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#263059 - 03/18/07 12:28 PM Re: The Twilight of American Piano Culture -- ?
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
king: I can tell why you are such a successful salesman. It's the personal charm.

Let me ask you: do you think that being "ostentatious" is the only reason to buy a piano of higher quality than a Pearl River, or do you admit there are musical differences? If you cannot tell the differences, it is ok to admit it publically.

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#263060 - 03/18/07 12:44 PM Re: The Twilight of American Piano Culture -- ?
Kingfrog777 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/07
Posts: 243
There is a difference.But where we part ways is the AMOUNT of difference in totally immeasurable terms. Is it $60,000 worth of differance? Nope! I will never (Thank God) hear that.

I just don't see the pragmatic or otherwise "value" in the amount of dollar separation between the two. But then again I don't see the value in a $5,000 Stainless steel Rolex over a Stainless Steel Seiko. Or a $375,000 Maybach over a $40,000 Lexus.


I am successful because I'm NOT a salesman. Never wasted money on prestigious stuff. I make people feel good about what they CAN buy. I sell them what THEY want not what I think they should want. I save them money. I am who I sell to.
_________________________
Piano, pro audio,guitar and MI sales.
Yamaha, Pearl River, Bergmann, Remington.

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#263061 - 03/18/07 01:00 PM Re: The Twilight of American Piano Culture -- ?
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
This is just the law of diminishing returns.

There is no doubt that though Kingfrog may take a polarised position at times, his perspective on value judgements is an entirely reasonable one to take.

I agree in many ways. I do not buy new cars and I would not buy a new piano unless it was unrepeatable in some way used. I prefer other people to pay for my depreciation.

I also agree that in many ways we overpay for well known brand names. So we have a choice. Don't. Buy used, or buy something else.

I do think that the Steinways and Faziolis etc of this world are better than the cheap pianos. So narrow the price gap hugely and buy used. Everything is used as soon as you have bought it, so why worry?

I do not extend this argument to food though!

Or clothes (though I have nothing against vintage).

And I do have a penchant for watches - even though I know perfectly well that a manual Panerai will not be as accurate as an electronic Seiko. We just choose what we want to spend money on.

A
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#263062 - 03/18/07 01:04 PM Re: The Twilight of American Piano Culture -- ?
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
king: I understand that your market is lower-end pianos to people who do not know much about pianos (this is simply a summary of what you yourself have said about your business), maybe for kids' lessons or something like that. I think it is great that you get more acoustic pianos into people's homes, of any type. But I have no idea if you "save" them money (maybe you could post your prices??), and many of your comments on this board seem misleading or disingenuous, at best.

As for your being "NOT" a salesman, I can say your posts are among the most salesy and pitchy of the dealers currently posting: they contain almost no piano-related information, and are almost exclusively salesy hype about buyer psychology, and who is getting a deal and who is wasting money, with irrelevant watch analogies. This is pure sales bs, and has almost no piano related information contained in it. It does nothing to impart piano information, and relies on standard psychological sales techniques to sell pianos (rather than imparting information about pianos).

On the topic of "prestige" or "ostentatious". Do you think people who buy Estonias, Masons, or Forsters are buying for ostentation and prestige, rather than the musical enjoyment of a quality hand-made piano?? The reason I ask is that few people have ever heard of these brands, and a cheaper (and cheaper made) Yamaha would have more brand-pretsige to the non-playing public. So I don't see how you argue that these brands are purchased for "ostentation" when few people know much about them.

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#263063 - 03/18/07 08:00 PM Re: The Twilight of American Piano Culture -- ?
Kingfrog777 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/07
Posts: 243
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
king: I understand that your market is lower-end pianos to people who do not know much about pianos (this is simply a summary of what you yourself have said about your business), maybe for kids' lessons or something like that. I think it is great that you get more acoustic pianos into people's homes, of any type. But I have no idea if you "save" them money (maybe you could post your prices??), and many of your comments on this board seem misleading or disingenuous, at best.

As for your being "NOT" a salesman, I can say your posts are among the most salesy and pitchy of the dealers currently posting: they contain almost no piano-related information, and are almost exclusively salesy hype about buyer psychology, and who is getting a deal and who is wasting money, with irrelevant watch analogies. This is pure sales bs, and has almost no piano related information contained in it. It does nothing to impart piano information, and relies on standard psychological sales techniques to sell pianos (rather than imparting information about pianos).

On the topic of "prestige" or "ostentatious". Do you think people who buy Estonias, Masons, or Forsters are buying for ostentation and prestige, rather than the musical enjoyment of a quality hand-made piano?? The reason I ask is that few people have ever heard of these brands, and a cheaper (and cheaper made) Yamaha would have more brand-pretsige to the non-playing public. So I don't see how you argue that these brands are purchased for "ostentation" when few people know much about them. [/b]
You are digging far too deep. I use the watches as a metaphor for people paying more then they should for something who's purpose is easily had for less and in many case more accurate.

People buy those expensive pianos because they have developed a taste for them in their quest to get the very best they can afford in their world. And as well in thier "piano buying public" world those brands are respected MORE then Yamaha which as I gathered here is considered
"less then" to "serious" piano enthusiasts.

I also believe they pay far too much for many of them. Handmade to me means inconsistent, which means you can get a good one or not so good one. Many manufactured products are better because of less human intervention not more.

I'm not "selling" anything here. I do not bash PSS and applaud the guts to try the internet model.
I wish he was more upfront though. I do dislike stenciling old used American names on Chinese pianos and believe it's dishonest and primarily used to get more money out of a mediocre product based on some long dead reputation.

I believe Steinway is a great piano. Every bit as good as a Mason,Forester, or Estonia.But hardly worth what people will pay up to and put up with for the hype over those brands.

A 300 year old musical instrument has not changed really all that much and is pretty much the same across the board or can be made that way after the sale by a great technician as I read here.

So what is it that makes a 7' Steinway $60,000+ better then a 7' Pearl River anyway? Human hands?
_________________________
Piano, pro audio,guitar and MI sales.
Yamaha, Pearl River, Bergmann, Remington.

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#263064 - 03/18/07 09:23 PM Re: The Twilight of American Piano Culture -- ?
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
The "death" of the piano ignores all those kids using digitals for composing.

If schools could find a way to mimic the Digital and Adult Beginner forums here on PW, we could see a resurgence.

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#263065 - 03/19/07 04:41 AM Re: The Twilight of American Piano Culture -- ?
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
KingFrog, you quite often use the watch metaphor. This argument assumes that the most valuable thing is function. This may mainly be true of a watch, as its job is to show the time. Aesthetics may or may not add to the perceived value.

However, the argument is surely more complex with pianos? Although they have a function - to make sounds by depressing keys - the subjective element must surely play a large part in the equation. Pianos do sound different and whilst they may all fulfil a similar function, the tonal and volume capabilities do differ quite a bit.

The point that was surely being made is that there are pianos that are in a similar price bracket to Yamaha that are different tonally. Some of these pianos do not have Yamaha's well know brand image, yet piano buyers still choose them.

Does this not indicate that many people are making very considered choices that take account of value for money but which do not lean towards favouring a well know brand?

I can see that you may argue that for you a Steinway (say) does not deliver enough tonal benefit, or firm residual value, or longevity to justify its higher price than another piano. Many others may also think that way. It is a valid argument as it must be agreed that the returns diminish as we go up the price scale.

But the anti brand philosophy is surely a weaker argument when the comparisons are between instruments at a similar price point.

Adrian
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#263066 - 03/19/07 07:25 AM Re: The Twilight of American Piano Culture -- ?
CozyWriter Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 789
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
 Quote:
Originally posted by turandot:
Two points

If kids are doing well in school and have extra-curricular activities that parents concede to be worthwhile, it's unfair to force them to eat olives in their little free time.

The classical student repertoire needs an overhaul. Piano teachers need to look beyond the glories of Hanon, Czerny, Haydn, Mozart etc., and find a curriculum that today's kids can relate to. It's about time. [/b]
That's probably the saddest thing I've ever seen on here. It's 30 minutes a day to practice piano.

I certainly did it, extracurricular activities and all. But then I didn't have computer games, the Internet, my own cll fne 2 cht w/, or 300 channels of cable TV.

To paraphrase those weepy "Save the Children" commercials, "only 30 minutes a day" could change a child's life (for the better) forever.
_________________________
Inspiration is the act of pulling a chair up to the writing desk.
Pramberger JP-185 (a 6'1" mahogany-red Grand)+ Glenn Gould-ish piano chair (no cushion)

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#263067 - 03/19/07 07:34 AM Re: The Twilight of American Piano Culture -- ?
CozyWriter Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 789
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kingfrog777:
Or a $375,000 Maybach over a $40,000 Lexus.


I am successful because I'm NOT a salesman. Never wasted money on prestigious stuff. I make people feel good about what they CAN buy. I sell them what THEY want not what I think they should want. I save them money. I am who I sell to. [/b]
Um.... I thought you drove an Avalon, over an equally drivable Corolla or Yaris (or a Prius at 2x the fuel economy of that big Lexus LX in Toyota Skin.)
_________________________
Inspiration is the act of pulling a chair up to the writing desk.
Pramberger JP-185 (a 6'1" mahogany-red Grand)+ Glenn Gould-ish piano chair (no cushion)

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#263068 - 03/19/07 11:43 AM Re: The Twilight of American Piano Culture -- ?
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7237
Loc: torrance, CA
 Quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by turandot:


If kids are doing well in school and have extra-curricular activities that parents concede to be worthwhile, it's unfair to force them to eat olives in their little free time.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

from Cozywriter
That's probably the saddest thing I've ever seen on here. It's 30 minutes a day to practice piano.

I certainly did it, extracurricular activities and all. But then I didn't have computer games, the Internet, my own cll fne 2 cht w/, or 300 channels of cable TV.

To paraphrase those weepy "Save the Children" commercials, "only 30 minutes a day" could change a child's life (for the better) forever.
Let me try to explain my thinking. My kids have 7.5 hours or sleep, 7 hours of school, on average 1.5 hours of homework, 0.5 hours of getting ready for school and eating breakfast, 0.5 hours of commuting time to and from school, 0.5 hours of reading time that I impose on them each evening, 1 hour with the family at dinner time, and .5 hours for an evening shower and getting ready for the next school day (packing backpacks, getting things signed etc.). That adds up to 19 hours day. Of the remaining five hours of discretionary time I prefer to let them make the choices as long as the choices are reasonable. They have chosen team sports and school band. Believe me, these can be quite time consuming. It’s not just the daily practice. It’s the travel to and from away games, band festivals, tournaments and the like. I do not feel a necessity to force them to study piano.

Of the activities that you mention and I’m assuming you don’t approve of, my kids do play video games and watch cable tv. I’m not sure cable tv is necessarily a bad thing. My kids (and I) like Discovery, National Geographic and Animal Planet. I think those have some value. They like Cartoon Network too. It’s probably of little value. But when I was a kid and had free time, I would often curl up with a stack of well-worn comic books and read them yet again. I think it’s good for kids to have some time that requires nothing even if it yields nothing.

When you say “I certainly did it” about the thirty minutes a day of piano practice, I can relate to that. I did it too, more in fact. But I also delivered newspapers for pocket money and sang in a choir. Should I make a point that my kids do those things too? I think not.

As to your reference to being sad, I suspect that you are more mad than sad. As to “weepy Save the Children commercials” it has no relevance. Are you trying to pour a little gasoline on what has been (to this point) a very civilized and thoughtful thread with a lot of people sharing ideas on how to re-invigorate the piano culture?

I look forward to your contribution to those ideas.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#263069 - 03/19/07 10:18 PM Re: The Twilight of American Piano Culture -- ?
Kingfrog777 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/07
Posts: 243
 Quote:
Originally posted by AJB:
KingFrog, you quite often use the watch metaphor. This argument assumes that the most valuable thing is function. This may mainly be true of a watch, as its job is to show the time. Aesthetics may or may not add to the perceived value.

However, the argument is surely more complex with pianos? Although they have a function - to make sounds by depressing keys - the subjective element must surely play a large part in the equation. Pianos do sound different and whilst they may all fulfil a similar function, the tonal and volume capabilities do differ quite a bit.

The point that was surely being made is that there are pianos that are in a similar price bracket to Yamaha that are different tonally. Some of these pianos do not have Yamaha's well know brand image, yet piano buyers still choose them.

Does this not indicate that many people are making very considered choices that take account of value for money but which do not lean towards favouring a well know brand?

I can see that you may argue that for you a Steinway (say) does not deliver enough tonal benefit, or firm residual value, or longevity to justify its higher price than another piano. Many others may also think that way. It is a valid argument as it must be agreed that the returns diminish as we go up the price scale.

But the anti brand philosophy is surely a weaker argument when the comparisons are between instruments at a similar price point.

Adrian [/b]
Value itself is subjective. The more expensive a piano is the less of a value it becomes.That can be applied to most big ticket purchases. I am not anti-brand. I believe Masons, Estonias,and most other mid tier brands to be as good if not better then the Steinway and even Bosendofers. I also believe from what I learned here they are respected within enthusiast's circles more then a similar Yamaha.

I do believe many people are buying pianos They choose because of tone regardless of the price. They become flag bearers for that brand and eager to share what and why they bought. I believe this is a small segment of the total piano buying public though. Just like the elitists are a small segment on the other end of the scale.

The watch analogy may be trite because the only reason one buys a Rolex has little to do with the actual time keeping ability unlike a piano where there are indeed differences both measurable and immeasurable.

One must take my comments in perspective as to who I deal with day to day as well. People buying their first piano with limited resources who are not accomplished players for the most part and are not "piano enthusiasts". They put an awful lot of "trust" in me to deliver the best I can for the money they want to spend. That means NO misleading. NO false German brands. Names of the manufacture on the fall boards. No stencils.
My salary is high enough. 2.5-5% commission will not make me pressure a customer into a certain brand or price. The owner pays a decent salary. Some of the employees are able to live on it without commission. They don't sell pianos at all.

If someone gave me a Steinway or Bose I would sell it and invest the difference. I have not acquired a taste for those brands, nor does my playing take advantage of any subtle differences those brands offer. My wife however is a professional and earned her living for 20 years playing and is very happy with Yamaha..even the GB1.

We are wholesaling an old 5'11" Steinway for $9k rather then try to sell it in our demographic. On the other hand we are selling a much newer 5'8" Baldwin in excellent condition for $10-12K because we know it will sell.

BTW Cozy. I drive an Avalon because I like a full size car for safety, options, comfort and the reliability of the Lexus and I bought it used for the cost of a new Corolla.
_________________________
Piano, pro audio,guitar and MI sales.
Yamaha, Pearl River, Bergmann, Remington.

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