The Schaff Family and Mapes Strings

Stephen Mapes • Founder of Mapes Piano String company, established in 1912 in Bronx, New York.

great-grandpa-bwJohn Adam Schaff • Grandfather of current company leaders Bill, Bob, and Frank Schaff, purchased Mapes Piano String Company in 1918 and established its position as a key supplier of piano strings. Mapes Piano String Company began manufacturing Steinway Piano strings under John Adam Schaff’s leadership, and continues in that capacity today.

William George Schaff, Jr. • Son of John Adam Schaff and second generation Mapes’ leadership. Pioneered the move to Elizabethton, Tennessee in the early 1950s. The Elizabethton location enabled the company to produce its own consistently high-quality piano wire —a requirement for the signature quality of Mapes strings. This major undertaking paved the way for the company’s entry into the spring wire industry. Northeast Tennessee’s proximity to key customers in North Carolina and West Tennessee, strong labor force, and low cost of electricity.

William (Bill) Schaff • As part of the third generation of Mapes’ Schaff family leadership, company president Bill Schaff manages the Piano String side of the business. A lifelong resident of Elizabethton, Bill graduated from nearby Milligan College. His understanding of the music industry and emphasis on quality in production have continued the Mapes quality strength and market share.

Robert (Bob) Schaff • Bob Schaff is the CEO of Mapes Piano String Company, and the second member of the third generation trio. Bob manages the spring wire business and often takes the West Coast hours of this Eastern time zone business. Bob graduated from Milligan College and attended graduate school at East Tennessee State University.

“Dad didn’t give us boys Tinker Toys to play with when we were kids. We played with spring wire—we’ve had a lifetime of hands-on learning.”

Frank Schaff • Chairman Frank Schaff is the third Schaff brother, charged with leadership of the guitar wire and instrument string portion of the business. With strong connections to the music industry, including guitar makers and string suppliers worldwide, Frank attributes Mapes quality legacy to this.

“Mapes quality comes from the craft mentality,” Frank explains. “Mapes began in the music industry, and quality is ingrained there.”

Frank Harris • Quality control engineer Frank Harris is quality assurance manager at Mapes.

“If there is a problem, Frank can figure it out,” notes president Bill Schaff. “A lot of people think quality is a destination. We think quality is an ongoing journey — Frank helps keep us on that path.”

Mark Schaff • Production manager and fourth-generation Schaff family leadership, Mark continues the quality tradition with hard work and a rock-solid commitment to customer service, exceptional quality, and company longevity.

“It was my grandfather’s dream to pass the company from generation to generation, to pass along a legacy,” says Mark. “That’s my goal in life too. I have children, and I want them to be secure and to improve and grow the business.”

Regina Schaff Harris • Company secretary and another fourth-generation family member, Regina Schaff Harris manages purchasing for the company. She also exemplifies the customer service care and attention modeled by her grandmother, Jane Schaff, who remained involved in the day-to-day business operations into her 90s.

2018-01-01T07:12:05+00:00 March 29th, 2016|Mapes Strings|

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Mapes Piano String Company
#1 Wire Mill Road, Elizabethton, TN 37643
Phone: 423-543-3195
Fax: 423-543-7738