Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#162824 - 07/08/07 01:34 AM Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6180
In 2004, I started a thread comparing Charles R. Walter (CRW) and Mason and Hamlin (M&H), essentially asking why[/b] are M&H pianos more expensive (for consumers) than CRW pianos.

Link to that old threat is: http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/1/7928.html

As I observe the "mason hamlin" thread (link: http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/18614.html ) where Rod Verhnjak (CRW dealer) questioned M&H's price premium (and brought up CRW as comparison) and every one else (M&H dealers included) stood up for M&H, I figure I would re-ask basically the same set of questions to compare CRW with M&H as I did in 2004, and see if we can learn anything new.

Here goes:

Monitoring posts on this forum, a few things seem rather apparent:

1. Charles Walter (CRW) and Mason and Hamlin (M&H) both enjoy tremendous mind-share and exceptionally good reputation around here.

2. Both are deemed to make very high quality products.

3. Both are designed and made in the USA.

4. Both live in the shadow of Steinway -- the 800 pound gorrila of a piano maker in the US.

5. One is a LOT more expensive than the other -- a 5'8" M&H A sells for 135% to 150% the selling price of a 6'3" CRW-190. (Those percentages were based on my observation in 2004, feel free to provide updated figures, but I think it's still true that a "small M&H A" would still cost quite a bit more than a "mid-sized CRW-190" today, going by street prices today.)

The question is: WHY ?[/b]

Both are made in the US. So you cannot say one is cheaper because labor rate is cheaper.

Both have very little marketing (none that stares people in the face, no where near Steinway). So you cannot say you're paying more for the other one because of their marketing. (I do not know for sure if neither spends significantly more on marketing than the other -- correct me if I am wrong.) [In the old 2004 thread referenced above, it was suggested that M&H indeed spend substantially more on marketing than CRW, please feel free to provide update if this is no longer true today.]

So why are people paying more for M&H?[/b]

Are they paying for the extra steel that makes up the Tension Resonator?

Are they paying for the extra wood that makes up the thicker M&H rim? (Probably a wash when comparing M&H A to CRW-190 because the CRW-190 is bigger and will take up more wood in the rim even if its rim is thinner than the M&H A.)

Are they paying for the extra cast iron that makes up the perimeter plate in M&H? (Probably a wash too because the CRW-190 would have a bigger plate for its bigger size, so it may well use more cast iron even without the perimeter plate when compared to the M&H A.) [Today, we know that CRW gets their plates from Ohio, M&H gets their plates from China, so I'd guess that "price of plates" comparison tilt even less in M&H's favor today than it did in 2004.]

Are they paying for the Renner action in M&H as opposed to the Langer action in CRW? [That was in 2004; today, we know that CRW uses Renner and M&H uses their own W.N.G. brand of action. So not sure if action price comparison would come out in M&H's favor as it did in 2004.]

Would the extra bits of steel in the Tension Resonator and Renner action account for the price difference in the M&H A versus the CRW-190 ?

What extra manufacturing steps are put into the M&H A that is not put into the CRW-190 that makes the M&H A so much costlier to build? (I do not know for sure that M&H A is more costlier than CRW-190 to build, I am just guessing that it is -- correct me if I am wrong.) [Any statistics on how many man-hours it takes to build an M&H A, and how many man-hours to build a CRW-190?]

Or are people paying more for the M&H because of M&H's "legacy" of being an old, reputable US brand (as opposed to CRW's not-so-old brand) -- i.e., paying for "brand premium" ?

Is one too cheap or is the other too expensive when you really break down the costs of the two makes?

When you pay more for one than the other, what are you really paying for?
_________________________
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

Top
(ads 568) Hailun Pianos

 

#162825 - 07/08/07 02:14 AM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1473
Loc: CT
Currently the 5'8" Mason lists about 3K more than the 5'9" Walter, and about 2K more than the 6'4" Walter. The Mason 6'4" lists about 10K more than the Walter 6'4". It appears as the the gap is narrowing from your earlier searches. Dealer discounts may bring these prices even closer together. (or not!)

If someone pays more for a Mason than a Walter, hopefully it's because they like the piano more.
_________________________
Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
D-C installations, Player-Piano installations/service
Ritmuller/Pearl River

Top
#162826 - 07/08/07 05:04 AM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
swampwiz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/07
Posts: 561
Loc: Louisiana, USA
CRW pianos have definitely gotten more expensive relative to the market since when I bought mine in 1989.

Top
#162827 - 07/08/07 10:46 AM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3465
Loc: US
This is still a relevant question though, especially in light of the fact that Mason is now obtaining a number of parts from China, which would presumably be done to cut costs.

Sophia

Top
#162828 - 07/08/07 10:54 AM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1060
Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
Perhaps Mason & Hamlin wishes to stay in business?

Have you checked the bottom line on the major European makers lately? They be hurting BAD!

Perhaps M&H gets better parts more reliably through this method. How long has CW been trying to get their plate design useable through the USA maker?

All reasonable questions.
_________________________
Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding

Top
#162829 - 07/08/07 12:11 PM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
turandot Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7184
Loc: torrance, CA
from Dale Fox
 Quote:
Perhaps M&H gets better parts more reliably through this method. How long has CW been trying to get their plate design useable through the USA maker?
Well then... what about the plate, Dale? How are the plates made in China today? One member here who has never been complimentary to Chinese product (but sells M & H) posted recently that a plate is no big deal, saying that if the Chinese can't execute cast iron, they would have to be centuries behind. But on one of the innumerable Steinway threads running now, another member suggested that the value of restoring a century-old Steinway may be in the superiority of a hundred-year-old plate.

Is executing a plate (if the design is good) a big deal or not? Are the Chinese up to the challenge?
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

Top
#162830 - 07/08/07 01:35 PM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4377
Loc: Jersey Shore
What is the Larry Fine book influence?

Top
#162831 - 07/08/07 06:53 PM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Dale,

What is wrong with the Walter plates? They are made in the same foundry that make Steinway plates and Steinway owens that foundry. I have not heard of any problems.

Keven Walter told me they could get plates from China for over $1,000.00 less but have chosen not too. They continue to look for materials with the proven track record. Like possibly changing from Denro tuning pins to Biene pins from Germany. Using the new hammers from Abel with the felt not washed in acid that retains the lanolin for more resiliency like the days of old. I use these hammers they cost more and I love them.

Why would a Chinese action factory have more reliability than Renner? More reliability than Kluge keys and Frames? More reliability than Abel and Ronsen hammers. More reliability than tuning pins with time tested metal.

All reasonable questions.
_________________________
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


Top
#162832 - 07/08/07 07:10 PM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Axtremus,

The cost of the Tension Resonator parts should not affect the cost of the piano more than $200.00

CW marketing is not good. I still use the same brochures that the Walters designed 20 years ago. They continue to reprint these old books They do not mention Renner actions or the Langer action from a few years ago in the brochure in fact it shows the old Pratt read action.

I have no brochure for the grand model W-175
And a little hand out for the W-190.

Their web site has not been updated for many years. No mention of the Renner action and the W-175.

My web site has info on the products than theirs.

Mason and Hamlin are doing a much better job in promoting the product. They have great brochures and marketing.

The Walters only make 700 uprights a year and less than 80 grands.
I guess they figure they all sell so why promote more. I have to wait a long time to get a new grand order shipped.

Personality I wish they would promote the product more and update the promotional materials.


I personally do not see why it would cost more to produce a M&H over a C.W. especially with the major difference in the cost savings that M&A have.

Once again M&H manufactures a piano with a great design. I am in now way trying to put down the product.
_________________________
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


Top
#162833 - 07/08/07 07:16 PM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
Casalborgone Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 1046
Loc: San Francisco Area
 Quote:
Originally posted by turandot:
Well then... what about the plate, Dale? How are the plates made in China today? One member here who has never been complimentary to Chinese product (but sells M & H) posted recently that a plate is no big deal, saying that if the Chinese can't execute cast iron, they would have to be centuries behind. But on one of the innumerable Steinway threads running now, another member suggested that the value of restoring a century-old Steinway may be in the superiority of a hundred-year-old plate.

Is executing a plate (if the design is good) a big deal or not? Are the Chinese up to the challenge? [/b]
Much of the world's manufacturing is done in China. The latest high-tech (computers) to 19th Century tech (most of the hardware and tools you find at the corner hardware store and iron casting, as is done when making piano plates). Pianos are 19th Century technology and the Chinese depend on such technology and have much greater appropriate resources than we do in the U.S.

As for quality, Chinese can be as good as anywhere else in the world, and far better than most other places considering cost and quality. Think Apple computer. Mostly made in China.

Some well-known and -respected techs who have examined Chinese action parts closely and compared them to Renners of the same or similar design cannot see any differences.
_________________________
Mike
Registered Piano Technician
Member Piano Technicians Guild
Not currently working in the piano trade.

Top
#162834 - 07/08/07 09:45 PM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
MrsG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/01/07
Posts: 22
I recently contacted M&H via email and they told me they only produce around 350 uprights per year. That is probably why they cost as much as they do!

That is interesting to know the # of pianos that CW produces in a year. BTW, I have also contacted Charles Walter. Once by phone, and I talked right to a daughter or d-inlaw. She was helpful. However, I recently emailed them for specific information about their action. Instead of responding to my email, they sent, via U.P.S., THREE brochures and no personal response. I thought that was weird!

Top
#162835 - 07/09/07 11:47 AM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
The Walters are not very computer savvy in my opinion. Rachel Walter does not even have an email account. That is who you probably spoke too.

It is odd they did not respond properly to your email and sent you outdated brochures. It was probably a mix up in communication within. They often send out brochures due to the small amount of dealer nation wide.

Good point on the cost of the Mason & Hamlin uprights. But then the Walters only make less than 80 grands a year so should they be more expensive?

What did you want to know about the action?
_________________________
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


Top
#162836 - 07/09/07 12:31 PM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21511
Loc: Oakland
 Quote:
I recently contacted M&H via email and they told me they only produce around 350 uprights per year.
I think that is their entire annual production, which is probably mostly grands.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#162837 - 07/09/07 01:02 PM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
Famous Pies Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/01/06
Posts: 82
Loc: Santa Fe NM
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
 Quote:
I recently contacted M&H via email and they told me they only produce around 350 uprights per year.
I think that is their entire annual production, which is probably mostly grands. [/b]
Correct; grands are the majority of the production, 350+ per year. Upright production which was ≤50 per year has not yet resumed since the fire in California
_________________________
M&H "A" #92414

Top
#162838 - 07/09/07 06:35 PM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
Jeanne W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/04
Posts: 1240
Loc: New England
Hi, Axtremus.

Long time no see! Hope you and your family are doing terrific!

Regarding your original question - why more people are buying M+H's than CW. My thoughts FWIW.

1. I think more piano showrooms have M+H's on the floor than CWs. At least, that's my recollection, from what my husband and I saw during my search for a piano. If that's true, that's definitely a factor.

2. Trends. Everything in our society tells us that bigger, more powerful, etc. is better. I venture to say the average pianist when given a choice, will gravitate towards a piano with more power, and in that department, the M+H has it all over the CW. It's what people want. Learning to appreciate a quieter instrument, in my opinion, is something that's just counter-intuitive to the average person today due to the over-blown mentality that is foisted upon us by marketing and media gurus. A quieter instrument can, however, be just as nice, or NICER than a powerhouse of a piano IMO. But you do kinda have to learn how to appreciate it over the Shelby Cobra model. \:D

3. If you buy a M+H, you do certainly feel you're getting a piano that's built like a tank. I mean that in a good way! Built to last.

4. M+H is, yes, a better recognized name.

There are many factors overall that would factor into stronger M+H sales, many I am undoubtedly not even thinking of ...

Jeanne W

[Edit: Looking back over your post, Axtremus, - I think I answered a variation of your question, not the actual question you asked. Sorry! At least some of what I said, however, is still relevent to "Why are people paying MORE for Mason & Hamlin".]
_________________________
Music is about the heart and so should a piano be about the heart. - Pique

1920 Steinway A3
My Piano Delivery Thread:
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/8776.html#000000

Top
#162839 - 07/09/07 07:48 PM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6180
[off topic]
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeanne W:
Hi, Axtremus.

Long time no see! Hope you and your family are doing terrific!
Hi, JeanneW, good to see you posting again!
BTW, I've sent you e-mail. \:\)
[/off topic]
_________________________
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

Top
#162840 - 07/09/07 08:13 PM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
MrsG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/01/07
Posts: 22
I re-read my note from M&H. Indeed, it does say

"Due to the small annual production of Mason & Hamlin pianos (about 350 units a year), there are only about 40 dealers in the entire US." Unfortunately for me, the closest dealer in my state is around 450 miles away.

My question to CW about their action (to which I was replied with 3 brochures via UPS and no explanation) was this:

I was looking at a "new" Charles Walter, but I noticed it had the Langer action in it. When I saw the action, I challenged the dealer on the actual newness of what is an older action. He then said the piano has been sitting in his showroom for at least a couple of years. But, he still calls it new. Anywho...

I wanted to know:
1) In what year was CW action changed to Renner?
2) How much better is Renner action, compared to Langer?
3) With regard to #2 above, would it benefit me to pay for a brand new piano versus this one that is called "new" but is actually a little older than new (at least new to me).

Top
#162841 - 07/09/07 09:55 PM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
MrsG,

I will answer your questions to the best of my knowledge.

I was made aware of the official change in action April 11, 2005 via a letter from the factory. I did know of the coming change just prior that. The Walters were the owners of Langer Action Company and had sold it.

Also at that time it was announced all verticals would be manufactured with the mute feature as a standard feature. A sostenuto pedal is available on the verticals as an optional feature.

Also at that time there were a few limited styles available with the Langer action at a lower cost.

I can not say if the Renner action is a lot better than the Langer. I think the damper mechanism works much better and I do love the feel of the Renner actions. Though I never had a problem with the Langer action and was always happy with the performance. It does add around $900.00 retail to the price of the piano.

If you purchase the new but old stock Walter from the dealer you should save a far bit of money. Your warranty will be good from the day of purchase. The Langer action will serve you well, I have full confidence in the product.
_________________________
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


Top
#162842 - 07/09/07 11:14 PM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
rkw Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/07
Posts: 141
Loc: Conway Arkansas 72034
In both timbre and quality, the M&H grand is without equal among North American manufacturers. It is worth every dollar they ask, possibly more.
_________________________
Bob, Retired Piano Technician
http://sites.google.com/site/sixfigurepianoservice/

Top
#162843 - 07/10/07 09:47 AM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
Roger Ransom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1257
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
Wrong forum
_________________________
Laugh More
Yamaha G7 - Roland FP7

Top
#162844 - 07/10/07 03:37 PM Re: Charles R. Walter vs. Mason & Hamlin, Round II
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Jeanne W posted
 Quote:
Everything in our society tells us that bigger, more powerful, etc. is better. I venture to say the average pianist when given a choice, will gravitate towards a piano with more power, and in that department, the M+H has it all over the CW.... A quieter instrument can, however, be just as nice, or NICER than a powerhouse of a piano IMO. But you do kinda have to learn how to appreciate it over the Shelby Cobra model.
My thought exactly.

Top

Moderator:  Ken Knapp, Piano World, Rickster 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
ad (Casio)
Celviano by Casio Rebate
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
New Topics - Multiple Forums
First tuning my piano with TuneLab
by Pablo Arturi
5 minutes 58 seconds ago
Getting back into it
by Upside
37 minutes 44 seconds ago
In search of my piano name Brand
by Leoni
Today at 03:05 PM
"Black Widow" - Iggy Azalea
by Zach Evans
Today at 02:13 PM
Advice Digital Piano < 800 GPB
by Altair
Today at 02:09 PM
Who's Online
167 registered (accordeur, ajames, 255, AEMontoya, 44 invisible), 1482 Guests and 16 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
76224 Members
42 Forums
157566 Topics
2314385 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission