The Fridolin series represents Schimmel’s attempt to offer an affordable, high-quality instrument at a highly competitive price point, with the hopes of opening up their offerings to a whole new part of the market. Pearl River’s acquisition of a controlling share of Schimmel in 2016 made this a reality.
To say this attempt has been successful would be a huge understatement – the Fridolin Schimmel’s are one of the most successful German/Chinese hybrids to date, with a complete German design, hammer felt and strings, with assembly taking place in China at Pearl River’s production facility.
The F123 is essentially a simulacra of the Schimmel Classic 123, available for about 33% of the price! It’s built to compete in the mid-range 48” class, dominated by Japanese heavyweights Kawai and Yamaha.
For those who appreciate a European musical experience, the F123 is sure to impress.
The F123 uses an action entirely designed by Schimmel, assembled in China under the strict supervision of Schimmel technicians from Germany. While not as refined as a fully German made action, this is still an action that performs very well, and actually feels a lot like a Yamaha U1 or U3.
Given the Schimmel design, a give a skilled technician a few hours with this action and they’ll have it performing pretty close to the action found in Schimmel’s Classic series.
Due to its design and features, the F123 sounds clear and lush as one would expect of a German upright. It’s also quite bright as is the case with most Schimmel’s, and incorporates German Rosslau strings.
The tonal profile is distinctly different from a Japanese upright, which is often the main reason some folks choose an F123 over a Japanese option.
Schimmel uses cold-pressed hammers with German sourced felt in the F123. These are quality hammers.
Triple A solid white spruce is what’s on tap when it comes to the soundboards in the F123. The soundboard is an incredibly important component in piano manufacturing, and Schimmel’s choice of Triple A solid spruce here is very nice to see.
The F123 offers a sleek, eye-catching that surely to be the centerpiece of any fine room.