The Bluthner piano company is one of what the piano trade calls the ‘Big Four’ makers (Steinway, Bechstein, Bluthner and Bosendorfer). The company was founded in Leipzig in 1853 and, by the 1880s, had established itself as Germany’s leading domestic piano maker. The instruments produced in this period from 1880 to just before the war, including many full-sized uprights and smaller baby- and boudoir-sized grands, are very fine pianos with almost no exceptions. These instruments are very well built from top-quality materials, and always restore well. Bluthner pianos have a characteristic warm, rounded tone, not too forceful, making them perfect for domestic situations. The touch is generally light to medium, and always very smooth, especially in earlier instruments with Bluthner’s own ‘Patent’ keyboard action.
During the ‘Iron Curtain’ period from 1945 to the 1980s, Bluthner piano quality becomes a little more variable, though many good instruments from this period do exist. Towards the end of the century, the pianos tend to have a firmer, more ‘modern’ touch, more like other German makers, but the tone quality is still warm, rounded and mellow.
A high quality German piano can easily last eighty years before a rebuild is necessary, and will last many decades before any further refurbishment is necessary. We always like to keep a refurbished Bluthner grand in stock in our showroom, usually a smaller type such as the Model 4 or 11 (shown below), and uprights are usually available on request. Bluthner pianos suit domestic locations and players who prefer a lighter touch, and will certainly last a lifetime and retain their value. If you have a Bluthner piano and would like it restored or valued, visit our ‘Services’ page for more details.