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#117076 - 01/28/02 02:25 PM King of the Hill
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14036
Loc: Louisiana
Probably, in terms of pianos sold and general public perception, Yamaha is currently King of the Hill in consumer grade pianos.

But especially in the grand piano field, there are many worthy competitors. A Petrof dealer I talked to said he sends customers to the Yamaha dealer to play their C series, because he is supremely confident in his ability to compete. Several Kawai dealers I have talked to, feel the RX series is superior to the C series, for less money. Witness how many times Estonia is reccomended on this forum.

I think the recent thread on Reiger-Kloss illustrates how competitive the market is becoming in the niche that encompasses the Yamaha C series.

On the lower end of the grand market, I feel there are many choices that equal or better the Yamaha GH and GP series. YCs, Samicks, and the Kawai GMs. Many times for considerably less money.

Is Yamaha in danger of losing its' crown? Especially in the grand piano market?
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#117077 - 01/28/02 04:21 PM Re: King of the Hill
shantinik Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 4271
Loc: Olympia, WA
I'm betting that Yamaha has a lot of pricing room, but will have to make the decisions Baldwin never was willing to make, and hence found themselves out of business. The folks I talk to say that within two years, Pearl River will be making pianos that are technically and mechanically at least equal to Yamaha C Series in the smaller sizes, and perhaps with better sound as well. At that point, Yamaha will have to decide what its true market niche is going to be. Will it be an Asian "Schimmel"? (I doubt it -- the quality isn't there.) Will they majorly cut prices to go after the lower end of the market (BTW -- they have done just that in the oboe market, cut prices about 33% in one year), or sit on their hands and watch their market segment erode further?

The GH and GP Series are toast.

[ January 28, 2002: Message edited by: shantinik ]

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#117078 - 01/28/02 04:38 PM Re: King of the Hill
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13963
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Piano names are differently perceived in different parts of the world.

In Europe, especially Germany, there is a clear favourism towards their own home products there.

And few, would blame them.

You don't park you Acura Integra besides your neighbour's BMW there in the hope to make an indelible impression "who's boss"...
[UNLESS...it's a CORVETTE or HUMMER!!!]

In Japan itself, the finest car [or piano!] to own is definitely......non-Japanese!!

Concert halls around the world also have not been particularly "pro-Japanese",considering
the sheer number of other fine makers[!]

So who's boss??

The customer/pianist making his own choice.

Of which there are, thankfully, many to be made.

Call it the "liberation' of the masses or whatever.

And enjoy your freedom.

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#117079 - 01/28/02 10:52 PM Re: King of the Hill
Steve Miller Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 3288
Loc: Yorba Linda, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:

You don't park you Acura Integra besides your neighbour's BMW there in the hope to make an indelible impression "who's boss"...
[UNLESS...it's a CORVETTE or HUMMER!!!]

][/b]


(I won't get involved in the cars vs. piano issue, I won't get involved in the cars vs. piano issue, I won't get involved in the cars vs. piano issue.... )
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#117080 - 01/29/02 12:07 AM Re: King of the Hill
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13963
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Steve:

It's not a "car vs piano" issue.

But one of "perception vs reality".

Both are based on the same manufacturer mindset,same consumer psychology.

And I'm a victim of it as much as you are.

Just don't park your Hummer besides my Audi!

[Or play your Fazioli besides my Young Chang]

Perception IS reality!

Or is it?

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#117081 - 01/29/02 10:08 AM Re: King of the Hill
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14036
Loc: Louisiana
If Yamaha can cut prices on a musical instrument by 33% and still make money, just think about how many $$$ they make on the full price stuff!
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Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#117082 - 01/29/02 10:29 AM Re: King of the Hill
shantinik Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 4271
Loc: Olympia, WA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jolly:
If Yamaha can cut prices on a musical instrument by 33% and still make money, just think about how many $$$ they make on the full price stuff! [/b]


Yup. That's the thing about Yamahas. They are not bad instruments. But they are WAY overpriced relative to what they are. And so anyone who can run a decent factory in the third world can very easily undercut them.

That's exactly what happened to Baldwin. They were undercut by Yamaha! They could have decided to go for the higher end U.S. market (remember, Mason & Hamlin wasn't in the picture), or they could have cheapened the line, but they stayed put and were cannibalized.

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#117083 - 01/29/02 12:16 PM Re: King of the Hill
Steve Miller Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 3288
Loc: Yorba Linda, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:
[QB]Steve:

It's not a "car vs piano" issue.

But one of "perception vs reality".

Both are based on the same manufacturer mindset,same consumer psychology.

And I'm a victim of it as much as you are.

Just don't park your Hummer besides my Audi!

[Or play your Fazioli besides my Young Chang]

Perception IS reality!

Or is it?

Norbert Marten
QB]



I once stayed up half the night in the middle of the desert. I sat around a campfire with three other men, and we discussed exactly what you are talking about. The three men I was with are involved in corporate America - two in food, one in transportation. The topic we discussed was "Branding".

The premise they put forth - and I vigorously rejected - was that the "Brand" these days is far more important than the actual product. That if you put a popular brand name on something it really doesn't matter what goes in the bag or under the hood. The world is all about style over substance. I was dismissed as naive, idealistic and a general rabble rouser.

That is what your first post is about, and I missed it the first time I read it. Perception vs. reality. Branding. You are wht you drive, you are what you play. You are what you own. I still reject the entire premise.

My experience with the cars you mention (I used to manage fleets) flies in the face of their perception, but I promised not to get involved in a car discussion on a piano board. Let me just say that pianos are a breath of fresh air in the world of branding, and are a commodity where performance outweighs perception 'most every time - at least for those who care to take the time to learn about them.

I'll park my pickup anywhere I please, and if someone garners joy from a comparison of what he drives to what I drive, I welcome the opportunity to brighten his life a bit. I on the other hand, would rather get to know the driver, although if he is of the sort who finds joy in ranking posessions we may not have much in common.

Thanks for a terrific post.
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#117084 - 01/29/02 08:40 PM Re: King of the Hill
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
All one has to do to prove your friends correct in their assertion that brand name is everything is stand around in a piano store for a week and watch as 99 out of 100 novice piano shoppers walk in the door and say "do you sell Yamaha?". They don't know why they are asking for the brand, they have done absolutely no comparison shopping. And they ask this same question in every store they enter. Brand name sells some products.

The next interesting thing to watch is the same people trying to hang on to their preconceived opinions after having seen one of these pianos taken apart and compared to something better, but unknown to them.
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Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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#117085 - 01/29/02 11:55 PM Re: King of the Hill
wghornsby Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 201
Loc: KY
As evidence of what Larry has just said, let me offer the following.

Our church has had, for the past several years, an utterly unsalvagable baby grand, horrendous to play. I came to find out last summer that an anonymous donor had made the generous offer to actually BUY a brand new grand for the church, willing to front $15k or so. Seeing that I found out a couple weeks after the offer was made, I was shell-shocked that it appeared no one wanted to get a move on this! I knew that our only local option was a Yamaha dealer. But I also knew that 100 miles north we could get, for the same money as a C2, a VERY nice Petrof grand I had played on when I visited my family.

Now, I have no "pull" in the church--just a member who plays during offering once in a blue moon--but the thought of such an important decision being made without ANY consideration of the Petrof killed me. I told my pastor that we absolutely had to at least consider it. I assured him that the Petrof was superior in every way (although it was the subjective matter of tone that headed my agenda, like any pianist!) I went so far as to ask a prominent member of our very own Piano World forum to back me up from a technical standpoint, which he generously emailed me and was absolutely credible and convincing. And why shouldn't it be, damn it, it's all true!!! But I knew I had to do this for precisely the reasons that Larry has said.

OK, here's where the ____ hit the fan. When one of the older choir members (who also plays on occasion) heard about my plans to arrange a trip to the Petrof dealer with the church's pianist and anyone else who wanted to play a part, she blew a gasket. Her reaction was a combination of "who the hell is this yahoo to tell us what we should get?" with "what the hell is a Petrof?" And, of course, both she and her husband have quite a bit of "pull."

To make a long story short, the older choir member, who has had a Yamaha all her life, negotiated a deal with the local dealer before I could get my trip off the ground. As I said, she had never heard of Petrof. She curiously used this lack of knowledge as the basis of her argument, something along the lines of--come on, people, we've all heard of Yamaha. Why risk such an important decision with a no-name brand we've never heard of?

Where does it stand now? Well, if you're ever in town, come check out our $15k satin ebony C2! \:\)

[ January 29, 2002: Message edited by: wghornsby ]
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#117086 - 01/30/02 12:51 AM Re: King of the Hill
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
And for this reason, Yamaha will continue to sell this 7,000$ value for 15,000$, over and over and over again.
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#117087 - 01/30/02 01:10 AM Re: King of the Hill
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
I still don't get all this Yamaha bashing. It almost sounds like a kind of "reverse-branding": because the brand is popular, I WON'T buy it.
Personally, I don't find that the winner of Yamaha vs. ______ (insert other brand) is as black and white as some here paint it.
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#117088 - 01/30/02 01:51 AM Re: King of the Hill
Penny Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2943
Loc: San Juan Capistrano, CA
The Yamaha C series is a well built piano. Others can point out technical differences, but I don't think they matter much.

The problem is what you're getting for your money. Overpriced is overpriced. And some people would like to take the money it costs for a BMW 3 series and get a much bigger, more comfortable and higher performing car (don't know cars well enough to offer an analogous brand). Someone mentioned $15k for a C2. My husband's piano teacher paid $20K for a C2 in mahogany. I'm sorry. That's too much.

penny

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#117089 - 01/30/02 02:50 AM Re: King of the Hill
Shadorunnr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 125
Loc: Oklahoma City
It's all basic business. Supply and demand. Products that have a bigger demand get the bigger prices. Try buying a new SUV. They don't cost more to build than a car with simular options, but the demand is overwelming so the prices are inflated. The same is true for any product. Yamaha, Steinway, and every other well known brand of pianos will ask for, and often get, a higher price because of brand recognition. Quality is often overlooked by those who do not investigate the product. I am not implying these well known brands do not have quality, but lesser known brands have to have better quality or lower price, in order to compete with the big boys. We all succome to "branding". We may refuse to be sucked in when we pay $15k for an item, but when it is a pair of jeans, or a soft drink we buy the brand we know and like, reguardless of price. Wal-Mart has cheap jeans, but we buy Levi's. Generic cola is cheaper than Pepsi and Coke, but what does America drink? Who is King of the hill? In the 60s Detroit was king of the American automotive world, but in the 70s Japan offered cheaper and better made cars, and Detroit has been playing catch-up ever since. The same may be happening again in the music world. Lesser known brands are getting better. The current king of the hill better watch out. Style over substance may work short term, but that kind of "corporate" thinking is why so many corporations are going bankrupt.

[ January 30, 2002: Message edited by: Shadorunnr ]
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#117090 - 01/30/02 07:46 AM Re: King of the Hill
wghornsby Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 201
Loc: KY
You are misreading me, the Yamaha C2 is a good piano. It was a "piano-for-the-money" issue. I felt that the church could get more piano for the $15k.
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wgh

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#117091 - 01/30/02 08:04 AM Re: King of the Hill
A=443 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/02
Posts: 109
Loc: Japan
Hello
I'm a yamaha piano tuner.
I don't know piano market in U.S well.
So these opinions were very helpful and were interesting.I'd like to know other opinions about yamaha piano.
Regards. \:\)

[ January 30, 2002: Message edited by: A=443 ]

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#117092 - 01/30/02 08:31 AM Re: King of the Hill
David Burton Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1757
Loc: Coxsackie, New York
It seems that every well known make of piano has gone through its share of bashing on this Forum, Steinway, Baldwin and Yamaha have endured their share. I get uneasy about this sort of thing the way I do about people bashing any well known brand. In the case of these three makes of pianos, yes there have been quality issues from time to time, but much of it has to do with what we call dealer prep; tuning, voicing and regulating issues. In Yamaha’s case, they have deliberately, and for years, attempted to control as much of this from the factory as is possible. The results have been a fairly uniform and predictable instrument. Much as we might differ on our appreciation of the Yamaha sound, which under consumer pressure may be changing, most of us have been fairly well pleased by the degree of consistency Yamaha has come to represent.

While the guys around the campfire might have assumed that only brands matter and what’s inside doesn’t, certainly they’d feel differently if a real quality issue were to emerge with a well known brand. While people do demonstrate some brand loyalty, there is also the desire to try something different, to break out of the mold, in so many areas of our lives.

In fact, about the most one can say about branding is that just when it seems that the well known brands have it all synched up, that’s when the innovative newcomer has a chance to compete and win recognition. We’ve known for better than 25 years now what a Yamaha is. I still have my favorites in the line, the C6 and C7 among the grands and the U3 upright, but now it’s time to consider something different, a Petrof, Estonia, Schulze-Pollmann or Young Chang.
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#117093 - 01/30/02 09:05 AM Re: King of the Hill
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
 Quote:
Originally posted by subarus:

It would however be more convincing if people could tell specifically what parts of Yamaha pianos they think are inferior or lacks value for the money.
[/b]


Here's a few. The Asian culture is one that places little value on things once they get a little old. A 10 year old piano in Japan is worth very little. That's why you find so many "gray market" Yamahas for sale. They don't want them. So when they design products, the goal is to deliver something that will function very good for a short period of time. Also bear in mind that all the wood has to be imported. They have none of their own.

Yamaha grands are designed to be able to produce them by the tens of thousands, while "dialing out" as many chances for inconsistencies caused by production assembly line workers as they can. The rim of a Yamaha grand is made of luan mahogany, a soft wood that is very inexpensive and that they have easy access to in large quantities. This wood is cheap, easy to cure, easy to saw, easy to glue, doesn't wear out your tools and equipment as quickly as hardwood, etc. These rims can be produced like Keebler cookies. Instead of 2 days in the mold and a year of curing outdoors for their plates and the accompanying grinding, filling, and finishing of traditional plates, they came up with the vacuum mold, a process which allows a plate to be out of the mold and hung on a conveyor line headed for a paint booth in about 40 minutes. To compensate for the soft rim and its lack of sustain capability, the soundboard is made thicker. This makes the piano louder. The plate, because of its speed of production, has very little carbon in the iron, so it has very little damping characteristics. This compromise for the sake of speed of production introduces even more problems. The subject of plate ring has been thoroughly discussed, so for the sake of space I won't go into it again. In addition to the speed issue, the more "steel like" vacuum cast plate is used to help carry the structural burden that the soft rim can't carry alone.

The compromises in the rim for the sake of speed of production and low cost requires equal compromises in the soundboard, then the plate, the result being a piano with little sustain and a tendency to be loud, thin, and tinny. To remove any chance of production assembly line workers from introducing inconsistencies in tone from these compromised pianos, the hammers are made in such a way that little voicing and handwork is required. Even in the field, Yamaha does not recommend much work be done to their hammers. And little *can* be done - and what can be done only changes things for a short period of time. The cheap, soft rim expands and contracts wildly over the years, which pulls on glue joints, etc. shortening the life of the piano. The result is a piano that has been engineered to sound very good for a short period of time, but that has short sustain, thin bass response, brash and loud masquerading as presence, hammers that can't be adjusted to any real measure, and that quickly begins to wear out due to expansion and contraction.

Now take their S series. Harder rims. Thinner soundboard. Wet cast plates. Different hammers. All the things that Yamaha does to allow their pianos to be made quickly and cheaply are abandoned in favor of the more traditional methods of piano building.

My problem with Yamaha isn't that I think it's a bad piano. It is a good piano. It just isn't a great piano. It has a relatively short life musically, yet because of brand name recognition they can and do sell them for about double what they are really worth. My problem is the way people are like sheep. They will blindly follow the "flavor of the day" en masse, which only allows that "flavor" to continue to cut corners and raise prices. The more they raise the price, the more the sheep justify the value. The old "it must be better, because it costs more" idea. I'll put a Weber 5'7" SE grand up against a C-2 Yamaha any day. They both share the same compromises, they are equal in quality, yet the Weber SE is around 10K instead of around 16K. Because of brand name bias, people will pay 16K for a C-2 and tell themselves it is better than a Weber SE when it really isn't, and because of the ridiculous price they paid they will assume that the C-2 will compete with premium quality brands of lesser name recognition but higher quality - but it won't. And as I see it, perpetuating this myth is harmful to the consumer. They should learn where the Yamaha piano fits in the scheme of things, and demand it sell for a price commensurate with its value. And the view that the Yamaha is a long term musical instrument in the manner of more serious manufacturers should be discouraged.
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#117094 - 01/30/02 09:30 AM Re: King of the Hill
Mike Pappadakis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 207
Loc: Doylestown, PA
After reading wg's post, I don't believe he (or anyone) is bashing Yamaha here. It's about alternatives. Because the Yamaha name is so well known, other, not so-well-known pianos that just might be more preferrable are very often overlooked.

Case in point: my neighbor, Jeff, is in the market for a piano for his daughter, as she wants to begin piano lessons. Years ago, Jeff, who doesn't play and has never had a lesson, taught himself to play Fur Elise to impress his then-girlfriend (now his wife). Since he had access to a Steinway, he used this brand to practice on. Now all he can remember is the sound of the Steinway (can't blame him for that), and would love to purchase a Steinway, but really doesn't want to shell out that amount of money.

Yamaha and Baldwin are the only other brands that he knows of and was considering. When I mentioned Estonia, Kawai, Seiler, Charles Walter, Petrof, Mason & Hamlin, Boston, Schimmel and others, he didn't even know they existed (he never heard of Bosendorfer either). He is now investigating other alternatives to the Yamaha (and Baldwin). This isn't to say he won't evenutally purchase a Yamaha, but at least he will have evaluated other brands before making the decision.

Regards,
Mike

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#117095 - 01/30/02 10:15 AM Re: King of the Hill
Mike Parke Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 154
Loc: Columbus, OH
Part of brand name can be snobbishness, but part is based on experience with other types of products. Off brands in the grocery store are sometimes equal to or superior to the name brands - yet maybe nine of ten are distinctly inferior. I don't have time to check out every possibility in a store that carries 20,000 or more different products. So I have to use preconceptions or biases. "European is higher quality, uses less preservatives, and is healthier" or "I've had good luck with Green Giant" or "Amish chicken seems to taste better" or "Toyota makes good cars". I think some of this carries over to pianos - and is made worse by the lack of information out there.

The one thing people DO expect from brand names is consistency so that they know what they're getting. It's a policy that made Ray Kroc rich. Such thinking will also produce a bias that's difficult to overcome. "I know I'm getting a decent piano with brand X, so why take a risk on anything else?". I think IBM even used something like this in their advertising at one time.

Also, It's a daunting task to make a true piano search and requires both time and effort, which may put off a number of people. I applaud the many posters on this forum that have taken time to share their experiences. Learning about the process will make my task a lot easier someday when we are in the position of looking for a better piano. Even so, we'll have to start with a list of maybe eight or ten pianos. I'm trying to get my daughter to play some different pianos when there's a chance, but even in the same store neighboring pianos of the same brand can sound quite different. We'll "do things right" when the time comes, but I can well understand those who want a safe haven. :rolleyes:

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#117096 - 01/30/02 11:25 AM Re: King of the Hill
shantinik Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 4271
Loc: Olympia, WA
I bought my daughter a Yamaha Oboe (the one where they reduced the price by 33%.) It is an excellent entry-level oboe, clearly the best one out there, which is why I bought it. But at its old price, it was clearly outclassed by the finer makers who had introduced lower-priced models. And after playing them, everyone knew it.

So they had a choice: majorly increase the price/value equation by increasing the value side of the equation (which would have required massive retooling), or increase the equation by massively reducing the price. To not choose would have meant they'd go the way of Baldwin and end up in nowhereland. They chose the latter, which was wonderful for us.

I expect they will now be in the same position with pianos. There is nothing "wrong" with Yamaha pianos (other than the GH and GP series); they are just tremendously overpriced. And Larry is right: the creation of the "S" series indicates what Yamaha really thinks of its own product.

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#117097 - 01/30/02 01:05 PM Re: King of the Hill
iainhp Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/01
Posts: 803
Loc: San Diego
There's a sucker born every minute. If Yamaha and their dealers can get $15K for an $8K piano, more power to them. If Honda can get $30k for a $20K car, more power to them too.

You all may get the best pianos, but I bet you miss out somewhere else. When buying a TV or computer monitor do you look at horizontal and vertical rates, color temperature or native resolution? Who's got the time to research this stuff? I followed a DVD forum when DVD was in its infancy and it blew me away how many people paid hundreds of dollars for "Monster" brand cables to connect up their Hi Fi equipment, without even looking at what it did or didn't achieve. They blindly believed the advertising. Name another brand of cable. What's wrong with cheap twisted pair?

We are bombarded with so much advertising it is difficult to cut through it and make a decision based on reality. Kids in the house make it even harder. They want the item with the perceived value, not the one that has the real value.

In business no one ever got fired for buying IBM computers, even when they didn't work properly. But try buying some third world import.

And if Yamaha gets bashed on this forum from time to time, so be it. That's what it takes to wake up the likes of persons such as myself to the idea that there are some other excellent options out there. The Sierra Club and Greenpeace have been using such tactics for years, and I would say we are now more environmentally aware because of it.

Caveat emptor! My 2 cents (though I really should charge you $0.03 for such advice). :rolleyes:

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#117098 - 01/30/02 01:16 PM Re: King of the Hill
Mike Pappadakis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 207
Loc: Doylestown, PA
 Quote:
Originally posted by iainhp:
it blew me away how many people paid hundreds of dollars for "Monster" brand cables to connect up their Hi Fi equipment, without even looking at what it did or didn't achieve. They blindly believed the advertising. Name another brand of cable. What's wrong with cheap twisted pair?
[/b]



You got that right.

Mike

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#117099 - 01/30/02 01:36 PM Re: King of the Hill
SR Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/12/01
Posts: 718
Loc: Los Angeles
 Quote:
There's a sucker born every minute. If Yamaha and their dealers can get $15K for an $8K piano, more power to them. If Honda can get $30k for a $20K car, more power to them too


And all other piano manufacturers charge a fair price ? They are all obscenely marked up and anyone who pays list deserves to be seperated from their money. Estonia gets alot of praise around here for being a bargain "for the money" I dont quibble with that. I've seen the 6'3" for $18,900. Thats a good price for a piano of that quality. That is nowhere close to the list price however.

Regards

Steve
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#117100 - 01/30/02 02:38 PM Re: King of the Hill
swb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/03/01
Posts: 68
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Well, I think Yamah's cache is "safety". If you don't know a lot about pianos, Yamaha is still a known quantity. They DO produce a consistent product and it DOES have certain resale value. So, it's a safe bet. For the vast majority of people buying pianos, Weber, Pearl River, Petrof, Estonia are not known. So, to those people, it's a huge risk to invest thousands of dollars with a company that is a virtual stranger - better to pay a few thousand more and know what you're getting. I think Steinway gets the same thing. You may not know so much about Mason & Hamlin, etc... - but you KNOW Steinway. And, I do think there's a tendency on this forum to bash both Yamaha and Steinway. For my money, the best piano is a good used one. You get past the showroom markup if you don't know how to bargain, and you don't have to go through the "settling in" period to see what your piano will really sound like. I've got a Kawaii (bought used) and I love it. It's no Steinway, but I didn't pay for a Steinway, either. For the money, I'm a happy camper.
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SWB

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#117101 - 01/30/02 03:20 PM Re: King of the Hill
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14036
Loc: Louisiana
Why won't people do the research? Are they all just lemmings?

I had a conversation a few months ago with a dealer who handled Kawai and Pearl River. He said he used to also handle Charles Walter. He loved 'em. The technicians loved 'em. But people in this area didn't buy 'em. Why?

His theory was that the Pearl River pianos moved strictly on price - an alternative to used, but new and shiny. Good enough for little Johnny's first lessons. The Kawais sold because people compared them against Yamaha. "It's not a Yamaha, but it's Japanese, so it's got to be good. And yeah, I like the sound."

Even after explaining why the Walter was worth the investment, he said most people still wanted the Kawai or left and bought a Yamaha.

Go figure.
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#117102 - 01/30/02 03:30 PM Re: King of the Hill
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
I wonder what people believe about Yamaha that have owned them for 20 or more years? What scares me is the anecdotal evidence that I have heard recently. Andre Watts was quoted as saying that his Yamaha S didn't have any music left in it after 10 years. A local technician/rebuilder has seen 2 Yamaha grands that had no crown. One was only 20 years old, the other closer to 30. I know a university piano professor that no longer plays his C6 at all. He tried to work with it, and even had the hammers replaced, but last I talked to him he had thrown up his hands on it. Granted this is purely anecdotal. But comments like these make me wonder if they really don't have an issue in design and/or construction.

SR,

Just for reference, the $15,000 that was cited for the Yamaha C2 is NOT list. I believe list in 2002 for a C2 is around $19,000. Now that *is* an obscene markup for what you get.

Ryan

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#117103 - 01/30/02 04:19 PM Re: King of the Hill
MikeC65 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/01
Posts: 325
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
 Quote:
Originally posted by swb:
Well, I think Yamah's cache is "safety". If you don't know a lot about pianos, Yamaha is still a known quantity. They DO produce a consistent product and it DOES have certain resale value. So, it's a safe bet. For the vast majority of people buying pianos, Weber, Pearl River, Petrof, Estonia are not known. So, to those people, it's a huge risk to invest thousands of dollars with a company that is a virtual stranger - better to pay a few thousand more and know what you're getting. I think Steinway gets the same thing. You may not know so much about Mason & Hamlin, etc... - but you KNOW Steinway. And, I do think there's a tendency on this forum to bash both Yamaha and Steinway. For my money, the best piano is a good used one. You get past the showroom markup if you don't know how to bargain, and you don't have to go through the "settling in" period to see what your piano will really sound like. I've got a Kawaii (bought used) and I love it. It's no Steinway, but I didn't pay for a Steinway, either. For the money, I'm a happy camper.[/b]


Well said. Don't underestimate the value of the brand name to people who don't know what they are doing. Many people don't think to look on the internet, and don't find this forum (or others like it) if they do look, or, even if they do find a forum like this one, don't take the time to ask the questions and do the research, or lack the knowledge to ask the right questions and lack the guts to admit they don't know what to ask. People like that will buy a Yamaha because it's "safe", and don't think Yamaha doesn't know that and base its design, pricing, and marketing on it.

Second, I completely agree that a used piano is the way to go, IF you have a good piano technician whom you trust check it out for you first, and if you are willing to put some money into it after the purchase. Many novices are not going to do that. You can do well (as you did with your Kawai) if you take the time to learn what you are buying. I paid $1,500 for my Steinway K plus about another $2,000 for work on it to get it to the condition I wanted. For $3,500 I'll put what I have up against anything I possibly could have gotten in that price range. It's a great piano. But I took the time to learn what I was buying for my extra $2,000, and is a novice pianist or someone who wants a piano for the kids to practice on going to do that? Probably not. Again, they are the Yamaha type buyer.

Incidentally, the $23,000 Steinway wants for a new K is absolutely insane, and the criticism of Steinway on this forum for Steinway's pricing and lack of dealer prep is fully justified.
_________________________
Mike Cohan
St. Louis, MO
1910 Steinway Model K

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#117104 - 01/30/02 05:04 PM Re: King of the Hill
SR Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/12/01
Posts: 718
Loc: Los Angeles
Ryan....

 Quote:
SR,

Just for reference, the $15,000 that was cited for the Yamaha C2 is NOT list. I believe list in 2002 for a C2 is around $19,000. Now that *is* an obscene markup for what you get.



I am a C2 owner. I believe the current list is $23,995. At that price a C2 would have no more chance of entering my living room than a Bosie Imperial does. However I paid a couple grand less than the $15k for mine. I am thrilled with mine and at 2 or 3 hours a day of mostly Mozart I expect it will outlast Andre Watts' piano. I just hope I live long enough to find out. If I change my mind as time goes by I think the combination of the Yamaha brand recognition and the price I paid will allow a trade to something else with very small if any $ loss.

Regards

Steve
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www.mozartforum.com

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#117105 - 01/30/02 05:11 PM Re: King of the Hill
Brian M Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/30/02
Posts: 10
Loc: New York
Steinway Musical Instruments (NYSE: LVB) closed today at $19.60, near a 52 week high and up 38% in the last quarter. The price of a share of their stock, like the price of their products is ultimately determined by the marketplace.

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