Factory Outlet & Clearance Center
2084 E. Foothill Blvd.
“I like the Ritmüller pianos, and think that the transformation of the Ritmüller line over the last few years has been one of the more authentic and musically successful changes in the piano industry.” — Larry Fine author of the pianobuyer.com book and website
It would be hard to imagine just a few years ago a piano that can stand up to the most discriminating pianist for it’s musicality, tone and action and yet at the same time be priced slightly above the average entry level pianos from China and Indonesia. But, the Ritmuller line of grand and upright pianos is just that. At half the price of the comparable Japanese branded pianos, Ritmuller can stand shoulder to shoulder in quality with the best of Yamaha and Kawai but possesing a sweeter more longer lasting European tone. The Ritmuller is made and sold directly by the same factory making the Essex Piano for Steinway. Yet the Ritmuller is rated higher in the “pianobuyer.com” while costing less than Essex without Steinway’s additional mark up over what the factory sells it to them for.*
What makes the Ritmuller so good? Their incredible designs are by one of Europe’s highest regarded piano designers, Lother Thoma. Mr. Thoma is world renowned for his piano scaless and has been responsible for or has been part of the team on some of the highest rated and most expensive pianos from Europe. Never before in the history of pianos has the designer of so many of the most expensive exclusive piano brands designed something affordable. Not long ago people who purchased a piano at the Ritmuller price point had to settle for an instrument of inferior musicality that might have a famous name on the front but not sound anything like the pianos the company made their name on. Take for example the lowest price baby grands from Yamaha (GB1) and Kawai (GL-10.) Both pianos come from famous manufacturers known for high quality products. Unfortunately many corners have been cut on these instruments and they’re extremely lacking in musicality the companies are famous for. Thud like dead sounding bass sections. Upper ranges with hardly any sustain and sustaining tones which usually die out in a few seconds. These qualities are less present in Yamaha and Kawai’s more expensive instruments although they still have some of these same issues to a lesser extent.
The Ritmuller R8 for near the same price as the above mentioned Yamaha and Kawai, and less in price than the Essex, incorporates Lothar Thoma’s designs with innovations in scale design and German parts creating a musical bass section unlike the Japanese brands similar priced pianos. Unlike the sillier priced Japanese pianos the Ritmuller has an upper section with sustain, musicality and a fast responsive action any pianist would be delighted with . The Rimuller R9 at 5’3″ is the same size as a the well made Yamaha GC1, but the Ritmuller has a warmer more sustaining tone. It costs thousands less than the GC1 and has the musicality surpassing that of Yamaha’s C1X at nearly half the price.
The GH 148, 160, 170, 188 & 212 are the handbuilt series with features and performance that astound most people who play them. These are German pianos in every detail of their sound and musicality at a price that is still thousands less than competing pianos from Japan because of the added cost of Japanese labor. Stephen Mohler the renowned German piano designer and technician lives near the Ritmuller factory and is personally overseeing all Ritmuller piano production to ensure the integrity of the Thoma designs are upheld.
We’ve been there and have seen it first hand. There is a deep commitment to building something more than just a good piano for the price but rather a great piano for any price. Stephen works with the production team spending a great deal of time on both the piano sound and ensuring that the pianos are rock solid now and for decades to come. Compare the Rittmuller 170 to the Yamaha GC2, the Yamaha C2X, the Kawai GL30, and the Kawai GX30 and you will hear in the Ritmuller a piano with longer sustaining tone along with deeper bass. Ascetically and unlike the Yamaha GC2 and Kawai GL30 the Ritmuller has a beveled lid, a spade leg, and premium hardware like the more expensive models from Yamaha and Kawai. These comparisons are the same up and down the Ritmuller line. We’ve had prestigious pianists and venues choose the Ritmuller 212 7′ model over pianos three times the price at competitors and our own showrooms.
When you shop for a piano, note if the better known, sometimes recomended brand has European scale designs? Do they have not close-grained premium Northern Spruce? Tapered soundboards and soundboards with extremely close grain? Do they have Premium German Renner™ hammers, regarded by most piano builders as the finest available found on almost every high end European piano? Does the piano have real ebony wood sharps? Do they have Hornbeam wood hammers and North American Maple action parts? Do they have a vertically laminated hardwood bridge with a solid hardwood cap for durability? All of these quality materials are unique to Ritmuller only in the range.
The Thoma designed Ritmuller uprights have the same benefits compared to the competition in musicality. The 48″ UH121 has greater musicality than the Yamaha YU1s at a lower price. Yamaha uprights such as the B3, U1 and even the YUS1 don’t come close in musicality or sustaining tone. The same is true of the Kawai K300 and K400. Both of which are nicely made but lacking in sustain and musicality compared to the Ritmuller. In fact he Ritmuller UH121 was singled out in the “Pianobuyer.com” as their favorite piano in the category and when you hear it you’ll understand why. Ritmuller’s UP121 48″ combines affordability with musicality. It play circles around pianos such as the Yamaha B3 or Kawai K300 from the standpoint of depth of tone and musicality. It again challenges the higher level Yamaha and Kawai pianos but, at a substantially lower cost.
The 52″ Ritmuller UH132 is one of the most refined and advanced 52″ pianos on the market. Many people have remarked that this piano is reminiscent of the $70,000 Bechstein 52″ which coincidentally was also designed by Lothar Thoma. Priced significantly less that the Yamaha U3, YUS3 or YUS5 or Kawai K500 and K800 yet having a level of sustain that none of the others can match. It is a strong competitor to the Yamaha SU7 at a fraction of the price. Hollywood Piano has recently arranged to be the only Ritmuller Representative in the country to feature the UH132 in stunning Macassar Ebony with nickle hardware and Kewazinga Bubinga. See the pictures.
If you love quality, great sounding pianos and also saving lots of money, you need to try the new Ritmuller for yourself to understand what all of the international buzz is about. Don’t let the low price of the Ritmuller piano fool you into thinking it can not compete with more expensive pianos.
Larry Fine recently told us Ritmuller piano prices are too low for the high quality you are getting. He said they should raise their prices. Lucky for all of us for now these pianos at their price point could personify the phrase, “the best bang for the buck”.