Hyo Ick Lee began the Samick piano company in South Korea back in 1958 and in the beginning, the country was still facing heartache and challenges from the war, but he managed to use imported parts to manufacture vertical pianos during the 1960s. As soon as the economy improved in his country, Hyo Ick Lee expanded his operation and began to send his pianos to other areas of the world.
The name of the company, Samick, means three benefits in the Korean language and it is stated that Lee wanted his company to benefit not only itself, but also the customers who purchased the pianos and the economy of the country. He quickly became one of the largest piano manufacturers in the world and started to make most of his parts in the same place that he constructed the pianos. Once he finished excelling in the piano industry, Lee chose to manufacture guitars and other musical instruments.
During the 1980s, the company introduced the professional series pianos made by Tokai, one of the best makers in the country. Meanwhile, Samick Corporation hired a German piano designer named Klaus Fenner, to revise the designs of the Samick pianos. The goal was to make them sound more like a European piano and most of the pianos that they sell now have been created by those new designs. The company also used the advice they received from Fenner to create a new soundboard that is now used by others in the industry as well.
Unfortunately, the economy in Asia tanked in the late 90s and Samick entered bankruptcy. However, the company rallied and came out of that stronger than before. One of the reasons that they could come back from such trouble is that their quality control has improved immensely. In 1992 Samick opened more factories over in China and Indonesia, where they could pay employees less.
Since Samick focuses on more than pianos, they have earned the designation of being one of the largest and highly knowledgeable musical instrument producers in the entire world. It is possible that pianists are playing a Samick without even knowing it because they sell them under other brand names that include William Knabe & Co., Pramberger, Kohler & Campbell, and Seiler.
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