The Schimmel C213 Semi-Concert Grand

 

The 7ft Schimmel C213 is one of our favorite pianos here at Cooper Piano, and for a good reason. By embodying some of the more cutting-edge features of the Konzert series, the C213 marries innovation and tradition, creating a piano in a league of its own. And when you factor in how much it costs, it ends up being a no-brainer when you compare it to other German made pianos.

One underappreciated aspect regarding the Schimmel Konzert and Classic series is that they are members of the Bundesverband Klavier Group (BVK for short). According to German Law, the standards for a product to have a “Made in Germany” sticker require a majority of “labor cost” to be spent in Germany for the product to qualify. That means a product can be made primarily elsewhere with significantly less labor cost but finished in Germany. For example, it’s like having a knife manufactured in China but sharpened in Germany. Because the labor cost to sharpen the knife is higher than the cost to make the knife, the knife is now “made in Germany.” It’s all incredibly bizarre, but Schimmel being a member of the BVK ensures that the buyer knows exactly how much the product is made in Germany, which in Schimmel’s Classic series case, is all of it. Concerning the Classic and Konzert lines, Schimmel keeps everything in-house at their home factory in Braunschweig.

If you are curious about the BVK group, we included a link below for further reference, but be warned, Schimmel still needs to be added to their website. However, if you want proof that the piano in question is BVK affiliated, you can contact us to see the official documentation.

https://www.pianos.de/?lang=en

Schimmel’s “Computer Assisted Piano Engineering” software, or CAPE for short, is perhaps the most cutting-edge technology in piano design in the last century. By providing extreme consistency in manufacturing and innovation in features, CAPE changes how pianos are designed and made, making for pianos that play perfectly out of the box. We will examine the influence of CAPE’s design in the specs below.

Let’s talk specs.

The C213 has a AA Grade Bavarian Spruce Soundboard. For people who don’t know how grading works in Spruce or wood generally, rest assured that it has very little to do with sound when graded this high. The grade has more to do with the cosmetic aspects of the wood than anything else. So if you are looking for that ostensibly perfect AAA-grade spruce soundboard, the Schimmel K219 would be the equivalent piano for you, but we recommend something other than the grade of Spruce be the deciding factor.

The Rim is made predominantly of Beech. Beech is a very typical German wood used for Piano Rims. In fact, German Steinways made in Hamburg used Beech until just recently moving to Maple. It’s strong, reliable, and consistent in terms of projection and stability.

The keys are a fascinating facet of this piano model. The “Klaviatur Key” is remarkably similar to ivory but is smoother and more consistent since the material is not organic-based. These days we see a lot of mineral-style keytops in rebuilders using products like Kluge’s “Tharan” or Elforyn’s “Super Tusk.” However, most piano builders (Steinway, Yamaha, Bosendorfer. etc.) still use acrylic-based keytops for their new instruments. That may change in the coming years, but Schimmel leads the charge in this respect.

The key length for these pianos is some of the most extended keys in the industry. Schimmel claims that the C213 has the same key lengths as their flagship concert grand, the K280. That would make the keys in the C213, with the exception of the K219, the longest of any 7ft piano. We are seeing a trend with many piano builders moving to a longer key stick. We suspect it makes for a more consistent touch in the manufacturing process, but we are unsure. Regardless, the feel of these keys speaks for itself.

Let’s talk about the action. The C213 is equipped with a CAPE-designed Renner-made action. Typical hornbeam wood is used for the action parts with a beech hammer core resulting in a low action ratio. For those who do not know what a “low action ratio” means, the touch is very light but uses slightly more key dip than other action ratios. However, a low action ratio means they can use heavier hammer cores like Beech instead of the typical “high-end” lighter hammer cores like Mahogany or Walnut. It is important to note that using Beech is incredibly cost-effective and just as suitable as the “nicer” hammer core woods when appropriately regulated.

The CAPE design bridge for the Classic and Konzert grands is a unique feature not found in other piano builders. For those unaware of what a bridge is, the piano’s bridge is a piece of cut wood (either Beech or Maple) providing a termination point for the string in the back of the piano. The bridge transfers energy from the vibrating string into the soundboard, making it an essential part of the piano anatomy. Schimmel sees how important the bridge is, so they decided to take a closer look at how they are designed. With the help of CAPE, they have developed a new design that slightly hollows the center, making for a more efficient energy conduit while increasing structural integrity.

The tone of this instrument is “bell-like.” Usually, with brighter pianos, the sustain in the treble decays quickly, leaving much to be desired. Staying true to its roots, Schimmel has tailored this bell-like style since its founding, leaving a tone that sings with a long sustain. It’s a brilliant tone that is incredibly German but uniquely Schimmel and worth hearing in person.

In summary, the touch and tone of the C213 provide a playing experience that demands more from the player. Unlike warmer pianos, there is nowhere to hide in the tonal texture of the piano when trying to articulate, and that’s incredibly important when choosing a piano to either learn or continue professional development. It gives back what you put into it, which is rare for a German made piano in this price range. Please consider scheduling an appointment with us to see the C213. It’s one of our favorites for a reason, and we would love to show you why.

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