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Sohmer Pianos

 

 
Sohmer & Co
The Sohmer piano company traces its origin back to 1860, though the first Sohmer piano was actually built in 1872, when German immigrant Hugo Sohmer founded the firm of Sohmer & Co., in New York. The Sohmer piano company was owned and managed by the Sohmer family in New York City for 110 years. In the early 1980’s the founder's grandsons, Harry and Robert Sohmer sold the company to Pratt, Read and Co., America's leading manufacturer of piano keys and actions and the company moved to Ivoryton, Connecticut. The Sohmer brothers moved, too, and for a while continued to play a part in managing the company.

During its many years in New York, the Sohmer piano was known as a fine handcrafted instrument. Sohmer had a close informal association with the other major New York piano maker, Steinway, and many of Sohmer's manufacturing methods were similar to Steinway's. Sohmer was generally considered to be one of the finest pianos made in the United States and at one time Sohmer pianos were even sold in Steinway Hall side by side with Steinway.

The modern baby grand, as we know it today was invented by Hugo Sohmer in 1884 and patented by him that same year.  The model 50 Sohmer was the first five-foot grand in 1884 and the model 50T grand of today is the logical development of this pioneer effort. 122 years of continuous improvement of their tone model is typical of the Sohmer pursuit of perfection and Sohmer states, without reservation or exception that it is their confirmed belief that no other small grand approximates the Sohmer in tone and response. Its perfect symmetry of form and the extraordinary quality of its tone result from its scientific scale and integrally cast C'Apo D'Astro bar, another patented feature of Sohmer construction. 

Other models in the Sohmer piano line include a model 63, 77, 90, and 95, or  5’4”, 5’8”,6’2”, and 6’8” respectively.  All Sohmer grands still have maple rims, still have the famous Pratt-Reed action, still have solid brass hardware, still have sand-cast solid cast iron plate, still have the quality and specifications that made Sohmer one of America's finest pianos.  There is one major change in the new Sohmer pianos, which has been universally applauded.  Sohmer replaced the old Adirondack spruce soundboard used in New York, with a German made Strunz solid spruce soundboard, which is considered to be one of the finest soundboards available with close graining that exceeds the spec of the older generation soundboards.

The phenomenal success of the Sohmer Console-Vertical Model 34 has in no way diminished the fact that Sohmer & Co. has always been and always will be a Grand Piano House.  Never since its inspection over 75 years ago, has the Sohmer 34 console been an abbreviated upright piano but rather an extension of Sohmer’s grand piano building. Sohmer & Co. early discarded all thoughts and precepts of upright construction concentrating rather on the principles of the grand piano scale and string distribution. As a result the Sohmer 34 Console Vertical has long been known as "The Musicians' Console." As the science of acoustics has progressed, they have applied new principles in the making of their "Console Vertical," creating tonal results considered impossible only a short time ago. Due to an original scale featuring a fan like disposition of the strings these small pianos are a revelation of modern acoustics with their brilliant treble, full middle tones and sonorous bass. All 34 Sohmer Console-Verticals are guaranteed to have more than 96% grand piano string distribution.  This design has proven so popular over the years that it has remained nearly the same today as it was 75 years ago.

The modern Sohmer pianos are still fine handcrafted instruments and still have some of the finest cabinetry of any piano made. Each model is a decorative accomplishment as well as a remarkable musical instrument. The depth and variety of furniture styles available is unrivaled by any piano maker. Today’s Sohmer piano is hand built not in New York, but in small quantities in Korea by SMC, the world’s largest piano company also makers of C.Bechstein, Knabe, and Pramberger. This factory opened in 1958, is staffed by experienced piano technicians and artisans, averaging over 15 years of experience each, who carefully put together each of the components to complete this superb product.


 

Things have come full circle for the Sohmer Company with Hugo Sohmer’s German roots and Sohmer’s affiliation with SMC which has allowed Sohmer to combine the best features and sound of American pianos with the best of German piano design.  C. Bechstein of Germany recently designed a new model 45 studio upright for Sohmer.  This model is available in a simple studio style case and in the classic Sohmer home designs made famous many decades ago. 

Sohmer is still at its heart a uniquely American piano, utilizing designs, materials and manufacturing methods the same or very similar to those used by Sohmer when it was located in New York. Many customers, pianists and technicians have remarked that the new Sohmer pianos have a sound reminiscent of the great old American brands of days gone by “round, hollow, woody, and dark.” If you like that “American sound” made famous by Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, and old New York made Sohmer pianos, you’ll love the new Sohmer pianos. Compare them to other new or used American made pianos that cost double and triple the price of the Sohmer piano and you will be amazed how strongly it competes, how rich sounding it is and how effortless the Pratt-reed action is to play.
If you love the American pianos, but ruled them out for budgetary reasons and are now considering a mass produced Japanese piano like Yamaha, Kawai, or Boston come play the Sohmer, because now you do have a choice.

Years ago when Sohmer pianos were sold in Steinway Hall in New York many technicians and teachers said, “If you can not afford a Steinway, buy a Sohmer.” The same could be said today. If you long for the classic “American sound” and the classic American piano look, come experience the Sohmer piano.   We think you’ll agree that Sohmer represents one of the finest piano values on the market.


 

 

 

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