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Who? What? Where's the Favorite?

Ralph Joseph Onesti Piano Restorations
1317 MacDade Boulevard, Woodlyn, PA 19094
Phone or Fax 610.833.1657    email: inquiry@onestipiano.com

The information found here is based on inquiries and feedback from clients, our 45+ year's experience, and our educated opinion. This is limited with respect to new piano purchases only. Used piano purchases must be approached on an individual basis, as the criteria for used pianos goes well beyond the scope of this page.

The word best is an illusive one. A famous Dutch organ maker once said,
The only way to determine who is the best, is to first make certain that all do everything the same way.

Well, that isn't going to happen. So, we'll substitute the word
best, for favorite. Favorite in our terms meansthe one we would purchase were we doing the shopping.

We found great difficulty in coming up with one favorite with regard to piano models. So, we decided to split it into three categories: American, Asian, and European. And, this is how we feel today. Companies acquire companies, companies change, and their products change, thus, our opinion may change.

This is in no way to suggest that other manufacturers won't fit the bill for you. As always, it is the consumer's call.

Piano Category
Some of the Criteria:

Fit and finish
Overall Structure
Ability to make the piano concert ready
Willingness of the manufacturer to work with the client and the technician (us) after the sale
Mechanical Stamina
Length of warranty

We put ourselves in the shoes of the buyer and after all was said and done
which would we purchase had we the choice?

If you ask a hundred technicians, you will probably get a hundred different opinions
here are ours:

Favorite American made Piano:
Our pick: The Mason & Hamlin BB

Among all of the models available made in this country, we find this one superior in terms of the ease with which we can make it concert ready. Although the Mason & Hamlin Company has had a rocky past, and what manufacturer hasn't, going in and out of business a few times, it seems the present owners (Piano technicians in their own right) have reverted to the old recipe with some improvements, but not enough of those
improvements” to take away from the grand old tone and feel of the original company's intent. Also, the company has a long enough track record to make us very comfortable with regard to their future.

The 50" Mason & Hamlin vertical is a real mechanical and acoustical workhorse worthy of any musical task.

The model A, at approximately 5'8" is no slouch either.
If you are looking for the perfect studio piano take the AA for a test run.
And, of course, the gold standard of concert grands is the 9 foot CC.
In this area I would suggest the Jordan Kitts Company in College Park, MD.


Favorite Asian-made piano:
Our pick: Kawai

Here again, we find the upper end of the line more than one might expect. Kawai makes a wonderful studio upright and the EX series concert grand is
yummy. Pound for pound and dollar for dollar the Kawai line is a best buy. Their medium end line would suit any home and any musical requirement.

And by the way, don't let anyone tell you that ABS parts are inferior. If they don't contract and expand with humidity (a plus) and they last longer than wood
why not leave the trees alone?!


Favorite European made piano:
Our pick: Schimmel

Here is an old European company whose President is actually a Registered Piano Technician. The fit and finish, feel and tone are absolutely wonderful. We installed one of their 7-foot models in a local recording studio about two years ago. The musicians love it, and the recording engineer, one of the best in the business, is thrilled with the results he gets. Recording after recording, it still sounds as great as the day it was first prepped, all to the credit of the studio itself. Schimmel boasts a full line of instruments from verticals up to 52 inches to lush Grands to just over 8 feet.


Piano Automation System Category
Our Favorite:

We find the PianoDisc System far ahead of the competition. Not only does this system come in a variety of levels to suit one's needs, it has the ability to read the competition's software greatly enhancing its own extremely extensive library.

The system can be retrofitted to virtually any piano with the ability to play back piano only, piano and accompaniment (including vocals), or even record the pianist's own input with amazing accuracy and reliability.

It will read either of the two formats; floppy disk or CD, and had the added flexibility to be connected to a multiple CD changer so that literally hundreds of CDs can be at the ready to play a night's worth of music without interruption.

At the touch of the remote's keypad you can change the tempo, volume, track played, scramble the tracks, continuous play, or even the key!

The retrofit does not affect the feel of the instrument (the piano doesn't know it's there), and is virtually hidden from view. We feel it is an asset to any piano and will actually enhance the value.

Want to hear a favorite artist play YOUR piano in YOUR living room?! Visit the PianoDisc web site -


Favorite Piano Retailer Category

Now this is a difficult one. Purchasing a piano today, according to many with whom we've spoken has deteriorated into a necessary evil. So, we based this pick, and it is a local one (Philadelphia Market), on the opinions of others.

Some of the criteria are as follows:
Sales person's approach
How clients were treated
How the clients felt before, during, and after the sale
Bottom line pricing
Service after the sale
Response to Warranty issues

Our clients' pick:
Worth the trip, Jordan-Kitts organization, one of the larger retailers in the country. Among all of the Jordan-Kitts outlets you are likely to find just about any brand, new or used.

From a technician's standpoint, we found Jordan-Kitts the easiest with which to work, especially concerning service after the sale.

Still, regardless of which retailer you pick, you must be a good consumer. Trust no one or nothing but your own research. When you buy a house, you bring an engineer to inspect, when you buy a boat, you get it surveyed first, when you buy a piano, you bring a Registered Member of the Piano Technicians Guild
why change now?!

NOTE: Ralph Joseph Onesti is not affiliated with any manufacturer, retailer, piano parts distributor, piano parts manufacturer in any way, shape or form.

Favorite Piano Mover

Attention to the client’s needs
Care in moving
Attention to client’s surroundings
Prompt and polite service
Proper equipment to effect a proper moving
Overall geographic area covered
Experience in the ‘difficult’ moves

Duffy Piano Moving and Storage: 215 592 8411

Kevin has been in the piano moving business for…forever! In our opinion his company is the most efficient, cost effective, and most experienced with the best track record of any mover in the Delaware Valley. We at Ralph Joseph Onesti Piano Restorations are really particular when it comes to moving our newly restored instruments.

Favorite Piano Rebuilder/Registered Technician Category

Years of experience
Total accomplishments
Concert experience
Recording Studio experience
In-home experience
Warranty on service and rebuildings
Geographic area serviced
Client satisfaction

I think we're comfortable enough to leave this pick up to the piano owner.

So, who, what, or where is your favorite?!

Email us and let us know at inquiry@onestipiano.com

Mason & Hamlin is the registered trademark of the Mason & Hamlin/PianoDisc Company, Haverhill, Massachusetts
Kawai is the registered trademark of the Kawai Company, Japan
Schimmel is the registered trademark of the Schimmel Company, Germany
PianoDisc is a registered trademark of the PianoDisc Company, Sacramento, California
Jordan-Kitts area registered trademarks of the Jordan-Kitts Music Company, College Park, Maryland

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