If you’re a pianist, you’ve probably heard of the Acrosonic series. Sourced from one of the leading suppliers of pianos (Baldwin), the Acrosonic piano creates a unique sound that has kept it in use for almost 80 years.
One of these classic pianos is the beautiful Acrosonic Spinet decorated in the French style. However, the acrosonic pianos also have console styled acrosonic models. In this article, we’ll tell you what an acrosonic piano is, the story behind it, the various types, and what makes this type of piano special.
What Is An Acrosonic Piano?
The acrosonic piano is a kind of upright piano with powerful and loud sound because of the large soundboard.
The term acrosonic comes from acropolis sonic. Acropolis is the Greek word for “extreme”, which denotes something at a height or summit. “Sonic”, meanwhile, is the English word that came from the Latin word called “sonus”. So, we can basically say the acropolis piano is a piano type with extreme sound production.
According to the maker of these pianos, Dwight Hamilton Baldwin, the founder of Baldwin pianos, the company sold more of these pianos than any it ever manufactured. They were more popular and are unique in design.
The acrosonic piano has a “full blow-direct” action type with a 23 percent faster repetition rate with respective dynamics. The material is made from hardwood, and the keys are covered with a coating made to resist chips and stains.
The acrosonic pianos are made from different types of wood, from vintage mahogany to maple, oak, and royal cherry. Vintage Mahogany is a rich, dark brown wood, while stately oak is a light brown wood.
Royal cherry, a dark redwood is also another type of wood that could be considered brown, used in making these instruments.
Meanwhile, the cabinets of these pianos are often made from wooden materials such as pecan, mahogany, and dark walnut.
The piano includes a back frame and plate for the soundboard assembly to help keep the tuning stable. There are French-styled acrosonic pianos with legs that have a nice curved decoration. The official color is usually “majestic oak” which is a light brown color.
What size are they?
The Acrosonic piano is 43½ inches tall, 57¼ inches wide, and 25½ inches deep. It weighs around 368 lbs, and the keys are 16 inches long.
Baldwin Acrosonics look a bit lighter and smaller than grand pianos, weighing almost three times more. But the acrosonics weigh around 300 pounds at the least.
So one of the main things to be concerned about when moving them is letting the pianos drop and getting damaged or injuring yourself. This is the reason most people moving them always consider the option of hiring professional piano movers.
But if you’re still sure you still want to move it yourself, ensure you have the right supplies, seek recommendations from the professionals for advice and get to know everything you will need to do to move the instrument to your location.
Know the entrances, exits, and stairways. Assess the space you will need and what you have. Also, make sure you wrap it in soft, thick blankets and have it secured in blankets with securing tapes.
You can also plan to have the piano moved on a dolly by lifting the corners and ensuring the wheels aren’t stuck. If you also have a grand piano, you can also use the ratchet to remove the legs. And the music stand and lyre and have it mounted on the long side to a piano skid board.
Handling the equipment may be harder than you think as you are moving a 300 to 400 lbs instrument up to a foot onto a dolly which can be unstable.
Place this piano on a wheel by simply lifting it and having it moved slightly, keeping your weight from resting on the wheels.
If you’re sure you do not want to get professional piano movers, you can call some of your friends. You’re going to need a lot of help.
Upright pianos that are more than 48 inches high and grand pianos that are 6 feet and more are often quite too large and may only be moved by professionals.
Who Made It/History
Acrosonic pianos are upright pianos made by Trusted SourceBaldwin Piano Company - Wikipedia The Baldwin Piano Company is an American piano brand. It was once the largest US-based manufacturer of keyboard instruments and known by the slogan, “America’s Favorite Piano”. en.wikipedia.org , the founder of Baldwin Pianos, established his Baldwin Piano and Organ Co. in 1862.
This Cincinnati music teacher passed away in 1899, but his company introduced the upright Acrosonic to the public in 1936. With its “supreme sound.” The Acrosonic piano is highly respected by the piano teachers, musicians, and technicians who use it today.
Dwight Hamilton Baldwin founded this company in Cincinnati in 1862 and is one of the most famous and celebrated of all American piano manufacturers.
It has enjoyed many celebrity endorsements during the early and mid-20th centuries due to its superior quality. Many famous artists like Liberace and “The Lawrence Welk Show” use Baldwin pianos exclusively.
It was also very successful during the 20th century but was later scaled back until being sold in the 1990s and moved to Arkansas and Missouri. Today it is owned by the famous Gibson Guitar Company, with production having once again resumed in the South.
Baldwin built several different lines of pianos under the “House of Baldwin” label, including the Acrosonic, Ellington, Valley Gem, Hamilton, Howard, Monarch, Modello, St. Regis, and Manualo. The Baldwin Piano Company was, in fact, the largest US manufacturer of keyboard instruments, primarily pianos.
The history of the Baldwin Piano Company begins in 1862, when Dwight Hamilton Baldwin, then a violin and reed organ teacher, opened a music shop in Cincinnati. It was only in 1891 that the first Baldwin branded model was marketed.
After Baldwin’s death on 23 August 1899, Lucien Wulsin, his partner and accountant, took over. They will be followed in 1920 by their son Lucien Wulsin II and in 1961 by their brother Lucien Wulsin III. They have retained a limited staff to build some grand pianos for famous artists on-demand and planned to build more as demand was expected to grow. However, since 2001 the company has been managed by Gibson Guitar Corporation.
During the Second World War, it was converted for the construction of wooden parts for aeroplanes, particularly wings. The experience gained in those years was used to manufacture new models. In December 2008, the production was transferred to China.
Baldwin pianos have been used several times by singer-pianist Billy Joel in various studio recordings and concerts ranging from about 1978 to 1984 and, after a period of use of a Yamaha piano, from about 1989 to 1991.
Other personalities linked to the use of these pianos are the Hungarian composer, pianist, and ethnomusicologist Béla Bartók, the Russian composer Igor’ Fëdorovič Stravinskij. The American contemporary music composer Aaron Copland, also a rare Mozart engraving made by Claudio Arrau in 1964 was performed on a piano by Baldwin, the American actor, and pianist Liberace, and by the US president Harry Truman.
Furthermore, Baldwin pianos have always been used, from 1996 until today, by singer and pianist Ben Folds, founder of the musical group “Ben Folds Five”.
Amy Lee, leading pianist and founder of the gothic metal group Evanescence, from the beginning (2003), has used a Baldwin piano customized for her needs in life and studio.
A Baldwin piano was also used for the 2005 Grammy Awards.
However, the company has stopped producing new pianos at its Trumann Arkansas factory since December 2008. Gibson Guitar Company now owns the company.
Different Types of Acrosonic Pianos
The Acrosonic is made from different types of wood. Vintage Mahogany is a rich, dark brown wood, while Stately Oak is a light brown wood. Another type of wood found on acrosonic pianos is royal cherry, a dark redwood that could be considered brown.
Baldwin acrosonic pianos can be categorized into two: Console pianos and Spinet pianos.
Console pianos are small compact apartment-sized pianos. They are about 44 inches high and will fit into most homes and apartments.
Spinet acrosonic pianos, however, are unusual types of upright pianos popular that became popular in the 18th century and came back in the 1960s and the 1970s because of how popular acrosonic pianos are.
Spinets are around 36 inches high and perhaps the smallest acoustic pianos types. They produce the smallest piano sounds as their soundboards are quite small and they have shorter strings.
One of the main differences between spinets and the other upright pianos is in the action. Spinets make use of the drop action with the keys not in any way connected to the piano’s action, which lets the keys have faster repetition rates.
However, the spinet and the console acrosonic pianos made use of the action. This is what has made them quite popular and unique.
Spinet Styled Acrosonic Pianos
The first acrosonic type of piano instrument was a spinet piano. It was just 36 inches tall and was made to fit into small houses and apartments of the time.
These types of pianos were quite popular because, despite their small sizes, they were quite powerful.
The spinet-style acrosonic pianos were also unique for pop music production in the 1950s up to the 1970s. They have brighter quality than you expect from a small-sized instrument. These pianos have a lot of power that helps carry the tune.
Acrosonic spinet pianos have soundboards that were made with solid spruce. Meanwhile, there were cheaper spinet soundboards created from laminated plywood.
Soundboards created from solid spruce have more freer vibrations and therefore create a better sound.
Acrosonic spinet pianos are perhaps the best types of spinet pianos to be ever made and were also quite popular. The small spinets have short strings, which give them a very distinctive quality in terms of sound.
It is a bit thin, a bit bright, and a bit brittle, it produces a perfect sound that goes well with playing rags and other songs like those of Elton John.
On the other hand, the acrosonic console piano has long strings and richer tones. Bright and bell-like, they have deeper and low-end tones.
Regardless of the version, all acrosonic pianos had full blow direct type of action. Piano actions are simply the wooden components that move. They include the hammers which strike the strings.
In some spinet piano styles or versions, the positioning of the action makes the pianos easier to tune, maintain and repair.
And this is why the spinet pianos are more popular. Cheaper spinets only had the drop action that was designed to be behind the piano keys. So, they are quite harder and even expensive to maintain and repair.
Console Styled Acrosonic Pianos
Console acrosonic pianos are types of pianos that replaced the spinets. Console acrosonics are comparable to the modern console pianos of today. They are types of pianos with larger soundboards and longer keys.
Console pianos got more popular than spinet versions of pianos as they have better sound quality than the spinet acrosonic pianos.
The line of console acrosonics ranged from 40 inches to 42 inches in height and are higher than the spinet version. The cabinets are made from wood materials such as Pecan, Mahogany, and Dark Walnut. So, each type of piano has a distinctive look.
Console acrosinic pianos had extra carvings and looked better decoratively and in quality, so they were more popular.
Why it’s Popular
The piano was introduced at a time when there were so many small houses trending, and because of its small compact size, the piano fitted the space more.
However, these pianos have evolved from what they used to be. Baldwin has made these pianos a bit larger, and they are here to stay.
They are very popular today and can be found in classified listings, grandmothers’ basements, and used showrooms.
The pianos were well made, which is why there is still a lot being used at home and being traded on the market. When compared to other types and models of sound instruments, acrosonics have longer years in terms of their useful life.
Models made in the 1960s and earlier were high-quality pianos that were made from good craftsmanship from solid wood. However, acrosonic pianos made between the 1970s and 1980s were cheaper and have lesser quality. This was when Baldwin was going through hard financial times, which resulted in its pianos suffering as a result before the company would exit the market after going bankrupt late in the 1980s.
One of the reasons they are still quite popular is their quality, durability, and availability. Acrosonic pianos, while they were still in production, were some of the bestselling piano consoles ever.
So, it’s still easy to find many of these types of pianos in good conditions that can be installed and used in the living room. You can still find acrosonic pianos made in the 50s that would still sound very good when well tuned and taken care of.
Baldwin’s Acrosonic piano has 88 keys and stands approximately three and a half feet tall. The overall appearance of the piano is shorter than a typical piano and the instrument’s strings are shorter in length, making the tone not as deep as most pianos.
How much do these pianos cost?
You won’t find them in new conditions anymore, but acrosonic pianos in good conditions are sold for around $1000 to $2,800.
A spinet acrosonic pianos from 1943 can do as high as $2,300. However, there are still a lot of this type of piano around and you should be able to get better pricing if you check them out in the classified listing.
But be careful not to end up with a cheap piano as many owners are looking for an economical means to dispose of them.
You should, however, note that if you need to service the equipment – maybe have it turned or have it maintained by a professional – the service fee is usually about $1,000, which is still a quite reasonable price for such a high-quality type of piano.
Who Should Get an Acrosonic Piano?
Acrosonics are great pianos that would be suitable for beginners. This is because this type of piano doesn’t take up space. They are reasonably affordable, sound great, and can be relatively played easily.
These pianos also have matching benches that come with them. So, it’s better to ask the owner if they still have the piano’s original bench. These are some of the reasons the piano is ideal for beginners and students.
Acrosonic pianos are popular pianos from a good brand that is durable, unique, affordable, popular, and easy to use and maintain. They can be purchased from listings online and from old pianists or people who may have inherited them. If you’re interested in one and found a potential seller, ensure the piano is still in good shape and make sure the owner and seller are demanding a price that will be fair to you. You shouldn’t overspend on a piano that may get worn down or may cost you a lot on maintenance, tuning, and repair.