How A Blüthner Piano Is Made

Since 1853, Blüthner pianos have been exclusively manufactured in Leipzig, Germany. To this day, the Blüthner family of craftsman and entrepreneurs continues to head the Blüthner firm and personally oversees the production of each piano bearing their name. They carry on the legacy of the founder, Julius Blüthner, to build the best pianos in the world. The highest standards of precision and craftsmanship have been achieved here for over 150 years. Today, this standard is certified on every individual soundboard by the signatures of the Blüthner family owners.

Grand Pianos

Model Length Width Weight
1 9'2" (280 cm) 63.0" (160 cm) 1160 lbs (525 kg)
2 7'8" (238 cm) 63.8" (162 cm) 890 lbs (405 kg)
4 6'10" (210 cm) 60.6" (154 cm) 780 lbs (345 kg)
6 6'3" (190 cm) 59.8" (152 cm) 730 lbs (330 kg)
10 5'5" (166 cm) 59.8" (152 cm) 640 lbs (290 kg)
11 5'1" (190 cm) 59.8" (152 cm) 620 lbs (280 kg)

Rim Construction & Bracing

Blüthner has invested special care in the materials and execution of the rim and bracing structure, as it works in concert with the iron plate to form the foundation for the resonating soundboard. The unique Blüthner design for this foundation assures the necessary rigidity and tensile strength, Top Viewguaranteeing that the golden tone of every Blüthner will last for many generations to come. All woods have been carefully selected in Germany and cured to the optimal uniform moisture content for stability.

The rim has been built from two shells, the inner and the outer rim, which are crafted separately. Both are made from exclusive, quarter-sawn layers of red beech which have been glued together under high pressure. The inner rim has been crafted in sections and joined together with special box-joints in order to relieve unwanted rim tension for the best energy efficiency. This design is a key component in the preservation of the soundboard crown over time. The rims have also been sculpted to match the curvature of the soundboard edge for the best fit. This exact match concentrates the resonating energy of the soundboard and allows a free development of the unique Blüthner tone.

Inner Rim and Bracing
Inner Rim and Bracing
Inner Rim & Bracing Construction

Specially designed beams reinforce the stability of the rim, which are each uniquely crafted in three layers. The center layer is made from the highest quality quarter-sawn red beech, providing a solid core to sink the anchor bolts of the iron plate into. This core is braced by strong layers of pine on either side, adding tensile strength and rigidity. United, this construction withstands extreme tension and force and is an important factor in creating the renowned tonal stability of the Blüthner instrument.

Inner Rim and Bracing
Inner Rim and Bracing

Only the finest timber, carefully selected and seasoned over many years, is used as the basis for the outstanding quality of our instruments. A gentle drying and maturing process ensures that the sensitive membranes of the cells in the wood remain intact, so that vibrations can be conducted without significant loss of energy. Using traditional craftsmanship, the solid rim is assembled in a robust tension-free design that enhances resonance and forms the firm foundation for the world-famous Blüthner soundboard.

Iron Frame

Plate
Plate

The iron frame of every Blüthner piano has been formed by a wet-sand cast iron process, before it is filed, hand-milled and sealed, to protect against corrosion. The plate finish is a special bronze compound. Its design has been carefully calculated and uniquely crafted for each model in order to securely bear the enormous load of nearly 20 tons of string tension exerted within a grand piano tuned to concert pitch. The name of the firm has been cast into each Blüthner plate.

Soundboard

Soundboard
Soundboard

The soundboard is the heart and voice of every Blüthner piano, and has been crafted in a unique design from old-growth, quarter-sawn, solid mountain spruce with a close and even grain structure, specially selected from forests in the Bavarian Alps. Specifically grown at the highest altitudes for the Blüthner manufacture and carefully seasoned for at least ten years, only spruce meeting the most exacting tonal standards is used, with a minimum of seven annular rings per centimeter.

Soundboard
Soundboard

Every Blüthner soundboard has been carefully sculpted, varying in thickness, to achieve the optimal ratio of elasticity to density in order to support an unrestricted vibration under stress. The soundboard is pre-crowned in a patented cylindrical design. This design allows the entire bridge to rest on top of the crown, end to end, providing a free and even response throughout every register. This unique design amplifies all tonal aspects into a long lasting and complex tonal development. A soundboard rest made of red beech, and soundboard ribs made of solid spruce, have been specially tailored to support the double-crowned form. This design keeps the shape of the soundboard crown in place and provides extreme resiliency to challenging climatic conditions. Unstable spherical designs have been carefully avoided. At its finish, the soundboard is coated with a special varnish, protecting the grain structure.

Soundboard
Soundboard

More than 4,500 parts that form a Blüthner piano are built and assembled with superior accuracy. The combined experience of generations of piano makers underlies the special knowledge used to create the famous Blüthner sound. The soundboard, the heart of every Blüthner instrument, is crafted by the most skilled artisans, leaving nothing to chance by maintaining the highest standards of quality control.

Ribs

Rib Placement
Rib Placement
Soundboard Design: Curvature, Placement of Ribs & Bridges

The ribs of the Blüthner piano are also made of the finest quarter-sawn spruce, just as the soundboard, and have been specially carved by hand and placed to support the cylindrical curvature and tension of the soundboard over time. They taper in width and thickness, having been formed for flexibility, and are hand-tailored to their individual soundboard to respond to tonal frequencies optimally.

Pin Block & Tuning Pins

Pin Block
Pin Block
Cross-Section: Pin Block Laminations

The pin block of every Blüthner piano has been expertly crafted for unsurpassed tonal stability, longevity, and ease of tuning precision. Many layers of select red beech have been laminated to form the pin block. The grain pattern of each successive layer has been cross-banded at varying precise angles, securing the circumference of every tuning pin with a high level of static friction, while the grafted tuning pins are each driven in by hand to protect the grain structure.

Tuning Pins
Tuning Pins
Stringed Tuning Pins

This design provides optimal pin grip, while allowing for the smoothest rotation of the tuning pin under the torque of a skilled piano technician's tuning hammer. These proven methods ensure the tuning stability of the Blüthner piano.

Bridges & Bridge Pins

Bridges
Bridges
Treble Bridges

The bridges of every Blüthner piano have been carefully crafted to accurately transfer the minute tonal vibrations of the strings to the amplifying soundboard. They have been handmade of solid maple, following the wood grain orientation, laminated cross-wise and capped with hornbeam for ultimate grip and durability.

Bridges
Bridges
Notching a Bass Bridge

Steel bridge pins are drilled and set into the bridge cap to attach the strings, by which the vibrating length of each string is accurately determined. Coated with graphite, and precisely drilled and notched by hand for accurate individual string bearing, the bridges capture every nuance of tone in the final Blüthner sound.

Strings

Strings
Strings
Single-Hitched Strings

Each string on a Blüthner piano has been drawn by hand through exact diameters measured to a one-hundredth of a millimeter, and individually tied off for precision and longevity.

Bass Strings
Bass Strings
Bass Bridge: Model 1 Concert Grand

The bass strings are hand-wrapped at the factory, and formed around a hexagonal center-wire to ensure the tightness and longevity of the copper wrapping. All agraffes are made of brass and threaded securely into the plate.

4th String Aliquot

Aliquot
Aliquot
The Aliquot 4th String

All Blüthner grand pianos, with the exception of the smallest baby grand model, feature a unique fourth string called an “Aliquot”, which was originally patented by Julius Blüthner himself in 1872. This has always been a proven and heralded innovation in piano design and a key source of Blüthner's well known warm and romantic sound. For every note in the treble section, this 4th string Aliquot is attached directly to the bridge, but is not struck by the hammer. The Aliquot is stimulated to sound through the resonance of the other three strings beside it, enhancing the harmonic spectrum. This unique effect produces a dynamic sound, which is audible over a wide range, and defines the resonant treble of a Blüthner piano, adding color to the high treble register.

Fallboard & Lid

Piano Lid
Piano Lid

The fallboard of the Blüthner piano has been constructed of twelve laminations of solid pine. A spring-supported fitting system holds the fallboard in the upright position and prevents unintentional movement or closure while playing. The lid has been crafted of cross-banded layers of veneer with a hard rock maple covering to allow for optimal sound reflection and rigidity. The lid angle participates in the projection of tone, and has four possible sound positions, which are set by the front leaf and two prop-sticks.

Keys

The keys of every Blüthner piano have been made from the finest Bavarian spruce, whose dimensions have been carefully calculated. They work precisely together with the action mechanism to allow a sensitive tonal modulation from the softest pianissimo to the most powerful fortissimo. Every key rests on two steel-plated pins and has been weighted and balanced at the Blüthner factory by had. The sharps are made from exclusive ebony wood, while the naturals have been covered in a special synthetic acrylic. Keytops from legal ivory, cortical bone or mother of pearl may be available by special order. All ivory options come from CITES certified sources.

Key Bed

The key bed of every Blüthner piano is the foundation for the keys and the sensitive action mechanism. It has been specially designed with separate but close-fitting beams of pine and red beech. This allows for air circulation to help maintain optimal climatic conditions within the action compartment, while preventing unwanted movement and tonal vibrations.

Action Mechanism

Action
Action

The action of every Blüthner piano is a complicated system of levers, which has been meticulously developed and refined by the Blüthner factory over the last hundred and fifty years. The Blüthner action responds easily and is precisely balanced to give the pianist complete control over the musical expression. Every wooden part of the Blüthner piano action has been fashioned from select quarter-sawn hornbeam and maple. All the various moving parts are carefully balanced and connected along fine steel center pins housed in pure cashmere cloth bushings. Felts are made of 100 percent wool, of the finest grade, coated with a moth-resistant treatment, and then brushed with a special compound to remove unwanted friction. The repetition and fly springs have been fashioned from an exclusive bronze phosphor alloy, providing a consistent, crisp response. The action has been anchored to the red beech foundation to assure precise and stable regulation. All of this ensures the Blüthner piano action achieves a light, quick and responsive touch that is even across the keyboard and easy to control.

Hammers

Hammer Installation
Hammer Installation
Hammer Installation

The original hammers on all Blüthner grand pianos have been crafted from the finest walnut. The cover felt is specially sealed to assure the flexibility and elasticity of the wool fibers. To achieve the best tone, every hammer is cut at a unique angle in order to keep the hammer molding square with the hammer-shank, and the hammer felt aligned properly with the strings. Blüthner hammer heads are made from the finest felt, and carefully cold-pressed to perfectly protect the elasticity and other important characteristics of the felt fibers. Blüthner hammers can be recognized by their Blüthner blue under-felt.

Upright Pianos

Model Height Width Weight Depth
S 57.3" (145.6 cm) 61.8" (157.0 cm) 705 lbs (320 kg) 28.0"
B 52.2" (132.5 cm) 59.6" (151.5 cm) 595 lbs (270 kg) 24.6"
A 49.0" (124.5 cm) 59.6" (151.5 cm) 550 lbs (250 kg) 24.6"
C 46.2" (118.0 cm) 60.6" (154.0 cm) 530 lbs (240 kg) 24.6"
D 45.7" (116.0 cm) 60.6" (154.0 cm) 550 lbs (250 kg) 24.4"

Back Posts

A strong construction with five or four back-posts that pick up the tension of the strings, assisting the iron frame to withstand the enormous pull of approximately 18 tons. Thus a durable tuning of the instruments is assured.

Soundboard & Bridges

The soundboard has a maximum surface and only finest spruce is used for its construction. The bridges made of re beech are designed to transport the vibrations of the strings without loss to the soundboard.

Strings

The three larger models are fitted throughout with agraffes as well as with individually hitched strings which results in a high accuracy of the position of the strings. The small uprights are made with a capodastro bar that fixes the strings against the iron frame.

Action & Keyboard

Action and keyboard are of high quality. Their construction is concentrated on elegant touch and high performance, giving the professional an instrument of high perfection.

Hammers

The original hammers on all Blüthner upright pianos have been crafted from the finest hornbeam. The cover felt is specially sealed to assure the flexibility and elasticity of the wool fibers. Blüthner hammer heads are made from the finest felt, and carefully cold-pressed to perfectly protect the elasticity and other important characteristics of the felt fibers. Blüthner hammers can be recognized by their Blüthner blue under-felt.

Pedals

All instruments are fitted with three pedals, the middle pedal allowing one to play full force at a very low noise level.

Blüthner reserves the right to change specifications without notice.

Why Blüthners are Special ››