The history of my firm
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In 1984 I concluded my apprenticeship as a piano-builder with distinction. Even then the desire to continue the tradition of the journeyman grew in me – I wanted to see the world...

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             Bernhard Balas
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dreams of...
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...being a journeyman       
Finally my dreams found fulfilment; I packed my piano builder's tools into a rucksack and set out on my world journey, with almost no money but lots of enthusiasm. One year was planed, but things turned out differently.
Travelling the world for more than five years in Australia, New Zealand, USA and Latin America (Mexiko, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama) I restored quite a number of historical and other high quality musical instruments, and felt my passion for music and fine pianos grow.

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          fine instruments...
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         ... in Australia
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historical instrument      
Back in Vienna I took my master-craftsman examination and became a member of the pianomakers' guild in June 1995. Now I had to distinguish myself. At first I found a suitable place in the Viennese suburbs and later on in the former workshop of the Stelzhammer Company in Vienna's Linzerstrasse.

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    Bernhard with coworkers
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Bernhard produces own pianos
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Workshop Linzerstrasse    
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the master at work       
I initially specialized in the repair and restoration of historical and modern keyboard instruments expanded my production to new instruments, initially pianos, and then also to the manufacture of historical reproductions of harpsichords, spinets and clavichords.
In 2004 the Viennese Chamber of Commerce
awarded my firm the „Walter Nettig Prize“
in the category „Best Craft Firm“.
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       Best craft firm
In the same year I moved once more to my present location at 103, Märzstrasse in Vienna's 15th district (near U3-station Johnstrasse).

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 view of the present workshop
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 presentation room Märzstraße
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restored instruments    
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part of the workshop    
But now I mustn't forget to say a „Great thank you“ to all my present and former co-workers..

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       coworker Paul

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            coworker Stefan
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some of the crew          
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coworker Michael   

In the past years 4 devoted apprentices – Lisa, Lisi, Sandra and Josef were trained up to be skilful specialists.
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            apprentice Lisa
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             apprentice Lisi
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  apprentice Sandra
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apprentice Josef         

For our team no task appears too difficult. We aim to satisfy every individual wish and every need of our clients. Thus, last year a grand piano built in Vienna by Conrad Graf in 1839 was brought to our workshop. At the turn of the centuries, this concert instrument was visited by a sad fate: like many of its kind. Its length was „amputated“ and it was transformed, but that is to say maimed...
It took nearly one year precise work before it could be restored to its original state by us with patient loving care.
During a wonderful concert evening the resurrected grand piano was „rebaptized“ by no less a person than Richard Fuller.

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   the amputated grand piano
             Conrad Graf
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        part of the restoration
 
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nearly restored            
 
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The restored grand piano Graf
 
Production of customised modern keyboard instruments
Building a piano requires between 12.000 and 15.000 components and up to 1.500 hours of meticulous work. Individual specifications with regard to sound and playing characteristics – and also the design of the outer casing – can be taken into account accordingly.

A high-quality, hand-crafted instrument is guaranteed to maintain its value, and can become an investment for future generations if treated well. While cheaper instruments (above all those originating in Asia) are often worn out after just a few year`s use. Those produced by a master craftsman continue to delight with their beautiful sound generation after generation, testifying to the well-honed skills of their creator.

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BB thinking
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selfmade Rosetta
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first steps to build a piano
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 another view of piano buliding

Repair and Restoration
We offer a wide-ranging service in this area. Whether an historic harpsichord or Grandma`s old Bösendorfer, any instrument can be repaired and restored. Great stress is placed on individual quality in this respect, as each instrument has its own „voice“, specific sound and way of playing. The mission of the restorer is to recover these special qualities for the instrument concerned, which requires great sensitivity and long experience. We don't set out merely to „tart up“ old instruments.

Historical musical instruments are witnesses of a lost era, and they deserve the skilled care and attention required to conserve their unique character. An heirloom Bösendorfer grand piano covered in polyester varnish, with a replacement playing mechanicm and shiny new PVC keys may look new, but it will have lost all its special historical character and value.
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        a look into the piano
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        historical instrument
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restored grand piano Stein
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piano Binder             
Piano Recycling
This is another speciality of our Company. This involves installing new sound elements in an existing intrument that has been found to be beyond repair. It is also common to find top-class instruments whose outer housing has been irreparably damaged in an attempt to make it fit into a modern house or apartment. These instruments can be put back into correct „historical dress“.

Historic Keyboard Instruments
We reproduce all types of historic keyboard instruments to special order, including clavichords, pianofortes and pianos, which are constructed using traditional techniques.
The customer`s individual wishes can also be taken into account.

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the last service on a died piano
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hurdygurdy
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nykelharpa
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spinettino               


Our philosophy:
„A love of music is the basis of our philosophy. We use a combination of classical craftsmanship and innovative technology to give our instruments their spirit of musical emotion.
Precision, professionalism and great attention to detail ensure that our pianos sound like the true masterpieces that they are.“

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BB`s snake...
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...stands for meticulous work
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part of our philosophy

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