
[wink, wink.. to Steve: thumb ]

Now,being German born myself, my own take on these things has been completely different this, from the very beginning.

I vividly remember the time as a young boy, the time I grew up in post war Berlin, a city and country almost completely destroyed and in ashes.

Germany's eventual resurrection to full industrial production and respectability was based on one single thing, a thing which was called - "made in Germany"

It was something that meant something to the whole world, no matter how humble the product at that time might have been.

"Made in Germany" wasn't something that was stagged in No 1 ,No 2 or No 3 quality - it was *quality* period.

This wasn't a linguistic commodity but the golden nugget which, as history was about to prove, had helped this country through the toughest of times and made it survive against all odds.

Many people in the whole world have long come to believe that "made in Germany" is not a legalistic term of economic convenience satisfying some obscure laws of current day, common market duty regulations, but served as an indicator for true, reliable and genuine quality.

100% - if you like - first tier type quality.

It is a label still very important to those who, like many East European conservatories today, wish to re-stock their class rooms and concert halls with pianos they can have unabated trust and confidence in.

Today, some manufacturers may see the need to compete with lower priced pianos from other countries,perhaps also seeking a bit of a competitive advantage against their own peers.

Others think it will be important to gain a manufacturing foothold in such countries like China this, in the hope that this country would never gain enough know-how to build better pianos itself or will be hampered by a permanent lack of self-confidence or nationalism in their consumer behaviour.

Little or no consideration is given to the fact that some would only be too eager over there to copy the latest technology/know given to them, immediately improving their own lines of pianos and eventually make the competition on their own national turf by others a living nightmare.

Now,if and when the army of new Chinese multi-millionaires gets ready to buy the very best there is, Germany surely will be only too happy to deliver
- once again.

"Made in Germany" again will have the meaning it always had - unimitable excellence and 100% quality in what they are making.

Meanwhile, 2nd and 3rd and perhaps even 1 1/2 tier quality products will be offered by too many others here to list.

Things might all turn out differently of course - but so is my hope.

In that sense I am wishing C.Bechstein and all other German manufacturers a highly successful future - their real opportunity in time is hopefully just about the corner.....

Norbert thumb



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Norbert - this national pride in a German made product, is exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned the remarks of the German dealers. They attach great merit to the "made in Germany" label - which says loud and clear "top quality" - and they are perhaps embarrassed about it being diluted.

They are not stupid and they know the manufacturing history of the Academy pianos. The piano world in Germany is far too small a club for people not to know which factory is doing what.


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