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"Stencil" Piano what is it? Buyer beware!

Posted by Hans Heshusius on 29th Apr 2015

What exactly is a "stencil" piano . It is a term often used in the piano trade; referring  to pianos bearing fake German sounding names. In most cases these " brand names" are made up by importers or re-sellers, pretending that they are selling a piano made in other countries other then where they come from, which is mainly Asia. ( Malaysia, Korea, China and Indonesia)

So most those pianos have never been made, or have any history of their very own manufacturing factory. They are outsourced at random to other lesser known factories, at the discretion of the importer. 

According to Pierce Piano Atlas and we quote:" in their 10th edition they identified some 1000 names as "stencil" pianos prior to World War 1. In some instances misspelling was deliberately used to create names that look and sound similar to well known names. "

So for instance: Bernstein brand is made in China, where is C.Bechstein is genuinely "Made In Germany" 

The trouble with Stencil Pianos are: 1. Warranty claims, if an importer re-assigns his production to another unknown factory, original replacement  parts become harder to obtain, 2. No credit for labor cost from supplier. 3. Harder and sometime impossible; to replace a complete faulty instrument. 4. Factories producing stencil pianos may not be so interested in the "goodwill and long lasting quality" of the product.

So be careful, that bargain that you see, may not be such a "bargain" after all. 

At Austral Piano World; the history of all our manufacturer's is readily available.