The story of the pianoforte manufacturer, Steingraeber & Söhne, begins in 1820 in Thuringia, where Gottlieb Steingraeber laid the foundation for his piano workshop and where Christian Steingraeber ran his organ workshop.
The second generation Eduard Steingraeber moved to Bayreuth in 1852 and laid the Foundation of the pianoforte factory Steingraeber Bayreuth. That same year he completed his “Opus 1”, a revolutionary masterpiece which combined Viennese with English mechanical systems. This piano is maintained in original condition and currently resides in the Steingraeber residence where it is still used for performance and demonstration.
Within three decades Eduard Steingraeber built his firm into Bavaria’s largest and most important grand piano and upright maker. Steingraeber has been a regular recipient of international prizes since 1867.
Today, very little has changed, and it is still owned and operated, as it has always been, by the Steingraeber family, now the 6th generation directing the business, and it is still winning prizes for the world’s best grand and best upright pianos (Paris Competition, top class )
Ignoring industrial revolution technology in nearly every aspect, Steingraeber crafts 60 grand pianos per year, by hand, in what is possibly the world’s most unusual piano manufactory. Recognizing that all structural components produce sound, Steingraeber uses only the most natural and resonating materials. The wood is never impregnated with chemicals, and only natural glues and paints, in the case and acoustics area, including the iron frame, are used. No particle board is ever used in a Steingraeber.
A unique chain of energy preservers are used including 100% real wood connections, agraffes with steel pins, drilled capo d’astro bar, cast hardening , hardened bridge pins, and no elastic glues. This allows the tone to seem to sing forever.
Steingraeber painstakingly selects the spruce used in its soundboards from valleys near Passau in eastern Bavaria. The trees chosen must grow at a minimum of 900 – 1000 meters above sea level, have a minimum diameter of 45 cm and a minimum age of 200 years. (One valley’s trees were destroyed by a storm in 1830, and so the new ones are still not acceptable.)
Once the soundboard has been crafted to shape, the thickness has to be adjusted, which varies from 4.5 mm to 9mm. Each soundboard is tested and optimized individually by sprinkling sand over it and then energizing the board to see sand’s response. Wood is then scraped away until the sculpted area vibrates in such a way that sand bounces up and down evenly. The board is then connected to the rim where nothing short of perfection will do. Every hundredth of a millimeter off is a chance for the strings to press the soundboard in the wrong direction. No gap at all is allowed.
Steingraeber’s playing mechanism is ultimately responsive, feeling substantial without being heavy or sluggish. The Downweight and upweight are precisely controlled and the keys stay with your fingers to allow you to play to the utmost of your capabilities. There is an evenness to the touch, and a speed to the repetition that is without peer.
This combination of uncompromising materials, brilliant design and perfect workmanship creates dynamic and color range unmatched in any other new piano. A Steingraeber prepared by PianoCraft allows the pianist easy access to both dramatic power and delicate subtlety. Steingraeber has succeeded in the most difficult of piano manufacturing challenges in creating instruments that are true extensions of the human body.
Steingraebers are available in a variety of stunning finishes, from basic black to the most exotic natural woods. Steingraeber will also customize a finish to match whatever you can imagine.
Please contact PianoCraft to learn more about these singular instruments, or better yet, to make an appointment to experience a Steingraeber in person.