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#2123696 - 07/27/13 08:14 AM The Frozen Hinterlands
Jolly Offline
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Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14062
Loc: Louisiana
As the acoustic piano business shrinks, it gets harder and harder for those of us not near a major city to "test-drive" a variety of pianos.

For those out in the frozen hinterlands of piano shopping, what are your best strategies for making sure you buy a piano you really like, rather than a piano you're just settling for?
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#2123712 - 07/27/13 08:52 AM Re: The Frozen Hinterlands [Re: Jolly]
Rickster Offline
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Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 10628
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Jolly
As the acoustic piano business shrinks, it gets harder and harder for those of us not near a major city to "test-drive" a variety of pianos.

For those out in the frozen hinterlands of piano shopping, what are your best strategies for making sure you buy a piano you really like, rather than a piano you're just settling for?

You’re right… those of us who do not live near major metropolitan areas don’t have a lot of piano stores around. In my area, there is one very small piano store in town. The owner, a lady, is/was (?) a dealer for Young Chang and Story and Clark. She used to keep a few new pianos in stock, a few grands and a few uprights. Now, she doesn’t keep any new pianos at all in stock, but will order one for you, pre-paid, of course. She does keep a few used pianos in her store. Not much to choose from…

In regards to your question, my strategy was to visit the big stores in or near Atlanta, which I did. I saw a few pianos (7’ grands) that were good prospects. One store had an older Yamaha C7 with the keys about as yellow as they can get, but when I sat down and played it a little, I was impressed, in spite of the fact it was old and warn out. The low bass was as good as or better than some of the new 7 footers I had played. So, I set my sights on a pre-owned C7.

Next strategy… since I knew the C7 was a good prospect, I started looking for a used one within my price range everywhere I could… Craigslist is a good place to look as well as eBay, and most all the piano dealers have a web site where they list their used inventory. I happened to see the C7 I have now listed on eBay. I contacted the seller, (a large church just over the Ga line in Tennessee) and talked with them about the piano. I did not bid on the piano on eBay because I had not had a chance to drive up and look at the piano before the auction ended. After the auction ended, I contacted the seller and made arrangements to drive up and look at the piano. In fact, my wife, who is severely disabled and confined to a wheel chair, and I drove up on a Sunday morning and attended the worship service and then looked at the piano afterward. The rest is history.

In all honestly, I was really tempted to buy a piano long distance, sight unseen and unplayed before hand. I come close a few times, but just couldn’t make myself do it… oh yea, that is another strategy of desperation. smile

Rick
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#2123725 - 07/27/13 09:36 AM Re: The Frozen Hinterlands [Re: Jolly]
malkin Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 3913
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
While it isn't exactly London, Paris, or New York, Salt Lake City has pretty good piano options. Still when I finally get around to the next piano if something I want doesn't roll around I wouldn't mind traveling to shop.

In winter at least, it can certainly feel like a frozen hinterland; in summer a different place name comes to mind.
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#2123762 - 07/27/13 11:03 AM Re: The Frozen Hinterlands [Re: Jolly]
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14062
Loc: Louisiana
I think Piano Works in Atlanta does a pretty good job with its video work...I wish more dealers did something like that...record all your grands the same way, record all your verticals the same way, and let prospective customers listen.

No, it doesn't help me rule in pianos, but it helps me rule some out.

Another thing (which I know is hard to do), I wish dealers would list what they have in stock and update that web list at least once a week. It's very disappointing to stop in at a shop, hoping to see a certain piano, and find out the dealer hasn't had one on the floor in a year.
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#2123819 - 07/27/13 02:09 PM Re: The Frozen Hinterlands [Re: Jolly]
malkin Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 3913
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
I don't think it is all that difficult to list stock online. Making videos would take a little bit more time, but text would be quick and easy, and adding some pictures wouldn't take much more.

Traditional retail wants people to come in to the store to see the goods, not to shop at home from their computer.
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#2123932 - 07/27/13 07:19 PM Re: The Frozen Hinterlands [Re: Jolly]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
If it makes you feel any better, those of us close to a major metro area do not have that many choices either. If you're talking about brand new, outside the Steinway / Yamaha duopoly, the number of authorized dealers narrows significantly. Before the Baldwin implosion, I remember many Baldwin stores as well.
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Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2123965 - 07/27/13 09:01 PM Re: The Frozen Hinterlands [Re: Jolly]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 15086
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Jolly:

In German there's an old proverb:

"Was ich nicht weiss, macht mich nicht heiss"

Approximate meaning: "can't get excited if not knowing the difference"

The advantage of being a "hinterlander"...

Norbert wink
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