Quality of European pianos
The development of the piano and grand piano has for the most part been a European affair and the world's best pianos and grand pianos are still being built in Europe (especially in Germany and the Czech Republic).
The differences between European and Asian pianos and grand pianos can be observed and controlled both on constructional aspects as well as on material quality and/or choice of materials.
For example, German hammerheads are used in European instruments.
Hammerheads are at the basis of every sound because they pick up the sound and control its intensity through the comb to the bottom of the voice. C. Bechstein, for example, even produces her own hammerheads for all her piano and grand piano models! These are made of 100% natural wool (Wurzen felt, named after the town of Wurzen near Leipzig) and are stretched around the mahogany core using a low-pressure process. The vast majority of pianos and grand pianos produced in Asia, on the other hand, make hammerheads with artificial wool, which are stretched around the mahogany core under high pressure and in order to retain moisture in the hammerhead felt in a warm climate, they are impregnated with lacquer. The tone of a piano or grand piano with impregnated hammers is more uniform/similar and therefore has less soul/character and less intonation possibilities.
The high quality Renner mechanics used in European instruments (C. Bechstein, Steingraeber & Söhne, Fazioli, Steinway, Bösendorfer) use the most modern CNC (computer numerical control) machines, guaranteeing perfect mechanical production.
A very important part of the pianos and grand pianos is the soundboard that actually acts as a natural (wood: at the back of the piano or inside of the grand piano) speaker.
Asian productions vary in numbers between approximately 10,000 and 100,000 pianos and grand pianos per year (mass production) and the professionals have a 45 or 50 hour working week.
Finally, we note that the sound ideal has always been different in Europe and Asia.