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#1157956 - 03/05/09 04:44 PM Piano Predictions Thread
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1104
Loc: PA
Just wondering what folks see coming over the horizon.

I'll start...

I just had a quick look at DrudgeReport and I see the sales at Wal-Mart are up 5% even though we're in a recession (or something).

If you search at the Wal-Mart site for "musical instrument piano", you'll see that they already carry digital 88-note keyboards.

How long do you think until...

Maybe my crystal ball is cracked and it'll never happen. smile


Edited by daniokeeper (03/05/09 04:48 PM)
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1158025 - 03/05/09 06:25 PM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: daniokeeper]
TsonicTsunami Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 39
Loc: Melbourne Village FL.
Sam's Club carries 20 different digital keyboards, I think your original instinct is correct ...... it won't be long !!!
_________________________
Pianoforte Neophyte

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#1158028 - 03/05/09 06:32 PM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: TsonicTsunami]
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
Walmart digital piano = toy.

I'll listen when they begin carrying real pianos.
_________________________
-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#1158072 - 03/05/09 07:44 PM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: Ron Alexander]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3886
Did you see Steinway Musical Stock was down almost one dollar today to less than $8 per share? Maybe they should think about a Steinway Digital??
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#1158114 - 03/05/09 09:07 PM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: Bob]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1104
Loc: PA
Quote:
Maybe they should think about a Steinway Digital??


It would really have to be something, or they'd hurt their credibility.

I think Steinway will come through no matter what happens. No matter how bad things get, there will always be people with money.
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1158177 - 03/05/09 11:26 PM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: daniokeeper]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I think places like Dollar Tree, Walmart, Walgree's will be thriving. Many people are going to spend as little as they can for a product.

It's hard to make the call on what they will do for services. I know I always look at it from the angle that a good service person usually charges more. But, that may not be 100 % accurate in every industry. But, on average, probably so, so, if they choose cheap all the way around, they will pay more for it in the long run either way.

If our government would just let it runs its course, it would likely be over with quicker than with them meddling with it...
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1158188 - 03/05/09 11:46 PM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Well, all this Walmart discussion led me to their on line shopping where I found several Casio digital pianos around $800-$1100. Didn't seem to have any benches, though, another site did for $85.

I have had so many inquiries lately from people without any piano either planning to shop for a "cheap one used" or a digital. No one is spending money they don't have and some are trying to make this music lessons work but the budget going in is pretty important to them. Therefore, compromise is a start getting them into piano lessons so they can get a start.

So, I'm trying to sell myself on what Walmart has to offer - and determine whether I could I recommend that or not.

A quick conversation with a music retailer yesterday gave me information about their rental program, the cost of which was not mentioned, and I forgot to ask: but the facts were that in 6 months the rental payment will transfer to something bought on the floor of the store, not the instrument itself that they have been renting. I asked did that include a tuning, and no "pianos are tuned at the store, it doesn't matter, they don't change that much when moving them." I differ in my opinion, but a renter could get their own tuning if needed for around $125.

With Walmart having a charge card that allow the buyer to have no interest payments over a 12 month period providing it was over a $250 purchase, that makes this buyable, IF the quality and the guarantee (which there is one) hold up. Now what about the sound, and the physics of working on a keyboard like this: 88 keys, 3 pedals.

As soon as I entered Walmart - piano up came all the information I needed on Google.

Wonder if this is a break through or a ditch I'm heading toward?

Another inquiry this evening, again, no piano at home.

Do I hit comsumers report next? What do the experts say about the pianos coming from Walmart, Costco and Radio Shack?

I'm quite curious, but I don't want to offend anyone since I'm such a discerning person and appreciative of the history of the piano and arts in our lives. I don't usually think like this!
Horrifying! Or, maybe not.

And the quote on the Steinway stock today, maybe I should get me some since I've never been able to afford a Steinway itself, a few pieces of stock that rise in the future would be nice to have.

I'm listening!


Betty


Edited by Betty Patnude (03/05/09 11:47 PM)

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#1158206 - 03/06/09 12:28 AM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: daniokeeper]
Dave Stahl Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 1645
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Just wondering what folks see coming over the horizon.

I'll start...

I just had a quick look at DrudgeReport and I see the sales at Wal-Mart are up 5% even though we're in a recession (or something).



Places like Walmart are part of the reason we're in a recession. Why are things cheap there? Because they're not made in the US. Very few things are being manufactured here any more. US companies are having most of their stuff built overseas. We sell money, credit, and other things you can't eat, drive, play, or tune.

Things used to be good for Johnny-Joe U S consumer. A few hundred here, a few thousand there gets you a car, a computer, a boob-tube, clothes, all on credit. Then Johnny-Joe gets laid off. All of those inexpensive toys don't look so cheap when Johnny Joe doesn't have a job...

So I try not to patronize stores like Walmart where they treat their employees poorly and sell things that are made predominantly by people making very low wages in countries with few, if any environmental regulations.

On the other hand, it's economically difficult to not succumb to the lure of a $500.00-3gig memory-320 G storage space- laptop.

End of rant, flame suit on.
_________________________
Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAniw3m7L2I
http://dstahlpiano.net

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#1158221 - 03/06/09 01:10 AM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: Dave Stahl]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
I agree, Dave. The "Lowest Price is the Law" attitude destroys the local economy and moves production (jobs), money, and therefore wealth out of the country. It also encourages people to buy cheap goods (often on credit) which are of low quality and are quickly discarded (think overflowing landfills) and are replaced by more, new cheap, low quality items, bought on more credit....

It can be quite a vicious cycle. If I were to shop regularly at the big box el-cheapo stores, I would be part of the problem. I choose to avoid those place, buy less, but higher quality items, from a local or national source, whenever possible.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1158318 - 03/06/09 07:26 AM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: Supply]
Les Koltvedt Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3195
Loc: Canton, MI
We are finding it really hard to buy things made in the U.S.A. I do admit we go to Wal-Mart, but only some things are cheaper, we have found local merchants selling at or lower then WM. I also like to support LOCAL businesses. I feel we need to keep the $$ in our community first, even if it cost a bit more. I'm about to make the leap in faith and purchase the RP course, lay down some old hard earned $$ on an S&S for a rebuild under the direction of my mentor and pray that this economy will make a turn, albeit a same one, sometime in the near future (near=12 mths or so). confused

I really don't have a good feeling about all this big bank bailout $$. Doesn't AIG insure the US Senate Pension fund? and why aren't they taking any pay cuts, I thought THEY work for US.

I'm genuinely concerned what the future holds for the NEXT generation, although that's probably what our parents use to say...maybe this is just a small part of growing old...
_________________________
Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate

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#1158336 - 03/06/09 08:08 AM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: Les Koltvedt]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4954
Loc: Bradford County, PA
I don’t think increased sales in digital pianos mean fewer pianos being tuned. I think that the consumers that buy digital keyboards correctly choose them because they are not making a long term commitment. If they were buying an acoustic piano, it probably would not be tuned, except perhaps the first free tuning. And I don’t think for every digital that is bought, an acoustic goes to the landfill.

An old timer once told me that during the great depression tuners went door to door “carpet bagging”, looking for work. He said he never did. Then there were those “mirror piano” conversions that you still see once in a while. Tuners found a way to use their skills. The Asian grey-market pianos could be considered a modern day equivalent. For any tuners in a difficult situation they may consider installing digital keyboards in refinished gutted old uprights or even petite grands.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1158342 - 03/06/09 08:24 AM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: UnrightTooner]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I agree, Dave. The "Lowest Price is the Law" attitude destroys the local economy and moves production (jobs), money, and therefore wealth out of the country. It also encourages people to buy cheap goods (often on credit) which are of low quality and are quickly discarded (think overflowing landfills) and are replaced by more, new cheap, low quality items, bought on more credit....

I had a call yesterday from a lady. She left this message: "I have a Kimball. It hasn't been tuned in, well, I don't know how many years. But, it sounds horrible and my kids are taking lessons. (adding) It has sticking keys. One pedal isn't working. Another isn't working correctly. One note has this, another has that. BUT, at this point, I am only price shopping."

I returned her call later when I came in, leaving her a voice message to inform her mostly because I was tired today of the "I am only price shopping" that if you are simply looking for pricing only, you will get what you pay for because you are shopping for someone's services NOT for a product.

Now, on the other hand, if you are looking for quality servicing, you will pay more because for one, I am an RPT and have passed the testing required to become one and we refuse to match the prices of those that are $70 less, do half the quality of workmanship that we do and because we see and know their work. But, if that's what you REALLY want, then go for it.

I continued, I don't work on these pianos anymore and recommended her to 2 other yes, RPT's. I'm not usually that snooty sounding to customers but, it sure does get sickening hearing people price shopping rather than quality shopping.






Edited by Jerry Groot RPT (03/06/09 08:36 AM)
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1158354 - 03/06/09 08:46 AM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1104
Loc: PA
I think we may also see the day when acoustic pianos come equipped with their own digital memory as well as RFID (especially RFID if Wal-Mart gets involved). A custom RFID reader will become part of the tuner's standard toolkiit (just like the Pierce Atlas is now) so he can read information regarding date of manufacture, prior ownership, etc. The tuner may also become responsible for entering information into the onboard memory as to what he did and when, maybe via USB. Damp-Chaser Systems may also eventually need to become compatible with onboard memory to keep a record of external and internal humidity readings, how many low water warnings, etc.

If I'm right, let's hope the software to interface with the onboard system(s)is cross-platform.... maybe Java.


Edited by daniokeeper (03/06/09 09:20 AM)
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1158502 - 03/06/09 01:22 PM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: Les Koltvedt]
tjbsb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/29/07
Posts: 256
Loc: Houston, TX
Originally Posted By: Monster M&H
I also like to support LOCAL businesses. I feel we need to keep the $$ in our community first, even if it cost a bit more.

Walmart is one of the largest employers in the U.S. Unless I miss my guess, most of the folks that work at the store in my local area come from my local area. That would include line folks and management. Every time I go into Walmart I am supporting my local economy.

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#1158655 - 03/06/09 06:28 PM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: tjbsb]
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
quote:
I think we may also see the day when acoustic pianos come equipped with their own digital memory as well as RFID (especially RFID if Wal-Mart gets involved).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

You may be right Joe. The thoughts of that makes me wanna change my will.
Rather than bury me, take me down to the local taxidermy. Just mount this tired old body and stand me in the the corner down at the local piano
museum as a reminder of days gone by.
_________________________
-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#1158885 - 03/07/09 03:33 AM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: Ron Alexander]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2405
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Speaking of gadgets on acoustic pianos...has anyone heard anything about eromlignod's self-tuning piano and what the status is?


Edited by grandpianoman (03/07/09 03:33 AM)

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#1158998 - 03/07/09 11:32 AM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: Grandpianoman]
Sam Casey Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1135
Loc: SW Missouri
I started tuning professionally in 1971. Still have a letter from my first customer thanking me for the work. When I started Baldwin just came out with their "fun machine," a electronic keyboard. Fender Rhodes had been on the market for a while. The wags asked, "now that we have electonic keyboards the days of the acoustical piano are numbered. You're gonna be out of a job soon!"

38 years later I'm still here and tune over 1000 a year, plus rebuilding, repair, etc. Acoustic pianos are still sold, resold and part of the culture. There is indeed more competition from other entertainment but there is also a lot more people in the pool of consumers. I'm not sweating the demise of the piano industry any time soon.

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#1159271 - 03/07/09 10:06 PM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: Ron Alexander]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1104
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Ron Alexander
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
quote:
I think we may also see the day when acoustic pianos come equipped with their own digital memory as well as RFID (especially RFID if Wal-Mart gets involved).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

You may be right Joe. The thoughts of that makes me wanna change my will.
Rather than bury me, take me down to the local taxidermy. Just mount this tired old body and stand me in the the corner down at the local piano
museum as a reminder of days gone by.



If onboard troubleshooting and maintenence systems are added to pianos, the tuner of the future will be responsible for maintaining them as well. (Who else?) He will need to know some electrical troubleshooting, some programming, and other IT skills.

The player piano will become part of the web... probably connected through a wireless access point. Music will be downloaded and uploaded. The player tech will be responsible for providing security and removing viruses, as well as the electrical and physical aspects of player maintenence.
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1159332 - 03/08/09 12:51 AM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: daniokeeper]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1104
Loc: PA
Just another quick thought...

Imagine "broadcasting" a live performance with pianos across the world.

The performer sits in front of the piano. He begins to play. In concert halls across the world, there are "identical" pianos that are perfectly regulated and tuned. The performer begins to play. The other pianos are connected to the net and begin playing as well...

Concert techs may need to master this.

The artist will train for this, too.


Edited by daniokeeper (03/08/09 01:04 AM)
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1159387 - 03/08/09 06:11 AM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: daniokeeper]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3294
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Oh please, Joe, what you say is pure baloney! The piano is a 19th Century instrument! Sure, there are some Disklaviers around and for those who know how to service them, more power to them. I know nothing about them and will never need to. There are so many ordinary as well as fine pianos around that need what piano technicians should know how to do that there will always be work for us.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1159404 - 03/08/09 07:58 AM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1104
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Oh please, Joe, what you say is pure baloney! The piano is a 19th Century instrument! Sure, there are some Disklaviers around and for those who know how to service them, more power to them. I know nothing about them and will never need to. There are so many ordinary as well as fine pianos around that need what piano technicians should know how to do that there will always be work for us.



Of course there will be plenty of traditional pianos around. But, if you want to be a bleeding edge tech, you'll need to keep up. I never thought I'd see the day that cars would have onboard computers. Or, that I'd have a programmable coffee pot and thermostat.

I'm just curious Bill, what do you find unlikely? Just the last idea? Or, the notion of built-in memory to record data? Custom RFID readers for tuners? Wal-Mart pianos?

After all, the thread was just supposed to be speculative anyhow. It wasn't meant to be taken as Gospel. After some recent events, I thought it might be fun to see if folks wanted to do some brainstroming on what should be a very inclusive topic, including techs, musicians, owners, movers, or anyone involved with pianos.:)

Naturally there will all sorts of opinions. All opinions are wanted.

So Bill, what do you see coming over that horizon?


Edited by daniokeeper (03/08/09 08:30 AM)
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1159419 - 03/08/09 08:48 AM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: daniokeeper]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2180
Loc: Maine
I think if I had to be speculative about the future of the piano I'd lean toward three predictions.

1. Some brands of pianos may eventually be sold by Walmart.

2. A small portion of the future production may be players of some flavor or another.

3. As for wireless internet connection, on-board chips, or anything of the kind on non-player instruments ... I would seriously doubt it. The overwhelming majority of my customers are decided techno-phobes. To them, the piano is a comforting example of something that doesn't need a confusing users manual written in four languages. It does what THEY tell it to do. It's a music slave. Give it a mind of its own, and they'll leave it on the showroom floor.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#1159468 - 03/08/09 11:32 AM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: David Jenson]
Sam Casey Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1135
Loc: SW Missouri
The acoustic piano is a physical instument, a work of art and function. It has remained in the same basic condition for over 100 years while tech has advanced around it. Ergo, the relationship between the buyer and piano transcends the tech of the rest of society, just like the tech of violins, flutes, woodwinds and pipe organs. All can be reproduced electronically, but WHO CARES? It misses the point; a player creates a unique bond with a acoustic intrument.

Why buy 2K bicycles when you can drive? Nike and Reebok make millions on shoes for runners seeking the endophin high and personal challenge. There is no need to "advance" the piano, AND no market for it.

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#1159525 - 03/08/09 01:50 PM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: Sam Casey]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1104
Loc: PA
I agree in that the piano itself will always basically reamin the same (strings, hammers, etc.). Otherwise it wouldn't be a piano anymore.

But, there are advances in the greater society that may very well be applied to pianos. I'm thinking about things along the lines of smart pianos in smart homes or smart instutions.

Consider some of the new possibilities in finishing. They now have: "Paint finish using 'paramagnetic' technology can change hue at the flick of switch." This exists now and, according to the article, is going to hit the market in 2010.

Paint Article Link

"Before the vehicle is painted, the metal body is covered with iron oxide particles. When an electric current is applied, the spacing between these tiny crystals is altered. This miniature movement affects the way the paramagnetic layer reflects light, causing the car to change colour instantly depending on the voltage applied."

Will it become popular in private homes and classical recitals? Probably not. But, I'll bet you'll start seeing this used on pianos and other instruments during pop concerts. I'm sure there will be some sort of onboard system to integrate with the the lighting board or something.


Edited by daniokeeper (03/08/09 01:51 PM)
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1159532 - 03/08/09 01:55 PM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: Sam Casey]
aspiretobe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/08/09
Posts: 26
Loc: PA
Wow Sam! "There is no need to "advance" the piano, AND no market for it. "

Many other people in the past have made similar statements only to have to eat their own words.

First I'll repeat what's being quoted many times before: "Thirty years ago, the challenge was how to bring computing to the mass market. At the time the vision of a personal computer on every desk and in every house was one that seemed a long way away, especially after Ken Olsen's immortal 1977 comment "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home". Ken Olsen was co-founder of DEC ( Digital Equipment Corporation was eventually purchased by Compaq and then HP, the laptop I'm using in my home right
now!)

Of course times change, and both history and the technology industry are littered with quotes that seemed clever at the time.(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6981704.stm)

So, my conclusion is that 15 years from now (I’ll reverse Moore's law)the piano as we know it will be all different. I believe that since a pianist never really touches the strings, it makes this instrument ripe for transformational innovation (it is all indirect mechanical touch) everything will be done better electrical/electronic/software/robotics.

Oh, and by the way I have a 4K bicycle and I also drive!

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#1159567 - 03/08/09 03:19 PM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: aspiretobe]
Sam Casey Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1135
Loc: SW Missouri
You miss the point aspiretobe. No one doubts the advancement of technology, yet the basic function of the piano has remained immune to similar advances in society for a century. That's reality. I've heard the same "15 years from now" argument most of my life and we in the industry are still rebuilding the pianos built 100 years ago with basically the same techniques and tools, tweaked a bit here and there for effiency. Society is not threatened by the stability of piano technology and neither do pianos stem or hold back creative expression.

This culture is enamoured with technology and there is confusion that tech serves itself. It does not. Tech serves the dreams and aspiration of people. The acoustic piano perfectly fills a need consistently for a very long time snd there is no reason to assume for far into the future.

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#1159574 - 03/08/09 03:38 PM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: aspiretobe]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
One reason things will only change at a snail's pace if at all is the longevity of pianos. We tuners wouldn't even need to worry if every piano built starting today would never need tuning, due to a self tuning feature, for example. The market penetration of any novelty in the piano market is very slow. There are enough traditional pianos out there to keep us busy for many years.

My young son and I are currently reading Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the most classic of all Sci-Fi novels, and arguably the most prophetic. I am sure readers in 1870 thought he was completely crazy, predicting a submarine powered by electricity, speeding at 50 miles per hour....

Technology will speed forward, but certain areas will be spared, such as musical instruments. This has been shown: when digital drumsets came out 20+ years ago, they were all the rage - while it was a novelty. They soon faded away to the fringe realms. It is an old, tired question - when will the electronic keyboard replace the piano...

The answer is easy: Never. Not because the technology cannot reach a point where the differences fade, but for the simple reason that musicians have a relationship with their instrument.

Who wants to enter into a relationship with a piece of plastic which will be sent to the landfill in a few years?
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

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#1159602 - 03/08/09 04:20 PM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: aspiretobe]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3294
Loc: Madison, WI USA
I don't believe that it's a valid comparison between a musical instrument and information technology. One of the big differences is that with IT, whatever you buy becomes obsolete within a few years. I've heard it said that if you are buying a computer off the shelf in a store, it is already obsolete!

Even if there are to be changes in the way pianos are made, I don't think that nearly everyone will have one the way we have TV's, cellphones and computers. Then, there are all of the pianos that have been made up until now that are still in use. I regularly service pianos that are at, near or beyond 100 years old and have all original materials. That much is not going to change.

I would have thought by now, that piano manufacturers would be building pianos with synthetic soundboards and all synthetic parts. It hasn't even come close to happening yet. The Chinese pretty much build pianos using traditional materials. It's a musical instrument, it is acoustic.

Now, some pianos could be made, outfitted with various electronics for a limited market for that but I really don't see it being the case for all pianos. That is more for the player end of the market and possibly for the recording industry.

I also don't see Wal-Mart getting into it. I have heard of some pianos being sold by Sam's Club but I have never seen one that came from there. The reason is that pianos require service and that is not what Wal-Mart is about. They sell merchandise. Now, they do provide routine auto service and I am glad they do. Very well done, convenient and at a low price. But auto service is something that everyone needs and you bring the car to them. They have other services too, haircuts, manicures, optometry, banking, etc. But Wal-Mart would never and I really mean never want to be involved with what it takes to run a piano store or provide piano maintenance services. I don't believe I'll ever have to eat crow on any that I have said. Ours is a different industry from all the rest.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1159690 - 03/08/09 08:25 PM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
aspiretobe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/08/09
Posts: 26
Loc: PA
I agree with all you guys, my point is that there's always room for some kind of transformational innovation (whatever that is). If it weren't for that you would still be playing the harpsichord, I believe. So, really what makes a piano? The strings, the action, the keyboard, the soundboard? You'll probably say the entire set. I recently purchased a Martin acoustic guitar- yes I wanted a guitar made out of wood and made in the USA (actually in PA, 25 miles from where I live). So, I am not anti-convention, I am for it, I don't like plastic, but I'm also open to new of the box ideas out all the time. The thought of purchasing a real piano with strings that I will not be able to adjust and could go out of tune, or the thought that a key may have hysteresis-due to mechanical instability- would forever bother me and so far prevents me from purchasing a real piano; “forever “I’ll be searching for a "real piano without strings". At this time my search led me to a Kawai C111 that looks like a “real piano” but it’ not even sold in the US.
There’s still time though, if you guys collectively recommend an upright real piano that can take the heat and cold of PA – the house is always maintained between 64 deg F and 80 F ( extremes) with nominal of 72 deg F, no humidifier- I prefer not to have them-, then I will forever be indebted to all of you. I will post a copy of the receipt as proof of purchase.

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#1159713 - 03/08/09 09:00 PM Re: Piano Predictions Thread [Re: aspiretobe]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1104
Loc: PA
Apparently they are selling pianos at Costco:
http://www.hiwhy.com/2008/04/02/yamaha-pianos-at-costco/

An additional feature that I'm sure we all know about:
Quote:
The Yamaha U1 PE at the Costco Special Event / Roadshow is listed for $6,999.99. This model is part of the silent series, which means that the piano can be played at any time of the day or night without disturbing your fellow roommates or family members. Just slip on a pair of headphones and plug them into the box located just under the right end of the keyboard. Oh, you also need to plug in your piano into an electric outlet for this feature to work.


I never claimed that the piano is not going to remain a piano; My point was that as "doodads" are added to the piano, it will probably be the tuner's responsibility to know how to repair the new doodads. In fact, we'll also be responsible for the thiggamajigs, too. smile

I can certainly sympathize with the traditional, western view of the piano. But, the piano is now global with many different cultures influencing its development.



Edited by daniokeeper (03/08/09 09:16 PM)
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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