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#1982214 - 11/03/12 01:39 PM Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old?
KillerCharlie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 142
Say you have your heart set on a quality piano (in this case Schimmel). You've tried a bunch of their new pianos and found them very consistent in touch and tone. However it's just out of your price range.

Would you buy a 10 year old used and inspected instrument unseen? Ideally you would be able to play it beforehand, but there just aren't enough used Schimmels to make that possible.

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#1982226 - 11/03/12 02:04 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
Guapo Gabacho Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/11
Posts: 430
Loc: Rio Grande Valley of Texas
Inspected by who, the seller?

Sounds like a craigslist scam.
_________________________
'86 Baldwin SF-10

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#1982231 - 11/03/12 02:19 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: Guapo Gabacho]
Robert 45 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 1227
Loc: Auckland New Zealand
No, definitely not.

Regards,

Robert.

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#1982246 - 11/03/12 02:49 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: Guapo Gabacho]
KillerCharlie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 142
Originally Posted By: Guapo Gabacho
Inspected by who, the seller?

Sounds like a craigslist scam.


No, a piano listed on pianomart, inspected by qualified tech.

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#1982248 - 11/03/12 02:55 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19341
Loc: New York City
There is still a chance you might not like the particular instrument you haven't tried out.

You would have to be very careful that the tech you choose to look at the piano has an impeccable reputation. Another thing you need to investigate is how much the Schimmel models have changed design in the last ten years. I am not sure, but I think there may have been some significant changes, and that could also affect your chances of being pleased with the Schimmel you're interested in.

In the end it depends on how much of a risk you're willing to take and how fussy you think you are about tone and touch.


Edited by pianoloverus (11/03/12 03:00 PM)

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#1982278 - 11/03/12 04:10 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
wouter79 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3536
I would not. For me the sound and touch are too important and very too much between pianos. Particularly with 2nd hand variation is much larger.

But it depends on the price, how much trust you have in it, how consistent all these schimmels are, what your requirements exactly are etc.
_________________________

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#1982283 - 11/03/12 04:25 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 557
No. I wouldn't trust a tech's opinion, or anyone's opinion. I've played lots of individual pianos that I hated, that other pianists that I respected liked. It's a very personal thing.
_________________________
"Most pianists are poor musicians, they dissect music into bits-and-pieces, like a roast chicken" -Debussy

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#1982308 - 11/03/12 06:12 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
No, I would not ever buy it sight unseen anymore than I would buy a used car with an inspection sight unseen. Qualified is in the eyes of the beholder too.

You should always play the piano, hear the piano before just buying it including new. Every single one will play a little bit differently and sound a little bit differently than another.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1982310 - 11/03/12 06:21 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
djwayne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/10/10
Posts: 123
No. The same holds true for guitars as well. I once bought a Martin 12 string guitar based on the name only. It was a very difficult guitar to play and ended up re-selling it because of that. My newer Taylor guitar is much easier to play, and that's what's important.

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#1982311 - 11/03/12 06:23 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
A blind date with a big price tag. No, I wouldn't do it. You are taking a big chance, and making an investment at the limits of your purse into something that's very important to you, and which is very personal. If you are so interested, why not go where it is and see for yourself?

I did a very slight research into the site you mentioned, finding that this site only hooks up buyer and seller, and that the piano is inspected by a person in the employ of the seller. That is not good enough. Any used piano considered by a buyer should be inspected by a qualified technician, who has no financial interest in the sale, and who is hired and paid for solely by the buyer.

If that written and detailed report is satisfactory, it still doesn't answer the question of whether you would like that piano.

It's not listed on your profile, KC, but I thought you already had a piano you liked. Your location is not listed on your profile, either, but there are Schimmels around on the market, including used ones. If the serial number checks out and shows that the piano is actually ten years old, that by itself doesn't rule it in, or out (though 10 years old is not an unreasonable age). Wear and care is the story, and condition is king. Ten years of moderate play by a private user is not the same ten years as a piano beat to death in a college practice room or a church.

Also, if memory serves, the company has changed hands in recent years, and it has several locations of manufacture in various countries, another good reason to check carefully into exactly what is on offer. I believe the company offers several different product lines, at different price points and quality levels. No doubt, you already know all this. That said, we have some regulars here who love their Schimmels.

"...Say you have your heart set on a quality piano (in this case Schimmel). You've tried a bunch of their new pianos and found them very consistent in touch and tone. However it's just out of your price range..."

Personally, I think I'd save up a little more... or try some skillful negotiating... or get some local piano stores (or your tech) to keep their eyes open for something that might be right for you. And then, save up while you wait to see if that something just right comes on the market... which you will know by putting your tech, your fingers, and your ears on it.
_________________________
Clef


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#1982324 - 11/03/12 06:50 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
bbuckis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/10
Posts: 81
Originally Posted By: KillerCharlie
Ideally you would be able to play it beforehand, but there just aren't enough used Schimmels to make that possible.


How many used Schimmels need to be available? You found one. You say it is ten years old and inspected. Why can't you go and play it beforehand?
_________________________
The only thing preventing me from owning a Steinway & Sons produced piano, is Steinway & Sons Customer Service. They should work on that.

Fortunately the piano I want the most is sold by Steinway & Sons!
Unfortunately the piano I want the most is only sold by Steinway & Sons.

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#1982345 - 11/03/12 07:14 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3336
Originally Posted By: KillerCharlie
Say you have your heart set on a quality piano (in this case Schimmel). You've tried a bunch of their new pianos and found them very consistent in touch and tone. However it's just out of your price range.

Would you buy a 10 year old used and inspected instrument unseen? Ideally you would be able to play it beforehand, but there just aren't enough used Schimmels to make that possible.


I don't think it's absolutely out of the question, especially if you get a (signed) written appraisal from an independent, reputable technician. Ideally, you would want to see the piano firsthand, but it won't necessarily sound the same in your home due to variables in acoustic space. A <10 year old piano shouldn't have any serious structural problems... especially something like a Schimmel, so I wouldn't be too concerned about this. The one caution I might have is that Schimmel has done quite a bit of tinkering with their pianos over the last decade, so their current offering may be somewhat different depending on when this used piano was made.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1982350 - 11/03/12 07:20 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I looked at a used Yamaha P202 once that was "only 10 years old." The people thought the piano was in "mint condition." I remember counting something like 20 cracks in the sounding board. I was surprised. Basically, anything is possible... Buyer beware, always.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1982376 - 11/03/12 08:20 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19341
Loc: New York City
Anyone know about what percent of new pianos are purchased without the buyer ever playing them beforehand? I'd guess it's more than 10% and maybe more than 20%. But that's just a guess.

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#1982390 - 11/03/12 09:13 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I'll bet it's higher than that because many dealers deliver a piano uncrated which is not the same piano that they played in the store.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1982486 - 11/04/12 05:17 AM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1193
Don't do it. all pianos are different, and besides, you don't know what conditions the piano has been kept in, or what work has/hasn't been done to the piano, if it's a former institutional piano, a former pianists piano, a former piano teachers piano - in which case it could already have had its best years and need some extensive action rebuilding, adding to the cost and taking you up to the level of buying from a dealer. There is a reason why pianos are expensive.

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#1982536 - 11/04/12 09:13 AM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: joe80]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19341
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: joe80
Don't do it. all pianos are different, and besides, you don't know what conditions the piano has been kept in, or what work has/hasn't been done to the piano, if it's a former institutional piano, a former pianists piano, a former piano teachers piano - in which case it could already have had its best years and need some extensive action rebuilding, adding to the cost and taking you up to the level of buying from a dealer. There is a reason why pianos are expensive.
If the OP can find a knowledgeable, independent, and honest tech than the tech can access the condition accurately. Far more accurately than most non techs would be able to do. I think the only question is whether the OP will like the touch and tone of this particular Schimmel.

Since pianos depreciate a lot in the first ten years, buying a fairly new piano can often be the best way to get the most bang for your buck.


Edited by pianoloverus (11/04/12 09:17 AM)

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#1982539 - 11/04/12 09:20 AM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: DanS]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19341
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: DanS
No. I wouldn't trust a tech's opinion, or anyone's opinion. I've played lots of individual pianos that I hated, that other pianists that I respected liked. It's a very personal thing.
The tech would be inspecting the piano mostly for its condition not his opinion of the tone(unless he thinks there is a tonal problem). If the tech is familiar with new Schimmels he might also be able to say how close this piano sounds and feels to a new model.

I would personally never buy any piano, even a new Yamaha or other make known for their consistency of sound, without playing it first. But I think some people can be satisfied if they know the condition of the piano and if it generally has the same tone as a new model whose sound they like. None of this means I think there is no risk involved!


Edited by pianoloverus (11/04/12 09:25 AM)

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#1982540 - 11/04/12 09:21 AM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
SoundThumb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/10
Posts: 340
Loc: San Diego, CA
The fact that you are considering this piano indicates that you are a gambler that enjoys the adrenaline rush of the game. Nothing wrong with that. You just want to be a smart gambler and know the odds before you place your bet.

Piano techs are are a skilled lot, so assume 92% of them can make a good assessment.
They are also an ethical lot, so assume that 92% will supply an accurate report.
Sellers are also an ethical lot, so assume that 92% will ask a reasonable price.
Finally, you have done your homework, so assume that you will like 92% of all similar pianos.

Multiply the odds together and you have a 72% chance that you are a winner, and accordingly a 28% chance that you are a looser. How does that fit into your risk tolerance?


Edited by SoundThumb (11/04/12 09:39 AM)

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#1982603 - 11/04/12 12:47 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
maurus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/11
Posts: 804
Would I buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? Yes - provided the price is $1, transportation included, and the seller guarantees to take the instrument back at no cost if I don't like it.

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#1982688 - 11/04/12 04:09 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
"I'll bet it's higher than that because many dealers deliver a piano uncrated which is not the same piano that they played in the store."

And we get a fair amount of user complaints here, about how the newly-delivered piano which sounded and played so well in the store, does not sound or play so great when delivered. "But why?" they ask, "How can it be?" And the answer is, "It can be a ringer--- same uniform, different player. Football's oldest ruse."

The remedy is, to write down the serial number of the piano you like, and have ordered and paid for, in the store (and which should match the serial number on your invoice), and compare it with the serial of the delivered unit. If it's not the same serial number, it's not the same piano. A look-alike. An impostor. A foundling.

It's not a bad idea to play the piano in the store, after the seller has made any adjustments, to be sure it's satisfactory before it goes on the truck--- again, noting down and comparing the serial number. Even without any intention to mislead the customer, it's easy enough for the store to mix up units which appear to be identical, but whose regulation, tuning, and voicing may be quite different.

Just one more potential problem for the mail-order piano.
_________________________
Clef


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#1982772 - 11/04/12 08:17 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
PianogrlNW Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/11
Posts: 299
Loc: Seattle, WA
Only if my piano technician inspected it, played it, and absolutely thought it was the best piano for me. But better yet, why don't you hop on a plane and try it out yourself.

And I have owned a Schimmel for 24 years.


Edited by PianogrlNW (11/04/12 08:18 PM)
_________________________


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#1983331 - 11/06/12 07:46 AM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
John Pels Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 1260
Loc: Tomball, Texas
If the OP has the ability and/or werewithal to remediate any issues that are found to be unsatisfactory then why not. At this age there shouldn't be any structural issues, but that doesn't preclude major regulation or voicing issues.

To my wacky sensibilities this falls into the mail order bride category. The piano is to a large degree your collaborator. How you will be able to collaborate in this instance is largely subjective, just as forming a relationship with someone that you haven't met or may or may not even speak the same language.

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#1983589 - 11/06/12 10:37 PM Re: Would you buy an unseen used piano <10 years old? [Re: KillerCharlie]
j&j Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 444
Loc: Southwest
The ONLY way I would purchase a used piano sight unseen and never having played it before plopping down my hard earned cash is:

* if it was inspected and played by my RPT who knows what I love in sound and action and he thought it was something I really should own

* the price was absolutely a KILLER deal

* it was one of the brands and models of my dreams

In other words: clinically proven too good to be true.
Good Luck....but most likely I'd take a trip out there and try it out - and get an independent tech to inspect it.
_________________________
J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." Pablo Picasso

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