Apr 23

Victorian Sohmer 6’6″ Grand Powerhouse

This 1895 Victorian Sohmer grand powerhouse piano just came in. I had never before seen or heard of a 6’6″ Sohmer, yet last week I saw two for sale. This one, and one from the later 1920’s.

Sohmer had a symbiotic relationship with Steinway. Sohmer uprights were often sold at Steinway dealers due to their high quality and complementary sound palette.

Today’s luxury boutique pianos, such as Steingraeber and Stuart and Sons offer special bridge agraffes. Steingraeber makes a lighter soundingboard with less string down bearing. These are great innovations, which one would expect on a 5’7″ piano costing $140,000.00. However, Sohmer had these innovations 125 years ago. This model does not have the bridge agraffes, but the other one I saw did. It does, as most Sohmers, have a light board with little crown and downbearing of the strings. They accomplished this by placing a second bridge on the bottom of the soundboard to hold its shape. The result is gobs of power, and control for pianissimo.

If you look at piano brochures, one of the ‘features’ is how long the bass strings are. Both Chickering and Sohmer did not follow that, as too with many German pianos. Instead, they have shorter speaking lengths, but much longer lengths behind the bridge. This allows the bridge to be placed on a more resonant point of the soundboard, and also allows less ‘choking’ of the bridge, thus superior bass with a strong clear fundamental. You would have to hear it to believe that this piano has better bass than many new 7’4″ instruments. These innovations and more make this a must see.

Long back scale of the Sohmer grand

Long back scale of the Sohmer grand