The Heller Piano firm was founded on January 1st 1985. Very soon Heller began to specialise in the production of high quality bass strings for upright and grand pianos – today ‘Hellerbass’ is a registered trademark.
Not far from Heidelberg, the Bechstein firm manufactured upright and grand pianos in the 1970’s and 80’s. Walter Heller was first employed there as a carpenter, absolved a piano maker’s apprenticeship and acquired the master qualification in 1981. When Bechstein transferred the production of pianos to Berlin, Walter Heller founded his own piano workshop in 1985. The shop was located in the basement of his house.
Piano repair, piano sales and bass-string production developed so well that soon further employees were needed. For this reason, son Gregor abandoned his plans for a business studies degree and began a piano maker’s apprenticeship in his father’s firm. In 1995 he too acquired his master qualification.
In 1988 a new workshop had already been built on an adjacent plot of land.
True to the philosophy of the firm, “Quality will always succeed”, the company flourished in the hands of father and son and their hold on the market was intensified. Continual control checks during the production process guaranteed dependable high quality. The introduction of a special tape measure with a hitch pin eye, to measure the string lengths, in 1986 was a decisive step towards the firm’s success. This dispensed with the troublesome packing and sending of the original set of bass strings. As an unmistakeable sign of this quality product, one string in every bass set receives a transparent sleeve with a yellow ‘Hellerbass’ logo.
In 1997 Walter Heller transferred the company leadership to his son Gregor. Since then Gregor Heller has been present at numerous trade fairs in Germany and other countries. The design of a homepage was an important further development for presenting Heller products.
The latest step is a Facebook account, which provides information on additional string materials and trade fair dates. Meanwhile 98% of all orders are received through electronic media (fax, email or online). There are currently nine members of staff employed at Heller Pianos. As well as Germany, world-wide – amounting to 60% of the production – repair shops and piano factories are supplied with bass strings for uprights and grands.
The ‘family business’ tradition is upheld and continued. Gregor’s wife, mother and the father are employed in the firm: “Fortunately” says Gregor, “Thus we can continue to supply all the year round without a summer vacation close-down. Also I am able to visit trade fairs and piano technicians’ conventions at home and abroad”.
Grandson Moritz will begin his piano maker’s apprenticeship in 2016 thus continuing the family tradition.