Secondhand Piano Shop



Released: 11/10/2009 12:28:50 PM    Source: Singapore Piano Shop

(Baldwin's Official Website)
Baldwin makes, and sells, many times as many pianos as Steinway each year; like Steinway, it is considered a high quality piano, but generally regarded as #2 next to Steinway. (If one is comparing the sound quality of a better Baldwin with a not-so-good Steinway, or a bigger Baldwin with a smaller Steinway, however, then the distinctions often start to blur.)
The Baldwin Hamilton 45" vertical is a standard institutional piano, found in schools and churches all over the country. Baldwin makes a 5'2" grand, the model "M", which in my opinion holds the distinction of having the best sounding bass possible in a grand this size. (Good bass tone is a problem in most grands under 5' 8").The most popular Baldwin grands, however, for the home are probably the Models R (5'8") and L (6'3"); they give a really full and good tone in a manageable size. The Baldwin 7' and 9' grands are used frequently in concert by both classical and pop artists, and with this size of piano it is not always easy to tell whether you are hearing a Baldwin or a Steinway without seeing the name on the instrument. Among pianists Baldwin is often considered to be an economy alternative to Steinway. Baldwin's models are less expensive than Steinway's, although for most people they are still on the high end. (Also, historically, Baldwin has been the alternative piano for many artists disenchanted for whatever reason with Steinway, as Baldwin is the only other U.S. piano maker to have a Concert and Artists Division set up to supply concert pianists with Baldwin concert grands worldwide). Like Steinway, the Baldwin Piano Co. has been around for over 100 yrs. (since 1862, to be exact.) A generalization that is often made is that Baldwins tend to have a little bit more percussive sound than Steinways, and a shorter sustain time. For this reason they are often favored by pop and jazz musicians, and for ensemble work in the recording studio, where a crisp, clean, and short sound is desirable.
In many ways, the Baldwin piano may be a better value than the Steinway. (By value I mean you get more more for your money. The most expensive pianos on the market may be the highest quality, but beyond a certain point any increase in quality comes in increasingly smaller increments compared with the amount of extra money you have to pay, and those small additional increments in quality may not be meaningful to any but the most critical artists.) For example, a Baldwin Model L Grand is 6'3" and currently around $53,000, list; a Steinway Model A grand is 6'2" and around $60,000. list (satin ebony finishes, as of 2007). The Baldwin "L" gives you an inch more piano, and is $7,000. less than the Steinway A. (Also, despite the list price, Baldwin models are usually discounted more than Steinway, and the "L" happens to be a very nice piano. But make sure, if you're considering getting one, to try several, as some may be nicer than others.) Resale value on Baldwins, like that of any high quality recognizable name brand piano, is generally good, but, as you would expect, not as high as that of used Steinways. As always, much depends on condition. A used Baldwin in excellent condition may command as high or a higher price than a comparable-sized used Steinway in not-so-good condition.
Baldwin's 2nd and 3rd line pianos are Chickering, consisting of smaller grands still made in the U.S., and Wurlitzer, with verticals made in the U.S. and China, and grands from South Korea.