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#1959192 - 09/15/12 10:32 AM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Minnesota Marty]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7164
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty

The general use of the term "bias," within this thread, has most often been used "in favor of." Whether the bias is based on objectivity or not, is irrelevant, as the basis of the bias is left for the reader to assess.


Mr. Fine's experience goes back 35 years. For him to not have formed a bias toward cetain entities that he has come to trust would be completely unnatural. In fact, it would be preposterous. It would be equivalent to him stating: "I have been in this business 35 years, but I have learned nothing", Personally, I have never talked to anyone in the piano biz who did not have a bias based on experience.

The entities which Mr. Fine favors would certainly include some manufacturers to whom he would give the benefit of the doubt over the short term regarding their new products. It would also include the small cadre of technicians and retailers who he relies on to provide him with feedback that he can trust, that trust being essential since he has clearly stated that he does not visit piano factories to see what's going on with his own eyes and he does not personally perform technical evaluations.

Mr. Fine als made the comment that "ratings can change". In other words, what he in in favor of is subject to change based on a further accumulation of experience. This is also completely normal and reasonable.

The real question of PianoBuyer ratings is whether the structure of the charts, the introductory comments that directly precede the charts, and the descriptors in use within the charts jive with his statements on this thread that he is not ratings the pianos at all, but merely describing their positioning in the market. It's possible he's the prisoner of his own understanding of his language. It happens to writers.
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#1959213 - 09/15/12 11:50 AM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]
Nick Mauel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/05/08
Posts: 784
Loc: Sarasota and Naples, FL
I would use the word 'appreciation' rather than bias in order to explain having a preference for what many have noted are pianos that are not only musical but a very good value.

After all, dealers must ultimately reach the same conclusions for the same reasons that piano consumers do when selecting a piano they will represent.

I find the Pianobuyer ratings to be less relevant than in the past. It's hard doing all of that tweaking for an industry that is constantly changing.

Gone are the days when this publication offered reviews based on a consensus of written reports of technicians from the field. How some of the newer brands are holding up after the sale I think would be of great value and interest to piano shoppers now as it was then.

Now, the constantly shifting ratings seem to be an attempt to issue a report card from within the industry itself. It is an endeavor necessary to 'keep everyone happy'. The publication seems to have to manage the industry as much as it strives to educate consumers. That is a very delicate balancing act to say the least.

On-site evaluations trusting one's own ears, eyes, and fingers are best. Larry himself has said to buy what you can see with your eyes and hear with your ears.
_________________________
Nick's Piano Showroom
Naples, Fort Myers, & Sarasota, FL
New Estonia, Mason & Hamlin, Baldwin, Brodmann & Ritmuller
239-206-4541 direct line
www.nickspiano.com

Concert Piano Technician, Dealer, and Pianist

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#1959227 - 09/15/12 12:31 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3455
Loc: US
Perhaps it is "appreciation" for brands one represents and "bias" against what one does not ? Is it not perhaps a wee bit oversimplified to think that dealers have the entire array of piano brands to choose from and decide to select those they will carry based solely on their merits ? I always find it amusing to talk with dealers who carried a brand for years and praised it to the heavens only to hear them later, after they no longer represent that brand, trash it, or vice versa-- have listened to them run down a brand that now sits in their showroom and is suddenly wonderful. Oh the power of money to change minds... laugh

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#1959235 - 09/15/12 12:50 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: sophial]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6271
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: sophial
I always find it amusing to talk with dealers who carried a brand for years and praised it to the heavens only to hear them later, after they no longer represent that brand, trash it, or vice versa-- have listened to them run down a brand that now sits in their showroom and is suddenly wonderful. Oh the power of money to change minds... laugh


+1 grin
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#1959247 - 09/15/12 01:17 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: sophial]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10457
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: sophial
Perhaps it is "appreciation" for brands one represents and "bias" against what one does not ? Is it not perhaps a wee bit oversimplified to think that dealers have the entire array of piano brands to choose from and decide to select those they will carry based solely on their merits ? I always find it amusing to talk with dealers who carried a brand for years and praised it to the heavens only to hear them later, after they no longer represent that brand, trash it, or vice versa-- have listened to them run down a brand that now sits in their showroom and is suddenly wonderful. Oh the power of money to change minds... laugh


I hate to say so, but in too many cases, you are right.

I have consulted a number of dealerships to help determine which brands would be optimal for them to represent in their market. While "performance" is a key issue, there are many other factors such as:


* Brands available to the dealership

* The density and relative affluence (demographics)of the marketplace

* What the competition carries and how those brands are presented

* The quality of the sales staff

* Margins needed to cover expenses and provide a return on investment for the owner(s)

* The goals of the owner

* "Voids" in the marketplace

* The inventory requirements to adequately represent the line and the capital or credit needs to carry that inventory.


It can be quite complex and involve both considerable objectivity and subjectivity.
_________________________
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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#1959251 - 09/15/12 01:36 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Nick Mauel]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19261
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Nick Mauel
Now, the constantly shifting ratings seem to be an attempt to issue a report card from within the industry itself.
Except the ratings aren't "constantly shifting" at all.

Virtually the only thing that changed in the latest edition was the names of some groups. A couple of makes moved up or down one notch and a few new makes or models were added, but except for that handful of changes/additions the relative positions of makes was just like the previous edition. In fact the relative position of the different makes has changed only a little over several years.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/15/12 01:37 PM)

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#1959253 - 09/15/12 01:42 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: turandot]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19261
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: turandot
Mr. Fine's experience goes back 35 years. For him to not have formed a bias toward cetain entities that he has come to trust would be completely unnatural.
What you call "bias"(not the correct word IMO) I would call understanding/experience/knowledge.

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#1959254 - 09/15/12 01:42 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: pianoloverus]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10457
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Nick Mauel
Now, the constantly shifting ratings seem to be an attempt to issue a report card from within the industry itself.
Except the ratings aren't "constantly shifting" at all.

Virtually the only thing that changed in the latest edition was the names of some groups. A couple of makes moved up or down one notch and a few new makes or models were added, but except for that handful of changes/additions the relative positions of makes was just like the previous edition. In fact the relative position of the different makes has changed only a little over several years.


The claim that the ratings are "contantly shifting" is a myth. While there are small incremental changes, the overall ratings have evolved slowly, as has the industry.
_________________________
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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#1959255 - 09/15/12 01:46 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: carey]
rlinkt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 308
Loc: CA
The question that Mr. Fine posed is if there is better way to represent the market landscape for non-piano-savvy consumers (such as myself). Perhaps we should suggest some ideas here.

Here is my suggestion: Create a chart like the Gartner magic quadrants using the following dimensions:

- 'Perceived quality' vs. price
- The size of circle can be used to denote units sold, to give a sense of market acceptance of the product.

This is not too different from the current table, but it is a continuum rather than discrete tables, and gets rid of terms like 'Good' / 'Better' / 'Best', which to the uneducated consumer like me spell out absolute judgments rather than a nebulous personal perception.

PB did influence my initial leanings heavily. It was only a chance recommendation from a fellow forumite that led me to Kassman and the eventual purchase. While I do not know the numbers, I would guess that the vast majority of the piano purchases are made by the average non-piano playing consumers for their kids in this consumer segment. I can well imagine the financial impact that PB table can have on the dealers in this segment.

I would even suggest that PB does not need to deal with the high end much in that table, except to be comprehensive. People going for the high end are experts who know their preferences in an instrument, and do not need somebody to advise them about how the brands are positioning themselves. [This does not apply to the pricing table. That is an invaluable source of information.]


Edited by rlinkt (09/15/12 09:13 PM)

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#1959259 - 09/15/12 01:58 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: turandot]
Larry Fine Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/06
Posts: 30
Loc: Boston, MA
Although my attempt is, as objectively as I can, to show the newcomer to the piano market how the manufacturers position their pianos in the market, I have also admitted that, ultimately, this is not a scientific, but rather a subjective, endeavor for the many reasons I have stated, and for the reasons others have stated here. Although the brands are ranked by price more than any other factor, I use terminology related to quality because, generally speaking, price correlates to quality, even if imperfectly (depending on one's definition of "quality" and what one is looking for), and because that is terminology the consumer expects and understands. The reason I do this, and the reason I write a book at all, is so that consumers, faced with 50 or 60 different brand names, don't just throw up their hands and say "It's too confusing; I'll take up some other hobby." It's simply meant as a tool for consumers to get started with, as I take great pains to say in the commentary that accompanies the ratings. The reason I have chosen to try to present the market as the manufacturers do is precisely because I don't want to pre-empt the consumers from making their own evaluations and choices by having them rely too heavily on my own judgment of which pianos are "best". I give them a tool to gain a foothold of understanding of the market -- just enough so that they don't give up -- and then I try to get out of the way. That some consumers may rely too heavily on it is often the fault of dealers who, in their own interest, try to make the ratings more important than I mean them to be. Nevertheless, from the many positive comments I've received from consumers, I think I have been reasonably successful in doing what I set out to do.

Some of the comments on this forum have been more sharply worded than necessary, and some seem more interested in tearing me down than in helping me improve what I do. However, I do appreciate all the feedback made in good faith, and it will help me make further improvements.

Larry Fine
_________________________
Publisher and Editor, Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer
and Author, The Piano Book

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#1959261 - 09/15/12 02:11 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: rlinkt]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19261
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: rlinkt
The question that Mr. Fine posed is if there is better way to represent the market landscape for non-piano-savvy consumers (such as myself). Perhaps we should put suggest some ideas here.

Here is my suggestion: Create a chart like the Gartner magic quadrants using the following dimensions:

- 'Perceived quality' vs. price
I can't comment on the Gartner magic quadrants since I'm not familiar with them, but I think if one tried to create a quality vs. price rating it would potentially be far more confusing since the most expensive and highest quality pianos would generally come out looking poorly. I think it's generally accepted that as one considers more and more expensive pianos the improvement in performance/quality is not proportional to the price increase.

Originally Posted By: rlinkt
I would even suggest that PB does not need to deal with the high end much in that table, except to be comprehensive. People going for the high end are experts who know their preferences in an instrument, and do not need somebody to advise them about how the brands are positioning themselves. [This does not apply to the pricing table. That is an invaluable source of information.
I think mostly those people who buy high end pianos do so because their finances allow them to do so. If this is not the case, then Ori is wasting a lot of time with his individual Piano 101 seminars.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/15/12 02:14 PM)

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#1959293 - 09/15/12 03:56 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14135
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
I think it's generally accepted that as one considers more and more expensive pianos the improvement in performance/quality is not proportional to the price increase.


The key word IMHO is and remains "performance" - the direct result of all that is *quality* in a piano.

Which is exactly the junction where everybody's mind or opinion is going into a different direction.

And also the very reason why it is difficult to rate any instrument - especially in today's market.

The landscpape is entirely different today than it was 10-20 years ago when the divisions between products were far more obvious and noticeable.

Asked anybody recently who's selling guitars or violins?

My own daughter having played for last 5 years recently preferred a Chinese made Fender over another one 5 times the price.

Salesmen nodding quietly in agreement.

Not saying outcome would always be the same.

But it certainly "can"...

Norbert


Edited by Norbert (09/15/12 04:13 PM)
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Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
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#1959303 - 09/15/12 04:31 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8459
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Larry Fine
Some of the comments on this forum have been more sharply worded than necessary, and some seem more interested in tearing me down than in helping me improve what I do. However, I do appreciate all the feedback made in good faith, and it will help me make further improvements.

Larry Fine

Unfortunately, this does happen on Piano World. There are certain members here who choose to be excessively harsh and callous in their comments rather than offering beneficial constructive criticism. Such is an internet forum, I suppose. The moderators try to curtail this behavior as much as possible, but that is about as difficult a job as rating pianos. smile

Don’t let it keep you away… it happens to all of us at one time or another.

Thanks for your comments here and thanks for your hard work and all you do to bring us the Piano Book and Piano Buyer!

Rick
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#1959304 - 09/15/12 04:41 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Norbert]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19261
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Norbert
My own daughter having played for last 5 years recently preferred a Chinese made Fender over another one 5 times the price.
Anyone can prefer one musical instrument over another, but that does not mean their judgement is good or reasonable. In terms of pianos, if someone felt that a piano costing 1/5 as much as another piano was the superior instrument, one would have to conclude 99% of the time that their knowledge/taste/discernment of quality was low. I'm sure many people, especially teenagers, prefer hot dogs to rack of lamb and Justin Bieber to Bach.

Many piano buyers realize their experience in judging pianos is limited so the Piano Buyer becomes an excellent resource, both for its ratings and all its other information. Most buyers realize that dealers and salesmen, with very few exceptions, cannot be completely objective.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/15/12 05:04 PM)

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#1959316 - 09/15/12 05:31 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: turandot]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: turandot
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty

The general use of the term "bias," within this thread, has most often been used "in favor of." Whether the bias is based on objectivity or not, is irrelevant, as the basis of the bias is left for the reader to assess.

Mr. Fine's experience goes back 35 years. For him to not have formed a bias toward cetain entities that he has come to trust ...

Turandot,

I did not state that any poster was without bias. Nor, did I infer it. That is the direct opposite of what I indicated. My posting was a direct reference to the "definition" of what a bias is, as posted by Pianoloverus, and his/her interpretation of a non cited source as basis for his/her conclusion.
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Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1959323 - 09/15/12 05:39 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14135
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
Anyone can prefer one musical instrument over another, but that does not mean their judgement is good or reasonable.


"Good and reasonable" is good enough in the books of 95% of customers we see.

However they come to their conclusion...

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

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#1959334 - 09/15/12 05:52 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Norbert]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19261
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Norbert
Quote:
Anyone can prefer one musical instrument over another, but that does not mean their judgement is good or reasonable.


"Good and reasonable" is good enough in the books of 95% of customers we see.

However they come to their conclusion...
Except I was giving an example of where someone's judgment wasn't good or reasonable. Whether it's still good enough for them has nothing to do with my point.

I'm sure 95% of the population prefers Bieber to Bach also. That choice may be "good enough" for them but it doesn't say anything about the quality of that choice.

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#1959335 - 09/15/12 05:55 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Minnesota Marty]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7164
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Turandot,

I did not state that any poster was without bias. Nor, did I infer it. That is the direct opposite of what I indicated. My posting was a direct reference to the "definition" of what a bias is, as posted by Pianoloverus, and his/her interpretation of a non cited source as basis for his/her conclusion.


I actually agreed with you that for the most part the use of "bias' in this thread was "in favor of". Unfortunately, I did not post that. I can see in retrospect that I did not make the connection clear. But for the record, I had no disagreement with what you wrote.

I felt that 'bias' in this instance was only trotted out (not by you) to berate Norbert. As tiersome as that is, there seems to be no end to it.
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#1959339 - 09/15/12 06:05 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
Turandot - Of that, we couldn't agree more!
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Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1959354 - 09/15/12 06:47 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: sophial]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10354
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: sophial
Oh the power of money to change minds... laugh


Yes, I'm sure anyone who has spent a reasonable amount of time talking with people who sell any particular product has encountered the representative who "loves the one they're with." On the other hand, I know some piano people who do not suddenly find all the defects in the brands they used to represent.


Originally Posted By: Nick Mauel
Now, the constantly shifting ratings seem to be an attempt to issue a report card from within the industry itself.


My casual observation is that there has been very little churning of the rankings over the past decade. I suppose it would be a fairly trivial task to review the rankings over time and examine the pattern of change. Frankly, I don't think you will detect much movement.

Actually, some small annual movement in the rankings is in the self-interest of any publisher that gains sales from publishing a ranking. Think of all the college rankings, especially the big one from US News & World Report. They use a formula that they periodically tweak. Having everyone on proverbial tenterhooks until their placement is revealed can't but be good for sales. Stasis would be boring.

I think LF's ranking system is far less moveable than ranking systems like the US News college ratings, for instance. Larry's goal is different, as is his audience, and his funding source. Larry does not sell subscriptions to PB, and this may indeed have some effect on the incentives to reshuffle the rankings deck on a regular basis.

At last report, colleges don't pay US News to produce the ranking. The advertising revenue that supports US News does not come from universities in any significant amounts. So the magazine's incentives are not shaped by the entities being ranked. They are shaped by the interest and excitement of the readership. I think this is a powerful force for movement in the rankings, even if that movement is largely driven by cosmetic changes in the measurement formula (and it is a formula). I am not at all sure that consumers in the piano market would benefit from having US News style shifts in the rankings.

Some here have talked about the biases that Larry's advertising revenues introduces, while Larry argues (effectively, I think) how his reputation is more valuable than any baksheesh he might be offered by SteinRit & HamLun. But there is a potentially powerful conservatism in the rankings in this small industry. My gut tells me that if anything, there is a bias against movement in Larry's rankings, and advertising revenue may reinforce that conservatism a bit.

The audience for buying a piano usually knows very little about the industry or the about the options. Larry says he is trying to educate people about the basics of the market more than to produce a list that people will use to judge that #33 supposedly is better than #38. I buy this.

There are only ten slots in the top ten, or fifty in the top fifty. Larry has tiers instead, though not called that name any more. But within the tiers there is no false attempt to list makers in absolute numerical order, as though quality can be understood as a simple number. Again, this is a force for conservatism. Things just don't move very much in that kind of scale.


Originally Posted By: Turandot
As tiersome as that is, there seems to be no end to it.


In a thread that has turned to LF's rankings, that typo is a Freudian slip indeed. grin
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#1959374 - 09/15/12 08:10 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14135
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:

Yes, I'm sure anyone who has spent a reasonable amount of time talking with people who sell any particular product has encountered the representative who "loves the one they're with." On the other hand, I know some piano people who do not suddenly find all the defects in the brands they used to represent.


This is perhaps true for those who sell pianos mainly by "brand". Or those who sell for "profit only"...

It is less true for those who are passionate about their job offering mainly "cherry-picked" models by the various makers they represent.

In our own case for example, we have never chosen ALL uprights or ALL grands by the makers of "Consumer Grade" we represent - in fact only few each.

Those we have singled out, however, would deserve and do seem to be getting "special attention" on market, something no "ranking" could either facilitate nor stop.

This is true for most makers today but not all businesses operate same.

There also is a difference when having a good "full-feature" and a somewhat cheaper line with its stronger brother basically keeping the lower group afloat by 'appeal' mainly.

This is exactly where the market appears to be changing today more than ever with greatest confusion as a result.

Looking at many makers' proliferation into all kinds of groups and sub-groups presents a serious problem for those trying to stay on top of things and trying to create a meaningful system of ranking.

It's not a job I would like to have due to the many different models by same makers - including their respective "sub-groups"...


It is one of my personal convictions why I believe that today's consumers should be encouraged to increasingly rely on their own sense of things instead of what others have to say.

Self included.

Norbert grin


Edited by Norbert (09/15/12 08:22 PM)
_________________________
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Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#1959375 - 09/15/12 08:15 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]
Scott McBain Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 125
Loc: San Jose / Fremont / Bay Area
I totally agree to totally disagree. Opinions that influence millions to draw wrong opinionated conclusions, giving reliance to those without any knowledge on the subject - is just wrong. Forget the ratings, let them come to their own conslusions, as most do anyway.

If there were one that was the absolute best, than that is what everyone would have, obviously that is not the case.

I really think Turandot should have written the "piano book" and the 'buyers guide' - I think it would have been much more objective and accurate. Better yet, just give him some of the advertising money to edit the book prior to publication. Of course, that is just my opinion.

A Question to this very piano learned group-

Has the piano book helped the piano dealers sell more or sell better? Has it helped the manufacturers? Has the building of pianos improved because of Piano Book? There was a lot of brown nosing by the manufacturers when the first fine book came out, and I noticed that there was apprehension and posturing among manufacturers and now they are giving advertising money to the guy that most of them seemed to despise. Amazing success of the power of the pen.

I also notice that some dealers advertise in this book, no conclusion on my part if this is beneficial, would be curious from those that take part in this. PM please.
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#1959383 - 09/15/12 08:33 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]
Norbert Offline
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Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14135
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
I like to be specifically on record "not" to be criticizing Mr. Fine.

My comments were addressed at the system of ranking and the increasingly inherent problems with it. These are my opinions and opinions only. This must be clearly understood by all readers.

There's no doubt in my mind that Piano Buyer serves a large variety of people and remains a "must read" for all piano buyers today.

By same token it happens to be my belief that individual choice based on changed people's budgets personal taste, availability of brands plus local market conditions, have become the most important factor for the average consumer today.

Everybody may well disagree or ignore with this but it is still what I believe in. To be frank, it's something I'm trying to make work for my own clients to the best of my abilities every single day. In essence there's no conflict - only different ways of doing things.

I'm sure that everybody does same, however we all have different takes on things. It's the nature of the beast....

My highest respect to Mr. Fine and his unquestioned expertise about the fascinating subject that all binds us together in these type discussions.

Norbert


Edited by Norbert (09/15/12 08:53 PM)
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#1959384 - 09/15/12 08:36 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Larry Fine]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7164
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Larry Fine
Although my attempt is, as objectively as I can, to show the newcomer to the piano market how the manufacturers position their pianos in the market, I have also admitted that, ultimately, this is not a scientific, but rather a subjective, endeavor for the many reasons I have stated, and for the reasons others have stated here. Although the brands are ranked by price more than any other factor, I use terminology related to quality because, generally speaking, price correlates to quality, even if imperfectly (depending on one's definition of "quality" and what one is looking for), and because that is terminology the consumer expects and understands.


Mr. Fine,

That statement is clear, coherent, and reasonable. It speaks to both aspects of your groupings and ratings:

(1) the positioning of pianos in the market by manufacturers which you state as the basis, and

(2) the subjective judgments that are necessary to align that information with with your personal view.

The two paragraph explanation that precedes the charts in your publication also seems clear, coherent, and reasonable to me, but IMO presents a somewhat different explanation.

Originally Posted By: from PianoBuyer
The charts and commentary that follow are intended to provide the newcomer to the piano market with a simple summary of how the brands compare with one another in overall quality and recommendability, taking into account each brand's features, performance, and track record.

Any such rating system is obviously not scientific but subjective, the product of my contacts with dozens of piano technicians, dealers, and other industry personnel, as well as my more than thirty years of involvement with the piano industry. My sense is that most knowledgeable people in the industry would agree in broad terms with this comparison, though many will disagree with me — and with each other — about the details. (See my blog for additional comments on the subject of piano ratings.


The emphasis on an evaluation of quality and subjective judgment is clearly present along with "recommendability", but in all honesty, is there anything there that would clue the newcomer to the fact that the basis of the groupings and ratings is the positioning of the pianos by price in the marketplace by their manufacturers?

To make it clearer, I would take the example of Ritmuller. Is there anything in those introductory paragraphs that would clue the newcomer in any way to the fact that the Ritmuller pianos which have been on the market for a few years now have a lowered rating that is based on the prices they seem to fetch in the marketplace or the fact that a lower line has been introduced under the same brand name?
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#1959386 - 09/15/12 08:36 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Norbert]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10457
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: Norbert
I like to be specifically on record 'not" to be criticizing Mr. Fine.

Piano Buyer serves a large variety of people and remains a "must read" for all serious piano buyers.

By same token it happens to be my belief that individual choice based on people's budget, personal taste, availability of brands plus local market conditions have perhaps become the most important factor for consumers today.

My highest respect to Mr. Fine and his unquestioned expertise about the fascinating subject that all binds us together...

Norbert



This is perhaps the most hypocritical post I have ever read on the Piano Forum.

If it weren't posted in all seriousness, it would be laughable.
_________________________
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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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#1959405 - 09/15/12 10:30 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1602
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Originally Posted By: Norbert
I like to be specifically on record 'not" to be criticizing Mr. Fine.

Piano Buyer serves a large variety of people and remains a "must read" for all serious piano buyers.

By same token it happens to be my belief that individual choice based on people's budget, personal taste, availability of brands plus local market conditions have perhaps become the most important factor for consumers today.

My highest respect to Mr. Fine and his unquestioned expertise about the fascinating subject that all binds us together...

Norbert



This is perhaps the most hypocritical post I have ever read on the Piano Forum.

If it weren't posted in all seriousness, it would be laughable.


Steve,
Without explanation this post reads, to me, as insulting and inflammatory.
Just sayin'...

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#1959407 - 09/15/12 10:33 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10354
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
You want inflammatory, just look four posts above yours ...
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#1959409 - 09/15/12 10:41 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]
Jonathan Alford Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/11
Posts: 358
Loc: Colorado
Interesting, my Ritmuller sounds and plays just as nice today as it did before the new ratings came out.

Jonathan

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#1959517 - 09/16/12 07:10 AM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Jonathan Alford]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19261
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Jonathan Alford
Interesting, my Ritmuller sounds and plays just as nice today as it did before the new ratings came out.

Jonathan
You're ignoring the fact, stated a few times on this thread, that part of the explanation for the tiny drop in Ritmuller's ranking was the introduction of a new model.

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#1959524 - 09/16/12 07:44 AM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: turandot]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19261
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Turandot
[The emphasis on an evaluation of quality and subjective judgment is clearly present along with "recommendability", but in all honesty, is there anything there that would clue the newcomer to the fact that the basis of the groupings and ratings is the positioning of the pianos by price in the marketplace by their manufacturers?
Fine has already explained that there is a very close connection between quality and price.

Originally Posted By: Turandot
To make it clearer, I would take the example of Ritmuller. Is there anything in those introductory paragraphs that would clue the newcomer in any way to the fact that the Ritmuller pianos which have been on the market for a few years now have a lowered rating that is based on the prices they seem to fetch in the marketplace or the fact that a lower line has been introduced under the same brand name?
Fine has never explained in his general comments about ratings why an individual make has moved slightly in either direction. That wouldn't be an appropriate place to put that information.

I don't think he has specifically said in any part of the PB in any of its editions why a piano has moved in any direction. I think this is probably because the ratings are controversial enough(to Piano World aficionados and dealers...not to the general public)that trying to justify every decision about ratings would create even more controversy. There has always been a fairly detailed explanation of each piano, often including recent changes, in a different section of the PB.

I'd say the huge percentage of readers of the PB wouldn't care or realize if a piano had moved slightly in one direction. As has been pointed out previously, Ritmuller was ranked where it is now in most of previous editions and only moved up for the next to last edition.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/16/12 09:36 AM)

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