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#994434 - 03/02/08 01:13 PM Wanting a piano, part 2
saerra Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 842
Loc: Atlanta, GA
\:\) I posted back in January (feels like forever ago) about wanting a piano and not being able to get one because of my circumstances (tiny 3rd floor apartment, for starters.)

Well - guess what?

I'm in the process of buying a townhouse! (Offer has been accepted, loan is being processed, just did the inspection last night - a few things need to be looked at but overall, I'm feeling good about it).

AND - not just any townhouse, my piano teacher's townhouse! (Him and his wife are having a baby and want a bigger space.)

Which means, it already has a lovely piano in it (that I got to play last night - fun!) - so I KNOW a small grand fits easily. (It's a 5'6" and I think there's plenty of room for a bit more ;\) )

\:\) I'm so excited (and a little overwhelmed) - I wanted to come and share with you guys.

AND tell you - next step after I get moved in is piano shopping! I've already ordered the Larry Fine book, and started watching ads on craigslist, and got a reference for a piano tuner from my teacher who I can call to check out potential pianos.

I think honestly I'm a tiny bit more excited about the piano then the house ;\) - the house thing completely freaks me out, since it feels like such a HUGE decision. The piano though - I am daydreaming about it pretty much every day at this point, and can't wait to find it \:\)

The number of coincidences and lucky things that have got me here (back in January, I had no plans to buy a house - at least not until my lease runs out in September) so far... I think the piano thing is just meant to be and the universe is really trying to help me out \:\)

\:\) So yay. And... any advice on piano shopping from all of those who have been there?

\:\) Thanks

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#994435 - 03/02/08 01:35 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
isn't it great: getting your teacher's townhouse and shopping for a piano! exciting news indeed! guess everything works out in the end. congrats!

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#994436 - 03/02/08 01:58 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
Always Wanted to Play Piano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 674
Loc: Chicago
Please keep us up to date on your quest.
_________________________

Casio Ap-200
Almost midway thru Alfred's All-In-One Book Two
Blogging my family's piano learning experiences: http://aw2pp.blogspot.com/

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#994437 - 03/02/08 02:03 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
Euphonatrix Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/06
Posts: 518
Loc: Hessen, Germany
Plus: Neighbours are already used to piano players ...
Great news, Saerra!
_________________________
"The creative process is nothing but a series of crises."
(Isaac B. Singer)


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#994438 - 03/02/08 02:07 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
z32 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/07/07
Posts: 167
Loc: California
Congratz! That's some great news! Provide us with some pics if you can when everything is all set up!

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#994439 - 03/02/08 03:23 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
annonemoose Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/08
Posts: 21
Congratulations! That is terrific news. Enjoy the piano hunt, there are a lot of very good instruments out there for wonderful prices.
_________________________
-Moosie
----------------
1971 Knabe Console

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#994440 - 03/02/08 04:17 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
bluekeys Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 1337
Congrats on the townhouse and the opportunity to piano shop. I too live in a townhouse and just bought a piano 2 weeks ago, so here are my buying tips:

1. Get Larry Fine's Piano Book and the '07/'08 supplement. It has tons of info on prices and quality, and is indispensable when shopping.

2. Take your time. Play 30, 40, 50 pianos before deciding. Set a minimum time limit of at least 30 days and promise yourself you won't buy a piano before that NO MATTER WHAT. Sales people are going to tell you about "super deals" that won't last. They are full of BS.

3. Understand that it's a buyer's market right now because the acoustic makers are hurting. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. You should be able to get 25 - 40% off Fine's market price on most pianos.

4. Look outside your immediate area. Most manufacturers limit the number of their dealers in metro areas to reduce competition. If you are willing to drive a bit you might find a better deal.

5. Consider used, preferably less than 10 years. Have a tech check any used piano before you buy.

In my own search I decided to go for a high-end upright rather than a low-end grand, partly because I did not want to compromise quality, and partly because of space limitations. It sounds like you are leaning toward a grand. Depending on your budget, that could put you into the Chinese- made market. I looked at a lot of those, and the only two I would consider are both in the Fine "4A" group. They are Brodmann and May Berlin . Both are assembled in China but designed by established German companies with German QC staff on site. Generally, though, I would suggest staying with group 3 and above.

These are, of course, my personal opinions and I have no qualifications other than my recent shopping experience. If you look at my blog you can see the roller coaster ride I took over several weeks while shopping.

LOL!!

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#994441 - 03/02/08 04:53 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
Oxfords Gal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/21/06
Posts: 1553
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
Yay Congrat Saerra, how exciting. Keep us posted.
_________________________
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster

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#994442 - 03/02/08 06:57 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
saerra Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 842
Loc: Atlanta, GA
\:\) Thanks for being excited for me, and for the great tips Bluekeys!

\:\) I'll keep you guys updated, but right now, closing is set for end of March, so I won't even be moving stuff in until the first few days of April.

Seems like forever!!! ;\)

Thanks!

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#994443 - 03/02/08 09:01 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
Always Wanted to Play Piano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 674
Loc: Chicago
 Quote:
Originally posted by saerra:
\:\) Thanks for being excited for me, and for the great tips Bluekeys!

\:\) I'll keep you guys updated, but right now, closing is set for end of March, so I won't even be moving stuff in until the first few days of April.

Seems like forever!!! ;\)

Thanks! [/b]
True enough, but the process, as I have seen it recommended in these forums, should take longer than that. I am envious.
_________________________

Casio Ap-200
Almost midway thru Alfred's All-In-One Book Two
Blogging my family's piano learning experiences: http://aw2pp.blogspot.com/

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#994444 - 03/04/08 02:25 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
piano_deb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 787
Loc: Memphis, TN
Congratulations, saerra, on your coming move to a new home ... and your impending piano purchase! You know we'll want to hear all about your musical shopping experiences.
_________________________
Deborah
Charles Walter 1500
Happiness is a shiny red piano.

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#994445 - 03/04/08 02:36 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
Markham Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/02/05
Posts: 77
Loc: St Paul, MN
Take bluekeys advice about a tech to heart. I can't tell you how many people I've seen get a "deal" on a piano that I later had to tell them would never stay in tune or required hundreds of dollars just to bring back to a mediocre "original" state.

Make sure you find a "tech" and not just a "tooner".

I'd also suggest that you play as many different pianos as you can find in retail stores - don't be afraid to ask to play their most expensive instruments. That will help you understand the range of instruments available. Frankly, new prices are so low right now that it's hard to justify buying a used piano unless you stumble on to a piano that someone doesn't know the value of (it's usually the other way around - people think their pianos are worth more than they are).

Also, as bluekeys hinted at, don't get sucked in by "grand envy". Unless you're prepared to shell out for at least a good 6' grand (with a couple exceptions), your money is typically better spent on a good upright. Close your eyes and play both (with the upright opened up) before you make any buy decisions.

I have a large grand myself (which I worked up to from a couple uprights) so I'm certainly not knocking them - just reminding you that you pay a premium for a small grand that may be offset by getting a better upright.

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#994446 - 03/04/08 04:17 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
GregF Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 89
Loc: South Carolina
You should have worked the existing piano into the deal. \:\) People do it with appliances all the time! You probably could have convinced him to upgrade, since they are moving to a larger place.

Good luck.

GregF

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#994447 - 03/05/08 03:32 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
saerra Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 842
Loc: Atlanta, GA
\:\) Thanks guys.

Markham - not to be too much of an idiot, but how do I find a "tech" versus tuner? My teacher had given me the names of a couple of tuners he uses and advised me to get one of them to check out any piano I was seriously considering - but I don't know if they're qualified as "techs" also?

I love the idea of trying out as many pianos as I can \:\) sounds heavenly, what a great excuse to get out and play on anything I can find!

And, I'm already set on getting a grand - even if I end up having to wait and save a little more money, or get something that's not huge (teacher has a 5'6" and seems to like it fine). I use the uprights where I take lessons, and every once in awhile I get to use the grand - and I love it. The uprights feel like I'm getting run over with sound (a bit too loud all right at me) and the pedal is still kind of uncomfortable for me. The grand is just pure bliss and joy to play on \:\)

GregF \:\) YES! I wish I could have - hehe. I joked with him about it a little, but he would want a bit more than I can spend on it (and then he got it for!) plus I think his mom-in-law actually paid for it, so they're not looking to get rid of it anytime soon. I did think about sending him a craigslist post for a bigger piano though, and mentioning that with his newer, bigger house... he should just get the big piano and leave the littler one behind ;\) I'd be sooooo ok with that *lol*

Thanks!

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#994448 - 03/05/08 09:03 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
guest1013 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/07
Posts: 1239
for a tech, try www.ptg.org, registered piano technicians guild. There are other fine techs who don't participate in it, but this will give you some idea of what to expect. I used it to find a tech to inspect a used piano, and it worked very well.

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#994449 - 03/05/08 09:45 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
hotkeys Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 788
Loc: Massapequa, NY
Thats good news Saerra!

You also may want to introduce yourself to your neighbors and let them know of your intentions. I understand they were used to your piano teacher living in the townhouse. Build trust with your new neighbors and things will be very smooth when that "special" piano arrives at your new home. Congratulations! \:\)

- Mark
_________________________
...The ultimate joy in music is the joy of playing the piano...

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#994450 - 03/06/08 11:15 AM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
Markham Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/02/05
Posts: 77
Loc: St Paul, MN
PTG is a good source for techs but all techs are not created equal. If you have a good relationship with a tuner just ask them if they also repair, regulate, or even rebuild pianos. If you have a music store you respect, ask them for some names of techs they recommend for inspection work. Expect, however, to pay for this service.

As someone else mentioned, Larry Fine's book is great if you have the interest in really studying it. It is surprising how little most piano players know about their instruments. They really are fascinating as "machines" too. Ask your tech to tell (and show) you about how your piano works.

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#994451 - 03/06/08 10:36 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
saerra Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 842
Loc: Atlanta, GA
\:\) Thanks for the advice.

Mark - \:\) I think my teacher and his wife may have already started talking about me to the neighbors. I'm hoping I can wrangle an introduction that way, so it's a little less weird (for me anyway)...

Thanks Markham! I've ordered the book, hoping it gets here soon... When it gets to the point of looking at pianos, I guess I'll find out if the guy my teacher uses is also a tech, and if not, who I can go to - thank you for the tips on finding someone (and for the link, guest1013!).

\:\) So... it turns out that piano-teachers-wife has a student that recently bought a used piano locally from someone who does restoration and fixes up pianos (I think, I'm fuzzy on the details). Apparently he has a TON of nice pianos at reasonable prices... and she not only got his number for me, but they (my teacher and his wife) want to come along when I go to check the place out! I think this is just crazy good luck, that my piano teacher actually wants to come with me to a piano store!

The hardest part now is figuring out timing... I think it might be better to wait until after the move to go, so I don't completely fall in love with a piano before my budget (and house!) are set - and then spend weeks pining. On the other hand, I'm eager to go check the place out!!!

\:\) And on top of all this, I still need to pack! *sigh* I can't wait for the "moving" part to be over... \:\)

Thanks everyone!

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#994452 - 03/06/08 10:57 PM Re: Wanting a piano, part 2
Niguma Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/08
Posts: 29
Loc: Boulder, CO
Saerra, go now and visit the pianos. As others have said, the more you play, the more information you'll have about what's out there and what you like. I spent nearly a year and a half looking, playing, honing my understanding--and found the right piano. How do you know it's right? You just do...
_________________________
Niguma
Boulder, CO

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