The C. Bechstein 124 Upright Piano stands as the finest institutional-sized upright piano in the world. Its accuracy and nuance make it a preference over most mid-range grands, and possibly higher. It’s cabinetry and quality of build make it a pure work of art. For any piano buyer with a medium budget and a need for quality, the 124 simply must be considered.
Video Demo & Overview
The World’s Premiere 49” Upright Piano
The new C. Bechstein Vario System silent-piano option can be built into any of its instruments. This option allows you to mute the acoustic piano and turn on an extensively sampled sound of a C. Bechstein concert grand, which can be listened to through headphones for silent play. Optical key and pedal sensors transmit MIDI information for the control of music software.
The C. Bechstein Classic 124 upright piano is the top 49″ offering from this renown piano maker and is made entirely in Germany using many similar construction approaches and techniques of their Concert Series grand pianos. It is also closely related to the Concert 8, arguably the #1 rated upright piano in the world – essentially a shorter version of it. C. Bechstein pianos are masterpieces, producing the ideal sound for many high-end pianists worldwide.
This upright piano is notable for many reasons, from the hundreds of hours of hand craftsmanship it receives, to the types of wood, it’s constructed out of and its timeless design. Specifically, these are points that really stand out from the rest of the industry:
- Val Di Fiemme Spruce (same wood source as the Stradivarius violins)
- Dark Walnut Double-felted Hammers
- Pure Copper Hand-wound Bass Strings
- 180 Hours of Manufacturing Time
- Vertically-Laminated Bridges
The action is Bechstein’s own “Gold Action Assembly”, which indicates both the level of regulation and voicing it receives, the precision of the componentry, and the hammers which are used. Bechstein is rare in that it produces both its own actions and its own hammers – common for Yamaha or Kawai, very uncommon in the high end of the industry. This allows for perfect matching and balancing.
Employing their top-secret Friction Control System, the weighting is incredibly well balanced, and the repetition is more than up to task of tackling even the most demanding repertoire.
The C124 has a long sustain that goes well beyond that of a typical upright, as well as a clear, resonant bass with a case design of timeless elegance. Balanced voice with powerful bass and rich treble. The action is highly controlled with an excellent repetition speed. The tone generally is very colorful with well structured upper partials, giving the player a wide palate to ‘paint’ with. The attack of the tone is bell-like, with a slight bloom as the instrument’s full cabinet activates. Finally, the piano produces ample volume, and an C124 pulled even slightly out from the wall, let alone with lid partially or fully open will out-produce even a professional baby grand for sheer dynamics.
The bridge design has a lot to do with everything we’re hearing here. The bridges in every C 124 are made of German red beech utilizing the latest CNC technology, which allows for precision down to a hundredth of a millimeter. This level of precision ensures perfect transmission of sound and frequencies to the soundboard.
Another large contributor for this piano’s distinct tonal profile is due to the presence of agraffes to anchor the strings in place. Agraffes not only stabilize the strings, but also help to create the 124’s specific timbre. Agraffes keep the strings in perfect position and determine their speaking length, essentially reinforcing the precision of the action: the hammers hit the strings in the exact, optimal place, which serves to strengthen the fundamental tone and provide a higher level of tonal clarity.
Bechstein is able to control a greater scope of the manufacturing process than other European piano makers by virtue of the fact that they produce their very own hammers. In fact, every piano they make, including the W. Hoffmann and Zimmermann offerings feature custom-made hammers designed for each individual model.
The Concert Series pianos C. Bechstein instruments of course feature the very top hammers Bechstein produces, and easily some of the best hammers in any piano. The Concert Series uprights use dark walnut hammers, and are some of the only upright pianos in production currently using this uber-premium material. Special New Zealand wool covers the Walnut core, and these hammers receive a concert-level voicing prior to leaving the production facility.
Perhaps more remarkable than anything else, the C124 is one of the only upright pianos in the world to use soundboards of Val Di’ Fiemme Red Spruce. This spruce is grown at elevations exceeding 1,000 meters, and is from the same forest where Stradivarius sourced the wood for his violins hundreds of years ago, now considered the greatest violins ever made. The only other upright pianos to feature this Red Spruce are the other entries in the C. Bechstein Concert series – go figure.
With wood of such rarity and incredible acoustic properties, what a shame it would be if it was wasted on a poor design. Fortunately, that isn’t the case, as Bechstein makes their soundboards to function as a membrane, or in other words, as an extension of the entire structure, ensuring vibrant response to even the most passive of frequencies.
From a philosophical standpoint, Bechstein believes that in order to produce the best tone possible, the entire structure of the instrument needs to contribute this goal, and thus needs to activate and retain maximum energy. While Bechstein accomplishes this throughout their entire range of instrument, they do it more convincingly on the Concert series instruments with aged woods that are triple joined and precision-fitted for incredibly efficient energy transfer.
In an article dedicated to the C. Bechstein Classic 124, the French music magazine Diapason once stated: “Pleasant touch and charming sound with powerful bass. This distinguished piano makes an excellent overall impression.” In addition, the outer polyester and overall styling is sleek, contemporary, and built to last. Expect an C124 to perform well for 100+ years.
|Size||Height||49” (124 cm)|
|Width||59.4” (151 cm)|
|Depth||25.6" (65 cm)|
|Weight||575 lbs. (261 kg)|
|Warranty||5 Year Parts & Labour Manufacturer’s Warranty|