For over 200 years, piano making had been alive and well in the region of Estonia. Although through most of that time, Estonia was under occupation and not an independent country, one of the constants through those years was in fact the making of pianos. Out of the twenty or so piano builders around in the area between 1849-1950 in the region, the communist government selected the best – Ernst Ihse – to consolidate all the piano factories under. Mr. Ihse had been widely recognized around Europe for his innovative design and high quality, much of which he learned during his studies at Hamburg Steinway and Bluthner in Germany. Estonia regained its independence in 1991 and in 1994, the company was privatized as Estonia and its shares were divided up amongst the workers. Over the coming years, established Estonian pianist and recording artist Indrek Laul began purchasing the company bit by bit and in 2001 became the sole owner of Estonia pianos. The Estonia piano factory produces between 200-300 pianos each year, which are rigorously handcrafted with the finest raw materials available, and perfected to an extremely high-quality standard.
Estonia’s Model 210 is 6’10” in length (or 210 cm) and is regularly referred to as the company’s ‘7 foot piano’. This is actually the newest Estonia model and was very well received by the market in 2013 when it was released. This size of piano is perfect for recording studios, institutions, high-level player practice spaces as well as simply larger rooms. This size of the piano will give you all of the bass clarity and dynamic range you’ll need to perform literally any piece of music.
Apart from craftsmanship and tons of piano-making experience, the raw materials and components are what sets Estonia pianos aside in their price range. The spec sheet on the Estonia 210 goes head to head with some of the world’s most expensive pianos. Some of these features are thick Baltic wood rim (laminated birch), a European Solid Spruce Soundboard, German strings, a Full Renner Action from Germany with Renner’s top hammers – Renner Blue, a sand-cast iron plate, Red beech, and Maple Vertically Laminated Bridges as well as pin blocks made of Red Beech.
Estonia is without question a unique piano company and in all the best ways. The Estonia Model 210 is arguably the most musical piano in its price and size range and is considered the ‘sleeper’ of the handmade piano market. If you’re someone who would normally go and purchase a Kawai or Yamaha due to the quality for money equation but would be willing to up the budget a bit for that ‘special piano’, then the Estonia 210 is going to make your jaw hit the floor
Like many of the world’s finest pianos, the Estonia 210 receives a Full Renner Action made in Germany. Those familiar with the world of European hand-crafted instruments, know that Renner is without question the ‘go-to’ action for premium pianos, and can be found in instruments double the price and more of the Estonia 210. The Renner Action is regulated and perfected by the action specialists at Estonia, to create absolutely seamless communication between the pianist and the piano. The keys on Estonia pianos are from Kluge keyboards in Germany
The tone of the Estonia 210 Grand Piano is both wonderfully complex, yet still warm and clear. This piano’s sounds cover a very wide tonal spectrum and can be used to play pretty well any style of music. The bass sustain on this instrument is particularly impressive. Each Estonia piano has its “own voice”, which when comparing to Asian-made pianos in this price range, is a big differentiator. Particular mention needs to make out this piano’s dynamic range and capabilities, since again, generally, you need to spend twice the amount to get a piano that you have this much control over musically.
The hammers on the Estonia 210 are ‘Renner Blue’ Hammers, which are German Renner hammers and the best that the company makes. The felt is of premium quality and offers tons of voicing potential. Estonia pianos get voiced extensively prior to being shipped. The hammers in a piano are the instrument’s first point of contact with sound (stings), and therefore Estonia pianos only use the best.
A premium quality European Spruce Soundboard is found in the Estonia Model 210. The soundboard wood is imported from Germany and then carefully selected for use in Estonia pianos. It is solid spruce as well as clear grade, for optimal tonal efficiency. The soundboard in the Estonia 210 is 17,01 sq. ft 1,58 square meters
The Estonia 210’s cabinet is as impressive as its musicality. These grand piano cases stand out from across a showroom, and many argue are on par quality-wise with the world’s best pianos. The cabinet has some distinctly European cuts and is available in eight gorgeous finishes. Of course, the Polished Ebony is the most popular, but a close second is a finish that Estonia calls ‘Hidden Beauty’ which is a blend of Polished ebony finish and Bubinga. Many clients with an eye for design also really love the ‘bird’s eye maple’ finish on the inner rim