Like all piano makers, Bechstein was affected by the Great Depression of the 1930s. In addition to this, the introduction in 1933 of the unpopular “neo-Bechstein” grand piano- in which fewer strings were used per note, strung over an amplified soundboard- had an adverse effect on the company and in that year Bechstein only produced 600 pianos. The brothers had died, leaving control to Helen Bechstein, whose association with German political figures brought further pressures. The factory was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War, along with its materials and production machinery, and it was not until 1951 that Bechstein was again making grand pianos. However, needing an urgent injection of capital, it was sold in 19663 to Baldwin, under whose control it was able to operate autonomously.
In 1987, Bechstein was sold to a well-known German piano master craftsman, Karl Schulze. The original Bechstein scale designs and techniques were reintroduced and, combined with modern factory methods, pianos were again produced to a very high quality and sounding in the Bechstein tradition. In the early 1990s, after the acquisition of Hoffmann and Zimmermann, the name changed to the Bechstein Gruppe, and Bechstein’s image as one of the best piano makers was restored.
Dates and serial numbers when the pianos were manufactured