Florida State University Students Visit Hailun Piano Factory
Wednesday, 21 December 2011 00:00
For several years, Vienna International, Inc. has been an ardent supporter of the only graduate level piano technology degree in the United States. This program is overseen by a visionary piano professional and academic, Prof. Anne Garee, at Florida State University. Every year two outstanding students are accepted into the program and as part of their capstone course they are given the opportunity to spend some weeks overseas at a piano factory. This year the two graduate piano technology students are Sharon M. and Katherine R. And for their final course they went on an apprentice / training session to one of the most important piano factories in Asia: Hailun Piano Co.
From Kate: Saturday, December 17, 2011
In Zhejiang province, the Hailun Piano factory hums with activity. Making quality instruments is everyone's business here. As we followed our liaison, Jack, through the factory departments, Hailun employees smiled and answered questions about what they were doing. They didn't seem to mind when we lingered for a while watching them work, or took notes and photographs.
One of the first things we saw was a demonstration of the HLPS-1 System in the grand piano finishing department. With the HLPS-1 System, the grand piano lid can be lifted easily with one finger! It has a slow fall mechanism that prevents the lids from slamming shut. Two employees were installing the system when we approached their station. With Jack as our interpreter, we discussed the calibration of the pistons, consumer expectations, and the reliability of the HLP System. When we returned the next day to see the final result, the employees invited us try out the system several times, and showed us how the lid of concert instruments can be removed easily for performance.
From Sharon: Sunday, December 20, 2011
One of the highlights of our tour around the Hailun facility was being able to witness a soundboard press set up. There is only one grand soundboard set up for pressing every 12 hours, which is done within a climate-controlled room in a corner of the factory. There are two common ways to press a soundboard: a) attaching radial ribs (which describe the curvature of the long pieces of wood attached to the bottom of the soundboard), and b) a compression crown method (which involves pressing the soundboard itself into a shallow dish), or a combination of both. According to our guide at Hailun, they use a combination, pressing the soundboard into its home using “go bars”, in other words, against the overhang above the soundboard itself using flexible wooden bars once the ribs and bridges are glued on. As our guide, Jack, put it, “...[the soundboard] is the heart of the piano”. Hailun makes soundboards out of spruce, sourced from both Russia and Austria. The crown that is put on the board during this process affects an important aspect of piano manufacture called “down-bearing” among others, which in turn affects the overall tone and projection of the piano. At the Hailun facility, soundboard pressing is done slowly and with care, as it is recognized as one of the most important processes in the factory.
From Kate: Monday, December 21, 2011
A single piano is made from many parts, but where these parts come from, and who makes them is not always transparent. Because the Hailun Piano Company is operating at capacity in their current factory, case parts, actions, and keyboards are made to their specifications at facilities nearby. In addition to the main factory, we traveled off-site to tour these places during our trip to Ningbo.
An improved music desk was the order of business on the day we visited the upright case factory. We accompanied the upright piano manager--her design sheets in hand--a quality control technician, and our liaison, Jack, on the 20 minute drive to the facility. It's easy to share information electronically these days, but when it comes to building better pianos, employees at Hailun prefer meeting face to face.
On our drive back, we stopped by the site of the new factory, which will open in 2012. It has approximately 800 thousand square feet of production floor space, and will help the company meet the growing demand for Hailun pianos in markets world wide.
Hailun takes leadership in piano safety: Introducing HLPS-1
Friday, 21 January 2011 00:00
Since the dawn of the piano (yes – it is that dramatic), one part of the grand piano refused itself to safe, convenient, and elegant use: the grand piano lid. Over the last 300 years uncounted pianists have had their fingers, hands, and arms hurt by the accidental slamming of the grand piano lid. Today, tomorrow, and for the rest of the year hundreds of thousands of grand pianos will not see their grand piano lid opened simply because the weight of the lid makes it a major effort that is fraught with risk to the human body.
That is why we are introducing the Hailun Limb Protector System 1 – HLPS 1- which allows the lid to be opened and closed with no effort. Accidents are minimized as the HLPS 1 prevents the grand piano lid to smash anyone. Powerful gas cylinders replace the traditional grand piano hinges. Hailun USA holds the exclusive patent licence rights and will be the only manufacturer to offer this safety feature on integrated in its instruments.
Pictures of an Exhibition: NAMM 2011- Part II
Thursday, 20 January 2011 00:00
Pictures of an Exhibition: NAMM 2011
Tuesday, 18 January 2011 00:00
NAMM 2011: Thanks to the team that put together this great show.
Buyer’s Remorse: Another reason why you should consider Hailun
Sunday, 25 July 2010 00:00
Please find below a post originally published July 11th 2010 on http://pc.morganisms.net/ by Mr. Mike Morgan about his piano shopping experience in St. Paul, MN.
Wells Pianos and Hailun pianos
11 July 2010, 6:34 pm
And now for something that has nothing to do with politics. An unrequested endorsment for a piano store, a store owner, and a piano manufacturer.
Very recently, I met a diligent and hardworking young man, Kieran Wells, who owns a business selling pianos. His store, Wells Pianos, is located on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota. Kieran sells various pianos, new and used, including some of very expensive names like Steinway and Sons, but his best value, in my view, is the Hailun piano.
I’ve been shopping for pianos a lot lately. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out about Wells Pianos until after I decided to buy a higher end grand piano. More on the piano I did buy, elsewhere, later.
Suffice it to say that it is too bad I didn’t find out about Wells Piano sooner, because, among the sundry high end pianos Kieran offers is a brand called Hailun. Hailun is a Chinese made piano, which makes it a tough sell with so many inferior Chinese made products being sold in the United States, including very low end Chinese pianos. Indeed, when I was shopping for a piano, I had looked at some Chinese made pianos, and would have bought one if I had thought they were a good value. I looked at new and used Cristofori/Lyrica (a store brand made in China), Falcone, and some others. They were not, in my opinion, a good value, and I didn’t like their sound anyway.
I also looked at other pianos, like Kawai, Yamaha, and Steinway. The Steiways were very impressive, but way out of my price league.
The Hailun piano, on the other hand, is a high end Chinese piano, offered at a very good price. It is more expensive than the ridiculously low priced Falcone, but it sounds better and is much higher quality.
Kieran at Wells piano is contracturally prevented from disclosing his prices on the internet, and so I won’t disclose what I learned about his prices while visiting his store. Suffice it to say that you could buy 2 or 3 new 5?10? Hailun pianos for the price of a 5?3? or 5?4? Japanese made piano.
Now, I am not a musician, and I am not a piano technician, but I have learned a lot about pianos recently, and I know a little something about manufacturing and quality. Kieran was kind enough to pull the action (keys/hammers) out of a 5?10? model, and show me the craftsmanship.
I was thoroughly impressed. The hammers were made of wood (not ABS like some Japanese models) but they were so meticulously and consistently constructed that they looked like they were molded. “Mechanical perfection” is the most apt description, as I couldn’t identify a single flaw. The touch weight, as judged by my admittedly uncalibrated fingers, was even and just right–not too heavy, and not too light.
The sound of the piano is very good, too, though I am not such a connoisseur that I could fairly compare it without having its competitors side by side. In general, I prefer the sound of a Boston or Steinway over a Kawai or a Yamaha, but that’s just me. I guess that the Hailun is closer and brighter than a Boston, but not as bright as a Yamaha or Kawai, but I am a layman, so let your ears be the judge.
It turns out that Wells Piano is also one of the sponsers of an upcoming event, the Second annual Chopin Celebration Concert at the Twin Cities Polish Festival (map). The concert will include, from what I understand, a very talented 8 year old boy, who, among other artists, will play on a Hailun piano provided by Wells Piano.
More on Chinese made pianos
In general, I am reluctant to buy chinese made products, though I do so from time to time as there are no other viable or economical alternatives. As a generalization, like Japan decades earlier, I think most Chinese manufacturers still have a lot to learn when it comes to quality control, and many Chinese made products are less than steller in this realm.
But it appears that Hailun is an exception to the generalization–and, yes, I know there are probably other exceptional Chinese manufacturers, and I also realize that as time move forward, other Chinese manufacturers will care enough about their reputation to institute better quality controls.
But there aren’t many pianos made in in the United States anymore. Steinway and Sons makes a fine piano, in New York, but it is orders of magnitude more expensive than the Hailun, and not in the window of affordibility for my family.
So, if you’re like me, you might have to make a tough decision: choose between no piano, a Chinese made piano, or stretch your finances and give up other perks in life like vacations, and buy a more established Korean or Japanese made piano. But Hailun seems to offer the craftsmanship and performance of a Japanese made piano at half the cost.
If you’re not exactly rich, but not exactly poor, there is no shame, I think, in purchasing a Hailun. It is a very high value piano (high craftsmanship and performance per dollar). Indeed, even if you could afford a more expensive piano, the Hailun may be the better choice. You could always offer a Hailun dealer more than his or her retail price, if paying a high price makes you feel better:)
Anyway, for reference, here is a sample of a pianist playing a Hailun:
Also, here is an excerpt from a recent purchaser of Hailun piano, found at pianoworld.com:
I love playing it. Anything I play sounds so much better. Thanks for all the advice on the lid etc.. I’ll read the article on how to make the room sound grand. … Still love the Hailun. However, I have a data point of one in the grand piano world. I only have had a couple of minor issues that were quickly corrected during the in home tuning. (squeaky unachord pedal and one damper not engaging all the time) These were certainly not factory defects, but just action parts that needed a quick adjustment. (JD)
J.D. brings up a good point. I bought a new piano, not a hailun, and am having similar and worse issues (mine did have a stuck key).
Fortunately, I bought it from a reputable dealer who is sending out a technician next week to address the remaining major issues.
While I do have some buyer’s remorse about not buying a Hailun, I discovered Hailun after I discovered the problems with the piano delivered to my home. I am trying to be as fair as possible with the piano and dealer I did choose. A deal is a deal. If they can make my piano, or an equivalent, behave like a new piano should, I will stick with my decision. It would not be fair to return the piano simply because I found a better deal elsewhere. So I am giving them the benefit of the doubt, and an opporunity to fix the issues my piano is having. If they cannot, and the dealer is not able to replace it with an identical piano, the piano I bought will go back.
If that happens, I will very likely end up purchasing a Hailun, from Kieran Wells at Wells Piano.
Meanwhile, save yourself some grief, and before you buy a piano, at least take a look and listen to a Hailun. If you’re in Minnesota, do a small local business and family man a favor, and stop into his store to take a look. It is located at 1330 Grand Avenue in St. Paul, MN, and I understand that he will deliver to the 7 county area.
One warning: You will have reverse sticker shock. The price is so low compared to other pianos of similar quality and sound that you may think there must be something wrong with the piano. But you have to remember, the piano was constructed in China, where craftspersons who make pianos earn much less than similarly skilled persons in Japan or New York. The savings is due entirely to wage disparities, and I expect that as Chinese wages rise, so too will the cost of this inexpensive but high valued piano. The prices are so low that it might even be worth a trip to Minnesota if you don’t have a Hailun dealer in your area.
Disclosure: I did not (yet) buy a Hailun piano, Kieran Wells did not know I’d be writing this (it is an unsolicited endorsement), and I have no connections whatsoever to Hailun pianos.
What the Hailun Warranty is all about: Product Certainty and Investment Security
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 00:00
Recently, a customer contacted us in regards to our philosophy of piano service and product warranty. As this topic might be of interest for Hailun Piano aficionados across the United States, it should be useful to share more about this important topic and our views on it.
The warranty of piano should be at the heart and on the forefront of a company’s concern long before the instrument is actually built. Engineers provide scale designs that seek to transmit certain tonal qualities and that create instruments that are stable over many, many years. The next step is that – again- experienced managers use their skills to select appropriate materials and suppliers. This task is not all that easy but becomes a key ingredient in building a reliable piano. We at Hailun rely on engineers like Peter Veletzky, who is the fourth generation of a family committed to piano building, Frank Emerson, currently Hailun’s Chief Design Engineer who helped develop many models for Baldwin during its golden years, as well as Stephen Paulello a concert pianist and master piano builder himself to create templates for our instruments. Differently from other industry colleagues, our instruments are not copies of previously successful designs. Therefore, each engineer that designed one of our instruments was (and in some cases still is) contractually obliged to spend a tremendous amount of time at our factory in China. As a matter of fact, for a visitor to our factory, it would almost seem that the factory is run by Europeans and Americans in close cooperation with our Chinese engineers who are very bright and eager to learn and contribute. Maintaining close and constant involvement of our European and American design engineers ensures also that the materials are sourced, treated correctly, and masterfully assembled.
Thus when you purchase a Hailun Piano almost 99.9% of issues related to factory workmanship, design and selection of materials have long been resolved. However, to ensure superb customer service Hailun USA has put in place procedures and structures that ensure that every single service call is taken note of and followed up. Some of the finest piano technicians in the U.S. are part of the Hailun Service Organization. In order to measure our success, we instituted a quantitative benchmark: the Customer Product Satisfaction Standard (CPSS). We measure any service call connected to a piano sold to a final customer in relation to pianos sold in that respective calendar quarter. For Q1 2010 we had a CPSS Product Satisfaction Level of 99.6%. In Quarter 2 2010 the CPSS Customer Satisfaction Level was at 100%. We believe that service is an integral part of product quality and remains of utmost priority for Hailun USA.
Hailun’s warranty document seeks to provide two important values for our customers: 1. Product Certainty. We want you to know that your piano is excellently built utilizing materials that in many cases can only be found in pianos of European manufacturers. Your Hailun piano will last you for many years. 2. Investment Security: Purchasing a piano is a major investment. It is our job to ensure that your investment stays sound. We do so by providing you with a limited 15 Years Warranty. We also do it by honoring the warranty in full should you sell it to another party- making the warranty completely transferable. As an additional advantage, we also secure your investment by providing you, as the original owner, with a Lifetime warranty on certain parts should you choose to make your Hailun piano a family heirloom. Hailun’s warranty covers any instrument purchased from any Authorized Hailun Merchant in the U.S.A.
Last but not least, we encourage our Authorized Hailun Merchants to provide pre-sale service and post-sale service. Every piano – even the most expensive ones- needs to be serviced by a skilled and well-trained technician. We believe that our instruments will provide you with more satisfaction when they are cared for by a professional. This is not generally part of warranty work but rather part of sales service and our expectation of a good dealer is that he will ensure that you are completely satisfied. Such service includes tuning, or resolving any minor issues that pianos naturally develop when being shipped into different climates. Remember a quality piano is a living entity. You will have more joy with your Hailun piano if you provide it with proper care.
Dreams Come True: Introducing the Hailun Dream Assurance
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 00:00
You will love your Hailun Grand Piano – or we will exchange it!*
Purchasing a high quality performance piano should be an experience that allows you to focus on what really matters in a piano: performance and sound. As with other pianos that are extensively hand built, each Hailun instrument has its own character and expression. For instance, no two Hailun HG 218 pianos sound exactly the same. Some are a bit mellower and some are more projective, some are clear and piercing, fit for a concert hall performance, others are ideal for the intimacy of your home, perfectly suitable for chamber music. Our philosophy at Hailun has been to provide you with instruments that allow your musical dreams to come true. We want you to love the sound of your piano, the feel, the performance – and its individuality. We have had leading engineers from Austria, France, the United States, Japan and China utilize decades of experience in creating beautiful sounding instruments and their intimate knowledge of the myriad little details handed down from generations to give you the choice of inspiration. Hailun pianos are built in China to the highest levels of quality. And the goal is simple: we want to create an instrument that inspires you personally and engages you in a musical conversation.
With the Hailun Dream Assurance program you are at liberty to purchase a Hailun Grand Piano and place it in your home with the assurance that you will love the specific sound character, the musical colors, and unique expressions of your new instrument. If you do not love the specific instrument you chose – we will exchange it for a different instrument of the same model that caters more to your personal sound preference.
*Terms and Conditions: The Hailun Dream Assurance covers all Hailun Grand and Upright Pianos. In order to qualify for the Hailun Dream Assurance you need to purchase the instrument from the closest Authorized Merchant participating in the Hailun Dream Assurance Program or a participating Merchant pre-approved by Hailun in cases where there is no local authorized representative. Dealer participation is optional and for participating merchants please contact Hailun USA. You also need to have registered the warranty of your piano with Hailun USA and inform Hailun USA in writing of your desire for the exchange within 60 days of purchase of your instrument. Exchange costs (i.e. costs for delivery to you of your new piano) should not exceed USD 500 for upright pianos and $ 1,500 for grand pianos. In instances where transport charges exceed that amount, your Authorized Hailun Dealer is required to obtain specific authorization from Hailun USA to extend the Hailun Dream Assurance prior to the purchase of your instrument. The Hailun Dream Assurance becomes effective on purchases starting August, 1, 2010.
Hailun® Pianos on Display at the Pacific Northwest Spring PTG Regional Conference, March 4-7, 2010
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 00:00
Hailun® Pianos on Display at the Pacific Northwest Spring PTG Regional Conference, March 4-7, 2010
The PTG Pacific Northwest Regional Conference, hosted in the Bellevue Washington Hyatt Regency Convention Center, offered a prime opportunity for technicians and teachers to become familiar with Hailun Pianos. Many attendees had the opportunity to play, hear and inspect the H1 upright and the HG 161 grand. Built by the Chinese manufacturer Chen Hailun, these instruments are quickly becoming the recommended choice in their individual markets. "Comments from technicians and teachers visiting the hall were very positive," said Terry Winstead, "I heard many technicians stating how well built these pianos are. Both teachers and technicians like the sound of the instruments and thought that they were priced just right for the market."
Hailun Piano Chief Scale Engineer, Frank Emerson, Addresses Calgary and Fort Worth Chapters of the Piano Technicians Guild
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 00:00
Hailun Piano Chief Scale Engineer, Frank Emerson, Addresses Calgary and Fort Worth Chapters of the Piano Technicians Guild. According to storeowner and host of the Calgary monthly meeting, Brian Schmidt, "The meetings were very well attended and Frank Emerson’s presentations were well received." George F. Emerson, informally known as Frank Emerson, is a thirty-seven year Registered Piano Technician and an official member of the Piano Technicians Guild. The first fifteen of those years were spent as a full-time technician at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and privately tuning and servicing pianos. The last twenty-two years have been dedicated to piano manufacturing as an engineer and piano designer. His design work includes new models, from consoles to concert grands, for Baldwin, Wurlitzer, Mason & Hamlin, and now Hailun.
As a designer for Hailun Pianos, Emerson was recently awarded the Friendship Medal, China's highest honor to foreign experts. Calgary PTG Chapter President, Christopher Gregg, commented on Emerson's visit. "The man is very knowledgeable and spoke about good ideas and concepts about key weighting. The information Mr. Emerson shared with us is very good and helpful." To the less experienced attendees, Mr. Emerson's command of technical language and designing concepts was enlightening. In addition to providing good information about pending patents and the future of piano design, Mr. Emerson demonstrated his willingness to remain in touch with the market. The casual exchanges between meeting participants and Emerson added value to the meeting.
Regional PTG meetings were hosted by Plano, Texas Encore Pianos where Mr. Emerson spoke about the future of piano design.
HAILUN PARTNERS WITH PTG IN PRODUCTION OF A VERTICAL ACTION MODEL
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 00:00
Over the past couple of years Hailun Pianos has worked in cooperation with the Piano Technicians Guild (PTG) to develop a vertical action model. This model is made to exact specifications required for the vertical regulation section of the PTG Technical Exam. Some of the features include three keys, adjustable hammer rail, correct action ratio, functional sustain and soft pedals, string target, and case parts. These models may be master regulated for exam use and are also excellent for training purposes and retail display.
After an initial production run, some modifications were requested by the PTG. Recently at the Hailun factory, Frank Emerson, chief designer for Hailun, and Mike Carraher, technical consultant, had several meetings with Hu Jianping, production supervisor for vertical pianos. Jianping, also known as Bill, oversees the project and personally assembles all the action models. When asked about the lengthy process of producing these models, Mike Carraher replied, "Early delays with this project were the result of poor communication. Coming here to the factory and meeting face to face with Bill, we are finally able to work as a team to make sure all the changes are correct. We look forward to a continuing relationship with Bill and other key people at the factory". These models are available for purchase directly from the Piano Technicians Guild at www.ptg.org . Hailun USA appreciates the opportunity to partner with PTG on this project and looks forward to future endeavors.