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#1921868 - 07/02/12 04:58 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: PianoZac]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1620
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: Zac Forbes
The grand piano is and will always be the grandest instrument. It's amazing how much can be accomplished on the grand piano, as demonstrated by Franz Liszt's Beethoven Symphony Transcriptions.


I'm not disagreeing with this statement (and I think most piano world members would agree)

What I'm saying is that the 'general public' doesn't seem to see it this way anymore. And I think gnuboi makes a good point about art. Many people I encounter in 2012 seem to view the word ART as a four letter word and view artistically motivated things as pretentious and elitist. It's a real shame because ironically it's the opposite. True art de-emphasises the ARTIST and draws the listener's/viewer's attention to the actual piece of ART (ie. the music in this case) which in turn allows the 'beholder' to TAKE something personal away for themselves.
To my eyes and ears much of the 'mainstream' music being pumped out these days (especially the stuff being marketed to the 12-18 y/o demographic) is all about the ARTIST not the ART (if you could even call it that) It's so much about the PERSON making the music that the music seems secondary.
I get that kids need role models. I also think that kids need to be shown how to close their eyes and LISTEN and FEEL and EXPERIENCE things in a PERSONAL way. This is what art intends to do (sometimes) and this is NOT what modern mainstream music intends to do (most of the time) IMO.
So when bombarded with images of Justin Bieber and Lada Gaga with their million dollar stages full of pyrotechnics and writhing backup dancers how can you expect anyone to appreciate the subtle magic of the piano? Unless of course someone is able to appeal to their senses in a way that says 'there are far deeper levels of gratification available to you if you're just willing to put in a little bit of effort of your own.' Then they might see that all those bright lights, sexy dancers and LOUD rhythmically flaccid 4/4 bass booms don't really go very deep into their soul -- and that in turn will create a NEED for something more, or at least something contrasting. There's nothing wrong with Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. It's exactly what it intends to be and does a great and efficient job achieving its own goals. But there IS something very wrong with thinking that THAT form of entertainment is motivated by the same purpose as ART (in its aforementioned definition).

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#1921884 - 07/02/12 05:33 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: pianoloverus]
Annitenth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 462
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Rusty Fortysome
...[A] far majority of pianos sold in the past were used as living room status symbols (or space fillers) rather than serious musical instruments.


While no doubt some buy a piano just for its furniture aspect or status, I don't think this applies to a majority. Just for starters, many pianos purchased are verticals, which don't qualify as living room status symbols IMO.


Certainly when I was growing up 60 years ago in the small-town South, any piano (other than an old upright, and perhaps even that as well) was considered a status symbol. Most middle-class little girls were exposed to at least a year or two of lessons, after which most of those spinets sat untouched until the parents' demise.
_________________________
Anne
Bösendorfer 225
Technics PCM Digital Ensemble PR307

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#1921889 - 07/02/12 05:45 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Rusty Fortysome
During the 40s-50s-60s-70s-80s, pianos were almost mandatory for upwardly mobile folks in the middle classes.
Just for starters, many pianos purchased are verticals, which don't qualify as living room status symbols IMO.

Growing up in the 60's and 70's, an upright piano in the livingroom was de rigueur to show that you were solidly middle class. A grand demonstrated that you were securely upper-middle.

Among the little girls I knew, if you didn't take piano lessons it was assumed it was because you were too poor. My mom, who was most definitively "class-jumping" from "white trash" to "upper middle", made sure we had a very attractive* piano and I took lessons on it.

Would the modern equivalent be one of those supersized ultra-wide-screen surround-sound home theater systems? (i'm not sure i have the right terminology to describe massive techno-monstrosity I'm visualizing. We kicked the TV out of our house a decade ago, so I'm way out of the loop)

* Unfortunately the piano was virtually untunable, but that didn't matter. It was a symbolic item.
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#1921891 - 07/02/12 05:52 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: tangleweeds]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19342
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: tangleweeds
Originally Posted By: Pianoloverus
Just for starters, many pianos purchased are verticals, which don't qualify as living room status symbols IMO.
Growing up in the 60's and 70's, an upright piano in the livingroom was de rigueur to show that you were solidly middle class. A grand demonstrated that you were securely upper-middle.
I don't think a vertical piano in the living room today has the same meaning.

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#1921932 - 07/02/12 07:36 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Julien Pierre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/10
Posts: 44
Loc: Silicon Valley
Yes, the piano industry is in a sorry state. For sure, the recent recession had a lot to do with it.
But there are probably other factors.

Digital instruments have gotten a lot better over time. They are much cheaper and take far less space than any acoustic piano. They have advantages such as the ability to play silently. That matters a lot in urban settings with a higher density of population. It's far easier for parents to justify the smaller digital expense for their kids, in case they do not keep up with the music, as the majority doesn't. For those who move often, especially renters, moving costs for acoustic pianos can be quite high.

I'm sorry that several local dealers have significantly downsized their showrooms over the last decade. As a consumer, I have recently benefited by being able to buy a full concert grand at a price I could afford. But I worry that this won't be possible in a few years if the trend continues.

I hope it doesn't get to the point where there are no more showrooms, and all new instruments are built and shipped to order, as the situation already is for less common instruments such as harpsichords. Paying upfront before manufacture, and waiting a couple of years to get your instrument would not be fun - and it's one of the main reasons I have not bought a harpsichord, the other one being that I'm too lazy to maintain one.

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#1921951 - 07/02/12 08:36 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Tribbs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/13/12
Posts: 43
Loc: Madtown
The US housing market is in serious trouble, far worse than in almost any other developed country. Since 2006, housing prices have fallen 30 to 40 percent in most areas; millions now owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth, and millions more have only slivers of equity. The average homeowner today has 7 percent equity in his or her home, versus 45 percent as recently as 1990.

http://www.aei.org/outlook/economics/fin...-housing-market

_________________________
The People's Cube


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#1931196 - 07/23/12 10:13 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: tangleweeds]
Rusty Fortysome Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/11
Posts: 194
Loc: USA
I have to agree with Steve Cohen above: a comeback is very unlikely. The acoustic piano will never vanish within our lifetimes or even the next hundred or two years, but they will probably become similar to expertly crafted contrabass clarinets--rare and expensive.

The digital price is right. For anyone not an advanced/master/professional player, the digital solution is best in ALL ways. People are more and more nomadic with smaller, rented living spaces they have for a small number of years before moving onward to some other place near to work or welfare offices. Moving acoustics alone is a pain, but digitals are usually a one-person job. You can take the extra cash you saved by getting a digital and buy a TV or drugs or whatever. :P

If the acoustic piano market remains this robust for another decade, I would be amazed. There will always be a lively sales market to universities, churches, schools, hotels, etc., but homes will mostly abandon the acoustic due to all the economic and cultural changes. This situation COULD turn about if people begin being able to be productive again, make money, stay put, and find value in the cultural of piano music.

Originally Posted By: tangleweeds
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Rusty Fortysome
During the 40s-50s-60s-70s-80s, pianos were almost mandatory for upwardly mobile folks in the middle classes.
Just for starters, many pianos purchased are verticals, which don't qualify as living room status symbols IMO.

Growing up in the 60's and 70's, an upright piano in the livingroom was de rigueur to show that you were solidly middle class. A grand demonstrated that you were securely upper-middle.


Last week I saw the "Back To The Future" trilogy for the first time in a couple decades. It was fascinating to see the detail they used in the McFly home to show their economic status before and after, in the first film. The first house had a truncated spinet/organy-thing in the background. Their "piano" looked like something out of a child's playroom. The keyboard at the end was a full sized upright or organ.

To show the wealth of Doc Brown, they put a very-very ornate upright organ in his house. It looked like it was hand crafted around 1900.

They also had a clever use of sheet music: the McFlys had no music on their piano. Doc was actively playing in his spare time with sheet music piled on the stand.

Anyway, the piano was (and kinda still is) a status symbol portraying the cultural and economic status of a person. It isn't a true indicator, but it tells a LOT about a person. In the old days it was a grand in upper-middle homes (like where I grew up), uprights in solidly middle-class, spinets in lower-middle class homes and below. And the upper classes had art cased Steinways and other such prestige pianos.

These days, in my opinion, a lack of piano generally shows a lack of cultural awareness: someone that is a mere cultural consumer and the modern corporate slave in general. Again, this isn't a universal. Someone with an electronic keyboard is hopeful or actively creative. Grands usually belong to the affluent and culturally acute.
_________________________
Currently working on/memorizing...
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"He's A Pirate"
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#1931247 - 07/23/12 11:57 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14138
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
Yes, the piano industry is in a sorry state. For sure, the recent recession had a lot to do with it.
But there are probably other factors.


While there have been more buyers in the past who put musical education on an "experimental basis" to see "how their kids will be doing" we see more serious & dedicated buyers today.

As a result, some manufacturers are doing exceedingly well enjoying full order books and actual waiting times for their pianos.

It's quite evident that the age of "wolesale-out-the-door- piano-sales" is coming to an end but for those who are committed to excellence, the activity is same - if not more.

At same time consumers have become far more educated, critical and certainly - value-oriented.

Simply speaking, being exposed to a much more varied, "interesting" market, people are making increasingly different choices.

Those who saw this coming, trimmed their fat of both their operations, product selection and ...ahem...'margins'.. the new times present a new opportunity rather than thread.

Many piano buyers, at least in our B.C. area, seem to see things same way realizing the new possibilities/choices acquiring fine quality instruments without having to mortgage their homes. And this does nor only include us.

Apparently exact same involving other instruments is happening: my own daughter [song-writer, performer] just picked a $ 300 guitar preferring it over some others costing twice or more.

Even the boys at the store quietly nodded in agreement...

Different times - different market: that's all.

Norbert


Edited by Norbert (07/23/12 12:14 PM)
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#1931294 - 07/23/12 01:16 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
JeanieA Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 507
Loc: Reno, Nevada
If you'll permit a non-professional observation.

Dave B. and Larry: I'd love to see all areas of subject matter on the state and federal standardized testing. However, since there isn't even science or social studies appearing on those tests, art will continue to take a backseat. Wrong, yes; I certainly have no clue as to a fix for that.

What I have seen is that this generation of young people, let's say from age 6 to early 20s, is being/has been raised by people who grew up in the 1980s. I've heard them described as the "me" generation, where it was all about getting stuff for as little effort as possible. This also coincided with huge leaps in technology, bringing us MP3 players, excellent home video and gaming systems, all kinds of passive entertainment. You were considered less than successful if you actually did for yourself, "You actually COOK dinner every night!?!" "Why bother to fix it, I'll buy a new one." etc. People got out of the habit of doing for themselves, and now these parents raising these kids actually don't know HOW to do anything for themselves.

I have noticed a trend in young people my own children's ages, early 20s: it is suddenly becoming trendy to learn to DO something! I see teens and 20 somethings knitting! I have several kids coming to help in my garden and getting sincerely excited about seeing the produce start to come in. I have been showing some of the kids how to cook from scratch with old family recipes - YES!, you can actually bake your own bread and it tastes fabulous! My son has been giving impromptu classes in car maintenance to several of his friends (in our driveway with dear hubby's tools, which doesn't excite dear hubby). I have even been asked to help son's girlfriend reacquaint herself with piano basics with an eye to restarting lessons with a real teacher.

I don't know if this "trend" is something just local - I sure hope not - an offshoot of folks not having the cash to go and buy entertainment like they used to, or a realization that depending on others all the time for everything is not a good way to live. I do hope this is a trend and feel that in the long run it may benefit the piano industry, making your own music could be becoming fashionable again. Unfortunately it likely won't be soon enough for those retailers already teetering on the edge of closure.

I've taken a bunch of friends of my kids to the local music store, a regular errand for me but a first-contact experience for most of them. And I've spent a lot more time in those stores than I planned because those kids were fascinated. So, the interest is there, we just have to help encourage it!
_________________________
Collector of sheet music I can't play.

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#1931493 - 07/23/12 07:42 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
John51 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/02
Posts: 295
Loc: England
While watching this, I thought, this guy wasn't selling as many pianos as he would like. smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cGNT-RSkEU


Edited by John51 (07/23/12 07:43 PM)
_________________________
Whaddya mean I shouldn't be swinging it? Beethoven wrote some great rags.

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#1931550 - 07/23/12 09:55 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 639
Loc: NY and NC
I have an idea to consider. Whenever you look at Larry Fine's price lists, you have the MSRP and the SRP and the option to plug in a possible discount off of the SRP, but until you go into a piano showroom, you have no idea what kind of discount may actually be offered. In fact, I have heard of some dealers tailoring their asking prices to the particular customer. Each prospect not getting the same offered price in other words. I don't know if this happens much or not, but I have been told this happens. I understand that they want to let you try the piano as this will help sell it, and they can explain the advantages of their pianos while you are there, etc. This is fine. However, as fewer piano stores are available for convenient visitations, it is natural that the potential buyers spend more time online checking where dealers are, what they have, reading manufacturer's website brochures, listening to samples on YouTube, and so on. If a trip of several hundred miles is needed to try a few different brands of piano in person, it would be helpful to the potential buyer to know if the models are even feasible pricewise. Used pianos prices are almost always posted even on dealer websites as well as Craigslist, PianoMart, Ebay, and so on. This places the new piano at a sales disadvantage. My local Lexus dealer has recently adopted a clear pricing strategy where the real selling price is posted in the car window. There is no haggling. If they want to offer a special price to move a particular car, it is advertised on the sticker as well. If most or all of the piano stores advertised their selling price online or could give it over the phone, the new piano would not be at a selling disadvantage and potential customers would know whether it was worth the trip to go to the store. I know the piano needs to be played and investigated in person, but knowing the price in advance would facilitate the sale, I think. I realize that in some cases the policy is forced by the manufacturers, but maybe this needs to be negotiated by the dealers. If times are hard, it pays to advertise.
_________________________
2004 Mason-Hamlin polished ebony BB.
Trying harder and harder to improve my meager skills.

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#1931561 - 07/23/12 10:14 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1969
Loc: Philadelphia area
JeanieA, I totally agree. Kids need to interact with the 3 dimensional reality here on planet earth. I think the arts, sports, and yes auto/mechanical are efficient and rewarding ways to interact with our 3 dimensional existence.

Here in PA we have the PSSA state test that does include a science section. If I remember correctly there's even a geography section for 8th graders. And just to make the test even more exciting, last year a writing section was added for the 10th graders. The writing section only asks for three paragraphs but its large score percentage has forced our school district to adjusted the curriculum. Most teachers I've talked to feel they forced to teach 'down' to the test. They say they could teach so much more.

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#1931568 - 07/23/12 10:29 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1969
Loc: Philadelphia area
Chopin49, I'm not a salesman but I do know a few of them. If you were buying a piano or a car, at what point in the process would you want to feel it, sit on it, get in it, drive it, play it,etc?

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#1931774 - 07/24/12 11:03 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Julien Pierre]
SirHuddlestonFudd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 96
Loc: Cambridge, MA
This is not true at all. There is the Harpsichord Clearing House, in Massachusetts (http://www.harpsichord.com) which sells "used" and rebuilt harpsichords, as well as instruments on consignment. Many builders in other states have instruments available to play and buy the same day.

As for maintenance, I've found that while you have to touch up the tuning and regulation of a harpsichord on a regular, say monthly, basis, overall it's less work that what the technician does to you piano twice a year.

Harpsichords: the instruments of the future!

Originally Posted By: Julien Pierre
I hope it doesn't get to the point where there are no more showrooms, and all new instruments are built and shipped to order, as the situation already is for less common instruments such as harpsichords. Paying upfront before manufacture, and waiting a couple of years to get your instrument would not be fun - and it's one of the main reasons I have not bought a harpsichord, the other one being that I'm too lazy to maintain one.

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#1931780 - 07/24/12 11:09 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
SirHuddlestonFudd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 96
Loc: Cambridge, MA
Perhaps one reason acoustic piano sales are in decline is that buying an acoustic piano is fraught with financial risk -- the piano business is second only to the car business in the opacity of the information the buyer is presented with. Prices are far more fungible than they should be. Maybe one reason acoustics are in decline is that digital piano prices are not veiled in secrecy, and the dealers don't engage in as much disinformation about them as about the acoustics. Likewise with guitars -- you can buy very, very good classical guitars online, and in every sales outlet the prices are clearly marked. The price of every new piano should be listed on the dealer's website. Anything else just looks like a way to screw the ignorant out of their money.

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#1931783 - 07/24/12 11:18 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
SirHuddlestonFudd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 96
Loc: Cambridge, MA
Finally, consider that the incomes of the middle class have stagnated for the last 30 years, and that in the heyday of the middle class many more makers catered to the prices they could afford to pay. I make a good middle class income, but even the most modest grand piano would require a home-equity loan to purchase. Pianos have become something only the wealthy can afford with relative ease (my eyebrows always go up when somebody on this site posts pics of their new Bluthner or even Estonia grands -- how the heck can they afford it?); people rant about how you're cheating your kids if you don't buy them an acoustic, but the only piano I can buy without trading the kid's college fund for it is a digital. That's the facts.

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#1931795 - 07/24/12 12:17 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
Plowboy Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2308
Loc: SoCal
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
The price of every new piano should be listed on the dealer's website. Anything else just looks like a way to screw the ignorant out of their money.


That's certainly the impression a buyer would get.

Quote:
I make a good middle class income, but even the most modest grand piano would require a home-equity loan to purchase.


Yes, which is why I'm buying a entry level grand.
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#1931807 - 07/24/12 12:51 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8534
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Plowboy
Yes, which is why I'm buying a entry level grand.

The way I see it, there ain't nothin' wrong with an entry-level grand piano that sounds and plays well... smile

Besides, there is always a better piano to be had, and a bird in hand that we can afford is better than two birds in the bush that we can't afford.

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1931814 - 07/24/12 01:01 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
Steve Cohen Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10479
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
Perhaps one reason acoustic piano sales are in decline is that buying an acoustic piano is fraught with financial risk -- the piano business is second only to the car business in the opacity of the information the buyer is presented with. Prices are far more fungible than they should be. Maybe one reason acoustics are in decline is that digital piano prices are not veiled in secrecy, and the dealers don't engage in as much disinformation about them as about the acoustics. Likewise with guitars -- you can buy very, very good classical guitars online, and in every sales outlet the prices are clearly marked. The price of every new piano should be listed on the dealer's website. Anything else just looks like a way to screw the ignorant out of their money.


This post show a lack of understanding of the piano industry.

You might read http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post909088.

It is lengthy, but eventually paints a good picture of the challenges of pricing in the piano industry.
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Since 1937.

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

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#1931829 - 07/24/12 01:28 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Rickster]
Plowboy Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2308
Loc: SoCal
Originally Posted By: Rickster
...and a bird in hand that we can afford is better than two birds in the bush that we can't afford.


Exactly!
_________________________
Gary

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#1931840 - 07/24/12 01:48 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5318
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
Perhaps one reason acoustic piano sales are in decline is that buying an acoustic piano is fraught with financial risk -- the piano business is second only to the car business in the opacity of the information the buyer is presented with. Prices are far more fungible than they should be. Maybe one reason acoustics are in decline is that digital piano prices are not veiled in secrecy, and the dealers don't engage in as much disinformation about them as about the acoustics. Likewise with guitars -- you can buy very, very good classical guitars online, and in every sales outlet the prices are clearly marked. The price of every new piano should be listed on the dealer's website. Anything else just looks like a way to screw the ignorant out of their money.

Finally, consider that the incomes of the middle class have stagnated for the last 30 years, and that in the heyday of the middle class many more makers catered to the prices they could afford to pay. I make a good middle class income, but even the most modest grand piano would require a home-equity loan to purchase. Pianos have become something only the wealthy can afford with relative ease (my eyebrows always go up when somebody on this site posts pics of their new Bluthner or even Estonia grands -- how the heck can they afford it?); people rant about how you're cheating your kids if you don't buy them an acoustic, but the only piano I can buy without trading the kid's college fund for it is a digital. That's the facts.


I think both are the case. The piano is displayed as a luxury good. That is why there are no prices listed--it is assumed if you are even looking at it, that you can afford it.

With regard to middle class incomes, it goes back farther than that. If you count tax code changes, inflation, and wage stagflation, one could argue the middle class has been going the way of the dodo since about 1945. I don't want to turn this thread into a political/socioeconomic discussion, so I'll leave out the evidence. But if anyone would actually like to discuss it, I'd be happy to share. For now, I'll stick to the pianos. smile

I'm going to add a third reason: adaptation. The piano companies (manufacturers, dealers, etc) have yet to adapt to the information age. If their intent is to market to the middle class, they're failing. Miserably. In both price and information. In today's day and age, we are used to having information, and we get frustrated and go somewhere else if we don't get it. Even luxury goods are starting to show prices. Take a Ferrari for example.. if you Google "Ferrari prices", the very first link is a dealership that lists its prices for Ferrari's online. Piano companies will learn to adapt, or they will fail. A few top-end luxury providers will remain, catering to the wealthy who don't care what the price is, but the rest will fade.
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#1931869 - 07/24/12 02:57 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
JeanieA Online   content
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Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 507
Loc: Reno, Nevada
SirHuddleston: I think the cell phone prices/plans/bills are considerably more opaque anything a car dealer has thought up, but people are buying into those BIG time!

I agree with posters regarding visable piano pricing. Please don't make me ask the price, I won't. I will find somewhere to shop where the prices are displayed, as that's a much more comfortable shopping experience for me be it pianos, groceries, cars, or appliances.
_________________________
Collector of sheet music I can't play.

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#1931960 - 07/24/12 06:31 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
dsch Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/08
Posts: 325
Loc: florida
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
Finally, consider that the incomes of the middle class have stagnated for the last 30 years, and that in the heyday of the middle class many more makers catered to the prices they could afford to pay. I make a good middle class income, but even the most modest grand piano would require a home-equity loan to purchase. Pianos have become something only the wealthy can afford with relative ease (my eyebrows always go up when somebody on this site posts pics of their new Bluthner or even Estonia grands -- how the heck can they afford it?)


Totally agree. Twenty years ago a new Steinway L was affordable for me. I was young and invincible and had cash and what I thought was a very secure upper-middle class future.

But the tide turned and I sold it.

Now I want a nice grand but spending that kind of money in this economy gives me the willies. What if something happens? What if I lose my job? What about my retirement fund? What if I get sick? What if I need to buy a new HVAC system?

The Chinese manufacturers seem to be willing to fit the niche for those of us with Euro tastes and scant savings. But I still hesitate because even what they ask for a PE187 is now a scary sum to me.

Poor is the new normal.

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#1932145 - 07/25/12 10:02 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
SirHuddlestonFudd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 96
Loc: Cambridge, MA
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
Perhaps one reason acoustic piano sales are in decline is that buying an acoustic piano is fraught with financial risk -- the piano business is second only to the car business in the opacity of the information the buyer is presented with. Prices are far more fungible than they should be. Maybe one reason acoustics are in decline is that digital piano prices are not veiled in secrecy, and the dealers don't engage in as much disinformation about them as about the acoustics. Likewise with guitars -- you can buy very, very good classical guitars online, and in every sales outlet the prices are clearly marked. The price of every new piano should be listed on the dealer's website. Anything else just looks like a way to screw the ignorant out of their money.


This post show a lack of understanding of the piano industry.

You might read http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post909088.

It is lengthy, but eventually paints a good picture of the challenges of pricing in the piano industry.


That's funny. I read the post you sent me to and the most informative comment was this one:

"I don't have the book in front of me so I can't quote it verbatim but Larry Fine's supplement says that it is not uncommon for one customer to pay 50% more than another customer for the same piano on the same day at the same dealer."


So you're dead wrong. If it's possible for two people to pay a 50% difference for the same piano from the same dealer, the piano business is crooked, and it's no wonder people are fleeing it -- they can't afford to play games with their money any more.

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#1932155 - 07/25/12 10:23 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
Plowboy Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2308
Loc: SoCal
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd

So you're dead wrong. If it's possible for two people to pay a 50% difference for the same piano from the same dealer, the piano business is crooked, and it's no wonder people are fleeing it -- they can't afford to play games with their money any more.


He makes a very good point. Not even cars are sold that way anymore.
_________________________
Gary

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#1932270 - 07/25/12 02:39 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Larry Buck]
Cmajor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/11
Posts: 229
Loc: USA


Burn the video games and buy a piano.

[/quote]

Well said Mr. Buck.

For many, time practicing at the piano, or any musical instrument, has been replaced by hours of sitting in front of a screen participating in a fake, and often violent, world. After a while, it can, for some, become difficult to separate fact from fiction.

Music is real. It enhances the thought process. To make music is a real challenge not a fake one. I fail to see how blowing your opponent to smithereens on a TV or computer screen can be as satisfying as mastering a piece of music. Then again, I'm not 14.

In reading all these posts, it occurred to me that we are now beginning to see the results of many years of subjecting the arts to backseat status in our public educational systems. This is not the only factor in the decline of piano sales, for sure, and a stubbornly bad economy is a player too, but certainly the apparent lack of understanding regarding the importance of the Arts is also a significant ingredient in the recipe for declining sales...IMO.

It seems to me that, as more and more school districts foolishly cut programs for the arts, including music, we are insuring our own eventual decline as a society. It is a proven and accepted fact that kids who study music and/or the other arts do better with their other subjects so there exists a direct correlation between the arts and the sciences. There is much anguish and hand wringing about the fact that our kids can no longer compete with students from other countries in math and the science... well Duhhh... As more Arts programs meet their demise, we will undoubtedly see more instances of the family upright being replaced by an elaborate gaming station.

Perhaps parents should become more active and vocal with local school boards and demand the restoration of Arts programs. Perhaps even those of us without school age kids should become more involved as the future of our society is dependent on the product of our public educational system.

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#1932291 - 07/25/12 03:22 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
Cmajor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/11
Posts: 229
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
Finally, consider that the incomes of the middle class have stagnated for the last 30 years, and that in the heyday of the middle class many more makers catered to the prices they could afford to pay. I make a good middle class income, but even the most modest grand piano would require a home-equity loan to purchase.


...and the average equity of a homeowner in the US is now almost non existent unless you bought your home 20+ years ago and even those folks have lost a considerable amount of their previously accumulated equity.

Money that could have been taken from home equity for repairs, new HVAC system, etc. now has to be taken from expendable income... money that could have been used to buy that piano. The foundation of our economy, at least for the middle classes, has always been the steady but gradual increase in the value of home ownership. Just a handful of years ago, anyone who predicted that buying a home would be a bad investment would have been thought a complete fool.

Compounding the problem is the fact that, until recently, the average working Joe or Jane could reasonably expect periodic salary increases to increase their buying power over time... but that too is no more, at least for most. No wonder there is reluctance to take on a 10 year debt to finance an acoustical piano.

Ya gotta have car (unless you live in a big city with great mass transit) but an acoustical piano... not so much.



Edited by Cmajor (07/25/12 03:24 PM)

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#1932328 - 07/25/12 04:28 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Cmajor]
Aaron Garner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento, Ca
Wow, from the original post, this thread has really gone in a number of directions. A lot of very interesting viewpoints.

I'd like to comment about the pricing of pianos. I know very little about how the piano industry works, I just play them. I do know that it can be a very confusing process for a buyer and many customers don't trust the sales people. I just purchased a Mason BB. The price on the piano was something like 69K which I knew was way too much based on what friends paid for the same piano. I immediately got them down to 40K over the phone. I ended up buying it for way less than 40K. Same thing happened with my previous piano - Yamaha C5. Price tag was 49K and I bought it for 26K. There were a few other pianos that I considered too. One was supposedly worth 100K and I could have purchased for close to a 60% discount. C'mon, there is something wrong with this picture. IMO, this is sleazy.
_________________________
2013 Mason and Hamlin BB
Full-time music professor (theory) and jazz pianist

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#1932350 - 07/25/12 05:16 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14138
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
One was supposedly worth 100K and I could have purchased for close to a 60% discount. C'mon, there is something wrong with this picture. IMO, this is sleazy.


It's just plain economics.

"Best piano for money" is something people have demanded for a while but the pace has greatly accelerated as of late.

Involving pianos belonging to all tiers.

Some dealers still try to play by the old rules trying to get most they can [or used to..] while in other situation the buckle under and sell same product for considerably less.

It's not so much "sleaziness" but a stressed economy at the bottom of all of this. And dealer stupidity to make this for consumers a "guessing game"...

At no time has it been more important to have right product, right pricing and right customer service.

Nothing wrong with pulling out last few invoices for same piano and showing customers they're paying an "honest" price.

We often do.

Norbert thumb


Edited by Norbert (07/25/12 05:24 PM)
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#1932360 - 07/25/12 05:32 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Norbert]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19342
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Norbert
Nothing wrong with pulling out last few invoices for same piano and showing customers they're paying an "honest" price.

We often do.
Which only means that the prices have been the same as opposed to "fair". How would any customer know which invoices you showed them?

More ESP
Click to reveal..
(Endless Self Promotion)


Edited by pianoloverus (07/25/12 05:37 PM)

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