It was announced last week that the Kemble piano factory, the UK’s last piano manufacturer, will be closing its doors to manufacturing their pianos in Great Britain. This ends a tradition in England that dates back to the late 1700’s, the efforts of which defined the piano industry worldwide for hundreds of years to come. The very first established piano manufacturer was Broadwood of England, and throughout the next 200 plus years, the British made beautiful pianos that were highly regarded worldwide, including Kemble. It is our understanding that Kemble will continue to exist as a company — just not with pianos made in England. We will update this entry when we have more information on Kemble’s future.
Cordogan’s Pianoland began carrying the Kemble piano line in the late 1990’s and have enjoyed tremendous success with the brand. Positioned (and rated) as a piano that is slightly better than Kawai and Yamaha, Kemble pianos offered American consumers a choice to Japanese pianos that will now no longer be available. There is no other brand to fill this void. That choice involved a piano that had all the engineering and technology of a Japanese piano, but had the character — both aesthetically and musically, of a European piano. Kemble offered beautiful, timeless cabinet designs that the Japanese manufacturers have never offered. And the soundboard material in a Kemble employs Bavarian spruce — a higher grade soundboard than their Japanese cousins, resulting in a warmer tone than Japanese pianos typcially offer.
It’s perfectly accurate to call the Japanese pianos “cousins” to the Kemble, because Yamaha owns over 90% of the Kemble company and they use the English factory to build the Yamaha upright pianos that are sold throughout Europe. The musical designs of the Yamaha piano are absolutely shared with Kemble pianos. In some instances, the Kemble scale design (which is to say the iron frame and accompanying string configuration) is identical to the comparable Yamaha model. The actions and action parts are also identical. Other models involved scale designs that are indigenous to Kemble, but the parts and quality are all Yamaha. Again, the case design, soundboard materials and British lineage are what really makes the Kemble piano special.
With Yamaha’s recent decision to build their pianos in factories outside England, so ends the factory in Bletchley and the Kemble pianos that have been produced there for many decades. Cordogan’s has only a few Kembles left. We have no reason to believe that the factory warranty is threatened but in any case, Cordogan’s is offering a 5 year parts and labor warranty on each remaining Kemble piano. That’s the same warranty length that Steinway offers on their new pianos. And considering that Cordogan’s has been in business longer than both Kemble AND Yamaha in the United States, our warranty is more solid than that of any piano manufacturer.
Please contact us at www.chicagopianos.com for more information about our remaining Kemble inventory.