While the general consensus of the piano industry has traditionally been that an upright piano should be at least 48” in height to be considered adequate, and some teachers still hold to this, the C. Bechstein A114 proves that this is simply not the case. Despite it’s 45” cabinet, this hand-made German upright delivers a true premium experience, easily outplaying significantly taller Japanese and Korean alternatives, such as those from Yamaha, Kawai, and Samick.
Developed by the engineers of Bechstein’s R&D department in Seifhennersdorf, the A114 embodies Bechstein’s core philosophy of energy flow; all materials of a given piano contribute towards a common goal of unrestricted energy flow. When you play, none of the expended energy is wasted, and instead contributes towards the goal of getting the entire structure resonating.
With a construction time of over 7 months and 120 man-hours, the A114 is perfect for those looking to enter the exciting world of German piano building and own a piece of the Bechstein legend with this modern upright, available in a sleek, compact, and modern package.
The A114 uses an action completely built by Bechstein in Germany, dubbed their ‘Silver Line’ action. This action feels quite similar to the Renner actions found in other German uprights in this class, but with a different level of refinement.
Responsive, easy to control, and with a fast repetition speed, this action won’t pose any challenges for the player even when playing the most difficult classical works.
Note that Bechstein also makes an even more refined ‘Gold Line’ action for the C. Bechstein Concert instruments, and a less refined ‘Bronze Line’ action for some of the W. Hoffmann and Zimmermann pianos.
The first thing that stands out about the A114 is that despite its size, it doesn’t have any of the typical brightness or shrillness typically associated with smaller upright pianos. Instead, this is an upright piano with a distinctly warm, European tone. A critical reason for this is the bridge, which is built with Red Beech sourced from Germany while making use of the most recent advancements in CNC technology. Energy is efficiently relayed to the soundboard with this highly specialized mix of materials and design.
Beyond the high-level piano-making and quality of materials, a lot of this has to do with the scale design, which has been built with adding partials in the treble and achieving clarity in the bass in mind.
Anyone somewhat familiar with European pianos will be pleasantly surprised to learn that C. Bechstein makes all of their own hammers themselves, in Germany, customized to each individual instrument – the only European piano make to do so.
With mahogany and New Zealand sourced wool, these are high quality, premium hammers, which also receive considerable hand voicing prior to crating.
Another highlight of the A114 is the quality of wood selected for the soundboards. Each A114 uses slowly grown Alpine mountain spruce from Europe. Only spruce grown at elevations of 800-1,000 meters are selected for use in the A114 to ensure an ideal pulp-to-grain ratio.
The frame generally isn’t a key talking point when it comes to a lot of uprights, but this isn’t the case with Bechstein pianos where the frame plays not only a critical structural role but actually contributes to the richness of tone. Starting with solid back posts secured by copper beech dowels at the joints, the sand-cast iron frame is built to withstand fifteen metric tons of tension. The structural stability reduces distortion, reinforces the sound, and guarantees that the piano stays in tune, further solidifying the A114 as a truly premium instrument.
The structural integration of the back posts with the cast-iron frame contributes to the full bass and warm mid register. This structural integrity also makes it easy to produce and modulate partials and in the upper treble range.
Available in A114 Modern, A114 Compact, and A114 Modern Chrome Art cabinets.
Also available with Vario System option.