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#139592 - 11/29/03 02:27 AM Another Piano Buying Newbie
Hububer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/03
Posts: 149
Loc: Virginia
I'm looking to get my first acoustic piano. I had narrowed my selection to a Charles Walter and a Schulze Pollmann 126. I like these instruments, and based on everything I have read, would be purchasing a quality product.

However the dealer with the Schulze Pollmann is telling me that if I was willing to spend this much, I should seriously consider a new Story and Clark grand. Now I had dismissed any new grand in this price range as being an inferior product that I would not be happy with in the long run. But, I did like the sound, feel, and look of these grands as much as I did the verticals and actually ended-up preferring them due to them being a grand.

The dealer said that even though they are made in China, the Story and Clark company does a good job in checking them out and preping them before they are sent to him. He even showed me pictures of him visiting their facility to check out what they do and said he was very satisfied in their endeavors. He also went on to say that he will spend whatever time is necessary to do any further set-up until he is completely satisfied.

This dealer has been in business for decades and seemed geniune in stating that if these Story and Clarks were not excellent instruments for their price range, he would not carry them and run the risk of damaging their long earned positive repetition. I asked him about their build quality, durability, and longevity and he had no concern and stated they would last a lifetime. He said proper prep time was the secret for these instruments.

However, I cannot get passed the vast majority of negative comments in the forum about the Chinese made Story and Clarks. I saw one member state that he has been in three Chinese factories and had strong concerns about the durability and longevity with Chinese built pianos. I don't know if that included the factory that builds the Story and Clarks.

So, in this long winded note, I've gone from considering what I think are excellent verticals to considering purchasing a Story and Clark 165 grand, and I would like to have some thoughts and feedback on the situation. Thanks.

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#139593 - 11/29/03 08:21 AM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14036
Loc: Louisiana
Hard decision, isn't it?

I don't know where the current crop of S&Cs are made. Current wisdom has it that Dongbei is probably the best Chinese factory right now, although I've talked to a couple of Canadian techs, and they seem to think the Heintzman line is promising.

Both of the verticals you are looking at are very good pianos. Both will last you for generations. A Chinese made grand, on the other hand, may not. Yet neither vertical has a grand action, neither propagates sound the way a grand does, and neither has the dramatic eye appeal of the grand. I've had no problems with my Chinese grand (Nordiska), but they can be variable, and they do need prep.

It's a choice that only you, your playing ability and durability needs can answer. If you are a casual player, say 5 hours or so a week, and you want the furniture appeal of the grand, the S&C may serve you well. If you are a more serious player, and the piano will see fairly heavy use, I'd definitely go with one of the verticals. But like I said, it's an individual decision.

So many pianos, so little time. ;\)
_________________________
www.coffee-room.com

Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#139594 - 11/29/03 09:27 AM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
Anonymous
Unregistered


Well, I'm probably going to take a lot of flack for this, but what the heck...

Posted by Hububer:
"Now I had dismissed any new grand in this price range as being an inferior product that I would not be happy with in the long run."[/b]

And you were correct to do so.

I know I'm going to take a lot of heat from those who don't look at pianos objectively and put their "esthetic" inhibitions aside, but there is absolutely no contest between the Schuzle Pollmann 126 upright and Story & Clark grands. Sure, excellent prep-work has brought it up to a better potential. But in terms of over all performance, build quality, and an instrument that is going to give you everything you need to be successful musically the Schulze Pollmann blows the S&C out of the water.

Further more, as previously mentioned, the Schulze Pollmann will be your musical companion for life (if that's what you want), the S&C very well may not.

Yes, grands are visually appealing (especially Story & Clarks), and yes some may even produce more volume. But in your price range, nothing is going to compare to the quality of the materials and workmanship of the Schulze Pollmann.

So...it comes down to one question. Just how bad do you want something with a horizontal sound board, three legs, and a wide curved lid?

-Your call.

Good luck. \:\)

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#139595 - 11/29/03 10:02 AM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
HammerHead Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 354
Loc: Metro Atlanta
 Quote:
Originally posted by Hububer:
I'm looking to get my first acoustic piano. I had narrowed my selection to a Charles Walter and a Schulze Pollmann 126. I like these instruments, and based on everything I have read, would be purchasing a quality product.

However the dealer with the Schulze Pollmann is telling me that if I was willing to spend this much, I should seriously consider a new Story and Clark grand.... [/b]
Hububer,
Why do you think the dealer tried to move you to the S&C? Was this prompted at all by you--did you mention wanting a grand, or just not seem that thrilled with the two quality verticals you mention? I ask because it seems odd to me that a dealer would try to switch you over if you were already near a "close" on one of the verticals. I don't want to say he might make more money on the grand (probably will) as a motive greater than your well-being, but... And maybe somebody who knows can confirm or refute--Story & Clark is optimizing the Chinese grands in their own facilities somewhere?? I find that HARD to believe (if it's true, more power to them...).

I'd look around a little more if I were you. Larry Fine book, all that. And yes, those verticals are better pieces of craftsmanship than any typical low-end grand. But that doesn't mean they should SOUND better to YOU, necessarily. It is NOT true that any grand sounds better than any upright. But it is also NOT true that any high-end upright sounds better than everything but a higher-end grand--not at all! Keep long term quality in mind, but what you really WANT should be paramount, and there is a lot to choose from.
_________________________
HH
Completely and forever out of the music business (but still full of opinions)

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#139596 - 11/29/03 10:12 AM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10341
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
The tone and touch of each of these pianos are different. You should get the piano that performs closest to your ideal. This includes the aesthetics of the instrument.

A well-prepped Chinese-made grand can be a good performer and a great value. These pianos have been improving very rapidly and are worth consideration.

Those of us who are piano retailer see the latest production are it arrives in our showrooms. While the CW and the SP are undoubtedly better built, one might well prefer the S&C grand. As Jolly said...Hard decision!
_________________________
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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#139597 - 11/29/03 10:16 AM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
Hububer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/03
Posts: 149
Loc: Virginia
Hammerhead,

Actually, I never even mentioned the word "grand" to him at all. I told him I had narrowed it down to the SP and CW. He was willing to give me a good price on the SP since he's had it for almost six months. It was out of the blue that he asked if I had room for a grand. I said I probaly do and then we went down the path described in my original post. And I have to admit, I was impressed with the S&C 165, less so than with the S&C 152 due to a thinner bass.

He did say the pianos sent to him go through Seneca, PA for final check and prep before going to him for even further checking and preping. The pictures he showed me was from his visit at the facility.

I have to say that buying a new piano has been one of the most confusing and frustrating purchases I have ever made.

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#139598 - 11/29/03 10:26 AM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14036
Loc: Louisiana
And now I'll hijack the thread a mite, but still keep it in the same vein...

Dealers are usually a bit ahead of the curve in regards to new pianos, than are techs. The techs are generally conservative, and like to see several models in the field, over a period of time, before forming a hard opinion.

However, if you read through the archives on the PTG board, you'll notice a change in attitudes. In 1997, no tech would recommend a Chinese piano. They felt they were not built well at all. Today the views are different. While there are still some who do not care for them, the majority tends to look at the grands as decent entry level pianos, and better than some of the stuff they were working on in the 60s.

Now that does mean a Chinese grand is the right choice in this buyer's situation. They may well not be.

But I agree with SteveC on this one. I do feel they offer a lot of value for dollar spent, depending upon your needs and wants in a piano. And that is probably where the dealer is coming from - he feels they offer value, and are a good piano for the money spent.
_________________________
www.coffee-room.com

Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#139599 - 11/29/03 11:14 AM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
Hububer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/03
Posts: 149
Loc: Virginia
I approached my original question concerning the S&C as a good "bang for the buck" with concerns about durability and longevity. With that in mind, I should have included the pricing. The dealer said he would give me a good price on the SP 126 for about $8100. I don't think he would go much lower. The S&C 165 was $8500 and I could maybe get him to go a littler lower.

I do appreciate everyone taking the time to weigh in on the discussion since I am sure newbies buying new pianos is pretty much a dead horse around here.

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#139600 - 11/29/03 11:45 AM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
HammerHead Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 354
Loc: Metro Atlanta
It IS your selection, and only you know what you will be happy with (grand vs. vertical). But, I gotta believe there's no way you'd ever regret a SP 126 at $8100. Most of the time, verticals are at a disadvantage in a largish dealer showroom compared to just about any non-junk grand, but this can be very different in your house (unless this is going in the grand ballroom of your palace). But if you really decide only a grand will do it for you...negotiate, negotiate...
_________________________
HH
Completely and forever out of the music business (but still full of opinions)

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#139601 - 11/29/03 01:31 PM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
Penny Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2943
Loc: San Juan Capistrano, CA
A few thoughts:

The dealer is probably going to make more profit off the grand. This is not your concern! Buy the piano YOU want.

Second, most grands are more attractive than uprights. But if you're looking at an S-P with one of their special finishes, then you're considering one of the prettiest pianos out there (grand OR upright).

If you ever want to sell your piano, it's kind of a toss-up. The Charles Walter would probably be the best bet if resale value is important to you.

What kind of music do you play? Are you advanced? The answers to this might help decide between an upright and a grand.

Personally, I'd go for the S-P. But I, of course, and very biased!

penny
S-P 190

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#139602 - 11/29/03 01:38 PM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13968
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
I agree with Penny!

And I am not biased here.... ;\)

Stick to your first 2 choices!

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

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#139603 - 11/29/03 01:54 PM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5483
i'll third what penny and norbert said.

yes, good prep can make a big difference in the performance of an "economy" instrument.

but you have to consider that prep work does not last forever. regulation and voicing have to be done again and again over time, to keep the piano optimal.

with a well made piano, there are many options in how a piano is voiced and regulated, and the instrument will "flower" over time into the personality it will become. the regulation and voicing will also be more stable over time.

with a cheap piano, a tech is very limited in the type of sound and personality that can be evoked from the instrument. there is only so much that can be done. and it is impermanent. it's not like prep is done once and then is never needed again.

also, you have to question how much voicing and regulating can a cheap grand take before its potential is exhausted? that would be a good one to ask an independent tech.

the real test would be the s-p or the cw voiced and regulated to perfection v. the s&c voiced and regulated to the best it can be. not an unprepped instrument to a prepped one.

there is no question that a quality instrument like the s-p or the cw will give you much better performance over the long term.

get the one you like the touch and tone of the best, and forget everything else. both are solid instruments.
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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#139604 - 11/29/03 03:37 PM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14036
Loc: Louisiana
I think you've got a 1K drop on the S&C, if you negotiate. The price on the S-P is pretty good already. What's the Walter going for?

There is no doubt that the two verticals are better pianos. They are better built, longer lasting pianos. Sometimes, though, better is not the best fit.

Buy what you like - it's your money. Or better yet, back off, and think it over a bit more. Buy in haste, repent in leisure.
_________________________
www.coffee-room.com

Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#139605 - 11/29/03 04:17 PM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13968
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
.... longer lasting.....[/b]

Most people can relate to that.... \:D

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

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#139606 - 11/29/03 05:19 PM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
pianodevo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/02
Posts: 836
You've gotten some terrific advice!

Just a thought ... when you decide, or to help you decide, you might ask if a short trial is possible -- e.g., a one-week rental. If you keep the piano, all fees would be applied to the already agreed-upon purchase price.

If you decide the sound, etc. IN YOUR HOME isn't what you want, then you'd pay a week's rental + round-trip moving. [Especially for an upright, moving fees shouldn't be much at all.]

I think you can push the dealer to waive the one-week rental fee. ;\) What would he lose?
_________________________
pianodevo

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#139607 - 11/30/03 05:13 PM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
Hububer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/03
Posts: 149
Loc: Virginia
I wanted to give those that were assisting me an update. I've decided to remove the Story & Clark grand from consideration. That leaves the SP 126 and CRW console. There are differences between the two ranging from a slight diffences in feel, to a bigger difference in tone, to an even bigger difference in furniture style, but in the end, I find nothing objectionable with these differences and consider them to be all an awash.

Once difference which I haven't yet weighed into the equation is the fact that CRW is an American owned and operated family company which can carry a lot of weight.

But putting that aside, now I am down to price. The final price offered by the CRW dealer is $6,000 for any console finish or motif, and the final price from the SP dealer is $6,500 for the SP 126E in sunburst finish. I think the CRW is a good price, but could be lower, and I think the SP price might be a great price as the dealer said it was approaching is wholesale price, wanted to get it moved, and wanted to take the CRW out of the running.

So, if you don't mind, what does everyone think of this? Do the prices seem reasonable? Are there any other reasons I may want to consider one over the other that I haven't already?

Thanks again for the help.

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#139608 - 11/30/03 07:00 PM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
Johnston Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/30/03
Posts: 1
Loc: Fort Wayne, IN
Hello Hububer,

This may not help you but I wanted to let you know that my family and I are in a similar situation to yours as we are new to purchasing a piano and do not want to make a big mistake our first time out. Both of my daughters have been playing piano for many years and when practicing at home they have to use a small keyboard. Anyway we have been trying to understand the options available and what a fair price is for any given piano. At the website www.bluebookofpianos.com the SCHULTZ POLLMANN 126-P6 is listed for $12,400 for the high gloss finish and over $13,000 for all others. If this is the model that you are looking at then that means the prices are almost double the bargain price you are able to get. The Charles R. Walter 1520 model are listed for between $7,350 and $7,900. Do I have the right models that you are looking at and if so why would the S & P be discounted so heavily? We have an option to buy a C & W for about the same price you spoke of and would like to know if that is a good deal. Thanks for any help.
_________________________
Dan

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#139609 - 11/30/03 09:12 PM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5483
larry fine says that european pianos are commonly discounted about 40 percent from the "blue book" price. american pianos are usually discounted less.

in verticals, i personally liked the CW better than the SP. but again, this really has to come down to your personal taste.

at this point, don't worry about which is the better deal. worry about which one you would prefer if you could have just one for free. money is no longer the issue. how much you paid will be forgotten very quickly. but you will be living with the touch and tone of the piano for a long time.
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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#139610 - 11/30/03 09:47 PM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
HammerHead Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 354
Loc: Metro Atlanta
[Warning: this post contains advice from a stranger--evaluate with care!]

I agree this comes down to which piano you like best. Forget price now--you're in great shape-- and concentrate on sound and feel (I guess looks have to matter, but if you can, forget that as far as possible, too.). If you really want to go on the couch, post further about what you like and dislike about each piano. No-fee therapy is available here.
_________________________
HH
Completely and forever out of the music business (but still full of opinions)

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#139611 - 12/01/03 10:04 AM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14036
Loc: Louisiana
The best "deal" is the S-P. But, as you stated, the prices are very close on both pianos.

Either choice is good. At the end of the day, this is a piano you'll be looking at a long time, and will be playing a long time.

It does all come down to touch and tone, does it not? \:\)
_________________________
www.coffee-room.com

Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#139612 - 12/01/03 10:20 AM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10341
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
The S-P is a much larger piano. I'd go for it over the CW, but it is a very close call. You will do fine either way.
_________________________
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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#139613 - 12/02/03 01:01 AM Re: Another Piano Buying Newbie
Ancient Maestro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/03
Posts: 345
Loc: Calgary
The S-P is the better deal here.

Reading the thread, I think the dealer has been up front and honest by exploring all options before you buy. I believe it is a positive way to approach a piano sale, not a negative way at all to explore all possibilities.

Here's another thought before you buy. If you like a grand piano, explore all your options in grand pianos before deciding on either the CW or SP. You're going to be the artist, its' important that you are inspired as well. Just my personal opinion, I like sitting at a Grand, then sitting at a piano facing the wall. Uprights give me that uneasy feeling that way, but at a grand piano I seem to be motivated to perform, don't know why, just the way it is for me.

Otherwise, with the choices, and knowing the CW brings great value, the SP is definitely the way to go. Congratulations on a fantastic price! \:\)

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