C. BECHSTEIN

Piano Manufacturers of The World

Piano Brands Of The World:

C. BECHSTEIN

Company Website: Bechstein.com
Owner: C. Bechstein Pianoforte AG
Country of Origin: Berlin, Germany
Year Established: 1853
Related Brands: Bosendorfer, Fazioli, Hamburg Steinway, Steingraeber

Warranty: 5 years parts and labour, applicable to the original purchaser only.

C. Bechstein B 212

HISTORY AND BACKGROUND

C. Bechstein has been producing pianos of legendary quality for over 150 years. Bechstein’s story begins In 1853 when German native Carl Bechstein began bespoke production of what would ultimately prove to be some of the world’s finest pianos in an effort to satiate the most demanding pianists of the day. To satisfy demand, what began as low volume bespoke production eventually expanded into a large-scale operation, with Bechstein producing several thousand pianos annually by the turn of the century. At the height of Bechstein’s popularity, and as the preferred choice of European aristocracy, the onset and aftermath of two world wars came precariously close to critically wounding the company, but like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Bechstein was successfully rejuvenated.

With stable and competent ownership since the late 1980s, Bechstein is once again among the leaders in high-end piano manufacturing. More recently, in the late 2000s, Bechstein purchased the pre-existing Bohemia piano factory in the Czech Republic where they began producing pianos under the resurrected W. Hoffmann brand as a high-value European alternative to professional Japanese pianos.

The manufacturing time for the Academy series is roughly half the time spent on the Concert series.

Certain specific design differences include non-tapered soundboards in the Academy series vs tapered soundboards in the Concert series (industry-accepted best practice), a thicker full hardwood rim with more laminations in the Concert series, and solid beech bridges in the Academy series, versus laminated bridges (industry-accepted best practice) in the Concert series.

While it’s clear that both the Academy series and Concert series pianos are premium instruments, it’s undoubtedly that the musical potential is superior in the Concert series. These instruments should be carefully considered by anyone seeking the best in European piano craftsmanship.

*Please note that while C. Bechstein has declined an application for The Bundesverband Klavier (BVK) made in Germany distinction, some clarity regarding the BVK is needed.

Using the finest quality European components, Bechstein produces upright and grand pianos in two levels of quality; the lower-priced Academy series line (on par quality-wise with the best hand-made Japanese pianos, and select German brands) and the higher-priced Concert series line (among the highest quality pianos produced in the world today.) With extensive recent re-designs throughout the entire C. Bechstein Academy and Concert series line-ups, the current C. Bechstein pianos are noticeably superior to what the company was producing even 10 years ago. Today, each line produces 4 sizes of uprights, and 5 sizes of grand pianos, available in a variety of finishes and cabinet designs.

While the Academy and Concert series lines share many similarities, the differences can be summed up quite simply; The concert series line instruments use slightly better materials, undergo a lengthier manufacturing process, and utilize almost every best piano building practice known today.

Some of the specific material differences include AAA Austrian white spruce in the Academy series vs much more expensive Val di Fiemme spruce, i.e. Stradivarius, in the Concert series, Mahogany hammer mouldings in the Academy line versus stronger and lighter Walnut hammer mouldings in the Concert line, and Bechstein’s “Silver Line” action in the Academy series versus the “Gold Line” action featured in the Concert series (built to stricter tolerances.) 

The Bundesverband Klavier (BVK) certificate is a private organization in Germany made up of the smallest producers (in total less than 25% of the premium market) which is not certified by any laws, and to become a member, only requires the following:

  • gluing the soundboard to the back frame or rim
  • fitting and installing the cast-iron plate
  • stringing the instrument
  • gluing the cabinet around the instrument
  • installing and regulating the keyboard and action
  • tuning, and voicing

It does not require that ANY parts actually come from Germany to meet this certification. Not only is this fact, but even pianobuyer.com has published these details without protest or dispute from Bundesverband Klavier (BKV).

There are all sorts of inconsistencies as well; the world’s most respected concert grand piano, the Hamburg Steinway D, also is not on this list. Fazioli is a member…even though they are Italian. Petrof is a member, even though they are Czech, and Steinway & Bechstein both publicly declared why they were not joining – they already meet and exceed a much stricter government-issued regulation which actually requires Germany parts AND labor to get certified, which is the EUR-1 standard. 

View more piano brands here.

C. BECHSTEIN PIANOS

TOP BRANDS OF THE WORLD

Tier 1C. BechsteinBosendorferFazioliHamburg Steinway
CountryGermanyAustriaItalyGermany
Upright Models <120cmMillennium 116K, Classic/Contour 118N/AN/AN/A
Upright Models > 120cmClassic/Elegance 124, Concert 8Model 130N/AN/A
Grand Models < 180cmL167Model 155, Model 170VCF156S-155, M-170, O-180
Grand Models > 180cmA192, B212, C234, D282Model 185VC, Model 200, Model 200CS, Model 214VC, Model 214VC CS, Model 225, Model 280VC, Model 290,F183, F212, F228, F278, F308A-188, B-211, C-227, D-274
Rim ConstructionMahogany and Red BeechSpruce and Red BeechMaple and MahoganyMaple and Beech
Soundboard MaterialItalian Red Spruce from the Val Di’ FiemmeAustrian White SpruceItalian Red Spruce from the Val Di’ FiemmeSolid White Spruce
Soundboard ElevationMinimum 1,000 MetersHigh-Altitude (Specific Height Undisclosed)Minimum 1,000 Meters?
Tonal CharacteristicsExtremely Dynamic, Colourful and ClearDelicate yet Highly RichPowerful, ColourfulPowerful, Clean and Crisp
ActionBechstein ‘Gold Line’ ActionAction Made by BosendorferRennerRenner
HammersDark Walnut – Made by BechsteinRenner Underfelted ‘Orange’ HammersRennerRenner High-Compression Weikert Felt
Warranty5 Years Parts & Labour10 Year Parts & Labour10 Year Parts & Labour10 Year Parts & Labour
Backpost / Beam ConstructionReinforced Spruce Radial Frame with Dove-tailed JointsNot AvailableRadial Spruce Beam Frame with Triple Joinery?
Rim Construction (Grands Only)Mahogany and Red BeechSpruce and Red BeechMaple and MahoganyMaple and Beech
Duplex Scaling (Grands Only)Front & Rear Duplex?Double Duplex ScaleDuplex Scale
Average Hrs Production (Grands)420-550 Hours~500 Hrs500+ HrsNot Available
Average Hrs Production (Uprights)180 HoursNot AvailableN/ANot Available

Tier 2August ForsterBluthnerEstoniaShigeru KawaiYamaha CFNY Steinway
CountryGermanyGermanyEstoniaJapanJapanUnited States
Upright Models <120cm116D, CN/AN/AN/AN/A
Upright Models > 120cm125, 134A, B, SN/AN/AN/AK52
Grand Models < 180cm17011, 10L168N/AN/AS, M, O
Grand Models > 180cm190, 215, 2756, 4, 2, 1L190, L210, L225, L274SK2, SK3, SK5, SK6, SK7, SKEXCF4, CF6, CFXA, B, D
Rim ConstructionBeechBeechLaminated BirchMahogany and Hard Rock MapleMaple & MahoganyHard Rock Maple
Soundboard MaterialSolid Mountain SpruceSolid SpruceGerman Solid SpruceSolid Sitka Spruce, Ezo Spruce (larger models)Solid European SpruceSolid Sitka Spruce
Soundboard Elevation??????
Tonal CharacteristicsDeep, Dark & Clear with a Powerfull BassDark, Warm and LyricalWarm, Sonorous and DynamicVery Dynamic, Colourful, Dark and WarmBright, Clear with SustainResonant, Powerful Bass, Colourful
ActionRennerRennerRennerMillennium III Carbon FiberYamaha Balanced ActionSteinway Accelerated Action
HammersPremium RennerAbel Angled HammersRenner BlueMahogany, Made by KawaiPremium Balanced HammersHard Rock Maple
Warranty5 Years Parts & Labour10 Years Parts & Labour10 Years Parts & Labour10 Years Parts & Labour10 Years Parts & Labour5 Years Parts & Labour
Backpost / Beam ConstructionSpruceSpruceSpruce, Focused Beam ConstructionSpruceDovetailed SpruceSpruce
Rim Construction (Grands Only)BeechBeechLaminated BirchMaple and MahoganyMaple & MahoganyHard Rock Maple
Duplex Scaling (Grands Only)?Aliquot StringingFront & Rear DuplexFull Length DuplexDuplex ScalingFull Dup,ex
Average Hrs Production (Grands)??????
Average Hrs Production (Uprights)???N/A??

C. BECHSTEIN MODELS & PRICE

MODELSIZEDESCRIPTIONMSRP (USD)
C. BECHSTEIN CONCERT UPRIGHTS
Millenium 116k46″Polished Ebony$30,120
Polished White$32,060
Classic 11846.5″Polished Ebony$32,060
Polished White$34,000
Satin and Polished Walnut/Mahogany/Cherry$35,960
Contour 11846.5″Polished Ebony$32,060
Polished White$34,000
Satin and Polished Walnut/Mahogany/Cherry$35,960
Classic 12449″Polished Ebony$39,840
Polished White$41,780
Satin and Polished Walnut/Mahogany/Cherry$43,720
Elegance 12449″Polished Ebony$39,840
Polished White$41,780
Satin and Polished Walnut/Mahogany/Cherry$43,720
Concert 851.5″Polished Ebony$68,980
Polished White$70,860
Satin and Polished Walnut/Mahogany/CherryN/A
Polished Burl WalnutN/A
Polished Cherry with InlaysN/A
C. BECHSTEIN ACADEMY UPRIGHTS
A112 Modern44″Polished White$26,220
A112 Chrome Art44″Polished White$28,180
A114 Modern44.8″Polished Ebony$24,280
A114 Chrome Art44.8″Polished Ebony$26,220
A114 Compact44.8″Polished Ebony$26,220
A116 Compact45.5″Polished White$28,180
Satin and Polished Walnut/Mahogany/Cherry$29,140
A124 Imposant48.8″Polished Ebony$28,180
Polished White$30,120
A124 Style48.8″Polished Ebony$28,180
Polished White$30,120
Satin and Polished Walnut/Mahogany/Cherry$32,060
C. BECHSTEIN CONCERT GRANDS
L1675’6″Polished Ebony$126,040
Satin and Polished Mahogany/Walnut/Cherry$144,920
Polished White$131,700
M/P1926’4″Polished Ebony$148,700
Satin and Polished Mahogany/Walnut/Cherry$167,580
Polished White$158,140
B2126’11”Polished Ebony$171,360
Polished White$180,800
C2347’7″Polished Ebony$209,140
Polished White$220,480
D2829’2″Polished Ebony$272,240
Polished White$287,340
C. BECHSTEIN ACADEMY GRANDS
A1605’3″Polished Ebony$65,620
Satin and Polished Mahogany/Walnut$79,240
Polished White$69,520
A1755’9″Polished Ebony$69,520
Satin and Polished Walnut/Mahogany$83,120
Polished White$75,340
A1906’3″Polished Ebony$73,400
Satin and Polished Mahogany/Walnut$87,020
Polished White$79,240
A2086’8″Polished Ebony$85,060
Satin and Polished Mahogany/Walnut$104,520
Polished White$90,900
A2287’5″Polished Ebony$98,680
Satin and Polished Mahogany/Walnut$118,120
Polished White$104,520

C. BECHSTEIN PIANO SERIAL NUMBERS

DATE OF MANUFACTURESERIAL NUMBER
1859-18600-300
1861-1870301-4196
1871-18804197-11676
1881-189011677-24958
1891-190024959-54181
1901-191054182-94753
1911-192094754-115783
1921-1930115784-137446
1931-1940137447-143890
1941-1950143891-147000
1951-1960147001-151950
1961-1970151951-162300
1971-1980162301-173785
1981-1990173786-180821
1991-2000181526-187537
2001-2010188393-200688
2011-Present202173-

Frequently Asked Questions

The serial number on C. Bechstein uprights is located under the lid, stamped onto the metal plate. On C. Bechstein grands, the serial number is located at the front of the piano, also stamped on the metal plate.

C. Bechstein Concert Series grands and uprights are among the most elite pianos made in the world today, and one of only 6 manufacturer’s to be ranked in the highest possible quality category by the Larry Fine Piano Buyer’s Guide.

C. Bechstein branded pianos are made by hand exclusively in Seifhennersdorf, Germany.

C. Bechstein upright piano list pricing ranges from $25,750 USD to $67,457 while C. Bechstein grand piano list pricing ranges from $63,434 USD to $227,702.

C. Bechstein is very selective with their artist program. Contact a registered Bechstein dealer for more information.

Four of the greatest composers of all time are known for owning and composing on a C. Bechstein; Edvard Grieg, Alexander Scriabin, Maurice Ravel and Béla Bartók. Other famous owners include Claude Debussey, and perhaps most famously, The Beatles, Elton John, David Bowie and Queen.

You can determine the age of a C. Bechstein piano by looking up the serial number, and checking further above on this page to determine the age.

Many of the 20th century’s top classical and pop artists frequently played Bechstein’s, including Alexander Scriabin, Claude Debussey, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Elton John, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Supertramp and Oscar Peterson.

C. Bechstein grand piano list pricing ranges from $63,434 USD to $227,702.

A C. Bechstein A192 (formerly named Model M) is a 6’4” (192cm) grand piano.

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