Case color and resale

Posted by: KillerCharlie

Case color and resale - 11/15/12 09:50 PM

I know white pianos have been discussed... but what about other colors? Specifically I'm interested in a medium to dark mahogany (polished/lacquered).

How much more would resale be an issue compared to a black piano?
Posted by: tonedefreegan

Re: Case color and resale - 11/15/12 10:55 PM

would make a huge difference to me. I can't stand black pianos smile

I'm undoubtedly in the minority - but I prefer the warmth and character of wood in my 'furniture'.
Posted by: DanS

Re: Case color and resale - 11/16/12 01:28 AM

I prefer wood furniture too, but I like my pianos black.
Posted by: dsch

Re: Case color and resale - 11/16/12 06:13 AM

I don't want to pay a penny extra for color but I prefer black.
Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: Case color and resale - 11/16/12 09:16 AM

In consoles and studio uprights wood finishes outsell polished ebony. In larger instrument and grands, PE is a much better seller.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Case color and resale - 11/16/12 12:04 PM

My impression is the polished ebony far outsells satin ebony in Europe and Asia and that many of the European and Asian makers produce polished ebony almost exclusively or in much greater numbers than satin ebony. Is this true and about what percentages of ebony pianos fall under each these two categories in Europe and Asia?

What about in the USA in terms of the polished/satin ebony split?
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Case color and resale - 11/16/12 12:15 PM

Like the others, I too initially wanted a real-wood finish grand piano. I’ve always liked the real wood walnut finish.

However, when you buy pre-owned, you don’t always get exactly what you want… my first grand was ebony polish and I got used to it and rather liked it after a while. My current grand is ebony satin, and I must say that now I would prefer the ebony satin over ebony polish.

My Kawai K-48 upright is the satin walnut finish. Guess I have the best of both worlds…

Rick
Posted by: BDB

Re: Case color and resale - 11/16/12 12:43 PM

My experience is that up until WWII, mahogany was by far the most popular finish. As mahogany in larger sizes became more difficult to find, black finishes became more popular on larger pianos because it was the only available finish at a reasonable price.
Posted by: Bob Newbie

Re: Case color and resale - 11/16/12 02:00 PM

I've been seeing in a lot of "home' magazines, black wood furniture, dining tables, kitchen cabinets, so if you have an open layout a black piano works well,
it becomes an elephant in the room when all the other "wood" is stained brown
then a black grand suddenly becomes the focal point you just can't help noticing..
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Case color and resale - 11/16/12 02:47 PM

Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
In larger instrument and grands, PE is a much better seller.


Could that be because that is what is offered / suggested and because it is what is on the floor to buy?

I feel that some buyers don't realize that there is an option.

PE, PE, PE here, there, and everywhere!

What might be 'grand' on a concert stage might not be grand in all home settings.

It surely would look out of place with my old home and antique furnishings.

And for studio uprights, Polished Ebony would feel like I was looking into a big black mirror! (heaven forbid)
Posted by: backto_study_piano

Re: Case color and resale - 11/16/12 05:15 PM

I used to have Polished Walnut. Now have Polished Ebony. It is more imposing than the PW. PE also attracts more dust than the Walnut. And finger marks show up much more (just had the grandchildren visit yesterday!!).

In my shopping for a piano recently, and previously a couple of years ago, almost all grand pianos were PE. Japanese importers only bring PE into Australia, and charge a huge premium for timber. European piano importers brought some timber grands. And even more uprights.

In my visiting piano stores, I didn't see any satin grand pianos, and only a couple of satin uprights, all European brands in timber.
Posted by: Charles Carlstrom

Re: Case color and resale - 11/16/12 10:07 PM

Morticians like black hearses; Musicians like black pianos.
Posted by: tonedefreegan

Re: Case color and resale - 11/17/12 06:57 AM

black just seems so very ... I dunno ... institutional. or to put it another way, generic. nothing to distinguish one from another. and as someone else mentioned, if you have a house full of old timber, a shiny black piano would scream high gauche :p
Posted by: malkin

Re: Case color and resale - 11/17/12 10:41 AM

My furniture is a mixture of old timber (rocking chairs made by my dad), leather both old (burgundy) and new (red). The shiny black piano sings to all of them, but is really besties with the vintage black Jacobsen egg chair.

Resale?
Probably not for any of it.

We find it pretty cozy; anyone who thinks it is high gauche can hang out someplace else.
Posted by: Karl Watson

Re: Case color and resale - 11/17/12 12:34 PM

My piano is polished mahogany and although it's very handsome, I've come to regret it over the years. I'm not saying that pianos can only be black, but, basically, it's just window dressing.

The only exception I would make would be the beautiful Erards and Pleyels that were finished to such an incredibly high standard.

I regret on every level not having bought a black piano.
Posted by: Jean Claude

Re: Case color and resale - 11/17/12 12:54 PM

Black cased pianos seem to be more popular than they used to be, perhaps this is because for so many manufacturers today terms such as 'mahogany' 'rosewood' and 'walnut' mean nothing more than red, dark brown or mid brown varnishes applied to the same cheap and uninteresting veneers.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Case color and resale - 11/17/12 01:30 PM

Originally Posted By: Jean Claude
Black cased pianos seem to be more popular than they used to be, perhaps this is because for so many manufacturers today terms such as 'mahogany' 'rosewood' and 'walnut' mean nothing more than red, dark brown or mid brown varnishes applied to the same cheap and uninteresting veneers.
I don't think this is true...certainly not for any of the top three tiers in the PB.
Posted by: j&j

Re: Case color and resale - 11/17/12 11:06 PM

My first two pianos were walnut, which I love. The Yamaha dealer (probably most Yamaha dealers but I don't know) only had polished ebony for the C series grands, so that's what I fell in love with and now own. Other finishes in the grands would have to be special ordered and cost more money. My C3 doesn't match my furnishings, but it's not important. Yamaha polished walnut is gorgeous and my preference, but black, in grands is standard. Polished black does show dust and fingerprints more easily.

Whatever piano you purchase, keep it properly tuned, voiced, and regulated while you own it to get the best resale value.

Best of luck and have fun shopping.
Posted by: Annitenth

Re: Case color and resale - 11/18/12 07:44 AM

It comes down to personal preference.

Thirty years ago I was considering a used Sohmer, about 5'7", in a beautiful French-style case. Then I had to go into the hospital for emergency surgery, and when I got out that piano had been sold. Instead I bought a new Kawai, a very nice sounding and playing instrument, and regretted it ever since because the case was so plain.

To some of us, the way it LOOKS in our home is a very important factor.
Posted by: Withindale

Re: Case color and resale - 11/18/12 08:05 AM

Some piano makers offer a selection veneers and finishes, often at a premium, because certain customers want them. A similar proportion of pre-owned buyers could prefer them. They might pay a premium too if you are in the right place at the right time.
Posted by: malkin

Re: Case color and resale - 11/18/12 09:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Annitenth
It comes down to personal preference.
...
To some of us, the way it LOOKS in our home is a very important factor.


That about sums it up.
Posted by: Chopinlover49

Re: Case color and resale - 11/18/12 11:36 PM

I almost bought a piano made of mahogany and really liked the look of the cabinetry, but I ended up buying a larger piano of the same maker in polished ebony. I have to say that it is stunning as it is a seven foot piano and seems like it belongs on a stage. The semi-concert and concert grands just always seem so elegant in ebony so I am very pleased with the choice.
Posted by: Ragdoll

Re: Case color and resale - 11/19/12 09:05 AM

My Yamaha U1 is straight grain mahogany/lacquered and it is perfect asthetically with the other furniture. I like black pianos too, but I think they need to fit in the general decor. My house is too casual for one. Plus there's that childhood nostalga thing. ha
Posted by: thetandyman

Re: Case color and resale - 11/19/12 09:27 PM

I, personally, don't like the so called "polyester" high-gloss finish. My home is contemporary, so the ebony satin finish goes with everything. I feel an ebony piano goes with about any interior. Bottom line is this: The sound and touch of a piano that pleases you should supercede the finish. If you're anal-retentive about your decor, you will have to search much longer for the piano that pleases you in tone and finish. Good luck in your exploration.
Posted by: musica71

Re: Case color and resale - 11/19/12 09:42 PM

I agree with The handyman...the instrument is the important thing. My Mahogany Schimmel Chippendale looked better with my other furniture (such as it is) but the Feurich Polished Ebony is my dream piano!
Posted by: backto_study_piano

Re: Case color and resale - 11/20/12 04:39 AM

I'm inclined to agree. My 6' Mahogony Schimmel looked better in my home (and last home). But I think that a 7'4" Mahogony piano might just be too much Mahogony.

If only there was a way to deal with the dust. I keep dreaming about a velvet cover which attracts dust by static charge. But nobody has invented one yet.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Case color and resale - 11/20/12 06:40 PM

There is no right or wrong in terms of how important the appearance or finish of a piano is compared to its sound and touch.

There is nothing wrong with choosing a piano based mostly on its appearance even if "serious" musicians might generally think that sound and touch are more important or at least important. I think it's presumptuous to tell other people what should be important to them in a piano.
Posted by: thetandyman

Re: Case color and resale - 11/20/12 10:06 PM

Pianoloverus, I'm not a "serious" musician. A professinal, yes, because I make money playing. However, I still stand by my post that states finish is far less important than playability. Example: I don't like white cars, however, I owned four in a row because the bargains, mileage, and care dictated that they were a great choice. I contend, if you are interested in your interior design above pleasure in tone and touch. then you get what you deserve. What's your opinion?
Posted by: PianoWorksATL

Re: Case color and resale - 11/20/12 10:37 PM

For most buyers, a grand piano represents the largest and most expensive piece of furniture in their home. It is foolish to believe that such a purchase is not emotionally driven. I've known many people to have an affair with a piano made ugly from institutional life but would absolutely think better of it before bringing it home, whether for their own views or those of a spouse.

To the OP, a traditional cabinet in a common wood choice like mahogany is unlikely to hurt long term resale bets. I do, however, find the irony in the question as the OP is primarily looking among used pianos for those that are currently undervalued. wink

Today and for many years, grand pianos are most commonly black. Uprights have shifted strongly, previously dominated by wood finishes and now I think they are slightly behind ebony. I wonder if 20 years from now we'll look back and think, where are all the pretty woods? The cost is so little to gain so much.

Black pianos are beautiful, but I observe that many people are choosing to deny their first love, justifying it as an extra expense, perhaps wasteful, or placing future resale speculation over current satisfaction.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Case color and resale - 11/21/12 12:21 PM

Originally Posted By: thetandyman
Pianoloverus, I'm not a "serious" musician. A professinal, yes, because I make money playing. However, I still stand by my post that states finish is far less important than playability. Example: I don't like white cars, however, I owned four in a row because the bargains, mileage, and care dictated that they were a great choice. I contend, if you are interested in your interior design above pleasure in tone and touch. then you get what you deserve. What's your opinion?
Someone could just as easily and with as much validity say that if you value tone and touch over the furniture aspect of a piano you "get what you deserve". There is no reason for buying a piano that's any more correct or valid than any other. To think otherwise is to think your reasons for buying a piano are superior to someone else's reasons.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Case color and resale - 11/21/12 12:25 PM

Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
For most buyers, a grand piano represents the largest and most expensive piece of furniture in their home. It is foolish to believe that such a purchase is not emotionally driven. I've known many people to have an affair with a piano made ugly from institutional life but would absolutely think better of it before bringing it home, whether for their own views or those of a spouse.

To the OP, a traditional cabinet in a common wood choice like mahogany is unlikely to hurt long term resale bets. I do, however, find the irony in the question as the OP is primarily looking among used pianos for those that are currently undervalued. wink

Today and for many years, grand pianos are most commonly black. Uprights have shifted strongly, previously dominated by wood finishes and now I think they are slightly behind ebony. I wonder if 20 years from now we'll look back and think, where are all the pretty woods? The cost is so little to gain so much.

Black pianos are beautiful, but I observe that many people are choosing to deny their first love, justifying it as an extra expense, perhaps wasteful, or placing future resale speculation over current satisfaction.
I agree that resale value should not be a reason for choosing ebony over a wood finish. I think part of the problem with wood finishes for many people is the additional cost, especially if one is already pushing the limit of one's budget. It would be interesting to see if wood finished became more popular if they cost the same as ebony.
Posted by: thetandyman

Re: Case color and resale - 11/21/12 08:34 PM

It all depends on your expectation of a piano. A piano is a piece of furniture for some, a status symbol for others, and an artistic tool for the rest. The finish importance is very, or much less important considering your reasons to consider such a purchase. I still wince at folks who buy expensive pianos for status. I realize that it is good for the industry, however, I wish folks who really yearned for a quallity instrument could obtain one regardless of their financial ability.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Case color and resale - 11/21/12 08:45 PM

Originally Posted By: thetandyman
It all depends on your expectation of a piano. A piano is a piece of furniture for some, a status symbol for others, and an artistic tool for the rest. The finish importance is very, or much less important considering your reasons to consider such a purchase. I still wince at folks who buy expensive pianos for status. I realize that it is good for the industry, however, I wish folks who really yearned for a quality instrument could obtain one regardless of their financial ability.
You may wince at another person's reason for buying a piano, but no reason is any better or worse than another reason. There are a lot more than three reasons to buy a piano, and it's not always just one reason. I'd guess that a piano is furniture and a musical instrument for many. It's presumptuous to think your reason is better than another person's reason.
Posted by: thetandyman

Re: Case color and resale - 11/21/12 09:58 PM

Let's agree to disagree. Unlike other furniture, a piano is an instrument designed for those who do, or plan to appreciate music. i would feel that those who buy a Rolls of a Lamborghini just for the purpose of making their garage look great or plan to impress, aren't what the manufacturers originally planned for the design of their craft. I understand your opinion. I may be presumptous, but I am esoteric and steadfast in my beliefs. By the way, what are a few of the other reasons for a piano purchase other those that I originally stated? ( music, furniture, and status)