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Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
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#1921028 - 06/30/12 10:02 AM Here's an Eye-Opener
Steve Cohen Online   content
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According to the just release July issue of Music Merchandise Review (MMR), a leading music industry trade journal, in 2009 there were 432 keyboard specialty stores...stores that specialized in pianos, organs and keyboards. In 2012 there were only 315!
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#1921043 - 06/30/12 10:47 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8582
Loc: Georgia, USA
I'm sorry to hear that piano/keyboard stores are on the decline. Congratulations to you that Jasons Music Center is one of the survivors.

Rick
_________________________
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#1921172 - 06/30/12 04:56 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
pianoloverus Online   content
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I'm reading a 550 page bio of Steinway and there were big depressions and a large number of piano maker closings in the 1870's and 1890's. Apparently there was one year in the 1890's where Steinway sold no or very close to no pianos.

I don't have the historical perspective or knowledge to know how the big depressions that occurred in the 1870s, 1890s, the Great Depression, the depression in the 1970s, and the most recent depression compare for the general population and for the piano industry.

I wonder how the latest depression compares to the others? Did the piano industry suffer big blow during the 1970s?


Edited by pianoloverus (06/30/12 05:42 PM)

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#1921182 - 06/30/12 05:19 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: pianoloverus]
beethoven986 Offline
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Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3359
I don't think the downturn in dealers is necessarily related to the economy:

1. The piano is not the mainstay of American culture that it once was. Music and the arts have to compete with iPods, computers, TV, and sports, etc., more than ever.

2. After 120 or so years of piano building and importing in the US, the market is over saturated. And piano makers have been very bad at giving people a reason to buy new instruments.

3. Piano owners and buyers are increasingly looking to sites on the Internet to complete transactions, and many dealers just suck at advertising, and some charge outrageous prices for their pianos.

Successful dealers will be the ones who: prep and maintain their stock well, diversify the services and products they offer, are honest and treat their customers with respect, and maintain an aggressive presence on the web and in their communities.
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#1921191 - 06/30/12 05:47 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: beethoven986]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: beethoven986
I don't think the downturn in dealers is necessarily related to the economy:

1. The piano is not the mainstay of American culture that it once was. Music and the arts have to compete with iPods, computers, TV, and sports, etc., more than ever.

2. After 120 or so years of piano building and importing in the US, the market is over saturated. And piano makers have been very bad at giving people a reason to buy new instruments.

3. Piano owners and buyers are increasingly looking to sites on the Internet to complete transactions...
Yes, but the first two on your list have been true for a lot more than three or four years and even your number three has probably been the case for some time.

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#1921224 - 06/30/12 07:55 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
j&j Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 445
Loc: Southwest
It would be really interesting to find out the latest sales figures for acoustic pianos in North America and globally and the numbers of uprights and grands sold. Are sales starting to come back or are they continuing to decline?

It seems that the prices posted in Larry Fine's Piano Book have increased in the last few years for most piano makers and I'm wondering how that has impacted sales and especially how dealers have handled it.
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#1921249 - 06/30/12 09:46 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: pianoloverus]
gnuboi Offline
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Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 2349
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
I don't think the downturn in dealers is necessarily related to the economy:

1. The piano is not the mainstay of American culture that it once was. Music and the arts have to compete with iPods, computers, TV, and sports, etc., more than ever.

2. After 120 or so years of piano building and importing in the US, the market is over saturated. And piano makers have been very bad at giving people a reason to buy new instruments.

3. Piano owners and buyers are increasingly looking to sites on the Internet to complete transactions...
Yes, but the first two on your list have been true for a lot more than three or four years and even your number three has probably been the case for some time.


Yes, but piano dealers can probably last a few years before they really have to close the store.

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#1921265 - 06/30/12 11:00 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: gnuboi]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1540
Loc: Danville, California
Originally Posted By: gnuboi
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
I don't think the downturn in dealers is necessarily related to the economy:

1. The piano is not the mainstay of American culture that it once was. Music and the arts have to compete with iPods, computers, TV, and sports, etc., more than ever.

2. After 120 or so years of piano building and importing in the US, the market is over saturated. And piano makers have been very bad at giving people a reason to buy new instruments.

3. Piano owners and buyers are increasingly looking to sites on the Internet to complete transactions...
Yes, but the first two on your list have been true for a lot more than three or four years and even your number three has probably been the case for some time.


Yes, but piano dealers can probably last a few years before they really have to close the store.


I'll be sure to mention that to my friends who went out of business. I guess they forgot.

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#1921268 - 06/30/12 11:10 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Furtwangler]
gnuboi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 2349
Loc: USA
What I meant is, sales probably declined gradually over time. It's not like one day all of the sudden people just stopped buying.

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#1921279 - 06/30/12 11:43 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: gnuboi]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1540
Loc: Danville, California
Originally Posted By: gnuboi
What I meant is, sales probably declined gradually over time. It's not like one day all of the sudden people just stopped buying.


Sales declined about 80% in an 18-24 month period during the financial collapse/recession during 2008-2009. I would say that was pretty sudden.

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#1921286 - 06/30/12 11:58 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Norbert Online   content
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I don't know what the 'statistics' are but we are very happy having sold 2 grands today.

There may be far less buyers than before but it's nice to know one carries stuff still worth people's consideration.

Chances are, this will be an ever ever more important consideration in future...

Norbert
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#1921292 - 07/01/12 12:27 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
MrHazelton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/24/09
Posts: 243
Loc: CT
I wish there were more piano stores. If I want to go to a piano store I'm in for a long drive. frown

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#1921318 - 07/01/12 03:15 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: pianoloverus]
beethoven986 Offline
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Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3359
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
I don't think the downturn in dealers is necessarily related to the economy:

1. The piano is not the mainstay of American culture that it once was. Music and the arts have to compete with iPods, computers, TV, and sports, etc., more than ever.

2. After 120 or so years of piano building and importing in the US, the market is over saturated. And piano makers have been very bad at giving people a reason to buy new instruments.

3. Piano owners and buyers are increasingly looking to sites on the Internet to complete transactions...
Yes, but the first two on your list have been true for a lot more than three or four years and even your number three has probably been the case for some time.


A lot can change in 3 or 4 years (barely anyone had a smart phone three years ago!), and the economic downturn definitely isn't helping.
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PTG Associate Member
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#1921331 - 07/01/12 05:23 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Rusty Fortysome Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/11
Posts: 194
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
... in 2009 there were 432 keyboard specialty stores... In 2012 there were only 315!


And I expect there will be less in 2013 and less in 2014 unless the economy turns.

The piano thrived as a status symbol. Period. There was and is always a need for pianos as musical instruments, but a far majority of pianos sold in the past were used as living room status symbols (or space fillers) rather than serious musical instruments. I believe most still are, though many of those are purchased with further hope children learning to unlock music via piano and transform into academic superstars.

There has been a plethora of interesting propaganda surrounding the piano which aided sales in the past. During the 40s-50s-60s-70s-80s, pianos were almost mandatory for upwardly mobile folks in the middle classes. There was a piano in half the front rooms of suburban houses which I visited in the 70s and 80s... today I know of almost no one with a working piano in their house. I do know several people with broken organs/pianos in their living rooms. People of my generation have discarded the idea of the piano as a cultural icon, status symbol, and hobby. If people have keyboards, they tend to be back room electronic things hidden in some nook far from visiting eyes.

While the piano is still a prime musical instrument, it isn't a universal bijou anymore. I doubt it will return to such status unless we have economic explosion again, fueling wealth and luxury purchasing. Expect piano dealers with grands and uprights to wrinkle further.
_________________________
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#1921358 - 07/01/12 08:02 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Rusty Fortysome]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Rusty Fortysome
The piano thrived as a status symbol. Period. There was and is always a need for pianos as musical instruments, but a far majority of pianos sold in the past were used as living room status symbols (or space fillers) rather than serious musical instruments.
What do you base this statement on?

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.

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#1921360 - 07/01/12 08:09 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Norbert]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19573
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Norbert
I don't know what the 'statistics' are but we are very happy having sold 2 grands today.

There may be far less buyers than before but it's nice to know one carries stuff still worth people's consideration.

Chances are, this will be an ever ever more important consideration in future...

Norbert
Endlessly fishing for self promotional and self congratulatory opportunities.

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#1921407 - 07/01/12 11:27 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: pianoloverus]
Rusty Fortysome Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/11
Posts: 194
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Rusty Fortysome
The piano thrived as a status symbol. Period. There was and is always a need for pianos as musical instruments, but a far majority of pianos sold in the past were used as living room status symbols (or space fillers) rather than serious musical instruments.
What do you base this statement on?

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.

Pure anecdotal based on the thousands of households I have visited in the last decade and the thousands I visited before.

There has been a major shift in the placement of the piano within the average home. Now, if you are coming at it from a person that works in homes just to work ON pianos, you are seeing those that play and value the piano... so it would seem 100% of homes have pianos purchased for practical use.

I used to know a dozen MDs which were piano crazies. The reason was that they believed Steinways were investments, and they would snatch up Steinways for their houses and storage, hoping to resell. All the MDs and medical people I know these days have no interest in pianos. A definite cultural shift.

If piano stores are closing in the dozens, I can pretty much guarantee what I am saying has validity: the piano's worth and status within the average American home is changing. It doesn't mean it will disappear completely, but it might re-emerge as a status symbol during a boom.
_________________________
Currently working on/memorizing...
"It's You" from Robotech
"He's A Pirate"
"Crazy Bone Rag"
"Claire DeLune (finally)"

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#1921422 - 07/01/12 12:13 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Rusty Fortysome]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19573
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Rusty Fortysome
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Rusty Fortysome
The piano thrived as a status symbol. Period. There was and is always a need for pianos as musical instruments, but a far majority of pianos sold in the past were used as living room status symbols (or space fillers) rather than serious musical instruments.
What do you base this statement on?

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.

Pure anecdotal based on the thousands of households I have visited in the last decade and the thousands I visited before.

There has been a major shift in the placement of the piano within the average home. Now, if you are coming at it from a person that works in homes just to work ON pianos, you are seeing those that play and value the piano... so it would seem 100% of homes have pianos purchased for practical use.

I used to know a dozen MDs which were piano crazies. The reason was that they believed Steinways were investments, and they would snatch up Steinways for their houses and storage, hoping to resell. All the MDs and medical people I know these days have no interest in pianos. A definite cultural shift.

If piano stores are closing in the dozens, I can pretty much guarantee what I am saying has validity: the piano's worth and status within the average American home is changing. It doesn't mean it will disappear completely, but it might re-emerge as a status symbol during a boom.
In what capacity are you visiting thousands of homes?

Are you talking about placing of acoustic or digital pianos? Digital pianos would not be in living rooms as much as acoustic pianos because they are not as beautiful from the furniture aspect?

There could be many other reasons for piano stores closing besides less people interested in buying them as status symbols. The severest recent downturn in piano purchases seems to have quite precisely coincided with the most recent general economic downturn. This was also the case during the economic depressions of the 1870s and 1890s according to the Steinway Bio I'm reading. Another reason would be the popularity of digitals.

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#1921423 - 07/01/12 12:14 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Steve Cohen Online   content
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The odds are stacked against a comeback. The capital costs are very high as are the risks.

A deadly combination, even in a decent economy.
_________________________
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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#1921427 - 07/01/12 12:23 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Rusty Fortysome]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 641
As a person shopping for a grand piano myself, I am saddened by the effect the economy has on the piano industry as this makes finding the right piano much harder. And my family has always been involved in the music world, the piano business, and performing so I want to see it succeed and grow. So many large cities don't seem to offer much variety anymore. However, another issue exists, too. Just 6 years ago when my daughter bought her new Steinway L, she paid a little over $40000. Now it lists for over $60000. That is just too big a jump in such a short time. If the economy is bad, stores should be offering great deals just to move some merchandise and stay viable. I don't believe Steinway is doing this yet. Some brands are. I would say that means a lot of potential Steinway buyers are being pushed toward the pianos from other comparable brands where better offers exist. (Not all top-end companies, for sure, but some.) Maybe the performance-level brands are pricing themselves into a niche market. I know the Chinese brands are very affordable, but the difference in quality between these and the top-tier pianos should be apparent to buyers if they play. When all customers are offered are the mass-produced pianos, they may feel the quality of pianos has declined to the point that a digital makes more sense. These are marketed like cars or tvs. There will always be a few customers for the best pianos, but if the demand is small, can they stay afloat? Will they have to put all their efforts into offering their own mass-produced pianos (like Steinway's Boston and Essex pianos, for instance) and basically stop producing the original top-tier pianos except for special orders? Example: Rolls-Royce still makes a car but most people have never even seen one. I hope not.

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#1921516 - 07/01/12 05:22 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
PianoZac Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 1425
Yeah I have spent considerable time in the local Steinway, Yamaha, and Kawai piano stores here in Nashville, and I am always the only person in the store. Kawai had a few people in a separate building offering lessons, and the Steinway Society has events to bring people in but to no offense, the crowd at the Steinway Society recitals is by and large over the age of 55. I'm one of the few in my 20s for sure. I wish my generation had the passion about acoustic pianos as I have. I try and tell friends that there is simpy no replacement for a quality grand or upright.
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#1921539 - 07/01/12 06:14 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
AJF Offline
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Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1649
Loc: Toronto
On a somewhat related note, there has also been a sharp decline in piano enrollment in the post secondary music programs up here in the Toronto area. In my first year on the faculty of York University 7 years ago I had more piano students than I wanted (15 or 16 hours). In the last two or three years I've been lucky to get 3 or 4 hours worth of students because of enrollment. Such is the case with the University of Toronto and Humber College as well. There ISN'T a shortage of guitar students or vocal majors however. Their numbers continue to grow.
Is the piano's popularity in decline? It used to be that the piano was the 'grand daddy' of all instruments in people's eyes -- and for good reason. These days I wonder.
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#1921562 - 07/01/12 07:49 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
PianoZac Offline
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Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 1425
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.
_________________________
Yamaha AvantGrand N1
Nord Piano 2


"Be who you are and say how you feel. Because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

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#1921594 - 07/01/12 10:56 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: PianoZac]
gnuboi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 2349
Loc: USA
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.


Sure, the piano would gain more respect if people actually treat music more like art than background accompaniment to sexy dance moves on YouTube or MTV.

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#1921777 - 07/02/12 12:26 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2381
Loc: SoCal
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
According to the just release July issue of Music Merchandise Review (MMR), a leading music industry trade journal, in 2009 there were 432 keyboard specialty stores...stores that specialized in pianos, organs and keyboards. In 2012 there were only 315!


It's not as bad as I thought then. It seemed like 100 piano shops closed just in Southern California.
_________________________
Gary

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#1921801 - 07/02/12 01:33 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
S. Phillips Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 315
Loc: Forte Farm, Lexington, KY
For those that don't mind a good summer read, see author Arthur Loesser's Men, Women and Pianos.
http://www.amazon.com/Men-Women-Pianos-Social-History/dp/0486265439

Men, Women and Pianos is an entertaining and informative history of the piano that does a great job of explaining the popularity of the instrument. Even though it's an older book it doesn't take much to extend the trends that he saw developing into the current market for pianos.
_________________________
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#1921814 - 07/02/12 02:16 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: S. Phillips]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3359
Originally Posted By: S. Phillips
For those that don't mind a good summer read, see author Arthur Loesser's Men, Women and Pianos.
http://www.amazon.com/Men-Women-Pianos-Social-History/dp/0486265439

Men, Women and Pianos is an entertaining and informative history of the piano that does a great job of explaining the popularity of the instrument. Even though it's an older book it doesn't take much to extend the trends that he saw developing into the current market for pianos.

Yes, this is a great book. I own it, and recommend it. However, it is not without some historical inaccuracy.


_________________________
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M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
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#1921844 - 07/02/12 03:47 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Larry Buck Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 2358
Loc: Lowell MA
If Music is to return at all or stop shrinking at such a rate, we need to support the culture of Music.

Music is more that an instrument one can sell or a service for sale, it is a lifestyle.

As a technician, there is so much one can do to support the lifestyle.

If only a few do it, it may not be enough. If everyone does it, there is more of a chance.

If you are a technician, post local performances on your website. Talk to your clients about events they may not know about etc.

Got Milk ...???

Got Music ?? It should be on every milk carton sold.

The video game industry posted a 40% drop in video game sales April 2012 over April 2011. They have vowed to pull out all the stops to regain that market.

They are looking for your kids.

Burn the video games and buy a piano.
_________________________
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Isaac Newton

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Lowell MA 01852
978 458 8688
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#1921855 - 07/02/12 04:11 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1974
Loc: Philadelphia area
Larry, Why isn't there an Art section in the standard state and national tests?

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#1921864 - 07/02/12 04:46 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Dave B]
Larry Buck Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 2358
Loc: Lowell MA
Originally Posted By: Dave B
Larry, Why isn't there an Art section in the standard state and national tests?


Great question ... do you have an answer ?

I don't.
_________________________
"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants."
Isaac Newton

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Lowell MA 01852
978 458 8688
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#1921868 - 07/02/12 04:58 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: PianoZac]
AJF Offline
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Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1649
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 Online   content
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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.
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#1921889 - 07/02/12 05:45 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
tangleweeds Offline

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Registered: 12/21/08
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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
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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
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Registered: 04/05/10
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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
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Registered: 05/13/12
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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

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#1931196 - 07/23/12 10:13 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: tangleweeds]
Rusty Fortysome Offline
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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.
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#1931247 - 07/23/12 11:57 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Norbert Online   content
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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 Offline
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Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 512
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!
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#1931493 - 07/23/12 07:42 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
John51 Offline
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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)
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#1931550 - 07/23/12 09:55 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Chopinlover49 Offline
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Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 641
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.

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#1931561 - 07/23/12 10:14 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Dave B Offline
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Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1974
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
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Registered: 08/01/11
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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
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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
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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
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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 Offline
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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: 8582
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
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#1931814 - 07/24/12 01:01 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
Steve Cohen Online   content
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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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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 Offline
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Registered: 06/26/08
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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!
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#1931840 - 07/24/12 01:48 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
Derulux Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5344
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 Offline
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Registered: 11/03/04
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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.
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#1931960 - 07/24/12 06:31 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
dsch Offline
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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
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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 Offline
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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.
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#1932270 - 07/25/12 02:39 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Larry Buck]
Cmajor Offline
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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
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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]
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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.
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#1932350 - 07/25/12 05:16 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Norbert Online   content
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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)
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#1932360 - 07/25/12 05:32 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Norbert]
pianoloverus Online   content
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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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#1932365 - 07/25/12 05:44 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Norbert]
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Originally Posted By: Norbert
...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.


Worth repeating.

And in regards to a comment up thread, a salesman once told me I was bothering the tuner. Any guesses as to where I did not buy a piano?
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#1932370 - 07/25/12 06:00 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
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free en·ter·prise
Noun:
An economic system in which private business operates in competition and largely free of state control.
grin
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#1932371 - 07/25/12 06:02 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
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Before retiring, I taught middle school students. While we teachers were certified to teach all of the subjects, each person had special strengths and math was mine so I often taught 4 or 5 math classes. Almost every time the best students happened to be involved in some form of music program, or took dance or art classes, or some other expressive area. I always supported our school's art and music programs as being equally as important as math, language arts, social studies, science, and so on. Unfortunately, my daughter, who is a music teacher at high school level, has had to move from one school district to another several times as she has lost her position due to budget cuts to the music programs. The art programs are in the same fix. It seems like the prevailing opinion is that only the "basics" need preserving at all costs. I am distressed that school boards and even parents do not realize that we need to educate the complete child. I believe this same attitude may help explain the lessening interest in the arts in our country while more and more in China, Japan, and most of Europe music and the arts are considered essential to the education and success of children. The parents of my children at school were of a fairly international mix. The Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Israeli, and Indian parents almost always had their children studying piano, violin, cello, or dance, as well as a regular band instrument and chorus. Not so much the American-born parents.

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#1932375 - 07/25/12 06:22 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Norbert]
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Norbert, I understand the economics part. I'm trying to sell my piano now and obviously I want as much as I can get and the potential buyer will want the lowest price possible; I get that. I think from the consumer's point of view, we are just tired of the game. I don't know the answer to this, but perhaps the piano industry could benefit from the model Carmax uses; one price and no haggling. Just a thought.
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#1932425 - 07/25/12 09:28 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: master88er]
SirHuddlestonFudd Offline
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Originally Posted By: master88er
free en·ter·prise
Noun:
An economic system in which private business operates in competition and largely free of state control.
grin


Spoken like a true snake oil salesman. Way to make yourself look bad. At least there's one dealer for us all to avoid at all costs.

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#1932445 - 07/25/12 10:27 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
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Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
Spoken like a true snake oil salesman. Way to make yourself look bad. At least there's one dealer for us all to avoid at all costs.

I would hate to see this thread locked... Let’s keep our comments and conversation civil, as much as possible. No need to resort to name calling. We can debate and disagree till the cows come home, as long as we respect each other.

Piano dealers, like Master88er (Russell I. Kassman)
, are private business people and run their business the way they see fit, whether we agree with them or not. If we don't, we don't have to do business with them. That is how free enterprise works, for better or worse.

Russell is a respected member of this forum and does not deserve to be called a snake oil salesman.

Rick
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#1932446 - 07/25/12 10:28 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Rickster]
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Sorry about that. Won't happen again.

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#1932461 - 07/25/12 11:07 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
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I just bought a piano. I visited a lot of piano stores, including Russell's. All the dealers were good, some were great. None of them struck me as sleazy. Ultimately I bought a piano at a price that I could afford, and felt fair. If it had felt unfair, I would have just walked. May be I got lucky, but I can't relate to this sentiment in this thread.

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#1932465 - 07/25/12 11:31 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
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What do you have to say about the evidence from Fine's Piano Buyer? I don't know if we can generalize from your single data point.

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#1932482 - 07/26/12 12:43 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
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The MSRPs are being set by the manufacturers, not by the dealers. If the manufacturers set a pricing structure that allows a wide range of discounting, we can't blame the dealers for that.

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#1932536 - 07/26/12 06:16 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
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In these days, whatever one buys new will lose a very significant part of the purchase price almost immediately after purchase because there are not many potential buyers after the initial sale.

I don't think many people plan on selling after purchasing but there are too many "what ifs" in this economy. Needing a root canal, breaking one's arm, etc. and most people do not have tens of thousands on reserve to cover those things. So when times are tight they sell what they don't absolutely need.

Selling lightly used instruments is like flushing thousands of dollars down the toilet.

So I think it boils down to this: to whom do I wish to give several thousand dollars? Also: Am I in a financial position where I can absorb such a hit?

I have a very modest instrument but I think I paid far too much for it. A huge part of what I paid was dealer profit. I knew that other people were purchasing this same instrument at significantly lower prices. There were a lot of other reasons why I decided to go for it that had nothing to do with that particular instrument but in retrospect it was a mistake. At the time my income was very scant and that several $K that is gone forever made up an enormous part of my take-home pay. It was a huge financial hit.

I'd hate to see the piano go to only the top 2% of income earners but that seems to be where the market is heading.

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#1932575 - 07/26/12 09:02 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: dsch]
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Originally Posted By: dsch
In these days, whatever one buys new will lose a very significant part of the purchase price almost immediately after purchase because there are not many potential buyers after the initial sale.

I don't think many people plan on selling after purchasing but there are too many "what ifs" in this economy. Needing a root canal, breaking one's arm, etc. and most people do not have tens of thousands on reserve to cover those things. So when times are tight they sell what they don't absolutely need.

Selling lightly used instruments is like flushing thousands of dollars down the toilet.

So I think it boils down to this: to whom do I wish to give several thousand dollars? Also: Am I in a financial position where I can absorb such a hit?

I have a very modest instrument but I think I paid far too much for it. A huge part of what I paid was dealer profit. I knew that other people were purchasing this same instrument at significantly lower prices. There were a lot of other reasons why I decided to go for it that had nothing to do with that particular instrument but in retrospect it was a mistake. At the time my income was very scant and that several $K that is gone forever made up an enormous part of my take-home pay. It was a huge financial hit.

I'd hate to see the piano go to only the top 2% of income earners but that seems to be where the market is heading.



One can now purchase a very nice grand piano for roughly $15k.

The top 2% of income earners in this country earn over $250,000 per year. So you think someone who earns, say $150k per year cannot afford a new piano?

Is that what you're saying?

If so - why do I see so many new $60k cars on the road?

Your logic escapes me. Sorry.

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#1932594 - 07/26/12 09:44 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Chopinlover49]
Cmajor Offline
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Originally Posted By: Chopinlover49
Before retiring, I taught middle school students. While we teachers were certified to teach all of the subjects, each person had special strengths and math was mine so I often taught 4 or 5 math classes. Almost every time the best students happened to be involved in some form of music program, or took dance or art classes, or some other expressive area.


Chopinlover49,

Since all of this is related to the decline of piano sales we are not running too far off topic. There are many factors, and this is one of them. Any discussion regarding the decline of piano sales has to include social aspects as well as financial ones.

I am not, nor ever was, an educator but I have known many over the years and they all have made similar statements based on years of observation and experience. I have seen my own niece blossom into a very accomplished and popular young lady partly because she was involved with music since she was in 1st grade. As she graduated high school just this last spring, she was also handed an associates degree. She starts college in the fall with only two years ahead of her... a substantial savings for her parents, much to their delight. (her area has a wonderful program whereby high school students can complete the work necessary for a two year associates degree by graduation). She, herself, gives a lot of credit for her success to her interest in music and the arts.

One problem is that often we have politicians running the school boards and not experienced educators. They make "uninformed decisions" and that is the kindest thing I can say about them. The other part of the equation, as you point out, is that parents themselves don't grasp the importance of the Arts.

It seems we just don't get it...

As they say, "if you're not lead dog, the view is always the same". We better smarten up, and quickly, because we're already getting the high beams flashed at us as others want to pass.

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#1932601 - 07/26/12 09:54 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
Steve Cohen Online   content
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Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
What do you have to say about the evidence from Fine's Piano Buyer? I don't know if we can generalize from your single data point.


First, it seems rather hypocritical to doubt the practice of generalizing from a single data point that argues against you position, while generalizing the supposed Larry Fine data point and applying it to the entire industry.

Further, I am Larry's authorized spokesperson here. I am also one of his closest friends, a contributing editor to Piano Buyer and his business partner in the Local Market Offers program.

I can assure you that Larry has, as a rule, a great deal of respect for piano retailers. As he and I interact with hundreds of dealers throughout North America it is our experience that most are ethical, hard working entreprenuers, deserving of respect and admiration.

You are new here. You are not an industry professional and lack a broad and wide experience in the industry. Yet you and others use anecdotal information to judge our industry's practices, particularly the pricing issues.

As to those issues, it is my position that there is no other pricing structure that would be legal, serve the wants and needs of piano shoppers, and provide the necessary flexibility needs by piano retailers in order stay in business. The current situation was not conceived by a bunch of snake-oil salesman, but rather evolved, being guided by well-educated, well-intentioned entreprenuers who have broad and deep experience in this industry over many years.

If there was a better model that really worked for all parties, with the admitted flaws in the current pricing model, we would surely have moved in that direction.
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#1932604 - 07/26/12 09:58 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: rlinkt]
Cmajor Offline
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Originally Posted By: rlinkt
I just bought a piano. I visited a lot of piano stores, including Russell's. All the dealers were good, some were great. None of them struck me as sleazy. Ultimately I bought a piano at a price that I could afford, and felt fair. If it had felt unfair, I would have just walked. May be I got lucky, but I can't relate to this sentiment in this thread.


The potential customer, as you say, can always walk away. I think rlinkt, that sometimes people forget that simple fact.

Today, with all the tools available to us via the internet and other sources there is no excuse for getting taken advantage of by a piano dealer or any merchant for that matter. As with all major purchases, ya gotta do your homework if you expect to get a good deal. People who get "good deals" usually work at it a bit.

As Sy Simms (a clothing retailer who used to advertise a lot of TV back in the day) used to say... "an educated consumer is our best customer".



Edited by Cmajor (07/26/12 09:59 AM)

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#1932607 - 07/26/12 10:00 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
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So I guess Larry was somehow mis-speaking when he wrote that it's possible for two people to pay different prices, sometimes to the amount of 50%, when buying the same piano from the same dealer on the same day? I appreciate that dealers are fine, upstanding, ethical businesspeople. That is what makes this quote all the more remarkable. Is it incorrect? If not, can you explain in a few sentences why such a situation is to be desired, and not resisted?

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#1932612 - 07/26/12 10:07 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
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I was just in a piano store yesterday. All the uprights and grands had prices on them, clearly marked. If you're saying that, if I were to walk in and pay the dealer the price marked, I would be an "uneducated consumer" who "had not done his homework", well, what does this say about these marked prices? Are you saying, in effect, hey buddy, if you walked in and paid what the dealer asked for the piano, you deserve to get fleeced?

I think that the price should be clearly marked. I also think that the amount the dealer paid for this piano should also be clearly marked, and verifiable. Not because dealers don't deserve their markups; they're entitled to the same markups that other businesses can achieve. However, we're talking about "car-sized" purchases here. When I buy a $20 shirt, then find it on sale somewhere else for $15, that's a "lesson-learned." When I find out I've spent $10k or $15k more than the piano was worth, that's devastating. If your only answer to that is, well, you shouldn't have taken the dealer at his word, you should have haggled like in a Middle-Eastern souk, well, I just think that the industry has a bad business model.

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#1932614 - 07/26/12 10:12 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
Cmajor Offline
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SirHuddlestonFudd,

In sales they call the easy sells a "laydown". They are usually people who dislike confrontation immensely and just accept whatever they are told because it is the easy way to end the transaction as quickly as possible. It takes a bit of effort and research to get a "good deal" so that is why some get one and others don't. No free lunch. "Laydowns" almost always pay more for the same product, it is their fate.

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#1932618 - 07/26/12 10:19 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
Furtwangler Offline
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Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
I was just in a piano store yesterday. All the uprights and grands had prices on them, clearly marked. If you're saying that, if I were to walk in and pay the dealer the price marked, I would be an "uneducated consumer" who "had not done his homework", well, what does this say about these marked prices? Are you saying, in effect, hey buddy, if you walked in and paid what the dealer asked for the piano, you deserve to get fleeced?

I think that the price should be clearly marked. I also think that the amount the dealer paid for this piano should also be clearly marked, and verifiable. Not because dealers don't deserve their markups; they're entitled to the same markups that other businesses can achieve. However, we're talking about "car-sized" purchases here. When I buy a $20 shirt, then find it on sale somewhere else for $15, that's a "lesson-learned." When I find out I've spent $10k or $15k more than the piano was worth, that's devastating. If your only answer to that is, well, you shouldn't have taken the dealer at his word, you should have haggled like in a Middle-Eastern souk, well, I just think that the industry has a bad business model.


Wow - that is a truly bizarre comment in my opinion. What other retail establishments post their costs for customers to inspect?? Furniture stores? Supermarkets? Clothing stores? Jewelry stores - heaven forbid! What is the store's cost on that $15k Rolex watch I wonder?? I hardly think so.

And your comment about their being entitled to the same markups as any other business is quite generous. Nordstrom's sells polo shirts for $90 that cost them $15 or less.

So you dealers out there - go for it!

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#1932620 - 07/26/12 10:23 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
Cmajor Offline
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Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
I was just in a piano store yesterday. All the uprights and grands had prices on them, clearly marked. If you're saying that, if I were to walk in and pay the dealer the price marked, I would be an "uneducated consumer" who "had not done his homework", well, what does this say about these marked prices? Are you saying, in effect, hey buddy, if you walked in and paid what the dealer asked for the piano, you deserve to get fleeced?



There is where the homework comes in... perhaps the prices are good, perhaps not. Just because they post them does not guarantee they are competitive. It is very likely that they consider the posted prices as a jumping off point for negotiations, but, perhaps not. That is why you have to do some legwork prior to entering the dealership. Yes, if you just accepted the price as "good" or "fair" without any prior research you would be an uneducated consumer as far as price goes. You may be a piano expert but we are talking price.

I am not saying anyone deserves to get "fleeced" and in a perfect world we would not have to concern ourselves with that, but it is far from a perfect world. However, as previously stated, the "good deals" usually go to those who put a bit of effort into research and negotiation. Again, no free lunch.

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#1932621 - 07/26/12 10:25 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
Steve Cohen Online   content
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Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
So I guess Larry was somehow mis-speaking when he wrote that it's possible for two people to pay different prices, sometimes to the amount of 50%, when buying the same piano from the same dealer on the same day? I appreciate that dealers are fine, upstanding, ethical businesspeople. That is what makes this quote all the more remarkable. Is it incorrect? If not, can you explain in a few sentences why such a situation is to be desired, and not resisted?


Yes, if he said that he was either mis-speaking or mistaken.

As to posting the wholesale cost of pianos, that simply wouldn't work and here's a few factors in support:

The average margin is about 40% leading to a 2-3% net (ROI). That means that, in your scenario, on an avergae deal the shopper would see that a $10,000 selling price grossed the dealer $4000. Most shoppers knowing little about the costs of doing business would incorrectly judge that as being excessive.

With the possible exception of the auto industry (and really not even there) are actual wholesale prices marked. If your simplistic "solution" was fealsibly, why wouldn't we see wholesale costs posted on jewelry, ATVs, appliances, etc.?
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#1932622 - 07/26/12 10:28 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Steve Cohen Online   content
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BTW, there IS a means for a shopper to determine if a price is reasonable. Piano Buyer.
_________________________
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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#1932626 - 07/26/12 10:30 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
SirHuddlestonFudd Offline
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Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 96
Loc: Cambridge, MA
Well, I'm sure glad I spent time on this forum before going shopping. I was WAAAY off in terms of how to go about buying a piano.

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#1932630 - 07/26/12 10:34 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
SirHuddlestonFudd Offline
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Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 96
Loc: Cambridge, MA
Here's a question though: I've noticed that the price for digital pianos is much lower online than in stores. Makes sense, less overhead, etc. Does one negotiate the price of a DP (I know, I know, it's not a piano, it's just that they're selling them next to the real pianos) the same as an acoustic?

(That said, I'm asking all this not because I want a DP, but because I want an acoustic, in case anybody wanted to educate me on that point.)

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#1932638 - 07/26/12 10:57 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
the nosy ape Offline
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Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 719
Loc: Westford, MA
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
So I guess Larry was somehow mis-speaking when he wrote that it's possible for two people to pay different prices, sometimes to the amount of 50%, when buying the same piano from the same dealer on the same day? I appreciate that dealers are fine, upstanding, ethical businesspeople. That is what makes this quote all the more remarkable. Is it incorrect? If not, can you explain in a few sentences why such a situation is to be desired, and not resisted?

Firstly, the 50% part here is somewhat ambiguous. Did one person pay 50% less than the other, or did one pay 50% more than the other? It does make a difference.

Irrespective of that, the business model for pianos is not much different than that for anything else. The price for anything is negotiable. Now, most people would not want to take the time or trouble to negotiate pricing at the supermarket, so it rarely happens. When the possible savings get high enough many/most people will negotiate. How well they do it determines the final price. As mentioned above, there are people who are averse to negotiating, and there people that do not have the time to negotiate. These people may pay MSRP for a product, or sometimes even more.

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#1932640 - 07/26/12 11:00 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Rusty Fortysome Offline
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Registered: 07/25/11
Posts: 194
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
... 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....


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.


Hm. So someone points out the reality of the situation, his first-hand observations, and a piano dealer tells him he is wrong.

Why did so many shops close up, recently?

Honestly, the acoustic piano industry is stuck in an olden model of sales. It ostracizes people more than it encourages them because of the price and sales-dance. With so few dealers around in this time, I am amazed that there is still a veiled price-point.

In the days of pianos being common luxury items displaying the status and culture of a person/family, pianos could be sold like cars. Those days are gone. The sales side of the equation will have to change with the world around it, or it will further hurt the industry.
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#1932643 - 07/26/12 11:05 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Steve Cohen Online   content
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I just spoke to Larry.

He said that at one time in his history he relied heavily on piano technicians for his thinking as opposed to also considering the realities of dealers and manufacturers. Gaining a greater understanding of the dealer perspective was a major reason that he hired me as a consultant several years ago to help develope Piano Buyer.

he no longer thinks it true.
_________________________
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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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#1932695 - 07/26/12 12:23 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Rusty Fortysome]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Rusty Fortysome
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
... 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....


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.


Hm. So someone points out the reality of the situation, his first-hand observations, and a piano dealer tells him he is wrong.

Why did so many shops close up, recently?

Honestly, the acoustic piano industry is stuck in an olden model of sales. It ostracizes people more than it encourages them because of the price and sales-dance. With so few dealers around in this time, I am amazed that there is still a veiled price-point.

In the days of pianos being common luxury items displaying the status and culture of a person/family, pianos could be sold like cars. Those days are gone. The sales side of the equation will have to change with the world around it, or it will further hurt the industry.
There have been many threads at PW on pricing in the piano industry. They clearly explain why acoustic pianos cannot be priced like cars, toasters, or even digital pianos. The huge number of variables that go into the price of an acoustic piano is also explained in The Piano Buyer.

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#1932816 - 07/26/12 05:50 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Furtwangler]
dsch Offline
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Registered: 09/17/08
Posts: 325
Loc: florida
Originally Posted By: Furtwangler
The top 2% of income earners in this country earn over $250,000 per year. So you think someone who earns, say $150k per year cannot afford a new piano?


For individuals, it's about half of that. And yes, those are about the only people who can get tier 1 or tier 2 new, comfortably.

Where I work (about 2000 people) only the provost and the president are in the over $100K range. I don't know anyone personally who can truly afford a tier 1 piano.

[If so - why do I see so many new $60k cars on the road?]

They are almost always leased. I think it's very risky but that's my opinion.

[Your logic escapes me. Sorry.]

You must be living in an area where incomes are bloated. I don't. Almost everyone I know and work with (STEM professionals with MS or Ph.D) is in the $20K-$60K range.

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#1932826 - 07/26/12 06:31 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: pianoloverus]
Plowboy Offline
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Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2381
Loc: SoCal
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
There have been many threads at PW on pricing in the piano industry. They clearly explain why acoustic pianos cannot be priced like cars, toasters, or even digital pianos. The huge number of variables that go into the price of an acoustic piano is also explained in The Piano Buyer.


Then why can Steinway do it?
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#1932834 - 07/26/12 06:53 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Plowboy]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Plowboy
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
There have been many threads at PW on pricing in the piano industry. They clearly explain why acoustic pianos cannot be priced like cars, toasters, or even digital pianos. The huge number of variables that go into the price of an acoustic piano is also explained in The Piano Buyer.


Then why can Steinway do it?
Probably because their selling prices involve a markup much more than other makers can afford to charge. Can you imagine how many(inset any other make)pianos would be sold if the dealers charged full SMP(or very close to it)?


Edited by pianoloverus (07/26/12 06:57 PM)

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#1932839 - 07/26/12 06:59 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: dsch]
Furtwangler Offline
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Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1540
Loc: Danville, California
Originally Posted By: dsch
Originally Posted By: Furtwangler
The top 2% of income earners in this country earn over $250,000 per year. So you think someone who earns, say $150k per year cannot afford a new piano?


For individuals, it's about half of that. And yes, those are about the only people who can get tier 1 or tier 2 new, comfortably.

Where I work (about 2000 people) only the provost and the president are in the over $100K range. I don't know anyone personally who can truly afford a tier 1 piano.

[If so - why do I see so many new $60k cars on the road?]

They are almost always leased. I think it's very risky but that's my opinion.

[Your logic escapes me. Sorry.]

You must be living in an area where incomes are bloated. I don't. Almost everyone I know and work with (STEM professionals with MS or Ph.D) is in the $20K-$60K range.



Sorry - I am not buying it.

There are several Tier 2 instruments that can be purchased for way under $50k.

High School principals make $125-150k

RNs make over $100k

Pharmacists make over $100k

20% of new cars are leased vs purchased - not "almost always"

In Florida you have over 7,000 state employees making over $100k in salary

The head of the FL state Board of Education makes $509,999


Pianos are expensive, yes. They are a luxury item, indeed. Nobody will die for not having a grand piano. But they are not destined for only the rich.

In my very humble opinion, of course.

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#1932877 - 07/26/12 09:25 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Furtwangler]
Derulux Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
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Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Plowboy
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
There have been many threads at PW on pricing in the piano industry. They clearly explain why acoustic pianos cannot be priced like cars, toasters, or even digital pianos. The huge number of variables that go into the price of an acoustic piano is also explained in The Piano Buyer.


Then why can Steinway do it?

For the same reason Ferrari can. wink


Originally Posted By: Furtwangler
Originally Posted By: dsch
Originally Posted By: Furtwangler
The top 2% of income earners in this country earn over $250,000 per year. So you think someone who earns, say $150k per year cannot afford a new piano?


For individuals, it's about half of that. And yes, those are about the only people who can get tier 1 or tier 2 new, comfortably.

Where I work (about 2000 people) only the provost and the president are in the over $100K range. I don't know anyone personally who can truly afford a tier 1 piano.

[If so - why do I see so many new $60k cars on the road?]

They are almost always leased. I think it's very risky but that's my opinion.

[Your logic escapes me. Sorry.]

You must be living in an area where incomes are bloated. I don't. Almost everyone I know and work with (STEM professionals with MS or Ph.D) is in the $20K-$60K range.



High School principals make $125-150k

RNs make over $100k

Pharmacists make over $100k

20% of new cars are leased vs purchased - not "almost always"

In Florida you have over 7,000 state employees making over $100k in salary

The head of the FL state Board of Education makes $509,999


Pianos are expensive, yes. They are a luxury item, indeed. Nobody will die for not having a grand piano. But they are not destined for only the rich.

In my very humble opinion, of course.

Of course, you do realize there are approximately 151 million people able to work in the US, which means that there are just over 3 million people in the top 2%. Let's look at some numbers (I am not judging, just stating facts people may not be aware of.. these have all been researched and are accurate unless otherwise indicated.)

First, out of the 3 million people in the top 2%, one out of every 1,500 people would have to buy a grand piano to sell off the Steinway brand (numbers below). Or, put another way, about one half of one percent of the available "top 2%" consumer base. So, this is certainly a reasonable figure.

Steinway sold 2,013 grand pianos last year (from their annual report). Let's assume for the sake of argument, that the average selling price (not listed anywhere I researched) was half the top-end of $137,400. That puts the average at around $68k. I think this is a reasonable estimate.

If Steinway makes just 30% on its top-end pianos (relatively low for an elite top-end luxury good, which Steinway considers its pianos, but the number is consistent with the gross margin figure in their annual report so I'll use it), they made approximately $41 MILLION dollars on the Steinway Grand Piano brand alone in 2011.

To further the point, and I know I'm getting long-winded, so I'll do my best to be brief: From Steinway's own annual report, they state that the vast majority of their Steinway brand pianos go to customers over age 50, who hold graduate degrees and report income over $300k per year. (This puts them in the top 1%, an even more elite category than the top 2%.)

Finally, from the 2010 US Census data:
-The average US salary is $41,673.83.
-The average US house is valued at $167,500
-The average US mortgage is $1295 per month


So, my conclusion here would be that there is absolutely no way for the average American to ever afford a Steinway grand piano. In point of fact, we can place all Tier 1 pianos in this category of being entirely unaffordable.

Even Tier 2 pianos are likely out of reach for the average American family, but I did not research many numbers to support this guess.. I am simply assuming based on the average US salary that the average American cannot afford another "car" sized purchase. But we can probably analyze that, too, if you're interested.

Okay, I have talked too much. smile
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#1932883 - 07/26/12 09:49 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Furtwangler Offline
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Loc: Danville, California
First of all, who said anything about Steinway??

Secondly, Steinway did not sell 2,013 grand pianos in the U.S. last year. That figure represents their grand piano sales worldwide. Worldwide - and how many people is that now - 7 Billion or so?

Thirdly, Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc made a total net profit in FY 2011 of
just $1,630,000 - all products, all locations - worldwide.

Lastly, Steinway pianos are not meant for the "average" American family, just as Mercedes Benz vehicles are not meant for the "average" family, nor are other luxury goods. Luxury goods.

I repeat - there are several so-called Tier 2 pianos that, purchased brand new, can be acquired for significantly less than $50k - and yes, that is significantly less than a new Steinway. And yes, that is a lot of money for not only the "average" family, but just about every family.

A Steinway is a luxury good. It is marketed as such, and marketed well, I might add.

Now I am finished playing financial analyst and will retire to the kitchen for a delicious PB&J (the wife is out this evening).

Wish you could join me. It is a lovely evening here.

In my humble opinion, that is.

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#1932915 - 07/26/12 11:56 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Furtwangler]
Derulux Online   content
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Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5344
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Furtwangler
First of all, who said anything about Steinway??

Secondly, Steinway did not sell 2,013 grand pianos in the U.S. last year. That figure represents their grand piano sales worldwide. Worldwide - and how many people is that now - 7 Billion or so?

Thirdly, Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc made a total net profit in FY 2011 of
just $1,630,000 - all products, all locations - worldwide.

Lastly, Steinway pianos are not meant for the "average" American family, just as Mercedes Benz vehicles are not meant for the "average" family, nor are other luxury goods. Luxury goods.

I repeat - there are several so-called Tier 2 pianos that, purchased brand new, can be acquired for significantly less than $50k - and yes, that is significantly less than a new Steinway. And yes, that is a lot of money for not only the "average" family, but just about every family.

A Steinway is a luxury good. It is marketed as such, and marketed well, I might add.

Now I am finished playing financial analyst and will retire to the kitchen for a delicious PB&J (the wife is out this evening).

Wish you could join me. It is a lovely evening here.

In my humble opinion, that is.


I wish I could say I selected Steinway because it was the most recognizable brand, or the highest selling. I didn't. I chose it because it was the subject of another reply and it filtered over.. LOL Still, I think it is an accurate representation of a Tier 1 piano.

You are correct, the 2,013 is a worldwide number, which makes my argument even stronger. Thank you for pointing it out.. it slipped my mind in the middle of number crunching! smile

Steinway's net INCOME of $1.6M is very different than their Gross PROFIT of $105M. Corporations pay taxes on income, not profit, so they try to show as little income as possible. That is why I used their profit statement, and not their income statement.

I suppose my two major contentions were:
1) The average American family cannot afford a purchase of $10k, let alone "$50k or less"
2) The salary estimates for US employees (especially as representing any kind of average) were way off

If we were to extrapolate meaning, I might suggest:
3) The idea that pianos are anything except overpriced is, perhaps, misguided
4) Pianos, especially grand pianos, are a luxury item destined only for the rich
5) If classical music expects to survive well into the future, it needs to find a way to make itself more affordable for the average family to bring it into their homes

5a) I can get a decent Xbox on eBay for less than $300. I'm not saying an Xbox is better than classical music.. what I am saying is that it is more readily available to the masses who do not have high income, and who cannot afford luxury goods like a piano, but still want some form of entertainment.

However, I did not want to drag the thread into any new directions, so I stuck only to the facts, and hoped other people would be more interested in interpreting them whichever way suited them best. smile

PS- I wish I could get me some PB&J right about now. But it's a long drive to California.. :P
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#1932989 - 07/27/12 04:43 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Derulux]
SirHuddlestonFudd Offline
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Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 96
Loc: Cambridge, MA
I wonder: of all the posters on this thread who argue that, in effect, grand pianos are not unaffordable, how many -- have grand pianos?

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#1933080 - 07/27/12 09:44 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
Cmajor Offline
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Registered: 05/03/11
Posts: 229
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
Here's a question though: I've noticed that the price for digital pianos is much lower online than in stores. Makes sense, less overhead, etc. Does one negotiate the price of a DP (I know, I know, it's not a piano, it's just that they're selling them next to the real pianos) the same as an acoustic?

(That said, I'm asking all this not because I want a DP, but because I want an acoustic, in case anybody wanted to educate me on that point.)


In a way you can. When I purchased my DP about 18 months ago, I shopped locally and on line. Most of the on line dealers had "meet or beat" policies. I simply found the lowest price, downloaded the ad, and sent it to the merchant I actually bought from. They honored the price and even took a few more bucks off the price. The DP arrived a week later in perfect condition as the packaging was excellent. In the end, I saved almost $500, which, percentage wise was excellent.

There is even one on line retailer that offers customers a "play now, pay later" option whereby you can put 25% on your CC and they put another 25% on the card each month for 3 months.


Edited by Cmajor (07/27/12 09:45 AM)

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#1933091 - 07/27/12 10:19 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Derulux]
Ataru074 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 384
Loc: Houston, TX
Originally Posted By: Derulux

4) Pianos, especially grand pianos, are a luxury item destined only for the rich
5) If classical music expects to survive well into the future, it needs to find a way to make itself more affordable for the average family to bring it into their homes

5a) I can get a decent Xbox on eBay for less than $300. I'm not saying an Xbox is better than classical music.. what I am saying is that it is more readily available to the masses who do not have high income, and who cannot afford luxury goods like a piano, but still want some form of entertainment.


4) that is a little stretched comment. you can say the same for a house... you can fit a family of 3 in a 2 bedroom apartment. is a matter of priorities. the average american wants a house with the yard. than he tries to get the pool to distinguish himself, that cost (during the years) way more than a tier 2 piano. or let's talk about leasing a nice beemer instead of owning a corolla and a bosendorfer.

for the average american income a tier 1 or 2 piano is possible but has to be a choice.

the rich measure use yachts and planes as measure stick... pianos, mansions and cars are "given".

5 and 5a) Classical music did survive in the past 600 years and will survive in the future because Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Mozart, Schumann, Schubert and all the other are de facto immortals. In the same way the art of Michelangelo survived. I hope the time will consign to oblivion Justin biebers and rhianna.

the xbox as "entertainment" has nothing to do with "classical" music. people makes choices. you can play a videogame as well you can play "card"... or read a book, listen a concerto or go for a walk. the last one is totally free, you can enjoy the glory of nature and good for your health... way better than become obese playing the xbox.

the bottom line, a tier one piano is affordable for MOST people, is just a matter of priorities.
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#1933114 - 07/27/12 11:20 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Ataru074]
Cmajor Offline
Full Member

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


the bottom line, a tier one piano is affordable for MOST people, is just a matter of priorities. [/quote]

Amen to that. Life is all about choices and priorities with the latter always changing with time. How we spend any disposable income we may have is a matter of personal priorities. As you point out, some prefer the Beemer while others would prefer to have a piano in their home. The very fortunate amongst us can do both.

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#1933121 - 07/27/12 11:41 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Norbert Online   content
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Quote:
I repeat - there are several so-called Tier 2 pianos that, purchased brand new, can be acquired for significantly less


Yer speaking the truth.

By the way, even involving "tier 1" pianos.

You just have to find right dealer and make your deal.

Kevin, you're reading out there?

Norbert smirk


Edited by Norbert (07/27/12 09:25 PM)
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#1933266 - 07/27/12 05:05 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: AJF]
allthumbs Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 115
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: AJF
[quote=Zac Forbes]
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).


Hi AJF

Boy, you are right on the money with this post. Many of today’s ‘artists’ are not musicians. Without the fancy stage productions, dance steps and pyrotechnics what are you left with? I would even venture to say, strip the music background away and you’d probably find that their singing voice isn’t that good either not to mention the lyrics.

I wish we still had Roy Orbison…

allthumbs


Edited by allthumbs (07/27/12 05:08 PM)
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#1933293 - 07/27/12 05:48 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Ataru074]
Derulux Online   content
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Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5344
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Ataru074
Originally Posted By: Derulux

4) Pianos, especially grand pianos, are a luxury item destined only for the rich
5) If classical music expects to survive well into the future, it needs to find a way to make itself more affordable for the average family to bring it into their homes

5a) I can get a decent Xbox on eBay for less than $300. I'm not saying an Xbox is better than classical music.. what I am saying is that it is more readily available to the masses who do not have high income, and who cannot afford luxury goods like a piano, but still want some form of entertainment.


4) that is a little stretched comment. you can say the same for a house... you can fit a family of 3 in a 2 bedroom apartment. is a matter of priorities. the average american wants a house with the yard. than he tries to get the pool to distinguish himself, that cost (during the years) way more than a tier 2 piano. or let's talk about leasing a nice beemer instead of owning a corolla and a bosendorfer.

for the average american income a tier 1 or 2 piano is possible but has to be a choice.

the rich measure use yachts and planes as measure stick... pianos, mansions and cars are "given".

5 and 5a) Classical music did survive in the past 600 years and will survive in the future because Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Mozart, Schumann, Schubert and all the other are de facto immortals. In the same way the art of Michelangelo survived. I hope the time will consign to oblivion Justin biebers and rhianna.

the xbox as "entertainment" has nothing to do with "classical" music. people makes choices. you can play a videogame as well you can play "card"... or read a book, listen a concerto or go for a walk. the last one is totally free, you can enjoy the glory of nature and good for your health... way better than become obese playing the xbox.

the bottom line, a tier one piano is affordable for MOST people, is just a matter of priorities.


With regard to the Xbox vs classical music, I say only that people certainly enjoy being entertained (listening to music), but younger generations are being thus entertained by artists who are still alive. Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach are all dead and not producing anything new. Further, most people get an Xbox because they like to entertain themselves. They like the act of doing. But doing is not cost-effective in the world of classical music, unless you get a honky-tonker of an instrument. The top of the line Xbox costs much less than the top of the line piano. The rest, as you say, is your opinion and I respect it. smile

I would like to go back and look at number 4 a little, because I think the data points are a little skewed. I must say, I do not know what a "Tier 2" piano costs, but I am going to guess somewhere around $50-85k, with "Tier 1" being above that. (This is an honest guess.. if I am wrong, please correct me.)

We talk about families making choices between an above ground pool (approx $5k installed), and a "Tier 2" piano ($50-85k). Even an in-ground pool can be purchased for around $20k installed. That's still less than 25% of the cost of a "Tier 2" piano.

Let's talk about leasing a "beemer" vs buying a Corolla.
Cost to lease a BMW 328i convertible $459/mo. Let's ignore that for the average middle class income, this would amount to nearly 1/5 of that person's take home pay.. WAY too much for a car. But I digress.

Let's look at the Corolla/Bosendorfer cost...
New Corolla: approx $16k
New Bosendorfer (and let's only use a 6'1" to keep the cost down): $105k

Per month, that's $173.64 for the Corolla on a ten year loan with 20% down, and $596.18 on a THIRTY year loan (which I think is about 6x what any retailer would be willing to work with, but again I could be wrong here, too) with 20% down for the Bosendorfer. Total cost: $769.82/mo.

That's nearly double the BMW.

Let's also ignore the fact that 20% down on a Bosendorfer/Corolla combo comes to approximately $25,000 or more than half the salary of the average American.


Since the hard facts of cash don't seem to be resonating much with anyone, I would like to hammer out a couple more to see what people think about them:

Average American Salary: $41,673.83
Average Monthly Take-home pay: $2,639.29
(Let's double it to make it a family): $5,278.58
Average mortgage: $1295
Average monthly food costs for a family of four: $771.10 (sounds high, but put another way, this is only $2.14 per meal)
Average car lease/loan: $378.00
Remember, two adults = two cars: $378.00 again
Average 401k contribution: $358.94 (x2) (gotta save for retirement)
Average College Savings Requirement: $623 per kid per month if the kid is < 1 yrs old

Let's stop there and see how much money this family has left: $492.60 per month.

What they're paying for is the average American house, the average cars so they can get to/from work and get their kids where they need to go, average food costs so they don't die of starvation, average savings so they can retire before they die, and the average amount needed to pay their children's eventual college tuition. I've left out property taxes, activities, appliances, furniture, entertainment (like going to McDonald's for dinner), vacations to the town pool, misc appliance breakdowns (washer, dryer, dishwasher, microwave, stove, refrigerator.. you name it, they break). We're not talking about freeloaders, bank-breakers, over-spenders or priority-lacking people here. We're talking about the average American family's income vs expenses.

So, now I ask: how can this family afford to save enough money to even put ANY money down on a Bosendorfer (the brand introduced along with the Toyota Corolla), let alone be able to pay off the monthly payments?
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#1933348 - 07/27/12 07:18 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
j&j Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 445
Loc: Southwest
Just my opinion since I'm not a piano dealer or piano technician. A Bosendorfer or a Hamburg Steinway or other Tier 1 piano in the 6 figures (after negotiation and discounts from SMP) is not designed or marketed for the average American family with growing kids, a mortgage, and car payments. There are more affordable acoustic piano options out there on which children can practice and learn, families can enjoy, and folks like myself can own while I go back and study piano.

The reality is, for the vast majority of people that play piano, their playing doesn't require a Bosendorfer Imperial.
The great news is, there is a wonderful selection of new and used pianos that don't require a 2nd mortgage or selling your first born. It may not be an S&S but I'm thrilled with my piano.
_________________________
J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." Pablo Picasso

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#1933391 - 07/27/12 09:22 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1974
Loc: Philadelphia area
Derulux, everything your saying is right on. I can only say that $300.00 plus games and extra equiptment vs. a piano; You get what you pay for.

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#1933396 - 07/27/12 09:31 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: j&j]
rlinkt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 320
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: j&j
It may not be an S&S but I'm thrilled with my piano.

I probably have no taste. My budget was a fraction of the numbers being discussed here, and I got a small grand that my daughter is thrilled with.

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#1933473 - 07/28/12 03:06 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Norbert]
allthumbs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 115
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Norbert
Quote:
I repeat - there are several so-called Tier 2 pianos that, purchased brand new, can be acquired for significantly less


Yer speaking the truth.

By the way, even involving "tier 1" pianos.

You just have to find right dealer and make your deal.

Kevin, you're reading out there?

Norbert smirk


LOL - I started reading another thread earlier in the day and commented on the great deal I got from you! hahaha

Do you have ESP?

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1933249/Re:%20Piano%20Shows?.html#Post1933249



Edited by allthumbs (07/28/12 03:16 AM)
_________________________
Sauter Delta (185cm) polished ebony 'Lucy'
Serial # 118 562

Single Malts Forever!

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#1933500 - 07/28/12 07:10 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Dave B]
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9347
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: Dave B
Derulux, everything your saying is right on. I can only say that $300.00 plus games and extra equiptment vs. a piano; You get what you pay for.


Dave,

So true.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#1933543 - 07/28/12 10:50 AM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: rlinkt]
j&j Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 445
Loc: Southwest
Rlinkt - I may have missed your post but what small grand did you buy for your daughter? It's wonderful that she's thrilled with it and congratulations! Post some pictures if you haven't already. If you did, I just haven't kept up. Too bad I have to frequently work weekends. Sure cuts into my practice and Forum time, but it does pay for my plebian piano tastes.
_________________________
J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." Pablo Picasso

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#1933585 - 07/28/12 12:34 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Steve Cohen]
Norbert Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14179
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
Originally Posted By: j&j
It may not be an S&S but I'm thrilled with my piano.


Anybody is entitled to be "thrilled" with his/her piano.

That this is possible in today's market at much lower costs than only 10 years ago, may be a sign of the times.

Plus an opportunity for cash poor musicians.

We've gone through this cycle already 40 years ago, same's happening again today.

Norbert


Edited by Norbert (07/28/12 03:11 PM)
_________________________
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#1933599 - 07/28/12 01:19 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: Rich Galassini]
Derulux Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5344
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
Originally Posted By: Dave B
Derulux, everything your saying is right on. I can only say that $300.00 plus games and extra equiptment vs. a piano; You get what you pay for.


Dave,

So true.


Oh yeah, I completely agree with both of you. I think the piano is worth the investment, but the caveat I have been holding my statements to is: "if you can afford it."

Now, there are pianos that most American families can afford, but they are certainly not "Tier 1" or even "Tier 2" pianos, as has been suggested. I merely hoped to point out facts and statistics that lend to the impression that classical music is "for the rich and famous", or at least, that is the stigma it has with many youngsters (particularly in poorer neighborhoods). And with the price of equipment, in this thread, a piano, it is not surprising to hear that resultant opinion being shared. What is surprising is to hear someone say, "Oh yeah, anybody can afford a Bosendorfer. It's not just for the rich." When, in fact, a Bosendorfer costs as much as a house for most American families. smile
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

Top
#1933708 - 07/28/12 06:10 PM Re: Here's an Eye-Opener [Re: j&j]
rlinkt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 320
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: j&j
Rlinkt - I may have missed your post but what small grand did you buy for your daughter? It's wonderful that she's thrilled with it and congratulations! Post some pictures if you haven't already. If you did, I just haven't kept up. Too bad I have to frequently work weekends. Sure cuts into my practice and Forum time, but it does pay for my plebian piano tastes.


No -- I haven't had a chance to post pictures yet. I am planning to do so this weekend, and a bit about my buying experience as well.

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