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#2045908 - 03/10/13 12:09 PM Re: What Goes Around Comes Around! ( A long story.) [Re: Entheo]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: Entheo
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Entheo, do you play the piano, or do you just analyze specs?

Play all of the instruments on pages 44 & 45 and you may very well come to the same conclusions. You might take on the task of creating a spec based rating system, with info from the builders, and provide it to Mr. Fine for inclusion in PB.


i do both - they are not mutually exclusive.

and i have played most of the brands (and many of their models) on pg 44.

but my point - which is being sorely missed here - is not about yet another person's opinion, but augmenting the decision making process with FACT.

and why, pray tell, should i do someone else's job for them? as i said before, this is not rocket science... a little bit of research is all that's required.

and with this i'll sign off of this rather frustrating topic of conversation.


It just got a little less frustrating.
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2045945 - 03/10/13 01:37 PM Re: What Goes Around Comes Around! ( A long story.) [Re: Steve Cohen]
HalfStep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 202
Loc: Boston, MA
http://baldwinpiano.shutterfly.com/

Okay my first attempt at linking pics


Edited by HalfStep (03/10/13 01:37 PM)

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#2045946 - 03/10/13 01:38 PM Re: What Goes Around Comes Around! ( A long story.) [Re: Steve Cohen]
HalfStep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 202
Loc: Boston, MA
Bad resolution ughhh. Try



http://baldwinpiano.shutterfly.com/


Edited by HalfStep (03/10/13 01:57 PM)

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#2045995 - 03/10/13 03:27 PM Re: What Goes Around Comes Around! ( A long story.) [Re: Steve Cohen]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14138
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Tur:

Quote:
Norbert has placed Parsons bait on his spinning line twice on this thread, so I imagine he has some weight on the line as well. Nothing would surprise me in the world of Chinese piano manufacture.


Emotional, irrational and plain wrong.

Steve:

Quote:
It is my understanding that the current Baldwin grands are made at Parsons. I believe that started about 6 months ago.


Factual and to the point.

Norbert thumb


Edited by Norbert (03/10/13 03:29 PM)
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#2046010 - 03/10/13 03:50 PM Re: What Goes Around Comes Around! ( A long story.) [Re: Norbert]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7193
Loc: torrance, CA
Norbert,

I welcome you disapproval with open enthusiasm, possibly more enthusiasm than Steve could summon up for your meaningless stamp of approval.

Emotional? Not really, but I do have a soft spot in my heart for a couple of the DongBei grand designs. It's not that they're to everyone's taste, but they do have their own voice. I'll be disappointed if those designs are permanently extinguished.

Irrational? Well, I did mean by weight on the line that I assumed you had a basis for your information about Parsons. Was that assumption irrational? You tell me.

Wrong? Revisit the top of this post.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#2046027 - 03/10/13 04:15 PM Re: What Goes Around Comes Around! ( A long story.) [Re: Entheo]
rlinkt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 311
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: Entheo

but my point - which is being sorely missed here - is not about yet another person's opinion, but augmenting the decision making process with FACT.


Entheo,

I know very little about pianos, but I did buy a piano a few months back. Here is my perspective on this topic: Products that are sold on the basis of feature comparison boil the differentiating factors down to features that mean something tangible to the consumer -- real or perceived. When I look at your product feature matrix screenshot, I mostly understand exactly what most of the line items mean from a functionality perspective. When I look at the piano marketing materials, it means very little to me. I understand what a slow-close fallboard would do, but I have no idea how a [19 cross-ply maple pinblock] or a [molded vertical maple, maple cap] bridge stacks up against competition. I know that when heard the Ritmuller I liked it, but I have no idea what a 'functional duplex scale' is. Does anybody understand how a 'functional duplex scale' compares to the plain old duplex scale, and what it means for the product?

Its much simpler to just play the product and form an opinion until pianos can be compared on tangible features like 30 FPS vs 60 FPS recording.


Edited by rlinkt (03/10/13 04:18 PM)

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#2046072 - 03/10/13 05:23 PM Re: What Goes Around Comes Around! ( A long story.) [Re: rlinkt]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: rlinkt
Originally Posted By: Entheo

but my point - which is being sorely missed here - is not about yet another person's opinion, but augmenting the decision making process with FACT.


Entheo,

I know very little about pianos, but I did buy a piano a few months back. Here is my perspective on this topic: Products that are sold on the basis of feature comparison boil the differentiating factors down to features that mean something tangible to the consumer -- real or perceived. When I look at your product feature matrix screenshot, I mostly understand exactly what most of the line items mean from a functionality perspective. When I look at the piano marketing materials, it means very little to me. I understand what a slow-close fallboard would do, but I have no idea how a [19 cross-ply maple pinblock] or a [molded vertical maple, maple cap] bridge stacks up against competition. I know that when heard the Ritmuller I liked it, but I have no idea what a 'functional duplex scale' is. Does anybody understand how a 'functional duplex scale' compares to the plain old duplex scale, and what it means for the product?

Its much simpler to just play the product and form an opinion until pianos can be compared on tangible features like 30 FPS vs 60 FPS recording.


I bought a new piano as well about six months ago. I made my decision solely on a comparison of sound amoungst many, many pianos all over North America (I travel a lot.). To my ears and hands, and to my my listeners, this is a piano of unusual sonority and responsiveness. I love it. However, after I got the piano I started learning about the technical side of pianos. I was blown away by the fact that, even though I have a degree in music performance, none of my teachers ever spoke to me about regulation, tuning techniques, or duplex scaling ( real or imagined), or any of the other hundreds of things that affect piano sound and quality. My point is that I was lucky. I think, in retrospect, that if the other pianos had been better prepared before I played them, I might have come to different decision. Would a matrix of piano features have helped me? Definitely, if I understood the value of the matrix items in their contribution to the sound. I could have understood why a Bosie sounds different from a M&H.

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#2046355 - 03/11/13 05:32 AM Re: What Goes Around Comes Around! ( A long story.) [Re: pianoloverus]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Originally Posted By: Entheo
...if the only piano publication for consumers doesn't have a published baseline of data upon which to reference their classifications then how is anyone to trust that the published opinions are any more objective than anyone else's opinion? this isn't rocket science -- every industry and sub-sector has quantifiable matrices, measures and the resulting deterministic formulas for ranking.
Your supposition is in fact - not a supposition but the reality of the publication. Piano Buyer...as you point out, does not rely on metrics, or on verifiable standards. And, Larry would be the first to admit that it is subjective in many aspects.

Yet, in reality it does a great job of providing a basis for consumers and, as Larry says in the introduction to the Map, "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".

Thousands of consumers have made wiser decisions through the information in PB. IMHO, and that of many, many others, it serves it purpose well.

In other words, Piano Buyer, as the bible for the old-fashioned (US retail) piano industry, has more in common with religion than with science.

You need to believe in it.
The reason PB does not rely on metrics is that those don't really apply to pianos(or there are so many of them that they are impractical/not meaningful). One cannot evaluate pianos like vacuum cleaners because they are far more complex. Thus the fact that PB doesn't rely on metrics is in no way a negative.

One only has to have reasonable confidence and trust in Larry Fine and his staff to find the information in the PB useful. I think 99+% of those who know Fine think he is one of the most straightforward, honest, and knowledgeable people in the piano industry. Even those who don't know Fine personally but who read the PB can probably deduce this by considering the carefully worded descriptions and comments.

Comparing the PB to an advertising flyer for a restaurant is so far from the truth that it makes me wonder if those who say that have even looked at the PB.


Pianos are trivially simple compared to many other complex consumer products.

PB takes advertising just like the little book/magazines one finds in hotel rooms and it is every bit as subjective and subject to conflict of interest as those publications.

I have spent money on PB in the past and found the information US-centric and woefully incomplete and ignorant of the top German brands which were listed as some kind of question mark or footnote when they did appear. A real hocus-pocus echo chamber dependent on limited, biased sampling.

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#2046356 - 03/11/13 05:34 AM Re: What Goes Around Comes Around! ( A long story.) [Re: turandot]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: turandot
Originally Posted By: Entheo

in the meantime i'll continue to scratch my head at some of the incredulous classifications on page 44.


Entheo,

The basic division of categories in Fine's writing was traidtionally related to mass-produced pianos being listed in a consumer grade and so-called hand-built pianos being listed in a performance grade. In the edition before the last one, Fine created a new category -- professional grade. Professional grade was changed to intermediate grade in the last edition because Fine felt that the term "professional" could be misleading.

Fine has stated here on PW in his posts that the division between mass-produced and hand-built is becoming less meaningful as so-called hand builders adapt to modern machinery and mass producers continue to refine their craft. I think the creation of a third category and the quick renaming of that category prove that the categorization issue is very much on his mind, and he doesn't feel he has resolved it. If you input Fine in the user list and read his posts on PW beginning with 2009, you will find that he is very forthcoming and doesn't mind a little give and take on this and other issues.

I don't understand at all the composition of the intermediate category as it is presently constituted, but I don't understand in general why Yamaha and Kawai artist pianos that are standards in performance venues are not 'performance' pianos, while other relatively obscure pianos that are virtually never used in performance venues are 'performance' pianos. Perhaps it's a category-naming issue more than a musical one, or perhaps it is categorically impossible for a mass-produced piano to crack the glass ceiling. What can you do? Fine doesn't pretend to have the final answers and his writing is descriptive, never prescriptive.


It is all subjectivity, smoke and mirrors. The classifications are demonstrably arbitrary and meaningless.

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#2046392 - 03/11/13 09:02 AM Re: What Goes Around Comes Around! ( A long story.) [Re: theJourney]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19352
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Pianos are trivially simple compared to many other complex consumer products.
I doubt many would agree with you.
Originally Posted By: theJourney
PB takes advertising just like the little book/magazines one finds in hotel rooms and it is every bit as subjective and subject to conflict of interest as those publications.
This topic was dealt with at length when the PB first started including advertising. Anyone who knows Larry Fine knows that his integrity is frankly astronomically high, and the huge success of the PB depends on his being honest in his evaluations over several decades.

The ratings changed very little from the around 20 years of pre-advertising days compared to the post advertising days. This seems to indicate a lack of conflict of interest.

That the rating must be to an extent subjective is a given and not a negative. Piano tone and touch are subjective as a matter of fact.


Originally Posted By: theJourney
I have spent money on PB in the past and found the information US-centric and woefully incomplete and ignorant of the top German brands which were listed as some kind of question mark or footnote when they did appear. A real hocus-pocus echo chamber dependent on limited, biased sampling.
Your characterization as "woefully incomplete and ignorant" is pure personal opinion. The top German brands are with only the rarest exception(maybe Feurich because of of its miniscule production?) ever listed with minimal information but never as some kind of question mark or footnote. In the rare cases when Fine feels there is not enough information to evaluate a make or only enough to make a tentative evaluation, he clearly indicates this which is exactly what should be done. There have been lengthy descriptions/evaluations of Boesendorfer, Schimmel, Bluthner, Bechstein, etc. for over 20 years.


Edited by pianoloverus (03/11/13 05:02 PM)

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#2046471 - 03/11/13 01:20 PM Re: What Goes Around Comes Around! ( A long story.) [Re: theJourney]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7193
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: theJourney

It is all subjectivity, smoke and mirrors. The classifications are demonstrably arbitrary and meaningless.


Arbitrary? Yes, in the sense that a classification system that divides pianos according to production methods in only one of many ways one could segment the market. Fine's subcategories that exist both above, below. and now adjacent to the glass ceiling are based more than anything else on price. That's another way to classify. One could also classify according to units manufactured, units sold, global reach, importance to the music industry, institutional placement, teacher favorites, etc. However, the results of such a classification might not be of much importance to Fine.

Meaningless? I don't think so at all. Any writer is free to structure the piano market as he wishes. The important thing is that he explains his system clearly, not that you agree with it.
_________________________
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#2046563 - 03/11/13 04:51 PM Re: What Goes Around Comes Around! ( A long story.) [Re: Steve Cohen]
RickG1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/10
Posts: 304
Loc: TX
I have found the PB to be an excellent source of information. But, unlike Consumer Reports, I use my ears, my touch and instinct to judge a piano. Some that I thought would be PSO were, in fact, not bad. Some that had the high end name, were a disappointment. JMHO. :-)
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Steinway "B"
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