Today we’re going to talk about an amazing grand piano series made by Kawai. These pianos are some of the finest pianos if not the finest pianos in the whole world.
The Kawai Shigeru Pianos
From the initial design, to the selection of the finest materials, to the handcrafted assembly by the Master Piano Artisans, each, Shigeru piano is a world of uncompromising craftsmanship, a symbol of unending devotion-a profound expression of pride and honor....
Unparalleled Legacy. Unsurpassed Craftsmanship. Unrivaled Advancement.
The Shigeru Piano is THE PREMIER PIANO OF JAPAN. There are a total of 6 difference models of Shigeru pianos:
SK-EX Concert Grand: 9’1” : Fewer than 20 are crafted each year for all the world.
SK-7 Semi-Concert Grand 7’6”
SK-6 Orchestra Grand 7’
SK-5 Chamber Grand 6’7”
SK-3 Conservatory Grand 6’2”
SK-2 Classic Salon Grand 5’11”
In this video we have the SK-3 6’2” Conservatory Grand & the SK-2 5’11” Classic Salon Grand. Before we get started with the features of these beautiful pianos let review a little of the history of Kawai.
As the story goes....over a century ago in Japan a reed organ builder was struggling alone to build an upright piano from imported parts. One day, he was surprised to see a neighbor’s son riding by on a unique pedal-driven cart, the first ever to travel the roads of Hamamatsu, Japan. The aspiring piano builder was so impressed when he learned that the boy had designed and built the cart by himself that he invited the young man to be his apprentice.
The next day, the invitation was accepted and a dream was born... as the young man, Koichi Kawai, the son of a wagon maker, would set out to build his first piano.
The ensuing years would reveal Koichi Kawai’s extraordinary genius for design and innovation. He led the research and development team that introduced pianos to his country. Later, he became the first in Japan to design and build a complete piano action, receiving many patents for his designs and inventions. It was an impressive beginning... yet his greatest achievements were still to come. In 1927 Koichi Kawai and seven kindred colleagues formed the Kawai Musical Instrument Research Laboratory in Hamamatsu, Japan. Together, it was their dream to one day build the world’s finest piano. Koichi Kawai died suddenly in October of 1955 at the age of 70. Succeeding him at the helm was 33-year-old Shigeru Kawai who would lead his family’s company into the realm of modern manufacturing.
With Japan’s economy improving, Shigeru foresaw rapid growth in the musical instrument industry. He correctly reasoned that the company could not continue to rely solely upon traditional “hand work” production methods and still meet growing demand. The future, he believed, would combine hand-craftsmanship with the finest technology. Therefore, Shigeru began construction of two new factories, one a wood processing plant and the other a piano assembly plant using the company’s first modern production line. Kawai’s production capability and manufacturing expertise grew exponentially in the years that followed.
Next, Shigeru began to focus on ways to stimulate market demand for pianos. Believing that music education was the key to any instrument purchase, he built a network of Kawai Music Schools. Since these schools would require teachers, he created the Kawai Academy of Music to train qualified music teachers to staff the newly established schools. At the same time, Shigeru originated the Kawai Piano Technical Center to train qualified service technicians in the art of caring for pianos.
Finally, to take the Kawai message to the people, he initiated a unique door-to-door sales program to encourage music education through piano study. Working synergistically, these programs flourished.
During the 1960’s, Kawai had nearly 2,000 door-to-door salesmen in the field and over 300,000 people participating in Kawai Music Schools across Japan. With domestic business now firmly established, Shigeru turned his attention toward making Kawai “the sound heard around the world.” Ready and able to meet worldwide demand, Shigeru launched Kawai America in 1963, followed by Kawai Europe, Kawai Canada, Kawai Australia and Kawai Asia. Today, Kawai Musical instruments enjoy recognition in every major market in the world. So the name of the Shigeru Piano comes from Shigeru Kawai....the son of the founder of Kawai..
There is no greater demonstration of honor , no greater commitment, than to place one’s name upon the world of one’s hands. Honor is sacred to every culture. It’’s a noble covenant that binds
an individuals worlds and deeds with the value and substance of his name. The Shigerus pianos are Kawai’s top piano flagship piano line and the ultimate priority is perfection of the piano.
There is never a hurry to finish a Shigeru piano....it takes 3 to 5 times longer to make one than it does to make any other Kawai piano. Now that you know a little bit about how Kawai got its start and who Shigeru Kawai is.
Let's talk about the features of these wonderful instruments. Kawai pays meticulous attention to the needs of the professional performer and is evident in every feature of the Shigeru piano....
Shigeru pianos are the epitome of progress and the vision of the future. First of all Kawai’s concept is that
Power is Energy.....Energy is Sound.......
Precision and Focus creates more sound...from strength come sound. Everything is designed around making that wonderful sound, tone and touch
Let’s talk about the Soundboard since those are very important on any piano. Shigeru pianos use Kigarashi premium aged soundboards. The custom-tapered soundboard in a Shigeru piano is made exclusively from the finest spruce, aged by the traditional “kigarashi” process that used only the forces of time and nature to allow the wood to attain a state of natural balance. It is this lengthy and painstaking process that give Shigeru pianos their uniquely rich tonal quality.
Millennium III Action:
This action is one of the big innovations from Kawai. The Millennium III actions Uses state of the anti ABS Carbon comments that exceptionally light and rigid to provide faster repetition and more power with less effort. Microscopic surface textures on selected action parts provide superb response and control. There are 1068 pieces of ABS Carbon in the Millennium III action.
Some other products that use this type or material are hi-quality automobiles like Chevy Corvette, BMW 7 series, Lexus, Formula 1 race cars.....Golf clubs, Tennis rackets, Helmets, Aircraft like Boeing 787 dreamliner and many more.
A few of the other features are...
The overall length of each keystick is extended to make playing easier and provide a more even touch and response form the front to the back of the playing surface. Keysticks are also designed with a slightly taller profile for maximum rigidity to deliver greater power.
Identical to those used on the the renewed EX Concert Grand Piano, Shigeru Kawai Concert Agraffes are individual machined from Billet brass rods to assure maximum precision and strength. The result is clear, powerful and impressive tone.
Temaki BASS Strings:
The word Temaki means “hand wound” .....the Temaki process the artisan patiently directs the winding of each individual bass string by hand for absolute precision and tension to ensure rich character and superb depth of tone. It was Shigeru Kawai’s wish that his honor would be upheld amount all who enter into his legacy. For this reason, those who purchase a Shigeru Kawai Piano will receive an personal visit from one of Kawai’s elite Master Piano Artisans with the first year of ownership. This master artisan will provide a complete concert-level regulation, voicing, and tuning as Kawai’s gift to those who have selected the Premier Piano of Japan....
Every Shigeru piano owner is enshrined in the Shigeru Wall of Honor in Hamamatsu Japan. The Piano Bench that comes with the Shigeru pianos are are custom made pneumatic Jansen artist benches. They look like normal adjustable artist benches, but the knob works like an office chair, you turn the knob and that allows the bench to move up or down depending on whether you are sitting on it.
Also a Full 10 Year transferable warranty.
So if you ever have a chance to sit down and play a Kawai Shigeru Grand Piano you should do it. It is a truly amazing musical experience.....and a true Joy.