The Beautiful Estonia Piano
The Estonia piano is seen by many as the best value in the high-end piano marketplace.
Over the last ten years, Estonia has become famous for beautifully hand crafted pianos, known for their exceptionally responsive touch and feel, and rich, singing tone.
Larry Fine's Piano Book, an invaluable and respected resource on piano buying, also rates these pianos very highly.
The Estonia factory is based in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, just across the Baltic Sea from Finland. The company is family owned and headed up by Dr Indrek Laul, a Juillard trained concert pianist.
Production is limited to only a few hundred a year (compared to Steinway's 5000) and apparently each and every one is tested out by Laul's mother before being released for sale.
Piano making in Estonia goes back 200 years, and the company itself was founded in 1893 by Ernst Hiis. The quality of pianos did decline for a period after 1964, mainly because high quality parts and materials were hard to come by during the communist regime.
But after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Estonia regained its national independence, and the piano company became privately owned.
Throughout the 1990s Dr. Laul gradually bought company stocks until he became the majority owner and initiated the rise of the company to what it is today, including a major redesign of the instrument.
Pianos come in three sizes: the 5'6" model 168 grand; the 6'3" model 190 grand and the 9'0" model 273 concert grand (Estonia makes grand pianos only).
Finishes include ebony, walnut, mahogany, pyramid mahogany, bubinga and rosewood. If you are fortunate to see and try one in person, you will see the immaculate craftmanship and beautiful design of these pianos. The materials that Estonia uses are very similar to Steinway and Mason & Hamlin.
Price Guide (Approximate)
One of the great advantages of buying an Estonia is that you can own a premium European grand but for the price of a good asian-built, mass produced one.
The Estonia piano is around half the cost of a Steinway, Bosendorfer, Bechstein, or Fazioli (Steinways range from around $45,000 to $120,000).
Occasionally you can find a used estonia however they are hard to find given that production has been so limited.