Founded in 1956, Guangzhou’s Pearl River Piano company is now the most prolific in the world, building about 150,000 pianos a year. The brands they manufacture include their own PEARL RIVER brand, but also RITMULLER. They remain a contract builder for Essex, Schimmel, and several other respected brands in the entry-to-mid range market.
The Ritmuller line of pianos, featuring enhanced scale designs and some component quality improvements, has also been accepted as credible and enjoyable around the world. The company makes a wide assortment of grand pianos across both brands, including baby grands all the way up to concert grand pianos.
Pearl River builds its own actions, based on the proven designs of several of the world’s largest builders like Yamaha and Schimmel. The actions are made with hornbeam and aluminum action rails, slow-fall fallboards, and improved geometry. They also use spruce keys for lightweight strength.
For additional satisfaction, Pearl River GP160’s benefit from additional preparation activities by dealers able to offer it, including string lubrication, additional string stretching and pin setting, and action regulation.
The GP160 delivers a present bass and a rounded mid and treble. Though not a true wide-tail design, they do employ larger soundboard area than most pianos of this length and price range, which increases the pleasantness of the sound. The german röslau wire helps to deliver a clear treble with pleasing harmonics, and high-quality maple-cap bridges ensure a good connection between string and soundboard.
The Butcher-block style pinblock uses cut-thread tuning pins, and Pearl River also uses sand cast plates for the piano. Though there are varied opinions on the use of this technique, it is something some builders have continued to emphasize.
The GP160 also uses a higher quality bass string which has improved the uncontrolled harmonics that can plague lower tones in inexpensive short pianos.
Pearl River is actually one of the few piano companies left which continue to make their own hammers; others on this list include Yamaha, Kawai, C. Bechstein, and Steinway. This has allowed them to manage costs and quality at a higher level than other Chinese manufacturers, who are either forced to use low-cost domestic 3rd party options, or import more costly German hammers from Abel or Renner.
The GP160 deploys a solid core spruce soundboard for improved performance of the laminated design type. It has helped tuning stability and entirely mitigates the risk of a soundboard crack.
The GP160 is available in a wide variety of finishes, such as Grained Mahogany Polish, Mahogany Polish, Ebony Polish, Walnut Polish, White Polish, and Ebony Satin.
- Solid Brass Hardware
- Middle Pedal: Sostenuto
- German Röslau Strings
- Pearl River Hammers with imported German Reinforced White Felt, Mahogany Hammer Core
- Pearl River Action
- All Spruce Tapered Soundboard
- Multiple Ply Beech Pin Block
- Slow Close Fallboard
- Grained Mahogany Polish
- Mahogany Polish
- Polished Ebony
- Walnut Polish
- White Polish
- Ebony Satin