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#2103027 - 06/15/13 07:21 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
KillerCharlie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 142
Absolutely try out pianos you can't afford. All of the good piano stores I went to (which was the majority of them) encouraged me to do it with no pressure. You learn what the possibilities are and it helps you find what you want. Sometimes you find that the piano you just love is a little bit more expensive. Sometimes you find that you can get a pretty close sound to what you want at a lower price.

My favorite dealer/rebuilder would excitedly tell me to try their latest new concert grand or beautiful rebuild, knowing that I would never buy them. In fact this dealer would encourage pretty much everyone to try out every piano they can, even if it's 100x more expensive than their budget. Not surprisingly, this dealer's business is booming.

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#2103063 - 06/15/13 09:23 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1604
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: shaolin95
I guess I should have been more clear when I said Audition...I didnt mean I am looking to change pianos. I meant as in wanting to know what a high end piano sounds like more out of curiosity to see what extra money gets you and find out where the point of diminishing returns is at least for my ears. laugh


Yeah, I was giving you a hard time. smile The more you "audition", the more you end up wanting it. It's just human nature. Though it is very cool to try something completely out of the range of the possible just to see what the absolute best is like. I had the chance to play a brand new Boesendorfer Imperial. Amazing doesn't even begin to describe it.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2103089 - 06/15/13 10:29 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: thorn_was_taken]
Caowner2013 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/13
Posts: 79
Originally Posted By: thorn_was_taken
...more people are willing to flex on budget than one might think, if led to the right instrument...


@ thorn, I totally agree with your points.

The "price range" question is not applicable to all and often a foolish lead-of.

When we are looking for the "right" instrument, the first consideration is NOT "price range".


Edited by CalifPianoUser2013 (06/15/13 10:41 PM)

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#2103091 - 06/15/13 10:38 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: jim ialeggio]
Caowner2013 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/13
Posts: 79
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio

These sounds are within the grasp of ordinary folk, if you can think past the "buying into a brand" mindset.


Getting a rebuilt and "enhanced" piano is intriguing and interesting and we will look into this. That said, there are reasons why consumers buy new or used but not a rebuilt. It has nothing to do with "buying into a brand" mindset.

For 45K, I can purchase a wide spectrum of excellent new pianos from Europe, US and Asia. What precisely would a rebuilder offer that a brand cannot offer?

How does a consumer know that the rebuilder is any good? We are not in the business. How does a consumer trust the rebuilt product? We cannot tell. How do we know that the price is fair? Especially when there are brand new pianos from well-respected brand that are near the same price range? Can a consumer even discern the supposed "improvements" or "enhancements"?

IMHO, there is a marketing problem and rebuilders need to find a way to address the above questions and not just assume consumers are just buying brands. There is not even one place for consumers to find a list of rebuilders.

Educate us, and good things will happen wink.

Cheers!



Edited by CalifPianoUser2013 (06/15/13 10:40 PM)

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#2103093 - 06/15/13 10:44 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Caowner2013]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 6067
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: CalifPianoUser2013
What precisely would a rebuilder offer that a brand cannot offer?

I predict that you will soon find out in excruciating detail.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2103096 - 06/15/13 10:49 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: laguna_greg]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1463
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
The risk of dis-satisfaction when rebuilding a core piano for a client is always there to some extent-however a certain amount of that can be attributed to not defining what the customer wants well enough ahead of planning the project.

For the most skilled rebuilders, there is very little "chance" to producing a high quality piano. Pianist's should audition all the sources of fine pianos they can to become educated about what is possible. Listen to the piano, and if it speaks to you then listen to the people who produced it.

Keep in mind that new hammers need to be played in to reveal the full range of the voice. But from day one you should be able to make a well done piano speak enough to focus your musical intent without forcing your hands. If a new or newly rebuilt piano speaks with stunning brilliance-with use it will become strident and uncontrollable.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2103290 - 06/16/13 11:49 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Caowner2013]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 529
Loc: shirley, MA
Originally Posted By: CalifPianoUser2013
IMHO, there is a marketing problem and rebuilders need to find a way to address the above questions and not just assume consumers are just buying brands. There is not even one place for consumers to find a list of rebuilders.

Calif...

Your points are completely valid, stated directly, yet good nature'd in a way that invites polite, informative, non-judgemental give-and-take...I would like to meet you sometime... smile

When I first got into piano work, not being a technician at that time, the pianos I heard and skills that were apparent at a number of excellent rebuilders studios I spent time in, were so clearly beyond what I was hearing at the showrooms, that there was absolutely no doubt where I needed to be in order to achieve the piano I wanted for myself.

So lets start with "the marketing problem". First, you are absolutely correct, in that it is a marketing problem...marketing in that it is a perception problem, not necessarily an accurate representation of the reality.

Marketing in sales, especially high-ticket items, is absolutely essential to generating sales. There are both positive and negative aspects to this. We have all become somewhat cynical on many of the aspects of marketing, and our defenses have to be up at all times...buyer beware, and rightfully so. This is the negative side, where we all have to know whether and how an entitiy is manipulating or trying to manipulate our emotions. On the positive side, marketing, when it presents honest information, forms viable and sincere trust relationships, and avoids pushing hot consumer buttons can really help a consumer find their perfect fit in a way that the consumer, on their own, might not have been able to pull off.

As you say, consumers are not experts in everything. We can't be, as there is too much to know. Thus, the scope of how educated one can be in making a high-ticket purchase decision can be, and often is overwhelming.

However that does not leave the consumer up the creek without a paddle by a long shot. There are at least 2 ways that consumers are complete experts in the piano field. 1- they, as human beings, as a matter of survival, are expert at evaluating whether a relationship can be trusted, and 2- serious piano consumers have an inner muse who is their guiding star in their quest. The muse must be acknowledged, listened to, trusted and empowered throughout the entire process. In both of these fields of expertise, forming "trust" is the essential and unavoidable component to making a decision that will be happy one...one forms trust in a person-to-person relationship, and the other forms trust in the authority of one's inner muse.

The ability to find a person where trust can be sensed, evaluated, tested, and ultimately relied upon, both in the short and long term, is one's ticket to finding the piano that will ring your bells. The trick is to realize how strong the emotional side of any piano decision is, and be vigilant enough to see if one is being manipulated or empowered.

As you speak to anyone regarding your decision/quest, whether it is a brand representative or an individual artisan, do you feel empowered or do you sense your emotions are being manipulated...this is the bottom line. One's muse knows darn well whether its voice has been trusted or negated within the confines of the sales relationship.

So my answer to your question of "how does one know a rebuilder has the chops" (my paraphrase) is two fold. Listen to and play either the offerings or previous re-manufactures. Listen to and respect the experise of your muse regarding the sounds and touch. At the same time invoke your relational expertise...you know when you are being empowered and when you are being manipulated.

This is probably not as binary an answer as you would have liked when you asked the "hows" of how do consumers decide whether a rebuilder or I would say any sales entity, is to be trusted. But there is no escaping it; trust is the essential ingredient in all human relationship, and purchasing and honing any piano requires developing a relationship. All of my clients with serious interest in their pianos become friends as well as clients... we share a mutual emotional connection to our pianos, and we have shared the challenge and up-and-downs of the quest.

Every sales entity, be it a branded piano, showroom, or individual knows that developing trust is essential to convincing consumers to make a high-ticket purchase. Each entity develpos a strategy to elicit that trust. Brands often invoke the celebrity connection, the institutional connection, the status connection, the tribal connection to elicit that trust. Even though they may offer excellent pianos, they don't rely on empowering one's muse to develop the trust relationship, but rather they develop the relationship by proxy.

Small high-end one-on-one rebuilders are individuals and develop the trust directly, person-to-person rather than by proxy.

There is more to this in the specific technical side, but lets start here, and let the give-and-take reveal more.

Jim Ialeggio
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#2103360 - 06/16/13 02:13 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: jim ialeggio]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1463
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
BRAVO on this response Jim!
I can't add anything to it besides praise and appreciation.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2103381 - 06/16/13 03:12 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4393
Loc: San Jose, CA
It is a bad idea to buy a piano you cannot afford. It is not a bad idea to try one out. In fact, trying many candidates is a very good--- and highly recommended--- piano-buying strategy.

Buying a piano you have not tried is about as trustworthy as having a blind date at lunch, and marrying that person after dinner the same day.

Some people not only become educated about what's on the piano market, but reconsider what they can afford and where real value lies. Buying a low-quality piano--- no matter how cheap--- does you about as much good as going to the Merchandise Mart and throwing $10,000 off the roof.
_________________________
Clef


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#2103384 - 06/16/13 03:26 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
shaolin95 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/11
Posts: 474
I guess my main concern about testing higher end pianos was that I will experience something similar to what I experienced with my teachers baby grand.
At first, I had the Baldwin Studio vertical and of course my teacher's baby grand felt so awesome in comparison. Then I got the Young chang baby grand and the differences began to disappear...and then I got the current Young Chang and after all the work done on it, playing on my teacher's piano is now more of a pain than the awesome experience I felt before.
All the regulation issues, tuning, action, etc..just makes me cringe when playing it lol
But I guess this particular case is more of a problem with my teacher's piano condition than the difference in piano quality.


Edited by shaolin95 (06/16/13 03:29 PM)
_________________________
*Young Chang Y185 6'-1"

*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

*Young Chang Y150 (Del F design) (gone)

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#2103394 - 06/16/13 03:46 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Caowner2013 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/13
Posts: 79
@Ialeggio,

Thank you for the kind words and for the detail response. We are on the opposite coasts, else it would be interesting to visit.

Yes, "trust" is the key. The seller has the difficulty of expending effort to build some level of "trust" without knowing if a prospect will ever reward that effort with a purchase. The prospect (me) has the challenge of discerning which bit of advice is "trustworthy". The more prepared we are, the smoother the whole experience when visiting retailers; be it used, new or rebuilt.

For consumers, the best approach is to play everything that retailers will let us play; regardless of price. There is absolutely no harm in doing so and a ton of good!

Playing the different units can only sharpen our ears and refine our understanding of touches as they are today. If nothing else, it will help me create a list of ranked final candidates to start the purchase process. Then I won't have to pay for what I cannot hear and certainly won't buy less than what we need.

THanks for all the informative posts!

Cheers!

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#2103396 - 06/16/13 03:50 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Caowner2013 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/13
Posts: 79
Originally Posted By: shaolin95
...playing on my teacher's piano is now more of a pain than the awesome experience I felt before.
All the regulation issues, tuning, action, etc..just makes me cringe when playing it


Thank you for bringing up this consideration. It won't change our purchase process but it will prepare us for this situation if it should occur.

Our piano teacher is currently using a smaller older grand for teaching purpose. It is highly likely our students will encounter a situation exactly as you described.

Thanks for the heads up!


Edited by CalifPianoUser2013 (06/16/13 03:50 PM)

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#2103421 - 06/16/13 04:47 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Jeff Clef]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2202
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
...Buying a piano you have not tried is about as trustworthy as having a blind date at lunch, and marrying that person after dinner the same day...


Although for centuries of human history, marriages were arranged without even a lunch date. Maybe a 'piano matchmaker' service would be a good thing!
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2103424 - 06/16/13 04:52 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 6067
Loc: Rochester MN
Piano brokers do exist. I've always wondered about the dowry.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2103734 - 06/17/13 08:36 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2202
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
A trunk loaded with a 'dozen dozen' sheets of music, perhaps?
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2103777 - 06/17/13 10:51 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
bmbutler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/10
Posts: 225
Loc: North Carolina
These experiences sound just like when you go to a car dealership to buy a car. Geesh!
_________________________
Bachelor of Music (church music)
Master of Church Music (organ, music education)
Piano Teacher since 1992
Church Musician since 1983

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#2103860 - 06/17/13 01:46 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: bmbutler]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1166
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: bmbutler
These experiences sound just like when you go to a car dealership to buy a car. Geesh!


Really? You thought it was going to different?
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2103880 - 06/17/13 02:41 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2173
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
On weekends, I used to rent a studio, for $5 an hour, at Waltrip's in Arcadia, CA. They would never let me leave without trying out a piano. "We've got a brand new Bechstein, go try it." "You know I can't afford a Bechstein." "So what, try it."

So I was basically ordered to try out Bechstein, Hoffmann, Seiler and Sauter grands. It worked, I bought my first acoustic piano from them, a Kawai K-2.

Apparently, a lot of dealers in SoCal had a lot of issues with some of Waltrip's business practices, but I miss that place.
_________________________
Gary Schenk

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#2103916 - 06/17/13 03:50 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: malkin]
jazzyprof Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2598
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Originally Posted By: malkin
Maybe a 'piano matchmaker' service would be a good thing!

Indeed, there is such a service: http://www.pianomatchmaker.com/
_________________________
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP

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