Mason and Hamlin Model B: Big Sound in a Small Package
Since 1854 Mason and Hamlin has been handcrafting piano in the USA. Located just outside of Boston, MA the Mason factory is one of the last remaining limited production piano houses in the world with a production of less than 300 instruments per year. Although this company has had it’s ups and downs over the year it has been privately owned since 1996 and is currently rated by top technicians as one of the top 5 piano manufactures on the planet along with Fazioli, Steinway & Sons, Bosendorfer, and Shigeru Kawai.
The Mason and Hamlin piano company has always been known especially for it’s robust craftsmanship, and typical lush “American” tone. Some of the unique Mason and Hamlin features include the full perimeter plate, thickest hard-rock maple frames in the industry, full composite action and the tension resonator (a series of metal turnbuckles that lock the rim in place). All of the elements combined create a very unique experience for the player this give an incredible amount of control over dynamic range, an almost limitless projection while still retaining the clarity normally only found on European pianos. This has been Mason’s trademark sound and has created an almost cult like following specifically in the North Eastern United Stated and Canada (Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal).
In the early part of the 20th century Mason and Steinway were considered the best by many experts and were constantly competing to improve projection, sustain, tuning stability and other design elements to satisfy the most demanding players of the day. Interestingly enough the 7ft Mason and Hamlin model B B (their top model at the time) was the most expensive piano available for sale in the US between 1901 and 1932 and was almost double the price and material cost of the infamous Steinway model B. Most people that understand the history of pianos would compare this way of building at marketing pianos to current brands like FAZIOLI or RAVENSCROFT who tend to over design and forget about remaining competitive in the market place.
The Mason and Hamlin model B at 5’4″ is the smallest of the Mason line up, but is no slouch. It features the same rim thickness as the larger model A and AA and projects more like a 6ft grand piano. Also the Mason and Hamlin model B shares that same unique features as that larger models, but is built to fit in smaller urban spaces. For most people the Mason and Hamlin model B would be a perfect addition to a condo, townhome or even small bungalow and like all Mason models is still 100% hand-crafted in the USA.
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