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#1384748 - 02/28/10 11:48 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6162
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
If you were rating pianos, based on quality of construction, performance, and image, how would your ratings differ from Larry Fine's Current Ratings?


Hi Steve,

I will build a computer model to find some sort of Nash equilibria based on the following inputs:

How much manufacturers and dealers are willing to pay me to rank their pianos highly and/or to rank their competitors' pianos lowly, and may be how much individual piano owners are willing to pay me a "vanity fare" to rank their pianos highly and/or to rank their neighbors and/or in-laws' pianos lowly.

I will also rank on many different dimensions -- e.g. performance, quality, value, durability, finish artistry, design innovation, ease of moving/transportation, tuning stability, ease of tuning, ease of voicing, child-proof ratings ... ; even provide rankings by regions and price ranges. It's like the Oscars; the more categories there are, the easier it is to make more people happy. And I get to drag it out longer and fill it with more advertising slots.

smile

laugh
_________________________
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

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#1384757 - 02/28/10 12:09 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Bob Snyder]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7117
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Bob Snyder
How is it hypocritical for a manufacturer to be able to be responsible for the preparation of their own pianos? I'm not talking about the selection of the piano itself; I am talking about the person who prepares it.

Having the pianos randomly selected – but then prepared by a person of the manufacturer’s choosing, as one person recommended, would be fine.


Excuse my own misinterpretation of your first post. I thought your plan called for maker selection of the test instrument. There is nothing hypocritical about your proposal. There is the problem of the ease of identification though, even with no markings of any kind on the pianos.

Originally Posted By: Bob Snyder
The weakness of the current evaluation system used by the Piano Book is that it considers only the opinions of one of those groups of people. And in many cases, I am convinced that in an uncomfortable number of cases, a verdict is handed down without anyone even touching the piano in question.

And when you add to that the fact that one or more of the technicians who contribute to this book are, or were authorized representatives for the very pianos they evaluate, is it any wonder that the brand(s) they DO represent do very well in their evaluations?


That's a real problem. It's dubious enough to be making qualitative ratings from the standpoint of an industry spokesperson supported by ad revenues. To hobnob with certain Euro makers, be tight with certain retailer/techs, and give precedence to their opinions, all of that would negate the usefulness of the high-end piano ratings completely.

Steve C,

If the ratings have to be there, and I understand you need as many baited hooks on the line as you can to sell Piano Buyer, I like the system in the last (and final?) Piano Book. In that system the descriptive text on each maker ended with "Consumer Rating" under five different categories. I've never quite understood the logic of the categories, but I do like the breakdown of the components that result in the overall rating.

As an example (Piano Book 2001)

Fazioli

Performance *****
Confidence *****
Quality Control *****
Warranty *** and one half
Information ** and one half

As a reader, I could then ignore the information downgrade and focus on what seemed important to me. If I were buying Chinese or Indonesian and assuming the risk, I could de-value the confidence category.

Perhaps these categories could be tweaked to better fit the market nine years later.

Of course this really doesn't matter a whole lot if Bob Snyder's points are correct. In that case, you have a big credibility problem.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1384770 - 02/28/10 12:32 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3833
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
As the OP let me add another criteria to suggested rating methodologies.

Perhaps I should have asked "How would you suggest Piano Buyer ratings and rating process should be structured"?


How about a web site where someone enters in a piano model and serial # and rates the piano on these factors:

1. Tone - even and quality
2. Action - touch and regulation quality
3. Tuning stability - tuning pin feel
4. Cabinet/finish quality

Ratings 1 to 5 with 1 being poor, 5 being excellent.

Multiple raters would be required to register to prevent fraud.

The ratings are compiled at regular intervals and posted for all to see.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#1384783 - 02/28/10 12:46 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Bob]
charleslang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 2076
Originally Posted By: Bob

How about a web site where someone enters in a piano model and serial # and rates the piano on these factors:

1. Tone - even and quality
2. Action - touch and regulation quality
3. Tuning stability - tuning pin feel
4. Cabinet/finish quality

Ratings 1 to 5 with 1 being poor, 5 being excellent.

Multiple raters would be required to register to prevent fraud.

The ratings are compiled at regular intervals and posted for all to see.


I'm still worried this would be abused by owners or sellers of certain brands. I think that seeing a brand name tends immediately to distort things. You would also have many first-time owners who are excited about their pianos - whatever brand - and will give it the highest rating.

One site that I think is surprisingly successful is the Hurstwood Farm rating page, where there are recordings of the same piece on several pianos. The recordings are not labeled, so any bias according to brand is eliminated. I think the results of the ratings are really telling about tone quality.

How fantastic would it be, to present this on a larger scale, with more brands? Let all the manufacturers prepare their instruments, isolate each one in the same acoustic environment, record the same two pianists (one classical, one jazz), and present the clips to the public.

If a brand is too 'good' for such a test, then they could be pressured to participate, simply by still including their piano in the test, but as prepared by a technician not associated with the company.
_________________________
Charles Lang
Working on: A Night in Tunisia; Memories of Tomorrow (Keith Jarrett).
Just started: Brazilian Like (Michel Petrucciani)

Baldwin Model R (1974), Hardman 5'9" grand (1915), Rieger-Kloss 42.5" vertical

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#1384795 - 02/28/10 01:08 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Bob Snyder]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10432
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: Bob Snyder

There are many people – in many professions – to whom the quality of a piano is extremely important. The weakness of the current evaluation system used by the Piano Book is that it considers only the opinions of one of those groups of people. And I am convinced that in an uncomfortable number of cases, a verdict is handed down without anyone even touching the piano in question.

And when you add to that the fact that one or more of the technicians who contribute to this book are, or were authorized representatives for the very pianos they evaluate, is it any wonder that the brand(s) they DO represent do very well in their evaluations?


Hi Bob,

While what you posted above was true some time ago, it is no longer the case. The ratings are no longer based solely on reports from technicians. Larry uses many more sources including the opinions of experienced players (particularly those that have both a wide and deep experience of brands and models), the information provided by manufacturers, as well as information provided by reputable and trusted dealers. After all, they have deep experience of their brands just out of the crate, on the floor and in the field. All of these opinions are considered on a "trust but verify" basis.

In addition, I read the overwhelming percentage of posts here on the Piano Forum. There are MANY here that know what they are talking about, also with wide and deep experience, and give their detailed evaluations on brands and models, some that they own and as well as those they encounter outside the home. I discuss these opinions with Larry, have him read selected threads, and he seriously considers them among many other factors.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#1384813 - 02/28/10 01:32 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7117
Loc: torrance, CA
Quote:
While what you posted above was true some time ago, it is no longer the case. The ratings are no longer based solely on reports from technicians.


Full disclosure of the present system would be a better remedy than conceding a previous bias and saying that it's not that way anymore.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1384823 - 02/28/10 01:41 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: turandot]
charleslang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 2076
Anyone else think it's disturbing that one of the factors is 'image'?

Only in the world of pianos!

All the praise for Larry Fine's ethics (and the praise is impressive) aside, one wonders what all might bump up the 'image' category.
_________________________
Charles Lang
Working on: A Night in Tunisia; Memories of Tomorrow (Keith Jarrett).
Just started: Brazilian Like (Michel Petrucciani)

Baldwin Model R (1974), Hardman 5'9" grand (1915), Rieger-Kloss 42.5" vertical

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#1384824 - 02/28/10 01:42 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: pianoloverus]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3441
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: sophial
What is also interesting is the statement in the Piano Buyer (and Mike Carr also pointed this out recently) that manufacturers were redesigning the European pianos for “better sound projection, tonal color and sustain—that is to sound more like American Steinways.” Hmmm……the supposedly “audibly higher quality” European pianos needed to be redesigned to sound like NY Steinways to improve their sound projection, color and sustain—arguably among the most valued qualities in piano sound! Inconsistencies like this lead me to take the Piano Buyer ratings with a large dash of salt.
I don't think the Fine statements are inconsistent. Of the three qualites projection, color, and sustain I think only sustain is almost universally admired (by classical pianists but perhaps not jazz pianists). Projection seems only important in concert venues, and if color was universally admired I don't think Bechstein would be highly admired in both the past and present.

I think Fine is just saying that European makers who want to sell their pianos in the the US have begun catering more to American tastes, not that American sound as typified by NY Steinway is better.

The Fazioli site lists five characteristic they feel are representative of good tone: clarity, uniformity, wide dynamic range, selective, and long duration(sustain). Not all characteristics of NY Steinway IMO.
http://www.fazioli.com/en/


What I said was "arguably among the most valued qualities"-- not better -- but certainly not inferior either, which the PB suggests by the "audibly higher quality" phrase. One can argue that the European version of these qualities (if one can generalize to that extent, which is debatable) is different and lovely, and should be preserved, and I would agree with that. But one can also argue that the sound qualities of the NY Steinway are of no lesser quality and in fact have been among the most prized and emulated in the world.

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#1384826 - 02/28/10 01:46 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Axtremus]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10432
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: Axtremus
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
If you were rating pianos, based on quality of construction, performance, and image, how would your ratings differ from Larry Fine's Current Ratings?


Hi Steve,

I will build a computer model to find some sort of Nash equilibria based on the following inputs:

How much manufacturers and dealers are willing to pay me to rank their pianos highly and/or to rank their competitors' pianos lowly, and may be how much individual piano owners are willing to pay me a "vanity fare" to rank their pianos highly and/or to rank their neighbors and/or in-laws' pianos lowly.

I will also rank on many different dimensions -- e.g. performance, quality, value, durability, finish artistry, design innovation, ease of moving/transportation, tuning stability, ease of tuning, ease of voicing, child-proof ratings ... ; even provide rankings by regions and price ranges. It's like the Oscars; the more categories there are, the easier it is to make more people happy. And I get to drag it out longer and fill it with more advertising slots.

smile

laugh


Sounds like a valid approach to me? Two questions:

Are you available to do the work? And, what's a "Nash equalibria?"
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#1384830 - 02/28/10 01:51 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: turandot]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3441
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: turandot
Quote:
While what you posted above was true some time ago, it is no longer the case. The ratings are no longer based solely on reports from technicians.


Full disclosure of the present system would be a better remedy than conceding a previous bias and saying that it's not that way anymore.
\

+1

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#1384836 - 02/28/10 02:00 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]
schwammerl Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/06
Posts: 2012
Loc: Belgium
Perhaps viewed from a different perspective, why not continue using the actual 'criteria groups' of 'quality of construction', 'performance', 'image' (complemented by one or more groups id required, but....

Instead of lumping them all together as to get one final ranking out of it, have the piano brands ranked within each of the 'criteria groups' (quality - performance - image ..).

You would get within each 'criterium' a ranking of the brands. Perhaps a certain brand would come out within the top three in e.g. 'construction quality' whereas the same brand could only be ranked e.g. in the medium category of performance or image.

It would then be interesting to see whether or not any or some brands or ranked at the top in all the 'criteria groups'!

Also any potential buyer could focus on that 'criterium group' which he feels most important for him.

As to how to go about putting up the various rankings, techs and dealers would be well placed to judge upon 'construction quality', players to judge upon 'performance' and a market sevey amongst owners and non-owners for 'image'.

schwammerl.

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#1384843 - 02/28/10 02:14 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: turandot]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3650
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Originally Posted By: turandot


As an example (Piano Book 2001)

Fazioli

Performance *****
Confidence *****
Quality Control *****
Warranty *** and one half
Information ** and one half



I have always preferred this type of rating over the present.
Also it gives opportunity to rate uprights and grands from one manufacture.

I believe it is more usable than just a blanket group.
_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook


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#1384849 - 02/28/10 02:17 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Rod Verhnjak]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10432
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: Rod Verhnjak
Originally Posted By: turandot


As an example (Piano Book 2001)

Fazioli

Performance *****
Confidence *****
Quality Control *****
Warranty *** and one half
Information ** and one half



I have always preferred this type of rating over the present.
Also it gives opportunity to rate uprights and grands from one manufacture.

I believe it is more usable than just a blanket group.


This is certainly one of the methodologies Larry is considering. It worked well in the past.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#1384850 - 02/28/10 02:18 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: sophial]
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
I have long thought that basing a piano buying decision on the Larry Fine book would be foolish.

It is useful background reading for some. That's about it. Personally I am far less interested in what technicians and dealers think about pianos, than I am about what really good players think about them.

For me, once a piano has passed the core attribute of being sufficiently robust and well made, the technician can bow out. All I care about then is its capability as a musical instrument. I couldn't really care less what anyone else thinks about a piano's performance capability if I am considering buying it - but I have been playing since I was 5 and have bought a few pianos. If I was a novice player then I would mainly seek the input of good players.

Steve says above:

"All of these opinions are considered on a "trust but verify" basis."

It is not possible to "verify" opinions. They are by their nature subjective. So if Larry or Steve are "verifying" an opinion and not agreeing with it, then all they are doing is changing a third party opinion for one of their own.

I pay no heed whatsoever to Piano Buyer these days. I think it would have a great deal more credibility if a co-auther or credited senior editor was an internationally respected player (or two). This is no doubt difficult when Steinway and Yamaha artists programs have a vice-like grip on the circuit, perhaps inhibiting some players from expressing a preference outside of the established brands.....

I also think that Piano Buyer is unfortunately undermined as a reasonably independent source of information, by being constantly touted by a dealer on here. Part of the reason for this damage is the constant niggling between Steve and Norbert which, to me as an observer from the sidelines, simply damages them both.

Adrian
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#1384856 - 02/28/10 02:24 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: AJB]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10432
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: AJB
I have long thought that basing a piano buying decision on the Larry Fine book would be foolish.



I'm quite confident that Larry would agree with that!

I certainly do.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

Top
#1384860 - 02/28/10 02:28 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: charleslang]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3833
Originally Posted By: charleslang
Originally Posted By: Bob

How about a web site where someone enters in a piano model and serial # and rates the piano on these factors:

1. Tone - even and quality
2. Action - touch and regulation quality
3. Tuning stability - tuning pin feel
4. Cabinet/finish quality

Ratings 1 to 5 with 1 being poor, 5 being excellent.

Multiple raters would be required to register to prevent fraud.

The ratings are compiled at regular intervals and posted for all to see.


I'm still worried this would be abused by owners or sellers of certain brands. I think that seeing a brand name tends immediately to distort things. You would also have many first-time owners who are excited about their pianos - whatever brand - and will give it the highest rating.


How about a fifth catagory? What best describes you? Tech, Teacher, Artist, Salesman, Consumer.

Treat the evaluation accordingly.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#1384880 - 02/28/10 02:51 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Bob]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3833
Here's one way of rating products in the photographic industry:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controll...orToReadReviews
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#1385026 - 02/28/10 07:05 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Bob]
Ken Knapp Offline



Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2200
Loc: Pennsylvania
Four posts have been removed. One which needed moderation and three which continued the the discussion which needed moderating.

Carry on. smile


Ken
_________________________
Ken

Piano Organ Depot
http://www.pianoorgandepot.com
Hammond Organ Technician
http://www.tonewheeltech.com


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#1385273 - 03/01/10 03:06 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Ken Knapp]
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
Inappropriate Ken. You have bowed to pressure from Steve Cohen.

Steve opens himself up to criticism with his constant touting of Piano Buyer, a publication in which he has a financial interest. Whilst the publication may be useful to some people, it is not the only piano publication around. If piano world truly has a policy of not permitting dealers to tout their products, it seems unfair to have one rule for Steve and a different one for all the other dealers.

In his signature he describes himself as Contributing Editor and Advertising Director, which implies a significant degree of influence over the published material, especially as he also calls himself "Piano Industry Consultant" (though without stating which brands use his consulting services). Whilst the terminology that Norbert used to describe Steve's role was incorrect it was partially caused by Steve's own signature.

Kind regards

Adrian



Edited by AJB (03/01/10 03:07 AM)
Edit Reason: typos (as usual)
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#1385441 - 03/01/10 10:17 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: AJB]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
I concur with you wholeheartedly AJB and was wondering where you were on this one.

I have witnessed this before on this forum, and been involved in, the favoritism shown to certain posters, while others have differing rules applied.

This not only reveals the leanings of the moderator Knapp, it also reveals the desire that poster Cohen has to limit discussion of, and censor, certain aspects of this thread. One could, by extension, think this of the materials supplied in the future book releases. Will the desire to skew the information in the book be too tempting?

In other words, being an owner of a piano dealership, and having a financial interest in a publication of piano playability and quality is such an obvious conflict of interest, one has to wonder if this book release will end up with any measurable credibility.

Same goes for this forum if the moderators keep up with this type of nonsense.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1385450 - 03/01/10 10:23 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4413
Loc: San Jose, CA
That is just about what Steven said. Not as elegantly put, mind you.
_________________________
Clef


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#1385493 - 03/01/10 11:29 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Jeff Clef]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3441
Loc: US
quote from Dan Silverwood:
"In other words, being an owner of a piano dealership, and having a financial interest in a publication of piano playability and quality is such an obvious conflict of interest, one has to wonder if this book release will end up with any measurable credibility."

Agree. This issue that Dan notes, along with that of having a publication that rates and review a product having income based on advertisers whose products are being reviewed, opens large questions about independence and conflict of interest. Steve keeps saying -- well, show me the page or passage that reveals any bias-- as if that settles the question. No, it doesn't. Potential bias due to conflict of interest typically won't show itself that obviously but can affect decisions at every point in the process from who is asked to contribute, to the types of questions asked, to how the information is weighted and presented, to the wording choices, and ad infinitum. Sometimes it is what is NOT said as much or more than what is stated that can be affected. The line between content and advertising has also been blurred in the Piano Buyer as certain dealers contribute articles on why we love the pianos we sell. Ok, we can all recognize that as harmless fluff but you won't see that in Consumer Reports either.

If you follow medical and pharmaceutical research at all, there is now good data that the source of funding can affect the results found and presented in research studies. Studies funded by industry sponsors are significantly more likely to find positive results for their product than those funded independently despite the protestations of the researchers that their studies are conducted completely free of bias or influence. These forces operate at subtle (and at other times not so subtle) levels. In some situations, there has been more overt pressure to suppress or change findings.

Of course, buying a piano is not a life-or-death decision (although around here we tend to treat it that way smile ) and we can enjoy the Piano Buyer for what it is-- entertaining, with some good information and those glossy colorful ads-- while keeping its limitations and realities in mind.

Bottom line is there is no free lunch.

Sophia


Edited by sophial (03/01/10 11:35 AM)

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#1385510 - 03/01/10 11:47 AM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: AJB]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19200
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: AJB
Steve opens himself up to criticism with his constant touting of Piano Buyer, a publication in which he has a financial interest. Whilst the publication may be useful to some people, it is not the only piano publication around. If piano world truly has a policy of not permitting dealers to tout their products, it seems unfair to have one rule for Steve and a different one for all the other dealers.
I don't see the slightest way Steve opens himself up for criticsm. PB may not be "the only piano publication around" but I would assume it's by far the most successful, most used, and it's by far the best IMO. I think saying it "may be useful to some people" is the understatement of the century. As far as rules against not touting products, it's also clear that this is enforced minimally if at all at PW. In addition to all this Steve Cohen continually makes posts that help piano buyers where there is no connection to to PB or products he sells.

Originally Posted By: AJB
In his signature he describes himself as Contributing Editor and Advertising Director, which implies a significant degree of influence over the published material, especially as he also calls himself "Piano Industry Consultant" (though without stating which brands use his consulting services). Whilst the terminology that Norbert used to describe Steve's role was incorrect it was partially caused by Steve's own signature.
First of all, the incorrect terminology Norbert used to describe Steve's role is just one grain of sand on a whole beach of similar statements. If Norbert misread the signature, that's not someomone else's problem. I think "co-editor" would imply something like equal input compared to Larry Fine, and this would not be something I would infer from Steve's sig.

Since I assume Steve Cohen's signature line expresses his positions correctly, there's nothing that can be done about this anyway. You don't expect him to write Contributing editor(but not co-editor)do you?


Edited by pianoloverus (03/01/10 12:00 PM)

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#1385571 - 03/01/10 01:02 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: pianoloverus]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

Since I assume Steve Cohen's signature line expresses his positions correctly, there's nothing that can be done about this anyway. You don't expect him to write Contributing editor(but not co-editor)do you?


What is expected is proper conduct with regard to conflict.

To give the appearance of no conflict a decision will have to be made. Either be a contributing editor of a piano quality guide and put your dealership into a “blind trust” (operated by someone else, usually a trust officer)

Or be a dealer and sell the interest in the publication. An attempt to wear both hats, while perhaps from sincerity, to become both, leaves the “appearance” of impropriety.

Example: I read the PB guide about the glowing reports of a piano model. Then I attend the Jason’s Music Centre to look at the instrument in question and lo and behold! The same guy that writes the glowing report in the book sells the same instrument??? This is pretty bad optics would you say?

You might fool a five yr old with this kind of thing......
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#1385613 - 03/01/10 01:54 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Aliwally Offline
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Registered: 07/07/07
Posts: 521
Loc: Washington, D.C.
My response is how do they rate pianos in other countries. Like England, Japan, Germany. Do they all look to America for the ratings, or are there pianos built so well they do not have to really rate them. What are we rating the ones that are considered budget models, should they even be rated. We you rate the $$$$ ones, it's more on a personal attraction, as the build quality is probably not an issue.

As far as Piano Buyer goes, it is a guide, not the Bible. I think they do a fine job as it takes a lot of time, patience and energy. I look at it as a guide not the Bible and more of a guide to newcomers, budget-seekers, than folks who use or work on them for a living.

The only people that may have a problem are the salesman, I wonder why?

I am just looking forward to the next issue.
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#1385619 - 03/01/10 01:57 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
terminaldegree Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2621
Loc: western Wisconsin
Since we're all busy "piling on" Steve, I just took a look at the Jason's Music website, which purports to sell new Kawai and Pramberger pianos.

Raise your hand if you think Kawai and Pramberger pianos were unfairly rated upward in the Piano Buyer. Those brands occupy category 4 and 5, with the exception of Shigeru up in #2. That seems about right to me, possibly a little too harsh a rating for the RX series Kawais.

Do you think these were mis-rated due to bias, or misrated at all? I don't.

FWIW, Steve is one of just a small handful of dealers here who bother to assist potential customers with brands and models of piano he doesn't even sell, or sells against. That's more than I can say for many of the dealers and industry professionals here.

Yes, he's promoting the piano buyer. Last time I checked, they bought ad space here on the right side of the page.
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#1385620 - 03/01/10 01:58 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Aliwally]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Aliwally
My response is how do they rate pianos in other countries. Like England, Japan, Germany.


Not every culture believes you have to look in a book to tell you what you are supposed to like or think.


Edited by theJourney (03/01/10 02:00 PM)

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#1385655 - 03/01/10 02:43 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19200
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos


Example: I read the PB guide about the glowing reports of a piano model. Then I attend the Jason’s Music Centre to look at the instrument in question and lo and behold! The same guy that writes the glowing report in the book sells the same instrument??? This is pretty bad optics would you say?
Is your example hypothetical or actual? I thought Larry Fine has final say about all reviews/discussions of individual makes(other than ones clearly written by others in a different section of the PB)?


Edited by pianoloverus (03/01/10 02:52 PM)

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#1385663 - 03/01/10 02:50 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: sophial]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19200
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: sophial
This issue that Dan notes, along with that of having a publication that rates and review a product having income based on advertisers whose products are being reviewed, opens large questions about independence and conflict of interest.
This topic was discuessed on PW before the PB came out and I believe Fine also talks about this in the intro to the PB. I found the discussions more than adequate to dispel any doubts about conflict of interest.


Edited by pianoloverus (03/01/10 02:54 PM)

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#1385668 - 03/01/10 02:57 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: pianoloverus]
Nick Mauel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/05/08
Posts: 782
Loc: Sarasota and Naples, FL
I like what Sophia said:

"Sometimes it is what is NOT said as much or more than what is stated that can be affected."

This is the thing I miss the most about the former Piano Book - its frankness.

Thankfully however, there are many experts on this forum willing to give good advice.
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Concert Piano Technician, Dealer, and Pianist

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