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#2102403 - 06/14/13 10:30 AM Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford?
shaolin95 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/11
Posts: 477
So, I was going to by the local Steinway dealer to check some of the pianos there...call it a way of relaxing from a horrible week at work.
But I am wondering if this will be a bad idea, like making me want to have it and not appreciate what I have after doing that. laugh
_________________________
*Young Chang Y185 6'-1"

*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

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

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#2102413 - 06/14/13 10:53 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9397
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
I don't think experiencing another instrument could hurt you at all. You will gain perspective an may even walk away thinking, "Whats the big deal over this piano?"

Unfortunately, you may also wind up wanting one. I want a Ferrari and someday may have one, but if not, I will live.

Have fun and don't forget to report back here.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#2102417 - 06/14/13 11:01 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
It's OK if you leave your credit cards and checkbook at home!

Don't play a 'B' unless you want to be terminally infected.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2102418 - 06/14/13 11:03 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
shaolin95 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/11
Posts: 477
Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
I don't think experiencing another instrument could hurt you at all. You will gain perspective an may even walk away thinking, "Whats the big deal over this piano?"

Unfortunately, you may also wind up wanting one. I want a Ferrari and someday may have one, but if not, I will live.

Have fun and don't forget to report back here.


hahaha reminds me of a friend always buying car magazines...I will always say, I dont care about a magazine of cars I will never own laugh

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
It's OK if you leave your credit cards and checkbook at home!

hahah no worries, they cant help me get any of those pianos even if I bring them with me! laugh


Don't play a 'B' unless you want to be terminally infected.
_________________________
*Young Chang Y185 6'-1"

*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

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

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#2102419 - 06/14/13 11:05 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Almaviva Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 624
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Shaolin,

Go ahead & visit the place - but leave your checkbook and credit cards at home! wink

I'd love to own a Sauter Omega, Bluthner 2, Grotrian 225, August Forster 215, Steinway B, Steingraeber D232, or Fazioli 228, but I can't afford them and I can live with that fact. But I can dream, can't I?

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#2102420 - 06/14/13 11:07 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8585
Loc: Georgia, USA
I don’t see it as a bad idea at all, if the store owners/sales people don’t mind.

I’ve only visited a Steinway dealer/showroom once in my life, and it was by mistake. I’d say my experience there was rather unusual, and it made me think about my persona and the way I present myself to piano dealers/sales people…

In this instance, I had planned on visiting a rather well known piano store in the metro Atlanta area; the Steinway dealer was right next door to the dealer I wanted to visit. Since I had never visited either store, I walked into the Steinway store first, by mistake, and asked for a particular salesperson I had spoken to on the phone. A rather well-dressed salesman told me that person didn’t work there, but worked at the dealer next door. I said I was in the wrong store… he said, “no, you’re in the right store”. He asked me what I was looking for and how much I wanted to spend. I told him what kind of piano I had planned on checking out at the dealer next door.

In the meantime, I saw a young couple trying out a Steinway grand. Oh how I wanted to play one of the Steinways there! However, I had already given myself away, by telling the salesperson what I was planning on looking at next door.

The salesman began to show me some kind of pyramid chart with the different piano makes and how they fit into the market. He politely lead me over to some console uprights with the brand name “Cristofori”, which I had never heard of, but didn’t know much about pianos to start with at that particular time.

He tells me the brand is made in China and how the quality of the make was good and getting better and better. He plays a little on it, and asks me to try it out… I play a little on it, (what little I could play) and tell him, “yea, it sounds and plays nice”.

The whole time I was thinking I was in the wrong place, and that salesperson had sized me up one side and down the other, and made a determination that I was Cristofori material and not Steinway material. After I thought about that a while, it kind of hurt my feelings a little… smile

Of course, I don’t think I could make myself pay more for a piano than I paid to have my house built back in the 1980’s.

Oh well, such is life in the world of piano shopping. A bad idea to play high-end pianos you cannot afford at the dealer? I don't think so... smile

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#2102422 - 06/14/13 11:10 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10422
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
My son and I had a great time visiting Steinway Hall a few years back. I did a good job of appearing to be on the market. That kept up their interest. grin

Well, I WAS in the market at that point, but even an "A" was beyond my budget.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#2102424 - 06/14/13 11:11 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Rick,

The salesman didn't need to size you up, you gave yourself away!

wink
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2102427 - 06/14/13 11:19 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8585
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Rick,

The salesman didn't need to size you up, you gave yourself away! wink

Very true, Marty.

But we do indeed learn from our past experiences. As I’ve gotten older, I’m better at pretending to be someone I’m not. smile

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#2102429 - 06/14/13 11:22 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
When shopping in Italy, one must wear great shoes.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2102430 - 06/14/13 11:24 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2089
Loc: Suffolk, England
It's a good idea to audition pianos when you're waiting for probate.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2102436 - 06/14/13 11:30 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Withindale]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Withindale
It's a good idea to audition pianos when you're waiting for probate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2102437 - 06/14/13 11:35 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Voltara Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/09
Posts: 127
When I visit a store and the conversation quickly turns to questions like "What do you do for a living? When are you planning on buying? How much are you prepared to spend?" rather than "What do you think of these pianos?", it's a big turn-off to put it lightly.

They could at least pretend to care about finding the right piano for their customer, as opposed to finding the right customer for their piano...

But definitely do try out pianos above and below your budget. It gives you a better understanding of what's out there, so you can figure out which qualities are most important to you, and which you're willing to compromise. (You may also discover that price does not necessarily equal performance.) And, depending on your personality, you may even walk away from those instruments with a renewed appreciation for the one you have.

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#2102440 - 06/14/13 11:42 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Marty,

I own great shoes. They cost as much as my house.
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
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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#2102441 - 06/14/13 11:44 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Voltara]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: Voltara


But definitely do try out pianos above and below your budget. It gives you a better understanding of what's out there, so you can figure out which qualities are most important to you, and which you're willing to compromise.


Absolutely! How are you every going to learn anything if you never leave the house?
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
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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#2102443 - 06/14/13 11:47 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
shaolin95 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/11
Posts: 477
Thanks for the comments all!
Yeah it makes sense, I recall when I used to buy internet direct speakers and went to compare them to "name brand" speakers, it was a GREAT experience to feel that I was getting so much more for my money. Of course, this is not the same case but at least I will be able to tell what exactly I get with such an expensive piano compared to mine.
They have others like Essex which are the closest to an affordable Steinway to me which will be fun to compare at slightly higher price than mine but being 5-8 vs 6-1.
In any case, I will do it just to relax laugh
_________________________
*Young Chang Y185 6'-1"

*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

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

Top
#2102453 - 06/14/13 12:09 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: laguna_greg]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Marty,

I own great shoes. They cost as much as my house.

You would be welcomed with open arms at Fazioli!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2102457 - 06/14/13 12:14 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21912
Loc: Oakland
I tried my first Mason & Hamlin before I could afford one. It took a couple of less expensive pianos before I could get mine.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2102464 - 06/14/13 12:28 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN

Well, ya gotta admit that Shaolin isn't exactly comparing to a CL freebie!

_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2102509 - 06/14/13 01:57 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: 477
hahaha thanks Marty! laugh
I should have taken my Sony camera with me and my Zoom recorder darn it...maybe I should do it next week smile
_________________________
*Young Chang Y185 6'-1"

*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

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

Top
#2102512 - 06/14/13 02:01 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Well .............. It certainly could be mistaken for a Hamburg-A.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2102515 - 06/14/13 02:09 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
shaolin95 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/11
Posts: 477
So ignorant me must ask as googling Hamburg-A did not bring me much info laugh
_________________________
*Young Chang Y185 6'-1"

*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

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

Top
#2102517 - 06/14/13 02:11 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4381
Loc: Jersey Shore
Trying expensive pianos to find the sound you want in a cheaper brand can be a good idea.

I loved the sound of an S6 Yammy that was too expensive, but it gave me an idea what I wanted to find.

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#2102524 - 06/14/13 02:20 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: 477
I sort of did that when getting my current piano by testing the most expensive Kawaii and Yamahas they had but this will be a step up:D


Edited by shaolin95 (06/14/13 02:24 PM)
_________________________
*Young Chang Y185 6'-1"

*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

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

Top
#2102530 - 06/14/13 02:28 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Tee-Hee-Hee,

I forgot that you are still a babe in the woods!

Steinway & Sons Model A-188 (6'4"), Hamburg production. (Estimated list price in the US = $93,500 in Gloss Ebony. Mahogany would be considerably more expensive.)

http://www.steinway.de/
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2102534 - 06/14/13 02:39 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: 477
Oh yes, I just need some nice photoshop skills to place the decal on that side laugh
_________________________
*Young Chang Y185 6'-1"

*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

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

Top
#2102550 - 06/14/13 03:37 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5527
When I visit a piano store, the first piano I go to is the concert grand grin. I just make sure I play something tuneful as well as flashy (the Schumann/Liszt Widmung is a favorite), so that the salesperson won't think I'm not worthy of the piano, and I've never been 'sized up' by them in any store.

Though once, I went into a (Schimmel) store where I had to gain access by ringing the bell, and the posh lady there sized me up (- scruffy T shirt and jeans, red sneakers... grin ) and directed me towards her cheapest vertical. I played something sweet and simple - Schumann's Arabeske. She liked it, so she asked me to try out her small grand. I played something even sweeter and more difficult (from the Yellow River Concerto), and she obviously wanted more, so she let me loose on her big grands - and didn't bother me anymore while I played through all my memorized repertoire. (I learnt long ago that if you want to be allowed to play those concert grands in showrooms without being hassled by the sales staff, you shouldn't walk in carrying any sheet music. Real pianists, to their minds, always have music that they can trot out at any time, whenever they come across a piano. It's only beginners who need music to play from....).

But my best experience was my first - as an impoverished student travelling by train around Europe on an InterRail ticket. In the city of music, Vienna, I visited the Bösendorfer showroom in Bösendorferstraße, and boldly asked the elegant man there if I could play his Imperial 290, which was in a prominent place by the large glass window where passers-by could see. I was wearing a tatty T shirt and scruffy jeans with more than an odd tear, but though he obviously knew I wasn't a potential customer grin, invited me to sit down. My memorized repertoire was very limited then, but I just kept playing and playing......until he (seemingly) regretfully told me that it was half an hour past closing time. Apparently, I'd attracted something of an audience peering through the window (which I hadn't noticed), which might be partly why he let me play on so long...

And the experience has left me as a life-long Bösendorfer devotee grin.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2102559 - 06/14/13 03:58 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: bennevis]
shaolin95 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/11
Posts: 477
Originally Posted By: bennevis
When I visit a piano store, the first piano I go to is the concert grand grin. I just make sure I play something tuneful as well as flashy (the Schumann/Liszt Widmung is a favorite), so that the salesperson won't think I'm not worthy of the piano, and I've never been 'sized up' by them in any store.

Though once, I went into a (Schimmel) store where I had to gain access by ringing the bell, and the posh lady there sized me up (- scruffy T shirt and jeans, red sneakers... grin ) and directed me towards her cheapest vertical. I played something sweet and simple - Schumann's Arabeske. She liked it, so she asked me to try out her small grand. I played something even sweeter and more difficult (from the Yellow River Concerto), and she obviously wanted more, so she let me loose on her big grands - and didn't bother me anymore while I played through all my memorized repertoire. (I learnt long ago that if you want to be allowed to play those concert grands in showrooms without being hassled by the sales staff, you shouldn't walk in carrying any sheet music. Real pianists, to their minds, always have music that they can trot out at any time, whenever they come across a piano. It's only beginners who need music to play from....).

But my best experience was my first - as an impoverished student travelling by train around Europe on an InterRail ticket. In the city of music, Vienna, I visited the Bösendorfer showroom in Bösendorferstraße, and boldly asked the elegant man there if I could play his Imperial 290, which was in a prominent place by the large glass window where passers-by could see. I was wearing a tatty T shirt and scruffy jeans with more than an odd tear, but though he obviously knew I wasn't a potential customer grin, invited me to sit down. My memorized repertoire was very limited then, but I just kept playing and playing......until he (seemingly) regretfully told me that it was half an hour past closing time. Apparently, I'd attracted something of an audience peering through the window (which I hadn't noticed), which might be partly why he let me play on so long...

And the experience has left me as a life-long Bösendorfer devotee grin.


Nice...but I better not play anything or they will send me to their Casio/RadioShack Room laugh


Edited by shaolin95 (06/14/13 04:24 PM)
_________________________
*Young Chang Y185 6'-1"

*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

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

Top
#2102560 - 06/14/13 04:03 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 641
Real salesmen never judge you by your clothes. In NYC I once went to one of the most important antique dealers' shops dressed in my work clothes because I had just finished delivering antiques to Sotheby's and didn't feel like driving in NYC again after going back to my motel out of town. They treated me like a king and never blinked. Most of the items there were five and six figures but they let me roam around and offered me a beverage, asked if there was anything they could do to help, and left me to enjoy the shop. I could have been Bill Gates. Who knows? (Unfortunately I was just me.)

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#2102573 - 06/14/13 05:17 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: bennevis]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19640
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: bennevis
When I visit a piano store, the first piano I go to is the concert grand grin. I just make sure I play something tuneful as well as flashy (the Schumann/Liszt Widmung is a favorite), so that the salesperson won't think I'm not worthy of the piano, and I've never been 'sized up' by them in any store.
The only reason any salesman might care how you play is if there is another customer in the store who might enjoy it or be impressed by the piano if you played well. Otherwise, why would they care how you play except for the obvious reason that it's nicer to listen to someone who can play well but is not buying a piano compared to some who can't play well and is not buying a piano?

They are much more interested in how serious a customer you are. Their job is to sell pianos. If someone had walked into any of those stores you mentioned with a clear interest in purchasing piano and said they wanted to try out piano uninterrupted they would have politely asked you to stop playing...immediately.


Edited by pianoloverus (06/14/13 05:32 PM)

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#2102574 - 06/14/13 05:25 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Rickster]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3489
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Rickster
I don’t see it as a bad idea at all, if the store owners/sales people don’t mind.

I’ve only visited a Steinway dealer/showroom once in my life, and it was by mistake. I’d say my experience there was rather unusual, and it made me think about my persona and the way I present myself to piano dealers/sales people…

In this instance, I had planned on visiting a rather well known piano store in the metro Atlanta area; the Steinway dealer was right next door to the dealer I wanted to visit. Since I had never visited either store, I walked into the Steinway store first, by mistake, and asked for a particular salesperson I had spoken to on the phone. A rather well-dressed salesman told me that person didn’t work there, but worked at the dealer next door. I said I was in the wrong store… he said, “no, you’re in the right store”.

He asked me what I was looking for and how much I wanted to spend. I told him what kind of piano I had planned on checking out at the dealer next door.

.........
The whole time I was thinking I was in the wrong place, and that salesperson had sized me up one side and down the other, and made a determination that I was Cristofori material and not Steinway material. After I thought about that a while, it kind of hurt my feelings a little… smile

Rick


Hi Rick,
So if he asked what kind of piano you were looking for and how much you wanted to spend, was that consistent with the Cristofori line? If so, it seems like he was just being guided by your stated intentions. It would be odd if you had stated you were interested in a Steinway and then he brought you over to the Cristoforis but that doesn't sound like the case.. I'm not sure what the problem was.

Sophia

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#2102575 - 06/14/13 05:25 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10422
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
The only reason any salesman might care how you play is if there is another customer in the store who might enjoy it or be impressed by the piano if you played well. Otherwise, why would they care how you play? They are much more interested in how serious a customer you are. Their job is to sell pianos.


,,, and if they are actively working with another customer, you will likely be asked to get off of the piano.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#2102577 - 06/14/13 05:40 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19640
Loc: New York City
My advice to the OP is, if one wants to try out pianos above one's price range, then try out ones that are way above one's price range. If one tries a piano closer to one's price range there is the chance that one will have buyer's remorse if one buys the less expensive piano but really liked the more expensive piano better.

After listening to the Van Cliburn Competition for two weeks, I know(actually I knew long before from listening to so many YouTube videos where the greatest pianist play that piano) I'd love to have a Hamburg Steinway D, but since it's so above my price range I don't regret purchasing my Mason BB(which is great, but really can't compare).


Edited by pianoloverus (06/14/13 05:46 PM)

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#2102579 - 06/14/13 05:43 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8585
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: sophial
Hi Rick,
So if he asked what kind of piano you were looking for and how much you wanted to spend, was that consistent with the Cristofori line?
No
Originally Posted By: sophial
If so, it seems like he was just being guided by your stated intentions. It would be odd if you had stated you were interested in a Steinway and then he brought you over to the Cristoforis but that doesn't sound like the case.. I'm not sure what the problem was.

Sophial, I’m not sure there was a problem either. Thing is, I was so naive at that point, I honestly didn’t know what kind of piano I wanted.

Had he invited me to play the Steinway grand, I may have fell in love with it and bought it… even if it did cost more than my house. smile

Do most piano shoppers honestly know what they really want when they go shopping? I didn’t.

Rick


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#2102585 - 06/14/13 06:10 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Rickster]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Originally Posted By: Rickster

Do most piano shoppers honestly know what they really want when they go shopping? I didn’t.


Well, that depends on a few things. Is it the first time one ventures into the scary world of pianos and encounters the fanged sales people crazy, or is the eighth time, and you're refining options. Are you trying to decide between an entry level 4'6" or a 5'1", or are you trying to decide between a Bluthner or a Steingraeber! Are you a beginner -- or shopping for an eight year old student -- or are you a person who plays at a high level.
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#2102603 - 06/14/13 07:04 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: pianoloverus]
Rich D. Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

After listening to the Van Cliburn Competition for two weeks, I know(actually I knew long before from listening to so many YouTube videos where the greatest pianist play that piano) I'd love to have a Hamburg Steinway D, but since it's so above my price range I don't regret purchasing my Mason BB(which is great, but really can't compare).


PL,
What a Hamburg D won't fit in your apartment? I've never come across a Hamburg D but the one Hamburg B I played was just outstanding.

Rich
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#2102624 - 06/14/13 08:02 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Chopinlover49]
thorn_was_taken Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 95
Originally Posted By: Chopinlover49
Real salesmen never judge you by your clothes. In NYC I once went to one of the most important antique dealers' shops dressed in my work clothes because I had just finished delivering antiques to Sotheby's and didn't feel like driving in NYC again after going back to my motel out of town. They treated me like a king and never blinked. Most of the items there were five and six figures but they let me roam around and offered me a beverage, asked if there was anything they could do to help, and left me to enjoy the shop. I could have been Bill Gates. Who knows? (Unfortunately I was just me.)


siiiigh. i keep running into 'unreal' sales people, i guess. have met exactly *one* who even asked any good questions. i have always thought the 'budget' question is particularly tricky, because different customers have different priorities. even so, to ask it first in a setting where prices tend to be squirrelly even if they *are* posted, is to telegraph, "well you are lucky, because i have a [piano from the worst year of a brand name you remember from a 70's game show], and it's priced at [exactly the top of your budget]!" salesfolk probably aren't quite that obvious, but why so many start by putting the thought into the customer's head..? i don't get it. how about asking first what we've played so far, and what we remember of the experience? how about asking asking if we know what our favorite would be if money were no object?

along tbe lines of your comment, chopinlover49, that you "could have been bill gates": more people are willing to flex on budget than one might think, if led to the right instrument.

yeah, i'll be looking for the right used vertical into the foreseeable future.
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#2102649 - 06/14/13 09:26 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Chopinlover49 Offline
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Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 641
Someone mentioned that no serious player would show up in a piano store with music books or sheets planning to buy a piano and that is probably true more often than not, but when I went to stores, I had no choice but to bring my music as I cannot remember anything. Not even Mary Had a Little Lamb. Nothing. I wasn't wasting the store's time, however. I bought a Mason-Hamlin BB grand. Not all of us are accomplished, but some of us love our music and our pianos anyway.

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#2102699 - 06/14/13 11:32 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Gary Fowler Offline
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Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
One should ABSOLUTELY try out pianos they can not afford!
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#2102700 - 06/14/13 11:32 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Norbert Online   content
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Thinking that trying and comparing some of world's finest [and most expensive..] pianos is only giving perspective to buyers.

In many case it has not only helped people realize for how much less money great quality is available in today's market but how "good" pianos can be, even in much lower price groups than expected.

Not trying to be pretentius but all of our last Sauters,Estonias and even Ritmuellers sold this way - the more the better.

Bring'em on Baby!

Then go spend your money as see fit...

Norbert thumb


Edited by Norbert (06/14/13 11:36 PM)
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#2102708 - 06/14/13 11:58 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
jdw Offline
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Loc: Philadelphia, PA
I think one of the best parts of piano shopping is being able to try pianos you can't afford!
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#2102802 - 06/15/13 07:02 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Piano*Dad]
lilylady Offline
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Posts: 4981
Loc: boston north
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
My son and I had a great time visiting Steinway Hall a few years back. I did a good job of appearing to be on the market. That kept up their interest. grin

Well, I WAS in the market at that point, but even an "A" was beyond my budget.


But wasn't that before THE BOOK came out?

ha
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#2102815 - 06/15/13 08:16 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Piano*Dad Offline
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ha ha indeed!

In their brochures it's listed as a "best-seller." crazy

But like many things in academia, that term has a very different meaning from what normal people understand. wink
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#2102826 - 06/15/13 09:13 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Withindale]
ClsscLib Offline

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Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1834
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: Withindale
It's a good idea to audition pianos when you're waiting for probate.


... and between spouses.
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#2102846 - 06/15/13 10:17 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
jim ialeggio Offline
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Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 746
Loc: shirley, MA
Another take on this, is that by "auditioning" a really enjoyable piano, and by experiencing the different flavors that various brand excellent pianos offer, one can get a sense of:

1-what is possible
2-what piano sound/touch really rings your bell(s).

Then, for those who don't have a prayer of purchasing a piano in those price ranges, you can, now fully informed and directed by an inner muse that knows what's possible, talk to one of the high end rebuilders who can make this happen for you at an affordable price. 35K-45K for a customized piano which can hold its own in the company of any teir 1 instrument. Plus, you get serious long term service...ie you get the tech who knows and designed the instrument, committed to the instrument and client as a porfessional relationship, honing it over time, to realize its full and glorious potential. You get a piano tailored it to suite your personal needs.

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

Having auditioned the sounds that you want to "own", you now have both the authority and knowledge to audition the individual that can make it happen for you...or find the individual who has already made it happen in the form of a completed re-manufacture.

Jim Ialeggio

ps Obviously I'm a rebuilder/designer, but my professional standing was and is driven by my own desire as a pianist to have these excellent sounds at my finger tips in my own home, in my own way, in a way I could afford...as many other high-end rebuilders, I wear the pianist consumer's hat, the professional's hat, and the middle class hat.


Edited by jim ialeggio (06/15/13 10:20 AM)
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#2102861 - 06/15/13 11:10 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Jim,

Why would someone who owns and entry level instrument consider putting a $45K rebuild into that instrument, when they could simply shop for pianos in a totally different price category? In that price range, there are newly and totally rebuilt instruments already available to play and make a selection. $45K would also purchase very fine new instruments. Those are the instruments that are referred to as "a piano you cannot afford" in the title of this thread.

Do you consider it wise to 'customize' an instrument which was never designed to be other than a very low cost, entry level, instrument? The word "lipstick" comes to my mind.

Remember, a Steinway owner might consider a Steingraeber to be "a piano you cannot afford."
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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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#2102871 - 06/15/13 11:38 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8585
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Why would someone who owns and entry level instrument consider putting a $45K rebuild into that instrument, when they could simply shop for pianos in a totally different price category?

Hi Marty,

Where in Jim’s post did you read that he was suggesting that owners of entry level instruments consider spending big bucks to have them rebuilt?

No doubt, Jim was making a case for piano seekers to consider rebuilds, but I did not get the impression anywhere in his post that he was suggesting having entry level instruments rebuilt.

Just my .02.

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#2102878 - 06/15/13 11:56 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Norbert Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14263
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
The above shows why I advice my customers simply to look at all options WITHIN same price range.

It's not "one agianst the other" but simply comparing apples to apples.

"Appels" being dollars...

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

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#2102887 - 06/15/13 12:24 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: jim ialeggio]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Rick,

Considering the topic of this thread, I found these statements to be rather odd:

Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
... talk to one of the high end rebuilders who can make this happen for you at an affordable price. 35K-45K for a customized piano which can hold its own in the company of any teir [sic] 1 instrument. ...

... Having auditioned the sounds that you want to "own", you now have both the authority and knowledge to audition the individual that can make it happen for you...


Having a piano rebuilt is very different that going to a store and playing pianos in a high price range.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2102891 - 06/15/13 12:34 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1834
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Rick,

Considering the topic of this thread, I found this statement to be rather odd:

Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
... talk to one of the high end rebuilders who can make this happen for you at an affordable price. 35K-45K for a customized piano which can hold its own in the company of any teir [sic] 1 instrument. ...

... Having auditioned the sounds that you want to "own", you now have both the authority and knowledge to audition the individual that can make it happen for you...


Having a piano rebuilt is very different that going to a store and playing pianos in a high price range.


Made perfect sense to me.
_________________________


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

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2102894 - 06/15/13 12:41 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Wouldn't $30-45K for an instrument, new or rebuilt, already place it into the category of "a piano you cannot afford?"
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2102920 - 06/15/13 02:13 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: jim ialeggio]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Another take on this, is that by "auditioning" a really enjoyable piano, and by experiencing the different flavors that various brand excellent pianos offer, one can get a sense of:

1-what is possible
2-what piano sound/touch really rings your bell(s).

Then, for those who don't have a prayer of purchasing a piano in those price ranges, you can, now fully informed and directed by an inner muse that knows what's possible, talk to one of the high end rebuilders who can make this happen for you at an affordable price. 35K-45K for a customized piano which can hold its own in the company of any teir 1 instrument. Plus, you get serious long term service...ie you get the tech who knows and designed the instrument, committed to the instrument and client as a porfessional relationship, honing it over time, to realize its full and glorious potential. You get a piano tailored it to suite your personal needs.

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

Having auditioned the sounds that you want to "own", you now have both the authority and knowledge to audition the individual that can make it happen for you...or find the individual who has already made it happen in the form of a completed re-manufacture.

Jim Ialeggio

ps Obviously I'm a rebuilder/designer, but my professional standing was and is driven by my own desire as a pianist to have these excellent sounds at my finger tips in my own home, in my own way, in a way I could afford...as many other high-end rebuilders, I wear the pianist consumer's hat, the professional's hat, and the middle class hat.


Nice post, Jim. I completely agree.

It's a great idea to audition instruments one cannot afford. I always advise my friends/clients/fellow pianists and musical collaborators to play as many top quality instruments as possible when shopping - even when they ultimately will seek out something as modest as a $1500. used vertical. It is imperative to develop a benchmark of excellence in terms of tone and touch; this is highly useful when making future comparisons down the road.

Until you experience the best, you'll be at a serious disadvantage when auditioning pianos, no matter what your skill level is.

And 45k could represent an outstanding value when compared to a new piano costing 75-100k. Especially when it can be custom tailored for what the client wants.
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#2102922 - 06/15/13 02:16 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2411
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
To the OP my answer is YES! Go try all the fine pianos you can get your appendages on.

JIm was suggesting, (and I second that) to also include piano rebuilders along with dealers of new pianos.

Recent market history has shown that finely rebuilt Steinways and Mason & Hamlin pianos will retain their value better than any other piano you can call an "investment". So that is another reason to audition rebuilders as well as dealers of new pianos. They can be the most affordable fine piano available.

Caveat; a significant proportion of the "rebuilders" do not produce a quality equal or better than new-so take your time to sort it out if you are going that route.
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#2102942 - 06/15/13 02:57 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: 1607
Loc: California
When I had my exam two weeks ago, they put me in this little practice room, and I warmed up on the practice piano, which was a 40-ish year old institutional American upright. Anyway the piano was horribly bright. People are always claiming how Yamaha is so bright, and assume anything American isn't, but this American piano was far and away brighter and harsher than any Yamaha I've heard, it sent fingernails on chalkboard vibrations up my spine.

I practically didn't recognize my pieces. Some of the dampers were not really working, and none of the unisons were completely clean. While it was in tune, kinda, but definitely not by any tech's standards. This is one of these pianos that people are generally quite positive on whenever others ask about them. I guess the truth is any piano could be horrible if not well maintained.

Anway this thing was so bad that I was in shock, yet I realize lot of people play on an instrument like this everyday, and many cannot afford even a brand new Chinese piano. When I got home, I played a few minutes on my Essex, and it absolutely sounded like a tier-1 piano compared to that practice piano at the exam. I am under no delusions. My Essex is no Steinway, but it's not bad, not at all.

Moral of the story, comparing up makes you wish you had a nicer piano. Comparing down makes you appreciate what a great piano you actually own. Many people that hangs out on PW suffers from upgraditis, including myself, but since the exam, I think I'm cured, if only temporarily.

As I recall, you already went from a baby grand to your current piano, and now you are looking at Steinways.... LOL!
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#2102990 - 06/15/13 05:06 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: 477
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
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#2102998 - 06/15/13 05:33 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
kapelli Offline
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Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 407
Loc: Poland
Yes, you should definitely go and try. To hear and to touch the peak of the pianos. The sound I omit, because there is range from Bluethner to Fazioli in terms of brightness/clarity. Nevertheless, the power of sound, dynamics rage, big stunning bass and open trebles should be good in each of them. Once I was playing on a almost new Steinway D, which keyboard I loved (compared to all the old bad maintained stuff in polish music school) and my ongly thought was "wow, how it sounds, how it plays, what's the action, the first piano on which I can fully express myself". But the last two octaves intrebles were like somebody was inserting needels in my ears (OK, I have oversensitive ears, so often harsh sounds are making psychical pain for me) so it wasn't my dream, but this could be easily corrected by a good technician.

I haven't had this treble problem on new B model.

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#2103004 - 06/15/13 06:03 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: jim ialeggio]
laguna_greg Offline
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Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Jim,

Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio


Then, for those who don't have a prayer of purchasing a piano in those price ranges, you can, now fully informed and directed by an inner muse that knows what's possible, talk to one of the high end rebuilders who can make this happen for you at an affordable price. 35K-45K for a customized piano which can hold its own in the company of any teir 1 instrument.



I agree with the sentiment. But the drawback is that even the best rebuilders cannot/should not/will not guarantee that the core piano you bring them will come out a winner, after all that work is done and the money spent.

When you start rebuilding, it's a crap shoot about how the thing will come out. Who wants to spend $45k when you can't even know what you're going to get out of it?

It's better to go and hear already rebuilt pianos.



Edited by laguna_greg (06/15/13 06:05 PM)
Edit Reason: oops
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#2103011 - 06/15/13 06:23 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
RickG1 Offline
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Registered: 12/09/10
Posts: 306
Loc: TX
I have played very expensive instruments just to get "that sound" in my ear to help judge other ( including my own) pianos against. From Bosies, Steinways, Bluethners, Bechsteins, M &H, etc. Never have tried Faziolis but sure would like to. I am able to play a lot of stuff from memory and by ear so I can concentrate on the sound and not reading the notes. That really helps, IMHO.
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#2103018 - 06/15/13 06:50 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
malkin Offline
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Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2749
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Wouldn't $30-45K for an instrument, new or rebuilt, already place it into the category of "a piano you cannot afford?"


Some people must be able to afford them, or else no one would make them.
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#2103023 - 06/15/13 07:08 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
malkin - read the thread.
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It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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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: 1607
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.
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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 Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
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
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2411
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: 746
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
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2411
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: 4441
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: 477
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: 2749
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 Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
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: 2749
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: 226
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: 1382
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 - now sold
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: 2398
Loc: SoCal
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

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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: 2644
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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