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#2142947 - 09/02/13 04:59 PM A&D Piano Buyer article about donated pianos
S. Phillips Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 265
Loc: Forte Farm, Lexington, KY
Here is my most recent article about pianos donated to institutions.

http://www.pianobuyer.com/fall13/82.html

This is a subject that I've thought about for several years with information that music committees can use to help them make some informed choices for their institutions. I think this one is a must read for people involved in the buying process for schools and churches. Enjoy!
_________________________
Sally Phillips
Piano Technician
One can always find something to improve.
2 Steinway Os, Steinway B & C, C. Bechstein A
Phillips Piano Tech
Contributor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
New Federal and State Ivory Regulations and Pianos
http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory.html

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#2142960 - 09/02/13 05:24 PM Re: A&D Piano Buyer article about donated pianos [Re: S. Phillips]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8459
Loc: Georgia, USA
Very interesting, and well written article, Sally!

Unfortunately, I think there are probably lots of unwanted and unappreciated pianos sitting around and when the owners can’t sell them, they try to donate them to a tax-exempt institution for a tax write-off.

Your article certainly sheds light on the pros and cons of donated pianos.

Best regards,

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

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#2143036 - 09/02/13 07:18 PM Re: A&D Piano Buyer article about donated pianos [Re: S. Phillips]
jc201306 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/21/13
Posts: 42
The article is, using its own word, too "tactful". So allow me to translate it: Your used piano is junk! In fact it is worse than junk, since it costs money to keep it. Please sell your junk to other uninformed buyers, and we will be more than happy to accept the proceeding of your transaction. Unless, of course, if it is a new Steinway D, we can take that ...

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#2143042 - 09/02/13 07:25 PM Re: A&D Piano Buyer article about donated pianos [Re: jc201306]
terminaldegree Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2648
Loc: western Wisconsin
Originally Posted By: jc201306
The article is, using its own word, too "tactful". So allow me to translate it: Your used piano is junk! In fact it is worse than junk, since it costs money to keep it.


I think your synopsis is a little oversimplified...
_________________________
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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#2143141 - 09/02/13 10:30 PM Re: A&D Piano Buyer article about donated pianos [Re: S. Phillips]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1957
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Congratulation Sally!
The article is clear, well written, researched and "nearly" comprehensive. I especially like the advice to form a piano plan.

I think the option that an institution work with an experienced rebuilder to source a fine piano is needed. This route is often the most cost-effective way to purchase the most fine piano for the dollar in todays market.

There are a few rebuilders who have at their disposal state of the art techniques that the factories have not learned. Such as Hybrid wire scales. Also the WN&G composite shanks are more available from rebuilders than piano manufacturers.

If the rebuilder is a highly skilled tone-regulator-the precision in the action, dynamic range, durability, tonal color and projection produced will be beyond what most piano factories can produce.

I have done this many times for churches, schools, community auditoriums, etc over my 40 year career and they all are most pleased with the results. It does take time to find the appropriate core piano and then complete the needed work. But that is all part of the planning process.

I also think your statement that any piano after 2 years old is significantly downhill is an inditement of the present class of contemporary piano makers.
Why should anyone spend over $100K for a concert grand if after two years it can not be made to function at the highest quality musical standard. What has happened to the "investment" value of a fine piano!
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2143153 - 09/02/13 10:52 PM Re: A&D Piano Buyer article about donated pianos [Re: S. Phillips]
S. Phillips Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 265
Loc: Forte Farm, Lexington, KY
Ed, I didn't say that pianos over 2 years old are "significantly downhill" in condition. I was trying to make the point that the components that suffer wear do not get better with age and older pianos, if properly rebuilt can sound as good as the day they were built.

Just to clarify for the consumer. Most older performance pianos have been rebuilt at some time in their lives. So when someone hears a 1902 piano and says how wonderful it sounds, they are frequently listening to a piano where the only original parts are the case parts and cast iron plate. It's the new soundboard, strings, action parts and hammers that are producing the wonderful sound.
_________________________
Sally Phillips
Piano Technician
One can always find something to improve.
2 Steinway Os, Steinway B & C, C. Bechstein A
Phillips Piano Tech
Contributor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
New Federal and State Ivory Regulations and Pianos
http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory.html

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#2143161 - 09/02/13 10:59 PM Re: A&D Piano Buyer article about donated pianos [Re: S. Phillips]
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9170
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Nicely written Sally.

There were a few fine points that I'd enjoy discussing sometime, but too minor to make them a part of this thread. I will see you or chat with you soon enough.

Congratulations!
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Get Cunningham Piano Email Updates

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#2143196 - 09/03/13 12:59 AM Re: A&D Piano Buyer article about donated pianos [Re: S. Phillips]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1957
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Sally I do owe you an apology.

I didn't keep your article open while I penned my response and your exact wording didn't stick in my head long enough.

The long slow decline of a truly fine piano is so slow if properly housed and serviced that no decline is evident for at least two decades in most cases. I have heard Technicians and Salesmen associated with one very prominent provider of concert grands try to convince major concert halls that a 10YO piano is no longer suitable for major performing artists. Really built to last huh?

So I over reacted to your wording. sorry
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2143283 - 09/03/13 07:08 AM Re: A&D Piano Buyer article about donated pianos [Re: S. Phillips]
S. Phillips Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 265
Loc: Forte Farm, Lexington, KY
Thanks Rich and Rick. I always have a great time researching and writing about pianos. This article in particular, I think is greatly needed to put some perspective on the donation situation for groups accepting pianos.

I can't tell you how many times I have had to tell pastors that the piano in their sanctuary is unserviceable and their reply is that they can't get rid of it because a prominent family was the donor.

This has gotten much worse in recent years with many churches ending up with an entire inventory of useless pianos. Having spent nearly 40 years in the business though forces me to reevaluate my perspective on older pianos because I've had a good laugh when I tell the customer that their piano is too old for servicing without a complete rebuild and I realize that I'm older than the piano.
_________________________
Sally Phillips
Piano Technician
One can always find something to improve.
2 Steinway Os, Steinway B & C, C. Bechstein A
Phillips Piano Tech
Contributor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
New Federal and State Ivory Regulations and Pianos
http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory.html

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#2143312 - 09/03/13 08:22 AM Re: A&D Piano Buyer article about donated pianos [Re: S. Phillips]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8459
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: S. Phillips
This has gotten much worse in recent years with many churches ending up with an entire inventory of useless pianos. Having spent nearly 40 years in the business though forces me to reevaluate my perspective on older pianos because I've had a good laugh when I tell the customer that their piano is too old for servicing without a complete rebuild and I realize that I'm older than the piano.

Sally, you’re not “older”, you’re just well seasoned and highly experienced! 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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#2143321 - 09/03/13 08:40 AM Re: A&D Piano Buyer article about donated pianos [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
The long slow decline of a truly fine piano is so slow if properly housed and serviced that no decline is evident for at least two decades in most cases.

This may indeed be the case. However, in the article it is pointed out that most institutional pianos are not kept in ideal conditions. In fact, the lack of a stable environment must be a consideration in the choice of a suitable piano.

I believe the article will be a welcome addition of information for those who are in the position of selecting a piano for a church, school, or other institutional setting.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2143326 - 09/03/13 08:53 AM Re: A&D Piano Buyer article about donated pianos [Re: S. Phillips]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10457
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
One problem is that those who most need the perspective and information that Sally has drafted so admirably, are not the likely readers of Piano Buyer.

I hope that we all keep the article in mind and recommend it to those who find themselves looking at a piano donation.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#2143391 - 09/03/13 11:23 AM Re: A&D Piano Buyer article about donated pianos [Re: S. Phillips]
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1905
Loc: El Cajon, CA
So fine pianos need rebuilding in our lifetime? shocked I was hoping a piano built before Harold Camping or Bob Sheppard were born wouldn't need a complete rebuild until after both men have passed on. :p laugh (I can understand new strings and hammers if they were new when your grandparents were your age, more often in a heavily used piano.)
(The last paragraph is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, although I find it odd to rebuild pianos every, say, 5-10 years.)

Also what happened to the days, if they existed, when even a home piano that a high school student could pay cash for when new would be good enough quality to be worth rebuilding? I was hoping we hadn't become THAT much of a throwaway society.

Another thing I thought when reading. If you were to think of it in terms of "what would a dealer price this piano at before negotiation", what might be a projected dealer price below which a piano isn't worth donating?
btw of course I can understand not donating a piano whose plate is broken into 2 or more completely separated pieces. or whose soundboard and pinblock has cracks big enough to almost fly a plane through, or that would cost the parts factory more just for the raw natural materials to make the parts to rebuild, not including shipping or labor, than the MSRP of an identical new piano. :p
_________________________
Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
You can right-click my avatar for an option to view a larger version.

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#2143402 - 09/03/13 11:41 AM Re: A&D Piano Buyer article about donated pianos [Re: S. Phillips]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 384
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
Just because a party donated a piano to a specific organization doesn't mean that it wound up there. I went to a non profit place a couple years ago to pick up 50 + something pianos. Yamaha, Steinway and Kawai were kept if they were less than 5 years old and pristine and everything else they received no matter how new or old it was was batched out from the facility.

I have found that if something is a money pit, doesn't work flawlessly, has cabinet flaws then whichever charitable organization the piano went to gets rid of it. Lots of these instruments are just shipped to these places sight unseen and it really is amazing how many people think they can get a 10 K tax write-off on a Currier spinet.
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Nashville Piano Rescue
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
East Nashville
Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
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