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#2128733 - 08/05/13 11:59 PM Quesstion for dealers in the US about Yamaha S400B - HELP!
Gesualdo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/13
Posts: 44
Loc: Minnesota, USA
I found a Yamaha S400B, great shape, built 1994. Seller wants $35,000. All the good piano techs I know say it's too high a price, but were reluctant to give a price they thought would be fair (one did at least say he thought it was perhaps a good 5,000 too much to ask) but this is such a rarity I cannot find any other S400Bs to compare it too. I am seeing it tomorrow. Any suggestions? There's one on eBay selling for $27,990, but it's from 1986.

By the way, I did post something about this a few weeks ago, but got only one reply. It may be bad form for me to be asking again, but I am kind of at a loss and could use any help from anyone more knowledgeable about used pianos in today's market. If I am violating forum protocol, please forgive me, but I just can't find any good info!

Thanks,

MC


Edited by MPC (08/06/13 01:23 AM)
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Technique is a means to an end, but if you don't have any, it's the end!

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#2128816 - 08/06/13 06:13 AM Re: Quesstion for dealers in the US about Yamaha S400B - HELP! [Re: Gesualdo]
joe80 Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1338
The S400 is the predecessor to the S4 isn't it? How do the two models compare?

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#2128855 - 08/06/13 09:01 AM Re: Quesstion for dealers in the US about Yamaha S400B - HELP! [Re: Gesualdo]
terminaldegree Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2777
Loc: western Wisconsin
That's probably in excess of what the seller would have paid for that S400 when it was a NEW piano, fwiw. If you liked how it played and sounded and it passed an independent tech inspection, my gut reaction would be to offer closer to $25k. If this were at a dealer with a warranty and other adjustments being made, a bit higher.

To find other ads for a similar piano, I'd try the classifieds at piano world, the piano buyer classifieds (pianomart), or one of those tools that searches all of craigslist.
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#2128926 - 08/06/13 12:30 PM Re: Quesstion for dealers in the US about Yamaha S400B - HELP! [Re: joe80]
Gesualdo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/13
Posts: 44
Loc: Minnesota, USA
Joe, they are still quite similar, both hand-made in the same factory that makes the CF III 9' concert grand. It is still pretty much the same instrument but it is 19 years older. I will say my technician told me it is a very well made one, better than many others of its vintage, however, it is still 19 years old and the piano piano market is not where it once was, in fact most dealers are really struggling. So, I've been told he won't get $35,000 unless body with a boatload of money just grabs it. Keep your fingers crossed for me, I'm not the slickest negotiator on earth! :-)


Originally Posted By: joe80
The S400 is the predecessor to the S4 isn't it? How do the two models compare?
_________________________
Technique is a means to an end, but if you don't have any, it's the end!

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#2128927 - 08/06/13 12:32 PM Re: Quesstion for dealers in the US about Yamaha S400B - HELP! [Re: terminaldegree]
Gesualdo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/13
Posts: 44
Loc: Minnesota, USA
Terminaldegree, first of all, I was a terminal degreer for what seemed like eternity, so I can empathize! :-) Thanks for you input. I have scoured the web and found only 3, to were from the mid 1986 going for about $19,000 and one from 1990 going for $28,000. Other than those I have not been able to find any others. They a little rare.

Mike


Originally Posted By: terminaldegree
That's probably in excess of what the seller would have paid for that S400 when it was a NEW piano, fwiw. If you liked how it played and sounded and it passed an independent tech inspection, my gut reaction would be to offer closer to $25k. If this were at a dealer with a warranty and other adjustments being made, a bit higher.

To find other ads for a similar piano, I'd try the classifieds at piano world, the piano buyer classifieds (pianomart), or one of those tools that searches all of craigslist.


Edited by MPC (08/06/13 12:34 PM)
_________________________
Technique is a means to an end, but if you don't have any, it's the end!

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#2128936 - 08/06/13 12:52 PM Re: Quesstion for dealers in the US about Yamaha S400B - HELP! [Re: Gesualdo]
joe80 Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1338
In your situation I would ask the following questions to myself:

1. What condition is the piano in?
2. Is it worth that amount of money to me, at this stage?
3. How does it compare with new instruments? For instance, how does it compare to the new Yamaha C3X, C6X etc?
4. What else can I get for the same money?
5. This is a large amount of cash by anyone's standards, no matter what the value of the instrument is. Am I really in love with this piano, enough to part with that amount of cash?

There may be other options for you at that price, although this may well be a good buy. I'm not sure about piano pricing over there, but that amount is about £18,000 here, and that seems like a lot of money for a Yamaha of that age, whether it's the handbuilt one or not. I would be hoping to get a piano like that for £10 - 12,000 (I mean around £15-18,000 USD) in a private sale, if I was going down that route. But then, things are priced differently in the UK, and used product residuals are different here too.

If I was spending £18,000 I would be hoping to find a lightly used but original Hamburg Steinway model A from the 1970s or something, in a private sale. More from a dealer of course.

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#2129256 - 08/07/13 01:34 AM Re: Quesstion for dealers in the US about Yamaha S400B - HELP! [Re: joe80]
Gesualdo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/13
Posts: 44
Loc: Minnesota, USA

UPDATE.

I bought it! We negotiated a very fair price. The instrument was in near mint condition, gently used, beautifully maintained by a technician I have known for 25 years. It was owned by a former Van Cliburn Comp. competitor who studied with Arrau and Lili Kraus! He owned two pianos and kept this one after selling his Steinway B! He was allowed to hand picked it from the Yamaha factory which makes the CF and S series (not the assembly line factory), this is hand built. I have only ever played 3 other instruments that sang as well and had such clarity and warmth at the same time - a Grotrian-Steinweg, a Steinway Hamburg B, and a Bechstein B 212. The Yamaha "S" series is a pretty well kept secret I guess, I had NEVER seen one before. Blindfolded I would NEVER have guess it was a Yamaha.

I have looked at about 30 pianos in the last half year, this is the only I fell in love with! The consistency across registers is amazing and high register was hard to believe. I played it for 1.5 hours and then asked the owner to play so I could hear it. Perhaps this is embarrassing to admit and too much info, but both he and I wept after the transaction. I, because it was a dream come true, him because it has been his dear friend for years and marks the end of an era and because he "wanted it to go to someone who would love it and respect as much as he did." He knew that was me.

I'm not even quite sure how to feel yet, it's all so new and exciting. I do know I am very fortunate and grateful and it was the antidote to dealing with MANY sleaze merchants at piano dealerships in the Minneapolis area. I lovely piano, a lovely man, and a very fair transaction. He dropped his price to an amount that shocked me. I guess we "clicked!"

Thanks to all on the forum who were able to help.

Originally Posted By: joe80
In your situation I would ask the following questions to myself:

1. What condition is the piano in?
2. Is it worth that amount of money to me, at this stage?
3. How does it compare with new instruments? For instance, how does it compare to the new Yamaha C3X, C6X etc?
4. What else can I get for the same money?
5. This is a large amount of cash by anyone's standards, no matter what the value of the instrument is. Am I really in love with this piano, enough to part with that amount of cash?

There may be other options for you at that price, although this may well be a good buy. I'm not sure about piano pricing over there, but that amount is about £18,000 here, and that seems like a lot of money for a Yamaha of that age, whether it's the handbuilt one or not. I would be hoping to get a piano like that for £10 - 12,000 (I mean around £15-18,000 USD) in a private sale, if I was going down that route. But then, things are priced differently in the UK, and used product residuals are different here too.

If I was spending £18,000 I would be hoping to find a lightly used but original Hamburg Steinway model A from the 1970s or something, in a private sale. More from a dealer of course.
_________________________
Technique is a means to an end, but if you don't have any, it's the end!

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#2129416 - 08/07/13 12:57 PM Re: Quesstion for dealers in the US about Yamaha S400B - HELP! [Re: Gesualdo]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7407
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Congratulations. You got a steal, even if you paid the asking price. Hand selecting is a big deal, because of the small variances in each instrument. When you have a pianist of this caliber doing the choosing, you know you got something special. BTW, someone mentioned a 50 year life span for a piano. I'm not sure where that came from. Perhaps 50 years is the half life for the soundboard and the point when strings might need replacing, though our family owns several instruments which are doing fine at many years past that point.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2129445 - 08/07/13 02:08 PM Re: Quesstion for dealers in the US about Yamaha S400B - HELP! [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Gesualdo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/13
Posts: 44
Loc: Minnesota, USA
John,

Thank you for this. I couldn't be happier and I think the price was more than fair. The owner was a very kind and generous man who LOVES pianos and music! And, one heck of a pianist!

Mike


Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Congratulations. You got a steal, even if you paid the asking price. Hand selecting is a big deal, because of the small variances in each instrument. When you have a pianist of this caliber doing the choosing, you know you got something special. BTW, someone mentioned a 50 year life span for a piano. I'm not sure where that came from. Perhaps 50 years is the half life for the soundboard and the point when strings might need replacing, though our family owns several instruments which are doing fine at many years past that point.


Edited by MPC (08/07/13 03:07 PM)
_________________________
Technique is a means to an end, but if you don't have any, it's the end!

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#2129447 - 08/07/13 02:14 PM Re: Quesstion for dealers in the US about Yamaha S400B - HELP! [Re: Gesualdo]
pianocritic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/04/13
Posts: 68
Loc: Midwest
Congrats
That should make you a very, very good piano. I played one a few years ago and it was a great instrument. Getting the piano of your dreams is very exciting and should provide you with many years of pleasure.
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Piano Critic-A player and listener. Musician-Bachelors and Masters in Music. Retired from Professional life and just enjoying Music.

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#2129469 - 08/07/13 03:35 PM Re: Quesstion for dealers in the US about Yamaha S400B - HELP! [Re: pianocritic]
Gesualdo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/13
Posts: 44
Loc: Minnesota, USA
Thank you so much. It's still so new and exciting I'm not sure I feel the full impact yet. It arrives this Friday morning. That'll be a trip!

I wonder why we see so few of the "S" series in the U.S.? Apparently they sell well in Europe and Asia, of course.

M

Originally Posted By: pianocritic
Congrats
That should make you a very, very good piano. I played one a few years ago and it was a great instrument. Getting the piano of your dreams is very exciting and should provide you with many years of pleasure.
_________________________
Technique is a means to an end, but if you don't have any, it's the end!

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