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#908727 - 03/05/02 04:05 PM What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Since everybody here seems to talk so much about price...what,do you think SHOULD a new piano cost?

Let's assume the cost of making any would be the SAME for each model!

Approximately......your guesses,please!
[no unrealistic wish list,folks!]

Mason Hamlin 5'8" or 6'8"....?

Steinway B...................?

Yamaha C3,C5,C7........... .?
Kawai [same sizes]...........?

'German made' 6' or 7'.......?
[include S.P.etc]

Estonia 6'3...................?

Petrof 6'3...................?

Others.........................?

In other words....what's FAIR???

And WHY??

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

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#908728 - 03/05/02 04:18 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
BrulBruce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/01
Posts: 332
Loc: Long Island
I assume you mean what is a fair price for a consumer to pay?

I know zippo about the grand market. I'd love to take a shot, but I have nada to offer.

Obviously, it can't be such a tight deal that dealers are going out of business all over the place.

A lot would also depend on individual P&Ls for each dealership.

Although there are industry standards, each entity is unique and operates differently. A dealer who spends a lot on pre-sale service runs a more expensive operation than one who does not.

A dealer who needs to buy 40' Formulas needs to make more than one who does not.

Tough question. No easy answer.

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#908729 - 03/05/02 04:22 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
I know all of this.

Still, please TRY, give figures and OPINION!

All based on the word 'average'...

This could be an interesting thread,guys!
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#908730 - 03/05/02 04:49 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
BrulBruce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/01
Posts: 332
Loc: Long Island
(I doubled clicked, and ended up sending the same post twice...sorry)

[ March 05, 2002: Message edited by: BrulBruce ]

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#908731 - 03/05/02 05:02 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
kenny Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 7051
I think posting the exact price paid is not useful.
Too many variables.

One dealer will sell piano X at a *range* of prices.
A customer with good negotiating skills will do better than the next.
This is the way of the business world on big-ticket items.

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#908732 - 03/05/02 05:09 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Stanza Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1458
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
I don't know how you can separate construction cost from cost of the piano. One company might be able to get materials less expensively, while another company might have cheaper labor, whilst a third might pay the same for materials and labor but be more labor-intensive. Anyway here goes:

6ft grand

Chinese <10K
Japanese, Korean 15 K
Former Soviet Block 18-20K
American 20-25K
Premium American and German 30-35K
_________________________
Estonia L190 #7004
Casio PX 310
Yamaha NP 30

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#908733 - 03/05/02 05:16 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
People here have often suggested to 'bargain'
for price. Which is fine.

But what's the 'level playing field' here ?

For those who have watched this Forum for a
while, there are price levels which are, by and large, recurring. Should a Yamaha C3 cost
$15.000,20.000 or $25.000? And why?

Believe me,before ANY piano is even manufactured, the guys in the boardroom put
their figures together. It's done quite professionally based NOT ONLY on actual cost but very much also on 'image' on how much this piano will eventually sell.

Again.....what do you think would be 'FAIR'??

Confess some 'colours'..er opinions....guys!

..and....."KEINE FAULEN EIER, Kinder!"
[except for bin Laden....]

[ March 05, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#908734 - 03/05/02 05:41 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
I haven't had a good whipping in some time, so I'll take a stab at it...

Mason Hamlin 7' - $45K

Steinway B - $50K

Yamaha C6/C7 - $24K/$29K

'German made' Hamburgh Steinway $60K
Boesendorfer $62K

Petrof 7'9" - $40K

I feel those prices are fair because I wouldn't look back if I purchased those pianos for those prices. Of course, that takes a lot into account including personal preference and the name on the fallboard which counts for something (call me shallow if you like).

Now as for pianos I haven't played:

Bechstein (any model) $15k

There, that ought to have Larry tugging at his leash. ;\)

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#908735 - 03/05/02 06:06 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
lucy in the sky_dup1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 508
Loc: NYC
Gee, Derick,

With prices like yours, my kid is going to have to stick to the harmonica!

Lucy
_________________________
Lucy

Member, Red Piano Club
Member, 100 post club

Email: femmedada@aol.com

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#908736 - 03/05/02 06:12 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
I thought I was under by at least $5K on list for all of them, no?

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#908737 - 03/05/02 06:52 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14048
Loc: Louisiana
Okay Norbert, I'll take a stab. The prices I'm going to quote are what I THINK I can get a piano for:

1. M&H A - about 34k

2. Steinway B - haven't shopped, haven't priced, so it's a wild guess - 42k

3. Yamaha C3 - about 20k, maybe a bit less (who wants a Yamaha, anyway :p )

4. Kawai RX-2 - about 16k, a RX-3 would be about 18-19.

5. Schulze Pollman 6' - about 23k

6. CW190 - one you didn't ask for(but you should have), 20k (and I can show you the bid sheet). One of THE best values out there.

7. AF(German) 6' - around 24k.

8. Bechstein Academy model - again a wild guess, but maybe Larry would sell me one for 32k.

9. Estonia 6'3" and Petrof 6'3" - I lumped them together because I figure the pricing is similar - I've seen a 5'8" Petrof for as low as 15k so I'm going to guess around 20k, maybe a scooch (technical term)more.

10. Chinese 6' or so - between 7 and 8k, the older the Chinese model the less the money. Chinese pianos are getting better, but the prices are rising.

11. Korean 6 footer (unenhanced) - I found one for 9k, but that was/is unusual. Say about 11k.

12. Korean 6 footer (enhanced version) - about 12.5k.


Note: I think most of the above represents ballpark street pricing. I hope I'm fairly close, but I did this off the top of my head.

If we use Norbert's scenario about each costing the same to build, so we are essentially arguing build quality vs pricing level. My conclusions are:

1. The M&H and the Steinway are overpriced. The Steinway much more so. I think an "A" should sell in the mid to high 20s to be entirely competitive with the world market.

2. The Japanese are overpriced, particularly Yamaha. Lower the prices by about 2k or so.

3. Charles Walter - worth every penny.

4. SP - a sleeper piano, also worth close to what it sells for.

5. The Koreans - worth the asking price.

6. The Chinese - actually underpriced. They are trying to increase market share. Look for prices to increase as quality goes up.

7. The Germans - most are overpriced. They are wonderful instruments, but can anyone actually justify the cost of a new 6' Bosie?

8. Petrofs and Estonias - another pair of pianos that are worth the selling price.

These opinions and $1 will buy a cup of coffee at participating McDonalds, nationwide. :p ;\) ;\) :p
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Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#908738 - 03/05/02 07:13 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Diarmuid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 219
Mason Hamlin 5'8" or 6'8"....18k or 20k

Steinway B...................30k

Yamaha C3,C5,C7........... .10k,12k,15k
Kawai [same sizes]...........same prices

'German made' 6' or 7'.......18k or 20k
[include S.P.etc]

Estonia 6'3...................12k

Petrof 6'3...................12k

Others.......Fazioli - nothing over 40k, Bosendorfer - the same as a Steinway.

I don't know anything about production costs but I basically think the very high end pianos (Steinway, Bose, Fazioli, Bechstein) are lovely instruments but an absolute rip off. There is no way, NO WAY a model D Steinway is worth well over double the price of a concert grand Estonia. Or any piano is worth more than about 40k let alone Fazioli prices! Lovely pianos but it's really just about exclusivity/snob value at that price. You could buy a house for the price of a Fazioli. I mean it's just a bit vulgar.

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#908739 - 03/05/02 07:18 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Interesting stuff,guys.

Keep it going.
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#908740 - 03/05/02 07:20 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Sam_dup1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/02
Posts: 239
Loc: NYC
Where IS Larry?

[ March 05, 2002: Message edited by: Sam ]

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#908741 - 03/05/02 07:26 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
GJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 183
Jolly wrote:
"Yamaha C3 - about 20k, maybe a bit less (who wants a Yamaha, anyway )"

Actually, I want, and own, 2 Yamahas. While most of the frequent "posters" encourage looking at a variety of brands, several also like to disparage Yamaha, seemingly at every opportunity. I understand you may not like the sound of a Yamaha; I do. I play mostly jazz, and the bright sound "sings" to me. Maybe it is the mass production and marketing, to the near exclusion of the smaller companies, that causes you to defend the little guy. Fine. Just understand that I have played most of the brands listed, and still chose Yamaha - because it's the piano I like. It's a beautiful world out there - and aren't we lucky to have so many choices. I just thought I'd defend mine.

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#908742 - 03/05/02 07:47 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Diarmuid,

When you open your piano store, please let me know. I want to be your FIRST customer. I have a $40,000 Home Equity loan all set to go!!! \:\) ;\) \:D \:\) ;\) \:D \:\) ;\)

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#908743 - 03/05/02 08:01 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Just something for everyone to think about... An average family will buy a new car every 6 years and pay $25,000 (as of 2001).

The car will break down, rust, require gobs of insurance and be made mostly by machine.

Many of the pianos mentioned above are hand-crafted, will last a lifetime, won't rust, will need only minor repair and could be insured for a lifetime for a fraction of what it costs to insure a car during a 6 year period.

If people get $5K knocked off the price of a Chevy they'd kiss the dealer and throw him a party. But the 'fair' prices mentioned above for pianos are far more than $5K off the mark and average less than $25,000.

I'm not trying to be wise, but I do think there is a difference between fair and wish-full thinking!

Derick

[ March 05, 2002: Message edited by: Derick ]
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#908744 - 03/05/02 08:35 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Diarmuid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 219
Cars are much more of a necessity for most people. They are more complex machines than pianos. They are used more regularly and subjected to much more punishment than a piano. They rust because, guess what, they get left outside in the rain. They have, in short, a much greater propensity to go wrong than a piano.

Pianos sit in a living room, protected from the elements. They get played maybe once or twice a week (if you're going to use national averages for cars, then let's be honest about most pianos, not just the ones owned by devotees here.) I don't think your analogy is a fair one.

And where Faziolis are concerned, most peoples houses last them a lifetime, and then some more \:\)

I wasn't implying that dealers either are making big margins on the top end pianos.

And an Estonia is a superb hand crafted piano that manages to be reasonably priced.

[ March 05, 2002: Message edited by: Diarmuid ]

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#908745 - 03/05/02 08:46 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
I'm gonna 'average' the price suggestions later and see what this high Forum came up with.

Then.....some REALLY interesting stuff will follow...PROMISE!

PRICES....please!!

[Wild shots accepted!]

[ March 05, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#908746 - 03/05/02 08:50 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Diarmuid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 219
And, just for the record, I know a concert pianist whose had a top of the range German upright for ten years (bought new) and it's absolutely knackered. Admitedly he plays it hard, and for a few hours a day. Just thought I'd mention it. And no I'm not revealing the brand \:\) (but don't worry Larry, it's not a Bechstein ;)).

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#908747 - 03/05/02 09:05 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Diarmuid,

I guess my interpretation of Norbert's question was more along the lines of what would you, as a pianist, who knows these instruments, think is fair to pay. And perhaps that is how you interpreted it as well.

I'm not knocking your prices, I think they are wonderul, I just don't think they are realistic.

Well Norbert seems to be up to something and I'm very curious as to what he's going to spring on us!

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#908748 - 03/05/02 09:21 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5483
jolly's prices, of all those posted so far, are the closest to what i found one can reasonably expect to pay if one is a very good negotiator and knows where to look.
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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#908749 - 03/05/02 09:23 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Diarmuid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 219
Like I said, I know nothing about production costs, the piano industry, dealers costs e.t.c. And it's not fair to criticise me for being unrealistic when we were solicited for an uninformed, and essentially fun opinion. If you want people to have a wild stab at something (and throw in a bit of attitude for fun), don't go tut tutting at them when they do. It's kind of patronising ;\)

[ March 05, 2002: Message edited by: Diarmuid ]

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#908750 - 03/05/02 09:40 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
pique - a Steinway B for 42K??? Please tell me where.

Diarmuid - I'm not criticizing, I was just stating my opinion on fair versus realistic. Our numbers don't happen to line up but there certainly is no right or wrong answer.

Again, I'm interested to see what Norbert has up his sleeve with this question.

Derick

[ March 05, 2002: Message edited by: Derick ]
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#908751 - 03/05/02 09:52 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Matt G. Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
Okay, I guess I'll bite. These are some prices I was able to wrangle out of some of the dealers in my area within the last year. It should be pointed out that I have official status as the world's ABSOLUTE WORST haggler/negotiator, and as such these are prices that were offered with no di-ckering (had to trick the censor-bot) of any sort on my part. That would make them, IMHO, fair to the dealer :rolleyes: but nevertheless seemed fair to me:

Yamaha C3 - $19,800

Yamaha C5 - $21,500

Kawai RX2 - $18,900

Kawai RX3 - $20,800

Estonia 6'3" - $19,300

Petrof III - $19,800

Of course, this really doesn't do much in the long run, since piano prices seem to display variations based on geographical locations (why does everything[/b] seem to cost more in the Northeast?) and dealer overhead.

Make whatever you will of these prices. All I did was ask a few questions and the going rate for the pianos listed above. It seems that they fall pretty much in line what I have heard others negotiated down to, so I guess it's either all in your attitude or the tactics of the sales staff! \:\)
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#908752 - 03/05/02 10:01 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Steve Miller Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 3290
Loc: Yorba Linda, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Matt G.:

(why does everything[/b] seem to cost more in the Northeast?) [/b]


Because you have to pay people a lot of money just to get them to live there.

;\)
_________________________
Defender of the Landfill Piano

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#908753 - 03/05/02 10:10 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Matt G. Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:
"KEINE FAULEN EIER, Kinder!" [/b]


Geez, Norbert you sure know how to take all the fun out of dropping a bomb, don't you?


:p
_________________________
Sacred cows make the best hamburger. - Clemens

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#908754 - 03/06/02 12:30 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Not really....I said...on bin Laden!!
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#908755 - 03/06/02 08:07 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Diarmuid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 219
This isn't worth pursuing, it really isn't but calling something an opinion doesn't preclude it from being a criticism, or having critical overtones.

Hmmm...I'm considering blackballing you at the next secret meeting of the Inner Circle Derick. Lets face it, the Alpha Member's still growling. It'll be the wilderness for you sonny, as a penance for your effrontery \:D

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#908756 - 03/06/02 08:35 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
florets Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 28
Loc: Singapore
The Fazioli got mentioned a lot for being overpriced. How much does a Fazioli 6' cost in the US? \:D

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#908757 - 03/06/02 10:51 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Dairmuid,

You said:

 Quote:
This isn't worth pursuing, it really isn't but calling something an opinion doesn't preclude it from being a criticism, or having critical overtones.


According to the Thorndike Barnhart Comprehensive Desk Dictionary the definition of opinion is:

1. what one thinks; belief no so strong as knowledge; judgement. 2. impression; estimate.

Apparently you cannot deal with any opinion that differs from your own.

I just realized that you said my car example wasn't a fair comparison. Excuse me now while I find a corner to sit and sulk.

Derick

[ March 06, 2002: Message edited by: Derick ]
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#908758 - 03/06/02 11:29 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Diarmuid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 219
So a "judgement" cannot be a critical judgement? It's implicit in the phrase "What one thinks" that that cannot be critcal e.t.c. Saying something is "an opinion" is a very general statement that allows plenty of scope for a critical element. It's my opinion that Bin Laden is mad. Is that just an opinion or a criticism? It's both. It's an opinion that is also a criticism.

And I can deal with different opinions. That's why I didn't single you out and criticise your prices. My point is that you're criticising me for being unrealistic when I fully admitted from the start that I didn't know what a realistic price was for a manufacturer. I was just having a wild stab for the fun of it and you got all real and serious on me. I didn't think that was fair or in the spirit of Norberts original question.

And now you're getting even more serious.

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#908759 - 03/06/02 11:36 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Stanza Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1458
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
Pianos are no different than any other consumer item. The law of diminishing returns applies. Is a $42k Steinway TWICE as good as a $21K Charles Walter? I think not! Once you start getting into the higher priced pianos you really aren't getting much bang for your buck. Keeping it in the realm of piano, lets say you had your eye on one for $25k. One coud argue that you could also find one you also liked pretty well for $20K. If you spent the $5K difference on: A year of lessons (50 weeks x $50 =$2500); a music cabinet, metromnome, lamp ($500); Henle editions of your favorites ($500); for variety, practice, and the kids ...a Yamaha p80 portable pro-grade digital piano with stand and external powered speakers, headphones ($1100), 10 piano CDs ($150), tickets to a concert ($100),etc, etc. You would get much more "piano enjoyment" and you would play better (with the lessons and a good, silent practice instrument)for that 5 grand than what might be an extemely slight difference in sound, look, or especially "status or name recognition".
_________________________
Estonia L190 #7004
Casio PX 310
Yamaha NP 30

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#908760 - 03/06/02 01:03 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
BrulBruce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/01
Posts: 332
Loc: Long Island
Whew, the last few posts! Wow.

It's as if Derick and Diarmuid are aliases for Larry and Good Will.

It may not yet be over.

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#908761 - 03/06/02 01:06 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
I think the bang for the buck in expensive instruments depends on your playing ability. For your average pianist the bang for the buck is low. For a professional who needs or wants those less tangible advantages the bang for the buck is probably higher.

Ryan

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#908762 - 03/06/02 01:29 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14048
Loc: Louisiana
Sorry, I admitted that I don't know the market for Steinways. That is because A) why buy a Steinway when a CW is built as well, can deliver equivalent sound, and costs half as much , and B) the best Steinway built today has Mason & Hamlin on the fallboard. ;\)



Norbert, if that dosen't jump start this sucker, there ain't a cow in Texas! \:D
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Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#908763 - 03/06/02 01:37 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Stanza Offline
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Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1458
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
Ryan, I fully agree. There is a big difference between those who are: "I have always wanted to play piano and now want to start (or re-start)lessons..."or "my 8 year old daughter really likes piano..." etc. versus "I am in my 3rd year studying piano at the conservatory and..." . One must do a self-evaluation first and then put the information gathered from this board an elsewhere into that context.
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#908764 - 03/06/02 02:29 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
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Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Diarmuid,

I don't want to get into an argument over semantics on this, but when I say something is my opinion, I mean it is my impression, or it is in my estimation. There is no right or wrong.

I did say that I felt your prices were unrealistic, but that was not meant in a negative way. Inherent in any opinion is a judgement. But that judgement can be critical and negative, or merely an expression or statement of how one feels.

My statement about your prices was intended to be akin to the latter.

Derick
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#908765 - 03/06/02 02:58 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Diarmuid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 219
Fair enough. That was my point. Calling something "an opinion" does not preclude the possibility that it was a criticism.

If you feel my prices were unrealistic that's ok, but I didn't mean them terribly seriously and I didn't claim to really know anything about how much pianos cost to manufacture. People seemed reluctant to contribute, so I was just entering into the fun of things with a "lower limit" type of list.

I still think Faziolis are crazily priced though ;\) Lovely pianos (I played seven of them last year) but Ryan, do you know many discriminating pianists who can actually afford one!! (Angela Hewitt and Nikoli Demidenko don't count. I heard they got big discounts ;)).

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#908766 - 03/06/02 03:17 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
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All very well......but I can't drop 'the big'
one without more figures.

A lot more.
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#908767 - 03/06/02 03:18 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
ryan Offline
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Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
No, I don't personally know any descriminating pianists that could afford a Fazioli, or a Bosendorfer 225, or a Yamaha S, or a Steinway D, etc. etc. I would love to upgrade to a high quality grand, but I just can't afford it.

Ryan

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#908768 - 03/06/02 03:55 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Penny Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2943
Loc: San Juan Capistrano, CA
Excuse me for being a butt-in-ski, but the title of this thread is, "What SHOULD a new piano cost?" (emphasis mine) Should is a bvery subjective term, even has an air of morality to it, doesn't it?

From the manufacturers' and dealers' standpoint -- as much as the market will bear -- and maybe thensome!

From a consumers' standpoint -- free! Or darned near close. (Or, to the socialist consumer's point of view -- free, a piano in every pot and to the capitalist's poinit of view -- as high as the market can bear and God bless the people who have earned the money to buy a Fazioli ;\) to the Coffee Room posters!)

A piano should probably wholesale for twice as much as it cost to build it and market it and retail for twice as much as that.

How's that for obtuse!

penny, doubtful that this is how it really works, especially in the case of S&S, Bosendorfer, Bechstein and Fazioli

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#908769 - 03/06/02 05:19 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
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Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Well if we are talking about a Baldwin piano it SHOULD cost enough to cover Karen Hendricks severance BONUS. Thank God Karen can afford a Fazioli. As you can see from below, she certainly earned and deserves it.

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

Baldwins fortunes began unraveling in 1996 under the leadership of CEO Karen Hendricks. She presided over a major exodus of management, a series of costly blunders, including investments in a Brazlian piano plate making operation, and the alienation of the Baldwin dealer network. The companys finances deteriorated rapidly, and she spent most of the past two years selling off assets just to meet basic obligations. As the company racked up losses of over $17 million in the last three years, the Baldwin board of directors were unflagging in their support for her. At the time she announced plans to resign late last year, the board awarded her a $1.3 million severance bonus.

Derick

[ March 06, 2002: Message edited by: Derick ]
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#908770 - 03/06/02 07:17 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
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It is an interesting observation in the piano business that anything can be discussed without punity.Save a few scuffles.

All...except prices. Direct and icecold.

It's like asking your date [after telling her/him your whole life story!]..directly for...... sex!

It's the very moment of 'truth'. And guts.

Any more guts out there to name[your]prices?

Let me show you later....why I asked.

Chances are....you'll be amazed!!

[Nothing sexual...promise!]

[ March 06, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
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#908771 - 03/06/02 08:22 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Jim Lob Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/02
Posts: 115
Loc: Maryland
In the interests of full disclosure, I used to post as "Jim L." My e-mail address changed, and I no longer am able to post as "Jim L." -- hence the new name for the forum.

Many of you know that Rich D. and I raise money for a Maryland charity by helping people to find good deals on pianos and by helping people to sell their pianos. I base the opinions below -- and they are just opinions -- on several assumptions: (1) good prep work (though not extraordinary); (2) reputable dealer. Many other factors play into the calculation, such as whether it is worth extra $ to buy locally, the quality of the prep work, the overhead costs in a particular metropolitan area, and the used piano market in that area.

The prices below are what I would consider in the "fair" ballpark -- that is, the buyer is not getting ripped off, and the seller should be able to stay in business. They are by no means the lowest prices that one can pay for such pianos, and they can be beaten.

Mason Hamlin 5'8": $30k
Mason Hamlin 7': $40k

Steinway B...................$58k (and way too much -- ever see someone try to sell a Steinway that's less than 10 years old? OUCH!)

Schimmel 6': $25k
August Forster 7'2": $33k (and an awesome value at that)
Charles Walter 6'4": $23k (though I still am waiting and wanting to see one that I like (with all due respect to Jolly and Jody);
6'3" Estonia: $20k
7' Bosie Conservatory: $48k

Best values available: high-end European pianos that are less than 25 years old. They are hard to find, but given the general public ignorance about these pianos, they can be awesome deals.

Finally -- and I'm sure that Larry will once again mock this suggestion if he ever reappears, though I have seen a dealership that does it -- dealers would have a much easier time convincing customers of the fairness of the requested price if the dealer disclosed the basis for that price -- wholesale cost of the piano, overhead, salaries, prep, and insurance, profit. A customer at that point should feel that he/she is being treated fairly by the dealer. When dealers do not do this, they risk having themselves thrown in with the legions of slimebucket, high-pressure shops who always promise the lowest price and seldom deliver it.

Finally, if you're in the Boston area, the best benchmark of a "fair" price there is at the Piano Mill, where all of the prices are placed, nonnegotiable, on the pianos. I estimate the markup there is 40-50% over the wholesale cost of the pianos. It may not be the least expensive shop in the world, but the customers should know (at least in my experience) that price-wise they are not being taken to the cleaners.

Jim Lob

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#908772 - 03/06/02 09:23 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Jolly Offline
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It has been my understanding that a dealer has to average 40% above wholesale cost in order to stay in business.

Correct figure??
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#908773 - 03/06/02 10:13 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
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Guys:

I have CONCRETE evidence that several manufacturers [importers] are observing this thread right now with considerable interest.

It is YOUR chance to speak openly,loud and clear what YOU think a 'fair'price should be.
The men in the dark suits reading this are making notes.[ Even if they may NOT follow suit and chances are...they won't anyways]

BUT:

Make your points now! For better or worse.

It's your [our!] chance.

To give them "an earfull" !
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#908774 - 03/06/02 10:40 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Matt G. Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
So, if what Norbert says is really the objective here, then I will offer my simplistic, but evenhanded answer.

A new piano should cost enough money so that the companies that produce the pianos and the people who work for them make enough to live off of, pay for R&D to make their pianos better, pay any shareholders enough that they continue to invest in the company, and produce enough profit that the company has the incentive to continue making pianos.

A new piano should cost enough money so that those organizations responsible for distributing and selling pianos and the people who work for them make enough money to live off, pay their business expenses and make enough profit in the endeavor so as to be an incentive for them to continue distributing and selling pianos.

A new piano should cost as little as possible given the above constraints so that the final sales product is not so grossly inflated in price that there is no incentive for the consumer to purchase that new piano. Yet the price should not be artificially lowered by compromising on the quality of either the materials or labor. The price of the new piano should be an accurate reflection of the costs for the materials, labor and craftsmanship in the manufacturing process along with the musicality and attention paid to fine detail of the finished product.
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#908775 - 03/07/02 12:28 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
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Registered: 01/03/02
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Loc: New York
Excellent Matt G.!!! I, the socialist (haha) completely agree and can't think of a thing to add (for once!).

Derick
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#908776 - 03/07/02 12:32 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
piqué Offline
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Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5483
norbert,
if what you say is true, i do have a message for the manufacturers, and it is not about price. it is about music.

dear manufacturers:
please remember that you are in the music business. music is the reason we are interested in your products. please do not try to take shortcuts that sacrifice the musicality of your instruments in service to the bottom line, or to enhance efficiency, if it will harm the musicality of your instruments.

i am very happy to pay for quality, AND, i know quality when i hear it. hint: quality has nothing to do with marketing or sales spin. it has nothing to do with high or low prices. it has to do with the tone and touch of the piano.

where i think some manufacturers get into trouble is when they try to b.s. people about the caliber of their instruments so that the customer will pay more for less and like it. i do have a manufacturer or two in mind here.

not only are the individual customers hurt when companies do this, but MUSIC is injured. a certain standard of performance and quality is being eroded because of greed and the bottom line.

most of the people who are reading this are not fooled by the b.s. they trust their own ears. and if they don't, they will soon learn how to from the rest of us. \:D

fakers have much to fear.
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#908777 - 03/07/02 01:29 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
T2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/18/01
Posts: 341
Nice post, Pique. I agree wholeheartedly. 'Cept I capitalize.

Pianos are a recession sensitive durable good whose market is not growing much over time, if any. Hit hard by a recession, sales revenues are down, and manufacturers are probably asking themselves questions like: What could we be doing differently?

To think of it from the perspective of a manufacturer: You have high overhead, rising costs and pricing conditions resembling a price-seeker's market, i.e., you don't necessarily know the slope or elasticity of the demand curve you're facing.

In addition, manufacturers must generally use a network of piano dealers to bring products to market. This dealer network has a high degree of variability in quality, and unfavorable impressions created by dealer frequently also make lasting negative impressions on a manufacturer in the minds of consumers.

First, it doesn't sound like piano manufacturing is very profitable business. I think we ought to thank many of them just for hangin' in there and sticking it out.

One word of advice: Maintain standards of quality, both in your dealer networks and in your products. The Internet has the ability to amplify any problem into bigger issue simply by informing thousands of people. These are people that are probably in your target market.

T2 \:\)

[ March 07, 2002: Message edited by: T2 ]

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#908778 - 03/07/02 07:16 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
JBryan Offline
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Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
It is hard to quarrel with the sentiments expressed by Matt and Derrick but the question is who is the final arbiter of these values. In our (capitalist) system it happens to be a disinterested party called the free market and imperfect as it is it works rather well even if some can point out anecdotal cases where gross inequities have occurred. The bottom line (so to speak) is there has to be a disinterested element involved with no axes to grind or hidden interests of their own. Anything else ultimately degenerates into a form of tyranny. Now back to our regularly scheduled piano forum. \:\)
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#908779 - 03/07/02 09:22 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Anonymous
Unregistered


 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:
Guys:

I have CONCRETE evidence that several manufacturers [importers] are observing this thread right now with considerable interest.

It is YOUR chance to speak openly,loud and clear what YOU think a 'fair'price should be.
The men in the dark suits reading this are making notes.[ Even if they may NOT follow suit and chances are...they won't anyways]

BUT:

Make your points now! For better or worse.

It's your [our!] chance.

To give them "an earfull" ![/b]


I have always assumed that the manufacturers probably had members on Boards like this and that they monitored them anyway. Most other industries monitor the better Boards which affect them. I have also always assumed that one the the roles of the dealers on here was to gather marketing information for the manufacturers they represent.

Given the fact that this thread was specifically about price, it obviously was different than what is probably going on regularly here. This thread basically makes us a focus group, which is fine.

I would like to urge the manufacturers to start thinking about expanding their customer base. They need to come out with a sub $5,000 piano, perhaps even a sub $3,000 piano. Not going to be very high quality, of course. Not going to be highly regarded by the more elite in the piano community. But it will make it possible for parents and others who do not have a lot of money to go to the store and buy a piano they can learn on. Hook them on playing, and they will be there for a long time, bying the more expensive pianos as they become more hooked. A good thing for the future of the dealers as well.

They also need to sell them in places other than the typical piano dealers. Most dealers showrooms are intimindating to the average, non-piano playing, uninformed, consumer. No matter what the dealer does, the very fact that he has so many pianos and of such a price makes it intimidating for the person who simply wants a simple instrument to walk in and feel comfortable that they are not being taken for a ride. I would suggest such outlets as Sears, Penny's or even the lower end furniture store chains.

Finally, I would recommend these manufacturers start donating pianos to schools. I would assume low-end ones, and subsidize piano teachers for the kids. I would assume these would be uprights or spinets because of space requirements. But if they want a future generation of people interested in pianos and playing pianos, the more the kids are exposed to the piano, the better chance they have.null[/b]

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#908780 - 03/07/02 10:03 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I'm with George on this one, and think his ideas are valid.

The piano market is shrinking. In large part, this is because there are few options at the low end, entry level, and shopping for a piano can be a very unpleasant experience. Why should manufacturers be surprised to discover that they aren't building up a new market? They are doing virtually nothing that I can see to make the idea of playing and purchasing a piano a pleasant experience.

Where are the outreach programs? The marketing to new audiences? School programs? The "signature" artists who play concerts in affordable venues, subsidized by the manufacturers? (Our Steinway series programs are definitely NOT directed at the mass market, with tickets starting somewhere in the $30 range, and always at evening performances in elegant halls.)

I recognize that it's not the full responsibility of the manufacturers to "fix" this situation. I think lack of funding for school arts programs is deplorable, and also to blame. BUT, the manufacturers could do more and pick up some of the slack. And they could afford it by providing a more affordable entry level piano and increasing their market that way.

Just my 2cents worth (and I swore I'd stay away from piano politics in my postings!)

Nina

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#908781 - 03/07/02 11:27 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Jolly Offline
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Registered: 06/20/01
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Loc: Louisiana
I've already given some of my views on pricing about specific instruments, so I will constrain these comments to pricing levels.

I agree with George about the inexpensive piano. The problem that we on this board have, is when somebody is looking for information about buying 6 year old Suzie her first piano, we immediately (myself included) jump to $6000 verticals like CWs, K50s, U1s, etc. It's nice to have this level of quality for a beginner, but not essential. A decent, musical 2-3k piano is all that is needed.

Another level of piano that inspires competition is the 6k baby grand. Many people buy this size (around 5') only or primarily for furniture. Believe it or not, most can deliver a good looking piano at this price. Most don't play as well as they could. Perhaps upping the prep level at the factory would only have a negligible impact on cost, yet give the dealer a better playing piano to sell.

Next level - the magical 10k grand. 10k, along with the 15k and 20k pricepoints, tends to be the dollar figure mentioned over and over again by piano shoppers. If the manufacturer can deliver a mid-line, playable, musical, 6' grand, suitable for average home use, at the magic 10k number, I think he has a winner, NO MATTER WHERE the piano is made. We on the board tend to be a bit more cognisant of all the brands out there in pianodom. If we took a poll, using every consumer that walked into a piano store for the first time, and asked him to name brands of pianos, how many could he name? Yamaha and Steinway, maybe. So the challenge is A) to build that piano at this pricepoint and B) get your name fixed in the public mind.

Next pricepoint is the 15k grand. This piano appeals to the person who either plays well or plays well enough to appreciate a better grade of piano. Actually, there are some pretty good pianos in this range. Yamaha Cs, Kawai RXs, Petrof, Estonia, and others. People who tend to buy this range of piano are probably more aware of what is available to them and are willing to sacrifice "name brand" for sound.

The 20kish piano. This where things really begin to get good. There are pianos that are available at this pricepoint that will give yeoman musical service for a lifetime. The challenge for the manufacturer is to build a world class instrument for the home and keep that price within the top range of the average to better musician, which I think is around 20k and not too much more. The problem is that there are too many pianos out there with 30k or more pricetags, that are no better than the 20kish piano. I also think at this pricepoint the manufacturer faces a steep upward climb. Yes, a better piano can be produced, but at what price? And how many can be sold at the higher price to justify production? I've often wondered about the buyer's profile of the typical 40-60k piano buyer. Most musicians I know simply cannot afford a 50k piano, yet many are sold. Who buys them?
Just a few of my disjointed thoughts.
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#908782 - 03/07/02 11:34 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Samejame Offline
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Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 808
Loc: NL, Canada
I wonder if the global prices asked for pianos depend on where you are on the planet. Apart from the obvious transportation demographic, would the prices be affected depending on the cost of living and the relative wealth, or lack of it - and thus the ability to afford - prices which are inflated. I say this because last fall I returned to Canada from a trip to Poland (I posted earlier about certain aspects of this trip dealing with 9/11, which is where I was on that fateful date.) I was astounded by the prices of certain established manufacturers. If some of you will recall, I posted the example of a new Feurich grand (208 cm) for about 20K Canadian (39,400 Polish zloty). Now, a Feurich in this neck of the woods (Canada or US) would probably fetch twice that amount. But I wonder if the fact that it was being sold at that price in Poland, where labour rates are cheap, and cost of living relatively high, is a reflection of the local (Polish) shopper's ability to buy. Is this making any sense, and is this truly a demographic, or a figment of my imagination?

Jamie
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#908783 - 03/07/02 12:36 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Larry Offline
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Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
Norbert, if you have distributors reading this thread looking for ideas, I just hope they can remember that there is a reason NASA doesn't ask for space shuttle advice from focus groups of people who like airplanes. ;\) Some of the suggestions I've seen made in this thread, while sincere, are downright frightening.

As a dealer, I cannot comment on prices. But I can talk about the industry. Lately there has been a lot of discussion on various threads about capitalism, socialism, free market trade, price fixing, Evil Corporations, greedy CEOs, etc. Then there has been the discussions of slimy dealers, unfair pricing structures, how much a dealer should make, and a huge focus on what a dealer's profit margins should be. As I address this, bear in mind that most of the time my posts are written to either be entertaining and add some levity, or to seriously address issues where I think I can add to the discussion. I only bite when I've been bitten. This post falls in the category of trying to seriously address the issue, not to "bite" anyone. So don't anyone take any of this personal. Everything is written in a general sense, with no one in particular in mind.

I'm sure those of you who are attorneys are occasionally amused when you hear those of us who aren't trained in the legal system discuss how to handle a legal issue. Those in an engineering career are amused when people who aren't trained in this field talk about building a bridge. So too do those who are businessmen (or women) get amused when people who have never been in business talk about how business should run.

It has been suggested for example that all piano manufacturers should build models of pianos in the 3K range to accomodate those who can't afford their higher quality products. If we follow this train of logic, then Rolls Royce ought to build Geo Metro equivalents. The problem with this logic is it fails to take into consideration the fact that no business can be all things to all people. You focus on one end, the middle, or the other end. If you try to do it all, you do none of them well. There are lots of companies building products in the 3K range already, and they are focusing on that price point. If you want a 3K piano, don't ask companies building pianos in the 50K range to build them, shop where the 3K pianos are.

It was also suggested that manufacturers start selling them in furniture stores, Walmart, Texaco gas stations, anywhere you can find an empty space on the floor to set one. The idea put forth was that this would put more pianos in front of the public, and more people would be able to own pianos. To someone who has spent their life in the business of pianos, this is like an attorney hearing someone suggest that the way to cut down on the clogged court system is to give the litigants clubs and have them settle it outside. Selling pianos in furniture stores was an idea tried back in the 50's and 60's, maybe even before that. What manufacturers found was that they sold quite a few pianos initially as the furniture stores bought 3 or 4 pianos each. Then they spent the next 20 years trying to clean the market up of all the crappy out of tune unserviced pianos sitting in furniture showrooms instead of selling more pianos. There was practically no sell-through. Walmart has already tried to sell pianos. Twice. They failed miserably. Why? Because while it is nice to theorize about things one thinks might work, reality cuts with a sharp edge. People will not buy pianos the way many of you think. You are basing your idea of how people buy pianos on how *you* buy them. The vast majority of people require someone to teach them, to hold their hand, and ultimately, to nudge them into it. Pianos will not sell by simply lining them up in a row in Walmart and putting price tags on them.

Slimy dealer tactics abound, that's for sure. But there's very little discussion about slimy consumer tactics. The idea that you are entitled to have piano prices set at across the board prices simply doesn't factor in what keeps business in motion. And if you don't have a system that keeps business in motion, it soon stops. When it stops it doesn't matter how prices are determined, because there's nothing being sold.

No one so far has tried to determine how much it costs the manufacturer to build the piano and demand that they show you what their costs are so you know how much they are making. They are marking their product up too, you know. Maybe a good way to determine the price would be instead of requiring businessmen to show you their guts on the floor would be to simply take the socialist position to its ultimate - and require each customer to provide their financial records so as to determine what they are capable of paying, and then making you pay based on a percentage of what you are worth. Those of you who have more than others must pay more to cover the losses incurred from selling them to people who have less. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" and all that.

For the record, lest anyone think I'm trying to defend a practice of gouging customers, I have a one price non negotiating price structure - I give my customers a signed contract which says even after they've bought a piano if they should find it somewhere else for less I will refund the difference. Having said that, you (the general, nonspecific "you") are trying to reinvent the wheel. No matter what is being sold, how much the product costs is not the public's business. How much Wendy's pays for the syrup in a cup of coke is none of our business. The system works when you learn how much the same sized coke sells for at McDonalds, and you make a decision who to buy the coke from based on what you learned. It is not McDonald's responsibility to prove to you how much they made on the coke, or whether or not they earned it. They will learn soon enough when they begin to lose business because they are charging too much. And they might not lose any business even with a higher priced coke, once the whole meal is taken into consideration. That is how business has to work. Trying to say pianos are somehow different just doesn't address reality.

So having written this tome (and I'm holding back.....) I would like to add my answer to the question of how much a piano should cost. Here it is:

Whatever it happens to come to once a consumer's research and a dealer's goals have come face to face, and both parties have agreed on a number that both are satisfied with[/b].

If a dealer is selling things so cheaply that he can't make a profit, he shouldn't whine to someone else. If a dealer is trying to gouge people he shouldn't whine to anyone else when he finds he has no customers. And if a consumer doesn't do their due diligence before they write their check, they shouldn't whine about the system and claim they were cheated. And don't try to claim you can't do your due diligence for lack of available information either. The information you need to make an informed decision on price is all over the place.
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#908784 - 03/07/02 01:11 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Stanza Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1458
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
Great post by Jolly, as usual.
There is no need for piano manufactures to re-invent the wheel. Being high ticket mechanical items, many parallels have already been drawn between pianos and automobiles. Learn from the automakers!
GM makes Chevys to Cadillacs. They build to order and make deals on previous years production. My suggestions:

1) Have 3 or 4 lines of pianos with different names, and possibly different size ranges. Have the "guts" be of good quality across the line, but maybe use a better cabinet or other better features in the higher end line. Maybe have a "Parlor" line 5' to 5'8" a "Performance" line 5''8" to 6'10 and a "Concert" line 7'and up.
Why build a high end 5 foot grand, or a low end 9 foot one?

2) Maybe the Chinese are going in this direction, because the piano hasn't evolved in many years. Cars certainly have. Maybe it is time for some R&D and some risk taking.
There may be a definite market nitch for a piano that was made from newer materials or at least a hybrid...assuming good sound and performance. The use of teflon, nylon, titanium, graphite, and polyester may not only replace, but improve sound and performance while making production cheaper.


3)Factory owned stores (sorry). Order your piano based on what you like in the showroom. It gets delivered to your home from the factory. Local tuners under contract come to prep it. If you don't like it they swap it or take it back guaranteed. This cuts out the middleman somewhat and the factory doesn't have to build on spec. so you can get a better deal yet.

4)No haggle pricing (like Saturn).Less time shopping around. This would also lead to quicker sales.

Just some thoughts
;\)
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#908785 - 03/07/02 01:28 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Steve Miller Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 3290
Loc: Yorba Linda, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:


the way to cut down on the clogged court system is to give the litigants clubs and have them settle it outside.
[/b]

What a wonmderful idea! ;\)

Great post, Larry.
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#908786 - 03/07/02 01:29 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
fmelliott Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/01
Posts: 894
Loc: Virginia
Here is my 2 cents for Norbert. At the moment, I can't afford a really good piano. I hope to some day. Still, it will probably never be one of the fine European ones because of their prices. Bosendorfer has done very nicely in starting a Conservatory series. I would love to see something of theirs in the $30,000 range. I might put the kids up for sale if they ever did that. If the great European companies want our business in a BIG way, they will have to sell something more of us can afford. Boy I hope they can. Meanwhile, Weber has a good 6 foot grand for an unbelieavable $10,000 and Estonia and Petrof are right in there with prices that work for us and pianos that can make you drool.

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#908787 - 03/07/02 01:38 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Penny Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2943
Loc: San Juan Capistrano, CA
George wrote:
 Quote:
I would suggest such outlets as Sears, Penny's or even the lower end furniture store chains.


Uh, that would be JC Penney. The Schulze Pollmann is not for sale!!! :p

penny

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#908788 - 03/07/02 02:12 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Jolly Offline
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Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14048
Loc: Louisiana
To reply to a few of Larry's thoughts:

I think the analogy of GM and their varying lines is the basis of the 2-3k piano comment. As a consumer, I understand that I can't have a 3k Bosendorfer. But maybe all that expertise at Bosie can have a division that builds, or perhaps contracts with an Asian company that can build a 3k piano, based on some of Bosi's R&D. Maybe they could name the line the Victor Borge. You would have Borge pianos starting at 2k and going up to the 6' Borge model that sells for 10k. Then maybe you have a mid-line, the Lederhosen, that encompasses Petrof-quality pianos, starting at 6k for verticals and 12k for small grands, going up to the low 20k range. And then you have Bosendorfer. This type of stratification is not reinventing the wheel, it has been done many times by different companies.

Wouldn't it be simpler for the dealer to use one company, where he could combine different grades of pianos in to a single order, thus lowering his overall cost due to volume purchasing? I assume that this type of pricing already exists for some manufacturers.

On a completely different tack, I'll take a shot at what a piano costs the factory, the dealer and the consumer (and I'll most likely be wrong). Since this is Norbert's question, the piano I will pick is a 5'9" Bergmann, a piano he carries.

I think the factory has about $1500 in the piano, sells it to Norbert for around $4500. He puts probably another $800 in the piano between prep, interest, building, delivery and advertising costs. Total cost around $5300. he lists the piano at 10.6k, but after bargaining, will probably sell the piano for 8k to 8.5k. Total profit for the company - 3k/unit. Total profit for Norbie - about $2700 - ASSUMING nothing bad goes wrong after the piano is delivered and he winds up eating profit to keep the customer happy.


OK guys, how close am I? ;\)
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#908789 - 03/07/02 02:17 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
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And the manufacturers here [listening in].....get a lot of 'free market research'.

Wendy and MacDonalds paid big bucks...for theirs![Nasa,by the way, doesn't need to....]

Who ever said that the Piano Forum....
...is good for nothing?

Or that people here expressing their humble opinions....don't count at all!

You'd be surprised!

I was.
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#908790 - 03/07/02 02:42 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Jim Lob Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/02
Posts: 115
Loc: Maryland
I like Larry. Unfortunately, I disagree with him over the particular issue of dealers disclosing their costs.

Buying a piano is not like buying a Coke, or even a car, because there are many opportunities in most areas to buy that car or Coke from different merchants. It is thus easy to comparison shop, and the buyer weighs issues such as convenience, reputation (though not with a Coke) and price.

On the other hand, piano manufacturers generally limit their distriubtion to one dealer in a given area and forbid other dealers from quoting over the phone. Thus, to suggest that it is easy to become fully informed on piano pricing simply is untrue; rather, it requires enormous expenditures of time and effort simply because manufacturers and dealers generally hide comparative pricing information to the extent possible. My suggestion that dealers disclose their cost to the consumer is a reaction to this bizarre marketing structure; it would not be necessary if the marketing system was the same as with most mass-produced goods.

By way of a test of this theory, how many on this forum have shopped for either the 6' Schimmel grand or the 51" Schimmel upright? What prices have you been quoted on the least expensive finish for these pianos? Outside of this forum, did you have reasonably available access to pricing information from multiple dealers? How?

Jim Lob/Jim L.

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#908791 - 03/07/02 03:08 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Cork Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 513
Loc: Dallas, TX
Rather than get into the central issues of this debate, I think I'll just comment on one tangent.

Pianos differ from cars in a number of ways, but one major difference is that the car made today is demonstrably better than the one made ten years ago or twenty years ago. Pianos, on the other hand, have stagnated for a century.

Cork

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#908792 - 03/07/02 03:19 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Larry Offline
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Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
 Quote:
Originally posted by Stanza:


3)Factory owned stores (sorry). Order your piano based on what you like in the showroom.[/b]



Why does it matter if the store is a factory owned store or one owned by a small businessman? The costs are going to be the same. The power company doesn't give the manufacturer a discount on power, etc. Employees still want to be paid. Rent is rent. If anything, the burden of managing a far flung fleet of thousands of factory owned stores would end up causing their overhead to be higher than the independent dealer's overhead.

I am just amazed at how many ways you guys seem determined to eliminate the dealer.
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#908793 - 03/07/02 03:38 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
T2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/18/01
Posts: 341
I wouldn't worry too much about disclosing cost information. In my industry, cost-of-gross-shipment (COGS) is about 8-10% of list price. List price gets discounted anywhere from 20 to 50 percent before the deal is done on the street, and nobody discloses this information. They probably never will. This behavior doesn't hurt sales because customers are motivated by price vs. perceived value rather than notions of socio-economic justice. (And the Death-to-the-Fascist-Insect-that-Sucks-the-Life-Blood-of-the-People crowd is a negligible segment of the grand piano buyer's market.)

I've seen behavior by some of the piano manufacturers that seems to be based on protecting the basic structure of dealer territories. I understand that piano manufacturers must have their own dealer network in order to leverage sales. Fine. But there doesn't seem to be a lot of accountability when those dealers provide little or no value.

What does a manufacturer do about this? I don't know. I'll tell you what I'll do as a consumer. I'll pay a premium to work with a good dealer and, given the relatively low cost of transportation and communications, I think it makes sense to plan my piano buying strategy based on a list of good, honest, responsive dealers--I know several--regardless of their location within North America.

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#908794 - 03/07/02 03:44 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Larry,

You said:

 Quote:
I am just amazed at how many ways you guys seem determined to eliminate the dealer.


I've often wanted to say:

 Quote:
I am just amazed at how many ways you guys seem determined to defend the indefensible.


It's all based on the "me first" philosophy.

Welcome to the club of the 'misunderstoods'.

Derick
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#908795 - 03/07/02 03:58 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
I've often wanted to say:


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I am just amazed at how many ways you guys seem determined to defend the indefensible.


There's nothing indefensible about the wisdom of selling your products through a dealer network, Derick. It's a system that evolved through trial and error, and it works. What is indefensible is to focus on the bad apples and then paint the entire system as bad. It is short sighted on your part when you do it, and leaves as your only solution being to toss the baby out with the bath water.

We had a Baldwin factory store here in Atlanta. They sold factory seconds, rejects that had been returned by independent dealers because they were defective, repaired, and then run through the factory stores. Their prices were high, the sales pressure was enormous, and the slime factor was one of the worst in town. There's your reality....defend that one.

Besides, aren't you the one who keeps talking about the evils of big corporations? Are you saying that you consider the solution to the problem of selling pianos is to crush the little guy and give it all to the big corporations so they can become bigger? I thought big corporations didn't care about the little guys like consumers? Just getting you to think - you can't have it both ways you know.

[ March 07, 2002: Message edited by: Larry ]
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#908796 - 03/07/02 04:15 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Larry,

I guess I am going to have to kick you out of the club!

Several times I've heard people "repeat" things I supposedly have said. Now a new one surfaces..

Yes, I'm focusing on the bad apples. The biggest, most powerful, bad apples. The ones that most affect our daily lives. I've said repeatedly that the system needs a few tweaks, patches, revisions, whatever you like to call it. I never said to throw it out and start over.

I've carefully read all of your posts and have come to understand why and where you are coming from. Had you done the same with mine, you would have known that I never painted the entire system as evil or suggested throwing it out and starting over.

It's ok if you disagree with me, but please don't put words in my mouth. \:\(

Derick
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#908797 - 03/07/02 04:26 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Stanza Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1458
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
To the dealers. Take no offense, I was just experimenting at being in the corporate boardroom (can't do any worse than Enron).
But...
Your company rents space at a mall, between the Footlocker and Radio Shack, staffed it with one manager and other low cost help like part timers/retirees(who play some piano would help)like Wal Mart.

Bring in the 5 or 6 pianos that you make. They stay there! Have a local tech keep the pianos in good shape and go to the home for prep. Hang the one and only price on them.

Let the instrument sell itself!

The help writes up orders for delivery from the factory. The company also offers financing and occasional specials like discounts, rebates, 0% down, no interest for on year (again, like autos).

The company makes money on the piano, accessories, financing, and long term service contracts for tuning.

I don't know why it wouldn't work...as long as the prices are fair and the product is good.
_________________________
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#908798 - 03/07/02 04:46 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:

It's ok if you disagree with me, but please don't put words in my mouth. \:\(
[/b]



And what words would those be, Derick?
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#908799 - 03/07/02 04:48 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
These words Larry:

 Quote:
I never painted the entire system as evil or suggested throwing it out and starting over.


Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#908800 - 03/07/02 04:54 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
 Quote:
Originally posted by Stanza:


I don't know why it wouldn't work...as long as the prices are fair and the product is good.[/b]



Of course you don't. That's part of my point. But those of us who do this every day can tell you exactly why it won't work. It's because no matter how it is tried, pianos will not sell themselves.

And to Derick: I was using the word "you" in the general sense, not as in "you" specifically. But as they say.....it's the bit dog that barks....... ;\)

[ March 07, 2002: Message edited by: Larry ]
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#908801 - 03/07/02 04:57 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
Derick,

What exactly would be your suggested changes, tweaks, patches, or revisions? I would really like to hear what inputs you would apply to this complicated system over here that would not result in some unforeseen and probably worse output over there (law of unintended consequences would definitely apply here).

I have heard a lot from you on the evils of our system but you seem not to have any suggestions to improve it other than generalizations like "uniform pricing" and "fair amount of profit". How exactly would you make that happen.

If you think I am advocating that we do nothing well, as long as the "do nothing" alternative seems to be the only one on the table, then that is exactly what I would choose.

I do not have enough hubris to believe that I can fine tune a system that has evolved over thousands of years and not be sure that I am not doing more harm than good so I am asking you what is your fix.
_________________________
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#908802 - 03/07/02 05:17 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Jbryan,

Apparently you have not kept up.

The question I have asked over and over is "Is it fair for a CEO to rake in millions of dollars in bonuses in a year when s/he has layed off thousands of workers?"

The job cuts and benefit cuts ONLY happen in the US. Only US employees are affected. BUT, the CEO's and executives in the AMERICAN company are somehow immune. Keep in mind, I am not talking about EVERY CEO and am primarily talking about CEO's of major US corporations.

My solution? Make CEO's/executives feel some of the effects of their "painful decisions" in the form of NOT taking million dollar bonuses when they don't perform. How's that for starters? Too extreme? Or how about not providing the executives with GUARANTEED returns of 10% on their 401(k)s while the rest of us poor slobs have to worry about the fluctuations of the market? Too radical? How about not giving a 1.3 million dollar BONUS to a CEO who bankrupts a company? Whoa, now I've probably crossed the line with that one.

Shall I go on. Have I destroyed your conception of the perfect world we live in? Or are you already thinking of ways to twist my words or defend the indefensible or just not address any of it?

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#908803 - 03/07/02 05:26 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Jon J. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/17/02
Posts: 17
Loc: Michigan
Here goes Norbert. . .

(Great posts so far everyone!)

I only want quality in materials, workmanship and construction (if any of these are comprimised, it is my opinion that it shouldn't be made at all). I want to bang the heck out of this piano for 50 years and not have any mechanical/structural failures (typical service not withstanding).

I only demand honesty from the dealer as I will only conduct business with them in a fair and honest manner.

My opinion: Don't build uprights under 42"; grands under 66" - "sound is comprimised". (generalization I know)

I would be willing and satisfied to pay:

$2,000 to $5,000 for any upright.

$5,000 to $10,000 for any grand. . .

that meets these "requirements".

How low can you go???? ;\)

Where's the bomb man?

Jon

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#908804 - 03/07/02 05:27 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
Once again, HOW WOULD YOU MAKE THAT HAPPEN!

No need to patronize me with remarks about a perfect world either. I don't mind having a spirited discussion but I don't believe you address the points I made with snide comments about my view of the world.

Try again and tell me what forces would be brought to bear in order to make these changes and be nice. \:\)
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#908805 - 03/07/02 05:54 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Jbryan,

Sorry for getting angry with you before.

I would make it happen is thru tax penalities and enacting various laws. This is not to tell companies how much they can/cannot pay their executives, but to prevent abuses and protect American jobs.

For example, when a company shuts down a plant in the US and moves it to some other country where the cost of doing business is cheaper, executives should not benefit. Some shareholders may like this as it boosts the bottom line, but the fact is it is destroying the US. These unemployed workers become a burden we must all pay for. Keep in mind that when the bottom-line goes up, the executives reap the benefits. I believe a company should be penalized should it make such a move to prevent the executives from being rewarded. This is NOT a healthy way to boost the bottom-line from the perspective of the US as a whole.

Next, executives should not be immune to the pain they inflict on everyone else. When they cut pensions (which boost the bottom line and raises their bonuses), their pensions should also be cut. However, there is a two-tier system in place in the US at some major corporations. There is the "employee compensation package" and the "executive compensation package". The former is loaded with risk, contains no guarantees, and can be eliminated at any time. The latter contains no risk, has many guarantees and has, to the best of my knowledge, never been eliminated.

There are a lot more things but I don't have time to address them all. But you get the idea. All I'm interested in doing is pointing out the inequity where it exists and making people aware. I'm not saying EVERY corporation is bad, or EVERY CEO is bad, I'm giving specific examples of those who engage in activities that are not only wrong, but come at the expense of others.

Derick
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#908806 - 03/07/02 05:55 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Jolly Offline
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Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14048
Loc: Louisiana
Fellow pianophiles,

This is a conversation about how much should a piano cost. Norbert has asked for concrete figures and recieved fairly few opinions containing numbers.

Now as much as we all like to beat the dead horse topic of CEO pay and the inner workings of the piano business (and tenderized horsemeat ain't bad if ya know how to cook it! ;)), let us stick to the business at hand.

What should a new piano cost?

Now if you want to base your numbers on a factory direct option, state that and do so. If you want to use the current business model, feel free. If you have a hybrid business idea, state your idea.

But puh-leez, before we go picking dandelions again, give our esteemed Canadian dealer your opinion - sizes and dollar figures, please!
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#908807 - 03/07/02 06:04 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
JBryan,

Jolly is right. Let's move this to the Coffee Room if you care to discuss any further.

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#908808 - 03/07/02 06:20 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
This is a tough question. I was not going to touch it because there are so many factors that determine what a manufacturer can sell a piano for. But decided to take a stab in the dark at what prices I would like to see, hopefully without being too unreasonable.

High quality professional instruments in plain ebony with no special finish work. (i.e. Larry Fine's 1st tier instruments with Sauter thrown in, which I have long thought belongs in this group):

6' - $30k-ish
7' - $40k-ish
9' - $55k-ish

Art cases and special finishes would naturally be higher. Also note, I don't remember where Fine ranks the 6' and 7' Baldwins, but I would not put either them in this category. I have been very disappointed with the ones I have played over the past couple of years.

2nd tier instruments (Serious student grade):
6' - $20k ~ $25k
7' - $30k ~ $35k
9' - $45k ~ $50k

3rd tier instruments (Consumer grade?)
6' - $10k ~ $15k
7' - $15k ~ $25k
9' - $30k ~ $40k

I won't try to grade lesser pianos. They seem to be fighting it out amongst themselves quite well.

These prices are wishful thinking now, but wouldn't have been 10 years ago...

Ryan

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#908809 - 03/07/02 06:34 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
T2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/18/01
Posts: 341
 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:
What,do you think SHOULD a new piano cost? [/b]


Norbert, what should it cost? Free, of course...Komrade! I am better able to comment on what I might be willing to pay, so I'll stick to that. I would add a caveat that this applies only if the piano is a very good instrument prepped nicely.

Group A: Personal favorites

Bluthner: $48k ($58 for the 7'8")
Steinway B, Hamburg: $48k ($58 for Hamburg C)
Bosendorfer: $48k
Fazioli: $48k

Group B: Very nice

Grotrian-Steinweg: $40k
M&H BB: $38k
Steinway B, New York: $38k
Steingraeber: $38k

Group C: Beats a sharp stick in the eye

Schimmel: $25-30k (sub-optimal tonal palette)
August Forster: $25-30k

Group D: Little or no interest

Anything under 6'8"
Mason Hamlin 5'8": No interest (wrong size)
Yamaha C3,C5,C7: No interest, any price
Kawai: No interest, any price

The following I can't place:
Ibach: Haven't played a well-prepped one
Sauter: Haven't played a well-prepped one
Bechstein: Haven't played a well-prepped one
Estonia 6'3: Haven't played a well-prepped one
Petrof 6'3: Haven't played a well-prepped one

Regards,

T2

[/URL][/QB][/QUOTE]

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#908810 - 03/07/02 06:39 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
Derick,

This does belong in the Coffee Room. We can spare these good people another fresh serving of horse meat. I am intrigued by some of your suggestions but I will think about this some more and I will address them later in the other forum. Right now this is cutting into my piano playing time so I gotta go. \:D
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#908811 - 03/07/02 07:58 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
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Registered: 07/03/01
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Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Thanks....Jolly!

...FACTS and FIGURES,folks....and in the end..... you shall be REWARDED!

...talk and more talk [though very interesting!]...you won't take the girl home!
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#908812 - 03/07/02 11:19 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
Hmmm, what on earth could Norbert mean by "taking home the girl"? Ohhh! I know...Norbert is giving away...FREE PIANOS!!!

Now that's a price anyone can live with (except maybe Norbert). :p :p :p :p
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#908813 - 03/08/02 06:12 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Wags Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/01
Posts: 26
I'll throw my two cents in on the 6 to 7 foot size grands. I don't have room for anything bigger and I wouldn't buy anything smaller.

If the dealers would cut back on their overhead by having smaller stores with lower inventory and prep those pianos well, I think they could make a decent profit charging the following prices.

High end European pianos sold in the North America should run 35K-45K. You could keep that special price for those that want to say they paid 75K.

High end American grands from M&H and S&S sold in NA should run 27K-36K.

Second tier pianos from any country sold in NA should run 18K-28K.

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#908814 - 03/08/02 07:50 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
BruceD Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17829
Loc: Victoria, BC
Many of us would-be pianists and piano lovers dreaming of the ideal piano we may never be able to afford and not having much practical experience with the complexities of modern manufacturing and marketing, really have no realistic idea how much a piano should cost. I therefore wonder why, Norbert, you keep baiting us and egging us on to continue to respond to this question, having us give responses that in many ways are entirely unrealistic.

Please, Norbert, what's the point? And, "taking home the girl..."? I don't have to say what I think a piano would cost to show that I'm stupid! I do that every day in so many other ways! Duh...

Regards,

[ March 08, 2002: Message edited by: BruceD ]
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BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#908815 - 03/08/02 08:21 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
lb Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 1731
Loc: Indiana
Norbert

Your question was,
"Since everybody here seems to talk so much about price...what,do you think SHOULD a new piano cost? Let's assume the cost of making any would be the SAME for each model!"

If every one cost the same to make, then the price should be the same on each model. What should that price be?

If someone here is buying a piano, they search here, e-bay, and many other venues to find the lowest price on the model they are looking for. They will then take this price to their local dealer and stick it under his nose, and say match this.

If the same person is selling a piano, the system is reversed. They search the same venues to find the highest price for their model, and use that for the benchmark.

This is human nature(GREED)and is the way the system works.

IMHO I think that the dealer price for your hypothetical piano should be as much as he can possibly get. He owns it and he has the right to ask as much as he wants. The customer can either take it or leave it.

lb \:\)

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#908816 - 03/08/02 08:34 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
piqué Offline
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Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5483
based on how ib has highlighted the question, i'm going to guess that it costs a manufacturer $10,000 to $15,000 to make a really fine hand-worked instrument that has god in the details.

so the cost to the dealer would be in the neighborhood of $15,000 to $20,000, and therefore, based on the usual customary markup in this world, the asking price will be $30,000 to $40,000.

that means that customers who are good at negotiating will pay anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000.

so, i'm going to give as my average street price for a finely made instrument: $25,000.

and i don't think that is too far off from reality, given the scope of fine pianos out there and their prices.
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#908817 - 03/08/02 10:16 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
fmelliott Offline
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Registered: 11/23/01
Posts: 894
Loc: Virginia
I was just in the process of formulating another response for the curious at the piano manufacting plant and Pique came in and absolutely nailed the proposition down. If you triple the cost of Korean labor and triple the prep costs they pay, maybe four times considering my Young Chang's weirdnesses, you should have it.

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#908818 - 03/08/02 01:27 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
jodi Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 6959
Loc: The Evergreen State (WA)
Remind me again - why are we doing this? I don't think you can answer this question with any more than a ballpark figure - like Ryan did. But honestly, I like Larry and lbs answers the best. Looking for a piano is a lot like looking for a house. You can estimate a range based on quality, but you can't pinpoint the figure. In the end, the price is what the seller and the buyer can each live with. There are a lot of factors that go into that price, and it isn't going to be the same across the board. It might not even be the same from day to day. It depends on location, overhead, service, how much the seller needs the money, how much the buyer wants what the seller is selling. And I, for one, don't have any problem with that. Jodi

And one other thing, a huge difference in price based on size of the piano doesn't make a lot of sense to me either - it must take close to the same amount of labor to put a 5'8" piano together as is does to put a 7 foot piano together?

[ March 08, 2002: Message edited by: jodi ]

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#908819 - 03/08/02 07:17 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
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Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Getting ready to present...'the bill', guys!

Remember...it's an all 'FIGURES game', here!

[Some of] you stated what they think is a
"fair" price for a new piano. Approximately.

Others didn't.

Hopefully they won't complain....later.

When they try to get one....THEMSELVES!!

Thanks to all. Please wait.

Some CEO's gonna have to tighten their belt!

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com
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#908820 - 03/08/02 07:59 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
Furthering JBryan's comments, I recommend three excellent books:

1. "Economics in One Lesson," by Henry Hazlitt. A misleadingly titled book that tells you almost everything you ever need to know about economics, in plainspoken language. Technical concepts explained simply, but not condescendingly, in a style so readable that it received great praise from noted non-economist and author H.L. Mencken.

2. "Eat the Rich," by P.J. O'Rourke. Equally misleadingly titled, it offers real-world case studies of the concepts found in Hazlitt's book, and presented with the wit and humor for which O'Rourke is so well known.

3. "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank," by Thad Carhart. Because after the first two books, you'll be looking for something different, and well...this is the Piano Forum, isn't it? \:D

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#908821 - 03/09/02 12:44 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
JBryan Offline
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Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:
Since everybody here seems to talk so much about price...what,do you think SHOULD a new piano cost?

Let's assume the cost of making any would be the SAME for each model!

Approximately......your guesses,please!
[no unrealistic wish list,folks!]


Mason Hamlin 5'8" or 6'8"....?

Steinway B...................?

Yamaha C3,C5,C7........... .?
Kawai [same sizes]...........?

'German made' 6' or 7'.......?
[include S.P.etc]

Estonia 6'3...................?

Petrof 6'3...................?

Others.........................?

In other words....what's FAIR???

And WHY??

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com [/b]


I think I will address the actual topic of this thread now. I think I owe as much since I have already dispensed enough horse meat and other horse products so here goes.

First, "What SHOULD a new piano cost" is followed by "Let's assume the cost of making any would be the SAME for each model!" I am having some difficulty with that in light of the final premise "In other words....what's FAIR???" I may not understand Norbert's question but he appears to be saying "assume that any model costs the same to produce so what is a fair price". Actually, a fair price for any item may have little or nothing to do with its cost of production. Strictly speaking, the price is determined by how many are in supply vs. how many are wanted. If I have the ony 5'4" Pearl River in existence and everybody wants one well I can pretty much name my price. That is an extreme example but it illustrates just how "what is fair" may not follow any formula involving production costs, marketing strategies, or CEO compensation. It is supply and demand. Occasionally we will encounter a real bargain and, for the short term, it will go into short supply (e.g. Estonia) but either the supply will increase (perhaps resulting in a drop in quality and subsequent drop in demand) or the price will increase and the demand will naturally fall off. "Guessing" at the list of pianos supplied by Norbert is irrelevant to the central question of "what is a fair price". And, for the reasons I have outlined, the cost of production is irrelevant as well. So Norbert, I have given you what a fair price should be and have told you why without giving you a single number and I maintain that specific numbers are meaningless. That is my answer wit a whole lot more wind and a whole lot less horse..er...products.
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#908822 - 03/09/02 02:07 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
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Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
The exercise here has a SPECIFIC purpose and result. There is no argument with any particular thoughts or input by anyone.

Giving 'real numbers' is difficult for everybody. Still, in the end, numbers are the very concrete factors by which our whole economy moves. Not 'high' or 'low', 'fair' or 'unfair'...but REAL,ACTUAL NUMBERS! Actual 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10's. THIS IS.... what our whole economy is...at least in the end...simply based upon!

The people who have approached me to ask the question here perhaps know more about this market than most of us together.

They all know the buts,ifs,coulds,woulds and shoulds inherent in all economic matters.

What they really DON'T KNOW is what a mixed but informed audience like this relates to EXACT and ACTUAL pricing of a given product in the market place vis-a-vis its inherent PERCEPTION of its supposed economic value or "worthiness".

[And 'sales figures', unfortunately don't tell the whole story here!]

"PERCEPTION" to equal "WORTHINESS"!!

Talking here about the most important 'unknown economic variable' in any industry... just ask ANY performing artist!!

When asked for figures....few of us feel comfortable to cough up facts. And this does not limit itself only to anatomical descriptions.....sigh..sigh

It's like asking "how long do YOU actually think you're gonna live??"

Everybody's answer would be : L O N G ..but few of us would DARE to give a specific number!!

But despite our best wishes,philosophies, beliefs and speeches.. in the end...it really
is 'only'...a specific NUMBER... of years.

So, HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK SHOULD A GIVEN PIANO COST? is certainly not easy but also not impossible to answer.

UNLESS we all simply agree...that the given price level and its given fluctuations within
the existing parameters of our present economic system is already completely 'fair' and 'acceptable' as is.

We certainly would make a lot of the grey-haired gents in dark suits eagerly watching this thread more than happy.

And I hate it to say...but most of us....

..knowingly or unknowingly.....ALREADY HAVE!!

[ March 09, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
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#908823 - 03/09/02 09:50 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Anonymous
Unregistered


 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:

UNLESS we all simply agree...that the given price level and its given fluctuations within
the existing parameters of our present economic system is already completely 'fair' and 'acceptable' as is.

[ March 09, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ][/b]


Norbert

I think what you have seen here is that most of us have a pretty good grasp of how pricing of a product works. We realize it is not just about manufacturing costs, but there are many other costs involved as well. While many know what has to be involved in setting a price, few know what the numbers of those costs are. Thus, it becomes impossible to give an exact number without simply guessing or without having done some research to find the mean, median, mode etc of what the price is for all similar pianos are selling for.

I suspect most of us would argue the price of a piano should be 'fair." Fair to those who manufacture, market and sell the piano and fair to the consumer. Fairness includes an adequate profit for those providing the piano and fair means giving the consumer a product that is worth the consumer's expenditure.

There is no actual number people like us can really give because there is no way we can know all of the variables off the top of our head. But, when shopping for a specific product, we are all pretty good at figuring out if the price asked is in the "fairness" range.

Now, people who are providing the product may see this as giving them the ability to go to the high end of whatever a price range may be and perhaps exceed it, and then put together a marketing campaign to make people think they received a fair price. Don't think the majority of consumers of such things as fine pianos are stupid. Ignorant when they start shopping, perhaps, but not stupid.

Exceeding the fairness standard is possible, but will only last for so long. First, competition will have other manufacturers undercutting this price and explaining why their piano is just as good as the higher priced one. If this information is form a credible company, consumers listen to this. Secondly, the moment a company gets a reputation for overpricing or for treating customers outside the bound of fairness (bad service, for example), word spreads quickly and any gains that manufacturer made will be lost and will only be regained, if ever, after a lot of work and after spending a lot of money. Even then, their reputation may be so sullied, that they will never recover.

Far better to ask, I think, what is the most someone would/could pay for a specific piano with specific specifications? This then would provide the upper limit that a person is mentally and financially capable of agreeing to, fairness or not. There comes a point in economics where something is priced out of reach for too many people and the market dissolves except for those who need not worry about price.

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#908824 - 03/09/02 10:45 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Dwain Lee Offline
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Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
Well, the way Norbert framed the question (they all cost the same to produce) makes giving an answer difficult. I've often talked about the other variables of location, labor, etc. that make setting a uniform "fair" price all but impossible. But even temporarily removing those variables, for the sake of this thread, leaves the basic question that Norbert has posed.

But I'm not so sure that Norbert isn't playing a game the Forum members. Whether the "suits" are reading this or not, I think it's a very telling exercise: even the piano-savvy members here can't agree on what is a "fair" price for certain pianos, but then many of us turn around and fault the industry (manufacturers and dealers) for not offering a product at a uniformly agreed upon "fair price" that we can't even set the points for the industry to try to hit. I think Norbert is proving a point, and a very good one, at that.

The only specific comment regarding price is that I think the Walter grand is fairly priced if sold between $18,500 and 20,000. As I understand, that's generally the range they actually sell in, so the reason that one is not sitting in my living room right now has nothing to do with dealers asking too much for it.

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#908825 - 03/09/02 11:04 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
JBryan Offline
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Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
"Fairness" or "what is fair" is an elusive and very subjective concept. It is actually a diversion from the reality of what a price should be. The points I outlined above (and maybe not too clearly) are econ 101 and only "fair" in the sense that it is the way it always is consistently. Cost of production has an impact on price but only partially. Marketing may generate more demand (at an added cost) but may not. If I have a warehouse full of pianos that nobody wants, I may have to sell them at below what it cost to produce them just to avoid the ongoing cost of warehousing them. If I have a piano that is in great demand, the price I ask for it may be well above what it cost to produce and it is still "fair". I still say there is only one answer for what this entire list of pianos should cost. Whatever the market will bear.
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#908826 - 03/09/02 12:02 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Diarmuid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 219
Come on everyone! We all seem terrified of looking stupid here. Norbert has asked us to give figures. I gave mine (and got chuckled at by the enormously charming Derick). Just stick your necks out a bit more. It's only an internet forum. Have a go.

And as a very demanding consumer, I stick by all my prices. Especially relating to the higher end of the market :p

[ March 09, 2002: Message edited by: Diarmuid ]

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#908827 - 03/09/02 03:31 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
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Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Very well now...let's see...if you were to buy X brand piano, the ones I outlined at the beginning of the thread, and be asked by the dealer..."Mr customer,if you like to haggle a little......
[ and most people DO by the way!] ...then what do you really think to be a 'FAIR' price for this piano here??"

[Notwithstanding the fact that most of us wouldn't even pay a 'FAIR' price if they could get away with even less!!]

Some of us are good 'hagglers'..others.... have missed a career as an economics professor, perhaps at Harvard university.

[And I know that others here would also sympathize with the one customer who came to my store last week and was looking for a 'fairly new' Yamaha grand for about $1000!]

FORWARD, Forum troops, fire your Dollar and
Cents cannons! Gimme [PLEASE!] more figures!!

Thank you for the [painful!] cooperation!

You shall be rewarded!
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#908828 - 03/09/02 04:31 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
piqué Offline
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Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5483
ok, norbert, just what is this reward? are your marketing honchos going to give each of us the grand piano of our choice?
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#908829 - 03/09/02 04:38 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Penny Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2943
Loc: San Juan Capistrano, CA
Ya want figures? I'll give you figures! And I liked Diurmand's! Remember, this is not what they cost, this is what they SHOULD cost (I play the same game with the Oscars. There's who will win and who SHOULD win!)

Assuming ebony polish for all, except M&H, which only does an ebony satin

5'6" Estonia $12k
6'3" Estonia $15k
6'3" Petrof $14k
6'3" Charles Walter $16k
6'1" Schimmel $16k
6'1" Schimmel diamond series $16,000.01
6'3" Hoffman $16k
6'3" Schulze Pollmann $18k
6'6" Schulze Pollmann $21k
6'3" Pleyel $18k
6'3" Seiler $19k
6'1" Sauter $22k
5'8" Mason & Hamlin $16k
6'10" Mason & Hamlin $32k
6'3" Grotrian $25k
6'3" Bluthner $25k
6'3" Steingraeber $25k
6'3" Bosendorfer $25k
6'3" Bechstein $25k
getting the idea here with the top-tier???

Steinway M $15k
Steinway L $20k
Steinway B $32k

OK, Norbert, how'd I do?

penny

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#908830 - 03/09/02 05:01 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
OK, Norbert, I've never shopped for a new piano in my life, but I've read a bit about them here, and I have a few opinions.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:
Since everybody here seems to talk so much about price...what,do you think SHOULD a new piano cost?

Let's assume the cost of making any would be the SAME for each model!

Approximately......your guesses,please!
[no unrealistic wish list,folks!]

Mason Hamlin 5'8" or 6'8"....? [/b]


I'd guess about $35,000ish. Probably more than it "should" be, but again, perception or value/resale in a market, even a deluded market, means something, and maybe that makes this a "fair" amount.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:

Steinway B...................? [/b]


About $48,000ish, with the same reasoning above.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:


Yamaha C3,C5,C7........... .?
Kawai [same sizes]...........?
[/b]


$19,000, 21,000, 23,000.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:


'German made' 6' or 7'.......?
[/b]


$22,000 - 24,000.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:


Estonia 6'3...................?

Petrof 6'3...................?

[/b]


$18,000 - 20,000.

So there are my WAG's of prices that I would not be surprised or afraid to see on the various pianos. But I can't say that I think they're "fair", I just don't have enough info to call them that. \:\)

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#908831 - 03/09/02 05:45 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
MacDuff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 560
Loc: Southeast, U.S.A.
I remember when a Steinway M was about 7K, a Baldwin L 6K, a Yamaha C-2 about 5K, and a Kawai KG-2 3.5 K.

All the wonderful :rolleyes: Starrs, Winters, Wurlitzers, and Kimballs were even less.

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#908832 - 03/09/02 06:04 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
SUPER PENNY !!

Now ........there's a gal with GUTS!!
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#908833 - 03/09/02 06:41 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
jazzyd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/01
Posts: 1861
Loc: United Kingdom
 Quote:
Originally posted by Penny:


5'6" Estonia $12k
6'3" Estonia $15k
6'3" Petrof $14k
6'3" Charles Walter $16k
6'1" Schimmel $16k
6'1" Schimmel diamond series $16,000.01
6'3" Hoffman $16k
6'3" Schulze Pollmann $18k
6'6" Schulze Pollmann $21k
6'3" Pleyel $18k
6'3" Seiler $19k
6'1" Sauter $22k
5'8" Mason & Hamlin $16k
6'10" Mason & Hamlin $32k
6'3" Grotrian $25k
6'3" Bluthner $25k
6'3" Steingraeber $25k
6'3" Bosendorfer $25k
6'3" Bechstein $25k
getting the idea here with the top-tier???

Steinway M $15k
Steinway L $20k
Steinway B $32k

OK, Norbert, how'd I do?

penny[/b]


Cheap, but not cheap enough for paupers like me! \:D

I'll stick with my $2k[/b] Bluthner 6'3"... even if it is as old as my grandma.

On a serious note, I think the price of a new Grotrian 6'3" is about 20k/$28k(?) in Europe. I don't know what they are in the US, but that seems fairly reasonable to me.

Not that I have the money, but I can dream... :rolleyes:

[ March 09, 2002: Message edited by: jazzyd ]
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#908834 - 03/09/02 06:52 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5483
"list" price for a new grotrian 6'3" as per the larry fine piano supplement is $54K. at the piano mill in boston, where prices are non-negotiable, they are asking, if memory serves, $34K for the same model. if you live in an area of the u.s. where there is no grotrian dealer, the distributor will sell you one directly for approx. $30K. (however, you can not play it before purchase.) they are apparently far less expensive in germany, but then of course you have to pay duty and shipping, etc. from what i understand, it would still be less expensive to buy direct in germany.
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#908835 - 03/09/02 07:09 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Diarmuid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 219
Hey Penny! I'm with you all the way \:D

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#908836 - 03/09/02 07:52 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Penny, gotta love the way you differentiated between the Schimmel "traditional" and "diamond" series!!! I think the difference in list price is about 10k if memory serves me.
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#908837 - 03/09/02 09:36 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Eldon Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 597
Loc: Illinois
Hi,
Well, since we're talking prices, tell me something about this story. I bought my first new piano in 1980. (well now you know I'm not a "babe") \:D It was a Steinway L in Chicago. At that time I knew nothing about prices/mark-ups or anything. But, I played several pianos and shopped around. I went back to this store about 5 times before purchasing. I just paid the price on the piano. I'd like some of the old "codgers" here to tell me what I could have gotten the piano for. I never attemped to haggle at all. And, no tunings or adjustments were even mentioned. I know...DUH! Quite a different story than Pique's. BTW, I paid $12,500. Bye
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#908838 - 03/10/02 12:45 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Chris W1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/26/01
Posts: 915
Loc: Boston
My list, because I am still not sure what this question is driving at, revolves around my own idea of what these pianos are worth on musical merit. It makes these BIG assumptions:

-All companies are the same size (amortizing R&D, to the extent there was any, equally, etc)
-All pianos depreciate at the same rate and can find a market similarly
-All are black and appear essentially nameless
-All are found in the highest form of prep/repair possible (this will skew my numbers pretty good)
-All pianos have similar longevity (ROTFL)
-That the Bosendorfer 225 wasn't the last one I played ;\)

This is not by any means a cut throat list of the lowest prices I've seen:

7'4' Bosie (225) - 38k (Go figure)
Fazioli 7'+ - 37
Grot 6'3 - 32
bech 208 - 35
bech 189 - 32
new/used stein b - 35
used stein a - 32
used stein o - 30
petrof 6'3 23
estonia 6'3 - 23
Charles W - 26
Mason BB - 30
Schimmel 7' - 30
Seiler 180 - 28
Sauter 180'ish - 28

Its getting close to year since I played anything other than the above, so no comment on them.

DISCLOSURE:
The previous assumptions make this completely, and utterly, the most useless compilation of opinions I have ever submitted to the forum. It is, however, clear of any input from the French, or Russian judges.

Flames suit, check.. Outta here.
Chris W

[ March 10, 2002: Message edited by: Chris W1 ]
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#908839 - 03/10/02 02:29 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
On the contrary ChrisW1...they could be the
..... MOST USEFUL ones ....yet!

Wait and see.
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Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#908840 - 03/10/02 05:36 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
I think that I will take a stab at this. Since we are talking about, basically, a contrived set of assumptions and throwing economics out the window (I'm okay with that. Norbert is free to pose a question any way he likes) I will make some assumptions of my own.

First I will assume three tiers of pianos and within each tier, three size ranges (lengths). Added to this is the assumption that pianos within the same tier of similar size should be competitive with one another.
Tier 1
are the Bosies, Bechsteins, Steinways, Mason & Hamlin, and let's even throw Fazioli in here. There are others but we all know what they are.

Tier 2
Yamaha, Kawai, Estonia, Petrof, et al.

Tier 3
Pearl River, Nordiska, Young Chang, Samick, et al.

Sizes are:
L1 - 5'4" to 5'8"
L2 - 5'8" to 6'5"
L3 - 6'5" to 7'5"

These are my prices:

Tier 1:
L1 - 25K
L2 - 30K
L3 - 35K

Tier 2:
L1 - 12K
L2 - 16K
L3 - 20K

Tier 4:
L1 - 6K
L2 - 8K
L3 - 10K

These are ballpark figures and my flame suit is tightly secured. I am probably farthest off on the Tier 1 but, then, I think these manufacturers are awfully proud of these pianos but, of course, the people that buy them are awfully proud to own them.
_________________________
Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness.

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#908841 - 03/10/02 08:07 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
I don't know what Norbert is driving at, but I do know this: --- the Pearl River rep who hides on here is probably pretty happy to have just been listed along with Young Chang & Samick....

;\)
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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#908842 - 03/10/02 09:26 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14048
Loc: Louisiana
Ya know,


I started a thread awhile back on whether any folks from the industry ever check in on our little piano board.

A lot of the answers were nope, nada, zip, maybe a couple of bored dealers, etc. A bunch of crazies howling at the moon (I like Ib's analogy).

If you keep catching tidbits from various posters, who do work in the business, we are monitored a lot more than was suggested.

Maybe we ain't so crazy, afterall! ;\)


AAAWWHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
_________________________
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Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#908843 - 03/10/02 09:58 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
sparrow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/01
Posts: 106
Loc: Groningen, NL
I've just deleted my post because I made a capital error in converting euro's to dollars. Will do the math again, and repost it. Sorry.

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#908844 - 03/10/02 10:01 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:
I don't know what Norbert is driving at, but I do know this: --- the Pearl River rep who hides on here is probably pretty happy to have just been listed along with Young Chang & Samick....

;\)[/b]


This should encourage people to jump in but that's okay Larry. I can take it. :p
_________________________
Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness.

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#908845 - 03/10/02 10:30 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
sparrow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/01
Posts: 106
Loc: Groningen, NL
Heres a European take on this pricing issue. \:\) Below in the left column are the fixed prices I would have to pay in The Netherlands (theres no haggling done over here). Supposing the production costs are equal, prices are also influenced by quality and prestige, the latter of which is IMO not fair. Also theres this very valid point Stanza made about the law of diminishing returns. Therefore, I would substract a certain percentage of each of these prices depending on what I think is unneccessary dollars paid for the prestige/snobbism-factor and the diminishing-returns-factor. For example
Boston may be overpriced because of the connection with Steinway,
the German pianos may have very good quality, but this also adds to the prestige-factor,
the Bsendorfer suffers from the diminishing-returns-factor,
up-and-coming Estonia and Petrof wont charge you extra because they are up-and-coming, and
Yamaha has become such a big name that they think they can get away with overcharging, which alas they can.
Please note that the percentages Im taking off are my humble opinion only and based on what meager knowledge of pianos Ive gained in the last year based on Larry Fines book and reading the respected opinions of you all piano world forum members.

(length: 182cm = 6, 213cm = 7, 240cm = 8)

Boston GP 193: $22.562 -/- 30% = $15.793
Boston GP 218: $28.168 -/- 30% = $19.718
Kawai RX3 185: $17.963 -/- 20% = $14.370
Kawai RX5 197: $20.844 -/- 20% = $16.675
Kawai RX6 212: $23.490 -/- 20% = $18.792
Kawai RX7 227: $26.608 -/- 20% = $21.286
Yamaha C5 200: $23.081 -/- 30% = $16.157
Yamaha C6 212: $25.708 -/- 30% = $17.996
Yamaha C7 227: $29.232 -/- 30% = $20.462
Estonia 190: $19.542 -/- 0% = $19.542
Petrof 192: $12.338 -/- 0% = $12.338
Petrof 192 M: $16.675 -/- 0% = $16.675
Petrof 236: $23.522 -/- 0% = $23.522
Schulze-Pollmann. F 190: $18.470 -/- 10% = $16.623
Pleyel 190: $24.674 -/- 10% = $22.207
Hoffmann 190: $17.400 -/- 25% = $13.050
Haessler H 185: $23.296 -/- 25% = $17.472
Schimmel SP 182 TJ: $22.794 -/- 20% = $18.235
Schimmel SP 182 TE: $21.315 -/- 20% = $17.052
Schimmel CC 213T: $25.665 -/- 20% = $20.532
Schimmel CC 213 DE: $28.014 -/- 20% = $22.411
Schimmel CO 256 T: $31.929 -/- 20% = $25.543
Sauter Delta 186: $24.100 -/- 25% = $18.075
Seiler 180: $22.368 -/- 25% = $16.776
Seiler 208: $26.796 -/- 25% = $20.097
Yamaha S4 190: $31.503 -/- 35% = $20.477
Yamaha S6 212: $37.845 -/- 35% = $24.600
Grotrian-Steinweg 192: $28.101 -/- 30% = $19.670
Grotrian-Steinweg 225: $36.192 -/- 30% = $25.334
Bsendorfer CS 200: $35.018 -/- 35% = $22.761
Bsendorfer CS 212: $39.237 -/- 35% = $25.504

Wow, thats more math than Ive done in years.. Hope this helps, Norbert!

[ March 10, 2002: Message edited by: sparrow ]

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#908846 - 03/12/02 09:44 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Mike Parke Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 154
Loc: Columbus, OH
I've stayed out of this because I'm not an active shopper at this time and only have dreams. It's very difficult to approach the question of a fair price until one is actively seeking a piano - the reality of facing "the decision" makes one dig a little deeper for information and reflect on what's really important. Based on what I hope will happen financially for my family over the next couple of years, I'll be looking at 6' pianos such as Estonia, CW, or S-P for my daughter and son.

However, I'll take a stab anyways. My definition of a fair price has two parts - a) it's a price where I feel that everyone involved has gotten a reasonable deal - b) it's a price below which I would feel that I've gotten a bargain. Whether I'd jump at such a piano would depend on if my daughter loved it and if I could somehow find the money.

Based on what I've learned over the last couple of years reading this forum, I'm sort of in the middle between Penny and Chris W. I think a fair price for the Estonia 6'3" is around 18-20K. For the CW 20-22K, for the S-P 20-22K and for Petrof 20-22K.

I notice that I just put the Estonia slightly lower in price than the others - I'm not sure I can really justify this - maybe it's just wishful thinking - hoping that the prices will still be there later on.

For the others, if you just average Penny's and Chris W's numbers you won't be hugely off from my naive impressions.

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#908847 - 03/12/02 11:41 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
orly Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/19/02
Posts: 9
Can we expand our pricing guesses to uprights?

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#908848 - 03/12/02 11:47 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
I'm waiting to hear back from some of the 'brass'.[NOT Pearl River!!]

Meantime the calculators are humming.

After that,the highly [un]expeected results
will be released upon this Forum.

Last minute votes accepted.
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#908849 - 03/12/02 11:59 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:
I'm waiting to hear back from some of the 'brass'.[NOT Pearl River!!]
[/b]


That's a shame. I was especially interested in Pearl River. :p
_________________________
Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness.

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#908850 - 03/12/02 12:23 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
I have been thinking a lot about Jodi's question about why there is such a price difference between different size instruments. I can understand why there is some price difference - more materials and labor to finish and higher shipping and storage costs. But I can't think of a reason why the difference should be more than $5000. In light of this (I know this is lame), I want to change my votes to the following:

1st tier:
6' - $30-35k
7' - $35-40k
9' - $40-45k

2nd tier:
6' - $20-25k
7' - $25-30k
9' - $30-35k

3rd tier
6' - $10k
7' - $15k
9' - $20k

I am actually willing to pay more for the first tier instruments, the ones with the less bang for the buck. Not for snobbery or prestige, but for the reason is that these companies have spent more than 100 years refining and perfecting their product and their processes. This is apparent to me every time I touch one of these instruments. There is a richness of tone and presence, refinement of touch, range of color and dynamics, and level of control that is unmatched by lesser instruments. Anybody that does not need or want this level of performance would likely be happy with a cheaper 2nd or 3rd tier instrument (unless they are themselves snobs). But those that appreciate and desire the performance of the 1st tier instruments should pay something for the investment over the years that has been made by these companies, again to refine and perfect their products.

Anyone that believes that the old piano manufacturers never experiment or try new things doesn't really know what is going on. I have been surprised a few times by some things that supposedly "stagnant" piano manufacturers have tried.

Ryan

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#908851 - 03/12/02 01:27 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Alex Hernandez Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 1967
 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:
I don't know what Norbert is driving at, but I do know this: --- the Pearl River rep who hides on here is probably pretty happy to have just been listed along with Young Chang & Samick....

;\)[/b]


No doubt, hehe
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#908852 - 03/12/02 01:40 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
Actually, I intended to list them along with Bluthner. :p
_________________________
Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness.

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#908853 - 03/14/02 01:35 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Norbert:

You said:

 Quote:
After that,the highly [un]expeected results[/b]


I can hardly stand the suspense!. When are you going to let us in on the result???

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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#908854 - 03/16/02 10:21 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
lb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 1731
Loc: Indiana
I just got back from 3 days at the Frankfurt show, and guess what? Nobody showed up, no dealers or manufacturers! I heard that they all stayed home to monitor this thread. \:D \:D ;\)

Baldwin was there though, but they think that they are building big guitars, not pianos.

lb

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#908855 - 03/16/02 10:23 AM Re: What should a new piano cost?
the artist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Tulsa, OK
lb:
Was there any news at all from Baldwin????
Any updates from Petrof? (I'm not familiar with the show you attended -- so sorry if these questions are off-base)
-Brad

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#908856 - 03/16/02 12:17 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Derrick:

Hold your horses. Results coming!

We have all names and numbers from the guilty parties.

Sentencing will be hard and heavy.

There will be a lot of moaning and groaning.

[Not to forget the 'gnashing'...of teeth!]

For your comfort:CEO life has never been closer to "hell on earth"!!

Expect.... 'Paradise'.... yourself, Sir!!
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#908857 - 03/16/02 04:06 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
lb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 1731
Loc: Indiana
Brad

The Frankfurt show is just like the NAMM show, just a little bigger. It is probably the biggest display of musical instruments in the world. Anything that would make a noise was displayed.

I was joking about no one being there, all the worlds piano manufacturers were there, with a few exceptions. Steinway U.S. never shows with anyone else, and Steinway Hamburg was missing this year also. They may have taken lead from their American cousins and displayed in a hotel suite somewhere near by. Schulze Pollmann and obviously Charles Walter weren't there, but everyone else was. Estonia was showing there for the first time to my knowledge.

Most of the piano manufacturers were grouped in one large hall. Yamaha had their own floor, but they were showing their complete range(except gas powered) of products. The Yamaha accoustical display was disappointing, but their electronics and other instruments were impressive. Sammick, Kwai, Young Chang, and Baldwin were off to themselves in another building.

I don't know what you mean by updates from Petrof, but I can say that at their reception desk, they had the best candy at the show. Not much talk about Baldwin around the show either. They had a lot better display than at NAMM, but most of the pianos seemed to have missed a couple steps in the QC process. I did see the new Ellington for the first time, and it makes the Red Octobers look a little better.

Today and tomorrow the show is open to the public and it gets a little insane, so I bug out.

lb

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#908858 - 03/16/02 05:03 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Penny Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2943
Loc: San Juan Capistrano, CA
Why wouldn't Schulze Pollmann be there? It's not like it's THAT far away. They make it to Anaheim.

penny

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#908859 - 03/16/02 06:07 PM Re: What should a new piano cost?
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Norbert,

If what you say is not in jest:

 Quote:
For your comfort:CEO life has never been closer to "hell on earth"!![/b]


I don't know how I'll be able to stand the suspense until you publish the results! ;\)

Derick
_________________________
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

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