Knabe piano company was initially founded by William Knabe and Henry. Some years later this brand bought out Gaehle and the business reverted back to being a family corporation.
1877 Knabe Grand Piano Video Demonstartion
Playing Chopin concerto n° 2, larghetto
Knabe's Company History & Information
William Knabe was a German immigrant to the United States, in 1837 in Baltimore, Maryland. The young Knabe earned his piano apprenticeship in Germany. His first job in America was as a piano-technician at the baby grand piano workshop of Henry Hartje.
Over the years, the sons and then grandsons of William Knabe were at the helm of the company. However in 1903, it was absorbed by the American Piano Co. and by 1932 in conjunction with Aeolian American Corporation. In 1983, the last piano under this conglomerate was issued a serial number of 197894.
Upright and grand Knabe pianos have always been a favorite for use in music schools, music conservatories and other institutions where music education is renowned. Today, Wm. Knabe & Co. is manufactured by Samick Musical Instruments, LTD.
Though Wm. Knabe & Co. underwent numerous acquisitions and management, the superior quality of Knabe baby grand piano was not affected. The excellent craftsmanship and skills acquired by its workers are handed down from father to son. Suggestions for improvement on some aspects are considered and implemented when seem fit.
The philosophy that is adhered to in the production of a acoustic Knabe piano is to not compromise its craftsmanship, materials and design. Handmade and in limited in production, each piano is “lovingly” crafted to produce a mellow and warm sound that is akin to a human lyrical voice. The tone is deep, rich and perfectly pitched.
There are no shortcuts in piano-making. Each Knabe upright piano takes at least 6 months to build whereas baby Knabe grand pianos could take two years to complete. Materials used are of the outmost importance. Every wood, metal, glue and other piano component that goes into the production of a Knabe are chosen for their superior quality.
You can always buy vintage Knabe upright pianos and used Knabe baby grands at quite reasonable prices. Antique piano is priced according to its model, quality and condition value. Currently Knabe label has 10 models under the grand piano series and 6 models under the vertical series, ranging anywhere from few thousand dollars to over $15,000 appraisal.
The three models under the WKG-53 series are the WKG-53, WKG-53KBF and the WKG-53M. The contoured and tapered soundboard is made of selected white spruce. The maple and oak frame is tenon-jointed to the rim with dowels made of hardwood. The ribs are full length; the plate is of traditional iron ore.
The low-tension measured duplex scale is designed by Klaus Fenner. Action is Renner so are the hammers. Each Pratt Reed spruce key is weighted and balanced individually. Strings are Roslau with a 16-ply pinblock of laminated maple.
Full sostenuto for a longer note value is an added feature.
The WKG-53 or WKG-53M Knabe baby grand piano is most suitable for domestic use, like playing music at home. Its voice, tone and timbre are at par with the bigger Knabe grand piano but is lacking in volume attributed to its size.
The Knabe WKG-53KBF is similar to the 53 line except for its beautifully designed casing in French Provincial style reflective of King Louis XV's period. K. Gunnar Benson is the artistic designer.
This series is composed of the WKG-58, WKG-58A, WKG-58F and the WKG-58M. The construction and materials are the same as the WKG-53 series but this line is longer at 5'8” qualifying it as a parlor Knabe grand piano.
The Knabe WKG-58 Traditional is highly recommended because its contoured and tapered soundboard made of solid spruce ensures rich and resonant melodic tones.
The Knabe WKG-58A's casing is reminiscent of 18th century craftsmanship but the soundboard and all other piano components are innovations of the 21st century.
Knabe WKG-58F is French Provincial in style while the WKG-58M's casing is inspired by the 1800s piano cabinetry that was common in from the late 19th to early 20th century American homes.
Knabe WKG-64 is a semi-ballroom grand with a length of 6'4”. Its sound is bright and majestic which is further enhanced by Knabe's original and traditional Baltimore scale with a duplex. The clarity of tone rises above a full orchestra. This model is best for concert halls and auditoriums.
Knabe WKG-70 is the biggest of Knabe grands at 7'. This is the grand piano of choice for a full symphony orchestra. Its sound can cut through a full accompaniment without sounding strained or thin as it has a deep, rich, warm and very melodic tone. This is the true opera piano.
All Knabe pianos upright models have the same contoured and tapered solid spruce soundboard as the grands. The maple-capped bridges are pre-crowned and hand-notched.
Action, keys and hammer are Pratt Reed but with the same Roslau strings as the grands and a 15-ply pinblock of hard maple.
Today's upright pianos under Knabe are WKV-118F, WKV-118R, WKV-118T, WKV-121, WKV-121A and WKV-131.
Of the lot the most popular is the Knabe WKV-131. It basically has the same construction method and materials used as the other WKVs but the selling point of this piano is its strong full sound and sostenuto feature.
The added timbre and tonal length of the Knabe piano make it an ideal choice for large assemblies such as in churches, schools and community halls. The WKV-131 is for the more serious pianist and piano students. It has been rated excellent by many satisfied owners.
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