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Topic Options
#1865234 - 03/20/12 08:51 AM Re: piano teacher trying out the piano before purchase [Re: music32]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7382
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
If you're purchasing a piano off the floor, by all means insure the serial number is on the invoice and that you have a copy. Also, the OP is planning to purchase a grand, not an upright. It's been my experience that grands have a greater variation in tone and color, and in feel of the action than uprights.

Again, let me emphasize the importance of knowledge. Read Larry Fine's Piano Book!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1865235 - 03/20/12 08:52 AM Re: piano teacher trying out the piano before purchase [Re: music32]
music32 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 1200
Loc: Berkeley, California
The whole story is here.. Yes the Kawai I learned was PREPPED..
though dealers will tell you they are all the same out of the factory.. yadda, yadda. And here is the actual drama as I recounted it. The dealer said the purchaser wanted a boxed Walnut Kawai which was UNTRUE.. and I did not report the upshot of what happened as I did here in my Piano World post..

http://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/fujie-finds-her-dream-piano-but-buyer-beware/
_________________________
Piano blog: Performances, Instruction, Interviews
http://www.arioso7.wordpress.com

You Tube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/arioso7



NYC HS of Performing Arts
Oberlin Conservatory
NYU, M.A., Steinway M grand and upright
Haddorff console
MTAC Alameda

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#1865280 - 03/20/12 10:19 AM Re: piano teacher trying out the piano before purchase [Re: Bumble Bee]
Monaco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 387
Loc: GA
John,
I don't yet have enough experience to make the following claim, so I will quote it from another thread.
Originally Posted By: BoseEric


I know from experience how pianos should sound and it is ALWAYS better than when it is first unboxed. The brand makes no difference, they always sound better with attention.





I have played top name pianos (Kawai and Yamaha) where you could play three different notes and get the feeling you were playing three different pianos. Which one was I supposed to be buying?

I have also played multiple pianos of the exact same make and model (Yamaha GH-1s, small grands) and each one had it's own character.
I wholeheartedly encourage piano buyers to go and play the EXACT piano they will be purchasing prior to purchase. Ask about prep work done. Listen carefully to individual notes for evenness of tone. Play the piano and feel for even response, ESPECIALLY at a very soft volume. That is where the proof is.
If something is not right, make the dealer fix it PRIOR to purchase. One exception might be final voicing. This should be done in the home. I'm not talking about making the piano at least fairly even in terms of tone, but the final touchups to evenness and coloration of the sound. I've heard of dealers letting you try the piano in your home with no commitment. Maybe this could be extended to include final voicing.
_________________________
Ben Ereddia
Piano Teacher
Beginning Tech

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#1865306 - 03/20/12 11:21 AM Re: piano teacher trying out the piano before purchase [Re: Monaco]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5500
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Monaco
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
The uprights are build in such greater numbers these days, and the process so automated, that there is much uniformity in quality and sound. There isn't much either a tech or teacher can tell you that can be changed.


I disagree with this statement. Ignoring the fact that no 2 pianos are exactly alike, the work that dealers do to pianos varies significantly. This "prep work" or lack there of can cause huge differences in the way a piano feels and sounds and even effects the longevity of the piano.


Yep!

You'd have to be very lucky to get a piano straight out of the crate to sound good.

I helped my student pick out a beautiful upright, but I knew it needed prep work. Three years later, the parents still have not called my tech for prep work. They've called their old, inept (and cheap) tuner maybe three times to tune? They absolutely refuse to believe me that pianos need to be regulated, just like cars. And their attitude is spilling over to their kid, who is just about ready to quit piano lessons.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1865320 - 03/20/12 11:56 AM Re: piano teacher trying out the piano before purchase [Re: AZNpiano]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7382
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
I'm just one lucky guy! Imagine getting six of them!

BTW, what do you think a dealer is going to do with a piano which has a small profit margin? Five hours of voicing? Doubt it seriously.

Ben, I'm talking uprights, not grands. My source, a tech who worked with Kawaii for years, explained that the under 6 ft models and uprights were almost entirely automated in construction. Of course, no two are "exactly" the same, because wood products always have very slight variations. But they are far, far more consistent that handwork, which is prevalent on larger model grands.

And I suppose it depends upon what the meaning of "is" is. Or in this case, prepping. If by prepping, you mean tuning and checking for damage, then I guess most dealers prep uprights. If you mean revoicing, resetting let-off, etc., then I suggest that work would eliminate any profit for them.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1865363 - 03/20/12 01:44 PM Re: piano teacher trying out the piano before purchase [Re: Bumble Bee]
Monaco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 387
Loc: GA
I did mix grands into my last post, but my experience of playing three notes that sound like three different pianos happened on Kawai K series pianos and Yamaha M something or anothers.


There is certainly more and more automation going into piano work, but there are still many, many steps that have to be done by hand.

Your point about what constitutes prep work is being discussed right now on the piano forum.
Here's the link http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1862952/1.html

Of note is the following quote.
Originally Posted By: Dave B
It's simply that you have to "Train" a piano to be in good tune and in good regulation.

And after you have it where you want it, you have to apply a proactive approach to keep it there. It's like guiding a ship. Don't over steer and with diligence stay on course.

A piano out of the box might or might not have been prepped properly at the factory, but by the time it travels thousands of miles through various climatic conditions, who knows. Also remember that many parts of a piano change over time and with use. Most of these changes happen early in the life of a piano. That is why it is recommended to have your piano properly regulated at the time of purchase and again regulated after the first year. This makes sure things are being trained properly. After that, the changes happen more slowly.
As for the profit margin, I am sure that prep work eats into profit. No doubt. That's why many dealers won't do it unless they have to. It is up to the customer to insist that it is done.

It is also important to note that most people, even professional pianists, are unaware of problems with regulation, even when looking for them. Only after a tech comes along and improves the performance of the piano do many people say, "Wow! I never knew how much better my piano could be." (Full disclosure - This last paragraph is restating information I have gleaned from others on this forum mixed with limited personal experience to the same effect. See my signature.) smile
_________________________
Ben Ereddia
Piano Teacher
Beginning Tech

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#1865386 - 03/20/12 02:58 PM Re: piano teacher trying out the piano before purchase [Re: Monaco]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7382
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Ben, when I got my 7' 6" Pramberger, which is based on the Steinway C, I downloaded Keith's prep check list, and gave a copy to my tech. Now, we're talking a grand which has a SRP of close to $50k. I bought it out of the box, knowing full well it would/could need serious work. My tech, who is one of the top regional pros, spent nearly 15 hours fine tuning and adjusting the instrument. And yes, even though it sounded and played impressively, the additional work made a significant difference. For example, he had to retune the aliquots, which were tuned a half step too low, so the duplex scale would be proper resonance(a true factory defect); he rebored the holes in the keys where the pins come through, and sanded them, to reduce friction; lubricated joints and bearings, etc., and on and on. You can see some of the work on my flickr page, starting here.

Now, to be really blunt, no dealer is going to do this type of prep work on an upright. He'd be selling it at a significant financial loss if he did.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1865437 - 03/20/12 04:38 PM Re: piano teacher trying out the piano before purchase [Re: Bumble Bee]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4417
Loc: San Jose, CA
Can we agree that (1) not all uprights of the same make and model sound (and feel) the same, for various reasons, and (2) to be sure you get the one you tried out and liked in the store, be sure to write down the serial number--- in the store owner's presence--- at the time of audition.

Be sure it matches the serial number on the invoice, and check the piano before you take delivery to make sure that it has the same serial number as the one you tried out.

It is not necessarily a case of bait-and-switch; it could be a simple mistake, one piano appearing very like another of the same model and finish.
_________________________
Clef


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#1865683 - 03/21/12 12:00 AM Re: piano teacher trying out the piano before purchase [Re: Monaco]
music32 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 1200
Loc: Berkeley, California
You are so right.. and the buyer should please note the serial number to make sure he gets the piano he picked.
_________________________
Piano blog: Performances, Instruction, Interviews
http://www.arioso7.wordpress.com

You Tube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/arioso7



NYC HS of Performing Arts
Oberlin Conservatory
NYU, M.A., Steinway M grand and upright
Haddorff console
MTAC Alameda

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#1865686 - 03/21/12 12:02 AM Re: piano teacher trying out the piano before purchase [Re: Bumble Bee]
music32 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 1200
Loc: Berkeley, California
I don't charge my students when I look at pianos for them.. But the tech, obviously is paid for his consult.
_________________________
Piano blog: Performances, Instruction, Interviews
http://www.arioso7.wordpress.com

You Tube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/arioso7



NYC HS of Performing Arts
Oberlin Conservatory
NYU, M.A., Steinway M grand and upright
Haddorff console
MTAC Alameda

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#1865731 - 03/21/12 02:34 AM Re: piano teacher trying out the piano before purchase [Re: Bumble Bee]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Teachers quake in their boots at the prospect of a student not having a quality musical home front ... a Mum with a good ear for music ... without this vital commodity, the likelihood of good keyboard progress is severely blighted.

As the old cliche goes ... money doesn’t buy happiness.

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#1865765 - 03/21/12 05:21 AM Re: piano teacher trying out the piano before purchase [Re: Minniemay]
timtopham Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 110
Loc: Brunswick, VIC
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
I have never asked or expected compensation from my students when I go with them to purchase a piano. I'm just happy they're willing to put out the money to get one! That's why I go with them. Even though they are buying new, they don't necessarily have the trained ear to hear what makes one sound better than another.


Wholeheartedly agree!
_________________________
Tim Topham
www.timtopham.com
Piano teacher, accompanist, presenter
Melbourne Australia

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#1875973 - 04/09/12 01:40 AM Re: piano teacher trying out the piano before purchase [Re: Bumble Bee]
Pete the bean Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/04
Posts: 460
Loc: Canada
I apply the small compensation I receive for a referral as payment for lesson fees. It goes a long way in the good will department.

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#1876620 - 04/10/12 03:04 AM Re: piano teacher trying out the piano before purchase [Re: Bumble Bee]
Bumble Bee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/12
Posts: 46
Thank you everyone for your inputs. Greatly appreciated.

A quick update. long story short, we end up getting a new kawai RX2, a floor model prepped/tuned in the store.

Our piano teacher prefers yamaha, he had made that pretty clear. He said Kawai is a good piano, but just not as good as yamaha. yamaha will last your a life time, whereas kawai will not. (Even after we had bough the piano, he still said that. I guess it is hard to keep how you really feel to yourself.) But for about the same size, kawai is much cheaper, and my husband is just not convinced that yamaha is better than kawai after what we have researched. I was very tored. So I ask the teacher if he can try the kawai for us, I was hoping that he will be impressed. He said yes. So I phone the store, and the manager even got the piano tuned again. But on the day that teacher is supposed to go try/play the rx2, he called me and told me that he got busy, did not have time to go to the store, but he talked to the manager who he knows for many years. After hearing from the manager, he said rx2 sounded like a fine piano, he does not need to go and play it. He even said, if I am still considering yamaha C2, he does not need to play it either. This is quite different from what he said to me many times previously. The next day, he called again, and said if I want, he can go to the store and play the piano for me. I said it is okay.

I have figured, people will have their personal preference, I do not need to win him over.

I still value him taking his time calling the two consultants for me. So I got him a bottle of nice wine, I have yet to give it to him at my daughter's next lesson.

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#1876840 - 04/10/12 02:06 PM Re: piano teacher trying out the piano before purchase [Re: Bumble Bee]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1358
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Thanks for the update. Sorry your purchase was so fraught with concerns about a piano teacher who sounds to me like a jerk. You will love your Kawai! Hope the wine was on sale.

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#1877207 - 04/11/12 01:00 AM Re: piano teacher trying out the piano before purchase [Re: Bumble Bee]
yardpiano1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/16/12
Posts: 16
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I checked out a piano last week at a student's request - at no charge and with no anticipation of finders' fee. Surprisingly, it turned out to be an old clanger of a Bernstein out on a naturestrip (sidewalk)- for free. I advised against getting that piano.... I'm hoping my students might raise her sights a little.
Having said that, I do appreciate a good ruined piano (for art purposes, rather than student practice, of course).
_________________________
www.youtube.com/user/yardpiano1?feature=mhee
Piano teacher since 1987
Victorian Music Teachers' Association member

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