If you have ever looked for Steinway & Sons instruments, it is very likely that you have also seen Boston and Essex pianos in the store. For some people this will come as a surprise, but this is one family of instruments. Steinway & Sons pianos are exclusive instruments, and their owners are usually wealthy, professional pianists and institutions. To meet the needs of those who cannot afford Steinway & Sons instruments, the company decided to create pianos based on their own technology, but built at a much lower cost. This is how the Boston and then Essex brands were born. The creators' idea was to produce high quality instruments in various finishes available at a lower price than American "Steinways". They were designed by Steinway & Sons in America together with designer William Faber. The result of this collaboration is pianos available both in modern style and in interesting finishes like in the continental or French style.
The first brand introduced in 1992 by Steinway & Sons was Boston. Unlike the Essex line, Boston instruments are mainly produced in Japan (upright and grand pianos), and in Indonesia (two models of upright pianos) by the Kawai factory. These are very high quality instruments in the middle price class. In contrast, Essex upright and grand pianos are currently manufactured at the Pearl River factory in China. They were previously produced by Young Chang in Korea (2001-2005). Initially, it was a very small number of models, but after 5 years from the start of production - in 2006, several dozen different upright and grand pianos appeared in the Essex line.
The process of creating and producing Essex and Boston pianos takes place in Asia, but is supervised by Steinway & Sons technicians and specialists. The technologies used in the production of instruments also come from the Steinway & Sons factories. This affects the construction of pianos that are distinguished by their width, deep sound, fully wooden mechanism, and duplex scale. The materials used in production are also supervised by the Steinway & Sons team. Therefore, choosing an Essex or Boston instrument seems to be a great solution for the pianist at every stage of learning.
UP-132 52" professional instrument the size of a Steinway K piano model
GP-178 5'10" very similar in size to a Steinway O
GP-215 7' the size is between a Steinway A and B
As you can see, there is a large cross-section of instruments available, starting with medium sized upright pianos, through to higher upright pianos with a deep sound. Boston offers both small and larger pianos, but we do not have a typical concert option here. There are also instruments from the exclusive Performance Edition line introduced in 2009 (model names end with the letters PE or PEII).
We can see that Steinway & Sons, with the introduction of the Boston and Essex brands, has prepared a way for amateur and novice pianists to gradually own an instrument from the Essex lineup, then Boston, and ultimately Steinway & Sons. These are pianos that vary in price - starting with Essex as the cheapest instruments, then Boston in the middle price class, and finally Steinway & Sons, the most expensive.
If you are interested in how much Essex and Boston pianos cost, you have come to the right place. You can find this information in the Klaviano search engine. These will not be the prices suggested by the manufacturers, but the real amounts for which you can buy these instruments. Although these are relatively recent brands, you should take into account the condition of the instruments - older and used instruments will be cheaper than brand new ones. However, it is worth considering buying them, as they will be pianos that are several years old (maximum 25 years old in the case of the Boston brand). In conclusion, we can give short answers to key questions:
Where are Essex and Boston pianos produced?
In Asia, China (Essex) and Japan and Indonesia (Boston) respectively.
What is the quality of Essex and Boston pianos, are they good instruments?
These are very good instruments, whose production at each stage is controlled by Steinway & Sons.
How old is my Essex or Boston piano?
The oldest possible Boston instrument dates back to 1991 and the Essex to 2001.
Your instrument must have a serial number - the manufacturer can provide information about the year in which the piano was produced.
Is it better to buy an Essex or a Boston piano?
In this case, the decision is very individual and largely related to the price of the instrument. According to the manufacturer's assumptions and suggestions, the Boston line is more prestigious than Essex instruments, and therefore also more expensive. This does not change the fact that the quality and technology of the upright pianos and Essex grand pianos is still supervised by the Steinway & Sons team, taking care of every detail of production.