King of the Hill

Posted by: Jolly

King of the Hill - 01/28/02 02:25 PM

Probably, in terms of pianos sold and general public perception, Yamaha is currently King of the Hill in consumer grade pianos.

But especially in the grand piano field, there are many worthy competitors. A Petrof dealer I talked to said he sends customers to the Yamaha dealer to play their C series, because he is supremely confident in his ability to compete. Several Kawai dealers I have talked to, feel the RX series is superior to the C series, for less money. Witness how many times Estonia is reccomended on this forum.

I think the recent thread on Reiger-Kloss illustrates how competitive the market is becoming in the niche that encompasses the Yamaha C series.

On the lower end of the grand market, I feel there are many choices that equal or better the Yamaha GH and GP series. YCs, Samicks, and the Kawai GMs. Many times for considerably less money.

Is Yamaha in danger of losing its' crown? Especially in the grand piano market?
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 01/28/02 04:21 PM

I'm betting that Yamaha has a lot of pricing room, but will have to make the decisions Baldwin never was willing to make, and hence found themselves out of business. The folks I talk to say that within two years, Pearl River will be making pianos that are technically and mechanically at least equal to Yamaha C Series in the smaller sizes, and perhaps with better sound as well. At that point, Yamaha will have to decide what its true market niche is going to be. Will it be an Asian "Schimmel"? (I doubt it -- the quality isn't there.) Will they majorly cut prices to go after the lower end of the market (BTW -- they have done just that in the oboe market, cut prices about 33% in one year), or sit on their hands and watch their market segment erode further?

The GH and GP Series are toast.

[ January 28, 2002: Message edited by: shantinik ]
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 01/28/02 04:38 PM

Piano names are differently perceived in different parts of the world.

In Europe, especially Germany, there is a clear favourism towards their own home products there.

And few, would blame them.

You don't park you Acura Integra besides your neighbour's BMW there in the hope to make an indelible impression "who's boss"...
[UNLESS...it's a CORVETTE or HUMMER!!!]

In Japan itself, the finest car [or piano!] to own is definitely......non-Japanese!!

Concert halls around the world also have not been particularly "pro-Japanese",considering
the sheer number of other fine makers[!]

So who's boss??

The customer/pianist making his own choice.

Of which there are, thankfully, many to be made.

Call it the "liberation' of the masses or whatever.

And enjoy your freedom.

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com
Posted by: Steve Miller

Re: King of the Hill - 01/28/02 10:52 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:

You don't park you Acura Integra besides your neighbour's BMW there in the hope to make an indelible impression "who's boss"...
[UNLESS...it's a CORVETTE or HUMMER!!!]

][/b]


(I won't get involved in the cars vs. piano issue, I won't get involved in the cars vs. piano issue, I won't get involved in the cars vs. piano issue.... )
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 01/29/02 12:07 AM

Steve:

It's not a "car vs piano" issue.

But one of "perception vs reality".

Both are based on the same manufacturer mindset,same consumer psychology.

And I'm a victim of it as much as you are.

Just don't park your Hummer besides my Audi!

[Or play your Fazioli besides my Young Chang]

Perception IS reality!

Or is it?

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 01/29/02 10:08 AM

If Yamaha can cut prices on a musical instrument by 33% and still make money, just think about how many $$$ they make on the full price stuff!
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 01/29/02 10:29 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Jolly:
If Yamaha can cut prices on a musical instrument by 33% and still make money, just think about how many $$$ they make on the full price stuff! [/b]


Yup. That's the thing about Yamahas. They are not bad instruments. But they are WAY overpriced relative to what they are. And so anyone who can run a decent factory in the third world can very easily undercut them.

That's exactly what happened to Baldwin. They were undercut by Yamaha! They could have decided to go for the higher end U.S. market (remember, Mason & Hamlin wasn't in the picture), or they could have cheapened the line, but they stayed put and were cannibalized.
Posted by: Steve Miller

Re: King of the Hill - 01/29/02 12:16 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:
[QB]Steve:

It's not a "car vs piano" issue.

But one of "perception vs reality".

Both are based on the same manufacturer mindset,same consumer psychology.

And I'm a victim of it as much as you are.

Just don't park your Hummer besides my Audi!

[Or play your Fazioli besides my Young Chang]

Perception IS reality!

Or is it?

Norbert Marten
QB]



I once stayed up half the night in the middle of the desert. I sat around a campfire with three other men, and we discussed exactly what you are talking about. The three men I was with are involved in corporate America - two in food, one in transportation. The topic we discussed was "Branding".

The premise they put forth - and I vigorously rejected - was that the "Brand" these days is far more important than the actual product. That if you put a popular brand name on something it really doesn't matter what goes in the bag or under the hood. The world is all about style over substance. I was dismissed as naive, idealistic and a general rabble rouser.

That is what your first post is about, and I missed it the first time I read it. Perception vs. reality. Branding. You are wht you drive, you are what you play. You are what you own. I still reject the entire premise.

My experience with the cars you mention (I used to manage fleets) flies in the face of their perception, but I promised not to get involved in a car discussion on a piano board. Let me just say that pianos are a breath of fresh air in the world of branding, and are a commodity where performance outweighs perception 'most every time - at least for those who care to take the time to learn about them.

I'll park my pickup anywhere I please, and if someone garners joy from a comparison of what he drives to what I drive, I welcome the opportunity to brighten his life a bit. I on the other hand, would rather get to know the driver, although if he is of the sort who finds joy in ranking posessions we may not have much in common.

Thanks for a terrific post.
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 01/29/02 08:40 PM

All one has to do to prove your friends correct in their assertion that brand name is everything is stand around in a piano store for a week and watch as 99 out of 100 novice piano shoppers walk in the door and say "do you sell Yamaha?". They don't know why they are asking for the brand, they have done absolutely no comparison shopping. And they ask this same question in every store they enter. Brand name sells some products.

The next interesting thing to watch is the same people trying to hang on to their preconceived opinions after having seen one of these pianos taken apart and compared to something better, but unknown to them.
Posted by: wghornsby

Re: King of the Hill - 01/29/02 11:55 PM

As evidence of what Larry has just said, let me offer the following.

Our church has had, for the past several years, an utterly unsalvagable baby grand, horrendous to play. I came to find out last summer that an anonymous donor had made the generous offer to actually BUY a brand new grand for the church, willing to front $15k or so. Seeing that I found out a couple weeks after the offer was made, I was shell-shocked that it appeared no one wanted to get a move on this! I knew that our only local option was a Yamaha dealer. But I also knew that 100 miles north we could get, for the same money as a C2, a VERY nice Petrof grand I had played on when I visited my family.

Now, I have no "pull" in the church--just a member who plays during offering once in a blue moon--but the thought of such an important decision being made without ANY consideration of the Petrof killed me. I told my pastor that we absolutely had to at least consider it. I assured him that the Petrof was superior in every way (although it was the subjective matter of tone that headed my agenda, like any pianist!) I went so far as to ask a prominent member of our very own Piano World forum to back me up from a technical standpoint, which he generously emailed me and was absolutely credible and convincing. And why shouldn't it be, damn it, it's all true!!! But I knew I had to do this for precisely the reasons that Larry has said.

OK, here's where the ____ hit the fan. When one of the older choir members (who also plays on occasion) heard about my plans to arrange a trip to the Petrof dealer with the church's pianist and anyone else who wanted to play a part, she blew a gasket. Her reaction was a combination of "who the hell is this yahoo to tell us what we should get?" with "what the hell is a Petrof?" And, of course, both she and her husband have quite a bit of "pull."

To make a long story short, the older choir member, who has had a Yamaha all her life, negotiated a deal with the local dealer before I could get my trip off the ground. As I said, she had never heard of Petrof. She curiously used this lack of knowledge as the basis of her argument, something along the lines of--come on, people, we've all heard of Yamaha. Why risk such an important decision with a no-name brand we've never heard of?

Where does it stand now? Well, if you're ever in town, come check out our $15k satin ebony C2! \:\)

[ January 29, 2002: Message edited by: wghornsby ]
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 12:51 AM

And for this reason, Yamaha will continue to sell this 7,000$ value for 15,000$, over and over and over again.
Posted by: SteveY

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 01:10 AM

I still don't get all this Yamaha bashing. It almost sounds like a kind of "reverse-branding": because the brand is popular, I WON'T buy it.
Personally, I don't find that the winner of Yamaha vs. ______ (insert other brand) is as black and white as some here paint it.
Posted by: Penny

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 01:51 AM

The Yamaha C series is a well built piano. Others can point out technical differences, but I don't think they matter much.

The problem is what you're getting for your money. Overpriced is overpriced. And some people would like to take the money it costs for a BMW 3 series and get a much bigger, more comfortable and higher performing car (don't know cars well enough to offer an analogous brand). Someone mentioned $15k for a C2. My husband's piano teacher paid $20K for a C2 in mahogany. I'm sorry. That's too much.

penny
Posted by: Shadorunnr

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 02:50 AM

It's all basic business. Supply and demand. Products that have a bigger demand get the bigger prices. Try buying a new SUV. They don't cost more to build than a car with simular options, but the demand is overwelming so the prices are inflated. The same is true for any product. Yamaha, Steinway, and every other well known brand of pianos will ask for, and often get, a higher price because of brand recognition. Quality is often overlooked by those who do not investigate the product. I am not implying these well known brands do not have quality, but lesser known brands have to have better quality or lower price, in order to compete with the big boys. We all succome to "branding". We may refuse to be sucked in when we pay $15k for an item, but when it is a pair of jeans, or a soft drink we buy the brand we know and like, reguardless of price. Wal-Mart has cheap jeans, but we buy Levi's. Generic cola is cheaper than Pepsi and Coke, but what does America drink? Who is King of the hill? In the 60s Detroit was king of the American automotive world, but in the 70s Japan offered cheaper and better made cars, and Detroit has been playing catch-up ever since. The same may be happening again in the music world. Lesser known brands are getting better. The current king of the hill better watch out. Style over substance may work short term, but that kind of "corporate" thinking is why so many corporations are going bankrupt.

[ January 30, 2002: Message edited by: Shadorunnr ]
Posted by: wghornsby

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 07:46 AM

You are misreading me, the Yamaha C2 is a good piano. It was a "piano-for-the-money" issue. I felt that the church could get more piano for the $15k.
Posted by: A=443

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 08:04 AM

Hello
I'm a yamaha piano tuner.
I don't know piano market in U.S well.
So these opinions were very helpful and were interesting.I'd like to know other opinions about yamaha piano.
Regards. \:\)

[ January 30, 2002: Message edited by: A=443 ]
Posted by: David Burton

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 08:31 AM

It seems that every well known make of piano has gone through its share of bashing on this Forum, Steinway, Baldwin and Yamaha have endured their share. I get uneasy about this sort of thing the way I do about people bashing any well known brand. In the case of these three makes of pianos, yes there have been quality issues from time to time, but much of it has to do with what we call dealer prep; tuning, voicing and regulating issues. In Yamaha’s case, they have deliberately, and for years, attempted to control as much of this from the factory as is possible. The results have been a fairly uniform and predictable instrument. Much as we might differ on our appreciation of the Yamaha sound, which under consumer pressure may be changing, most of us have been fairly well pleased by the degree of consistency Yamaha has come to represent.

While the guys around the campfire might have assumed that only brands matter and what’s inside doesn’t, certainly they’d feel differently if a real quality issue were to emerge with a well known brand. While people do demonstrate some brand loyalty, there is also the desire to try something different, to break out of the mold, in so many areas of our lives.

In fact, about the most one can say about branding is that just when it seems that the well known brands have it all synched up, that’s when the innovative newcomer has a chance to compete and win recognition. We’ve known for better than 25 years now what a Yamaha is. I still have my favorites in the line, the C6 and C7 among the grands and the U3 upright, but now it’s time to consider something different, a Petrof, Estonia, Schulze-Pollmann or Young Chang.
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 09:05 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by subarus:

It would however be more convincing if people could tell specifically what parts of Yamaha pianos they think are inferior or lacks value for the money.
[/b]


Here's a few. The Asian culture is one that places little value on things once they get a little old. A 10 year old piano in Japan is worth very little. That's why you find so many "gray market" Yamahas for sale. They don't want them. So when they design products, the goal is to deliver something that will function very good for a short period of time. Also bear in mind that all the wood has to be imported. They have none of their own.

Yamaha grands are designed to be able to produce them by the tens of thousands, while "dialing out" as many chances for inconsistencies caused by production assembly line workers as they can. The rim of a Yamaha grand is made of luan mahogany, a soft wood that is very inexpensive and that they have easy access to in large quantities. This wood is cheap, easy to cure, easy to saw, easy to glue, doesn't wear out your tools and equipment as quickly as hardwood, etc. These rims can be produced like Keebler cookies. Instead of 2 days in the mold and a year of curing outdoors for their plates and the accompanying grinding, filling, and finishing of traditional plates, they came up with the vacuum mold, a process which allows a plate to be out of the mold and hung on a conveyor line headed for a paint booth in about 40 minutes. To compensate for the soft rim and its lack of sustain capability, the soundboard is made thicker. This makes the piano louder. The plate, because of its speed of production, has very little carbon in the iron, so it has very little damping characteristics. This compromise for the sake of speed of production introduces even more problems. The subject of plate ring has been thoroughly discussed, so for the sake of space I won't go into it again. In addition to the speed issue, the more "steel like" vacuum cast plate is used to help carry the structural burden that the soft rim can't carry alone.

The compromises in the rim for the sake of speed of production and low cost requires equal compromises in the soundboard, then the plate, the result being a piano with little sustain and a tendency to be loud, thin, and tinny. To remove any chance of production assembly line workers from introducing inconsistencies in tone from these compromised pianos, the hammers are made in such a way that little voicing and handwork is required. Even in the field, Yamaha does not recommend much work be done to their hammers. And little *can* be done - and what can be done only changes things for a short period of time. The cheap, soft rim expands and contracts wildly over the years, which pulls on glue joints, etc. shortening the life of the piano. The result is a piano that has been engineered to sound very good for a short period of time, but that has short sustain, thin bass response, brash and loud masquerading as presence, hammers that can't be adjusted to any real measure, and that quickly begins to wear out due to expansion and contraction.

Now take their S series. Harder rims. Thinner soundboard. Wet cast plates. Different hammers. All the things that Yamaha does to allow their pianos to be made quickly and cheaply are abandoned in favor of the more traditional methods of piano building.

My problem with Yamaha isn't that I think it's a bad piano. It is a good piano. It just isn't a great piano. It has a relatively short life musically, yet because of brand name recognition they can and do sell them for about double what they are really worth. My problem is the way people are like sheep. They will blindly follow the "flavor of the day" en masse, which only allows that "flavor" to continue to cut corners and raise prices. The more they raise the price, the more the sheep justify the value. The old "it must be better, because it costs more" idea. I'll put a Weber 5'7" SE grand up against a C-2 Yamaha any day. They both share the same compromises, they are equal in quality, yet the Weber SE is around 10K instead of around 16K. Because of brand name bias, people will pay 16K for a C-2 and tell themselves it is better than a Weber SE when it really isn't, and because of the ridiculous price they paid they will assume that the C-2 will compete with premium quality brands of lesser name recognition but higher quality - but it won't. And as I see it, perpetuating this myth is harmful to the consumer. They should learn where the Yamaha piano fits in the scheme of things, and demand it sell for a price commensurate with its value. And the view that the Yamaha is a long term musical instrument in the manner of more serious manufacturers should be discouraged.
Posted by: Mike Pappadakis

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 09:30 AM

After reading wg's post, I don't believe he (or anyone) is bashing Yamaha here. It's about alternatives. Because the Yamaha name is so well known, other, not so-well-known pianos that just might be more preferrable are very often overlooked.

Case in point: my neighbor, Jeff, is in the market for a piano for his daughter, as she wants to begin piano lessons. Years ago, Jeff, who doesn't play and has never had a lesson, taught himself to play Fur Elise to impress his then-girlfriend (now his wife). Since he had access to a Steinway, he used this brand to practice on. Now all he can remember is the sound of the Steinway (can't blame him for that), and would love to purchase a Steinway, but really doesn't want to shell out that amount of money.

Yamaha and Baldwin are the only other brands that he knows of and was considering. When I mentioned Estonia, Kawai, Seiler, Charles Walter, Petrof, Mason & Hamlin, Boston, Schimmel and others, he didn't even know they existed (he never heard of Bosendorfer either). He is now investigating other alternatives to the Yamaha (and Baldwin). This isn't to say he won't evenutally purchase a Yamaha, but at least he will have evaluated other brands before making the decision.

Regards,
Mike
Posted by: Mike Parke

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 10:15 AM

Part of brand name can be snobbishness, but part is based on experience with other types of products. Off brands in the grocery store are sometimes equal to or superior to the name brands - yet maybe nine of ten are distinctly inferior. I don't have time to check out every possibility in a store that carries 20,000 or more different products. So I have to use preconceptions or biases. "European is higher quality, uses less preservatives, and is healthier" or "I've had good luck with Green Giant" or "Amish chicken seems to taste better" or "Toyota makes good cars". I think some of this carries over to pianos - and is made worse by the lack of information out there.

The one thing people DO expect from brand names is consistency so that they know what they're getting. It's a policy that made Ray Kroc rich. Such thinking will also produce a bias that's difficult to overcome. "I know I'm getting a decent piano with brand X, so why take a risk on anything else?". I think IBM even used something like this in their advertising at one time.

Also, It's a daunting task to make a true piano search and requires both time and effort, which may put off a number of people. I applaud the many posters on this forum that have taken time to share their experiences. Learning about the process will make my task a lot easier someday when we are in the position of looking for a better piano. Even so, we'll have to start with a list of maybe eight or ten pianos. I'm trying to get my daughter to play some different pianos when there's a chance, but even in the same store neighboring pianos of the same brand can sound quite different. We'll "do things right" when the time comes, but I can well understand those who want a safe haven. :rolleyes:
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 11:25 AM

I bought my daughter a Yamaha Oboe (the one where they reduced the price by 33%.) It is an excellent entry-level oboe, clearly the best one out there, which is why I bought it. But at its old price, it was clearly outclassed by the finer makers who had introduced lower-priced models. And after playing them, everyone knew it.

So they had a choice: majorly increase the price/value equation by increasing the value side of the equation (which would have required massive retooling), or increase the equation by massively reducing the price. To not choose would have meant they'd go the way of Baldwin and end up in nowhereland. They chose the latter, which was wonderful for us.

I expect they will now be in the same position with pianos. There is nothing "wrong" with Yamaha pianos (other than the GH and GP series); they are just tremendously overpriced. And Larry is right: the creation of the "S" series indicates what Yamaha really thinks of its own product.
Posted by: iainhp

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 01:05 PM

There's a sucker born every minute. If Yamaha and their dealers can get $15K for an $8K piano, more power to them. If Honda can get $30k for a $20K car, more power to them too.

You all may get the best pianos, but I bet you miss out somewhere else. When buying a TV or computer monitor do you look at horizontal and vertical rates, color temperature or native resolution? Who's got the time to research this stuff? I followed a DVD forum when DVD was in its infancy and it blew me away how many people paid hundreds of dollars for "Monster" brand cables to connect up their Hi Fi equipment, without even looking at what it did or didn't achieve. They blindly believed the advertising. Name another brand of cable. What's wrong with cheap twisted pair?

We are bombarded with so much advertising it is difficult to cut through it and make a decision based on reality. Kids in the house make it even harder. They want the item with the perceived value, not the one that has the real value.

In business no one ever got fired for buying IBM computers, even when they didn't work properly. But try buying some third world import.

And if Yamaha gets bashed on this forum from time to time, so be it. That's what it takes to wake up the likes of persons such as myself to the idea that there are some other excellent options out there. The Sierra Club and Greenpeace have been using such tactics for years, and I would say we are now more environmentally aware because of it.

Caveat emptor! My 2 cents (though I really should charge you $0.03 for such advice). :rolleyes:
Posted by: Mike Pappadakis

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 01:16 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by iainhp:
it blew me away how many people paid hundreds of dollars for "Monster" brand cables to connect up their Hi Fi equipment, without even looking at what it did or didn't achieve. They blindly believed the advertising. Name another brand of cable. What's wrong with cheap twisted pair?
[/b]



You got that right.

Mike
Posted by: SR

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 01:36 PM

 Quote:
There's a sucker born every minute. If Yamaha and their dealers can get $15K for an $8K piano, more power to them. If Honda can get $30k for a $20K car, more power to them too


And all other piano manufacturers charge a fair price ? They are all obscenely marked up and anyone who pays list deserves to be seperated from their money. Estonia gets alot of praise around here for being a bargain "for the money" I dont quibble with that. I've seen the 6'3" for $18,900. Thats a good price for a piano of that quality. That is nowhere close to the list price however.

Regards

Steve
Posted by: swb

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 02:38 PM

Well, I think Yamah's cache is "safety". If you don't know a lot about pianos, Yamaha is still a known quantity. They DO produce a consistent product and it DOES have certain resale value. So, it's a safe bet. For the vast majority of people buying pianos, Weber, Pearl River, Petrof, Estonia are not known. So, to those people, it's a huge risk to invest thousands of dollars with a company that is a virtual stranger - better to pay a few thousand more and know what you're getting. I think Steinway gets the same thing. You may not know so much about Mason & Hamlin, etc... - but you KNOW Steinway. And, I do think there's a tendency on this forum to bash both Yamaha and Steinway. For my money, the best piano is a good used one. You get past the showroom markup if you don't know how to bargain, and you don't have to go through the "settling in" period to see what your piano will really sound like. I've got a Kawaii (bought used) and I love it. It's no Steinway, but I didn't pay for a Steinway, either. For the money, I'm a happy camper.
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 03:20 PM

Why won't people do the research? Are they all just lemmings?

I had a conversation a few months ago with a dealer who handled Kawai and Pearl River. He said he used to also handle Charles Walter. He loved 'em. The technicians loved 'em. But people in this area didn't buy 'em. Why?

His theory was that the Pearl River pianos moved strictly on price - an alternative to used, but new and shiny. Good enough for little Johnny's first lessons. The Kawais sold because people compared them against Yamaha. "It's not a Yamaha, but it's Japanese, so it's got to be good. And yeah, I like the sound."

Even after explaining why the Walter was worth the investment, he said most people still wanted the Kawai or left and bought a Yamaha.

Go figure.
Posted by: ryan

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 03:30 PM

I wonder what people believe about Yamaha that have owned them for 20 or more years? What scares me is the anecdotal evidence that I have heard recently. Andre Watts was quoted as saying that his Yamaha S didn't have any music left in it after 10 years. A local technician/rebuilder has seen 2 Yamaha grands that had no crown. One was only 20 years old, the other closer to 30. I know a university piano professor that no longer plays his C6 at all. He tried to work with it, and even had the hammers replaced, but last I talked to him he had thrown up his hands on it. Granted this is purely anecdotal. But comments like these make me wonder if they really don't have an issue in design and/or construction.

SR,

Just for reference, the $15,000 that was cited for the Yamaha C2 is NOT list. I believe list in 2002 for a C2 is around $19,000. Now that *is* an obscene markup for what you get.

Ryan
Posted by: MikeC65

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 04:19 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by swb:
Well, I think Yamah's cache is "safety". If you don't know a lot about pianos, Yamaha is still a known quantity. They DO produce a consistent product and it DOES have certain resale value. So, it's a safe bet. For the vast majority of people buying pianos, Weber, Pearl River, Petrof, Estonia are not known. So, to those people, it's a huge risk to invest thousands of dollars with a company that is a virtual stranger - better to pay a few thousand more and know what you're getting. I think Steinway gets the same thing. You may not know so much about Mason & Hamlin, etc... - but you KNOW Steinway. And, I do think there's a tendency on this forum to bash both Yamaha and Steinway. For my money, the best piano is a good used one. You get past the showroom markup if you don't know how to bargain, and you don't have to go through the "settling in" period to see what your piano will really sound like. I've got a Kawaii (bought used) and I love it. It's no Steinway, but I didn't pay for a Steinway, either. For the money, I'm a happy camper.[/b]


Well said. Don't underestimate the value of the brand name to people who don't know what they are doing. Many people don't think to look on the internet, and don't find this forum (or others like it) if they do look, or, even if they do find a forum like this one, don't take the time to ask the questions and do the research, or lack the knowledge to ask the right questions and lack the guts to admit they don't know what to ask. People like that will buy a Yamaha because it's "safe", and don't think Yamaha doesn't know that and base its design, pricing, and marketing on it.

Second, I completely agree that a used piano is the way to go, IF you have a good piano technician whom you trust check it out for you first, and if you are willing to put some money into it after the purchase. Many novices are not going to do that. You can do well (as you did with your Kawai) if you take the time to learn what you are buying. I paid $1,500 for my Steinway K plus about another $2,000 for work on it to get it to the condition I wanted. For $3,500 I'll put what I have up against anything I possibly could have gotten in that price range. It's a great piano. But I took the time to learn what I was buying for my extra $2,000, and is a novice pianist or someone who wants a piano for the kids to practice on going to do that? Probably not. Again, they are the Yamaha type buyer.

Incidentally, the $23,000 Steinway wants for a new K is absolutely insane, and the criticism of Steinway on this forum for Steinway's pricing and lack of dealer prep is fully justified.
Posted by: SR

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 05:04 PM

Ryan....

 Quote:
SR,

Just for reference, the $15,000 that was cited for the Yamaha C2 is NOT list. I believe list in 2002 for a C2 is around $19,000. Now that *is* an obscene markup for what you get.



I am a C2 owner. I believe the current list is $23,995. At that price a C2 would have no more chance of entering my living room than a Bosie Imperial does. However I paid a couple grand less than the $15k for mine. I am thrilled with mine and at 2 or 3 hours a day of mostly Mozart I expect it will outlast Andre Watts' piano. I just hope I live long enough to find out. If I change my mind as time goes by I think the combination of the Yamaha brand recognition and the price I paid will allow a trade to something else with very small if any $ loss.

Regards

Steve
Posted by: Brian M

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 05:11 PM

Steinway Musical Instruments (NYSE: LVB) closed today at $19.60, near a 52 week high and up 38% in the last quarter. The price of a share of their stock, like the price of their products is ultimately determined by the marketplace.
Posted by: Penny

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 05:39 PM

The market is full of inefficiencies and pufferies. Just ask Enron shareholders!

FWIW, Steinway is just short of its 52-week high, which was recorded at $20.85, which occured in May of last year. In between then and now, it plummeted to $13. Almost tech-style volatility! In 1998, it hit its 5-year high around $34.

In 1997, it started out even with the major indices (Dow Jones, S&P, Nasdaq), but lost ground consistently since late 1998. (Yes, I know in any comparison, they start out even, but Steinway ran neck and neck with the indices for almost two years, before tech mania had us reaching for the stars!)

The P/E is 11, faily low by modern standards. I think it is seen as a value play right now, but I don't think this stock will make anyone filthy rich for the foreseeable future.

In fact, I'm not sure what the shareholders are so enthusiastic about. From the last earnings report, the company does not foresee any growth in the coming year:


Steinway net falls, sees lower global piano sales
Thursday November 1, 4:49 PM EST

WALTHAM, Mass., Nov 1 (Reuters) - Steinway Musical Instruments Inc. (LVB) on Thursday said third-quarter net income fell, and the musical instruments maker said the weak economy will drag down global piano sales.

The Waltham, Massachusetts-based company said its net income fell to $2.5 million, or 28 cents a diluted share, from $2.8 million, or 31 cents a diluted share, in the same period last year.


Operating profits rose 18 percent to $4.3 million from $3.6 million last year, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased 12 percent to $12.1 million from $10.8 million last year. Net sales in the quarter rose 9 percent to $82.9 million.

Steinway said it expects U.S. market conditions to remain difficult and negatively affect consumer confidence overseas, leading to a 15 percent to 20 percent decline in global piano sales in the fourth quarter.

It said it will cut domestic piano output at its New York factory to maintain appropriate inventory levels. Steinway Chief Executive Dana Messina said in a statement the company expects 2001 EBITDA to be even with last year and earnings per share of $1.50 to $1.65.

penny

[ January 30, 2002: Message edited by: Penny ]
Posted by: SR

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 05:47 PM

Jolly...

 Quote:
Why won't people do the research? Are they all just lemmings?


People must be lemmings to pick Yamaha ? All quality thought must match your's ?

In truth most shoppers don't know what to like. They don't trust their ears, they don't know a light quick action when they touch one. It's safer to go with the piano the church owns or go with Uncle Milties brand, rather than make a mistake buying something that in their mind nobody's ever heard of. Is this correct ? Well yes and no.
If they don't care to learn first then they need to take the route that gives them piece of mind, after all it's their money.

Hard as it may be for you to fathom some might actually prefer Yamaha.

Regards

Steve
Posted by: Brian M

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 05:52 PM

Penny,

What does the symbol (LVB) stand for? I checked their website and did a little research online but I cant figure it out.
Posted by: Penny

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 05:54 PM

Ludwig van Beethoven!!!!!!!!!

penny
Posted by: SteveY

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 06:03 PM

I guess what I have a problem with is the assumption that anyone who buys a Yamaha:
a.) Has not done their homework
b.) Is obsessed with the name on the fallboard. (is a lemming)
c.) Has been duped into paying more for less piano.
d.) Obviously does not have an ear for quality tone.

For the record, I am not a Yamaha owner. However, after playing quite a few pianos during my career (and a great variety in the last 6 months), I can tell you that my own preferences would take a C3 over several of the pianos championed on this board (including Estonia, Walter, SP, etc.).

The point is that this is subjective territory we're in. Any claims to the contrary are irresponsible.

[ January 30, 2002: Message edited by: SteveY ]
Posted by: EricL

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 06:44 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by SteveY:
....several of the pianos championed on this board....[/b]


I think a more appropriate or accurate way to say this is:

<....several of the pianos championed by some people on this board....>

I wholeheartedly agree with you. Obviously, not everybody who posts on this board agrees with everyone else on everything. The types and brands of pianos we own or aspire to own are as diverse as the group. I personally do not 'champion' some of the brands that some posters repeatedly spoke highly of. Hey, may be I am just a man with 'poor taste' or someone who really don't know anything about pianos. Just to put things in perspective, I drive a Saturn that Consumer Report labelled as "unremarkable". But as long as I am happy with it, who cares what other people think.

Different preferences for different people is what makes this world interesting. If everybody agrees with everybody on everything about a piano, we only need one type, one size, one brand, one style, and one color for a piano, and everyone will be happy owning this one piano!

Eric
Posted by: subarus

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 07:39 PM

Thank you Larry for the eye-opening post. I just have a few more questions.

Do I need to bring a technician to evaluate a piano that does not adopt those production steps to reduce inconsistencies, even though its brand new ?

Could you recommend a piano (new) for 15K ?

One last thing, Larry said: " The Asian culture is one that places little value on things once they get a little old. ". Not intending to go any further into argument, however may I suggest alteration to the statement " Yamaha is one that places little value on piano once they get a little old ". If this is what you mean, I couldn't agree more.

thanks again
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 08:33 PM

SR,

Please read the entire thread. The discussion started as a way to ascertain opinions as to whether Yamaha will remain at the top of the heap in respect to consumer sales. It later turned into a discussion about "branding" and the importance thereof.

Do I think Yamaha is a bad piano. No.

Do I have a corner on the truth? More than some and less than others. And sometimes I'm dreadfully wrong.

Can a Yamaha be YOUR dream piano. Absolutely.

Is it the best value on the market? Not IMHO.

Do people who purchase major consumer goods based on little or no research, who wouldn't know Middle C from Hi-C, and only buy the piano based on what is popular, lemmings? Yep.
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 08:37 PM

Subarus,

You better not bring a tech if you plan on buying from Larry. He'll get insulted and he won't sell you a piano.

IMO, I don't care if you are buying a Yamaha or a Boesendorfer, bring a tech. IT'S YOUR MONEY you are spending. Just make sure to minimize any collusion between the dealer and the technician. And make sure the tech isn't feeding you a line of bull because he's working for another dealer.

FWIW, I have played two C6's and one C7 which were truly outstanding. But I can't be as complimentary to the others I have encountered.

Derick
Posted by: Steve Miller

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 09:37 PM

Terrific thread!

This thread sounds a lot like our discussion in the desert; lots of the same issues. I believe the conclusion was when we were finished, that it DOES matter what's in the box, but you can do more to improve sales by tinkering with the brand than the product itself.

"What's in the box" has a buzzword - it's called "protection of the brand". Yamaha does a bang-up job of protecting the brand. If consistency in the brand lineup is what you want, then Yamaha has that one dialed. Big and small, upright and grand, they all have a remarkably similar action and tone. So similar that it HAS to be a production built piano, there is no other way to make them that consistent. I do not view this as a bad thing, and I suspect that this tone was decided upon after exhaustive research in to what the average buyer at each price point wants their piano to sound like. As a factory guy, I admire a factory that can engineer repeatability in to something so complex as a piano.

Yamaha has also done a remarkable job of marketing their product. I am not sure how they went about it, but everyone knows the brand name, and most feel pretty comfortable with it. Some artists among us may feel differently, but Yamaha appears to be doing a darned good job of satisfying the average piano buyer. You don't do that with a poor product - no matter what they spin is - not for very long.

Did all of these things make me run out and buy one? Well no, they didn't. But I am not Yamaha's target buyer, and you can be sure they have a little box where they classify buyers like myself. I suspect that most of us here are not Yamaha's target buyer, even though many of us are or could be perfectly contented with a Yamaha product. Why are we not the target?

Enter "art" and "artists" - the nemesis of product marketing gurus and their advertising brethren. Anyone who cares enough about the product to actually read and contribute to a forum such as this one is not the sort that branding is going to impress. We are just as likely to buy something used as new, and confound the marketing guys with terms like "musical patina" and "development of soul". We are definitely not the people you want in your focus group

So then we come back to protecting the brand. If one is to sell to people who are not impressed with branding and advertising, the product must stand on it's own merits. Judging by the number of satisifed Yamaha owners on this forum, the product will compete on it's own merits. Matters of personal taste aside, there are one heck of a lot of people who like their Yamahas, and like them a lot.

Overpriced? Depends on your definition. Overpriced is when no one will buy your product because it is too expensive. Keeping in mind that the sum total of the product is the product itself + the marketing effort, Yamahas are priced just right. They move off of the showroom floor in volumes most piano manufacturers would kill for.

Best price/value ratio? Not for me, but then again I buy everything used. For many though, the value is there. Resale value, brand recognition, a distinctive sound that Yamahas seem to maintain for 20 years. Like it or hate it, Yamahas sound like Yamahas, and seem to do so forever.

It has to do with protecting the brand.....
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 10:29 PM

ALL WELL SAID, folks...but times are indeed
...A CHANGING! [As they always have!]

First of all, lets give credit where credit is due and congratulate the success Yamaha has had with their pianos,monster-marketed or not, overpriced or not.

They clearly have accomplished hugely.

We also know they're not the only ones.

For a tiny nation like Estonia to come from nowhere and have their whole production, no
matter how small,completely presold is HUGE!

For Korea to come out from economic doom and
now offer truly excellent automobiles, musical instruments and other consumer products...is another...huge!

For 10 German piano companies competing in the world's toughest high end market[by far] to hang on after 100 years and thrive....is...monstreously...HUGE!!

There are many players here. All of them wonderful and huge in their own way.

BUT... the world is.....a changing.

Because we starting to realize that.....
...they actually EXIST!

P.S.whisper...whisper...THEY ALWAYS HAVE!!

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com
Posted by: David Burton

Re: King of the Hill - 01/30/02 11:56 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Brian M:
Steinway Musical Instruments (NYSE: LVB) closed today at $19.60, near a 52 week high and up 38% in the last quarter. The price of a share of their stock, like the price of their products is ultimately determined by the marketplace.[/b]


By the way, anyone notice that the stock symbol for Steinway is not an abbreviation for Steinway but the initials of one of the great composers? Yeah and they pay reasonably good dividends too. Being a Steinway stockholder, I appreciate that, despite the fact that the company is pretty much run for the benefit of its four largest investors. But God love em, if it weren’t for them, there would be no Steinway left.

Now Larry’s piece on Yamaha was stunning, yeah it was a good piece, really tore them apart without any apologies, truly politically incorrect. He was out and out calling them a bunch of charlatans. The only problem is that it probably doesn’t matter too much. In the long run we’re all dead.

In the perfect piano world, there would be more makers, not fewer, than there are now and each would turn out a limited number of pianos each year. None of these little companies would be a growth industry. You’d pay for the costs of doing it all right of course. There’d be a fair amount of competition over the niceties of piano tone. This is sort of like what the German market is like today and even more so what the American market was like a hundred years ago.

But pianos are in some sense tied to industrialization and as nations industrialize and as their middle classes develop, expand and want the latest in culture, a fine piano, one made in their own country, becomes a badge of distinction. Yes, that’s right, owning a piano, especially a GRAND piano (why else do they call them that anyway) is owning a status symbol. It has weight, permanence, it’s a machine, a piece of fine furniture, all at once.

These days, in ten years most things wear out. If Yamahas are designed to last for ten not sixty years, then so what? If you can’t buy a new one after that time then there’s something wrong with YOU. And yes, that does mean that things are judged in a more temporal kind of way.

I was thinking the other day that the big message of America to the rest of the world is how great it is to be a teenager living in………..Southern California, FOREVER, and that is the great goal of American culture; never grow old, wear out everything you own and replace it with new, consume, consume consume!!! No wonder Americans are so obese! I’m going on a crash diet next week. How about you?

And environmentalists be damned! If the economics of supply and demand change; if materials for something get too expensive, they’ll just use cheaper substitutes and everything will be just as good as it was when the choicer, more traditional materials were used, they’ll even talk you into thinking that the substitutes make it better, like Smart Balance is better than butter even though humans have been eating butter for tens of thousands of years and the nutritional facts surrounding the consumption of such things as Nutrasweet are not yet fully comprehended . Sound familiar?

Yamaha: Elton John plays one and thousands, nay millions, nay tens of millions know who he is so when he appears on TV and everyone sees YAMAHA on his piano they say, “good enough for him, good enough for me,” whether it’s an S or a C, and as I said a few months back, the S’s didn’t thrill me that much. Why I’d rather have a C. But come on, Sviatislax Richter said Yamahas were OK and he was a phenomenal player.

I used to know a guy who had two matched C7’s in his studio and he traded them in every two years. He could at the time being a highly regarded teacher and studio musician who could read anything you put in front of him. And back then, Yamahas were really cheap compared to their competition. I doubt he could do that now.

Why Yamaha? Because of the economics of the thing; scale of production, reasonably good and predictable workmanship. How good do they sound new? I don’t really like them. After 10 years? Can’t imagine they’re any better. After 20 or 30 years? Have no idea. I guess I’ll ask Peter Bondy next time I see him, which may be soon.

And Larry, and Norbert too. I fully appreciate that you both know what makes a quality piano really good, but selling at the higher end of the economic production function; less product at higher cost thus higher prices, you have to expect fewer takers. That’s the breaks. You and Norbert may be selling the best, but the rest of us may not be able to appreciate it, or AFFORD it. If Yamaha is over priced AT THE MOMENT, then let the masses gorge themselves on cheaper thrills than either of you may possibly be able to stomach. Perhaps a smaller inventory or cheaper quarters would help you both. In any case rest assured that I would gladly rather send my best piano playing friends to buy your stuff than to the guys peddling Asians down the block. It’s just that new pianos are getting pretty dear, and probably deserve to be, and only the truly accomplished can fully appreciate the subtle differences. And one more thing, those Asians are clever. They CAN turn out a pretty decent piano for MUCH less money, even if it lacks the finer points of great German piano. Can most people in this culture HEAR the difference? You tell me.
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 01/31/02 03:22 AM

Some good points David. I want to address them, and I also want to address Derek's snide remark as well, but it is 3am and I have to get some sleep. Somewhere in the course of the day tomorrow, I will address this. It's a good thread, but getting a little off course in my opinion.
Posted by: freddie

Re: King of the Hill - 01/31/02 05:46 AM

I don't see anything wrong with buying a Yamaha if you can get it at a good price. The older "well taken care of" verticals that I have played seem nice and a good value. A person could buy a new Yamaha at a good price also if the dealer is motivated type (most Yam dealers aren't I think). A new T116 (assembled in Georgia) in a polished ebony cabinet for $4,000.00 or less isn't a bad deal, for example. If you don't have alot of extra dough, it's a great deal. A good used American/Euro piano is a great also.

The Yamaha tone and action are great for Jazz, Pop, or lighter toned classical work and if one expects it to be a heavyduty classical workhorse they are on the wrong track. I don't see anything wrong with Yamaha myself, but if you have "heavy" designs on playing deep classical music buy an expensive well made American or Euro piano. If you like the American rich churchish piano tone don't buy Yamaha either. Yamaha nor anything in it's price range can do it all. Yamaha is a lightweight action and toned piano and that's what it does best, so just don't play them if you dislike them.

Foam core keybeds, metal action rails, fake wood cabinets....If you look under the lids of other brands in this price range you might find some real eye openers as well.


I'm not trying to flame anyone here, just stating my opinion.


Freddie

[ January 31, 2002: Message edited by: freddie ]
Posted by: freddie

Re: King of the Hill - 01/31/02 07:23 AM

Hi,

I wanted to add that I agree with Larry and others here that you can get "better quality" new piano for the same price as a new "Yamaha" that is being sold at list price or close to it. For example: I've been to shops where they have a price tag of $9,000.00 or more on an ebony U3 and they expect to get it. I've found that most Yamaha dealers think their product is spun gold and will not haggle at all. Maybe being pulled down a few notches would be good for them and the buyer.


Freddie
Posted by: Penny

Re: King of the Hill - 01/31/02 10:28 AM

Freddie wrote:

 Quote:
Foam core keybeds, metal action rails, fake wood cabinets....If you look under the lids of other brands in this price range you might find some real eye openers as well.



Yamaha doesn't compete with the cheap Chinese pianos! In THIS price range (for the C-series), we're talking about Petrof, Estonia, Charles Walter and Schulze-Pollmann. None has those attributes. Solid key beds, solid maple rims, spruce soundboards and Renner actions are what you're more likely to find.

penny
Posted by: freddie

Re: King of the Hill - 01/31/02 12:27 PM

Hi Penny,

Yes your right about the grands. I don't know much about them, but I believe you. In verticals I don't think the specs are that important, after all they all pretty much sound like they are stuffed with pillows anyway (at least all of the affordable brands/models I've played sound like that to me). The affordable verticals all seem to have a sales gimmick to me (scales, lumbercore, ABS,....), but it all comes down to if the buyer likes the touch and tone. Then again maybe I'm wrong....

Freddie
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 01/31/02 01:57 PM

The thread refers to consumer pianos, not just the C series grand pianos. And would Yamaha try to compete with cheap chinese pianos? In Europe I believe some of the Yamaha pianos are made in China. Same goes for some Kawai models in Europe.

It's interesting to read some of Steve C or Norbert's posts on who is or may be King of the Hill.

Could it be that this discussion will take place in the future, but we will be discussing the dominant "brand" at that time......Young Chang?
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 01/31/02 08:47 PM

Yes, perhaps Young Chang,perhaps someone else but you better watch out for the truly groundbreaking new 'Young Chang Platinum series' called "Joseph Pramberger"!!

The 'old boys' from Japan sure are!

This beast is no longer 'middle of the road',
....and they KNOW it!!

[NOT referring to Pramberger 'signature series' where the fallboard still spells Young Chang!]

David Burton:

Dealers across the continent now are selling
both Estonia AND J.Pramberger grands at or
BELOW.... Yamaha piano prices!

And that's gotta be..... SCARY!

BIG TIME!!

The end of the "high-balling" period?????

Perhaps! Perhaps not!

Or at least the beginning of a new period,
aptly named the.....

"Paying LESS for Getting MORE Period!"

[Perhaps we're so adjusted to having it the 'other way around'...we can't ever get it right any longer?]

P.S.During NAMM the Pramberger exhibit was solidly crampacked!!

And not only by the,at least by appearance, [somewhat nervous] Nippon boys and Fatherland
Meisters.

They obviously can spot trouble...

....when they see one!

And going by their [facial]looks ..it at least appeared....

...they DID SEE more than one!!


Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com

[ January 31, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: subarus

Re: King of the Hill - 01/31/02 10:47 PM

It's not my intention to insult anyone bringing tech to a dealer..

Dealers kept telling me good things about their pianos within my budget... I only hear unfavorable remarks for those I am not interested in.. however, I am in no position to doubt him but as an asian bounded by culture, I need to hear both sides, the good and bad (yes, its the ying-yang thing) .. Yamaha is very good.. but its expensive.. makes perfect sense to me... now I know it also dont last very long but I have concluded from my research that its will last for my life time.. good but it could be better !

I understand that a dealer's primary objective is to make deal.. makes no sense for him to tell me about the shortcoming of his piano... and there is nothing wrong with him, in my book.. he is just doing his job.. same goes for other real-estates , computer equiptments, insurance consultants .. My expection is that they don't twist the facts when presenting their products. I know now that I will have to find the negative facts myself if I want to get my money worth when buying piano.

I read the 'bring tech to dealer' threat, and I understand most of the arguments from all sides involved.. if I bring a tech , the dealer will not get insulted..

I know this question is tricky, but its not my intention to be tricky for no reason... what are the things the tech should be looking for when inspecting new pianos. Has any of the techs here hired for such jobs ? Mind sharing your experiences ? I think it would benefit everybody more if those finding being brought out without telling the piano brand name..

thanks again

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
Subarus,

You better not bring a tech if you plan on buying from Larry. He'll get insulted and he won't sell you a piano.

Derick[/b]
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 01/31/02 11:29 PM

You are correct, there are two forms of deception, blatant distortion of the truth, and simply not telling the whole story.

According to The Piano Book, it states:

...have a professional piano technician check the piano for those items that are beyond your ability to inspect, such as the regulation of the action and the tightness of the tuning pins...

Having a tech check tightness of the tuning pins (specifically mentioned in the earlier thread) was, according to Larry, a 'silly' waste of time and highly insulting to him, the dealer. And, then Larry wouldn't sell you a piano after insulting him. Sniff.

Perhaps it is a 'silly' waste of time depending on who you chose to believe. I prefer to be safe rather than sorry and would rather insult someone - you know who I was forking over tens of thousands of dollars to - than to end up with a POS piano.

IMO, you should buy The Piano Book. It's very informative and can tell you trouble spots in pianos you may potentially be interested in.

Best of luck,
Derick
Posted by: subarus

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 01:25 AM

Hi,

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:

Having a tech check tightness of the tuning pins (specifically mentioned in the earlier thread) was, according to Larry, a 'silly' waste of time and highly insulting to him, the dealer. And, then Larry wouldn't sell you a piano after insulting him. Sniff.
[/b]


I think he mentioned that its ok with him if the tech's report is presented in his presence.. I think that is fair.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:

IMO, you should buy The Piano Book. It's very informative and can tell you trouble spots in pianos you may potentially be interested in.
Best of luck,
Derick[/b]


That is something I want to avoid doing... I guess that is why people like me choose Yamaha.
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 01:34 AM

Ok. Now I'll address you Derek. I assumed when I wrote the post which has made you decide to take potshots at me that I was talking to the usual group of intelligent people here. I see that you are relatively new, so I was unaware of your retention impairment. I'll write on a lower educational level to make sure you're able to follow what I am saying.

There is a difference between a new piano and an older piano Derek. The things you need to look for in a new piano is different from the things you need to be concerned about when looking at a new one. If you'll take your trusty Piano Book out and actually read things in context, you'll find that the concern over loose tuning pins involve *older, used* pianos, not new ones, unless of course you are looking at the cheapest piece of crap you can get your hands on, in which case you need to be concerned with a heck of a lot more than just pin torque. I agree 100% that a buyer should check the torque of the pins on any used piano he or she may be considering. Now if you want to run around wasting your time and money paying technicians to torque check the pins in every new piano you may consider, you are free to do so. But - and this was my point Derek - it is a silly waste of time to do so when you're looking at new quality pianos. In 30 years as a dealer and a technician, I have yet to run across a quality piano that had loose tuning pins in it right out of the box. There are far more important things one could be doing with their time and money when trying to select a new piano than looking for loose tuning pins in a new piano, and I was trying to get that point across so the person who mentioned it could focus on more important areas of concern. But as I said, if that trips your trigger, you go right ahead. Just don't try to get a smartass attitude with me because you aren't smart enough to understand what I was talking about.

Now, as to "insulting" me as a dealer: Those who have been around here for any length of time have come to know that I am not one to mince words, but at the same time I make every attempt to be professional in how I do business, and accurate in how facts are presented. Most are aware that I will bend over backwards to help the customer in any way that I can. Those who have been here a while are also aware that I have no problem with a customer bringing their own technician into my store. I even said as much in the post you didn't read properly. I also went so far as to explain the ground rules that I would put on that technician in an effort to *assure* the customer that they got their money's worth from their technician so they would end up with quality information instead of getting taken by a dishonest or incompetent tech. If you had been spending more time trying to learn something and less time thinking of how to take a potshot at me, you could have benefitted from the information.

When I used the word "insult", I wasn't speaking literally, I was trying to make a point. Many here were smart enough to see this, and understand the point being made. Apparently you aren't quick enough on the uptake to do so. But don't give me your "sniffs" and such as you attempt to paint me as being some sort of snob dealer. It isn't my fault you can't read.

Here's the point I was trying to make, and I think it is pretty clear when you take the time to read the entire thread in context. There is a lot of information that gets written on these boards, some good, some not so good. Sometimes a piece of information that is not so good if left unchallenged begins to take on its own truth, and becomes accepted as good information. Checking the torque on tuning pins in a new piano is one of those things, because it is an inspection point meant checking used pianos, not new. I see people who are looking only at new pianos being told to have a tech inspect it for them, and that's ok. But they also get told to check the pin torque, wear on the hammers, wear on the bridges, etc, and this is just simply not something that has to be checked on new pianos. The customer is inspecting a new piano by using the inspection points intended for an older used one. If no one corrects this mistake, you'll have people all over the country who are looking at new pianos spending all their time looking for things they can't find instead of looking where they *ought* to be looking.

If you want to spend your time and money inspecting new pianos using the inspection points for an old used piano, looking for loose tuning pins, worn bridges, worn hammers, that's your business. You can also take your mechanic with you when you buy your next brand new car and have him check the compression ratio on the engine cylinders, and inspect the front end and the brakes for wear if you want to. The car dealer will think you're just as nuts as a piano dealer will think you are when you check out a new piano like it was an old one, but if that's what you want to spend your time doing, you can. But a customer who comes into my store will be educated on the proper things to spend their time looking for. And when they leave, they will be armed with the proper information they need to make a wise choice and which will help them in every store they shop in, not just mine.

And no, you don't come into my store with the attitude that I am a crook that you have to check behind to make sure you aren't going to get screwed. Doing business with me means we will have a long term professional relationship, and I can decide I don't want to be in that relationship with someone just as quickly as they can decide they don't want to be in one with me. If a customer is unsure of themselves simply because they don't know what to look for themselves, and having their own tech with them will make them feel better, then by all means, bring the tech. But bring a good one, because I will chew him up and spit him out right in front of you if he isn't good or if I pick up on something that lets me know he has a hidden agenda. I will do everything in my power to help that customer become comfortable in their decision making process, and in deciding whether they ought to trust me or not. I'm smart enough to realize that if they don't know me then I must earn their trust. But if they come in with the attitude that I am a crook, or can't be trusted, and let me know they have no intention of letting me earn their trust, then yes - they can leave through the same door they came in. I will show a customer every respect, but I will demand the same respect back. I don't play games with them on price or with facts, and I don't allow them to play games with me in either of those areas either. There's a price on the piano, and that's the price. There is truth and there is sales spin. I give you the facts without the spin, good, bad, indifferent, about any piano even if it is one I sell. I don't show you a Korean or Japanese piano and tell you it will compete with pianos it isn't meant to compete with. If with an open mind they decide they just don't like me, or don't trust me, I take no offense to that if they've honestly given me the opportunity to try and earn their trust and respect. But I don't take any crap off anyone - a customer, a stranger on the street, or a smart aleck on a messageboard.

One thing you will hear from nearly all of my customers - I take my profession very seriously. And when they leave my store, whether they buy from me or not, they learn more about buying a piano - *any piano* - than they learned at all the other places they went to combined. If they buy somewhere else as a result of the education I gave them, that's fine. All I ask is that they educate themselves properly so they don't fall for sales gimmicks, salesman's tricks, or bogus information like paying a technician to check the torque on a brand new name brand piano because some pinhead on a messageboard thought it was a good idea.

Do you understand me now, slick?
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 03:27 AM

Great answer, Larry!

 Quote:
In 30 years as a dealer and a technician, I have yet to run across a quality piano that had loose tuning pins in it right out of the box.


And even if such a thing happens, wouldn't that be covered under the warranty anyway?

I didn't even consider bringing an independent tech along when I bought my old and rebuild piano from a local dealer. Why?
Because I trust the dealer. He's got a widespread reputation for doing quality work, selling quality products and above all being honest to me as a customer.
My trust was rewarded.

Nici

[ February 01, 2002: Message edited by: Nici ]
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 03:39 AM

Larry,

I've 'lurked' on this board off and on for years and you consistenly prove that you are a prima-donna. Why? Because prima-donnas never mince words, frequently get highly insulted, are very judgemental, don't listen, can't listen, won't listen, and terminate a discussion with "GET OUT".

Does this sound familiar Larry? "That's silly. I won't sell you a piano. You don't trust me. I'm insulted. Get out of my store."

Larry, a professional? Yup, professional prima-donna. Larry PPD.

Later,
Derick PHD (for real) - you got me beat Lar!

P.S. BTW dude, you definitely can't read! See pages 60-61 of The Piano Book - Third Edition.
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 09:28 AM

Derick

Larry’s right on this one. IMHO it is a waste of time having a tech inspect a new piano. If you are dealing with a respectable dealer on a decent new piano, you should not have any problems. If problems do occur as could happen with any product, they will take care of them.

Larry Fine in his third edition does recommend taking a tech to inspect to inspect a new piano. Larry Fine is a book salesman. In his fourth edition he says that it is a waste of time trying to get useful information from Internet piano forums, and he names this one.

There is a lot of misinformation posted here everyday, but for the most part it is discussed and corrected. There is also a lot of misinformation in Larry’s book, but it is one mans opinion and it doesn’t get corrected till a new edition is published, if then.

lb
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 11:09 AM

lb,

It's all in the delivery... Your, IMHO opinion statement, is not the least bit offensive. But having someone state that something is a "silly waste of time..." is very abrasive. Larry probably believes that falls under the category of "not mincing words". I feel it's rude and judgemental.

I realize that Larry Fine frequently makes statements that are based solely on his opinion. Nevertheless, I think that 90% of his book is accurate - even the section on checking the tightness of tuning pins on a new piano. Here's why...

A few years ago a friend of mine who owns a high-end, very well reguarded, grand piano got quite a surprise. After he had the piano for 10 years he started noticing that it would not stay in tune for very long. He mentioned this to his tech who said "The tuning pins are pretty loose." The tech then added, "but they never were particularly tight since day 1."

This tech, who tunes and maintains approximately 60 Steinway grands for a prestigious college, should have told my buddy about this years ago. The tech, is very highly regarded however he is also a PPD. This tech feels the ONLY piano to own is a Steinway. Anything else is a POS PSO. The tech said that he NEVER finds loose tuning pins on a Steinway. Implication being that loose tuning pins on anything other than a Steinway is TBE.

If my friend had purchased the piano from the PPD on this forum, and brought in this tech, the fur would definitely fly. But once their ego's re-entered the earth's atmosphere and the torque wrench came out, the tech would prevail.

Unfortunately, my buddy found out about the loose tuning pins a little too late. The dealer he bought the piano from is highly respected and has been mentioned on this forum in a very positive light. When my friend called the dealer, they said that they were very sorry but the warranty was up.

Is this a rare situation? Probably. But my friend could have been spared several thousands of dollars had he followed Mr. Fine's advice.

IMHO, anyone who buys something substantial should have another pair of eyes look at it.
If they don't, they are treading on very thin ice. How goes that old expression "Buyer beware".

Derick

[ February 01, 2002: Message edited by: Derick ]
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 12:29 PM

Main Entry: pri·ma don·na
Pronunciation: "pri-m&-'dä-n&, "prE-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural prima donnas
Etymology: Italian, literally, first lady
Date: 1782
1 : a principal female singer in an opera or concert organization
2 : an extremely sensitive, vain, or undisciplined person
---------------
Since I'm not the principal female singer in an opera or concert organization, and since that wouldn't further your case any even if I was, I will assume that you have concluded that I am extremely sensitive, vain, and undisciplined.

Next, since you have told LB that you didn't find his comment that it was "a waste of time" offensive, but you found my comment that it was a "silly waste of time" offensive, I will conclude that what is bothering you is the use of the word "silly", since that is the only difference in the two statements.
--------------------
Main Entry: sil·ly
Pronunciation: 'si-lE
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): sil·li·er; -est
Etymology: Middle English sely, silly happy, innocent, pitiable, feeble, from Old English s[AE]lig, from s[AE]l happiness; akin to Old High German sAlig happy
Date: 14th century
1 : archaic : HELPLESS, WEAK
2 a : RUSTIC, PLAIN b : obsolete : lowly in station : HUMBLE
3 a : weak in intellect : FOOLISH b : exhibiting or indicative of a lack of common sense or sound judgment
Helpless and weak is an archaic use of the word silly, so I wouldn't have meant it in that way. Rustic, plain, or humble is an obsolete use of the word, so I wouldn't have used the word with that intended meaning either. Since you are a Phud, you should be able to note then that we now have two possible ways left that I could have been using the word. You have eliminated the possibility of my using the word silly to mean "weak in intellect", because you have branded me a prima-donna, and as a prima-donna I have already shown you the words I will use if I want to tell you that your intellect is lacking, and the word silly wasn't it. Therefore, the only way I could have intended to use the word silly was with the meaning "FOOLISH b : exhibiting or indicative of a lack of common sense or sound judgment".

It is usually considered a foolish act to waste your time. Therefore, wasting your time having the tuning pins inspected on a new piano would be foolish. If you did this because you didn't know any better, then one would say that you were doing this because you lacked sound judgement on the issue. That doesn't mean you're silly, and it doesn't mean you can't educate yourself and eliminate the problem of lack of sound judgement. If on the other hand you chose to ignore the advice of those who know the facts and tried to provide them to you in an attempt to help you, and instead of learning from their knowledge you chose to attack them with snide remarks, at that point one would have to conclude that you fall under the definition of "exhibiting or indicative of a lack of common sense".

In conclusion, Mr. Derek with the Phd, while the original poster would have been making a silly mistake as defined by "doing the wrong things out of a lack of sound judgement" - a problem that is easily fixed by simply educating yourself, you on the other hand are bound and determined to cling to your silly viewpoint as defined by "exhibiting or indicative of a lack of common sense" - in other words, in spite of your Phd you ignore the ever mounting evidence that your view is incorrect and build strawman arguments to allow you to avoid applying common sense. In the course of doing so, you chose to attempt to sling dirt at me because you weren't smart enough to follow the meanings of the words you were reading through not so subtle little snide remarks, which I find far more offensive than using the word "silly" in the context that it was used. You started this little tiff with your snide little digs, which are the actions of "an extremely sensitive, vain, or undisciplined person". But.....Mr. Derek with the Phd.... isn't that the definition of a prima-donna?
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 01:13 PM

Lar,

Once again, you've proven that you are a prima-donna. Either you are not listening, don't want to listen, or can't bring yourself to listen. You never addressed the problem my friend had with his piano. Perhaps that's because it flies in the face of all you so-called 'advice'.

Sorry, but you already dubbed me a 'wise-ass'. You really don't want to give up your crown now do you? .

So Mr. Larry, you ARE a prima-donna. Goodbye.

Derick
Posted by: SteveY

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 01:36 PM

In defense of Larry:
When I was searching for a piano, I emailed Larry asking him a couple questions. Even though I was new to the board, and my email was unsolicited, he was gratious enough to give me real answers to my questions. If my memory serves me correctly, he even did this several times. Because I have local options for the pianos he carries (I don't live near Larry), it really wasn't an practical option for me to purchase a piano from him. And yet knowing he'd never see a dime from my purchase, he still was a helpful resource. (A belated thanks Larry!!!)

The other side:
However, I find Larry's latests posts toward Derick to be missing the gratiousness he so generously gave to me. Perhaps Derick's words were not deserving of much grace, but I believe that's what professionalism is all about: showing people respect whether they deserve it or not.
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 01:45 PM

Well, let me answer that question for you Derek. Did it ever occur to you that your friend out to have been kicking his technician for sitting on his hands for 10 years and not telling him he had a problem while it was under warranty? Taking him with him to get his advice when he was buying it obviously would have been of no use, the man apparently didn't have the good sense to tell anyone what he was finding. Your friend could have bought the piano without taking his technician with him, because if the technician had been worth a dime he would have pointed it out the first time he tuned the thing and it would have been replaced under warranty.

Next, did it ever occur to you that this technician who waits 10 years to tell his client/friend he has a problem may have been making a statement that wasn't a fact? Just because he said it had had loose pins from day one doesn't mean it did. Actually, it sounds to me like it *didn't*. Either the tech is a lousy tech, or the piano didn't have a problem for nearly 10 years. If he's a lousy tech, he wouldn't have been any help in selecting a piano. If there wasn't a real problem initially which is what I believe the case to be, then he would have approved the piano on inspection and everyone would be sitting around wondering why the pins were now loose.

Third, and then I am going to ignore you because for a Phd you aren't much of a mental challenge - if your friend's technician was worth a dime, he'd already know that if the piano is only just out of warranty, just because the dealer is saying he won't do anything doesn't mean the story has ended. If it is truly a high quality piano as you say, then all he has to do is call the manufacturer. I can't think of a single manufacturer who values their reputation who would refuse to honor a major problem such as this on a piano that had only recently aged out of warranty. If your friend will ignore his lousy technician, you, and the dealer he bought it from and call the manufacturer, my guess is that when he explains the situation to them they will gladly take care of the problem to keep a happy customer. See Derek, if you do business with a prima-donna, you can get results when you need them.
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 01:58 PM

Steve,

I'm not surprised that Larry helped you when you were buying a piano. I have seen the best of him on this forum, as well as the worst.

Basically I'm in total agreement with your comment about professionalism. But, in my own defense, my words degraded into what this discussion has become because Larry was not professional in the earlier thread when he used the phrase "it is a silly waste of time".

The word 'silly' is significant in the sense that it is a judgemental word. Professionals are not judgemental. Nor do professionals throw people out of their store because they somehow managed to insulted them. Professionals do not assume that a customer thinks he is a crook if the customer wants a second opinion.

I'm sorry, but I do not like people who know everything, refuse to admit they've made a mistake, or acknowledge that there is another side to the coin.

The mistake I made was to call Larry on something he wrote on this forum.

Derick
Posted by: ryan

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 02:16 PM

I am very, very surprised that the dealer who sold this "high end" piano did not ask the manufacturer to fix the problem himself, especially one this serious. I know a few dealers of high end pianos. Very rarely a high end piano will develop a serious problem after the warranty period is over. In the instances that I am aware of, it was the dealer that contacted the manufacturer and got the problem resolved for the customer. There is something wrong with this story. It almost sounds like this was a black market piano that covered by the dealer but not by the manufacturer.

The other problem I have is the technician who continues to tune a piano can't hold a tune because of loose tuning pins, a detail he avoids telling his client. Being a Steinway snob does not even approach explaining this - either the guy is an idiot or the story is missing some significant details. I agree with Larry, it this technician didn't tell the client for 10 years about the tuning pins, he would have been no help during an in-store evaluation. I am sortof curious, though, what the real story is...

Ryan
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 02:51 PM

Larry,

As I said, the tech is a PPD. Anything non-Steinway is garbage. He believes in the don't ask, don't tell principle. If you don't ask him about the tuning pins, he won't tell. Why should he bother? The piano is NOT a Steinway.

Was there really a problem with the pinblock? Well my buddy had 2 other techs come in to give their assessment. They both agreed the pins were loose.

No, I did not know that a piano just out of warranty would be taken care of by the manufacturer. But, please remember, you specifically stated that one must purchase from a high-quality dealer. One, such as yourself, who has a stellar reputation. Well, this dealer does. So when my friend called, why did they not tell him to call the manufacturer, or call them for him? Apparently buying a piano from a dealer with a stellar reputation is NOT enough. Unless, as you said, you buy from a dealer who is a PPD. But then you have to worry about saying something that might insult him. I'm not sure it's worth the hassle.

To replace this piano at today's cost would be around $70K. Junk is not sold at that price, its praises have been sung repeatedly on this forum (even by you if I remember correctly). I think it is safe to say it is a high-quality piano.

My PHD is in Electrical Engineering. My dissertation work focused on fabrication, characterization and numerical simulation of compound semiconductor field-effect transistors. Quite a mouthful, ain't it? Bet your surpised I can even say it. Good thing I've got the plaque on the wall (from MIT) to refresh my memory. Now what was that you were saying about mental challenges?

Derick
Posted by: wghornsby

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 03:14 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
My dissertation work focused on fabrication[/b]


You're making it way too easy for Larry here! \:\)
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 03:17 PM

Haha, you're right! I didn't even think of it that context.

Derick
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 04:16 PM

Larry:[ and "TO WHOM IT MAY APPLY"]

CONGRATULATIONS to another FORUM CLASSIC!!!!

[With your *anticipated* permission,I have it
printed, framed and HUNG ON MY STORE WALLS!!]

In addition, I'll be happy to pay you royalties for public display in what can only be called a....

"DECLARATION OF COMMON SENSE,insight and pledge of INTEGRITY in the piano business"!!

Now, some of your readers here, don't understand such language. For whatever reason
their life experience,mother's teachings or rawness of cultural-ethical [business?] background, suspect the DEVIL INCARNATE to follow their each and every footstep in life.

Including when buying a milkshake at Wendy's.

Strongly suspect,they're hiding [as usual!] behind convenient aliases and false names of sorts.

Because they're at least intelligent enough to also recognize the obvious danger of looking a little 'stupid' to come out swinging [from nowhere] and talking sheer nonsense.

Which, even [especially?] in the case of a
supposed PhD...is a forgiving mistake.

At least we all know it's not a PhD in music,
piano making, spelling [PHD??] or -
God forbid......... COMMON SENSE!

[Remember I said "TO WHOM IT MAY APPLY"!]


Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com

[ February 01, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 05:01 PM

Dear Norbert,

\:\)
Posted by: swb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 05:23 PM

Norbert is right on target about one thing. The problem here is INTEGRITY in the piano business. Larry may well be an ethical retailer, but the real reason someone comes into his store with a tech, demanding to inspect that new, high-quality piano is all of the other, low-integrity dealers who lie, twist, etc..., so that the average buyer has no idea which end is up. It's hardly a problem confined to piano sales (I know this - I'm a lawyer!!) It's insulting to the ethical business person to be mistrusted because of the proliferation on unethical people in the field. But, until businesses like piano sale (and law) can squeeze out these people, those of us who try to run an honest shop will always have to endure dealing with customers who insist we earn their trust (and even then, may not really trust us).

Fortunately, the little spat here shows what's great aboutAmerica. If you don't like how Larry, or anyone else does business, go somewhere else. And Larry has a perfect right to run his business as he sees fit. If he's not doing it right, he won't have customers. Which gets back to the original issue about Yamaha. Some people may think Yamaha is overpriced for the product. But as long as there are customers out there who will pay for their pianos, I expect they'll keep making them the way they do and charging the prices they can get.
Posted by: freddie

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 05:43 PM

Hey Penny, scratch my former post your right but really there are only a few affordable high quality verticals in mass of medium quality models)!!! Thanks jolly you rock!!! Too bad my bank account doesn't increase along with the quality of finer pianos. LOL

Hey Larry, If I end up having to get a used "Yamaha" vertical could I haul down from Indiana to you in the summer for some extra regulation stuff? I know you'll want to do some special action work on it ;\) .

Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't have the nerve to bring another tech into someone else's shop. As far as manners go, I think it's rude. If it's a very expensive used piano then I could understand it. If it's new make sure you can trust the dealer/brand to honor the warranty. I wouldn't do it to ya' Larry, Rich, Steve C., Hank, Norbert etc... I think it's poor manners to do something like that. If your that distrustful buy the piano from someone else.

Freddie
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 05:43 PM

SWB,

Only a lawyer (and probably a good one at that) could have made a salutory synopsis and in the last couple of sentences put this choo-choo back on track!

Congratulations! \:D

[ February 01, 2002: Message edited by: Jolly ]
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 05:56 PM

Fantastic!

Common sense restored.

[P.S. I'm glad to see not everybody here suffers from PHD,PhD,phd,pHd..or whatever..]

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com

[ February 01, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 06:54 PM

I agree with Jolly, SWB. That was a very well written post.
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 07:30 PM

Norbert, if you had any common sense you'd take a remedial English class. You need one. PHD -> PPD, rather than PhD. Get it? Probably not.

Have no fear Freddie, I wouldn't touch a piano from Norbert or Larry with a 10 foot pole. But I most definitely would buy one from Rich or Hank who are true professionals. But thanks for telling me to buy my piano somewhere else anyway. Now go wipe off your brown nose.

Try and behave boys, I've got real work to do. Aren't there a couple of pianos that need to be polished???

Derick
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 07:42 PM

And this from the Phd who tried to base his argument on what "professionalism" is.

Sniff.
Posted by: Penny

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 08:12 PM

I'm not taking sides, really, but when someone gets picky about spelling, I, the editor without a Phd, have to speak up. It's judgmental, for goodness' sake! No E after the G!

Thank you,
penny
;\)
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 08:14 PM

"To whom it may apply"

Defendant confirms identity.

No further questions, Your Honour.

P.S. I got my own PhD in 1986.
Without remedial English classes.
If it's important for anyone to know.

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com

[ February 01, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: Penny

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 08:32 PM

Norbert,
You didn't use the word "judgemental!" And, despite your lack of spacing (which I suspect is more of a computer problem than a mental hiccup), your use of "whom" is heartening! I thought only I and my 7-year-old knew its proper use.

Now, if you say "presently" to mean "soon" and not "currently," I may have to ditch a certain dark and handsome husband!

penny \:D
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 08:40 PM

Penny:

...NOT to ditch a certain and handsome husband....

...has an everyday equivalent I was told....

..when I sang while playing piano at bars...

...NOT to quit ....my daytime job.

[P.S... I didn't!]

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com
Posted by: freddie

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 08:40 PM

What...?????

Just to set the record straight I like everyone that comes to this forum at this present time. I said I like Larry, Norbert, Steve C., Rich, etc.. and I meant it.


Freddie
Posted by: Hank Drake

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 08:42 PM

Freddie, you're more than welcome to come visit me anytime. Cleveland's just a few hours drive away!
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 08:51 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Penny:

Now, if you say "presently" to mean "soon" and not "currently," I may have to ditch a certain dark and handsome husband!

penny \:D[/b]


Sorry, my wife says I'm taken. But I can fax you a copy of my Oxford degree, and with it, the right to wear a silver dress sword on the left side.
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 08:56 PM

Derick..Larry..anyone..

"TO WHOM THIS MAY CONCERN"

It's Friday night and time to get together for an old German custom.

When we were young and beat hell out of each other,we all got together later for a beer.

It's like at the end of World War ll, when
old enemies were suddenly dating the other side's daughters [and wifes?] and munching away on Schnitzel, Sauerkraut and beer.

[Getting hungry, by the way!]

In the end,the wisest words were spoken by General Patton who just released the last German General taken prisoner the day before.

He said: " On you go, Pal,because we're no longer enemies.

From now on we're all customers of the same goddamn companies!!"

Make that a customer of Loewenbrau,Dortmunder
Warsteiner,Becks, Henkel....whatever.

I'll have one on all of you tonight!

Prost....and thanks for a great brawl!

[P.S. I AM going out with my wife!!]

....now which other companies could General Patton possibly have had in mind..........

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com

[ February 02, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: BrulBruce

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 08:59 PM

Can we get back to the original discussion of which pianos are the best?
I need some help here, people!!

I'm close to buying a new Petrof 125, but the Steinway store in NYC (Steinway Hall - what a great name, huh?) has a 20 yr old 1098. Is this a good piano? I keep seeing bad things about Sterinway verticals.

The thing is, if I buy from Steinway, it effectively is a deposit for a better Steinway in the future due to their lifetime trade up (same goes for their Bostons - are these really just Kwais? They have a new Boston for same price as the 1098).

What's the real deal about Steinway verticals?

Also, stop fighting!!!!
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 09:15 PM

Bruce,

Don't let the sales pitch of the Steinway vertical or the Boston being a "deposit toward a Steinway" sway you. It is part of the Steinway sales pitch to make it look as if their pianos hold their value so well that the guarantee of all your money back on trade is some sort of exclusive benefit. The fact is, most any dealer selling most any brand can offer you the same deal when you're paying full list. Often they can give you all your money back for what you are trading even if you aren't talking about full list. I give a full tradein value to everyone on anything.

As for a 20 year old Swy 1098 against a new Petrof, to me the answer is obvious. The 1098 is hated by nearly any technician you ask. And considering that the Sway is 20 years old, the Petrof in my opinion is the better choice. Do not allow the brand name on the piano to dictate things to you.

I'd also suggest that you slow down a little, and compare a few other pianos. But if you already have and have narrowed it down to these two, or just don't want to compare any more - if you're wanting an opinion as to which way to go between the two, I'd say get the Petrof. It's a fine piano, it's new, and in my opinion Petrof verticals are superior to Steinway verticals.

And in keeping with the rest of this "silly" thread ( \:D ) (sorry, couldn't resist....) before you decide to buy the 1098 be sure to take a tech with you to check the pin torque on it. Most of them are so tight they almost won't turn, which is almost as bad as loose pins.

[ February 01, 2002: Message edited by: Larry ]
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 09:17 PM

Brul:

You're on the wrong thread!

This one is about the "King on the Hill"...
...or something to the effect...

Then it became world war lll.

Now it's peace again.

We need to take vote for a new King.

[ I'm a conscientious objector!]

Long live the King!!

norbert marten

off....off....off
Posted by: Steve Miller

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 09:34 PM

This working for a living thing is killing me. I go to work and by the time I come home the whole thing is finished!

I am still interested in the beer-and-song thing, though....
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 09:37 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by BrulBruce:


The thing is, if I buy from Steinway, it effectively is a deposit for a better Steinway in the future due to their lifetime trade up (same goes for their Bostons - are these really just Kwais? [/b]


It really is not "the thing". Steinway prices will continue to go up. Your asset will not. Most likely you will have to trade it in where you bought it, and the moment they know you expect to trade, the range for dickering on price narrows considerably. And what if your tastes change? Or your income doesn't? You might be able to afford a really nice Petrof grand (or a used Steinway grand somewhere else), but will you be able to afford a Steinway grand from Steinway?

I say buy the one that speaks to you TODAY! You may get hit by a car before you get to trade it in, and least you will feel you've had the opportunity to play something you really liked. Of course, St. Peter might let you come back down to earth so you can take advantage of the "the thing"....

Posted by: robe

Re: King of the Hill - 02/01/02 09:53 PM

I wouldn't touch a piano from Norbert or Larry with a 10 foot pole...

Dear PHD,
What length of pole would be required to touch a piano from Norbert or Larry?

Would the same length of pole touch both pianos simultaneously?

Does pole length really matter?

Posted by: Eldon

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 12:03 AM

Penny-
We just can't talk about spelling. It could start a real war. I've been reading here about 16 months. Do you realize just how many people CANNOT spell the word definitely? I mean how could I possibly ever mention this to a guy like Ryan. I use him as an example; because if I ever were to meet him, I'm SURE I would like him....lots! And I would NEVER want to hurt his feelings. ;\) And to borrow a phrase from Larry........."I just couldn't resist" \:D
Posted by: ryan

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 12:15 AM

Now wait a minute, how did I get dragged into a debate on spelling? I am not finished bashing Yamaha yet ;\) No offense taken, Eldon - if my spelling is not bad enough, I am frequently appalled at the typos I commit...
Posted by: freddie

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 05:39 AM

Hi All,

Sounds like a good idea Hank, I'm a slave to my job so getting some time off can be tricky.


Your all going to keep it up until I end up getting a "Currier" or "Cable Nelson" spinet ;\) . I don't mind some of the Yamaha models, but I agree that some of them are really awful PSO's. The U3, U1 (boy some of these are firewood though), T116(another stinker if your not careful), P22, & T121 are decent pianos, BUT ONLY IF YOU CAN GET THEM FOR A GOOD NEW/USED PRICE. At full price they can POKE 'em!

Ryan you've been spoiled by your Sauter \:D ,

Freddie
Posted by: Mike Parke

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 06:49 AM

I'm a bit late, I guess, joining on this thread - probably for the best. I'd just like to add that as someone who turned down a full scholarship at MIT, I guess I don't just fall down with awe at a PhD from there. And I don't consider myself a mental giant - or even particularly competent at discussing pianos. I read the forum here to learn.
Posted by: T2

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 07:03 AM

I'm scratching my head at this thread too. Shades of the W.W.F. ;\)

T2
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 08:15 AM

This old farmer who had never gone to school, sent his only son off to college. A few years later he received a letter from him saying that he got his BS from this prestigious university. A couple years later he got another letter saying that he got his PHD from another university. The farmer showed the letters to his hired hand and said, I know what BS is but what does PHD mean? The hired hand replied, piled higher and deeper.
This has turned into a real hog waller (it’s waller where I come from, not wallow)

Intelligence and education does not equal common sense.

Communication is 75% on the receiving end.

I work with and receive communications from companies and individuals all over the world. The translation and spelling often makes it difficult to understand the message. Shortly after 9/11 I received letters of condolence from most of these people. These were wonderful letters, and the translation and misspelling made them even more precious.

Try to hear what the person is saying, don’t attack their choice of words or there spelling.

lb
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 08:48 AM

Something we all learned in college:

BS = bullsh*t

MS = more sh*t

PHD = piled higher and deeper \:D

Everyone has their area of expertise. I cannot intelligently discuss the electronic aspects of semi-conductors with an expert. On the other hand, would some of you like to have a little discussion on recombinant DNA technologies and the practical aspects of their use in the immunochemistry laboratory of the common tertiary care center? Or the Mendhelson curves of troponin I or T and their value in the timely delivery of streptokinase in the typical myocardial infarction? H*ll no!

The point being - I am not an expert in piano-ology. Hank, Larry, Norbert, Rich, Steve C and others all are. They are "in the business". So I believe I will pay closer attention when they comment on aspects of their profession, than say, the properties of transistors being mentioned on a piano message board.

And yeah, forget the Steinway! ;\)
Posted by: Brian M

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 10:08 AM

B.A "I know everything"
M.A. "I know nothing"
PhD "I know nothing, but its ok, nobody
else does either"
Posted by: SR

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 10:14 AM

Jolly.....


 Quote:
The point being - I am not an expert in piano-ology. Hank, Larry, Norbert, Rich, Steve C and others all are. They are "in the business". So I believe I will pay closer attention when they comment on aspects of their profession, than say, the properties of transistors being mentioned on a piano message board.

And yeah, forget the Steinway!




Just curious, after professing yourself a non expert in "piano-ology" Why the advice to forget the Steinway ? Perhaps you could relate your personal or professional Steinway experience.

Thanks

Steve
Posted by: Hank Drake

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 10:50 AM

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not;
nothing is mroe common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not;
unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not;
the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

Calvin Coolidge
Posted by: Hank Drake

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 10:53 AM

...and even with the best education, your fingers can still slip and you can spell "more" as "mroe"!
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 10:59 AM

 Quote:

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

Calvin Coolidge[/QB]


Yeah, what he said. (and look at what he's remembered for.)

:p

David (still marveling at his Charles G. Dawes Commemorative)
Posted by: Hank Drake

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 12:27 PM

I was gonna say the same thing, David! As an ironic subtext, or course.

Maybe we should say, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, and heavy pianos falling on us!"
Posted by: Penny

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 01:05 PM

Eldon,
Yes, that definately, I mean defanitely, I mean definitely drives me crazy!!!!! ;\)

I'm sorry, I think English speakers should make some effort to write (and speak) the language correctly. I don't hold non-natives to that higher standard. I know a Russian, who despite the spelling errors, writes more beautifully, poetically in English than 98 percent of us -- and I include myself in "us."

Already, "me" has become an acceptable subject pronoun (i.e., Me and her went shopping) and "good" and "well" confounds even some teachers.

It's enough to drive one totally batty!

OK, off soap box, back to peanos, I mean piunos, I mean pianos!

penny
Posted by: BrulBruce

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 01:42 PM

Still, no one pins down the "why" as in, "why should I stay away from a Steinway vertical?" Just because there are no bushings around the tuning pins?

Larry Fine rates them in Cat 1, and says nothing bad about them, other than it takes a bit longer to tune them.

why, why, why? We, the uninformed, want (demand) to know!! ;\)

[ February 02, 2002: Message edited by: BrulBruce ]
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 01:46 PM

Good morning everybody:

The night was great...and the SUN is shining!

Last night I was out and listened to some great music with my wife.

Talking to some of the great [jazz] pianists we saw...I brought up the "King of the Hill"
discussion this great thread was supposed to be all about. [initially...before bin Laden took over!]

Well...here's the answer from the boys:

"The real King is the piano a player chooses if he was to actually have a choice".

[Or make that ...the PLAYER instead...]

"Unfortunately we're stuck in these clubs with all kinds of [under-serviced!] *dogs*!"

"And some [most?] of them are the more famous names in the business!"[The 'Kings'?]

"Of course... the PLAYER is the King, NOT the piano"!!!

"At least the PLAYER can take a bath, smell nice - and be perfectly in tune...anytime!"

"And take a girl home afterwards"

"And that's ..how you can recognize a....

...TRUE KING!![..or at least..LIVE like one!]

[By the way: Last night..I did feel a little bit like a ...'King' myself!]

And I didn't even play!!

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com

[ February 02, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 07:27 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by BrulBruce:
Still, no one pins down the "why" as in, "why should I stay away from a Steinway vertical?"
[ February 02, 2002: Message edited by: BrulBruce ][/b]



The "why" would only be that person's opinion. If you are having such a hard time not buying the name, go ahead and get it. But my personal reasons for not recommending them would be the fact that they are not just hard to tune, they are so full on inharmonicity that to me they are darned near impossible to tune. That, and the fact that for half the money you can buy much better pianos, the Petrof being one of them.

But that's just my opinion.
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 07:39 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Penny:

Already, "me" has become an acceptable subject pronoun (i.e., Me and her went shopping) and "good" and "well" confounds even some teachers.

It's enough to drive one totally batty!
penny[/b]



It doesn't bother me too much when someone flubs the spelling of a word now and then. Everyone stumbles on a word once in a while. Even when someone repeatedly spells the same word wrong, I might notice it but it doesn't bother me. There is one though, that absolutely drives my up a wall. And that is the growing number of people who don't seem to know the difference between "lose" and "loose".

"Did you loose your keys?"

It gets even worse. A guy on rmmp a few weeks ago was blasting another guy and repeatedly said "you are a real looser"....

It just seems to me that if they would only read what they were writing they'd understand they had it wrong. And it's everywhere. I've even read news publications where the reporter didn't know the difference either.

Second on the list for me would be "defence" instead of "defense". That word has been used a lot in the media lately as you know, and I'm beginning to think this may be the British way of writing it or something, since all the British news writers seem to write it that way.
Posted by: jodi

Re: King of the Hill - 02/02/02 10:00 PM

OK, here's what drives ME nuts. When someone says Nu-cu-lar, instead of Nu-clee-ar, and Cho-les-tree-al, instead of Cho-les-ter-al. \:\) Jodi
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 04:02 AM

hey, i weigh in with fellow journalist and editor penny. (even if i do have a predilection for the lower case--it lets me type faster.) bad spelling and bad grammar just set my teeth on edge, much like an out of tune violin, or piano. as a prof of mine in grad school used to say: "bad spellers are terrible people."

well, i don't really believe that. and i don't always spell correctly myself. but i don't think we should let users of the english language off the hook for mangling it. they should be encouraged to improve.

the english language is very beautiful. would any of you say of someone who repeatedly played the wrong notes while performing a mozart sonata that it is ok because his feeling for the music is so apparent? i think we might excuse it to a point, and then expect the pianist to practice and improve. none of us would be satisfied with a permanent inability to play the right notes. so why should we be complacent about bad spelling?
Posted by: BruceD

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 06:37 AM

...and then there's the ubiquitous - even on this forum - "your" for "you're"...

Pique: Your eloquent plea against bad spelling and bad grammar would be more fully appreciated - at least by this reader - if your sentences did begin with an upper case letter. Capitalization is a grammatical element, is it not?

Regards,

[ February 03, 2002: Message edited by: BruceD ]
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 08:34 AM

Penny
“I'm sorry, I think English speakers should make some effort to write (and speak) the language correctly. I don't hold non-natives to that higher standard.”

Pique
“i don't think we should let users of the english language off the hook for mangling it. they should be encouraged to improve.”

I thought that this was a forum about pianos. If our spelling, punctuation, and vocabulary are open for criticism, then every subject should be fair game.

I think that we should set high standards for our self, not others.

If we allow every pet peeve from every poster get debated here it will be nothing but a hog Waller, and pianos will never get discussed.

lb
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 09:02 AM

Dear SR,

RE: The Steinway statement.

Please note smiley face at end of comment. Notes congeniality or possibly throw away phrase designed for humorous effect.

Now deadly serious: IMHO (and no I am not an expert) the Steinway 1098 represents little in the way of performance or value, to justify it's high cost. I'm not down on all Steinway verticals - the best vertical I ever played was an old "K", that was just wonderful, and not for sale.

BulBruce also has narrowed his list down to the aforementioned 20 year old 1098, a new Charles Walter, and a new Petrof 125. Both the Petrof and the CW are solid musical instruments that represent a lot of piano for the money spent. The Steinway might appeal to him more, I don't know. If he wishes to purchase it, that of course is his business. I feel, however, that a new piano of equal quality for approximately the same money as a 20 year old piano, no matter what the name is on the fallboard, is a more desirable option.

In my non-expert opinion, of course! \:\)
Posted by: Dwain Lee

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 11:49 AM

lb,

I believe that should actually be, "I think that we should set high standards for OURSELVES ..."

...just teasing, and staying out of this one. ;\)

Dwain
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 12:05 PM

dwain, you beat me to the punch. ;\)

as for the modern steinway k, in addition to being a nightmare for techs (which i have heard, also), they have a scale design problem that the company is aware of, admits to, and claims they have resolved, but to many ears they have not.

and that problem is that the scale is uneven. it plays like a different piano in the treble than in the tenor or the bass.

(oh, yeah, another pet peeve, when people write bass as "base.")

And this part of my message is for BruceD. I type on a tiny laptop keyboard and it would take me twice as long to type if I always used the upper case. But, BruceD, I do want to keep you happy. \:\) I'll use the upper case in my more meditative moments and think of you.
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 12:23 PM

That our self came from the spell/grammer check, it wasnt mine. Blame MS Word not I.
:p :p :p ;\)

lb

PS. Dwain if you stay out, you'll miss all the fun. \:\)
Posted by: Brendan

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 02:13 PM

Remember guys - the record is 7 pages and 171 replies.
Posted by: jodi

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 03:02 PM

"Remember guys - the record is 7 pages and 171 replies." (I still can't figure out how to paste into the quote box and have it come out the right way)

Was that the Boesendorfer thread? And Brendan, SURELY you can find some appropriate pictures to paste in here somewhere? \:\) Jodi
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 03:22 PM

Jody

When you figure it out, post it, I can't do it either.

Anyway you can copy and paste to your word processing program, that way you can correct their spelling and punctuation as well as your own. \:\)

lb
Posted by: MacDuff

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 03:42 PM

Me and her doesn't feel well about him disrespecting whomever don't like Yamahaw.

Now Penny, fix that one!
\:\) ;\) :p

[ February 03, 2002: Message edited by: MacDuff ]
Posted by: jodi

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 05:03 PM

Yes, REALLY, lets get this thread back on track. Yamahaw. Yahaha. Yomama. ;\) JOdi
Posted by: Dwain Lee

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 05:22 PM

I'd never have gotten to tell you all the piano chair's name if I used spell checker.

I didn't really have anything meaningful to say, I just thought I'd add another post just to get closer to Brendan's record. \:\)

Dwain
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 05:45 PM

Reading the variations of spelling Yamahaha, I was reminded of something that has happened in my store several times which I find amusing in a way. Many of the Japanese customers that I've shown Pearl River pianos to tend to call them "Pearl Harbors" ....... No misspelling, no wrong pronunciation, but some awfully sheepish looks sometimes..... \:\)
Posted by: ChemicalGrl

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 06:51 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by jodi:
(I still can't figure out how to paste into the quote box and have it come out the right way)[/b]


Try clicking on the "quotes" icon. It'll give you the quotes enclosed in some bracketed code which will come out in those pretty little quote boxes.

 Quote:
Originally posted by jodi:
Was that the Boesendorfer thread?[/b]


I thought it was in that thread which involved Zelda's last posts before she left this forum in a huff. I could be wrong ... the memory starts to fade with increasing age ... \:D
Posted by: subarus

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 07:28 PM

I ignored this thread after it had gone off topic and hostile.. a few days later, after things has calmed down.. have we decided who is the King of the hill ? I guess it doesnt matter now or does it..
Posted by: Friday

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 08:37 PM

Regarding grammar/spelling/education:

This forum is actually one of the "better" ones. By that I mean that the members (for the most part) do respect each other, do get their ideas across clearly, and can educate ignorant people like me.

My husband told of me some of the sports forums on the Internet Talk about ROFL!

Just my little contribution to beating Brendan's/Zelda's record. \:\)
Posted by: David Burton

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 09:03 PM

It has taken me fifty years of living and perhaps a dozen permutations of my basic personality and character to recognize certain truths about life, history and people. One of these truths concerns the interplay between the people who are perpetually perturbed, ready to take offense at the drop of a hat, those who believe themselves to be right no matter what, in short the "difficult" people, and those who take a more philosophical, even handed, easier and more friendly view of life, themselves and others. The edge is always to the latter group.

This thread began as a search to determine which piano manufacturer was "king of the hill". It degenerated somewhat when some people got their panties in a bunch about loose tuning pins on new pianos. It never really got back on track. So here goes...

After about forty years of serious commercial penetration of American and European markets by Yamaha, one could say that the former undisputed "king of the hill" since at least the beginning of the 20th Century, namely Steinway, may be in danger of losing its crown.

Yamaha is the official piano of the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Newport Music Festival in Rhode Island. Yamaha has extended its reach with expert technical staffing that has begun to compete well with Steinway's network of concert support worldwide.

At one time, about seventy years ago, Steinway was seriously afraid of Knabe, which was at that time the official Met piano, and a bit earlier of Weber (the original Weber pianos, when and if you can find them, are ripe for rebuilding, as they had good scales and construction). Steinway was just getting under way when Chickering's first factory burned down in 1853. Chickering recovered quickly and were in serious competition with Steinway for the rest of the 19th century. Some regard the large Chickering grands from the 1880's on (after Chickering adopted the overstrung scale design and other features of the Steinway system) as among the very best ever made. But Steinway had the distribution network, the artist program, the marketing edge, the propaganda.

The piano business was facing serious competition by the time hostilities broke out in 1914 but had a golden decade in the 1920's. Then came the crash and the whole piano business has been changed ever since.

Two other makers we hear about were important factors in the American piano industry: Mason & Hamlin and Baldwin. Mason & Hamlin never tried to compete with the undisputed king. They relied on the opinions of those with ears to hear. Baldwin on the other hand did mount a competition with the king and for a brief period during the 1970's was in a position to take the lead, except that they made the cardinal mistake of getting overextended without establishing a consistent quality product.

Yamaha possessed factors of economic scale and culture that enabled it to achieve these goals; becoming big without sacrificing consistent quality. So much so that it has become about the only piano that is so predictable that if one really wanted to do so, one could buy one sight unseen.

I read Larry Fletcher's assured damnation of Yamaha grands as compared with...... the Bechsteins or other makes that he sells, and had to conclude, so what?

Does Larry know that despite how great the Bechstein and other lesser known German pianos really are, that as far back as the 1890's Theodore Steinway, the brother who lived in Germany, wrote to his brother that Steinway had nothing to fear from Bechstein as their sound was cold, hard and unmusical? Bechstein still has a cold hard sound that some people like, while others feel is lacking in warmth.

One can flatter oneself that with the many years of "deep technical experience" in the piano business, that they should know which piano is the "king of the hill" or has a right to the title. Unit sales say loudly otherwise, that there may be other factors at work.

So who then is "king of the hill?"

Does it really matter?
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/03/02 10:28 PM

It only matters to se one who is NOT se King!

Sat's why se great English Empire decided to do away wis se King and have a Queen instead!

Even se Germans were more schmart when sey had a Kaiser, not a King. Sey knew wat came beforre and affter... was only garbage...

Also se Japanese prefer to have an Emperor,
not King. A King might remind sem on 'King Kong' and that is primitive American stuff.

In fact, today nobody even knows what a King is!

Men arre not allowed to be Kings [any more]
anyways,so it musst be a woman.

The woman is ALWAYS boss, don't forget that!
But a woman,no matter how much boss..can never be a piano! [Believe me...I tried!]

I think somebody who schpeaks good English is 'King'. [Don't look at me!]

Problem is nobody here [in Canada] even schpeaks English any longer...good or...bad!

Which concludes se discussion:Ser is no King!

America is lucky.

At least sey have a 'president'.

And his English is flawless.

Which you NEVRR could say about any piano!!

NEVRR!!


Norbert Marten
[Enlgish schtudent]

[ February 04, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/04/02 01:17 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by David Burton:

I read Larry Fletcher's assured damnation of Yamaha grands as compared with...... the Bechsteins or other makes that he sells, and had to conclude, so what?
[/b]


Where did you read this, David? Is there some kind of bug going around that is causing people to read things that aren't written? It seems to be an epidemic. I never wrote a comparison such as the one you mention.

 Quote:

Does Larry know that despite how great the Bechstein and other lesser known German pianos really are, that as far back as the 1890's Theodore Steinway, the brother who lived in Germany, wrote to his brother that Steinway had nothing to fear from Bechstein as their sound was cold, hard and unmusical? Bechstein still has a cold hard sound that some people like, while others feel is lacking in warmth.
[/b]

Of course, Theodore was proven to be wrong, since it is Bechstein, not Steinway, that dominates the scene in Europe. And this has been the case for a long long time. You would expect Theodore to have less than nice things to say about his competition. So his comment is biased. Cold, hard, and unmusical is certainly not the way most people describe the ones I get in stock. Most people tell me they are the most expressive and musical pianos they have ever played.

 Quote:

One can flatter oneself that with the many years of "deep technical experience" in the piano business, that they should know which piano is the "king of the hill" or has a right to the title. Unit sales say loudly otherwise, that there may be other factors at work.

So who then is "king of the hill?"

Does it really matter?[/b]



Unit sales is only one kind of "king of the hill". Rolls Royce would have to admit that Toyota outsold them in units by a mile, but that doesn't mean that the more Toyotas that are sold, the better they are. That's just sales statistics. King of the hill in unit sales belongs to Pearl River, by the way, not Yamaha.

The truth is, there is no such thing as "king of the hill". There are mass produced production pianos, and there are premium grade musical instruments of a more hand crafted nature. But they all have something to offer, and they all have a reason for existing. So, king of the hill for unit volume is easy - just see who sells the most pianos and that's the winner. And that makes Pearl River the King of the Hill in piano production. But it doesn't make the piano any better. Past that, it is only important that a consumer know which pianos are production grade and which are premium grade. Each person will decide which one is king of the hill from there, and every choice will be a valid one. Because it really only matters to that person.
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/04/02 02:10 AM

Thanks,Larry.......

...I guess I don't have to be the Forum's [unofficial] 'rodeo clown' any longer.....

...after THAT ONE!!

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com

[ February 04, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: MikeC65

Re: King of the Hill - 02/04/02 12:35 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by pique:
dwain, you beat me to the punch. ;\)

as for the modern steinway k, in addition to being a nightmare for techs (which i have heard, also), they have a scale design problem that the company is aware of, admits to, and claims they have resolved, but to many ears they have not.

and that problem is that the scale is uneven. it plays like a different piano in the treble than in the tenor or the bass.

(oh, yeah, another pet peeve, when people write bass as "base.")

[/b]


Do you know any detail as to what this problem is, and is it the result of a design change between the original K and the new K (K-52)? My K (1910) does not exhibit this problem, at least to my ears. I would be interested in learning more about this.
Posted by: Eldon

Re: King of the Hill - 02/04/02 01:42 PM

Hi Mike,
I'd like to e-mail you privately, about a tech in St. Louis. Please send me an e-mail at keyboard@internet-stat.com
Thanks. \:\)
Posted by: David Burton

Re: King of the Hill - 02/04/02 11:55 PM

Larry,

First of all, allow me to apologize for doing a bit of tongue in cheek fencing with you. Of course I have the highest regard for Bechstein and its products. In fact about a year ago Niles had one out in LA, rebuilt or restored, that for a time he couldn't get anyone to take seriously since they hadn't heard of the name. Well, every person on this forum should know by now that Bechsteins stand head and shoulders above just about anything in terms of their construction, the way they play and sound. Of the Bechsteins I have known well was a turn of the last century six footer that belonged to a singer friend out in Davis, California. Wonderful piano. He sang while his wife (girlfriend) played. His repertoire consisted of songs by Schubert, Brahms and Hugo Wolf, some of the best music on earth. I remember playing Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn and Debussy on it. It DID give me the ache. Debussy in fact owned a Bechstein, which to those who like Debussy might come as something of a surprise.

But "king of the hill" was something different I thought.

You asked me how I got the idea that you had basically trashed Yamaha? No, you didn't compare Yamahas to Bechsteins exactly. You didn't have to. We all know you sell Bechsteins and they are constructed in all basic ways completely opposite to Yamahas. It was a post in this very thread, a post by the way that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, made me laugh hard because it was basically so true.

Subarus asked, "It would however be more convincing if people could tell specifically what parts of Yamaha pianos they think are inferior or lacks value for the money."

To which you replied, quite convincingly I thought, with a few extra dashes that seem a fair leap, but so be it;

 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:
Here's a few. The Asian culture is one that places little value on things once they get a little old.[/b]


By far your biggest leap and if taken out of context would be wide of the mark, except for products of industrialization and technology, where your statement is as a matter of fact, quite true. In fact, one of the biggest tragedies as I see it happening in Asian culture at the present time is the degree to which they ARE willing to throw out what for them has worked for thousands of years, specifically their medical practices. If it weren't for disgruntled Westerners looking to ancient Asia for a better medical model, much of the old notions and potions would be thrown away by now. Of course, especially in Japan, where these can be coupled with anything technological, they take on a new significance and can be sold, mostly to Westerners, far more easily.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:
A 10 year old piano in Japan is worth very little. That's why you find so many "gray market" Yamahas for sale. They don't want them. So when they design products, the goal is to deliver something that will function very good for a short period of time. Also bear in mind that all the wood has to be imported. They have none of their own. [/b]


The heart of the matter against Yamaha comes next,

 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:
Yamaha grands are designed to be able to produce them by the tens of thousands, while "dialing out" as many chances for inconsistencies caused by production assembly line workers as they can. The rim of a Yamaha grand is made of luan mahogany, a soft wood that is very inexpensive and that they have easy access to in large quantities. This wood is cheap, easy to cure, easy to saw, easy to glue, doesn't wear out your tools and equipment as quickly as hardwood, etc. These rims can be produced like Keebler cookies. Instead of 2 days in the mold and a year of curing outdoors for their plates and the accompanying grinding, filling, and finishing of traditional plates, they came up with the vacuum mold, a process which allows a plate to be out of the mold and hung on a conveyor line headed for a paint booth in about 40 minutes. To compensate for the soft rim and its lack of sustain capability, the soundboard is made thicker. This makes the piano louder. The plate, because of its speed of production, has very little carbon in the iron, so it has very little damping characteristics. This compromise for the sake of speed of production introduces even more problems. The subject of plate ring has been thoroughly discussed, so for the sake of space I won't go into it again. In addition to the speed issue, the more "steel like" vacuum cast plate is used to help carry the structural burden that the soft rim can't carry alone.

The compromises in the rim for the sake of speed of production and low cost requires equal compromises in the soundboard, then the plate, the result being a piano with little sustain and a tendency to be loud, thin, and tinny. To remove any chance of production assembly line workers from introducing inconsistencies in tone from these compromised pianos, the hammers are made in such a way that little voicing and handwork is required. Even in the field, Yamaha does not recommend much work be done to their hammers. And little *can* be done - and what can be done only changes things for a short period of time. The cheap, soft rim expands and contracts wildly over the years, which pulls on glue joints, etc. shortening the life of the piano. The result is a piano that has been engineered to sound very good for a short period of time, but that has short sustain, thin bass response, brash and loud masquerading as presence, hammers that can't be adjusted to any real measure, and that quickly begins to wear out due to expansion and contraction.[/b]


After giving Yamaha the soundest drubbing it has ever received on this board, you contrast their C production lines with their S series, which I have experienced and say, "sorry, still not impressed."

 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:
Now take their S series. Harder rims. Thinner soundboard. Wet cast plates. Different hammers. All the things that Yamaha does to allow their pianos to be made quickly and cheaply are abandoned in favor of the more traditional methods of piano building.[/b]


You then sort of back off really slapping them down by saying,

 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:
My problem with Yamaha isn't that I think it's a bad piano. It is a good piano. It just isn't a great piano. It has a relatively short life musically, yet because of brand name recognition they can and do sell them for about double what they are really worth. My problem is the way people are like sheep. They will blindly follow the "flavor of the day" en masse, which only allows that "flavor" to continue to cut corners and raise prices. The more they raise the price, the more the sheep justify the value. The old "it must be better, because it costs more" idea. I'll put a Weber 5'7" SE grand up against a C-2 Yamaha any day. They both share the same compromises, they are equal in quality, yet the Weber SE is around 10K instead of around 16K. Because of brand name bias, people will pay 16K for a C-2 and tell themselves it is better than a Weber SE when it really isn't, and because of the ridiculous price they paid they will assume that the C-2 will compete with premium quality brands of lesser name recognition but higher quality - but it won't. And as I see it, perpetuating this myth is harmful to the consumer. They should learn where the Yamaha piano fits in the scheme of things, and demand it sell for a price commensurate with its value. And the view that the Yamaha is a long term musical instrument in the manner of more serious manufacturers should be discouraged.[/b]


Which isn't likely to happen. Now I've played new out of the box Yamahas recently. The grands still don't impress me until they get to be as big as the C5. My favorite is the C7. Fun, but at that size, I've played better.

I've been far more impressed with the Yamaha uprights, especially the U3. But now that I've had ample opportunity to play what's out there, I'd never want one as once I did.

Your excellent post goes far to suggest why one would be unlikely ever to see a rebuilt Yamaha in forty to fifty years hence.

Hope I straightened things out a bit.

If "king of the hill" is interpreted as who sells the most pianos, then certainly the present and future belongs, as with everything else, to China. A recent book I read by Samuel P. Huntington makes the unequivocal comment that in all of history it has probably been China that has always produced the greatest output of exportable products. With their "situation" in world commerce only likely to improve, the prospects for any other maker of mass produced consumer goods seems dire.

But if "king of the hill" refers to quality leader, a la Rolls Royce (which the auto division is now a subsidiary of BMW), then maybe Fazioli deserves the nod.
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/05/02 08:34 PM

What a thread!!

We gotta go to page 10 here folks!

Why give up now?

[Where the hell is Steve C ??]
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/05/02 08:59 PM

No, I didn't take any offense to your post, David. I just couldn't think of where I had compared the Yamaha and the Bechstein. I didn't think my post had any hint of attitude in it, but if it seemed to, I apologize.

By the way, regarding Debussy - he did in fact own a Bechstein. A vertical. He refused to write music on anything else. So all of Debussy's works were written on a Bechstein 8.

Oh...and the comment about Japanese culture wasn't meant in a bad way or anything. I am merely quoting the words of 3 separate friends of mine who are Japanese. They were all three born and raised in Japan, and it was from them that I got basis for the sentence. One told me it was not at all unusual to find a nearly new washer and dryer set out by the curb for the trash truck to haul away, simply because the case on one of them was scratched. Also, I have many Japanese customers. They will rarely look at a used piano. If they do, they won't buy one that is more than 2 years old. So no harm meant to the Japanese, just stating what I've been told and what my experience has shown to be the case.

[ February 05, 2002: Message edited by: Larry ]

[ February 05, 2002: Message edited by: Larry ]
Posted by: Dwain Lee

Re: King of the Hill - 02/05/02 09:09 PM

...getting nervous yet, Brendan? \:\)

Dwain
Posted by: freddie

Re: King of the Hill - 02/05/02 09:18 PM

Hi David,

I agree with you about the U3, there is something special about it that is hard to find in other vertical pianos. I like the way the tone seems to breathe and doesn't sound "boxed in" like other upright models. I also like the action on the U3 and I find them very responsive to my playing. I think the U3 is a really fine instrument. I'm not a Yamaha fan, but I really love that piano.


Yamaha should dump 75% of their vertical line and put wooden keybeds and lumbercore body parts back into their better upright pianos (and not raise the price too much!!!). They are making too many junk vertical PSO's, in my opinion!!!! They could make exact copies of the U1 and U3 in Georgia and that would make them more affordable to the North American public (no high shipping rates and more real WOOD here to access). Just my dumb .02 worth here :rolleyes:


Freddie
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: King of the Hill - 02/05/02 09:59 PM

Man oh man,

Stay off this forum for a couple of days and one of the best threads EVER erupts right before me!! - AND I MISSED THE BEST PARTS!!!

Let me read some of this stuff so I can contribute,
Posted by: Brian M

Re: King of the Hill - 02/05/02 10:06 PM

Larry,
I was going to start a new thread with my question, but Norbert is looking for ten pages so I'll ask here. Earlier you made the distinction between commercial grade mass produced, and premium hand crafted pianos. I was wondering what catergory you would put the the Charles Walter Grand (190?), I've read a lot about it here and I'm curious. I've never played (or seen) one. Thanks

[ February 05, 2002: Message edited by: Brian M ]
Posted by: subarus

Re: King of the Hill - 02/05/02 10:18 PM

Hi..

I am not sure what this thread is about anymore.. I think its about good piano, marketing strategies, grammers and spelling.. Well I just posted a sober reply to another thread and I thought its a waste not to post it here since its also about good piano, marketing and my poor grammer and spellings..

ok here goes:

Hi.. Heres my 2cents. Either rent a piano as suggested by other posters and get a proper teacher or enroll her to a Keyboard class... heres my reasoning:

1) The risk of her quiting after 2 years of lesson is still high.. I know many people who quit after 4-5 years of lessons.. its something you have to face if you are buying the piano JUST for her..

2) Before anybody start laughing about the Keyboard class suggestions.. you need to know how Yamaha music education works in Asia.. most of the Yamaha teachers are part timers and the most qualification they have is ABRSM grade 8.. if they have a degree and contacts they would have open a their own studio.. Yamaha gets a cut of 40% to 50% of the lesson fees !! My point is, if your daughter has the musical inclination, she will do well regardless of the teachers or equipment. For beginners they used the same books for Keyboard and piano anyway.. just take a look at the content.. they are identical.. enrolling for keyboard classes will stop people from nagging you to buy a piano for at least a few years... also take a look at the books and you decide if they are teaching the same thing or not..

3) Otherwise get a proper private piano teacher and buy a good piano for her.. you want to get a teacher who can cultivate her talent and motivate her in ways that Yamaha cant.. a keyboard or digital piano will not work if she will be taking examinations.. playing those 3 pieces for the examiner is difficult enough that you dont want her to have additional things like the keyboard touches to worry about.

A digital piano (like clavinovas) will not be good enough for anything beyond level 5.. Try asking the Yamaha salesman... he will hesitate and say "you STILL can do it, I have seen people who can do it ... " well, you decide what he's actually trying to say..

Despite my undying passions for Yamaha pianos, I think they are not doing justice to music education in Asia... all those budding talents wasted when those children quit yamaha school and mistakenly decided that music is not for them.. But yamaha dont care... because they already sold you the clavinovas.. and there are many more 4 year-old who are curious to find out what will happen if they press those fancy buttons...

talk to the pianist , yes, even Yamaha's part-time teachers... ask them where they learn to play piano... you will know what I am whinning about... One even had the nerve to tell me that teaching music is her full time job.. the banking job is part time... she said it with a smile.. but I was not smiling ..

or better still, tell them you want to meet their advance students.. and amuse us with whatever excuse they come up with .. make sure that , its not a teacher posing as a student though... yes.. its that bad.. Bear in mind that there are many advanced private students who enroll for independent board examinations at Yamaha facilities.... make clear distinction that they are NOT (I repeat NOT) Yamaha students.

Yamaha marketing strategy is one of the best in the industry... but taking advantage of small children like that is pushing it a bit too far..

If you have the chance to talk to the pianist Yamaha hire for concerts and demonstation.. you will also be amuse with the standard replies they are coached to give when asked about their music education..

Make no mistake about it.... Yamaha DON'T teach music... Yamaha school is there for one sole purpose.... to sell you piano... Very good piano.. If I may add...


good luck..


There you go... Good pianos, good but ruthless marketing strategies, good production capabilities .. now can somebody please tell me who is the undisputed "King of The Hill" ?? somehow I have this funny feeling that Bill Gates is trained by Yamaha..

[ February 05, 2002: Message edited by: subarus ]
Posted by: Brian M

Re: King of the Hill - 02/05/02 10:35 PM

I forgot about the thread on opinions. Naturally, my question on the CW is opened to all. Even if you've only overheard something at a ****tail party.
Posted by: Brian M

Re: King of the Hill - 02/05/02 10:38 PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Brian M:
[QB]I forgot about the thread on opinions. Naturally, my question on the CW is opened to all. Even if you've only overheard something at a dinner party
Posted by: Brian M

Re: King of the Hill - 02/05/02 10:39 PM

I forgot about the thread on opinions. Naturally, my question on the CW is opened to all. Even if you've only overheard something at a dinner party
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/05/02 11:31 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Brian M:
Larry,
I was going to start a new thread with my question, but Norbert is looking for ten pages so I'll ask here. Earlier you made the distinction between commercial grade mass produced, and premium hand crafted pianos. I was wondering what catergory you would put the the Charles Walter Grand (190?), I've read a lot about it here and I'm curious. I've never played (or seen) one. Thanks

[ February 05, 2002: Message edited by: Brian M ][/b]


The Walter is one of the most authentic "hand crafted" pianos made. Each one is basically a one-off original. Bear in mind that the term "hand crafted" is a bit misleading, as "hands" build even the cheapest junk, so as a matter of semantics could be also referred to as "hand crafted" and no one could say they were lying - exactly. A better term is "premium level musical instrument", or something similar. Whatever one wants to call it however, the Walter grand in my opinion is one of the finest pianos being made today, and when you factor in the price it sells for in comparison to the pianos it competes with, it is probably the best piano being built today. Park it next to a Steinway, a Mason Hamlin, or any other piano you care to mention, and it will more than hold its own, then look at the price tag and smile!!
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/05/02 11:36 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Brian M:
I forgot about the thread on opinions. Naturally, my question on the CW is opened to all. Even if you've only overheard something at a ****tail party.[/b]



This is only my opinion of course, but it would seem that this is too sophisticated a group to attend a ****tail party. So if you want to hear opinions that have been shared over a drink, you must remember that this group only attends "Coque-tail parties".....
;\)
Posted by: JBryan

Re: King of the Hill - 02/05/02 11:56 PM

Or keggers. \:\)
Posted by: SteveY

Re: King of the Hill - 02/06/02 12:10 AM

A few random thoughts:

Regarding Yamaha education, I'm not familiar with what Yamaha is doing in the US recently, but I'm a product of Yamaha education just over 30 years ago. As some of you know, I've worked as a composer/arranger/producer/keyboard player (full-time) for about 15 years now. I firmly believe that my Yamaha experience had a great deal to do with my passion for music, and I'm indebted to them for giving me a great foundation to build on. At the age of 3, I was part of a group class at a Yamaha Music School in California where we learned sightreading and singing as well as ear training and even improv. I have two young children, and I'm very disappointed at the programs that are available now. I haven't found anything comparable. All this to say that Yamaha Music Education was at least at one time good for a great deal more than selling pianos.

Regarding Yamaha pianos, I'm still amazed at the way these instruments are characterized by some on this board. Of course everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. It just surprises me when some of the "pro's" on this board seem so "out of step" with the professional arena. Yamaha pianos are used all the time major venues (concert halls/high-end studios, etc.) and by artists that could have just about anything they want. And yet they choose Yamaha. I can already hear the response -- that "the long arm of Yamaha's marketing department has pulled the wool over someone else's eyes", or that "of course they'll use a Yamaha if it's provided free of charge". I think this reasoning is weak. My peers and I are often solicited by manufacturers to use their equipment. They offer us free equipment if we commit to using their products exclusively. Of course they can always find takers, but none of the folks I respect are swayed by such things (and some of them play Yamaha pianos anyway).

(I don't own a Yamaha piano)
Posted by: Friday

Re: King of the Hill - 02/06/02 01:43 AM

Regarding Larry quoting his friends from Japan:

My husband lived in Kobe for most of his childhood. He recalls a specific day where EVERYONE would put stuff out on the street EVERY YEAR. Maybe they don't do it now; this WAS in the 80's.

What's the count now?
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/06/02 02:11 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by MikeC65:


Do you know any detail as to what this problem is, and is it the result of a design change between the original K and the new K (K-52)? My K (1910) does not exhibit this problem, at least to my ears. I would be interested in learning more about this.[/b]


mike:
i have no idea what the source of the problem is. i have heard from several techs that the modern steinway k is a bitch to tune, and my information on the scale design came from a steinway tech who services pianos at faust-harrison in new york. they had a five year old steinway k i was interested in buying and he tried to voice it to cover up the scale problem, but it didn't work. the store told me the story about how in the 80s they had a scale design problem but it was supposed to be fixed.

so, that's where i got my info, and that's all of it. (not pretending to be an expert here, just relaying the info i was given from reliable sources.)

in any event, it has no bearing on a "golden age" steinway k such as yours. (at least so far as i know).
Posted by: subarus

Re: King of the Hill - 02/06/02 04:17 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by SteveY:
A few random thoughts:

Regarding Yamaha education,
:
I have two young children, and I'm very disappointed at the programs that are available now. I haven't found anything comparable. All this to say that Yamaha Music Education was at least at one time good for a great deal more than selling pianos.
:
(I don't own a Yamaha piano)[/b]


Steve, you should own a Yamaha piano but steer your children away from Yamaha school. \:\)
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/06/02 10:12 AM

To echo Larry's comments about the CW190 - the Charles Walter grand fits my definition of a "stealth piano". It just kinda comes in under the radar and blows you away! Quality components, quality construction, but mostly it's about sound. I've heard that Fandrich designed the scale, maybe so, maybe not - but it projects bigger than it is. My wife and I had a chance to play a well prepped CW190 next to a well-prepped M&H BB. The BB was better, but not by much.

A fine piano that many people just don't know about.
\:\)
Posted by: BrulBruce

Re: King of the Hill - 02/06/02 12:29 PM

What do you think about Petrofs? And, what about Petrof verticals? And, specifically, the 125?

Any truth to the rumor that they lack longevity?
Posted by: Dwain Lee

Re: King of the Hill - 02/06/02 01:01 PM

...and, if I'm not mistaken, this sets the new record.... ;\)

Dwain
Posted by: Jim L.

Re: King of the Hill - 02/06/02 05:11 PM

I hate not to be a part of the Walter grand bandwagon, but I've yet to find one that I truly like among the half dozen or so that I've played. The tone on many of them sounded quite thin and was disappointing because I very much would like to like this piano. From my totally subjective vantage point, I can't imagine them comparing favorably to a Mason BB or the 6'4" August Forster (which is only a few thousand more, generally speaking).

That being said, maybe I just haven't found any particularly well-prepped Walters, and I'm certainly willing to give them another try, at least for opinion's sake. In that regard, and as I've asked previously of Larry and Rich G., have our high-value Walter dealers on the forum found that these grands are selling well? Certainly, if a heretofore unknown piano like Estonia can command sales when it made its recent leaps in quality, a 6'4" well-built Walter also should be able to claim its share of the dpmestic market -- particularly since it is "American made" and costs only a few thousand more than the 6'3" Estonia, generally speaking. How about it guys -- are any of you having comparable supply problems with the Walter as Norbert is with the Estonias?

Jim L.
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/06/02 05:53 PM

Excellent point, Jim!

But I don't know if the answer really matters

Estonia focused on grands right from the beginning while C.W. is a much more diversified piano maker with uprights,etc.

I suppose they make and have to sell more pianos than,say,Estonia [which makes only around 300]

Still, I think this excellent maker should have received much more recognition by now.

You never know....they may just prefer to keep their success rather...quiet!

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/06/02 06:23 PM

I'll put it this way - I have 6 sold that are in the pipeline, 2 will be arriving in a couple of days, the rest scattered out over the next month or so. I have 6 more on order, just to keep my name in line on the list. Every grand the Walters finish is sold long before they even started building it. It got so bad that just to be able to show one, I "nailed one to the floor" as a display model. It's not for sale. It's beginning to look bad, because it's seen nearly 3 years as a demo model (plus I've rented it out for some concert use) but man, does it sing!

As for the lack of bass, I don't hear that in any of them. The bass is excellent if the piano is set up properly. Some of the early ones were a bit too bright from the factory, and had a bit of a thin tone as a result. But they experimented until they found the right setup, and they've been terrific ever since. Maybe you heard some of those.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: King of the Hill - 02/06/02 06:53 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:
...and, if I'm not mistaken, this sets the new record.... ;\)

Dwain[/b]


\:\( \:\( \:\( \:\( \:\( \:\( \:\(
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/07/02 02:22 AM

Glad to hear the good [bad?] news...Larry..

Well deserved and... congratulations!!

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/07/02 02:50 AM

i've found the cw's in the seattle area, and their performance is not uniform. some are wonderful, and some are not. but those that are are REALLY wonderful.
Posted by: Penny

Re: King of the Hill - 02/07/02 02:53 PM

I, myself, like Jim L., have yet to come across one that is wonderful, but I'll keep an open mind!
penny
Posted by: David Burton

Re: King of the Hill - 02/07/02 11:29 PM

Still haven’t found ANY Charles Walters. I guess I’ll have to get back into NYC soon and see if Piano Piano has any. The rumor is that DEL Fandrich had a hand in designing their pianos, but I haven’t called him to find out. Darrell Fandrich, his brother, is the man behind the vertical action. As far as I’m concerned he’s “king of the hill,” well maybe he’d settle for just “prince.”

Just checking in to see if this thread was still growing.

To the top!
Posted by: Penny

Re: King of the Hill - 02/08/02 12:06 AM

Going back to the original topic, which seemed appropriately to include a discussion about marketing ...

I heard a radio ad today for a piano dealer who advertises quite frequently. This time, the ad was for a large selection of Yamahas just featured at the "recent trade show" (read NAMM) and bought at a significant savings so that the savings could be passed on (that may be a whole other topic because I hear that many times, other than the cost to bring the piano to California, the price of a NAMM piano may or may not be significantly less than a non-NAMM piano).

But back to my point. The radio ad emphasized at its end that this sale was for bona fide "Yamahas -- not off-brands."

I thought that was hilarious. There are Yamahas and then there are off-brands. My Schulze Pollmann is an "off brand." Do people who wear Dickies instead of Levi's know they are wearing an "off brand?" What about the driver of a Masarati? It's not a Toyota or a Honda, so it must be an off-brand!

If people can buy the premise that Yamaha defines what IS a piano and everything else is an "off brand," then yes, much as I personally don't care for them, Yamahas are the king of the hill.

penny
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/08/02 12:22 AM

Lets not forget that there are parts of the world where this would be recognized for what it is: a 'bad' joke!

Think of it...it actually IS funny!

Wasn't there once somebody who said:

..."Mirror, mirror on the wall"....

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com
Posted by: David Burton

Re: King of the Hill - 02/08/02 12:23 AM

Penny already said this but if all else but Yamaha is an “off brand” then are we supposed to believe that Yamaha is the “on brand?” Hence a new marketing strategy is born; BUY YAMAHA, IT’S THE ON BRAND. Uch…

And what rhymes with “on?” “Con” and “gone?”

Oh could we have fun with these……and more.

To the top!
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/08/02 12:27 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by David Burton:
The rumor is that DEL Fandrich had a hand in designing their pianos, but I haven’t called him to find out. Darrell Fandrich, his brother, is the man behind the vertical action. [/b]


Del *assisted* Mr. Walter in the design of the grands, but he is not solely responsible for them. As for Darrell being the man behind the vertical action - not if you're talking about the Walter vertical. Walter verticals use Langer 80 series actions from Herrburger Brooks in England. These are the same actions Steinway is using in their verticals as I understand it. Darrell had nothing to do with their design.
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/08/02 12:56 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Penny:


The radio ad emphasized at its end that this sale was for bona fide "Yamahas -- not off-brands."

I thought that was hilarious. There are Yamahas and then there are off-brands. My Schulze Pollmann is an "off brand."

If people can buy the premise that Yamaha defines what IS a piano and everything else is an "off brand," then yes, much as I personally don't care for them, Yamahas are the king of the hill.

penny[/b]



Regarding the dealer's claim that he was discounting pianos taken to the NAMM show - Yamaha's main warehousing complex is in California, somewhere in LA or the vicinity. So no, there would be no need to dump a bunch of inventory in the manner he was trying to imply. To be blunt, he was being an opportunist, and a downright liar.

As to the "not an off brand" thing - this is one of the biggest reasons I do not like Yamaha pianos. This kind of psychological game playing is encouraged by Yamaha, is common language among their dealer network, and far from making them "king of any hill" in my opinion it puts them down there with the likes of the National Enquirer or Globe.

If Yamaha had to compete using their product instead of the hype, they'd be out of business in 2 years in my opinion. But it does prove one thing - many people have asked right here on this forum how it is that dealers who engage in slimy sales methods and dicey price games stay in business - it's for the same reason that Yamaha gets away with all the crap they get away with. It works.[/b]

For every person who walks into a piano store with a level head, an open mind, and the good sense to compare products, there are 50 who walk in wanting [/b] to get screwed. They don't realize it, but the way they shop and the decisions they make prove it. "Are you having a sale?" "Do you have any Yamahas?" "The YC dealer offered me a $35,000 dollar 6' YC grand for 16K - how much will you knock off the price of your 10K 6' Weber?" "I hear those Yamahas have no air pockets in their plates like your cheaply built Bechsteins do with their wet cast plates" "I was going to buy from you, but the Samick dealer is having a 90% off sale today only, and I just had to take advantage of the opportunity to get a 4'7" Samick for only 12K" and on and on.

So while it gets my goat to see a company like Yamaha that so many think is a "class act" get away with their "buy here pay here" car lot sales tactics, I can't really blame them. They know what every dealer in the country knows - if you want to sell a lot of pianos, you have to take advantage of the stupid masses.

How's that for controversial? That ought to be good for at *least* 50 additional posts as I get my hide skinned for one reason or the other!! \:D ;\)
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/08/02 02:44 AM

david burton,
you won't find any charles walter grands in nyc. steinway doesn't want them there, on its turf. goes back to an arrangement mr. charles walter once had with steinway. piano piano will tell you that although they are a walter dealer, they don't ever have the grand on their floor to play. you'd have to order one from them sight unseen.
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/08/02 08:55 AM

The "arrangement" with Steinway is an interesting story. Steinway refers to their pianos as "the piano by which all others are judged" - yet they do more things to keep you from being able to do that than any other manufacturer. They require their dealers to keep them separated from other pianos in a separate room, where the acoustics are better than the acoustics in the rest of the store. No other pianos are to be in that room. This insures their pianos will be heard in better conditions than the others, and that the customer cannot A/B them with something else, for example.

As to the "arrangement", here's what I was told directly from the horse's mouth. It seems that for several years, Walter verticals were the only brand besides Steinway that was sold new in Steinway's factory store in NY. Steinway didn't make a similar sized vertical, so they didn't view them as competing with anything they made. They pitched it to customers interested in consoles as "the only console piano made worthy of sharing the room with a Steinway". When Mr. Walter began designing his grand piano, Steinway came to his business with an offer to buy him out. He considered it at one point, because it came at a time when things were tight for him. But he eventually decided not to sell. He had the contract from Steinway on his dining room table, where he and his wife were pouring over the ramifications of the decision. Their oldest son convinced them not to sell. Steinway had assumed it was a done deal. When he called them to tell them he had decided not to sell, they promptly dropped the Walter line and quit selling them.

It seems to me that they considered a grand from Walter to be a direct threat. Having seen the pianos they build these days, and having seen the pianos Mr. Walter builds, it doesn't surprise me in the least they would feel this way. I don't know if it is a written policy from Steinway that a Steinway dealer cannot carry the Walter grands, but you sure don't see any who do.
Posted by: florets

Re: King of the Hill - 02/08/02 09:17 AM

The Steinway showroom at Hamburg have Schimmels, Yamahas and if I remember correctly, August Forster.
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/08/02 09:53 AM

Not in the same room. That's my point.
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/08/02 12:41 PM

I still submit that in terms of overall general consumer consensus, Yamaha is KOTH. I think they got there by delivering superior value for the dollar against their competition.

With the Chinese and the Eastern Europeans coming into the market in the last few years, along with the advent of increasing quality seen in the Korean product, I believe Yamaha is about to be severly tested at every pricepoint.

The Chinese are getting better rapidly. What was absolute junk several years ago has progressed to the point of being acceptable entry level pianos, depending on the maker. Unless Yamaha places their name on Pearl River pianos and sells them as Yamahas, I believe they cannot compete in this segment.

Have any of you played some of the better Korean stuff lately? Their evolution into better pianos is slowly but surely progressing. For instance, when you compare tone and touch of a Yamaha C2 to a Korean such as a WGS57 Weber, the Yamaha is better, but is it several thousand dollars better? Some of the Koreans are even featuring Renner actions with Kluge keys, I'm sure to compete with the vaunted Yamaha touch. And the latest Korean verticals are much better than they were just five years ago. Can these pianos, along with some Americans such as CW eat into the U series market share?

How about the competition to Yamaha from the Petrofs and Estonias? As these pianos become more widely known, could they start to put the squeeze on the bigger C series pianos? They certainly appeal to an ever-growing group of piano shoppers.

I don't think there is any question that Yamaha is still a good piano. They are starting to live a bit on their reputation, however. The day may come in the not too distant future, when Yamaha is no longer King of the Hill.
Posted by: florets

Re: King of the Hill - 02/08/02 07:57 PM

Hi Larry

Quote
If Yamaha had to compete using their product instead of the hype, they'd be out of business in 2 years in my opinion. But it does prove one thing - many people have asked right here on this forum how it is that dealers who engage in slimy sales methods and dicey price games stay in business - it's for the same reason that Yamaha gets away with all the crap they get away with. It works.
Unquote.

I thought if Yamaha had to compete using their products, perhaps they will be making better pianos now.

Given their economy of scale and knowhow in mass production, the other small manufacturers would be long gone by now. If like me, you are against monopoly, isn't it good to let Yamaha continues the way they are... ;\)

Oh BTW, the Steinway Hamburg showroom is small, so all the pianos Steinway and non Steinway are all in the same room. :p
Posted by: Jacob

Re: King of the Hill - 02/08/02 07:59 PM

Regarding the High-end Korean Vertical such as Samick WSU 121 and WSU 131, they use good components with good overall quality comparing with Yamaha Verticals. WSU series has only been introduced in the last two years and I heard that Samick is going to discontinue the line and re-introduce the WSU verticals under different brand names. I wonder why!!!!
Posted by: David Burton

Re: King of the Hill - 02/08/02 10:44 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:
Del *assisted* Mr. Walter in the design of the grands, but he is not solely responsible for them. [/b]


OK, thanks Larry, I’ll accept that. When I finally get to experience my first Walter, I’ll know who to thank…..or to blame.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:
As for Darrell being the man behind the vertical action - not if you're talking about the Walter vertical. Walter verticals use Langer 80 series actions from Herrburger Brooks in England. These are the same actions Steinway is using in their verticals as I understand it. Darrell had nothing to do with their design.[/b]


No no no! Sorry, I was just shamelessly plugging Darrell’s upright piano action, not Walter’s. I think I recall that Walter’s verticals used Herrburger Brooks actions. By the way, Larry, how do you like these English actions? How do they feel?

LOL, can’t miss an opportunity to add to the grandest thread of them all. Remember how really long threads used to look in the old days? Scrolling and scrolling and scrolling……. I must admit, this is much better.
Posted by: David Burton

Re: King of the Hill - 02/08/02 10:49 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by pique:
david burton,
you won't find any charles walter grands in nyc. steinway doesn't want them there, on its turf. goes back to an arrangement mr. charles walter once had with steinway. piano piano will tell you that although they are a walter dealer, they don't ever have the grand on their floor to play. you'd have to order one from them sight unseen.[/b]


Thanks pique. That’s lousy but it figures.
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/08/02 11:10 PM

Keep on going,folks!!

We'll make 10 pages EASY!!

There's LOT'S OF room for some good ol'fights

[NO SLUFFING OFF NOW,Herr Kommandant!!]

Norbert...who else..

[ February 11, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/10/02 10:45 AM

I heard a rumor that Samick had acquired the rights to the name "Knabe". Is this true?

If so, it could explain the decision to rebadge the World Series verticals.
Posted by: Rich D.

Re: King of the Hill - 02/10/02 12:04 PM

Getting back to the Charles Walter grands, I must have played many of the same ones that Jim L. has played. With one exception,I've also found them to nothing special in tone and the action seemed very uneven on a couple of them. The exception was the CW grand I played at Chris Fingers outside of Denver. That one hit the spot with a full American sound. Therefore I'm wondering how much prepp must go in to these pianos to bring out the piano that most folks rave about on this forum?
Posted by: fmelliott

Re: King of the Hill - 02/10/02 02:18 PM

Rich D. I am glad to hear what you have to say about the Walters. I want them to be great sounding American style pianos, but the ones in Leesburg didn't strike me as special. Also the sound board had swollen joints in one. I did buy a Walter console for the church and it is fine. Are there good Walter grands somewhere close enough to Washington to listen to?
Posted by: Rich D.

Re: King of the Hill - 02/10/02 03:10 PM

Francis,
Outside of the Piano Company, Cunningham Piano in Philly is about the closest Charles Walter dealer that I am aware of. It is a 1st class dealership as well and in my one visit there a number of years ago I got to play some real nice, well prepped pianos (don't recall is they had any CW grands at the time). Rich Gallasini who manages the store is a frequent contributor to this forum. You may want to check with him beforehand if you ever decide to make the trip.
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/10/02 03:49 PM

Some of the very first Walters that got shipped had a bit to be desired. They were still trying to work out a few details at the time. But even those could be fixed, and there were only a few of them.

One that arrives now is practically perfect. About all I ever have to do to one is tune it. I just got another one in Friday (it's already sold, as are the next 4 to come). It was a little out of tune, but it had been in a truck through some pretty cold weather for a couple of days so I expected that. One of the techs will tune it tomorrow morning, and I am confident that is all it needs.

I have heard about dealers having Walters that don't sound good, and based on my experience with them, there must be a fair number of dealers who have a motive for making them sound bad. Given that they only make one size, I can see where a dealer might decide to "nail the line to the floor" - which means rather than have to deal with it as competition, just stock them, tell people how wonderful they are, but let the piano go to seed. That way the customer will quit asking about them, and he can sell them the brand he needs to sell, which is his main line, the guys who are screaming for sales volume from him. That's about the only reason I can come up with that one would sound bad if it's relatively current.

If you want to hear one that sounds good, come see me. Make sure I have one before you come though. Or go see Rich at Cunninghams. I don't see a Walter sitting on his floor that sounds bad either.

I have one Walter that I put into my rental pool, and rent it out for events and concerts. The cabinet is getting pretty bad, a deliveryman lost part of the pedal assembly and I haven't had time to correct it so the pedal makes noises, and it needs a good regulating. As sad as it is right now, it still makes people drool. I keep it next to a Bechstein 6'10" and people still like it.
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/11/02 12:15 PM

Just bringing this to the top to try and get 200 posts on it - we are SO close! \:D

So to do this, I thought I'd ask a controversial question: What was the single, worst, piano you've ever played?

Just a few rules... the piano had to be brand new and on the showroom floor of an authorized dealer.

I have a clear winner and one that deserves honorable mention but am not going to say a word until someone else stirs the hornets nest first. ;\)

Derick
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/11/02 02:02 PM

New - a Bergmann console sitting in a room full of new Yamahas. I suspect the dealer had this piano to A) use as a selling point against his other fine pianos. It was the only piano in the room that had probably NEVER even seen a tuning wrench or the touch of a piano tech, or, B)he was planning on pitching the piano to Fischer-Price as the latest toy piano, but I doubt they would have had it.

Touch was horrible, tone was toyish and the finish looked like the piano had been dipped instead of sprayed.


Used - Sorry, this one goes to my wife. While filling in for a sick church pianist, she had the opportunity to play a wonderful, half-tuned, key sticking Wurlitzer spinet for an appreciative congregation of about 150. My wife is a good church pianist - can play by ear, change songs with just a word from the pulpit from the music minister with no music, change tempos to fit singers - in short she is very versatile. This piano made her look BAD! You could have beat the keys with a hammer and not gotten enough sound to make it to the back row. \:\( Needless to say, whenever she says the word "Wurlitzer" now, she frowns and spits. \:D

These are my nominations! \:\)
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/11/02 02:18 PM

Ahhh, so Jolly is going to be the first, I'll go second.

Worst piano I ever encountered was a Weber grand (about 5'6" or so). The touch managed the impossible; spongy and stiff simultaneously.

Honorable mention goes to a Steinway B. One key would be super light, and the next was very heavy. The voicing was unbelievably inconsistent.

Keep in mind, I did ask for 'the worst' piano one has ever played. This is in no way meant to be an indictment of all Webers or Steinways.

Derick
Posted by: SteveY

Re: King of the Hill - 02/11/02 03:08 PM

I'll weigh in as well:

Worst piano (new in showroom): Pearl River grand. I didn't stick around long enough to find out any more about it.

Most Disappointing Piano (new in showroom): Estonia grands (at Beethoven in NYC). Sounded extremely harsh (and even cheap). Kind of like a Yamaha-meets-Baldwin on a bad-hair-day kind of thing. . .
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 02/11/02 04:17 PM

Worst piano I ever heard while shopping (daughter played): an Estonia 5'4" at Ogden Piano in Portland -- now they hadn't been able to sell it in 3 years, and they were virtually trying to give it away! It seemed to have three major splits (bass, low treble, high treble), and the parts didn't match. Sustain was extremely poor. They also had a dead 5'6".

Estonia was, however, very much redeemed in my ears when I heard a GORGEOUS 5'6" at Norbert's (and he said it was the runt of the litter of 5!)

Second worst has to be my daughter's teacher's Yamaha GH 2. Now THAT's the very definition of a bad piano (or so it seems to both me, and my daughter, who now insists lessons should take place in our house on the Charles Dawes Commemorative M&H.)
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/11/02 04:33 PM

SteveY:

That's [perhaps] why Beethoven just lost the Estonia dealership in favour of Faust Pianos!

Dealers that use certain brands,[usually the first models of a new production line,detune them or otherwise 'sabotage' their sound and
appearance to promote their own lines]
....smiliar like the above mentioned Yamaha dealer using a Bergman console... really admit to a serious case of competition against them out there.

Although this may not be the exact circumstance with the Estonia seen at Beethoven Pianos [I doubt it myself!],there
still is a case to be made with priorities set for each and every business.

Beethoven Pianos has always focused on restoring Steinway and similiar grands - rather - than selling [only] new pianos.

Few of their new pianos, including Sauter, seem to get the care and attention such products require when 'fresh out of the box'.

And needless to say,any new piano untuned and
unprepared will sound - eventually - just the
same: horrible!

Just give me that 'terrible' Bergman console and let me do some work on it for 2-3 hours:

You may just become a customer...in the end!
[ and save some serious money....on top!]

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com

[ February 11, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: Wags

Re: King of the Hill - 02/11/02 05:43 PM

The worst was quite shocking to me. The piano by which all others are judged...to be better.

To be fair the next time I went to this store they managed to have all of the keys travel a normal and uniform distance. Tuning was also a big plus and they got rid of some of the mush in the sound. The mush may have been caused by some under active dampers.

The upright they had was pretty good though, but not for the money.

More than one of the grands were completely unprepared, but ready to be sold...all by themselves apparently. The sales lady and another customer was quite taken back with my answer when she asked "What do you think of the Steinways?".
Posted by: SteveY

Re: King of the Hill - 02/11/02 07:38 PM

WOW!!! Faust Harrison is going to sell Estonia? I'll bet Indrek is jumping for joy! Faust has that really high-end reputation that could really lend some credibility to Estonia. Norbert, I know you're very fond of these pianos. Perhaps I was being a little hard on them. Perhaps they just aren't my cup of tea. Remember, I said they were the most "disappointing" piano, not the "worst" piano. But then again, at their price point, I'm sure they do very well.

I wouldn't dispute your claims about Beethoven Pianos either. I'd think twice about purchasing anything from them. They seemed rather shifty in the way they approach their lines. They had a gorgeous 7'4" Grotrian when I was there. I'm pretty sure they're not even a dealer. That makes me more than a little cautious.

I'm very intrigued at the whole Faust thing. I'd imagine that they'll do pretty well when sitting beside the rebuilt Steinways and new M & H BB's in the showroom. Customers would likely appreciate a lower cost alternative to the high-ticket grands one usually finds there. The question is whether Faust will discount the Estonias enough to be competitive (they certainly don't discount much on their other lines).
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/11/02 09:23 PM

Fond of Estonias?

Righto, I might as well be accused of that, after all.... we DO represent them here!

But after about 165 models come and gone [in only a few years] you do get a feeling of the "average condition" or "what to expect",after all.

And it wasn't always 'super-pretty' in the beginning!

But we really DO work on pianos here!

After all when there's no customer...you gotta do something! [yeah,yeah..I heard it
...the damn Forum,too!]

For a [relatively] small dealer like me there's no room of filling my showroom with pianos and then leave them to their own avail.....

Hoping that one would sell against another make or whatever.[ Have also nicely prepped Yamaha, Kawai and Steinway grands..anybody?]

I always figure if I can't take the cheapest piano home and give it to my own kids...
- I WON'T SELL IT!
[Wouldn't even bother to show it!]

But that's just how we do things here.

Hell, we've been even accused of having great sounding Young Chang and Bergman pianos here.

But then...not every dealer has..... kids!

[Thanks, end of free advertising!]


Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com

[ February 11, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: freddie

Re: King of the Hill - 02/11/02 09:31 PM

Hmmmmm, I no expert, but.....

Everything by Weber(new) I've ever tried

A Yamaha T116 that was not voiced properly

5 new Yamaha U1's that you couldn't hear

A Charles Walter studio that a customer bought and had revoiced (Dumb Dodo!!!!)

A used Story & Clark studio (What the hell!)

Freddie
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 12:57 AM

as a customer of beethoven pianos (where i bought my grotrian 6'3") i have to jump to their defense.

no, they are not a grotrian dealer, but they do not claim to be. so far, i have found them to be good on their word in all of their dealings with me. we have a good relationship of mutual trust. and i have a ten-year warranty from them, in writing.

when it turned out that my piano had a problem, they were good about returning all of my calls, and initiated a few of their own. they are actually flying their own technician to my house next month to work on the piano they sold me--2,500 miles away--at their own expense.

faust-harrison has an impeccable reputation, but they also do not give anyone much of a break on prices, and they do not have the variety of makes that beethoven's has.
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 01:39 AM

I hate to tell you this Pique, but if they aren't authorized dealers, the only warranty you have is the one they give you. You have absolutely no recourse with the manufacturer. Buying from unauthorized dealers is a risky game. And I'm sorry - any dealer who engages in this kind of business practice is unethical, and harmful to both the consumer as well as the piano business in general. I have absolutely zero respect for a dealer who does this.

And while I understand an individual's desire to get a good deal, the larger picture is that if every dealer did it, the piano business would die in just a few short years. And then who won? It is the fact that most dealers try to be ethical in this regard that lets a few slime dealers engage in this sort of thing and get away with it.

Dealers who will cheat his competitors and manufacturers are crooks. If they're willing to cheat them, they're willing to cheat you. Sooner or later you *will* find this out. It always happens. Any dealer here can give you countless reasons and examples to back up what I'm saying.

This practice is so destructive to the piano business that I just cannot let it pass with the dealer who engaged in it getting praised. They are not worthy of any praise. You got a good deal, and so far you've been happy with them. But if they are selling brands which they are not authorized dealers for, they deserve scorn, not praise.
Posted by: jodi

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 11:13 AM

OK, I'm confused. How did they get this piano if they are not an authorized dealer? Is it a used piano? Jodi
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 11:29 AM

pique,

Jodi's question is a good one. I also am interested in knowing why you purchased the piano from a dealer so far away from you? I'm not being critical as I suspect I know your reasoning and think it might make for another whopper of a thread!

Derick
Posted by: Hank Drake

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 12:02 PM

Here's how the mad piano dance works. The customer visits dealership A, which is an authorized dealer for Brand "P" pianos. The customer's teacher has recommended brand P as a good piano for the money, and the customer is unwilling to consider any other brand. Thinking he can get a better deal on the Brand P piano from the dealer on the other side of town, the customer visits the other store. Unfortunately, Dealer B doesn't have P Brand pianos in stock, because Dealer B is not an authorized dealer for Brand P pianos.

But that won't stop our crafty salesman for Dealer B. He tells the customer that Dealer B will special order that piano, for a refundable deposit, of course. He then calls his buddy who sells Brand P two cities away, and has his buddy ship a Brand P piano to Dealer B--for a cut of the deal, of course. Since Dealer B has "gone out of his way" to get the piano the customer wants, the customer feels obliged to purchase the piano from Dealer B. What the curtomer doesn't know, of course, is that Dealer B is not an authorized dealer for brand P pianos--and the customer has just sacrificed the manufacturer warranty. Not to worry, the dealer will honor his own warranty, as long as he's in business!

Sounds to bizarre to be true? Don't count on it. It happenned here just last week.

There, that ought to keep this thread going for a few more posts.
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 12:20 PM

Hank,

If I understand you correctly, it sounds like both the authorized dealer and the unauthorized dealer made money on the sale of the piano. So the only individual who may lose is the customer by giving up the manufacturer's warranty, correct?

If this is accurate, I'm not following Larry's comments about competitors and the manufacturer getting cheated.

BTW, I'm not challenging either your's or Larry's statements, I'm just curious.

Derick
Posted by: ryan

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 12:21 PM

Jodi,

Beethoven pianos is buying Grotrians from a source or sources in Europe and having them shipped to the U.S. This classifies the pianos as used, which is why they are no longer covered by the manufacturers warranty. So the answer to your question is yes, they are used pianos.

Ryan
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 01:00 PM

There we finally got it!!

WE FOUND THE KING!![/b]

A piano twice the quality - half the price!!

[ Just a little 'illegal' and... 'used'....]

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com

[ February 12, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: Hank Drake

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 01:09 PM

When you're dealing with an item such as pianos, the manufacturer or distributor chooses who will sell or distribute his pianos in a given territory. The manufacturer will make this choice based on a number of factors, such as market area, reputation of the dealer, and credit information.

One of the agreements between most manufacturers and dealers concerns protected territory. That is, a dealer will not solicit business from an out of town customer. If a customer from out of town comes into my store, and is interested in a certain piano, then I can & will try to sell that person the piano. However, I am specifically forbidden from soliciting, advertising or otherwise trying to garner business from outside of my designated territory. For me to sell a certain brand to a fellow salesperson in say, Louisville, for him to resell to a customer, is a gross violation of that agreement. Beyond being unethical, it is actually illegal, and if caught, I could lose the contract to distribute the brand of piano in question.

This may seem to run against customers getting a good price, but with the free flow of information from the internet, it's pretty easy for the customer to determine whether the price is fair. On the other hand, it may take more acumen to find out that Dealer B is not an AUTHORIZED dealer for P brand pianos. If the customer asks Dealer B's salesperson, he's probably going to lie & say "yes," and hope he's not found out.

So, there are several losers here: The authorized dealer, who is just trying to do his job, ethically and legally; the manufacturer, who is losing control over who is selling his pianos; and the customer, who is in all likelihood being snookered.

Caveat Emptor, indeed!
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 01:14 PM

Ok, now I understand. That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the explanation.

Derick
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 02:26 PM

I hate to see dealers involved in unethical (and illegal?) behavior, though I must admit that I have seen enough unethical behavior on the part of so-called authorized dealers to last me a lifetime (but I don't expect to be purchasing another piano in this lifetime, so I may not have to see it.)

But it seems to me this is a dealers'/manufacturers' problem, not the customer's. The customer has the right to honest information about warranties (knowing that 95% of pianos never need a repair authorized under a warranty anyway -- it is usually taken care of by the local tech), honest information about price (often extremely difficult to obtain from dealers, authorized or not), and about service (equally difficult to obtain.)

Customers should not be expected to be policemen. It is hard enough to be a customer! Frankly, I have no reason to believe that the dealer in this case of the "unauthorized Grotrian" is any more unethical than the authorized one, and, from what I've heard, has delivered on warranty, price, and service. Maybe some of the authorized dealers out there (not on this list of course!) should take note.
Posted by: Alex F

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 02:51 PM

seems to me that some of this confusion would be eliminated if manufacturers identified their authorized dealers on their websites. Most of them do not. You are invited to fill out a form and may, or may not get a reply. Posting the information directly on a manufacturer's site would take some effort to keep the list up to date but I think it would be worth it.

Yesterday, i spoke to a Chicago area dealer who told me he had several new Forster grands on the floor. This dealer does not identify the Forster brand on their site and I asked whehter they were authorized dealers. The answer was evasive. To my knowldege (and I may be wrong) their is no authorized Forster dealer in the Chicago The area.To be fair, the person I spoke to may not have known and this dealler has a good reputarion around here. A posting on Forster's web site would have cleared this up quickly.
Posted by: SteveY

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 02:54 PM

A slightly off-topic, yet real-life example of how this works is when I bought some studio monitors a few years ago from a friend of mine who is a pro audio dealer. As he is a friend (and not just a friendly dealer), I trust him in every way. However, he is not an authorized dealer for the speakers that I had decided on. He told me it wouldn't be a problem, and that he could get them "sideways". He purchased them from a large dealer in Hollywood for 5% over cost. He then added another 5% on his end. This translated into the same 10% over cost that he would have given me on anything that he did carry. While I did not lose on price, he assured me that he wouldn't have taken such a small cut if I were a "normal" customer. He also told me that the arrangement he had with the dealer in Hollywood was a reciprocal thing. They often purchased gear from him for the same mark-up.

The interesting wrinkle was when one of the woofers blew a few months later. I had a receipt from my friend's company, but that wouldn't do much good with the manufacturer. The dealer in Hollywood had recently closed its doors after decades in business. I was out of luck in terms of a warranty.

The story does have a happy ending: Since the manufacturer was actually very close to my house, I decided to drive over without so much as a phone call. (what did I have to lose?) They treated me very well upon walking into their lobby unannounced with a busted speaker. They not only replaced my speaker, but even tested & adjusted the good speaker to provide a proper "match" between the two. It was only after I left that I realized that they never even asked for my receipt. Although the manufacturer never said this, I believe they took care of me because they were an up-and-coming company that badly needed a strong user base. Now that they're achieving great success, I wonder if they'd do the same?
Posted by: Alex Hernandez

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 02:55 PM

This thread is incredible, what a slew of ideas,observations and ethical conundrums.
Alex also make sure the Förster you look at is a German not a czech instrument.
Posted by: Alex F

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 03:04 PM

Alex H:

Good point. I did not think of that even though, as a regular addict...er...visitor, I should have. Thanks.

Alex F.
Posted by: Penny

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 03:19 PM

A couple of thoughts:

First, Beethoven's Grotrians are "Grotrian-Steinwegs," which I believe is a name only seen on the European-bound pianos. Someone astute enough (astute enough to be considering a Grotrian!), would notice this. Yes, the set-up is a bummer to other dealers, and should Beethoven close its doors, Grotrian-Beethoven warranty holders would be out of luck. That's a risk that every customer has to consider (as Pique did). But they are filling some need. I didn't see an authorized Grotrian dealer in New York. Maybe there is one, I don't know. I do know that I talked to the U.S distributor and they are very unhappy about the Beethoven situation.

Second, about Faust Harrison. When I was there, Mr. Harrison went on and on how the only worthy new grand piano was a M&H. He would never offer any other brand. The only reason he offered S-P verticals was to offer a variety of verticals M&H does not. So I find it quite surprising that he is now taking over the Estonia dealership for New York. As well respected as they are (and their pianos are fabulous), it just goes to show you what a salesman can and will say. I remember specifically him telling me that M&H were the only piano he COULD sell because they were the only ones he believed in. I told him if I had a dime ...

penny
Posted by: SteveY

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 03:19 PM

There is another side of this that complicates things even further. I have experienced manufacturers (not piano makers) who are somewhat double-tongued about unauthorized dealers and their policies on warranties. They will state publically that their policy is not to honor a warranty on a product purchased outside their dealer network. However, when faced with an irate customer who just learned he/she doesn't have a warranty, the manufacturer will cave in fear that they will ignite backlash against the brand instead of the dealer who is the real culprit. While this may service an individual customer, it does so at the expense of the honest dealers out there.
Posted by: Hank Drake

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 04:14 PM

Alex F., if you want to find out if that Chicago dealer is an authorized dealer for genuine German Forsters, contact GermanAmer@aol.com, August Forster's contact for America.
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 04:27 PM

Alex H.

I recently compared the two August Forester's, the German and the Czech. The German one was twice the price as the Czech one, and I honestly didn't see that much more piano.

They were both nice pianos, but they shouldn't be compared.

I don't think that the Czech ones are available in the U.S.

lb
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 05:49 PM

Re warranties:

That [damn] paper is only worth what the manufacturer [which backs the 'authorized' retail store!]is willing to accept as his resonsibility.

First of all, all manufacturers have pre-printed and brand specific warranty cards which are only to be given to their appointed dealers.

Second, and most importantly, the warranty will show its true face only when 'put into action' at the time a [serious] claim is made and forwarded to the manufacturer.

How about cracks in soundboard [rare but possible] or just easing one lousy key when the customer lives in Tim-Buck-Two and the next tech is 3 hours away?

Who pays for what, when and for how long?

Hey,I'm facing this very situation right now
and the company [Y.C.] is coughing up a tech to fly in from the civilized world to help my customer somewhere out in the great Canadian wilderness.

Beats getting only 'airmiles'......I guess!

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com
Posted by: Jim L.

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 08:55 PM

I'm not one usually to stir the pot on this forum, but let me see if I have this straight:

1. Piano manufacturer sets up a local monopoly by allowing only one dealership of a given brand in a particular metropolitan area.

2. Piano manufacturer reinforces that local monopoly by forbidding all dealers of its piano from quoting prices on the phone.

3. Joe Consumer has no way of knowing whether he is getting a good deal on the manufacturer's piano unless he drives he drives to Timbuktu 3 hours away to another "authorized" dealership or is fortunate enough to use this forum or know someone in the piano business (which is no guarantee because of all of the incentives that dealers give to technicians, teachers, etc.).

4. Dealership complains when Joe, deprived of the opportunity to garner meaningful information, obtains the identical piano from a cross-town competitor for less $ than the local monopoly dealer is asking, and cross-town competitor buys the piano from a third dealer and resells it to Joe Consumer.

Excuse me if I don't shed a tear for the "authorized" dealer, but it seems to me that he is simply being deprived of the benefit of a system otherwise tilted in his favor and against Joe Consumer. That hardly qualifies as a tragedy; rather, the dealer simply is being subjected to -- horrors -- competition.

That being said, there is a better way for the dealer to protect his franchise and his business: offer value for the $. The value could be in wonderful preparation, in standing behind a product, in low-pressure salesmanship, or in extraordinarily low overhead that allows the dealer to sell for less.

As for warranties, the key question is what the warranty says. Some warranties are nontransferable. This, of course, hurts a manufacturer competitively in a sense because it will make it slightly more difficult for Joe Consumer to sell the piano when the 5 year-old prodigy gives up the piano after 4 weeks and instead spends time chasing frogs in the local creek. So the manufacturer, as many do, make the warranties transferable, which of course means that they are enforceable against the manufacturer unless something else in the warranty precludes that. Unfortunately for the dealer (who otherwise benefits from the transferability of the warranty), that also makes it easier for the grey market to flourish.

Thus, dealers, the name of the game is value, value, value. Offer it, and they will come, because then you have a legitimate competitive advantage. But don't go crying because your price is sufficiently inflated that it pays another dealer to pay a third dealer for a piano (for a profit, to be sure), ship it, and then sell it to a consumer for significantly less than the "authorized" dealer.

Will this help to reach 10 pages?

Jim L.
Posted by: jodi

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 09:19 PM

Yikes. Maybe 11. Jodi
Posted by: jodi

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 09:20 PM

Oh, and LOFL.
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 10:28 PM

Jim L

Your theory in the long run benefits neither the consumer the dealer nor the manufacturer. They will all lose.

I have spent my life in manufacturing and have seen this idiological theory applied to labor relations. It has shut down more companies and put more people out of work than it has benefited.

lb
Posted by: Brad

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 10:39 PM

lb,

With all due respect, you need to support your argument. Why won't what Jim L. suggests work?

The retailers benefit from a local monopoly. Please explain to me how this benefits the customers.
Posted by: SteveY

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 10:47 PM

A question for the dealers here:
Aren't there requirements for becoming an authorized dealer? Is there a "fee"? Are there inventory requirements such as maintaining a certain dollar amount of inventory? Or a certain number of units? Is there training involved? How about required advertising? It seems to me that the dealer selling grey market goods reaps all the benefit without any of the cost or responsibility. Perhaps one should simply open a "Piano Store" without becoming an authorized dealer of anything and simply sell grey market product.

For Jim L: Doesn't a manufacturer have the right to influence how their products are sold to the public? Doesn't this right extend to placing restrictions on it's dealers? Don't these restrictions help build a product's resale value? I see the downside of the territorial issues. But there's got be a happy medium here, right?
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/12/02 11:05 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Jim L.:

Excuse me if I don't shed a tear for the "authorized" dealer, but it seems to me that he is simply being deprived of the benefit of a system otherwise tilted in his favor and against Joe Consumer. That hardly qualifies as a tragedy; rather, the dealer simply is being subjected to -- horrors -- competition.

That being said, there is a better way for the dealer to protect his franchise and his business: offer value for the $. The value could be in wonderful preparation, in standing behind a product, in low-pressure salesmanship, or in extraordinarily low overhead that allows the dealer to sell for less.

Thus, dealers, the name of the game is value, value, value. Offer it, and they will come, because then you have a legitimate competitive advantage. But don't go crying because your price is sufficiently inflated that it pays another dealer to pay a third dealer for a piano (for a profit, to be sure), ship it, and then sell it to a consumer for significantly less than the "authorized" dealer.
Jim L.[/b]



Jim, don't take any of this as an attack. I like you. But your post shows a complete misunderstanding of how business - not just the piano business, but business period - works. And you it's a bit misleading because you fail to mention that one of the things you do is find pianos for people for a fee, using this very method on occasion. It is useful to the reader to know that as they read your opinion.

Surely you are aware that the piano business is not the only business that follows this method of doing business. When was the last time you drove by a new car dealership and saw a sign outside that just said "New Cars - All Brands"? When was the last time you went into an appliance store that offered all brands? Or a furniture store? Or clothing? Electronics? What do [/b] you find where every conceiveable brand made can be found in the same store? Soft drinks? Food? What else?

My point is this: far from the cynical view you have painted of "monopolies" or "greedy dealers" or having the system "tilted against the consumer as the reason why manufacturers limit distribution, the real reason is basic business. Practically every item made is sold through limited distribution. And while there are many reasons this has been proven over and over to be the only way the system can work, the biggest reason is the exact opposite of what you seem to believe. Instead of serving to somehow "limit" the consumer, it protects him by protecting the business as a whole.

Let me explain. Let's follow your advice to its ultimate conclusion. Every dealer in the country can order any brand he wants. No problems. There are no checks and balances built in to determine who is a legitimate dealer, so anyone who wants to call up and say they are in the piano business can order whatever they want. That means that now, you won't have to rely on those awful "authorized dealers" any longer, Jim. You can just call up any manufacturer and order it direct. All's well in the piano world, right?

No. The piano business is going to die. For a short period of time, manufacturers see a jump in sales volume. But they know it is going to be shortlived. You see, the first thing that's going to happen is they are going to begin losing their established dealers. You know, the ones who have mortgaged their homes, hung themselves out on a limb financially in an effort to make a living selling their products. Once these guys begin to see there is no profit in their products anymore, they are going to quit risking their money ordering them.

The entire process hinges on profit. Not obscene profit like you seem to think we make, just a decent profit. The manufacturer isn't building pianos out of some desire to support the arts. He is building pianos to make money. Dealers don't go to work every day out of a benevolent desire to promote the arts. They go to work for the same reason you do - to get paid.

Now if you're selling a commodity, that's one thing. But no one has to have a piano. We *want* pianos, and there's a big difference. Now that consumers can buy any brand they want in any store they go into, if you think the vast majority of them will buy from the guy who isn't pushy, who tries to compete by offering them the best service, etc. you are sadly mistaken. They will buy from the guy who quotes them the lowest price. Face it - isn't that your beef anyway, that the current system doesn't allow the consumer to get the lowest price? Well, now that all the brands are in all the stores, that's exactly what you'll get. Dirt cheap.

The first thing dealers will do to try to compete is stop servicing pianos. Next, they'll start cutting out any extras. Next, they'll take their marbles and go do something else. Eventually, you'll have one dealer in town who stayed on top. He now has not only a monopoly on brands, he has a monopoly on outlets. And now *he* dictates to the manufacturers what he wants, and what he will do. And do you really think he will continue to be as competitive as he used to be once all his competition has gone on to other things? Of course not. Do you really think he will continue to stock every brand? Of course not. He will stock what he wants to stock. And the result will be the end of the "boom" for the manufacturers.

Now, in an effort to survive, they will send their sales reps out trying to find someone to carry their brands, but there won't be anyone. So manufacturers will begin to drop out of the business as well. Eventually there will be one dealer in a town, maybe two in bigger markets, and two or three piano manufacturers.

Once the dealer network is shot, and the monopoly you were so incensed about has shifted to this new form of monopoly, and most of the manufacturers are out of business, you will begin to notice other things as well. With only one or two piano makers left, and only one or two piano dealers per town left, marketing the idea of owning a piano will drop drastically. And fewer people will think about wanting one.

This scenario has played out already many times over in the past. Fisher Stereo systems used to be the top of the line. They limited distribution, and built high quality products. They had a dealer network who promoted their products, explained the benefits of owning them, provided service to their customers for them, the works. Then Fisher got greedy. They went mass market. Any department store, furniture store, you name it, could become a Fisher stereo dealer. Today, you'll find Fisher stereos in the budget section of big box electronics stores. Cheap, poor quality. I could give you example after example like this where a manufacturer decided to try just what you suggest.

Look at any big item you care to mention, and you'll find that if there's any quality to the product at all, distribution is limited. Ford doesn't sell cars to the Chevy dealer. Fridgidaire doesn't sell refrigerators to the Hotpoint dealer. And they don't for a very good reason. They have the good sense to understand that if you don't establish a solid dealer network, you risk finding yourself dead in the water. And the quickest way to end up without a dealer network is to stop supporting a dealer network. The consumer wins for a short time, but in the long run you ruin the industry, and you really *do* end up with a monopoly - one that dictates to the manufacturers, who has no incentive to compete any longer, no incentive to provide good service, and an extremely short list of choices. And every time someone cheats the system, one consumer wins, but the network that keeps the whole thing running is weakened. Do it enough, and you kill the goose.

The beginning stages of this can be seen by paying attention to what's happening with digital pianos. If it keeps going the way it is heading, in a few years there will only be two companies making them in any real quantities, and only two dealers selling them. Already, they dictate to the manufacturers. I've already quit carrying any, and many dealers I know are following suit. The profit motive is gone. Before long they will be nothing more than something you find on a shelf at Circuit City or some place like that, with no salesman who can show you the features, or to help you comparison shop, no service department, no after the sale service of any kind. It will be like you've bought a toaster oven.

Is this really what you want to see happen to the piano industry? If you want to have product variety, good dealers, good service, and quality products, you need to hope and pray that nothing else happens to weaken the profit motive of the dealer network. Because once we all quit, your only choice will be a GH-1 in ebony polish. But never fear, it will be sold in every store in town, even maybe the local Texaco dealer.

Here's a real life example that involves me. In the 80s I owned a chain of piano stores in Tennessee. I began selling grandfather clocks when no one in town carried them. I showed them to their best advantage, had salespeople who were trained in how they were made, how they worked, etc. And we soon became one of the largest grandfather clock retailers in the United states. We averaged 30 clocks per week, per store. A couple of dealer friends of mine got into the clock business as well, and between the three of us the manufacturer had to double their factory. They were so thrilled that they sent their sales reps out all over the country to visit piano stores, with letters I wrote for them to convince the piano dealer that clock sales fit well with the piano business.

But they got greedy. All the furniture stores in town saw how many we were selling, and in spite of the dealer agreement I had with them, the manufacturer violated it. They began selling them to anyone and everyone who would place an order. After nearly 5 years of pace setting sales, in one year they flooded my market with clock dealers. I could no longer make any money on them, so I quit selling them. Once I quit marketing them, the other dealers found their sales dropping, so they lost interest. In one more year, clock sales in that town went to no more than a couple of dozen clocks per year, and today no one in town sells clocks. The manufacturer had to lay off nearly half their workers, and shut down a large part of their facility. Today, you hardly ever see anyone anywhere selling grandfather clocks. But I'll bet that no matter where you lived, in the early 80s you saw a whole lot of grandfather clocks for sale in your town.

Sorry for the long post, but this is just plain business sense. And to quote you, excuse me for not shedding a tear for those who don't get it, and think they are improving things for the consumer by promoting the very thing that could kill it.
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 12:04 AM

Larry & Jim,

Perhaps I'm looking at this too simplistically, but it seems to me that a significant number of problems both of you discuss could be eliminated if the 'sticker price' was exactly what every customer paid for the piano.

Comments?

Derick
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 01:05 AM

wow. an explosion unleashed. sorry, guys, but i am on the road for work and no way can i respond in detail to everything that has been said since my little post of a mere 24 hours ago.

this thread is now bringing out the subterranean theme of this board, which is how a customer's best interests and a dealer's best interests are not always the same. i can't really get into larry's long and detailed post, but i'll try to address some of the other questions that were raised.

first of all, i bought this piano from such a long distance and from an unauthorized dealer after shopping for a year and a half all over the u.s. and canada. i bought it after playing new and used grotrians from authorized dealers. i bought it after corresponding with the grotrian factory and talking on the phone with the u.s. distributor. i bought it after hiring an independent tech to inspect it, and after receiving the very best of advice from some knowledgeable people on this board, some of whom had also played this piano, some of whom are dealers and know of my dealer.

i bought it because i fell in love with it, far and beyond and above any other piano i had played, new or used, grotrian or not. it was the piano with my heart and name on it. i didn't care about authorized or unauthorized, i only cared if it was in new condition, if the dealer was someone i could trust, and if i could find a way to swing paying for it.

i did my homework. i decided that for all intents and purposes, it was a used piano, and i treated the purchase as if it was a used piano. grotrian does not transfer its warranties if the pianos are sold used before their five year warranty is up. but grotrian is not known for making lemons, and i had it on good authority that i could trust this dealer to honor his ten year warranty, in the event that something did happen.

i also did the math. if i were to have bought this piano used from a private seller, i would still have paid quite a bit more. this was a great deal, but i didn't buy it because it was a great deal. i bought it because i loved it. the fact that it was a great deal just meant that owning it was possible. you could have shown me a better deal on a bosie and i wouldn't have touched it. i wouldn't have taken a bosie for free.

the problem the piano has now is simply due to shipping. i had it inspected both before and after shipping. traveling for seven days (crated) by truck and rail shook loose a few bolts and my tech didn't catch this (i'm now shopping for a new tech). i'm lucky that the dealer's tech wants to come out here in march. but the downbearing is fine, the rim is fine, the soundboard is fine, everything is sound on it. it just needs a good regulation and voicing, and the best person to do that is the person who originally prepped it for sale, who knows exactly what i bought, and who can return the piano to that condition.

i think it is great that the dealer is willing to do this to make sure i am happy.

i bought a new/used, or a used/new piano. nobody here would be slamming this purchase if i had bought it from a private seller. what beethoven did, any one of us could do, and we would not be breaking any laws--they went to germany, bought the piano for the german price (which is considerably less than what it goes for here) and then shipped it back to the u.s. and resold it.

would it be a problem with any of the authorized dealers if i did this myself?--i could fly to germany and buy the piano from a german dealer and have it shipped here. they can't stop me from doing that. people do it to buy mercedes benzes all the time.

there is no authorized grotrian dealer in new york city. amazing, but true. so, beethoven's is filling a need and a niche.

i sorry to hear they lost the estonia dealership. faust harrison already had estonia pianos last year, btw, they just didn't have them in their new york showroom. they got into estonia because of one of their young sales reps, a julliard grad who turned the dealership on to the piano as an alternative for young and starving artists.
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 01:37 AM

Brad

With all due respect, there is no way I could have explained it as well as Larry.

It was late and I was tired, and I knew that Larry would respond. \:D \:D \:D

lb
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 01:41 AM

LARRY:...call that a PhD dissertation in economics or....

.............. ECON 101 ??

Very well said...another.. 'MASTER POST'!

Here's my short version of " THE CREATION"...

Most of us can [at least] 'sympathize' where Jim and others come from. He's a good guy..
and so is everybody else!

We may all endorse 'reasonable'profit...for OURSELVES.....
[ what the hell is that anyway?]......

..but deep down in our 'gut'.. we really DO HATE anybody making a ...god..$$ on "ON OUR BACK...and EXPENSE"......coupled by a burning desire [dating back to at least Neandertal man!] to virtually kill and maim anybody daring to extoll even one penny over the absolute,basic
minimum limit allowed![ Which is zero..]

Anybody here ever gets that feeling??
[I do...whenever I talk to MY OWN suppliers!!
P.S. Am direct Neandertal descent...]

Can we blame anybody that,at least, there are strong "contributing factors" today [as they always have been]which seem to foster a general feeling of being 'ripped off',taken, anywhere you go,whatever you buy,and - seemingly - from whomever you buy?[except Larry and me!!]

The Europeans, having recently switched to the EURO now have a new "national sport":

COMPARING PRICES of tomatoes, tooth paste and chewing gum,etc between Portugal, France, Germany Luxemburg and Greece!

5 cents difference keeps the papers full with comparisons and makes "fascinating reading" over there for millions....i.e don't go to Italy....parmesan cheese is 3 cents more there....

Next,throw in the internet.. and you do have the COMPLETE ILLUSION of man stomping all over the universe as he orders all of his necessities,commodities,goods and sevices to his front door...for virtually....NOTHING!

So God created....THE [PIANO] RETAILER!!

At least someone now...can thwart this insane
onslaught of "high expectation-low prices"
into the opposite spectrum, bringing dispair and misery to this world of ours and be -
once and for all - blamed for the incredible economic mess,high prices,poor service and- utter confusion for every consumer these days... allowing for no less than at least 20 manufacturers to compete side by side to drive every serious piano shopper up the proverbial wall..to this cherished Forum..
..or whatever other refuge out there, may be found!

At least,if the piano manufacturers and piano sellers of this world could all work
together in secret cahouts with each other..

....WE MAY HAVE ACTUALLY PULLED IT OFF!!

Anybody's got three[hundred]- way calling?

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com

[ February 13, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: Brad

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 09:21 AM

Well, I've read Larry's magnum opus. He convinces me that the dealer monopoly provides real benefits to the dealers.

The only benefit to the customers is that the dealers stay in business.

A paino is just another consumer good. The analogy to cars is a helpful one. When you went car shopping ten or fifteen years ago, you were largely on your own. It was hard to find out what the "invoice" price was (the dealers tried to keep it a secret) and it was difficult to locate specific models of cars with specific options, colors, trims, since these were seemingly distributed at random.

Today, thanks to the internet, you can find out the invoice price of the car and check most manufacturer's nationwide inventory on the internet.

It is now easier to negotiate to get a lower price and easier to find the exact car in the exact time line and color you want.

Piano retailing is still stuck in the middle ages. I think it would benefit the customer if more information were available. Perhaps a new method of piano retailing will be necessary (Sam Walton, Costco, where are you?). Of course, the dealers will scoff, because this challenges their way of living.

In an effort to keep this thread going forever, this brings to mind another related topic: the piano consumers on this board are too deferential to the piano retailers on this board. I enjoy the contributions of this element, but there is a fair amount of self-serving promotion. Not long ago, Steve Cohen was roundly beat up by this element for plugging the Prambergers. But lately, I'm hearing lots about the wonders of Charles Walter and Estonia in the exact same vein.
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 11:43 AM

I guess that, as a consumer, if there is one fundamental place I disagree with Larry, it is this: too many buyers have been treated in an unethical (and might I add, disgusting!) manner by so-called "authorized" dealers (present company excepted!). After we've met one or two of these, unless we are willing to spend the time and money Pique did to find the perfect piano, and/or have memorized "the Book" (most buyers have never heard of it), or frequent this board (how many folks are we, 1,100?), we will seek the product we want at the lowest price, period! Why should I believe Slimeball Piano Store is actually going to stand behind their warranty in 9 years, if they seemed untrustworthy in the first hour after my arrival? And why would I believe (without any experience to the contrary) that the manufacturer will treat me any better than Slimeball Authorized Dealer? After all, aren't they both out just to take my money?

Poor service and unethical practices cause the consumer to assume they will continue to receive poor services and be subjected to unethical practice. So we are left with nothing but price and our own hands and ears to go on.

And, Larry, if a good manufacturer loses a distribution network they can do what Fisher did, true. But they also have the option of setting up their own manufacturer-controlled stores. Or they can maintain both at the same time, which ensures "quality control". Works for McDonald's.

(hmm. Better rethink the analogy!)
:p

[ February 13, 2002: Message edited by: shantinik ]
Posted by: SR

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 11:45 AM

I don't quite agree with the Car and piano business analogies. Nearly everyone needs a car and nearly nobody needs a piano. Pianos are a niche luxury item. I live in a very large city and can go to at least 15 Chevy dealers to shop price. I can only go one place to buy a new Steinway.

I think an interesting question is why do Piano makers not protect their dealer network and their prices by setting a realistic "Retail Price" and sticking to it ?
Microsoft for example sets a price and thats it. Windows XP upgrade is the same price in any store. Bargains only appear if XP vers 2 appears, but vers 2 price will be regulated.
Any dealer who discounts and is caught discounting is out.

Cars and pianos both have a "suggested" retail price. Nobody in their right mind pays it. New model cars in high demand often sell for sticker plus markup. I don't think pianos ever do. If I don't like the price on the new Corvette I can hit many other Chevy dealers. I can fly to Fresno or Vegas or San Diego to get a discount and drive home perhaps saving hundreds or thousands of dollars. Now I certainly can go to the San Diego Steinway dealer but it'll cost alot more than $20 in gas to get it home to LA. I will also lose the service from the San Diego shop if anything goes wrong. Steinway store in LA is not going to care much if my new "L" develops a problem, but the Corvette can go to any dealer for warrenty service on its own power or behind a $40 tow truck. I can't take the piano in for a service.

Why can't piano be priced closer to the real world value ? Piano Factory in Burbank was once asking $22,500 for the 6'4" Estonia on special sale. Piano Factory in Costa Mesa was asking $18,990 as the regular price. What gives here ? No wonder piano shoppers are looking for price deals. I bought a new piano at a 46% discount. WHY ? If the piano is worth what I paid why do some people only get 30% off or 10 or nothing ? Maybe I got taken and everybody else gets 55% off. I've never bought a new car for 46% off.


If the piano idustry wants succes and survival in the era of digital and electronic competition they better get realistic. Wether you are Yamaha or Pearl River or Bosendorfer it doesn't matter.

Steve
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 11:52 AM

As some of you know, my son is a drummer. The most visited forum on the net for drummers is the one at Drumcenter - Indianapolis. There used to be a lot of participation on the board by various manufacturers - Ludwig, dw, Pearl - but the members of the forum turned up the flames on the manufacturer's reps. Now no manufacturer's reps post on that board. The members may have won their respective battles, but they most definitely lost the information war.

Of course, Steve C can speak for himself. To put some of the above statements in context, I believe the beef at the time was that Mr. Cohen was promoting his product to the exclusion of all others.

To address the issue of whether to buy a particular piano from a particular dealer, I'll trot out just a bit of my personal thought process:

1. I would not feel comfortable purchasing a new piano from an unauthorized dealer.

2. I like to buy from somebody no more than 3 hours drive away. I like to do business with someone I can look across a desk at, if necessary.

3. I found that salesmen and prices have a proportionate relationship. The more salesman, usually the higher the price. It is harder to find an acceptable piano (and impossible for some brands) at a RPT owned shop, but prices generally tend to be lower and service tends to be better.

4. Just because there is an authorized dealer for a line in my hometown, does not preclude me from talking to other dealers of the same make. If comfortable with the hometown person, I would give them the last shot at my business and because of proximity, would pay a bit higher price, all other things being equal.
Pianos are not cars. A new car may not have a problem. Even the best of new pianos always require some sort of tweaking once in the home. I prefer to have the tweaker a little closer to the tweakee.

Just a thought. \:\)
Posted by: fmelliott

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 11:54 AM

Some folks think it is necessary to have lots of experience to post. Here is one place I do know what I am talking about. I restore antique furniture. High quality tools, like precision made table saws, are used. Compound miter saws and the like are mandatory. Recently major manufacturers began trashing their dealer networks so they could sell in Home Depot, Lowes, and other chain outlets. Briefly tools were everywhere. Then, when only a few of us needed things, the chains stopped carrying the more expensive tools. They dropped lines. Delta nearly went out of business. Most of the dealers closed up shop for lack of business. Service is almost impossible to get. Parts are a nightmare. I used to drive 2 miles to the dealer for parts. Now I have to deal with out of town people and delivery services. Frequently I don't know how to put in the parts. I am not an electrician. Dealers perform a service that people need!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Piano prices are available in rough form from Larry Fine's book. I was able to feel very comfortable in my recent negotiations buying a piano for my church with that information. I didn't have to deal because I knew the dealer was being fair. I also winnowed out a couple of price gouging dealers with Larry's information. Things in the piano business are better than they seem to soem of us.
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 12:10 PM

jolly,
my situation is a bit unusual. if i bought locally from an honest dealer, my choices were yamaha or baldwin. if i bought locally from any dealer, my choices were baldwin, yamaha, and a bunch of crap.

three hours from my house is scrubland and forest, not pianos. six hours from my house is high desert and mountains, not pianos. nine hours from my house... i shopped that market three times hoping to find something, but did not.

basically, my only choice was to go long distance. since when you purchase a piano long distance, even from an authorized dealer, you are basically giving up service, authorized or unauthorized really means very little to me.

i feel extremely fortunate that even though my dealer is both long distance, and unauthorized, i can get the kind of service someone expects when they live in the same city. i have to wait awhile, but hey, the best techs in new york are booked up weeks ahead anyway, so that may not be much different either.

i can tell you that if it turns out that beethoven does not deliver on their guarantees, this board will be among the first to hear about it. but so far, everything has been on the up and up.

the bottom line is that customers should do what is in their own best interest, in accord with their own individual circumstances and tastes. just because i live out in the wilderness does not mean i should be doomed to owning a piano that annoys my ears, simply for the sake of satisfying somebody else's idea of what good business ethics are.

i know there are dealers here who would also have treated me well from long distance had i been able to get to their showrooms to try their pianos. i was limited, unfortunately, to where i was being sent anyway on business.

norbert, someday still i will come visit you in vancouver. please make sure that bakery will be open that day!
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 12:27 PM

i also have to add, to add to beethoven's credit, that they sent me my piano WITHOUT PAYMENT. that's right, they trusted me to pay them when i got the money, and shipped it first (we were concerned about the onset of severe winter possibly harming the piano in shipment, and i couldn't buy it until my home refinance went through).

then, when i got screwed over by my mortgage brokers (who were playing games with interest rates) and didn't have the money, my dealer patiently waited until i got the matter sorted out, and trusted me to pay them. this was not long after 9/11, and i know they were desperate for the money, but they patiently waited and trusted me. i think that has to be rare in any business, among any type of person, and i have to give them credit for that. those are the kinds of people i want to do business with.

i realize people will make their own choices in the authorized v. unauthorized debate. but i cannot sit by and watch beethoven's get slammed when they have treated me so well.
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 12:40 PM

I think everybody here has good thoughts and
none of the issues are really all black and white.

Everybody also has different circumstances,
like Penny, so decisions are made differently within that context!

We piano dealers,are [rightfully] accused of many evils and there is a whole lot of them I would never dream to have even coffee with.

On the other hand,it's also a tremendous competition among all brands and dealers -
if you'd take a machine gun and and shoot in a circle - you'd always get somebody 'right'!
[That's why I feel every day like an Afgahn
veteran!]

Which....does make customers to be "King"!

ABSOLUTE KING, that is!!!!!

ON THE HILL!!

Congratulations to all the 'Kings' out there
[....and to a record thread as well!]

P.S. Tomorrow..we all will kiss and make up!

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com
Posted by: jodi

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 01:12 PM

You know what is so awesome about this thread at the moment? - people are disagreeing, but nobody is getting nasty. Amazing. Those nice guy pills sure are something. Great posts, Larry , Pique. et al. \:\) Jodi

[ February 13, 2002: Message edited by: jodi ]
Posted by: Steve Miller

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 02:57 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Brad:
Well, I've read Larry's magnum opus. He convinces me that the dealer monopoly provides real benefits to the dealers.

The only benefit to the customers is that the dealers stay in business.
[/b]

Please take no offense Brad, at my using your post as an outline for my reply. You are stating much the same thing as others areand I mean nothing personal by quoting from your post.

 Quote:

A piano is just another consumer good.
[/b]

For me a piano is not just another consumer good, not at all. They are a major purchase for most of us, a highly personal choice, a purchase decision that involves art as much as reason. Pianos are not toasters, and I believe a search for Toaster Forum on the internet will help to point out some of the difference. Pianos are special.

 Quote:

Piano retailing is still stuck in the middle ages. I think it would benefit the customer if more information were available.
[/b]

I propose that this information is indeed available for one who cares to ferret it out. Not wholesale prices perhaps, but certainly an overview of what might be a fair price to pay for a particular piano. This forum provides such information on a regular basis, as does PianoQuest, etc. E-bay is not a bad barometer for the value for used pianos of various sorts.

I further propose that the sort of information provided on this forum and others (tone, action, general satisfaction/dissatisfaction with particular brands and models) is more valuable than things like wholesale cost. Wholesale cost is only one of a myriad of things that go in to pricing of pianos. The secondary considerations are perhaps as important or even more important than the precise percentage of dealer markup.

Note I said "fair price". I do not personaly believe that it is in my best interest to grind every last nickel out of every transaction. A fair price is what I seek out - fair to me, and fair to the guy who sells it to me. I find that by doing so I have established a personal network of dealers of various sorts with whom I can deal on an ongoing basis. There are those who consduct their business solely on price and many are quite successful. I however, prefer to establish ongoing business relationships.

 Quote:
Perhaps a new method of piano retailing will be necessary (Sam Walton, Costco, where are you?). Of course, the dealers will scoff, because this challenges their way of living.
[/b]

The very idea of this new type of piano merchandising terrifies me. I pray it will never catch on. One only needs to go to WalMart to see what happens when this sort of marketing becomes the norm. Once the competition goes away, the quality stocked drops like a rock. There is a lot of stock, but the quality is universally mediocre, the service non existent, the selection homogenous and boring. The price becomes the only measure of value. There is a flip side to this, and 'lest anyone think I am in favor of paying whatever to the authorized agent for the privelege of dealing with him, let me hold their feet to the fire a bit.

Yes, I am willing to pay more to buy from a dealer who does the right stuff. For pianos in particular, this "right stuff" would include treating me fairly, presenting his goods in such a way (prepped and tuned for a start) that I can compare them, establishing a reputation in town for after sale service and an honesty in dealing in general. Right stuff would also include doing what it takes to become the authorized agent for their represented brands.

Just because you open the doors as the authorized agent however, does not mean that you automatically deserve my business. Authorized agency is paperwork and fees, the right thing to do but far from the end-all if you are to get my business. If your pianos are marked up to cover value-added services that you will provide, I am happy to pay. If however, your markup includes all of the hype and none of the service, chances are good that I will buy elsewhere.

 Quote:

In an effort to keep this thread going forever, this brings to mind another related topic: the piano consumers on this board are too deferential to the piano retailers on this board. I enjoy the contributions of this element, but there is a fair amount of self-serving promotion. Not long ago, Steve Cohen was roundly beat up by this element for plugging the Prambergers. But lately, I'm hearing lots about the wonders of Charles Walter and Estonia in the exact same vein.[/b]


A fine line between promotion and dissemination of knowlege.

I believe that the dealers who contribute to this board do an excellent job of identifying which is which, and are in a unique position to provide us with information you just can not get anywhere else. I have also seen where the dealers themselves will get after one of their own when the topic strays too far toward sales hype and away from personal belief in the product. I believe this is good.

Let me use Larry for an example, only because his is the only store I have actually visited among those represented on this board. Larry sells a number of different brands, from different countries, different price points, different customer types. Larry plays them, sees them every day, works on them (himself in some cases), listens to customers who either love them or are disappointed in one way or another after the sale. It is no wonder that he has formed definite opinions, and being as Larry is far from shy and retiring, ;\) he states his opinions with conviction and clarity.

Do these opinions have anything to do with which brands he represents and which brands he does not? Of course - but not necessarily because he is always out there promoting. I believe that Larry's decision to stock certain lines has as much or more to do with pianos he finds personally satisfying at the price point than it does with profit. Surely Larry could become the local Yamaha dealer if he chose to do so, but I don't see that happening any time soon.

So I value his opinions - even those I disagree with - and I disagree with a lot of them. I feel the same way about the other dealers who contribute to this forum. These guys don't have to be here, there are far more efficient ways to promote pianos than to contribute (at length!) to forums like this one. They are here because they like what they do. Steve Cohen posted a beautiful essay some months back on just how much you have to love pianos to stay in the business, Norbert and others post with enthusiasm about pianos they do not represent.

So I wonder why there are no Steinway dealers who contribute? It could make for a lively exchange...
Posted by: Brad

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 03:32 PM

Steve Miller:

No offense taken. I concur with Norbert (whose internet "persona" I do like a lot) these comments are all good natured.

I'll only comment on the "consumer nature" of the piano.

I do not think the amount of money an item costs is solely determinative. Pianos, even upper end ones, cost no more than a nice Volvo (for comparrision's sake). Yet the car is certainly a consumer item. If I bought a $50,000 car, I'd want access to information to compare the different models and to negotiate a good price.

But more to the point, I would guess that 90% (or more) of the piano trade consists of pianos between $3,000 and $6,000. These are generally mass manufactured items of Japanese, Korean, or Chinese origin. These are truly consumer items.

This level of consumer (as I said, probably 90% of all piano purchasers) is poorly served by dealer monopolies and limited access to information. The average consumer is bewildered by the piano market place.

Most people just want a nice piano at a good price. Since $3,000 to $6,000 is a lot of money for most people, they also want to make an informed decision and get a good price. The present market is not taking care of them.


Is this 11 pages yet?

How 'bout this for provocation: We've certainly shown those "Pianist Corner" types what a long flame thread really is . . .
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 04:10 PM

I don't want anyone to get the impression that I am somehow faulting an individual for taking advantage of a good deal. It isn't the consumer's responsibility to police the industry. You *do* need to understand how it works and the risks you may be taking, but as long as your eyes are open and you know all the facts, if the deal is there and you're comfortable with it, take it. Knocking people who do so is not the intent of my posts. Everyone says they want information, so that's what you're getting. I'm laying the blame at the feet of the dealers who engage in this, not the consumer who takes advantage of it. As a consumer though, don't you think you are better armed *with* this information than you would be without it?

Second, someone mentioned that even though car dealers are sold through dealerships using limited distribution, there were dozens of Chevy dealers in town and one piano dealer. It all has to do with demand. Every family in town (for the most part) will buy a car. What percent of the town will buy a piano - 15%? 10%? 3%? There are markets in the US where there is more than one authorized dealer for a particular brand of piano. It is all tied to population. There has to be enough population to support another dealership, it doesn't matter whether you're talking about cars, refrigerators, or pianos. To find out, go try to get a Chevy dealership. Even though it seems to you there are a dealers all over town, you'll find out quickly that there are no more dealerships available, and won't be until the area grows enough to justify another one. So the number of dealerships relate directly to the potential market available to support it. Which is part of the entire purpose of limited distribution.

Lastly, regarding the "promoting" of brands here. There is a difference in saying "such and such brand is an excellent piano, but so is X,Y,and Z" when all 4 brands are competitive brands to attempting to position one brand as competitive with everything out there. When I have praised a brand such as the Walter which I sell, you will also find cases where I have praised the Petrof, which I don't sell. That is also the case when you see most of the other dealers here praise a brand. But you will not see me nor in my opinion any of the other dealers here try to make the claim that the Webers which I do sell are somehow supposed to compete with a Steinway, which was the case before.

I just wanted to make sure everyone knew where I stood, and that there was no intent to offend anyone.
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 04:13 PM

 Quote:
But more to the point, I would guess that 90% (or more) of the piano trade consists of pianos between $3,000 and $6,000. These are generally mass manufactured items of Japanese, Korean, or Chinese origin. These are truly consumer items.
[/QB]


And this gets us back to the very beginning of this thread. Yamaha is King because their products are predictable, and, I'm told, their servicing is excellent. Yamahas are not competing (for the most part) with Steinways, or even Petrofs, but with Bergmans and Samicks.

But this is why they are going to get screwed. Once the Chinese product becomes predictable, mass-marketed, well-serviced, and 33% cheaper than Yamahas, Yamaha will either have to lower their prices 33% (as they did with oboes), or reformulate the product line (unlikely). If they stand still, they will go the way of Baldwin (which was, in fact, cannibalized by Yamaha in the mid-market.)
Posted by: Brendan

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 04:36 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Brad:
Steve Miller:

How 'bout this for provocation: We've certainly shown those "Pianist Corner" types what a long flame thread really is . . .[/b]


Well...

You guys can argue actual statistics and facts, thus giving you more flexibility in debate. We can merely argue our take on how the music should sound, which isn't an exact science by any means.

Nonetheless:

Posted by: jodi

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 05:16 PM

Brendan, Brendan - you should come over to "this side" more often. Surely you have opinions on what pianos you like the best after playing so many! Jodi (a groupie wannabe) ;\)
Posted by: Penny

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 05:28 PM

Regarding the comment about converting to a a Walmart or Costco strategy, please allow me to say that these are two completely different business models. Both have the goal of low prices but get there differently. While Walmart has tens of thousands of products and brands in its stores and seeks to muscle out the lowest price, Costco has a team of shoppers which winnows the product offering down to 3-4,000 products and then seeks to muscle out the lowest price. That's it. You go into a Costco and as huge as it is, it only has 4,000 products/brands. That is because the shoppers have already determined the top brand or two of any product. Sometimes they add a "Kirkland Signature" generic brand. It's like they do the shopping for you. Now some people may hate that, but most like it.

I can totally see this working with the lower end pianos, especially if they had the consistancy of Yamaha. In fact, this weekend, I did see a piano show at Costco. They had a YC, a Yamaha and a Bergman. None was close to anything I would consider buying, but they wereN'T targeting me, the pianofile.

Now, for those of us who want to seek out that rare, so-called hand-crafted piano, the Costco approach would never work. But there's no reason it wouldn't work for the Yamahas and Kawais of the world. As long as Costco-style service came with it, MOST of those buyers would be just fine.

Of course, I've just eliminated the bread-and-butter of most of the dealers out there. I know that. (Of course, Larry, the champion of selling six-pack Bechsteins would be OK!)But while I see Larry's point, Brad is right that piano dealerships are out of step with today. It's an archaic way of doing business and is already under pressure, from the internet especially, to change.

And as far as the manufacturers going into business for themselves, that has happened in the retail business all over the place. Gap is not only a retailer, it is also a manufacturer. That's the whole idea behind manufacturers' outlet malls. The stores are "factory-owned." Maybe we should have a few piano outlet malls. Many people here would probably happily make the drive.

penny

[ February 13, 2002: Message edited by: Penny ]
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 05:49 PM

Interesting... But I do wonder if Costco pianos would drive high-end dealers out of business. I'm kind of thinking that if Costco did sell affordable, decent, pianos, more people would own pianos. This would lead to greater "piano consciousness" among the general public. Which would ultimately lead to increased sales of high-end pianos.

I'm going to Costco tonight. If I see Larry or Norbert hanging around in disguises, I'll know a Costcodorfer is not far from production. ;\)

Derick
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 06:09 PM

I believe the pianos sold at Costco represent a local dealer who has "obtained" space in the Costco store. I don't know if the agreement is a flat rate for space or a percentage of whatis sold, but service is still provided by the local dealer, not Costco.

As for the concept of WalMart and pianos...

Any of you ever meet Mr. Sam? Common as an old shoe - until he started to talk business instead of the weather or fishing. Did you know that in order to sell WalMart a line of goods, you had to fly into corporate HQ and demonstrate to the old gentleman and his buyers why he should carry your wares. And then negotiate price?

WalMart still skins their vendors pretty good. I believe if the guys from Yamaha flew into Bentonville, it would be a round of negotiations that would be fun to watch! \:\)
Posted by: ChemicalGrl

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 07:47 PM

Regarding pianos at Costco:

Last summer, there was a Travelling Piano Show at the local Costco. (I think that's what it was.) The featured pianos were mostly, if not all, Young Changs. There were grand pianos, player pianos, digital pianos, uprights, etc. It seemed odd to see all these pianos, lined up close to the entrance. I didn't pay too much attention to the price tags as I know on my measly budget there was no way I could think of affording a piano at this point in time.

It reminded me of the time I saw a group of pianos in the local mall (dealer I think was based in Chapel Hill, NC); it kind of had the same feel to it.
Posted by: Penny

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 09:01 PM

Yes, Costco has "road shows," usually hosted by some local dealer. But that's not what I was talking about. If, and it's a mighty big "if," Costco wanted to get into the piano business, I think there would a place for it. Imagine U1s and U3s and C2s. Or Pramberger 150s. There wouldn't be much of a selection and they would all come in ebony. But at a place like Costco (or Walmart) you can rest assured you got it for a fair price (Costco doesn't sell ANYTHING over a set percentage over cost, having a hard time remembering if it was 11 percent or 14 percent). And the idea of more people getting into piano is appealing. Should their playing or just their desires elevate, your local Estonia-Charles Walter-Schulze Pollmann-Petrof-German-anything dealer would be right there to accommodate them.

penny

penny
Posted by: Rich D.

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 09:53 PM

Larry,
Just wanted to pass on that Jim L. is not staying quiet by choice from this discussion. He called me to pass on that his computer is on the blink and will be back on the air shortly..

Rich D.
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 10:04 PM

Walmart has already tried it. They failed miserably. They found out you can't sell pianos the way you sell a toaster oven. With no one there who was trained on the product and who's sole job was to sell pianos, no one bought them. They also found out that even when it comes to cheap baby grands, customers have to have financing, delivery, someone to tune it, etc, and they don't know where to get it. And you cannot provide that on a 14% profit margin. So they just walked right passed them and let them sit. Walmart managed to sell only a very few pianos nationwide. In short, they found out that the only way you could sell pianos was if you were willing to do all the things a piano store does. And if you did all the things a piano store does, you can't do it for 14%. And you can't do it using a business model of just sitting it on a shelf and waiting on people to simply pick it up and take it to a checkout counter. You actually had to *sell* them. One at a time.

As for the idea that getting lots of cheap pianos out there will increase interest in pianos and create a pool of potential trade up customers for better pianos, there are two things I can bring up that proves this will never happen. One, it is a proven fact that rarely does a person trade up. If they don't buy the good piano first, they usually never will.

Second, when was the last time you saw an organ for sale? When portable keyboards first came out, piano dealers were called "piano and organ dealers", remember? Organs accounted for over half the business, not pianos. Dealers all over the country tried to warn manufacturers that the little keyboards were going to kill the organ business. Manufacturers laughed. Then they did just what guys are suggesting should be done with pianos - they were put into the mass marketer's stores. When dealers complained, consumers dismissed the dealers with the same logic that's being applied in this thread - they said that dealers were just being greedy, and were trying to corner the market on them so they could keep all the business. And the manufacturers tried to con the dealers with the logic of "look how many people will be exposed to keyboards! You'll be swamped with people who learned to play the keyboard and will want to trade up to an organ! You should be happy that we are doing this!

We can now look back in history and see what happened. With no dealer support for lessons for beginners, the vast majority of people who bought them failed to learn anything. This caused three things to happen. One, the much touted "hords of tradeup customers" didn't appear. Second, the organ business died literally overnight, never to revive. Third, and the most sad, thousands of people who might have actually learned to play if they'd bought from a real piano and organ dealer who invested in lesson programs, trade up programs, etc. lost interest in their keyboards and now go through life without being able to play because they believe they tried it and failed.

So how well did the manufacturers make out? The organ industry died, taking roughly half of their manufacturing business with it. The keyboard business boomed for a few years, all low priced, low profit margin products, churning lots of dollars but little profit, the mass marketers had the bulk of the trade because no piano store wanted to fool with them, and eventually the mass marketers began to dictate to the manufacturers what they wanted. The quality of the products got cheaper. The mass marketers, having absolutely no real interest in the music industry, decided that since most of their sales happened at Christmas began only offering them at Christmas. So for 10 months of the year, you couldn't find them for sale anywhere. With no product to create interest, soon even their Christmas sales of these things dropped to nearly nothing, and now you have no organs, only a couple of cheesy keyboards on a shelf in a mass markter's store, manufacturers who have had to accept the fact that they killed off one of their two geese, no selection to amount to anything, and very little interest anymore anyway.

None of this has anything to do with digital pianos. I'm talking about organs and keyboards. You will soon see digital pianos being marketed the way you are suggesting, and when they do, it will take all but the high end of the acoustic piano business with it.

Folks, I know you are of the opinion that there is a better way to do it than the way it is done. I know you think the system is out of date. But to be direct, you are dead wrong. All of your "new" ideas are already "old failures". The logic being applied here has long ago killed off the organ business, it is soon going to happen to digitals and as a result take a major chunk out of the acoustic piano business. What you are suggesting is that the piano business be taken out of the hands of those people who love music and pianos and place it in the hands of those who will view pianos as just one more product on the shelf, with no love for the item. If it doesn't get the turn they want, it will come off the shelf. If it kills the industry as a result, tough. Mass marketers will *not* risk their life's finances to keep the piano business moving, and they will *not* stick by it during the bad times. And you the consumer *will* lose as a result. What you're trying to do is reinvent a wheel that's already been tried and shown to run the vehicle into a ditch.

I will say it again - if you kill off the dealer network you will kill the piano business. It is this dealer network with its limited distribution that you are of the opinion needs to be updated that keeps the entire thing going. Can improvements be made? You bet. Is the answer to eliminate dealers and go to a mass market approach the answer? Only if you want to kill the piano industry dead in its tracks.
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/13/02 10:06 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Rich D.:
Larry,
Just wanted to pass on that Jim L. is not staying quiet by choice from this discussion. He called me to pass on that his computer is on the blink and will be back on the air shortly..

Rich D.[/b]



Just as long as he isn't building up steam to attack me!!
;\)
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/14/02 12:44 AM

Attack...attack...kill..kill...

Finally we're back on track again,folks!!

Larry just put in another monster,master post

...who's the first to make "the move" ??

Congratulations in advance.......

.........courageous soldier!!

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com

[ February 14, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/14/02 01:04 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Penny:
None was close to anything I would consider buying, but they wereN'T targeting me, the pianofile.[/b]



PENNY!!! as one editor to another, it's pianophile--isn't it?


\:D

ok, back to regularly scheduled programming:

larry, thanks for your gracious post. you are indeed right at least that the jury is still out on the choice i've made. but i am pretty confident at this point that things are going to work out. (i have the tech's flight info!)

i don't know what to think about the ethics of the unauthorized sale of pianos, as a general topic not pertaining to my personal situation. the manufacturers really can't control who resells their pianos after one of their authorized dealers has sold them to someone, who also happens to be a dealer.

i would have more of a problem with it if the dealer was dishonest and tried to lead the customer to believe they were authorized when they were not.

and certainly if someone can find a good, honest, local dealer who happens to have the piano one wants and is authorized to sell it, is the best possible scenario for a customer as well, if only for the added security of the manufacturer's warranty.

but, if i lived in new york city and not out west, i still would have bought my grotrian from beethoven's.
Posted by: DT

Re: King of the Hill - 02/14/02 08:15 AM

Isn't a pianofile the tool they use to get that curve in a grand?
Posted by: SteveY

Re: King of the Hill - 02/14/02 08:48 AM

To Pique:
From what you said in your earlier post, I think you made a well-informed decision which to me is what would constitute "the best" choice for any consumer. It sounds like having a relationship with a local dealer is just not possible in your case. So why not open up your search to find the best piano available (no matter where it is). As you may remember, I played a Grotrian at Beethoven and found it to be an amazing instrument. Although I don't know you, I'm happy for you. What a blessing to have such an amazing piano in your home!
Posted by: swb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/14/02 10:24 AM

I can't resist. I believe it's piano"phile" not "file". Mr. Webster indicates that "-phile" means "Indicates one having love or strong affinity or preference for", while "file" would be "a receptacle that keeps loose objects, such as papers or cards, in useful order" or "any of several steel tools with hardened ridged surfaces used in smoothing, polishing or grinding down". So yes, a pianofile would indeed be such a tool.

Never let anyone tell you an English degree is worthless!
Posted by: Samejame

Re: King of the Hill - 02/14/02 10:36 AM

Although I've not been a participant in this thread (I've been away for the last two weeks, I'm just catching up now, and Ive got to say, this has been an absolutely fascinating thread to follow - one of the most intriguing ever. Great job, everyone!

Jamie
Posted by: jodi

Re: King of the Hill - 02/14/02 12:28 PM

Well, my pianofile is in my file cabinet, and it has piano information, and priceless piano forum posts that I have printed out and saved. If that's not addiction, I don't know what is. \:\) Jodi

Hot D*mn, we reached 11!

[ February 14, 2002: Message edited by: jodi ]
Posted by: Penny

Re: King of the Hill - 02/14/02 02:11 PM

mea culpa! it was a TYPO (I also left out the -n't on a very important verb and went back to edit that). Let's just phile this one away, shall we?

penny ;\)
Posted by: Cork

Re: King of the Hill - 02/14/02 10:46 PM

Wow. Eleven pages, and only one really good thrashing of Yamaha.

Let's see if we can liven things up a bit, shall we?


"The best thing about Yamahas is how good they make me feel when I'm back home playing my poor little Petrof . . . "

(wide grin)

Cork
Posted by: jodi

Re: King of the Hill - 02/14/02 11:12 PM

Cork, buddy - where the heck have you BEEN? We've missed you. \:\) Jodi
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 10:17 AM

Ah, no wonder he is known as "Cork the Barbarian"! \:\)

Welcome back, Cork! \:\)
Posted by: Cork

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 10:58 AM

Jodi,

You might say that things got a little hectic for me professionally. I'm just now beginning to emerge into the light again, but still will not have the spare time I once did. I am definitely looking forward to spending more time at the piano!

And Jolly, remember that it really isn't a flame war until I weigh in. ;\)

Cork
Posted by: MikeC65

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 11:42 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by SteveY:
A slightly off-topic, yet real-life example of how this works is when I bought some studio monitors a few years ago from a friend of mine who is a pro audio dealer. As he is a friend (and not just a friendly dealer), I trust him in every way. However, he is not an authorized dealer for the speakers that I had decided on. He told me it wouldn't be a problem, and that he could get them "sideways". He purchased them from a large dealer in Hollywood for 5% over cost. He then added another 5% on his end. This translated into the same 10% over cost that he would have given me on anything that he did carry. While I did not lose on price, he assured me that he wouldn't have taken such a small cut if I were a "normal" customer. He also told me that the arrangement he had with the dealer in Hollywood was a reciprocal thing. They often purchased gear from him for the same mark-up.

The interesting wrinkle was when one of the woofers blew a few months later. I had a receipt from my friend's company, but that wouldn't do much good with the manufacturer. The dealer in Hollywood had recently closed its doors after decades in business. I was out of luck in terms of a warranty.

The story does have a happy ending: Since the manufacturer was actually very close to my house, I decided to drive over without so much as a phone call. (what did I have to lose?) They treated me very well upon walking into their lobby unannounced with a busted speaker. They not only replaced my speaker, but even tested & adjusted the good speaker to provide a proper "match" between the two. It was only after I left that I realized that they never even asked for my receipt. Although the manufacturer never said this, I believe they took care of me because they were an up-and-coming company that badly needed a strong user base. Now that they're achieving great success, I wonder if they'd do the same?[/b]


I suppose this is still off topic in a way, but nonetheless relates to out of warranty and grey market pianos. I had two[/b] experiences similar to SteveY's.

First, I recently bought a Harman-Kardon AVR-7000 receiver off eBay from a company called "ReturnBuy" that sells returned items. They represented the item as being in good condition but made clear it was sold with no warranty. This receiver, however, costs over $1,000 new (although it's last year's model) and I paid about $400, so I figured even if I had to pay for some repairs, it would still be a good deal. Well, sure enough, it needed a repair. I called Harman-Kardon to find out the location of the nearest authorized service center. I told them where I'd gotten it from and that it had no warranty. The Harman-Kardon rep told me that they were unhappy about these items being resold in this fashion, although they had no control over it, and that in the interests of good customer relations, they would honor the warranty! This was entirely something they took it upon themselves to do, it was not anything I asked for -- I knew full well what I was getting into when I purchased the product.

Second, about two years ago I bought a Polk Audio RT3000p powered subwoofer off eBay. (Yes, there is a pattern here.) It worked just fine, but there was a humming noise from the amplifier which I concluded (after some testing for things like a bad ground) was being caused by the 50,000 watt radio tower about a mile from my house. I called Polk Audio's customer service to see if they had any suggestions as to how I might filter the hum out. They told me that their older models of this subwoofer sometimes were susceptable to the hum, and sent me a brand new amplifier module! This, despite that I had fully disclosed where I had purchased it and that I was not the original owner. I had also mentioned in passing that there was a small hold in the cloth speaker covering (which was really no big deal) and they also sent me -- unrequested -- a new cover as well.

See, now this is how companies can deal with this kind of situation. Even if the product is not being sold in the manner which they want, the bottom line is that there is a customer out there with their product, and it's in their interests to have a happy customer. In the case of Polk, I have purchased only their speakers since that incident (and I have quite a few of them) because they went beyond the call of duty with that amplifier unit.

Now, as far as pianos, it might be different in some ways. While Polk knew I might well be buying more speakers, most people won't buy more than one piano (and if they do, it is not likely to be the same brand, because they would be "trading up".) Further, obviously helping out a customer with a grey market piano (like the Grotrian discussed in this threat) simply encourages the grey market seller to continue with what he is doing. Nonetheless, happy customers are the ultimate selling tool, so I'm not so sure that the trade off should be to let the customer be unhappy.
Posted by: MikeC65

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 11:51 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
Larry & Jim,

Perhaps I'm looking at this too simplistically, but it seems to me that a significant number of problems both of you discuss could be eliminated if the 'sticker price' was exactly what every customer paid for the piano.

Comments?

Derick[/b]


I don't know if anyone has already made this comment, because I haven't yet read the rest of the approximately 1 million messages in this post, but there is no way to ensure that everyone pays the retail price. Any such agreement would violate the antitrust laws. "Horizontal" price-fixing (where the dealers agree between themselves what customers will pay) and "vertical" price-fixing (where the manufacturer controls what the dealers can sell for) are both illegal. Although "vertical" restrictions are much more tolerated under the law than "horizontal" restrictions for basically the reasons given in Larry's long (and excellent) post above, out and out price setting is still illegal. That's why it's the manufacturer's "suggested" retail price.
Posted by: subarus

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 12:41 PM

I have a few words to say about piano business, dealer-ship, price-fixing etc..

Speaking for myself, as a buyer, the additional marked up price of 10-15 % is insignificant.. we are talking about ~$2000 for a $15K piano.. over the period of the piano life time..2K is nothing ...

so what is important to me is to be assured that I dont meet someone who bought the exact same things as I did and paid 2K less.. that is the only reason (imo) most people bargain.... not because we want to safe money to put bread on the table but more importantly to be able to tell the next door neighbor that I bought it lower or equal as he did..

That is the reason Japanese business model works.. not much room from price fluctuation.. IMO

Incidentally , thats the reason McDonalds works.. same price , same taste, everywhere you go.. taste terrible as it may.. but I know what to expect when I walk in.. what can I say I am a simple creature.. not stupid, just simple..

and that is why Yamaha is the greatest \:\)
Posted by: Eldon

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 12:56 PM

Hi...MikeC,
Did you get my e-mail? \:\)
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 01:17 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by subarus:
that is the only reason (imo) most people bargain.... not because we want to safe money to put bread on the table but more importantly to be able to tell the next door neighbor that I bought it lower or equal as he did..[/b]


well, maybe you are right, subarus. but for many of us it does make a big difference in a real way. i'd love to be rich enough that $2K didn't make much difference to me one way or the other. i don't know many people who have that kind of money. even if you figure out that the monthly payment is an insignificant difference, when you add up the total interest paid over the life of the loan, it is a very significant amount of money.
Posted by: Dan

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 01:23 PM



I finally read the whole thing, and ...

I don't have anything to say !

At least now I can honestly say I contributed to the KOTH thread.


Dan \:\(
Posted by: MikeC65

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 01:26 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Eldon:
Hi...MikeC,
Did you get my e-mail? \:\)[/b]


No, I didn't. And I checked my e-mail address on this board and it is correct. So I don't know what happened. Try again...

(sorry to all for posting this publicly but since I never got his e-mail, I wanted to make sure he saw it.)
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 02:18 PM

a few comments on vertical and horizontal price-fixing...

I'm not sure I completely understand what was said since Saturn dealerships do not dicker on the prices of the cars. Two people who buy exactly the same model at a dealership 3000 miles apart will pay exactly the same amount of money.

I agree with subarus who indicated that he only gets annoyed when he meets someone who paid $2K less for an item then he did.

My philosophy is that everyone has a right to make money. Dealers, be they car or pianos, have to make money to stay in business. I don't begrudge anyone a profit or a comfortable lifestyle. What does irk me is when someone who maybe has an "in" gets something at a significant savings over what I paid.

Like everyone, I'd like to pay dealer cost for everything. But that is not realistic. On the other hand, I like playing on a level playing field. If Yamaha told its dealers that every customer now how to pay cost + $50,000 how long would Yamaha continue to sell pianos? But if Yamaha set retail prices at cost + $1000 (I'm just pulling that number out of the air), no one would travel across country to get the best deal on a Yamaha. I just used Yamaha as an example; the same holds true for any other make.

I simply don't see this concept as 'price- fixing'. And I believe it would help both consumers and dealers.

Tell me where I got off track and SMHUMA.

Derick
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 03:19 PM

This thread is amazing. Absolutely the best thing I have ever seen on The Forum, but I really don't have anything to add.

I just wanted to nudge this toward 12!!

\:\)
Posted by: Wayne

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 04:16 PM

I'm not sure I completely understand what was said since Saturn dealerships do not dicker on the prices of the cars. Two people who buy exactly the same model at a dealership 3000 miles apart will pay exactly the same amount of money.[/b]

Unless you are a GM employee
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 04:39 PM

When you buy a car, you are buying the exact same thing from one dealer to another. The dealerships are the same and their overhead is probably the same. They plan it this way.

Pianos are a different dog. You do not buy the same thing from one dealer to another. You do not get the same prep nor the same service. Some are in the high rent district, and some sell out of their garage at home. You cannot expect to pay the same price.

I also get upset when I find out someone has paid a lot less than I did for the identical item. I don't get upset because I was skinned, I get upset because I was stupid.

lb
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 04:44 PM

Doesn't Yamaha frown on any dealer who sells a piano below a certain price?

Would this be considered an example of vertical price fixing?
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 04:45 PM

I stand corrected... Just checked with a friend about Saturn's pricing philosophy. Retailers are free to set their own prices. However, the price on the window is the price a customer pays. Theoretically customers could get a better price traveling across the country, but all the sources I have indicate there isn't a huge difference in the wholesale and retail price. So it won't be worth most folks time to try and find a better deal 300 miles away.

From my perspective, I'd find it refreshing to know that the car I bought at dealership X had exactly the same mark-up for every person who bought at that same dealership.

Derick
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 05:05 PM

Derick

I have 3 cars and I trade one every year. I have for 40 years traded with the same dealer. I don't haggle, and take the first figure offered. It is usually their best deal. Don't you think that I deserve a better deal than someone that will beat them down and then next time go somewhere else.

lb
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 05:11 PM

And another thing....

Overhead and profit are not the same in auto dealerships, even Chevrolet vs Chevrolet, or any identical make. Real estate costs, utilities, labor (dealerships are not subject to minimum wage) all vary. Transportation costs from the factory varies - the further away, the more you pay. Even within a product line, holdback revenue varies. For example, if you move more vehicle A with a higher holdback than vehicle B, your profit increases. The same with financing incentives and rebates.

So Dealer A can make ends meet on $200 gross selling 40 cars a month while dealer B can sell the same 40 cars for the same $200 gross...and go broke. \:\(
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 05:47 PM

lb,

I have to disagree with you... auto dealerships do not have any advantage over piano dealerships. Some are in high-rent districts and some provide customers with a very high degree of service.

A few months back I bought a new car. I got quotes all within $200 of each other from dealers in NYC, NJ, Connecticut, all the way up to Albany NY. There are huge differences in overhead costs in these areas. But the high overhead cost in one area was offset by the increase in volume.

Talk about a cut-throat business where practically every aspect of pricing has been exposed on the internet, it's the automobile business.

I'd love to know what a new Boesie Imperial wholesales for. If I signed a waiver stating that I'd pay for all my own service and never show my face in the store again, could I get one for 5% over dealer cost? I really doubt it. But, I bought my car at 2% over dealer cost (excluding whatever bonuses the dealer gets back at the end of the year). They provide full service for 3 years, even oil changes, windshield wiper blades, brake pads, roters, you name it) at no charge. And every other part not subject to wear and tear is covered for 4 years. Certainly these costs far exceed what is required on a new piano.

Ok, so a lot more cars are sold than pianos. But still, who is going to sell me that Boesie? 5% isn't a bad profit simply for taking an order.

I believe I'm more likely to find out where Dick Cheney's undisclosed location is than find out the wholesale price on a new piano.

I don't mean any disrespect to Larry or Norbert or any other dealer. I'm simply stating what I believe to be the obvious.
Consumers are very much in the dark. But if all pianos were sold for sticker price, who would have a beef?

Ok, my $.02 for which I'm probably going to be blasted into oblivion for. But hey, maybe we'll get 13 pages out of this thread! ;\)

Derick
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 05:56 PM

For what it's worth, I'm a Quaker. Friends invented fixed pricing. The principle was simple -- all people are equal in the sight of God and, should, to the degree possible, be treated equally. Just as we wouldn't take our hats off to the King of England, or to the magistrate, so we wouldn't sell them things at a different price.

We knew of course that some people are poorer and in need of charity. Nothing prevented us from giving stuff away, and we tend to be a charitable bunch.

Our religious principles stamped us as "honest", but honesty wasn't really the point. Anyway, we made our way onto oatmeal cartons because someone thought this would be a sign that the stuff inside was less likely to be adulterated.

We take no credit for the oatmeal. As for Cadbury chocolate, now that's a different matter.
Posted by: subarus

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 07:55 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by lb:
I also get upset when I find out someone has paid a lot less than I did for the identical item. I don't get upset because I was skinned, I get upset because I was stupid.

lb[/b]


EXACTLY... most people who dont get upset easily, got upset when they found out someone paid a lot less than he did, despite his best effort researching, bargaining, haggling etc..

[ February 15, 2002: Message edited by: subarus ]
Posted by: freddie

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 08:01 PM

Every couple of months I'll venture down to my beloved "Fairmount/Jonesboro" Indiana. This is James Dean's hometown and he was a freind (a little trivia for you all here). I've been to the "Back Creek Friends" church there (that he attended and his family still attend) and I must say that "freinds" are very nice people indeed. They have a lack of pretense that I admire and try to live my life by (of course some of them are jerks, but a smaller amount than I've noticed in some other denominations). I like the term "friend(s)" too.


I know I'll shut my big Anglican mouth now,

Freddie
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 08:37 PM

lb - while there is no denying that you've been loyal to this dealer for many years with your business, I don't feel that you are entitled to more of a discount than say, a young couple with a newborn. I'm not saying this in a mean-spirited way, but anyone who can afford 3 cars (a new one every year), the oldest of which is 3 years old, probably doesn't need the discount as much as the young couple with the newborn. You've essentially eaten some of their lunch by accepting the discount whether you know it or not. Believe me, that dealer is not going to make do with less - someone else is paying for your discount.

My point is that there are thousands of angles to look at different situations. It's human nature to rationalize in one's own favor. But there is no 'cut and paste' formula for fairness which is why I firmly believe that the most fair system is one in which everyone pays exactly the same price for identical items.

Jolly - you've pointed out how much we all know about auto dealerships and pricing, but do any of us know if there is the equivalent of dealer hold-back on a piano?

As I said above, overhead is usually higher in big cities where increased sales volume helps to offset the added costs. But, let's assume that increased volume does not offset the higher costs. Why do consumers continue to cower and let the manufacturers walk all over us? I can understand the dealers not wanting to make less money. After all, they are people struggling to make a living like everyone else. But no one looks to the manufacturer; to the CEO's raking in the million dollar salaries and then twice that in bonuses in a BAD year. Not to mention stock options, and huge pensions often being credited with 30 years of service after working for a company just a few years.

Why do none of these people ever get the cost of doing business passed on to them? Why can't they stopping being so unbelievably greedy and enable dealers the ability to implement a fair "price-fixed" structure? Why? Because we allow them to. The dealers blame the consumers and the consumers blame the dealers. No one looks at who really is to blame.

Most everyone bristles at the Enron debacle, but are we, John and Jane Doe, blameless? Did we not help to put a system in place idolizing wealth thereby giving more and more power to less and less people? To those who NEED it least? All at our own expense?

Have we all been blinded for so long that we cannot see how utterly wrong, immoral and corrupt the whole system is?

The struggling consumer should not have to fly across the country to save thousands on a piano thereby hurting the local dealer who can't sell the same piano at a competitive price.

Many piano companies are run by huge corporations that continue to infuse the already bloated belly's of their CEO's and Boards of Directors. THESE are the people who have quite a bit of explaining to do.

Until we as a united front, stand up and say 'we are mad as hell and we are not paying for your yachts and 3 summer homes and multi-million dollar pensions with unlimited medical coverage' things will never change. There will be no equality in the world. One person will fly across the country and pay $20,000 for a piano while someone will have to pay $25,000 at the local dealership. The dealers will complain the internet is killing them and wholesale prices will be talked about on secure, telephone lines behind locked doors. Not because anyone is dishonest or out for themselves, but simply because they are protecting themselves. Protecting themselves from those who have a noose around their neck and have manipulated every tax law, SEC regulation and the mind of every single individual in Western civilization. Maninipulated in such a way so that every last scrap that falls off the table is miraculously swept up and placed onto their golden plate.

Until the day comes when we all stand up and demand accountability, demand fairness, demand, campaign finance reform (gasp), there is and forever will be, only one king of the hill. The almighty dollar.

Derick

[ February 15, 2002: Message edited by: Derick ]
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 08:47 PM

I must say that this is getting funny!

First people want bigger discounts, next they complain because pianos aren't sold for full list! I'll be happy to sell them for full list if that will make people happy...

Actually, we end up right back where we were in a discussion we had many months ago, and that is the role of the *consumer*. You will never see pianos marked at a set price and then sold for that set price for many reasons, but one big one is the fact that consumers won't let them.

Imagine for a moment that the laws were changed so that it was not only legal but required that manufacturers force their dealers to quote the exact same price all over the country for the same piano. Guess what's going to happen? The first customer to walk into a piano store the very first day the law goes into affect is going to ask for a deal!

You can't have it both ways. Someone mentioned how Windows is sold for a set price everywhere, and no one is allowed to discount it. Have you ever heard of anyone going into a computer store, picking up a 50$ piece of software, walking up to the register and saying "I'll give you 30 bucks for it, take it or leave it"? Now try to imagine a piano store where customers buy a piano like they buy a can of peas.

Nope. I've said it before, and it needs to be said again - as long as the public at large views the purchase of *all* big ticket items as negotiable - particularly those items they don't need but only want - those who sell them will be inclined to price things in a way that accomodates this habit.

Most of you are aware that I *don't* negotiate. I give my best price first, one time. Does the majority of the buying public understand or appreciate it? No. It's more work trying to convince them I have given them the best price already than it would be to just play the game and stick the "List Price $10million/Our price $5million - BIG SALE THIS WEEKEND $1995" tag on it and spend all my time trying to rip their billfolds out of their pockets.

It's sort of like the chicken and the egg thing - did consumers trying to cheat the system cause big ticket retailers to start playing with the prices, or did tricky price games cause the buying public to resort to haggling? I know what *my* opinion is.

But it doesn't matter. Someone said it was easier to figure out the cost of cars than it is the cost of pianos. I disagree. If any of you think you've bought a car for "invoice" or somewhere near it from a car dealer, especially if you think so because he pulled out the invoice and showed it to you - I'd like to offer you a bridge I have for sale. Besides that little trick, you have the fact that each car has all kinds of options, trim packages, etc. whereas a 6' Steinwreck is a 6' Steinwreck.

You can dig all you want on the internet, through books, whatever you want to, and you will not figure out the cost of a car. Sorry. It's all in how you start the game. Pianos on the other hand (and this is pretty much common knowledge, so it's not like I'm revealing some big secret) - if you want to know the cost of a piano, all you have to do is pay 15 or 20 bucks to buy the Piano Book supplement, look it up, and with your trusty calculator, enter the average retail price and then hit *.6 .

There are 3 ways I know of to structure price. I mentioned earlier that I used to sell a lot of grandfather clocks. Their method was to not publish a wholesale price list, only a retail price list. a 1500.00 clock was a 1500.00 clock. If I bought one or two, I'd pay 900.00. If I bought 10, I might pay 750. If I bought 50 or 100 of that model all at once, I might buy it for as little as 300.00 each! But clock dealers would always pull out that official retail price list and show you the price to let you know they weren't fudging on the price.

The other way is to publish a wholesale price list, and then play off the table with the dealer from there. The third way is to front load the invoices the way car manufacturers do, where the "invoice price" has everything added into it, including a minimum acceptable profit, and to offer the dealer all kinds of refunds and rebates from about 10 thousand different directions later on down the line.
Posted by: Cork

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 08:52 PM

Derick wrote:

" . . . there is and forever will be, only one king of the hill. The rich, the powerful, the almighty dollar."

Rather than respond to your interesting post in detail, let me simply say:

And long may it reign.

(Speaking as a member of the bloated corporate executive class, of course . . . )

Cork the Barbarian
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 09:55 PM

Larry,

I'm sorry but I have to disagree with you on a few points.

Although one can never be sure how much a dealer has paid for a car, I certainly can hone in on this price a lot better than I can on the wholesale cost of a piano.

Most of us know that a dealer pulling out an invoice is attempting one of the oldest tricks in the book; pretending there is no such thing as dealer holdback. Nevertheless, there is a plethora of information and services on the internet to help one purchase a car - all for free.

Ok, so the Piano Book Supplement talks about the 'average retail price'. I haven't seen this supplement, but I can't believe that it is any more comprehensive than The Piano Book. A book, which by many accounts, is extremely limited in its sampling of pianos, not to mention biased.

But, let's use the average retail *.6 formula to see how accurate this is. The difference between the best price on my car in California versus the best price in New York was $12,000. Multiply by .6, divide by 2 and you've got an average discrepancy of $3800.

Although I do not know how much my dealer paid for the car, I do know that had I used your method, I would have paid at least $3800 more for the car and gone away thinking I had gotten a deal.

Moreover I was able to tell my internet buddies in California of the savings to be had in NY. Don't be deceived though, they already knew how much the dealer supposedly paid for the car (same figure I came up with), it was just the dealers in California have a thing for charging over sticker.

There is a lot more information on the internet regarding auto purchases than there is on pianos. I have rarely, if ever, heard what someone has paid for a new piano on this forum. I've heard quotes that individuals were given, but I have no idea what they ultimately paid for it.

I never said, nor do I think anyone else did, that we'd like to pay full list for a piano. What I'd like is to have a list price that does not have the "haggle factor" built in. People will get the message very quickly once they are told "We don't discount. The price you see is how much you will have to cough up if you want it." Undoubtedly these folks will check out 10 other dealers. When they hear the same thing over and over, they will buy it if they were really interested in the first place.

I'm assuming that when you say you give your best price the first time, that everyone who walks into your store gets exactly the same price, correct? If so, that's a big step to what some of us have been squawking about.

Derick
Posted by: Dwain Lee

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 10:26 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Cork:
Derick wrote:

" . . . there is and forever will be, only one king of the hill. The rich, the powerful, the almighty dollar."

Rather than respond to your interesting post in detail, let me simply say:

And long may it reign.

(Speaking as a member of the bloated corporate executive class, of course . . . )

Cork the Barbarian[/b]


Well said, Cork! \:\)

I will also add that "one fixed price" sounds so much nicer than its more common name - "price fixing" - of which which the Justice Department takes a rather dim view.

Dwain
I want to be a member of the bloated corporate executive class, too!
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 10:34 PM

...and now just imagine... the world of our fathers and grandfathers who didn't only have to compete with about 10 major makers.......but virtually HUNDREDS of them,sometimes in the very same area or even same town!!

In the grand old days of piano building every company was striving for uniqueness and individuality whereas today there seems to be an incredible amout of 'streamlining' and 'sameness' to appeal to huge masses of
consumers and let there be no doubt:

the world is not only dominated by oriental makers[in terms of sheer size!] but also by the emergence of the oriental[and WORLD!] CUSTOMER in hitherto unknown numbers,each one of whom
appears to utterly detest the mere thought of the 'unknown', including the evil tenants of unpredictability,uncertainty,unfamiliarity
or....God forbid....individuality!

Net result is that the manufacturers are producing 'less and less' of what appears to be even a hint of a difference between all the products on the market with Pearl River
starting to [almost]look like Boesendorfer...
...perhaps [soon] sounding somewhat similiar
as well [ I said 'similiar'] with differences
becoming increasingly so subtle [I know some of you are gonna kill me for this!]that it will require more and more astute players to even know much of a difference!

Proof??

Just let me hide all the names on all pianos
and invite the town's best players.
I've once done exactly that...only to have people and some very 'knowledgeable'teachers
leave my store with red faces never to set foot on such a place of [sweet] horror again!

Then, why the hell, is this discussion even going on in the first place??

Anybody 'good enough' should be able to sit on piano and after playing it for a minute should know the price is .....as opposed to the other one besides it which is only.....

Confusion??

Folks....you ain't seen nothin yet!

Please don't forget...we're all in the same boat!!

Maybe one day, all pianos have the same name
and price.

We may as well call them 'Karl Marx'

And by the way....they're all FREE!

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com
Posted by: subarus

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 10:47 PM

1st of all: pique, $2K as we all know, is enough for several months of grocery bill..heck with 2K I can buy two Yamaha P80 \:\) (sorry I couldnt resist) and have change left for CDs to last me for months..That's enough reason for one to get p155ed to find out he is paying more than someone else..

Larry.. yes, its funny.. everybody dont want to pay list price, especially if someone else dont pay list price..

While we are chatting about prudent purchase decisions.. Just as I was getting sick and tired of my old upright, hands itching and twitching wanting to sign a $15K purchase of a Yamaha grand, I had a friend over to play on my old piano...wow, what can I say !! I realised that its not the upright that has problem... its me !! Just because my piano sounds terrible when I played it... doesnt mean someone else cant make it sing.. Call me stupid, call me cheap.. 15K aint leaving my pocket........ yet. Anybody had this experience ??

[ February 15, 2002: Message edited by: subarus ]
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 11:00 PM

Derick

Forgive me if I seem cruel and obnoxious.

What do I owe to that young couple. Nothing!
They made the decision to get married and have a kid. Everything in life is a decision, and when you make that decision, you should have to live with it.

Everyone that got screwed in this Enron deal deserved it. They went into it of their own free will, expecting to get rich. They may have been deceived, but they were expecting returns way above normal and should have been more cautious. The same thing with the S&L's a few years back. These people invested, eyes open, with their own free will. They were greedy, and deserve what happened.

I dropped out of school got married and had a kid at 17. I worked 3 jobs to support my family, and I have never taken a dime from any social program or organization. At 22 I had my second kid, I bought my first house, had my GED, and was taking night classes at the local university. The house was $5500. and needed a lot of work. At 32, I had three kids, had a degree, and was on my fourth fix-it up house. I got by on from 9 to 5, I got ahead after 5. No one ever gave me anything except opportunity, and I took advantage of it.

It really tic's me off when someone thinks that I owe something to somebody who made stupid decisions. I have created opportunity for a lot of people, some have taken advantage some haven't. I don't owe anyone any more than that.

lb
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/15/02 11:43 PM

My point Derick, is that it is extremely simple to figure out almost exactly what the cost of the piano is to the dealer. Just buy the Piano Book supplement, look up the piano, and take 40% off. How much simpler could it get? You don't have to figure out which trim package it has, or if it has power seats, or anything.


This thread seems to have taken a turn where we are trying to devise a way to predetermine prices for "fairness". This is a dangerous idea. Here are the simple facts: someone has already devised a system where the economy was set up to be "fair". It's called communism. I don't want to have to explain why capitalism is superior to communism. My posts in this thread are beginning to be too long anyway. So I'll just sum it up this way: when you level the playing field for everyone, you take away competition. And when you take away competition, you get mediocrity.

You then get your choice: A Bechstein (West German) or a Red October (Russian). If you've never seen a Red October piano, let me describe it for you. Take the packing crates from a Chinese piano, hand them to a six year old, give him a hand saw, a screw driver and a coil of fence wire, and tell him to build a piano.

This is a capitalist system we live in. And it's the greatest economic system in the world. It encourages competition, which causes companies to strive to build something better than the other guy. The upside of a capitalist system is that you get a wide variety of choices and qualities to choose from. The downside is you have to do your research yourself, because part of that competition is the stores that sell the products you want have only a few things they can do to attract your business. And one of those things is price.

I've tried to hold my tongue on this, but I cannot hold it any longer. The consumer does not have a right to expect all products be priced the same.[/b] And if you thought it through, you wouldn't want it to be that way, either. You're talking about squelching free trade, and the resulting competition that it inspires. Far better that you do your homework and learn to make good deals when you buy things. The information is there for you. All you have to do is get it.

Now, I'm going to make a statement that I have made several times in the past, so don't take this as directed at you, Derick. But the simple fact is the cost of an item is irrelevant, it is only one part of the equation, and is flat none of the consumer's business.[/b] You are buying a product and all the attendant services and other benefits as the dealer you buy from includes. You are buying a package. You can't level the field at the retail level by simply determining the cost of the piano and hammering the dealer with it.

It is all relative to the money involved. For example - has anyone here called Pepsi and asked them to give you a breakdown of the cost of materials in the can so you can determine if 75 cents is a fair price for a Pepsi? Or do you just buy yourself a Pepsi? Tell me the difference in not[/b] doing this with a Pepsi, but doing [/b]this with a piano if it is fairness in the marketplace you're looking for? When you drive through McDonalds and hand them $1.49 for a soft drink, do you think about the fact that it cost them more for the paper cup than it did the drink in it, and all together you're talking about at most 6 cents in cost? Of course not. So in a nutshell, it isn't the principle of fairness we're talking about, it it? It all boils down to the fact that we're talking about more money when we buy a piano doesn't it? It has nothing to do with "fairness" at all. You (the collective public you) are being hypocrites on the subject.

There is a difference in getting a good deal and raping the system. Transactions should be a win-win situation, or they shouldn't take place. I agree the customer should be charged a fair price[/b]. I don't agree that it should come at the expense of the person selling it. To try and make the case that this somehow has something to do with "fairness" is disingenuous.

Let's get back on track here. A good deal involves more than money. Trying to set up a fixed price "fair price" system so that the consumer doesn't have to do his due diligence is completely against the free market system, it's heading toward communism, and as such it would do nothing long term other than to guarantee the consumer complete mediocrity in both products and services.

If you want a fair price when you buy a piano, don't try to convert our capitalist system of economics into a communistic economy with Marxist overtones. Just do your due diligence, and then buy from an honest dealer. There are plenty of signs for you to be able to tell whether the dealer is honest or not long before the subject of the final price arrives in the conversation.
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 12:01 AM

Did anyone else catch that little gem in Norbert's post? The one about inviting over the town's best piano players to try out "unmarked" pianos?

Talk about fun! \:D Talk about embaressment! \:o Talk about something to talk about! ;\) As the cajuns say, "If!"

Has anybody else tried this hilarious scenario out? Omigod, can you imagine the look on the face of the "professional" who picks the Korean or Chinese piano over the Boserstein!

Possibly the end of hautiness and piano pretensivenous as we now know it! :p

Dammit, it must be those acoustically superior foam filled rims! \:D \:D
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 12:18 AM

The funny thing is that those guys selling the 'king on the hill' type of pianos [at almost ANY PRICE!] must be belly-laughing at this whole thread by now!!

[Of course, nobody is exactly talking about THEM guys here,right?]

They must be thinking: KINSAHPS!!

KEEP IT NICE,SIMPLE & HIGHLY ............
.................PROFITABLE,STUPID!!

You buy MY GREAT BRAND NAME & are [anyway ]willing to pay MY price[!]...move it, Pal..
NEXT ONE PLEASE!

"Bottomfeeders and envy-stricken loonies of the world....haggle out your lowly problems elsewhere...er..perhaps the 'Forum'..meeting place of the world's crazies philophizing about 'fair' prices and other institutionally certified nonsense"..

Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com

[ February 16, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 12:21 AM

Jolly
Last year the Ibach company built three identical pianos. They equiped one with a Renner action, one with a Langer action, and one with a Detoa action. These pianos were all set up and prepped by one technition.

They invited several professionals to come in and play them and to choose the best one. Guess what? They couldn't tell the difference.

As there is a big price difference in these actions, I asked them if they were going to change from Renner. They said no because the public wants Renner.

lb
Posted by: JBryan

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 12:32 AM

Somebody here seems to be unreconciled to our capitalist system and seems dangerously close to touting a command economy where government will have to step in and calibrate prices to include a "fair" profit margin. That quickly degenerates into what has already been tried and has left wrecked economies and piles of corpses. I will stick with what we have (with all its warts) and if I pay more than someone else for the same item, well I will try to be a little sharper next time. If I manage to get a good deal, that's great. Some days you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you. Life goes on. There is little "justice" this side of the grave. Deal with it.
Posted by: florets

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 12:40 AM

I wonder if these three pianos will still sounds alike in 10 years time? --> Durability and choice of material --> lower "life time" cost due to lower warranty returns.

Besides touch and feel, manufacturer consider consistency an important factor. Did the technician spent the same amount of time on each piano? or did he spent less time with the Renner because it is more consistent than Langer?

Is Ibach going for the "Intel Inside" marketing strategy? ;\)

What if Ibach produce three piano lines, all with same cabinetry but differing in actions only, and priced them according to their cost, would more consumer buy the cheaper one with Langer than the more expensive one with Renner? \:D
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 12:55 AM

florets

If the consumer based their decision on the advice they got on this forum, I would say they would buy the Renner 3 to 1 even at a higher price.
lb
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 01:04 AM

Derick

I have to sign off for a couple days. My wife and I just spent a couple days in Prague CZ and are getting ready to drive to Vienna Austria for a couple days. I just want you to know that when we have dinner tonight I will be thinking about that young couple that I took food out of their mouth. It won't bother me though, because I earned it.

lb
Posted by: Penny

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 01:44 AM

One would never find me "dissing" the capitalist, free-market system. I just keep waiting for that system to build a better mousetrap (i.e. way to sell pianos). Why does it need fixing? Because out of 15 dealers I went to, the majority lied or used slimy tactics or quoted ridiculously high prices. I even feel less about Faust Harrison since I heard that they have picked up Estonia (not that there is anything inherently wrong with that -- it's a great line, but my problem lies in how they marketed themselves as exclusively M&H dealers because that was the ONE and ONLY new piano WORTHY of them selling ... obviously it's not, but I bet few customers pick up on the "marketing discrepancy").

So this leaves me with three, count 'em three, dealers I would've felt comfortable with. Out of 15? Something's wrong here!

Now, I didn't get to visit Rich or Larry or Norbert. They may very well be exceptions to the rule. The question is, Why is there this rule?

I'm sorry, but for those who have looked closely at the piano business, we are left with the sense that something needs fixing (though not "price-fixing!"). ;\)

I understand people's desire to see a cost price, like they THINK they're seeing with cars. My husband is in one industry that HAS to disclose all fees (the mortgage business, that is). Of course, people try to dicker the fees (points) down. But in the end, the mortgage industry has survived with full disclosure.

No one wants to drive piano dealers out of business. Just the seedy ones.

penny
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 01:44 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by freddie:
Every couple of months I'll venture down to my beloved "Fairmount/Jonesboro" Indiana. This is James Dean's hometown and he was a freind (a little trivia for you all here). I've been to the "Back Creek Friends" church there (that he attended and his family still attend) and I must say that "freinds" are very nice people indeed. They have a lack of pretense that I admire and try to live my life by (of course some of them are jerks, but a smaller amount than I've noticed in some other denominations). I like the term "friend(s)" too.
Freddie[/b]


We are the "Meeting" (as opposed to "Church")-type Friends. But I will be doing a speaking tour in southern Ohio and Indianapolis in early September, as older daughter is thinking of going to Earlham College in Richmond (I have my fingers crossed, except we are not superstitious!), and so wants to go visit.

We also want to go visit all the Quaker Underground Railroad sites.

How does this relate to pianos? Well -- barely. Friends in this area of the world, besides doing the Underground Railroad thing, also organized "free trade stores", meaning the goods sold (at fixed prices of course) were certified not to have been made with slave labor.

Enough to make any good capitalist cringe!
Posted by: Friday

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 01:48 AM

So far I think Dan had the best post. \:\) Can we make it to 13? It's my favorite number.
Posted by: David Burton

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 02:45 AM

OK, fine, this thread is terrific and we all know it. Because of formatting we can keep this growing and it will never end. But already there have been some IMHO erroneous notions here all around. I’d like to put these out in clearer perspective.

CEO’s are overpaid! No they’re not. Their pay is based on their responsibilities for running a HUGE enterprise. The strains are unimaginable to the average ordinary guy. I wouldn’t trade places with any of them. I have known a few. They are a weird breed of man; something is usually driving them from within and has done so for a long time. They are usually married to their business. As long as they can keep their juggling act going they stay on top. But most of them have health problems that eventually spell their retirement or death. What can they do with so much money? It’s a drug. They can’t spend it all that’s for sure. Now as for the CEO’s of piano companies, rarely do any of them make what the CEO of an automobile company makes.

And here’s our first difference: cars are not like pianos. First, they are not like pianos in the uniformity of product. One might assume that where levels of uniformity are achievable that the CEO gets paid more and I’m fairly certain this is true; the CEO of Yamaha makes far more than the CEO of Bosendorfer.

Carrying this still farther, not even two identical models of any piano are exactly alike, though with some brands, especially Yamaha, these differences are minimized. Even so, two identical C5’s or C7’s will be enough different (a Southernism) that one might actually prefer one over the other.

The relative importance of this subtlety increases as one gets into more rarified brands and models. For instance, at the time I saw and played them, Beethoven in NYC had two marvelous Estonia pianos. They were in gorgeous prep, concert ready. Now what if they were unable to sell those pianos and decided to deliberately let them go? After any significant length of time, a year of not being tuned, these pianos may have degenerated so much that one could hardly tell one was playing a top flight piano. We seem to have lots of stories about poorly prepped Steinways from time to time on this forum, but all anyone needs to experience is a really fully prepped one, like the Hamburg O that was in Darrell Fandrich’s shop when I first visited them two years ago, and all memories of all the out of prep Steinways fade away quickly.

If one is looking for a top grade piano simply for status, one will probably never know the importance of such subtleties and can just as well go right ahead and order one, any of them, for ?% over dealer costs and, sight unseen, get a piano that any good technician can put in good working order. And such a customer will always have the satisfaction of knowing they bought at the lowest possible price. But such a person has lost the pursuit of the soul of a musical instrument. I’m going to return to this point in future so hold on….

One day I walked into a Steinway dealership. They had two or three M’s, a couple L’s, a couple S’s. I looked at the prices. The same models were marked at slightly different prices, usually the wood cases were higher than straight ebony but not always. I have been to other stores where all the pianos were the same price by model but they varied all over the place in terms of their prep and their soul.

The way I see the piano business is that there must be dealers for different kinds of customers. As indicated, I think the idea of standard prices for even identical models is some kind of idiot’s commie dream that bears no resemblance to economic realities. I feel the same about cars. But this is about pianos.

The other day I met a man whose daughter was ready to trade up. To tell the truth his eight year old was pretty good for her age. She had one ingredient that is hard to miss and harder to engender; interest, and it showed in her playing. But their piano was a real stinker, a you guessed it, Wurlitzer spinet. They must have made millions of them! And the guy said he only wanted to spend $4,000 max on a new piano. I asked him if it had to be new. Yes. OK, I asked if a trade in mattered to him and he said no, that he knew his present piano was only worth hauling to the dump, which is more than I can say for half the piano owners out there who think that an old piano must be worth something even if it was never very good to begin with. We’ve been around this a thousand times already including that many of the old no name uprights sold a hundred years ago for less than a thousand dollars, brand new. So, I’ll just pass on.

So, to make a long story short, I steered the guy to a local dealer who sells Kohler & Campbell professional uprights in a variety of furniture styles for a bit less than what he wants to pay. I instructed him to stay clear of anything shorter than these as they are IMHO not much of an improvement long term over what he has. This dealer is an authorized one for Kohler & Campbell, which I think matters far more the lower one goes in the piano business, or shall I say the cheaper.

If one buys something like a Petrof grand or a Bechstein, one is getting a level of quality that frankly makes a guarantee far less important as there is simply far less likely to go seriously awry with these makes, certainly again nothing that a good piano technician couldn’t put right in a jiffy. That’s supposedly why one pays more for these pianos. The cheaper one goes on the other hand, the less attention to the details of the craft of piano making are more likely, or there may be out and out shortcuts to make a manufacturing process cheaper (Larry already alluded to this in his post trashing Yamaha, although what he said can pretty well be applied to many other cheap piano makers).

Then above the “Dave’s World of Pianos” style of dealership with acres of inventory, carrying a dozen or so low end makes (for which they’d better be authorized dealers) there are a few levels of more serious dealers. The more serious the dealer, the higher the prices, usually the negotiating room is less and the quality of pianos available can be stratospheric. But who then would know this?

Serious pianists would and a few top flight piano techs who also play the piano well. Maybe a few listeners with distinguished ears would know too. But likely the numbers are fractional at best. The best dealership for this customer is the custom dealer where authorization means little or nothing because the quality of the product is unparalleled. A custom dealer, of which there are many more in Europe than here, may have half a dozen grand pianos all by different makers. Are they authorized dealers? Maybe yes, maybe no. In Germany selling German pianos, more likely they are. If there were a market for American pianos in Germany and that market was particularly hot, I doubt very much whether half of the dealers would be authorized.

Before going too far to make points against Larry’s (with whom I am in far more agreement here than with most other viewpoints, especially concerning dealer authorization), I can honestly say that the kind of customer pique is, or ME for that matter, we are going to look for the soul in an instrument as much as the make and model. It’s nice when one is in a store where there is so much to like (rare but it does happen occasionally), but pique was pretty much forced to scour the continent looking for “her” piano for all the reasons she has given. She knew that she would have to rely on the reach of an outfit like Beethoven, a store where there is very little that is brand new by the way. She bought a top quality piano, had it endure the tribulations of travel to her remote home and I’m certain will do their best for her. I’m happy to note that they have. Now had Larry been an authorized Grotrian dealer and pique had happened into his store and FOUND HER PIANO, I’m quite sure, warranty or no, that Larry would have done the same for her. This is part of being a big league dealer.

I maintain that a big league dealer never has to have acres of inventory. In fact this is one way you know you aren’t dealing with a high end dealer. If you walk into a store and all you see is half a dozen grands and no uprights of any kind, pay attention, you are going to have to pay more for each piano there than you would for a piano out of a huge lot. The quality is likely going to be better too.

There is a certain present reading of the piano market that Asian pianos are cheap and German pianos are all good. This may or may not be the case. But again, the numbers count; quality is usually in inverse proportion to quantity produced. There are a number of posts that seem to be suggesting that one can find dozens if not hundreds of these high end grand pianos when in fact there may be only a handful of the really great grand pianos READY TO BE SOLD AS NEW in the whole country. Grotrians are pretty rare as are Bluthners, Steingrabers and Bechsteins. Try and find a new genuine Ibach for sale anywhere.

Whenever someone asks me about buying pianos, as they usually do after talking to me for any length of time, I usually try and figure out WHAT THEY REALLY NEED and WHAT THEY CAN TRULY AFFORD. Then I steer them to the dealers I think do the best job of preparing their pianos for sale. Will the dealer stand behind the piano? This is as I say far more important to the mass consumer than the pianist. I do not mean a PEE-an-ist either. A PEE-an-ist is what everyone calls someone whose repertoire only extends to the church hymnal or rudimentary pop arrangements. Such used to play all the worst pianos around quite happily.

No, a pee-AN-ist is not just any piano player. This is as much their joy as a reward for years of hard work as it is their curse, to know why one Yamaha C5 is better than another identical one sitting right next to it. With senses trained to expect and compel great music out of a piano, one may very well scour a continent to find “their” piano.

I could have quoted something of value from all of you, but aubarus hit the proverbial nail….

 Quote:
Originally posted by subarus:
While we are chatting about prudent purchase decisions.. Just as I was getting sick and tired of my old upright, hands itching and twitching wanting to sign a $15K purchase of a Yamaha grand, I had a friend over to play on my old piano...wow, what can I say !! I realised that its not the upright that has problem... its me !! Just because my piano sounds terrible when I played it... doesnt mean someone else cant make it sing.. Call me stupid, call me cheap.. 15K aint leaving my pocket........ yet.[/b]


There are still things that escape me too, like enormously complicated origami. Those who do this in hugely complicated patterns simply amaze me and I can thoroughly enjoy being amazed.

Now no consumer has the right to expect or demand the same price for identical merchandise but put another way, part of competition in a capitalist environment assures that some people will simply never have the opportunity to buy something as cheaply as another person. It’s called the inelasticity of opportunity. It means that if you happen to walk into Larry’s store and find that he has “your” piano and you simply can’t afford it and worse make a big stink about what HE paid for the piano, as if YOU have any right at all determining what he can make on each piano……well, someone else is bound to end up with it and they might even get a small break simply for being a GRATEFUL customer.

What really astounds me is the lack of good will among people generally. When someone says they got a better deal on an identical product, even if as I said, no two pianos, with the possible exceptions of low end Yamahas, are exactly alike, the response is never, “well, good for you,” but rather, “I feel stupid and cheated because I didn’t luck out like you did.” This really isn’t good folks. Your character is showing.

But I REALLY liked it when Larry took off his gloves and said…..POW!
 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:
the cost of an item is irrelevant, it is only one part of the equation, and is flat none of the consumer's business.[/b] [/b]


If I were him, and could afford to do so, which he may or may not be able to do, I’d make it a pretty personal decision on MY part, who gets the deals from me. Anyone shooting their long ignorant trap off about “fairness” just might be shown the fair end of my front door.

Hope I can still get this on page 13.
Posted by: subarus

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 04:48 AM

wow.. so many words that I cannot understand, but this issue interest me so I have to ask.. so in essense ,does a consumer has the right to expect or demand the same price for identical pianos ?

assuming:
1) There are 2 identical pianos despite contrary arguments from learned sceptics.

2) The purchase includes the standard delivery, tunings and manufacturers waranty.. nothing else

3) In a state governed democratically, practices capitalistic, free enterprise ,competitive form of economy, populated by peace loving, intelligent (see note) and affluent society.

note: some are who thinks[/b] they are more intelligent than other likes to label others otherwise.. but make no mistake about it everybody is intelligent *wink*

[ February 16, 2002: Message edited by: subarus ]
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 06:00 AM

Many of you are completely misunderstanding what I am saying.

I readily admit that capitalism is the best economic system the world has ever seen. However, it is far from utopia. Capitalism has warts, big warts. But these warts can be removed and make society a better place for everyone.

Some of you seem to feel that I'm a Communist, or that I want government to step in and regulate prices, or that those that 'have' owe something to the 'have nots' who have made, to use lb's terminology 'stupid decisions'.

So let me jump to lb's post. I may have made a statement that you did not like, but I was very respectful. You, however, were rude and condescending. I did not say you owed anything to this hypothetical couple who made a 'stupid decision' (your words) and had a baby (which sounds a lot less stupid than some of your own choices such as dropping out or school and having a kid at 17). All I stated was the obvious, when someone takes, someone else has to give up. I said this because you felt some sense of entitlement to a better price on a car simply because you bought a new car every year from the same dealer. You may have worked hard in your life, but so have I. Perhaps you wouldn't have had to have work half has hard had you not made the choices that you did. I certainly did not make the choices you made and have worked as hard if not harder than you have. Yet I do not feel any sense of entitlement.

At to your comments about the Enron employees, you are either very cold-hearted or incredibly misinformed. Enron, like many companies, matched employees' 401(k) contributions in company stock and prohibited them from selling that stock until age 55. Why did they prohibit them from selling the stock? Because it pumped up the price of the stock. Now the sh*t hit the fan, the stock is worthless and Joe and Jane Average who worked for Enron have NOTHING in their 401K. But Mr. and Mrs. Board of Director making millions of dollars every year, walked away with their millions intact. Now tell me, WHO was greedy? The pennyless employees who couldn't sell their stock? They got what they deserve? If that's what you believe, life has been far too kind to you.

Which leads me to Cork's post. Quite frankly, I'm shocked. Far be it from me to judge someone else's ethics, but I am as surprised at what you said as I am by what lb said about Enron employees. How can anyone feel not a twinge of guilt, and actually be proud of the fact that their company let people go and they reaped the benefits of the healthier bottom-line at the expense of the pain and suffering of the former employees?

That reminds me of a song from when I was 6 or 7 called One Tin Shouldier - pay attention Dwain, you might want to rethink joining this elite club:

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of heaven,
you can justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowing,
come the judgement day.
On the bloody morning after...
one tin soldier rides away.

Ok Larry, I've saved the best for last (I'm not being wise). Unfortunately, I think you are misunderstanding me as well.

Again, I'm not proposing a communist system. I'm proposing a system where a Bechstein costs $50,000 whether you make minimum wage or you make six figures. It seems like everyone who reads my posts is under the impression that I think there should be a Bechstein in every house. Not so. But that is a communist system. What I am proposing is in way, shape or form a communist system.

Also, I believe it was you who was unhappy with people who shopped outside of their local area to get a better deal on a piano. If the Bechstein model I was interested in cost $50,000 across the US, there would still be competition among the dealers. If the Bechstein dealer in NY had a lousy reputation and a dealer in Atlanta had an excellent reputation and was the next closest Bechstein dealer, guess who I would be buying the piano from. But if the dealer in Atlanta wanted $10K more for the piano than the crummy dealer in NY, I'll buy it in NY.

In many ways, I agree that the cost of an item is irrelevant, it is one part of the equation. But it is a guide. Now if the piano cost the same at every dealer, the price would matter only in determining the pianos affordability.

Now I do have a problem with your McDonald's soft-drink example. If McDonald's charged John Smith before me $1.49 for the Pepsi and then charged me $6.49 for it, you bet I'd want to know why. If that were to happen, I'm sure they'd come up with some story about the cost of the cup going up, or increased labor charges, etc... Would I ask for a break-down? You bet.

So this leads me to re-asking, if I walk in and want your best prict on a 7' Bechstein, does the next person that walks in requesting your best price on the same model get the same price? And, if not, why not.

In a post either yesterday or the day before, I did say that in a "fixed price" system, the piano should be sold at a fair price. I went on to say that the dealer has a right to make a profit and a comfortable living. But when there are disparities in prices on pianos such as there are in cars between NY and California, I will wind up doing my homework and buying from whoever offers the best combination of service, integrity and price.

Derick

P.S. David Burton, I suggest you READ my posts before shooting your long ingnorant trap off (I'm using your words which were directed at me, so I'll recycle them and see how they make you feel). I NEVER said I'd make a stink about what Larry paid for the piano. I also NEVER said that I had the right to determine what he could make on a piano. In fact, I'll restate what I've stated at least twice; every dealer is entitled to make a profit and support themselves comfortably.

You seem to think that because you make a statement, that it is an absolute because you said it. You are stating an opinion as I am stating mine. And in my opinion, CEO's who reap monetary benefits at the expense of employees are guilty of nothing short of armed robbery. Only it happens to be sanctioned by capitalism. Or, more precisely, Republicans. In my opinion, these people are overpaid. Or, if you rather, we can take all the pressure off of them, and give them a job making minimum wage which, adjusted for inflation, is far below what was established in the 1960's. The only problem with that is that we'll have to take away their comprehensive lifetime medical benefits and they'll have to scrape together what little money they have left over to pay health insurance. And, God forbid they get sick, the HMOs will make them get second and third opinions just looking for a way to deny treatment.

BTW, the CEO's I know are in perfect health. And their job description basically reads "tell everyone else what to do". Even disgraced CEO's don't have it so bad. Or maybe it's very tough for Kenneth Lay to take the 5th when asked a question? There I go again shooting off my long, ignorant, (probably ought to toss in communist as well) trap off.
Posted by: T2

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 07:08 AM

I would like to interrupt this exchange of ad homonym attacks to translate a humorous French saying: "If, at 20, you are NOT a communist you have no heart. If, at 40, you ARE a communist you have no brain."

T2
Posted by: Mike Parke

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 07:31 AM

Too bad the good tone of this thread didn't last. The "new Derick" doesn't seem to extend much deeper than the "new Nixon" did. Oversensitive, overbearing, and quickly willing to drop into insults.
Posted by: freddie

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 07:56 AM

The older I get and the longer I work (in a factory) the more conservative I become. I may be somewhat liberal, but to be honest that is a system that rejects hardworking responsible people like me. I went to college awhile back on a student loan (because I make too much $$ to go for free, according to the goverment) and it dawned on me that I was defeating the purpose of going if I rack up $17,000.00 in loans to be a schoolteacher. I am now paying $55.00 a month on that loan, because the goverment thinks I am able to afford it (along with the $200.00 or more taxes they take from my hard labor (I'm a custodian) earned paycheck each week). I'll get to the top of the hill someday (no I have no designs to be rich, just happy and with a job that reflects my intellect), but I understand how some people become bitter and hard in the heart on the way there. My poorer friends are all walking around with free college degrees. Sad thing is most of them wouldn't have "worked in a pie factory sampling pies", before they got their professional degree jobs. I have to work at not becoming a bitter type of person, I don't think it helps matters at all.

I had a sweet "English" couple come to visit here last week (my Jimmy D. friends are all over the world, God bless 'em) and they are in the same boat as I, more or less. Everything isn't as free in the U.K. as we think and the middle people pay the price for the others there too (of course the rich pay a higher tax there than here). The subject of college came along and of course they started in on me (they kind of paid to go too, but at a very cheap rate). Why should someone that reads Jung/Thomas Hardy etc. have to clean for a living???? She was almost in tears, no kidding here. It took awhile for me to explain to them that we don't promote people like myself up the ladder here. I have a job and a house, I should be a happy camper and be grateful (and I am grateful). The hell with people like me, because we are rich enough to move up (LOL yeah right). Why is a poor mind a terrible thing to waste, but not a lower or middle class mind??????? At any rate, if someone like me "goes up the ladder" it was most likely done in a very hard way. No freebies, No free lunches, No free books and education tools, No employer patting you on the back and helping you out...... Sounds depressing and it is, but that's the truth.

My heros are all working/ lower middle/ class types that pulled themselves up. James Dean, Bruce Springsteen, Richard & Karen Carpenter, etc..... and those are just the entertainment people on my list (the intellect/business list is too long) IT CAN BE DONE, but not in an easy way. No one helps these types of people out, they do it on their own THE HARD WAY and they have/had no choice about that either.

Kind of sad to think that some people get it all for "free" while others have to nearly kill themselves to get there.


God Bless the poor (but what about the rest of us) and God Bless The Child that has her/his own (because nobody else seems to care).


Freddie

[ February 16, 2002: Message edited by: freddie ]
Posted by: freddie

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 08:14 AM

About the race thing..... I work with black people and many times we have all talked the fact that a person (most likely a neighbor/relative) of ours with "food stamps" can eat "steak/pork chops.." everyday while we eat what our budget allows. Ditto for clothing, medical care, dental, etc.... I am tired of hearing how my black brother is "living off the system", because I know a whole alot of white people doing it too!!!!!!!


Here's a real KICKER!!!!! A south Bend, IN piano store that I go into here and there had a program (I think Baldwin might have pulled it recently) that allowed a person to get a piano if they couldn't afford it (a Baldwin Hamilton or other upright below that model), the payment was about $30.00 a month. It was a rent to own like deal. HERE IS THE CATCH: The person buying the piano had to have a child under 18 taking piano lessons and be in financial need. NO CREDIT CHECK either. LOL Give me a break.... ;\)

I'm still a Demo (and I always will be), but I am a very conservative one now.

Freddie

[ February 16, 2002: Message edited by: freddie ]

[ February 16, 2002: Message edited by: freddie ]
Posted by: Dwain Lee

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 09:27 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by subarus:
I realised that its not the upright that has problem... its me !! Just because my piano sounds terrible when I played it... doesnt mean someone else cant make it sing.. Anybody had this experience ??
[ February 15, 2002: Message edited by: subarus ][/b]


Every time my teacher, or my tech, plays my piano. \:\)

Dwain
Posted by: Dwain Lee

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 09:31 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by lb:
Derick

Forgive me if I seem cruel and obnoxious...

[/b]


Didn't sound obnoxious to me, lb. And FWIW, your life story matched my father's almost exactly, line for line.

Dwain
Posted by: Cork

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 09:43 AM

Derick wrote:

"Which leads me to Cork's post. Quite frankly, I'm shocked. Far be it from me to judge someone else's ethics, but I am as surprised at what you said as I am by what lb said about Enron employees. How can anyone feel not a twinge of guilt, and actually be proud of the fact that their company let people go and they reaped the benefits of the healthier bottom-line at the expense of the pain and suffering of the former employees?"

I'll only make a couple of comments for reasons that are obvious to most readers, and I'll try not to insult you, Derick. Obviously you believe passionately in the tenets of your anti-capitalist system and while I utterly reject what you implicitly propose I admire your courage for sticking with your beliefs in the face of history and current-day reality.

I am extremely proud to be a member of the bloated, blood-sucking executive class. I've worked exceptionally hard to get to this level and sacrificed much on the way, and I've done it while retaining my personal integrity. As for CEO's making too much money, perhaps in the US many do; but they have ZERO job security. (Unlike virtually any other job in this country CEO's and other senior executives can lose their jobs simply because they disagree with something, or because there is a personality conflict.)

But the real point I'll make on this is simple: I've watched my CEO closely for a couple of years now, and I wouldn't take his job for any amount of money. The man works virtually every waking hour. His lunches and dinners are nearly all business discussions. His weekends are spent in the company of other firms' executives attempting to find other ways to grow our company. I receive e-mails from him on important topics at all hours of the day and night; yet though he works constantly he respects others' desire to spend time with their families.

I am, I believe, exceptionally good at what I do but I know I could not perform in that job the way he does. Is he worth three times more than I make? Absolutely, and if the other employees and stockholders saw the amount of effort he puts in to get the results we generate they would agree as well.

As for layoffs, yes I have been involved in a number of them. They are extremely painful actions for all involved. On the other hand, our company survived BECAUSE of these actions and as a result a lot of people still have jobs that would have been lost had the company gone out of business.

I won't get into the Enron mess in much detail, though I have connections that have provided some fascinating insights into what happened. However, I will point out that the company stock contribution to the 401k is just the portion provided BY THE COMPANY. These are independent retirement savings accounts funded primarily by contributions of the EMPLOYEE, not the company. If people have had their entire 401k wiped out that means they bought Enron stock with their own contributions, which is plain stupid. Is it a huge shame that their 401k's have been wiped out as a result of their putting ALL their eggs in one basket? Absolutely. It is a huge shame that people who did that chose to ignore the investment advice every company is required to provide their 401k participants. This advice includes discussion of the virtues of diversification and of the potential volatility of single stocks, including the company's. The employees who ignored that advice GAMBLED with their retirement and lost. I have no more sympathy for them than I do for people who fly to Vegas and blow it all there.

Enough. Most of this will make no impression on you anyway, because it doesn't fit into the solution set you have pre-programmed in your mind.

Regards,

Cork
The bloated, blood-sucking executive Barbarian.
Posted by: Dwain Lee

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 09:56 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by subarus:
wow.. so many words that I cannot understand, but this issue interest me so I have to ask.. so in essense ,does a consumer has the right to expect or demand the same price for identical pianos ?

assuming:
...

3) In a state governed democratically, practices capitalistic, free enterprise ,competitive form of economy,...
[/b]


These two concepts are contradictory. In a free society, the consumer cannot have the right to demand a price offered by a provider.

The consumer does always have the right to affect the provider's pricing structure by choosing to not buy a product at a given price. An offer to sell is simply that, an offer. If the provider is so off-base that no one will buy from him, he'll either adjust to market demands or go out of business. If he's got enough business on his own chosen terms, why should he (be forced to)change his business practices to reduce his profit? This would not be a free market, but a Randian form of slavery (where's ZH when you need her?).

No thanks, I'll put up with the inconvenience of shopping around for my best combination of price and service, and leave the planned economies to others.


Dwain
Posted by: Dwain Lee

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 10:28 AM

Gee, I've missed you, Cork! ;\)

Dwain
Posted by: SteveY

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 10:47 AM

In the pro audio business, like pianos, everything is negotiable from the manufacturer's "list" price. However, anyone who's been around for any length of time learns that there's a system behind it that determines pricing (most of the time). Almost all equipment from larger companies such as keyboards, amplifiers, speakers, etc. fall into what is called a "B Mark". If list price is $10, dealer cost is $6. Extremely high-end microphones, tube pre-amps and the like usually fall into what is called a "C Mark" where assuming the same $10 list price, dealer cost is $7. The only two variables I can think of at the moment are when dealers purchase large quantities of any one product, they might get a small break on the price, but this is usually pretty small (even for national chains such as Guitar Center). There is also the potential for confusion as to which products are "B" and "C" marks. For example, not all microphone pre-amps are "C" marks, but most high-end ones are.

The reason I bring this up is that when I need something for my studio, I need only need to find the list price (which I can usually find on the manufacturer's web site). I can do the math from there as to what I'd expect to pay. I even have relationships with two different dealers where I simply email them what I want and they give me a standard pre-agreed margin. I don't need to haggle or shop them at all. They win since the only effort for them is writing up the sale. I win since I get a low margin purchase price. I'm not suggesting for a moment that the piano world adopt this model. In fact, I think it would be impossible. However, as a consumer, I think it would be healthy to have industry norms in place such as the "B" and "C" mark of the pro audio industry. Who knows? Perhaps they already exist and I just don't know about them. But I do know that I was offered well over 40% off both Yamaha and Schimmel pianos. I was even offered almost 40% off a Bosendorfer. Based on my experience, I suspect there isn't an industry-wide norm in terms of margin.

One more thought about dealer pricing in the piano industry. The more I think about it, the more I'm impressed with the truly honest piano dealers out there. Car dealers often have poor ethical reputations and yet they rely on repeat business. I'm curious to know some of the numbers in the piano industry regarding repeat business. I'd imagine that ethics/values aside, it would be easy for a piano dealer to justify "the pursuit of margin" over "truly meeting the customer's needs". What's the worst that can happen? He/she won't come back? They're not likely to come back for years anyway. And when they are ready to move-up, they have so few choices in terms of dealers that they're almost forced to come back. I drive a Ford, and just because I have a bad experience with a dealer doesn't mean I won't drive another Ford. However it does mean that I'll try and find another Ford dealer in my area. But in the piano industry, you might have to look in another state to find that dealer. If the customer purchases a high-end piano, I'd imagine that the likelyhood of them returning for another purchase drops dramatically. All the more reason to get margin at any cost for the dealer.

So assuming my conclusions have some truth in them, rather than blasting the less than ethical dealers, I'd like to commend the ethical ones. That's precisely why I went out of my way to recommend a couple dealers that I didn't even purchase from. We need to support these people!
Posted by: freddie

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 11:01 AM

Good Post Cork!!! Your right on the money!!


I slightly disagree with you about the 401k issue (but only by a frog's hair, because when you gamble like that you should accept your loss, but then again your boss shouldn't pocket your 401k imput ;\) ). If that is really the way the whole thing went down anyway (it sounds like you got the true version of the story). I heard the employee's of that company had the chance to bail out of their 401k plan, but decided to sit on it (gamble) and get rich instead.

I come into contact with alot of CEO's or higher up's in my job (LOL) and you are right Cork, they are the first to get the axe when something unfortunate happens. They are tied to their jobs 24 hours a day and basically married to the company. So many have came and gone that I have honestly lost track of them a long time ago. One said to me a short while ago "Well it's you and me again Freddie, we can't keep anyone else in this damn place for very long".

Freddie
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 11:43 AM

Has anybody noticed this thread has the makings of a book or movie?

Ib - the grizzled corporate veteran.

Larry - the handsome leading man and capitalistic hero.

Cork - the mysterious, well-heeled, old friend.

Derick - the antagonist seeking wisdom and higher meaning.

pique - the glamorous "Lady of the Northwoods" with the shady piano past.

freddie - the "Rudy" character who will triumph against all odds.

Norbert - the European uncle with past ties to Larry.

Jolly - the redneck throw-a-way who dies early in the plot.

A cast of thousands.

and...

YAMAHA - the BEAST from the EAST!

[ February 16, 2002: Message edited by: Jolly ]
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 12:06 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:
I must say that this is getting funny!

First people want bigger discounts, next they complain because pianos aren't sold for full list! I'll be happy to sell them for full list if that will make people happy...
[/b]


Larry -- I don't know if you were addressing me, but if you were, you missed my point. I have no problem with different stores charging different amounts for the same product. As you justly point out, the level of service, level of convenience, and cost of doing business will vary store to store, and there is no reason that in a market environment, prices shouldn't take account of this reality.

My "problem" is where a store charges different amounts for the same product to different people. The obvious possibilities of discrimination and prejudice are clear. But more to the point, within a capitalist economy, charging different amounts for the smae produce to different customers is disruptive of human community. There is a spiral downward in human behavior, as customers either come out feeling ripped off or at least distrustful, and sellers (especially if they work on commission or for other owners)feel obligated to try to squeeze out the last dollar. Of course, it doesn't have to happen that way, but the mechanism to push things in that direction are clearly there.

And that's a problem. The benefits of capitalism are that it provides incentive for innovation and an array of choices to the consumer. Fixed prices in which merchants charge the same price to all customers do not have negative impacts on either of these two benefits, and build more trusting communities. As destruction of community (often described as cutthroat competition) is the most common complaint against capitalism, I would think it would benefit those that believe in capitalism as a system to work to build community rather than destrohy it.
Posted by: Hank Drake

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 12:20 PM

Do those underpaid CEOs include...

KAREN HENDRICKS?????
Posted by: Hank Drake

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 12:22 PM

Hey, Jolly, What about me?

You can just cast me as the comic relief.
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 01:16 PM

Nah, let's see...Hank...


Hank - the Jimmy Stewartish, nice-pianoguy-next-door.

\:\)
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 02:01 PM

Jolly
Thanks \:\) \:\) \:\)

I am in a famous world class city on Saturday night, and I am reading the piano forum. Is something wrong here.

The first thing I did when checking in was to see if there was a computer connection in the room. There was \:\) \:\)

lb
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 02:16 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by shantinik:


Larry -- I don't know if you were addressing me, but if you were, you missed my point. [/b]


No, I wasn't really addressing any one individual at all. Sorry if it seemed that way. The thread was just sort of working its way into those two ideas in general.
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 02:36 PM

Obviously I can't sit here and not reply, but I will make this short and sweet. Or at least as short and sweet as I can make it.

Freddie - my heart goes out to people in your situation. You work hard but don't make a lot of money. Then you look around and see people who either don't work, or have little ambition, who get hand-outs. Then there are people, who have worked hard but also "got lucky". Most have done well, some have done very well. But the fact is that luck plays into this as much as hard work, and that can seem very unfair. Some people who start out life as "unlucky" manage to get out of the hole by working their butt off. lb sounds like one of these people. But lb has made it and he now says the hell with the rest of the world. That's his choice. But I think it's cold. I wish you the best in life Freddie and hope you can reach your hopes and dreams. I pray you will always remain the humble individual you are and that your heart never hardens.

Mike Parke - the only people I insulted were those who insulted me first; lb andd David Burton. The new Derick is all about playing nice with those who play nice with me. I may not agree with Larry or Cork, but they were not insulting. I will "play nice" with them.

Cork - My problem is not with people who make a lot of money, my problem is with people who make a lot of money and reap benefits at the expense of others... Company X is having a very bad year. The Board of Directors for Company X meets and decides they have to lay-off 40,000 people in order to survive. Company X also reduces employee benefits, and reduces employee's pensions. Yet, Company X's executives benefits AND pensions are enhanced - at the same meeting!!! At the end of the year, Company X meets WallStreet's expectations. Company X's CEO and Board of Directors are given a slap on the back, a firm hand-shake and their $7,000,000/year salary is augmented by a $14,000,000 bonus.

Now do you really think that is fair? How can these executives justify letting people go, reduce benefits of remaining employees, yet increase your own benefits and take a $14,000,000 bonus???????

Maybe you think that is fair because you feel you have worked harder than eveyrone else, but I don't. I am not anti-capitalist. I have a heart. And believe me if I had to let 40,000 people go and reduce benefits you can bet that I, as CEO of Company X would not take a $14,000,000 bonus and increase my own benefits. I'd be ashamed.

Hank Drake mentioned Karen Hedricks. I believe she is the woman who was paid millions by Baldwin, brought the company to the brink of bankruptcy and had a severance of a couple of mil a year after working for Baldwin for a year or two??? Not sure if I have all the fact right, but that's pretty close. All the CEO's I know out there are Karen Hendricks CEO's. I'm sure there are some who have a conscience. If your company, Cork, is one of those that has a conscience, I applaud you and your company and do not begrudge you a dime of your hard-earned money. If not, I'll pray for you...

It is easier for a camel to fit thru the eye of a needle than
for a rich man to enter heaven.

Derick
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 02:43 PM

Derick
I work every day with high strung sensitive individuals(piano people). I am very careful in what and way I say things to avoid riling any temprements. If I say anything to make someone mad, it was intentional.

A couple comments you made

" anyone who can afford 3 cars (a new one every year), the oldest of which is 3 years old, probably doesn't need the discount as much as the young couple with the newborn."

I agree totally with you on this, I do not need the discount as much as the young couple. I do not need it, but I deserve it, they don't


"You've essentially eaten some of their lunch by accepting the discount whether you know it or not."

You are implying that I took something from them. That I took food out of their mouth is the way I read it.

I will also admit that I have made some real stupid mistakes in my life, but getting married and having kids was not one of them. It gave me some incentative to do something. Dropping out of school was not a choice in that era, but I did something about it.

Your problem is that you want to punish somone who took the inititive and the guts to succeed. There is an old saying in the Czech Republic that fits you.
"If a man has one goat and his neighbor has two, he is jealous. He doesn't need two goats, he just hopes one of the neighbors goats dies so they will be even"
:p :p :p

lb
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 03:33 PM

Derick

"lb sounds like one of these people. But lb has made it and he now says the hell with the rest of the world. That's his choice. But I think it's cold."

I didn't just make it, I have had it made since my father instilled in me the work ethics that I have. I work just as hard today as I did 40 years ago. I retired at 50 years old, but after 2 years decided that retirement sucks.

Let me tell you what my cold ass has done this past year.

I bought from Goodwill stores 140 pounds of clothes per month and had them shipped to towns in the former Eastern Block.

I have at my cost made contacts between several police and fire departments in the former Eastern Block with departments in the U.S. and have carried documents and materials back and forth as well as paying for all translations.

I have arranged to have a small town in the Czech republic become a Sister City with a city in the U.S.. This includes arranging contact between businesses in these citys.

I have worked with a Catholic missionary organization in Genoa Italy to help support their missions in Central Africa. This includes the locating and purchasing of two brick forming machines so they can build houses that will not melt when it rains.

I have probably spent more in this work this past year than you earned.

I am cold when it comes to people that expect a handout and are to lazy to help themselves. Steve Cohen can vouch for some of this as he has helped me some.

I hope that this doesn't change the image of me on this forum that I have work so hard to get.

lb
PS. The two brick forming machines, I only paid for one of them, my friendly car dealer paid for the other one. But he will probably add the cost of it to that young couples car, after all someone has to pay for it.
[ February 16, 2002: Message edited by: lb ]

[ February 16, 2002: Message edited by: lb ]
Posted by: Brendan

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 04:23 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Cork:

Cork
The bloated, blood-sucking executive Barbarian[/b]


There's our good barbarian! Where have you been? \:D
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 04:24 PM

I would like to interrupt this exchange of ad homonym attacks to translate a humorous French saying: "If, at 20, you are NOT a communist you have no heart. If, at 40, you ARE a communist you have no brain."[/b]

Dear T2,

I have heard this quote attibuted to Winston Churchill and it went like this:

"A man who is under 30 and is a conservative has no heart and a man that is over 30 and is a liberal has no brain."
Posted by: Hank Drake

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 04:39 PM

Hey Jolly, I like the Jimmy Stewart comparison, since my favorite film is Vertigo. (Great score by Bernard Hermann, too!)

We better keep posting here, Zeldah Hanson has returned to the piano player's forum. Break out your flame-retardant clothing!
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 04:45 PM

A little theological light - the verse about the camel and the eye of the needle refers to humility, not wealth. In Biblical times, cities were surrounded by walls. Gates were built into the walls such that a man on horseback or on camelback could not ride through the gate. The gates were so small and low they were known as "the eye of the needle". To bring a camel loaded with goods into the city it was necessary for the camel to bow down and scoot almost on its' belly through the gate.

Sometimes all those theology classes in college are useful! \:\)

It seems we have fallen into a cross-question, crooked-answer mode. There is much more agreement between Ib and Derick than disagreement. Derick IS a capitalist. Ib IS a philanthropist. The devil, of course, is in some of the small details (or maybe just perception of details). \:\(

As an aside, I have a brother-in-law that probably travels more than any five folks on the board put together. Every continent at least 3 times last year except Antarctica and Australia (though he made it there twice). He said some of the poverty he encountered in the former Easterm Bloc nations rivals anything on the face of the Earth. So kudos to anyone who helps through business or charity to make this part of the world a little better. \:\)
Posted by: Dwain Lee

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 05:09 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
...my problem is with people who make a lot of money and reap benefits at the expense of others... [/b]



So then you have a problem with youreslf, I assume. Anyone who is gainfully employed does exactly that. Come on Derick, don't be such a hypocrite.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:

I am not anti-capitalist. I have a heart... [/b]


And here is part of the problem, Derick. You apparently believe that people who have fundamental beliefs paralleling Cork, or lb, or me, or many others here that I could name, have those beliefs out of heartlessness or coldness. I assure you that in most cases, it is quite the opposite. In one sense I'm glad that lb has enumerated his caring deeds, even though I wish he hadn't been pushed by your presupposition to have done so. I also know of others on this Forum whose personal and unpublicized actions would probably surprise you, given your apparent prejudgment of their hearts based on a misunderstanding of their politics. You see Derick, those of us who hold these positions feel that our attitudes are ultimately far more humane and caring - not to mention "fair" - than the opposing position. It is very difficult discussing these matters with someone like you, who suffers under an a priori dismissal of the possibility of a moral basis for our beliefs.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:

...If not, I'll pray for you...
[/b]


That's awfully nice of you.


 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:

It is easier for a camel to fit thru the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.
[/b]


How about this:

"Then spoke Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. All, therefore, whatever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not after their works; for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

"But all their works they do to be seen of men; they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost places at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the market places, and to be called by men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

"But be not ye called Rabbi, for one is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth; for one is your Father, who is in heaven. Neither by you called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."

Let he who has ears to hear, etc.

Dwain
Posted by: MikeC65

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 06:20 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Jolly:
Doesn't Yamaha frown on any dealer who sells a piano below a certain price?

Would this be considered an example of vertical price fixing?[/b]


I've never practiced in this area of law, so I'm remembering this stuff from law school, but I have a vague recollection that price floors are allowed, although the manufacturer can't set a specific upper price limit. But I might be wrong. I will look it up at work and post a positively correct rule later. I do remember that the manufacturer cannot dictate the selling price.
Posted by: Friday

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 07:11 PM

WOW! It took 13 pages for the heat to get turn up; is this some kind of record?

(Not the pages, but for the gloves to come off.)
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/16/02 08:17 PM

MANUFACTURER CANNOT DICTATE THE SELLING PRICE[/b]

Well, exactly.. and all the dealers here are watching one small store having a virtual feeding frenzy selling their identical pianos against a much larger store not in their territory,but within 1 hour drive, for 100's and 1000's $$ less!

It appears, that sometimes even the big guys hands are tied.

Or so it appears.

[ February 16, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: T2

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 12:31 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Galassini:
I would like to interrupt this exchange of ad homonym attacks to translate a humorous French saying: "If, at 20, you are NOT a communist you have no heart. If, at 40, you ARE a communist you have no brain."[/b]

Dear T2,

I have heard this quote attibuted to Winston Churchill and it went like this:

"A man who is under 30 and is a conservative has no heart and a man that is over 30 and is a liberal has no brain."[/b]


Rich,

I heard the version I quoted via heresay while on business in Paris. I certainly would not consider myself an authoritative source. But I like both versions. ;\)

T2
Posted by: Cork

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 08:42 AM

Derick wrote:

"CEO and Board of Directors are given a slap on the back, a firm hand-shake and their $7,000,000/year salary is augmented by a $14,000,000 bonus."

This will be my last post on the subject of corporate pay. As I said in my first note, I do believe a case can be made that some US CEO's are paid too much. However, do not think that all CEO's are paid millions of dollars; generally it is only the handful of very large corporations (and family-controlled corporations) that pay at that level. My boss makes less than $500,000 in salary at an NYSE-listed company . . .

(By the way, outside Board members are not paid millions of dollars. I'm sure that was not what you meant in your note.)

Getting back to the central issue, the core philosophy of what you seem to be espousing might be rendered thus:

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

I've already seen that Utopia, and I prefer nasty old capitalism.

Cork
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 02:27 PM

Jolly

I looked up what it meant, and I am sure not a philanthropist.

I want to clear a few things up. I do not go out of my way to help people. If I see someone though that needs help and is trying to help themselves I will do what I can to help them.

I also do not consider myself rich in the financial sense. Rich is a subjective term, how much is enough? I am comfortable, and what more can you ask for. I am rich though in family, job, health, and experience. These mean more than money.

Your brother in-law is right about the poverty in the Eastern block countries. People in the U.S. would not believe it if they saw it. The corruption is also unbelievable there. But for the most part the common person has a good attitude and is busting their butt's to improve themselves. The family bond is a lot tighter there than in the U.S.. Everyone in the family has to contribute in order to survive, and it is normal on Sunday afternoon to see the whole family, teenagers included, taking a walk on the city square.

The State police is funded by the state, but all the munincipal police depts. are funded by the city. Some of these villages that have no industry are very poor. I know one that the starter went out of their police car and they didn't have the money to fix it. They had to push start it. When they would stop someone for a violation, they would follow them till they were on a downgrade to pull them over(Gods truth).

How I got involved with the police and fire departments here is another story, but I found out that U.S. police arm patches and memorabelia is a valuable commodity here. The state police, who are well equipped, will trade equipment for these patches. The more well known the city in the U.S. the more valuable the item. I beat on everyone I knew in the U.S. that had any connection to a U.S. police dept or officer. I even called Steve Cohen, and he sent me a real nice package of stuff from around the D.C. area. The response was unbelievable, I got a ton of arm patches, training manuals, police and fire magazines, badges, and books.

It makes me feel good to do as much as possible to help these people, as they need help, and are doing everthing under their power to help themselves.

Thanks Jolly for the kind words even though they aren't deserved.

When I saw you called me a philanthropist, I was going to call your wife and tell her you told everyone on the internet that she was 41, then I looked it up in the dictionary \:\) \:\) \:D

lb
Posted by: Eldon

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 02:56 PM

Golly,
I leave for just a little over one day, and things just seem to go to HELL! I sure had a lot to catch up on. \:\(

I've got 2 things to say. 1. Last night I was in absolute heaven at a St. Olaf Choir concert at Krannert Center (University of Illinois) The acoustics are GREAT there. The Chicago Symphony did some recording there. The concert was toooooooooo COOL \:\)
As usual, it ended with Beautiful Savior....which all Lutherans ;\) Love!

2. Just how will Derick EVER make it to the "good guy" list now? \:D

THE CHOIR was in Pittsburgh last night. I wonder if RichG was here. I didn't even know Pittsburgh had a "Carnegie" hall.

Anyone chatting tonight? I'm going out for Chinese....really just to crack crab legs; but I'm hoping to chat later.
Posted by: Dwain Lee

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 04:14 PM

Actually, Pittsburgh was the birthplace of many Carnegie Halls, as well as the seemingly countless Carnegie Libraries.

Dwain
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 06:02 PM

Derick's crimes:

1) Suggested an idea to eliminate price from the selection of a dealer. (It was just an idea.)

2) Stated a basic tenet of capitalism to lb which he took as a personal attack. (lb should stop twisting what is written just so he can start an argument and rattle on about how charitable he is.)

3) Recycled a nasty phrase on someone who used it on me first. (Wonder if I'll ever get an apology. Or even THREE like I was required to do. Probably not. I should have never confronted the frequently condescending Mr. Burton.)

4) Stated stealing, as sanctioned under capitalism, is wrong. (This was NEVER addressed by ANY poster. NEVER. God forbid someone should say something bad about capitalism and defend the 10 Commandments.)

If all this puts me on the bad-guy list, so be it.

Derick

[ February 17, 2002: Message edited by: Derick ]
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 06:35 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
Derick's crimes:
If all this puts me on the bad-guy list, so be it.

Derick

[ February 17, 2002: Message edited by: Derick ][/b]


For the record, you are on my good-guy list. Let them string us up together (but only if they can sell tickets, and make a profit doing so.)

Posted by: Dwain Lee

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 07:31 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
Derick's crimes:

1) Suggested an idea to eliminate price from the selection of a dealer. (It was just an idea.)[QB][QUOTE]

Which was no crime, and which was disputed relatively civilly.

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Derick:
[QB]
2) Stated a basic tenet of capitalism to lb which he took as a personal attack. (lb should stop twisting what is written just so he can start an argument and rattle on about how charitable he is.) [QB][QUOTE]

Took a swipe an lb that was obvious, and lb and others recognized it for what it was. The "twisting" is what you're doing now to justify your comments. Are you already working on the wording to recast and justify the insulting and demeaning comment you just made to him in this snip? And for the record, lb hardly "started" this; he responded to it.

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Derick:
[QB]
3) Recycled a nasty phrase on someone who used it on me first. (Wonder if I'll ever get an apology. Or even THREE like I was required to do. [QB][QUOTE]

You weren't required to; you chose to. One would have sufficed; the second two merely served to continue the argument.

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Derick:
[QB]
4) Stated stealing, as sanctioned under capitalism, is wrong. (This was NEVER addressed by ANY poster. NEVER. God forbid someone should say something bad about capitalism and defend the 10 Commandments.) [QB][QUOTE]

No one said anything about it because your point is obvious: stealing, whether "sanctioned" by captialism or not, is wrong. And as to your defense of the faith, I'll respond to that a little later.

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Derick:
[QB]
If all this puts me on the bad-guy list, so be it. [/b]


Yes, so.

Your "crimes" have nothing to do with stating a piano-related, or even a political or socio-economic belief. Anyone can have differing opinions about these things, and we all discuss these rather frequently around here. But when you take personal swipes at others - and then, try to weasel out of it, saying your (transparent) comments were merely misunderstood - and then to try to take the moral high ground by touting your religious beliefs, standing up on a cyber-soapbox piously offering to pray for people, and proclaiming yourself as the defender of the Ten Commandments - sorry, that's over my personal limit.

Derick's crimes, at least in Dwain's eyes:

1. Presupposing the motives of people he doesn't know.

2. Making insulting comments about people, and then acting shocked, misunderstood, and a victim when he's called for it.

3. Using his apparent faith as some sort of "superiority shield" to justify his presuppositions and slurs. Personally, this is Derick's bigest crime in my eyes.

I'm sure you disagree with my take on all this. Oh well, I suppose you could pray for me.

Dwain
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 07:38 PM

Thank-you Shantinik, I appreciate it. I suspect there are others on this forum who feel the way we do. I just wish they'd come forward...

Derick
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 07:57 PM

Dwain,

I have ignored your continuous SWIPES at me long enough. I'm now fed up with your lies.

Dwain said:

"1. Presupposing the motives of people he doesn't know.

2. Making insulting comments about people, and then acting shocked, misunderstood, and a victim when he's called for it.

3. Using his apparent faith as some sort of "superiority shield" to justify his presuppositions and slurs."


1) Tell me exactly where I "presupposed" someones motives. Support this Dwain. Quote me, I'm interested in hearing how I presupposed. I presupposed NOTHING.

2) Exactly what insulting comment did I make to lb? I said that when someone gets, something, someone else gives up something. What is insulting? I used the familiar concept of "eating someone else lunch." Have you ever heard "There is no free lunch" Dwain? lb twisted what I said and you jumped on his philanthropic bandwagon to come to his rescue.

3) I don't use my faith as a superiority shield. My comments about CEO's destroying peoples lives and then making huge bonuses in a bad year were never addressed. AND, it happens every day. It's stealing Dwain, sorry to inform you of this. Perhaps I shouldn't say anything religious, in that case I'll remind you that stealing is also against the law - unless you are the CEO of a major corporation.

Perhaps I irk you because I've struck a nerve?

Derick
Posted by: Cork

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 08:18 PM

So . . .

. . . how 'bout them Yamahas?!?

The Barbarian
Posted by: Dwain Lee

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 08:42 PM

All of your own words are on this same board for anyone to see. I'm not going to waste my time cutting and pasting them for you. You can go back and read them all if you'd like.

I stand behind every word I've said to you. I am not going to whine and complain about being misunderstood. You understood my criticisms perfectly.

As far as "striking a nerve," your implication is beneath contempt, and I will not grace it with a detailed defense similar to lb's. I'll just point out that you are mistakenly presupposing again.

In another sense though, you're right. You have struck a nerve, but not the one you think. You struck the mother lode of a nerve of mine when you tried to place yourself above others using a shield of religion. Your very un-religious condescenscion toward others (not your political beliefs), followed by your claim of defending the Ten Commandments, and your offer to pray for others, is what has made my blood boil.

For what it's worth, I've had agreements and disagreements with lb, and with shantinik, in the past. And we probably will in the future. But at least during those disagreements, we've never presupposed the other's motives, nor have we made personal attacks on each other. I'm convinced that even though we have particular disagreements on issues, I'd enjoy meeting and knowing either of them in person.

I don't care one bit whether you and I see eye to eye on issues. My differences with you have nothing to do with pianos, or capitalism, or stealing, or charity, or defending or disputing any other member on this board. But the way you treat other people, then claim to be a misunderstood victim, then try to cloak those actions in religion - that's too much. In plain, clear, unmistakable language, I think it's obnoxious. And I stand behind my criticism of you for it.

Dwain
Posted by: Dwain Lee

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 08:46 PM

...and to everyone else here, I apologize. I don't want Frank to step in and close a record-setting, and generally wonderful thread. Derick can make whatever response he wishes to me. I am done with the issue, and I won't discuss it any further.

Now about those Yamahas...I understand they use the V-Pro process for manufacturing their plates. I understand that that's a superior casting method, no?...... ;\)

Dwain
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 08:57 PM

And I want to make music with everyone!
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 09:23 PM

Gee Dwain, you never had problems cutting and pasting my quotes before. What's your problem now?

Perhaps it is because you can't back-up your presuppositions.

Derick

P.S. For the record, that comment about striking a nerve, that was an intentional insult. I'm glad you finally read something I wrote in the way it was intended.
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 09:26 PM

V-pro must be better, I know because I own an inferior Chinese piano. With a wet sand-cast plate. :p :p :p :p
Posted by: Cork

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 09:52 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain:
[QBNow about those Yamahas...I understand they use the V-Pro process for manufacturing their plates. I understand that that's a superior casting method, no?[/QB]


Hey, it works for engine blocks, why not piano plates? Besides, it lets them cast in the passages for the coolant for all those hot Yamahama players . . . They be fuel-injected and turbocharged dudes!

Righteous! Gotta get me one! Yee Haw.

Cork
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 09:57 PM

Sorry...but there are no Chinese made pianos [to the best of my knowledge] that use true wet sand casting.

The issue of wet sand cast vs. V-Pro is a closed issue in manufacturing facts.

Yamaha uses wet sand casting exclusively on their 9' concert grand..and perhaps their higher end S-line.

So do all high end pianos,American and European.

And all...for very good reason!


Norbert Marten
www.heritagepianos.com
Posted by: Wayne

Re: King of the Hill - 02/17/02 10:25 PM

lb[/b]

lb

You have my vote for Man of the Year. I have had an opportunity to visit the eastern block before and after the wall came down. It was like traveling back in time in a time machine. Most Americans do not have a clue about how good we have it here. Our freedoms and way of life is like no place else on earth. My experiences with the former eastern block nationals were very good. They are good hard working people.

I was once a policeman in the military as well as in the civilian sector. I might even have some patches up in my attic. If it can help someone out or brighten up someone’s day with a patch or two just e-mail me your address and I’ll see if I have any left.
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 12:57 AM

And I just bought an EXTRAORDINARY violin for older daughter from Bulgaria!

(you can actually see it, and its maker holding it at www.get.to/stepan/
Posted by: David Burton

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 02:16 AM

Derick,

Although I didn’t mention you specifically by name, since there might be MANY who share your views, my comments must certainly have hit a few chords, discordant enough that you would mention me in fulminating tones several times after my last post.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
P.S. David Burton, I suggest you READ my posts before shooting your long ingnorant (sic) trap off (I'm using your words which were directed at me, so I'll recycle them and see how they make you feel). I NEVER said I'd make a stink about what Larry paid for the piano. I also NEVER said that I had the right to determine what he could make on a piano. In fact, I'll restate what I've stated at least twice; every dealer is entitled to make a profit and support themselves comfortably.[/b]


As I recall I didn’t identify YOU specifically as interested in what Larry pays for his pianos before he marks them up for sale. However if you had been obtuse enough to ask him and make a big stink about it, then my comments certainly do apply to you.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
You seem to think that because you make a statement, that it is an absolute because you said it. You are stating an opinion as I am stating mine.[/b]


Yes, I am a reasonably comfortable and CONFIDENT man and why shouldn’t that show in what I say? Must I pretend that I feel miserable about myself when I don’t just to fit in with the crowd that is always yelling “unfair?” Well I wont. If you or anyone else has valid information to impart to me I am very quick to change my opinion on a dime and express it just as confidently. I like confidence, joy, courage and optimism. It sure beats their opposites. I like these traits in myself and others who show them. I have an immediate affinity for confident people. Just the other night I stood next to the president of a world renown charitable foundation, responsible for gifts in the tens of millions of dollars per year, and his associate. The president described himself as conceited. His associate claimed to be just as conceited. They were both smiling and laughing about it. “Just the kind of people I most want to meet,” I said, “conceited and entitled to it.” They both laughed. Both are Democrats not Republicans. I met the president in his home, which had been formerly occupied by a famous Democrat president of the United States. You’ll all see how this applies as we continue.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
And in my opinion, CEO's who reap monetary benefits at the expense of employees are guilty of nothing short of armed robbery.[/b]


You are entitled to your opinion but allow me to have mine which is that your view of the “scarcity of benefits” which can be shared by employees in an enterprise clearly stamps you as a Marxist, as your opinion is not a feature of either classical or modern economics. When a CEO reaps monetary benefits it is done at the behest of and usually out of the capital of the board members and ultimately the stockholders. In fact it is the stockholders not the employees who get screwed, if they get screwed.

When the employees hold stock in the company they are wearing two hats and are living under a divided set of interests. Anyone who would take stock from a company they worked for that did not allow them to sell it until they were 55 is charitably speaking making an uneducated decision. It’s THEIR money, they should be more responsible for it.

But you come from the school of thought that thinks someone should take care of them. Who then should take care of them? The government? What price should the government employees ask for the service of taking care of all these private corporate employees? And how should those people get paid? From whom? The rich? Definition of a poor country; one that has few rich people living in it.

In a “for profit” enterprise, employees’ wages and other benefits are paid out of the operating expenses. If the enterprise is not profitable, which implies that it cannot even meet its expenses, the employees as factors of production must be reduced or the company will cease operations, which is something far worse than you can imagine, but which in your ENVY you might prefer to have happen. In bad times, usually the CEO is the first to get sacked. Simply because there is one CEO and perhaps as many as a few hundreds of thousands of employees of a company which generates billions in sales a year, such highly publicized windfalls seem more extravagant than they are, and might I ad, that it is precisely the intent of the political Left to incite such beliefs in people like you.

So, you go right along with the party line…believing that a CEO’s severance is “stealing from the employees” (little guys and gals) who were laid off so you cast about for blame….

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
Only it happens to be sanctioned by capitalism. Or, more precisely, Republicans.[/b]


Oh I love it. You wouldn’t believe this if I told you but I will anyway; there are as many Democrat CEO’s as Republican, maybe more. In fact the kinds of companies that can pay people the most money are usually run by Democrat CEO’s. Most GOP types are middle class, increasingly LOWER middle class at that. Conservatives tend to gravitate to the middle income groups, liberals to the outer extremes. But as for the parties themselves, they are pretty much the same. Just go to a fundraiser for either party. The men are always trying to pick up women. There’s no real difference. But getting back to CEO’s and how much they get paid, since you are obviously so ENVIOUS….

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
In my opinion, these people are overpaid. Or, if you rather, we can take all the pressure off of them, and give them a job making minimum wage which, adjusted for inflation, is far below what was established in the 1960's. The only problem with that is that we'll have to take away their comprehensive lifetime medical benefits and they'll have to scrape together what little money they have left over to pay health insurance. And, God forbid they get sick, the HMOs will make them get second and third opinions just looking for a way to deny treatment. BTW, the CEO's I know are in perfect health. And their job description basically reads "tell everyone else what to do". Even disgraced CEO's don't have it so bad. [/b]


And like most envious people, you want to see those overpaid bloated CEO’s of your imagination suffer the worst follies that you imagine the poorer orders have to endure. One of the worst features of ENVY, and in my religion it’s a deadly sin, is that one wants REVENGE.

As for Ken Lay (LOL, love the name, Mr. & Mrs. Lay? Boy did she ever have to live up to that!), the man is quite obviously a CROOK and since he has presumably committed criminal acts (why else would he choose to invoke the 5th Amendment?) he will be forced to go to trial for his crimes. One cannot roll up ALL CEO’s in Mr. Lay’s fabric, else we really would be in a lot of trouble. Since Mr. Lay’s alleged crimes amount to matters under Federal jurisdiction, I hope he gets sent to a Federal penitentiary for a good ten years. Maybe you’d prefer a life sentence for Lay, but what he did is certainly no worse than murder, rape or child molesting. He may have stolen millions but he did not as far as I know murder, maim or mutilate anyone.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
the only people I insulted were those who insulted me first; lb andd (sic) David Burton. The new Derick is all about playing nice with those who play nice with me. I may not agree with Larry or Cork, but they were not insulting. I will "play nice" with them.[/b]


Fine, don’t play “nice” with me. I’m not a particularly nice guy anyway. I am however a good man without envy of any kind.

The guiltless man recounts his supposed wrongs:

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
Derick's crimes:

Suggested an idea to eliminate price from the selection of a dealer. (It was just an idea.)[/b]


But, you wouldn’t be making anything of it if you weren’t VERY disappointed that your brilliant idea didn’t take root and become the epitome of sound business practice. You got upset about it rather than LEARN from those who are in the business why it simply can’t work as simply as you would like. By the way, your idea and especially your reaction to its rejection marks you as an “idealist.” People who want to “change the world” are idealists. Usually they never bother finding out WHY the world works the way it does before they come up with their brilliant schemes for making a better world. My suggestion, if you’ll take it, is that you stop trying to make the world better in your own eyes and spend some time to find out how the world truly works. You’ll be a lot happier since you wont find your idealism challenged and your feelings hurt at every turn.

By the way pal, I can speak from experience. When I was about 19, I was a raving Trotskyite Socialist, marched in many protests for this or that, and was proud of it. Thought I knew everything and the world sucked and was in need of a big overhaul. Then I GREW UP and “sold out” and chucked all that garbage and with it all those feelings of being victimized by an UNFAIR world. The truth is hard but it IS worth it.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
Stated a basic tenet of capitalism to lb which he took as a personal attack. (lb should stop twisting what is written just so he can start an argument and rattle on about how charitable he is.)[/b]


So it’s a basic tenant of capitalism that one who succeeds is to have the attitude that the rest of the world should suffer? I know of no such tenant of capitalism, but again it sure smacks of something a Marxist would say based on a “scarcity of everything” model of the world. According to Marxism, anyone who does better than anyone else, in any way, does so at the expense of everyone else. This is such a blatantly false idea, A BIG LIE, that it’s amazing that anyone would believe it. But they do because they are ENVIOUS and the idea plays right into their feelings. Feelings rather than thinking characterize the political Left, the immature and the ignorant. How old are you anyway? If you say you are 25, then I’d feel more kindly toward you, that you have time to mature. If you are as old as I am (50) or older, well then you are clearly a fool and deserve sterner treatment. Why am I giving it to you? Because you asked for it! I’m perfectly willing to oblige.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
Recycled a nasty phrase on someone who used it on me first. (Wonder if I'll ever get an apology. Or even THREE like I was required to do. Probably not. I should have never confronted the frequently condescending Mr. Burton.)[/b]


REVENGE! You enjoyed doing it too. Do unto others as you suppose they have done unto you. Great! Envy always begets revenge and jealousy is always associated with envy which is why you find me “frequently condescending.” To you and others like you, I can’t help but seem like I’m coming from a higher vantage point. Or is it you who have a giant inferiority complex, like ALL social idealists?

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
Stated stealing, as sanctioned under capitalism, is wrong. (This was NEVER addressed by ANY poster. NEVER. God forbid someone should say something bad about capitalism and defend the 10 Commandments.) [/b]


Stealing is NOT sanctioned under capitalism, it is rather part and parcel of the philosophy of Marxism, communism and socialism; the state steals from those who do better to give to those who do not. You sir, by your words, are at least a socialist. People like Mr. Lay aren’t capitalists, they’re criminals. Capitalism is not a criminal system although we do have to put up with a few criminals from time to time. Socialism of all kinds is criminality at the state level. Corruption, by the way, as a form of buying favors from a state or business, isn’t capitalism either. It’s a moral disease that’s as old as sin itself.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derick:
If all this puts me on the bad-guy list, so be it. [/b]


No Derick, it puts you on the socialist list, that’s all. You’ll be glad to know that there are many very wealthy socialists out there, mostly they work in Hollywood and New York. You really ought to get to know more of them. They’re quite lively people. I should know. I’ve met quite a few of them. By and large they’re far more interested in pianos and serious piano music than their more conservative brethren.

Best of luck,

The ever condescending Mr. David Burton
Posted by: jgoo

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 02:45 AM

I haven't been keeping up with this thread at all, nor do I really wish to go through and read all 14 pages and 347 posts that currently make up the thread, but I must ask, IS this some kind of a thread for most posts? Have there ever been any in the past that have run this long? I wish that I just started reading this thread before it really started to pile up in number of posts. Oh yeah, and Jolly: you started this thread. Did you ever think that it would become so popular and set a possible record? (actually, I think that it has definatley set a record. More than one!)

[ February 18, 2002: Message edited by: jgoo ]
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 04:28 AM

David,

I'll make the point again and again and again. Perhaps, someday, someone will understand.

Many US corporations, Ford, GM, Quest, IBM, Boeing, the list goes on and on base their CEO's salary on their company's profitability. Which, by the way, I have no problem with. However, profitability can be achieved thru several means. And sometimes this is accomplished thru what is known as "creative accounting" or "vapor profits".

Vapor profits are when a corporation counts the overfunding from its pension fund as part of its profit. This is perfectly legal, but it should be made illegal. Here's why:

CEO's of many corporations are reducing or eliminating defined benefit pensions and converting pensions to what is now known as cash-balance plans. When the conversion takes place, something known as "wear-away" is built in. Wear-away is the additional number of years an employee will have to work to reach the same retirement income they would have had under the defined benefit plan.

Wear-away has the side-effect of putting more money in the coffer of the corporation's pension fund. Keep in mind, that none of the money in the pension fund belongs to the company. It cannot be touched under current laws. It belongs to the retirees and future retirees.

So along comes the year end report. And low and behold, profits are up 12%. The only problem with that is, 10% came from taking away/changing their employee's pension. The CEO's and Board of Directors reap the benefits. Their bonuses go thru the roof because they, sorry to say it, stole pension money from employees. And did I mention that in the same year they reduced/eliminated employee pensions, they increase their own pensions?

Here's a link you might find interesting:
http://www.businessweek.com:/print/magazine/content/02_05/b3768111.htm?mainwindo

Socialism is capitalism, as it exists today, in reverse. Under a socialist system, if you are weathly your wealth is taken away from you and given to those with less. In capitalism, as it exits today, if you are wealthy, you take from those less fortunate (all sanctioned by the wonderful laws put in place in this country by the rich) and put their money into your pocket.

In my opinion, both systems stink. A few laws preventing corporations from stealing is all that it takes to fix the system. Yet everyone wants to turn a blind eye. The Republican's don't want a ban on soft-money, yet they claim they are not influenced by campaign donations. What is the REAL reason Mr. Cheney refuses to hand over notes on the day he met with Kenneth Lay?

Did you know that if the minimum wage had increased at the same rate the AVERAGE CEO's salary in this country had increased, a minimum wage worker would now be making $25/hour.

There is going to be a huge fall-out from this Enron mess, mark my word. Many companies will be called on the carpet. And to be perfectly honest, I can't wait.

If you and others want to walk around with blinders on, go right ahead. But one day you will discover that your capitalist heros (a.k.a. thiefs) are in some serious hot-water. Your portfolio's are going to shrink. And how I hope Mr. LB is heavily invested in all these wonderful corporations that rape the system. He'll get what he deserves; and it won't be a discount on a new car that he feels so strongly he's entitled to because "he deserves it". Deserves it for WHAT? For being LB? Oh, and Dwain, just for good measure, my prayers are with you.

Derick
Posted by: freddie

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 05:33 AM

Question : What do you call a Yamaha vertical in a deep freeze????

Answer : " A Frosted Flake-board".


A yamaha piano gets on the phone and says "I'd like to report a fire in our showroom". The dispatcher answers "Tell us how to get there please". The Yamaha says "DUH, in that big red truck with the flashing red lights on it".

Question : How does a Yamaha salesperson turn on the light after sex???

Answer: He turns up the dimmer switch on the showroom floor.
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 10:35 AM

I have been wondering about something, and I would like to get other opinions.

If I purchased 1000 shares of stock at $5.00 per share in the company I work for and put it in my pension plan. My investment would be $5000.00. If the company matched my investment and gave me an additional 1000 shares, my investment would still be $5000 but I would have 2000 shares with a value of $10,000. Right.

If over time the value of this stock went to $80. Per share the value would be $160,000. Add about 10% for dividends and intrest and you have a value of $176,000. Right.

If the value of this stock suddenly went to $0.00 how much money did I lose? I think that I lost $5000. But someone that this actually happened to claim that they lost $176,000.

Any opinions?

Derick

“ Your portfolio's are going to shrink. And how I hope Mr. LB is heavily invested in all these wonderful corporations that rape the system. He'll get what he deserves; and it won't be a discount on a new car that he feels so strongly he's entitled to because "he deserves it". Deserves it for WHAT? For being LB?
Derick “

I never gamble more than I afford to lose, and I only invest heavily in my own abilities. I get a better return that way. If I lost every dime I have invested today I would still wake up smiling tomorrow, and not miss it. :p :p :p

lb
Posted by: Fritz

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 11:01 AM

There are different contexts in which to answer the question.

According to the IRS? If it is a retirement account, and your $5000 was pre-tax money, you lost nothing because you never had it.

But really the main flaw (IMHO) in your example is that it neglects the "time value of money." How long did you own the stock? If you put in $5000 when you were 30, and just before you retired at 65, the value avaporated, you have certainly lost much more than $5000. You have at least, lost what that $5000 would have been worth if it had been invested "differently."

Bottom line...quantifying "how much you lost" is a little artificial. There is more than one reasonable answer.

IMHO.
Posted by: Cork

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 11:14 AM

Oh, Freddie, you are BAD!

No wonder I enjoy your posts.

Cork
Posted by: Dan

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 12:18 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Friday:
WOW! It took 13 pages for the heat to get turn up; is this some kind of record?

(Not the pages, but for the gloves to come off.)[/b]


Actually, the gloves were off at the beginning, then everyone got chummy (no fish jokes please!), then the gloves came off again. I'm waiting with baited breath (again, no fish jokes please) to see how this turns out! I missed two days of reading, now I'm 4 pages behind in the posts! Man, you folks all need remedial lessons in "succinct" writing!

Dan

[ February 18, 2002: Message edited by: Dan ]
Posted by: Fritz

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 12:31 PM

I'm succinct. ;-)
Posted by: Dan

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 12:36 PM

Yes, Fritz you are! And like me, it seems we don't really have anything to say (either useful or even vituperative)...

\:\)

Dan
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 12:39 PM

Almost.
Posted by: Dan

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 12:51 PM

Ah Jolly,

I’m very sorry \:\( to report that your post has crossed that fine line that delineates “succinct” from “obscure”.

(In other words, I’m totally without a clue as to what your “almost” post might mean…)

Dan
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 01:07 PM

Geez, timing is everything! Here I was trying to sneak in behind Fritz with a funny and ...oh well, better luck next time.

Of paper profits and pianos - what hurts most investors is greed. What hurts many piano companies is greed.

In the case of the investor, most people are always chasing mythical yields. I learned a long time ago, that if I can come somewhere close to a 10% average return, that is about the extent of my risk tolerance. It's all about balance and foresight. A few bonds, a piece of real estate, a few mutual funds, some cash savings, a little invested in my pension plan - returns are never stellar, but I've never had a negative quarter. Never.

Many piano companies are hurt by greed. Baldwin found ways to make its' pianos cheaper to increase profit margins. Their good name suffered, so look where they are at today. Yamaha is starting to live off of its' reputation. Did even the die-hard Yamahites think the company would ever proudly unveil a piano like the GP-1? Look at many of the fine old names sucked up by Aeolian. Think about the quality of the Memphis factory pianos. Where is Aeolian today?
Every company or investor should strive for profit. But excessive greed can financially kill a piano company, an individual investor or Enron. The ability to fail, however, is one of Capitalism's strongest points. How many companies are now checking their accounting practices? How many investors are re-evaluating their portfolios? And how many piano companies are studying the business model of Baldwin?
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 01:24 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Dan:
Yes, Fritz you are! And like me, it seems we don't really have anything to say (either useful or even vituperative)...

\:\)

Dan[/b]



That's great, Dan. Not only do we have to fix the stock market and reconstruct a blended economics system, but now we have to figure out what "vituperative" means...... ;\)
Posted by: lb

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 03:17 PM

Norbert

Just curious, what did you mean by

[QUOTE]
Sorry...but there are no Chinese made pianos [to the best of my knowledge] that use true wet sand casting.

Is there another method besides wet sand cast and V-Pro?

lb
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 04:37 PM

hey, guys, this is getting to be too much to keep up with... have some mercy! i have jet lag.... but reading anyway.

i'm finally home. it was incredible to sit down and play my beautiful piano after a 3.5 week separation.

i didn't find a single piano to play anywhere in hawaii. oh, one resort has baby grands in its $5,000 per night president's suites. i was going through such bad withdrawal i asked them what kind of baby grands they were. they said they didn't know. i said, "for $5,000 i can buy a baby grand."

of course, far be it for me to argue with a hotel's right to set the rental rates for its rooms with baby grands in them. ;\)

though i often do not see eye-to-eye with david burton, i have to thank you, dave, for that post you made concerning the choices i made. you really understand what i did, and i appreciate the understanding. so much so, that i saved your post to my piano file on my computer, and read parts of it aloud to my husband. thank you!

however, i do find it a bit ironic that you are so scornful of political idealists, yet so reverential towards musical idealists!! ;\)

on the subject of envy, feelings of entitlement, resentment, greed, philanthropy, just by coincidence i received this link today from an old friend. kind of throws the debate between ib, derick, and dwain into a bit of perspective, does it not?
http://www.luccaco.com/terra/terra.htm

capitalism may be the greatest economic system ever devised, but it is a lousy political system. i think the real problem in this country is how the power of the wealthy has begun to govern us politically--the links between kenneth lay and the current inhabitant of the white house being an example.

(note above edit, and stainmaster does not offend me in the least. ;-).

the media is another great example. media companies that are answerable to stockholders are incapable of upholding the public trust; they are reduced to entertainment monopolies, and are no longer suited to provide the function of a true fourth estate, without which we cannot have a democracy.

even some arch, right-wing republicans i know are starting to understand the problems with capitalism as a tool of political power. cattle ranchers can't get a fair price for their product because of vertical integration in the cattle markets, a market controlled by just THREE ag companies, fewer than when upton sinclair wrote "the jungle" in the 1920s, which was responsible for legislation controlling the stockyards. the ag companies are in violation of antitrust laws, but the dept. of ag won't go after them, and the justice department looks the other way. one rancher said to me that he believes in capitalism, of course, he's no damned communist. but he wants "capitalism with a conscience."

it doesn't take an economic genius to understand that all of this has something to do with the need for campaign finance reform. capitalism may be better in even most ways than the alternatives, but it has innate dangers, just as do other systems. one of them is concentrating too much political power in the hands of a few.

having now made my contribution to the economics portion of the thread, i'm going to declare a mea culpa, as i notice that this thread has turned unpleasantly hostile, and that some very fine people who were participating at the beginning have stopped. (though no doubt they are still reading.) possibly the hostilities have chased them away. that's too bad.

gentlepeople, might it be time to remember that friendships are best preserved by avoiding discussions of religion and politics?

finally, jolly, i like your sense of character. now what about a plot? and will you share with us the first drafts of your Piano World novella or screenplay?

signed,
pique, as she draws across her face her veil of mystery, and lapses back into the coma of jet lag...
\:D

[ February 18, 2002: Message edited by: pique ]

[ February 18, 2002: Message edited by: pique ]
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 04:49 PM

Excuse me,

If one can refer to the current President as "shrub", may I refer to the previous occupant of the Oval Office as the "Stainmaster"? \:D
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 05:12 PM

"Capitalism with a conscience." That is perfect! And succinctly sums up everything I've been trying to say.

Great post pique!!!

Derick
(The capitalist with a conscience)

P.S. Although there are MANY things I don't agree with President Bush on, I feel it is important to refer to him as "President Bush". Just my opinion.

[ February 18, 2002: Message edited by: Derick ]
Posted by: freddie

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 05:16 PM

Jolly, Cork, & Dan you all crack me up \:D


A Yamaha U-1 says to a Charles Walter 1500 "I'm way bigger than you, so I'm better". The "Charles Walter" says "bigger isn't always better buddy". The Yamaha says "You haven't seen me break wood kid". The Charles Walter replies "No I haven't, but least mine's the real thing when I do man".

It's late at night in a California piano shop. A mahogany Yamaha C-2 is gently sobbing and a Bechstein grand shouts "Shut the hell up, some of us are trying to sleep around here, if PENNY would have wanted you she would have bought you, now goodnight already!!!!".

[ February 18, 2002: Message edited by: freddie ]
Posted by: Brad

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 05:18 PM

Excuse me,

President Bush did not win the election? I could have sworn that he did. He's in the White House right now. If you're refering to the close vote in Florida, he won the original count and the recounts. Even later newspaper analyses show that Bush won.

This comment shows how detached from reality you are. The rest of your screed just proves it.

Stick to pianos.
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 05:31 PM

brad,
nobody bothered to wait for the results of the election. he was declared president by the supreme court. that is not being elected.

oh, well, maybe i should go back and delete that one little outburst from my post.

isn't it wonderful to learn how different we all are from each other? diversity is the spice of life.
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 07:23 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by pique:

just by coincidence i received this link - kind of throws the debate between ib, derick, and dwain into a bit of perspective, does it not?
[/b][QUOTE]

I checked it out. I never give any credibility to crap like that - you can take numbers and make them do anything you want. The website has an agenda. I don't pay any attention to conservative attempts to spin facts either. One can arrive at a completely different position by simply taking a different set of statistics.

[QUOTE]
i think the real problem in this country is how the power of the wealthy has begun to govern us politically--the links between kenneth lay and the current inhabitant of the white house being an example.
[/b]


What links would that be? There have been no improper links found at all, in spite of how hard the left has attempted to create them. And where is your concern with McCauliffe and the *other* big bankruptcy that's going on, where he as well as a bunch more on the left clearly had their hands deep in the cookie jar? No offense, Pique, but this very type of selective political spinning is why I have no respect for the left wing of the political spectrum, particularly the fourth estate who as a group refuses to address anything other than those issues that further their liberal socialist agenda.

 Quote:

media companies that are answerable to stockholders are incapable of upholding the public trust; they are reduced to entertainment monopolies, and are no longer suited to provide the function of a true fourth estate, without which we cannot have a democracy.
[/b]


And if the fourth estate doesn't figure out how biased they are, we are soon going to find we have no democracy *because* of them. Particularly public radio, who has become an enemy of freedom in my opinion. They have become so biased that they are worse than useless. The sad part is most of them don't even know it. I can give you an example of this right from your own post: you cannot seem to bring yourself to say "President Bush", can you? You call him "the current inhabitant". As much as I despised the Clintons, and as much as I consider them to be the most dangerous and devastating bunch of trash to ever gain power, I was always able to call him by his name.

 Quote:

capitalism may be better in even most ways than the alternatives, but it has innate dangers, just as do other systems. one of them is concentrating too much political power in the hands of a few.
[/b]


This would depend on one's viewpoint wouldn't it? It can also be said that the danger we face is the fact that the segment of the population that has been taught to depend on government to provide for their needs instead of them taking responsibility for themselves has grown so large that some politicians are willing to cater to them to get reelected at the expense of the good of the nation by promising even *more* government, strangling the productive segment of the population even further. The more people you can teach to depend on the government to take care of them, the more votes you'll get for the politician who promises to keep taking care of them. The "concentration of power" will come once we are a completely socialist country. It is the very resistance to this trend that keeps there from being a "concentration of power".

You mention ranchers. It has been the constantly increasing interference from government programs and regulations that has made it impossible for the typical rancher to compete, not the existence of a few big agricultural concerns. In fact, this regulatorial interference in free enterprise is the *cause* of those big ag companies developing in the first place. Or do you not remember all the farmers who were forced into bankruptcy and had all their land and equipment forcibly sold at auction because they couldn't make any money due to federal regulatory burdens? No one in the fourth estate or the liberal left wants to deal with the fact that it has been massive federal interference that has made it impossible for the independent farmer or rancher to make a profit, and that the very interference from government that put them out of business is what enabled a few bigger fish to gobble them up.

Which strikes at the very heart of what this thread was discussing - federal interference in the free market system as it relates to setting the selling price of pianos was proposed. I guess we can take a lesson from ranchers as to what the outcome would be - all pianos would be sold by a few giant dealerships, government regulations would make it impossible for the independent dealer to compete, and you would end up just as I have already said, fewer choices, poorer service, and most likely poorer products.

The socialist left always skips over the damage done to things as a result of the federal programs they are so fond of. They put thousands of ranchers out of business, cause them to lose farms that had been in the family for years, cause them to lose everything they have, they sit by and watch a few companies grow larger by ruthlessly swallowing up these smaller farms and ranches, then write their reports about the evil "big corporations", thump their chests as they tell you how they're "for the little guy", and ignore the fact that it was their unwavering support of the socialist agenda that left that trail of ruins among the "little guys", and that set the stage for the big ag companies to exist. Then, without so much as a glance back suggest that this be done for retail sales of big ticket items, all in the name of "fairness", of course. And as they remind themselves of how misguided those poor backward right wingers are, and how correct their own logic is, never once do they associate the effects of their previous input as the possible cause to the damage they see later on. It's always "big corporations" at the root of the problem.

 Quote:

i notice that this thread has turned unpleasantly hostile, and that some very fine people who were participating at the beginning have stopped.
[/b]


Please do not take anything I just wrote to you as hostile, or me trying to take a swipe at you. That was not my intent. But reading my post will require you to have an open mind, and I'm not certain that a member of the fourth estate can do that.

As for the political discussion and ensuing hostilities that have resulted - I guess it is safe to say that somewhere around 350 posts, a thread begins to stink like a rotten carcass. I suggest we *all* - me included - read back through the thread and find the responsible portion of it that is capable of producing something of value and get back on that instead of politics. There is a left, and a right. If all we had were one, we'd be in anarchy. Accept it, and let the fight for control between the two sides go on in another forum. Let's get back to pianos, and smacking the crap out of Derick (just teasing, Derick \:D )
Posted by: fmelliott

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 07:33 PM

I agree with Pique in one thing only. It is time to close this thread. I enjoy reading what all of you have to say, You are a remarkable set of people. Help me to keep liking you all by letting the personal, political, and religious aspect of this thread come to an end.
Posted by: Fritz

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 07:34 PM

Awe c'mon guys, I just got here and you are telling me the party is over????

I really HATE it when I miss a good argument...

;-)
Posted by: Brad

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 08:57 PM

Keep the thread going . . .

There was a real flame war back in mid-2000 on the old board which drove away many of the regulars. The worst perpetrators of that war are long gone (remember that guy Nils Luhrman?).

The present is nothing more than bickering between friends. Whenever someone veers too far into politics or religion, they always get vigorously slapped around like just happend here.

Back to pianos . . .

There are two "Kings of the Hill" --

Yamaha and Steinway.

These are the only two pianos that 96 percent of the people have ever heard of.

Yamaha is king of the consumer market; Steinway is king of the prestige market.

This has someething to do with merit; more to do with marketing and the resulting public perception.

Yamaha produces a well maufacutured plesant sounding instrument at a series of price levels which the middle class can afford.

Steinway lives off its fame as the instrument of the immortals. It deserves a lot of that fame. Almost everyone knows they are expensive and a prestige item.

So, friends, that's the answer. Two Kings ... Long may they reign!

[ February 18, 2002: Message edited by: Brad ]

[ February 18, 2002: Message edited by: Brad ]
Posted by: Norbert

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 09:07 PM

Folks,there's nothing wrong with a good ol' fist fight anyway!

There's been enough TALK on this thread to rewrite the Piano book and I know that Larry Fine is getting nervous out there!!

Gloves off...and SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST!!

[At least this way we're getting back to... the real world of...er... PIANOS again!!]


Norbert Marten
[readying my 'secret' rocket launcher!]

[ February 18, 2002: Message edited by: Norbert ]
Posted by: subarus

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 09:48 PM

wow.. 372 posts for one thread.. and without any help from Mr Jarl Sigurd .. kewl.
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 11:12 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:


Please do not take anything I just wrote to you as hostile, or me trying to take a swipe at you. That was not my intent. But reading my post will require you to have an open mind, and I'm not certain that a member of the fourth estate can do that.[/b]



hm, i think i caught a little swipe at the end of that comment, no?
\:D

actually, i didn't take anything you said personally, larry, but as honest debate. it frankly fascinates me here, as in real life, how people who so genuinely like each other can so fervently disagree, have such very different perspectives on the world.

your articulate post is, for me, like looking through a prism--we are looking at the same facts, but through different colorations and perspectives--borne of our different life experience, no doubt.

i respect those differences. i'm even open to having my mind changed, if i'm shown another point of view is reasonable. and even if i don't agree, i appreciate it that you post your views in a way that elucidates them instead of making attacks on others. i want to understand how others think, and why they think what they do. unless, of course, they indulge in ad hominem attacks, which i don't respect at all.

i don't know all the facts of the farm subsidy program. but from what i do know i suspect that we would agree that the government is responsible for hurting small farmers and ranchers. only the corporate farms and ranches get the big subsidies, the little guys never see it.

i really don't think our points of view about what happened with ranchers, or with the economics of selling pianos for that matter, are so different, larry.

i do disagree with you on the political points you made, and won't bother to go into that, because we just disagree too strongly.

but i don't happen to think that people should be given a handout by the government. i'm also one of those who has earned my keep through very hard work, and have gotten where i am the hard way, and i have never taken a handout, and i don't respect those who expect one. i've worked with welfare moms (as a children's mentor) and find their attitude that they can be on welfare and let the rest of us support them because they prefer to be a stay-at-home mom just flabbergasting.

i am open to learning something new, and this thread has been a fascinating economic and political education. i don't have strong views on the economics of selling pianos, btw, as i really don't understand the machinery of that market first hand.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry:

As for the political discussion and ensuing hostilities that have resulted - I guess it is safe to say that somewhere around 350 posts, a thread begins to stink like a rotten carcass. I suggest we *all* - me included - read back through the thread and find the responsible portion of it that is capable of producing something of value and get back on that instead of politics. There is a left, and a right. If all we had were one, we'd be in anarchy. Accept it, and let the fight for control between the two sides go on in another forum. Let's get back to pianos.[/b]


i heartily agree. i think it is time to drop this thread and start a new one. it seemed to me that the discussion about authorized v. unauthorized dealerships was valuable. especially david b.'s comments about the niche specialty dealer interested me.

who here can explain how this is done in germany, with so many hotly competitive piano manufacturers, most of high quality, in such a small geographic region. do they have authorized v. unauthorized dealerships there? is it more common for dealers to sell many brands they are not "authorized" to sell? if it is different, how so? and what is the result in the marketplace?

i understand that in germany there is just an official price that everyone pays, and yet there is a lot of excellence, diversity, and competition. how does one account for this if larry's piano economics thesis is correct?

and, obviously, i think my own piano is king of the hill! \:D ;\)
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/18/02 11:37 PM

Thank you for seeing and understanding that it was *not* written with the intent of taking a swipe at you, Pique. Not even the part you quoted as a possibility. The sentence was purely a statement of my view, not an underhanded attempt to take it personal or make a swipe at you.

Now - everybody play nice or I'll have to send "Davey the Pomposity Slayer" to show you all just what a *real* crowd killer can do..... \:D
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 12:00 AM

Larry,

I did get a good chuckle out of your last comment ;\) . As for the rest of your post, some I agree with, some I don't. I wish we could go out for a few beers and discuss these issues. If not for anything else, it would make for some lively discussion \:\) .

Derick
(The capitalist with a conscience)
Posted by: David Burton

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 12:16 AM

pique

Thank you so much for your understanding responses. Your gratitude fills my heart with gladness, truly. But I have much to reveal to you and to all, about my REAL values.

 Quote:
Originally posted by fmelliott:
I agree with Pique in one thing only. It is time to close this thread. I enjoy reading what all of you have to say, You are a remarkable set of people. Help me to keep liking you all by letting the personal, political, and religious aspect of this thread come to an end.[/b]


No, it cannot end until it fades away and though I would really prefer to steer clear of the political and religious, the former because it is in awful truth so banal (as I have so often proved in my own posts) and the latter because it is also in reality far too “plus personal” for a forum such as this. And yes, I’ll be getting around to pianos in this post because pique inadvertently reopened many doors.

I will always tend to side with the right in politics because I was such a pigheaded committed and idealistic leftist when I was young and saw the error in their crazy plans and the malice and hate inside most of their hearts. In truth, a hard lesson for those on the left to accept, that when the chips are really down, person to person, a person on the right is far more likely to care about someone else by giving actual real help, more than any government program could ever hope to do. I’ll leave it at that.

As for campaign finance reform, I’m going to offend some on the right for saying this, but if it is made to apply to EVERYONE including labor unions then I’m for it simply because it will tend to raise the political importance of the individual over that of the group. A political theorist, Theodore J. Lowi, not a rightist by any means, wrote about what he called “interest group liberalism” (in his book The End of Liberalism) wherein a bunch of people get together and pressure the government to do something for them, another group does the same, and so on and so on until real participatory democracy is lost.

Fact is, I’m not so much a rightist as a Constitutionalist and my true political loyalties have much in common with the Libertarian philosophy that the best government doesn’t have to rely on force to govern well.

It is not RIGHT that big agglomerations of power should have as much power of the government as they do. Those who cynically argue that the highest court in the land has said that money is free speech and that there’s no way to shut bigness out of public life are asking us to make of our political life nothing more than a titanic struggle between two behemoths who will in their lust and their greed feed on the rest of us til there is no individuality left. Without individuality there is no civilization, there is no democracy, there is no freedom, there is no music. The process is I’m afraid already well under way.

I read Derick’s Business Week article and found it informative. I played the website pique mentioned and passed it along to my 14 year old daughter for comment. She should remember these startling facts about the world as she wanders the mall with her friends in search of her next set of kewl shoes.

But there was a question pique asked that really interested me.

 Quote:
Originally posted by pique:
i do find it a bit ironic that you are so scornful of political idealists, yet so reverential towards musical idealists!! ;\)[/b]


And here’s my answer; when one sits down at one’s piano and begins to play as only you or I can, there is no idealism to be reached for, the experience is THERE, right now, instantaneous and totally REAL. When one is able to realize with clarity the breathtaking achievements of some great master to the point that one is almost not conscious of playing as being played by transcendent forces, or even transcendent beings, to play the music, one is not trying for some ideal, one has achieved that state of being there that exists in few other human experiences.

Getting there, to be able to play a piece from memory, to be able to have the music play itself through you, that isn’t musical idealism either. In the process of learning, you are being plunged into the unique REALITY of each piece with its own particular set of musical and emotional contexts and contours.

If one is really lucky, like Arthur Rubinstein was, to be able to play for audiences and have their listening energy influence one’s own energy at the piano, then one is not idealized, one is REALIZED by the activity and that force and fact is objective reality not an idealized dream.

I have just finished memorizing the little waltz, La plus que lente of Claude Debussy, a perfect little jewel of parlor piano music from 1910 and the other night I was at a party and played it on a venerable old Mason & Hamlin grand. For a spit second we could have been in Paris in 1910, but those who knew the piece told me that it was really timeless. That to me seems the point behind all this fuss about pianos; the MUSIC that they can make and we, with our own two hands, can become at least for a few moments, immortal. For you see, all the shouting over political and religious issues will never accomplish what a single simple piece of exquisite piano music will accomplish. Music can melt the coldest heart, can cause grown men to cry openly, can move women to fainting, can stop wars! It can, it still can.

Here’s to all of you as you privately or publicly discover yourselves in one of the most real states one ever can, sitting behind your piano, and with your own two hands realizing that state of momentary immortality in music.
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 12:17 AM

Never take a Red Man drinking. We have a totally different thought in mind when someone says "I'll have a Manhattan".....

Just some friendly advice - you might want to rethink that "Capitalist with a conscience" tag..... it might prove to be an unnecessary irritant to a capitalist who thinks you mean that you are the exception instead of the rule.


\:\)
Posted by: SteveY

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 12:33 AM

While I don't intend any disrespect to pique, the website that was posted (100 person village) is identified as a hoax on several hoax/virus sites. I even looked through my email archive and found 3 different versions with different statistics.
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 01:21 AM

david b.: your description of the experience of playing the piano is breathtaking. and i think despite all the political, social, and religious differences within our little piano world, it must be that experience you describe that unites us in a common sympathy.

this evening i threw myself at my piano, like someone who had been starving for the past weeks. and i laughed at the idea of being addicted to this board. as addictive as this forum might be, the piano--or more precisely, the experience at the piano as described by david--is even more so.

i just want to know, how am i supposed to meet my deadlines with a seductress like the grotrian in my house? how do any of us get any productive work done?

sometimes, i feel like it is really the only thing i want to do in life.

this is not saying that the caliber of my playing in any way reflects my feelings about the instrument--as some of you will no doubt find out if i ever make it to the pnw piano party! \:\(

bravo on an exquisite rendition of the experience, david.
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 01:30 AM

hi, steve,
when you say it is a hoax, do you mean that the numbers are not accurate? or do you mean that those who posted it are not really socially conscious? ;\)

i'm not too concerned about the accuracy of those numbers. the way the parameters are set, i'm sure it is very difficult, if not impossible, to be strictly correct with those numbers.

i do believe the statistics are generally true, however, in that, for example, most of the world's population is asian, and very few people, relatively speaking on a percentage basis, have bank accounts and computers.

i also think part of the point, if not the main point of that web site, is to show off the author's web design skills, and the statistics are just a way to do that, and not an end in themselves.

i think we can probably all agree on the gist of truth of the site, which is that we in north america are the most fortunate people, economically speaking, on earth. most of the world does not share in the wealth that we have. i don't think there would be much argument about that. the 100 people stats are just a way to dramatize it.
Posted by: Derick

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 01:59 AM

Larry,

This post is in reference to yours, but it not directed at you...

I have been so completely misunderstood that no matter what tag I used or didn't use, someone would twist what I said and accuse me of 'presupposing' someone's motives or 'hiding behind my religion' or some other such idiocy. I'm tired of being nice to nasty people who take everything I say and put their own negative spin on it.

Derick
(The whipping boy)
Posted by: Penny

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 02:06 AM

originally posted by Freddie:
[/QUOTEIt's late at night in a California piano shop. A mahogany Yamaha C-2 is gently sobbing and a Bechstein grand shouts "Shut the hell up, some of us are trying to sleep around here, if PENNY would have wanted you she would have bought you, now goodnight already!!!!".[/b]

Now THAT is funny! (especially because I don't particularly care for Yamahas ... or Bechsteins!

penny \:D \:D \:D

[ February 19, 2002: Message edited by: Penny ]
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 05:17 AM

Ok, I didn't really wanted to contribute to this mega-thread, but since pique brought up the question below...I thought I give it a shot.

 Quote:
Originally posted by pique:

who here can explain how this is done in germany, with so many hotly competitive piano manufacturers, most of high quality, in such a small geographic region. do they have authorized v. unauthorized dealerships there? is it more common for dealers to sell many brands they are not "authorized" to sell? if it is different, how so? and what is the result in the marketplace?

i understand that in germany there is just an official price that everyone pays, and yet there is a lot of excellence, diversity, and competition. how does one account for this if larry's piano economics thesis is correct?
[/b]


Yes, we have authorised dealers in Germany. And we also have fixed prices on some items (including books, cars and, to a certain extend, pianos). These prices were non-negotiable until 1999 , since 2000 they are but nobody really does haggle when purchasing something over here. The dealer quotes his price and you either take it or leave it. The only thing a piano dealer might be willing to negotiate is whether he includes the bench or a second in-home tuning in the piano price.

A Bechstein XYZ for example costs the same in Cologne as in Munich give or take a few Euros. Still, there is competition but between brands not that much among dealers.
How does that work?
In any German city you usually won't find two dealers selling the same brands; however, if you do find this set up you can be sure that one dealer carries only the grands of one brand whereas the other carries the verticals. Example from where I live:
We have Ibach (yes, the manufacturer), who also sells Seiler, Sauter, Schiedmayer and Roth & Junius. The other dealer sells Bechstein (+ Zimmerman and Hoffmann), Schimmel, Yamaha, Kawai and a number of rebuild pianos. About 30km away we have Bechstein Hall in Dusseldorf. They sell mostly grands. Hence, the Bechstein dealer in "my" town sells mostly their verticals.
So, there is competition and diversity but also some kind of protection for the dealers. The dealers don't have to fear that a neighbouring dealer might offer the same piano for less, because there won't be a second dealer in the same city selling the same brands. That's one advantage of a dealer network set up by the manufacturers.
The other is that it doesn't matter if you buy your piano in city X or Y when it comes to warranty issues.

To my knowledge all piano dealers are authorised dealers. Selling something (not only pianos) for which you are as a dealer not authorised is against the law. Excluded from this are, of course, pianos which were traded in for better ones.

All this works perfectly well in Germany and the piano business is far from going under. A lot of piano dealers in Germany have been in business for more than a 100 years and they don't seem to close soon.
Posted by: SteveY

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 08:34 AM

Hello Pique
I'm sorry I wasn't more clear (I was trying to give everyone relief from my usual long-winded posts). The "100 person village" story is called a hoax because of the way it is usually attributed to one of several different college professors, and because the statistics are false. I even read an article (I can't remember where) where the professor that is usually quoted as developing these stats was intervied. He said that not only had he not written the piece, but that it was becoming a problem for his family as people from all over the world were attempting to contact him in response to the "Village" email they had received.

I agree with you that the "spirit" of what the "Village story" says is probably true, although I have a problem with the manipulation of statistics that cannot be verified, as well as the manipulative nature of the story itself. In my mind, the end does NOT justify the means.

I also want to say that I completely understand your comments about your Grotrian in your previous post. How do you ever get anything done? I feel the same way about my Steinway. (I'm sure your Grotrian make me feel the same way -- increidble piano!) Although I'm very serious about my playing, I feel like the piano has more music in it than I do. But that's not a bad thing. It gives me something to shoot for.

Have a great day!
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 10:17 AM

Dearest Larry,

I love you like a brother. However, if you invite Davey to this board, I will personally make it my life's work to hunt you down and make you pay for your heinous crime against Humanity.


Have a nice day! \:\)
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 11:17 AM

Dearest Jolly,

If I were to actually do such a terrible thing, you wouldn't have to hunt me - I would drive to your town and present myself to you for the beating I would so richly deserve.......

\:D
Posted by: SR

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 12:04 PM

Well, due to a defective cable modem I've been out of touch for awhile. This thread has gotten to unfocused to even comment on. Anybody know an address of a good piano discussion forum ?

Steve
Posted by: Dan

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 12:10 PM

Hey Derick,

I kinda like the "whipping boy" tag line. Keep that one ok!

:p

Dan
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 02:50 PM

Steve:

My Grotrian, the 6'3", is actually MUCH nicer than the 7' you played at Beethoven. Really! I played both of them the same day. The scale is a lot more even between treble and bass on the smaller piano.

Your comment about the piano having more music in it than you do is perfect. I feel exactly the same way. And yes, it is very inspiring.
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 02:53 PM

Nici,
Thanks for the education on the piano market in Germany.

Larry--how does this differ from how things work in the U.S., if at all? And how do you account for the concentration of great makers all in one place. Wouldn't it be great if we had that kind of market here?
Posted by: SteveY

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 03:04 PM

Pique, don't ever let me play your Grotrian. I think it would cause a major crisis for me if what you say is true!!! I loved that 7ft. Grotrian!!! I didn't sense any problems with the break in the 7ft. If yours is better, look out!!!

The price I ended up getting on my "B" was significantly less than what I would have paid for the Grotrian. That was pretty much the deciding factor as to why I didn't pursue it much further. (I also love a good "B"!) I've never seen a Grotrian in a recording studio, but I'll bet they record VERY well.
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 04:18 PM

steve,
if you are interested in recordings of grotrians, the manufacturer in germany has free demo recordings (the narration is in german, however). if you go to their web site and email them your address, they will send you one.

well, now you know the reason i steered you to beethoven's when you first posted that you were looking in the ny metro area. i thought from your tastes that you might like that piano.

i'm sure your B is wonderful. the good ones truly are. i don't remember how much beethoven's was asking for the 7' grotrian, but if you got a B for less than that, and it inspires you as you say, you did very well.

of course, you are welcome to come out to the rockies and play my grotrian any time!
\:D \:D \:D

[ February 19, 2002: Message edited by: pique ]
Posted by: SteveY

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 04:35 PM

I don't want to hear other people recording on a Grotrian. I want to hear ME recorded on a Grotrian. (It's more fun that way)
Posted by: Larry

Re: King of the Hill - 02/19/02 09:38 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by SR:
Anybody know an address of a good piano discussion forum ?

Steve[/b]


This one is a great one, but now that you mention it - there does just happen to be a brand new one!! To get there, click on the link to my website below, then click on "messageboard". I think everyone will be surprised!
Posted by: Shadorunnr

Re: King of the Hill - 02/20/02 02:54 AM

68% of all statistics are made up.
Posted by: jgoo

Re: King of the Hill - 02/20/02 03:07 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Shadorunnr:
68% of all statistics are made up.[/b]


Well then, by logic, the probability of this statistic being made up is better than the probability of it being truth.
Posted by: Fritz

Re: King of the Hill - 02/20/02 08:24 AM

Three kinds of lies: lies, dammed lies, and statistics. (Source unknown, to me at the moment.)

Ninety percent of all statistics are skewed in some way, and the other half are misleading. (I think this is a bad derivative of a quote by Yogi Berra.)
Posted by: Fritz

Re: King of the Hill - 02/20/02 08:28 AM

Ah! Found it. The three kinds of lies quote is attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister.
Posted by: Penny

Re: King of the Hill - 02/20/02 11:39 AM

OK, just bringing the count to 400. And also thinking this thread has run its course. What do you say, Frank?

penny
Posted by: kin

Re: King of the Hill - 02/20/02 11:43 AM

 Quote:
68% of all statistics are made up.


This statement itself is not grounded. If you use statistics this way, no wonder people acccuse you of lying!

Politicians do not know statistics even though they love it. The fact that a prime minister says something about lying statistics does not mean anything. Politicans are lying all the time. \:D \:D \:D
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 02/20/02 11:45 AM

Total agreement with Penny. As the Dr. Frankenstein of this thread, the chart orders now read DNR (Do Not Resucitate).

It's been a fun ride, but it's time to pull the plug.

Be gentle, Frank! ;\)
Posted by: piqué

Re: King of the Hill - 02/20/02 12:35 PM

well, then, i suggest that everyone take a look at the new thread, "the tao of the piano." i'm very curious to see what people's responses will be to these ideas.
Posted by: DT

Re: King of the Hill - 02/20/02 01:11 PM

68% of all statistics are made up.

It's a joke, folks.

But don't believe anything I tell you...
including this.
Posted by: jgoo

Re: King of the Hill - 02/22/02 06:08 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by DT:
don't believe anything I tell you...
including this.[/b]


Okay, just let me see if I've got this straight. If I believe you in the fact that I shouldn't believe anything that comes from you, then I'm breaking your rule. However, if I shouldn't ever believe you, then I can't believe that I shouldn't beleive anything that you say, which means that I should believe you? This sure is a confusing paradox you've got going here.
Posted by: Ringer

Re: King of the Hill - 07/17/02 01:15 PM

The race is on, can Spruce Soundboards get more posts than King of the Hill?

:p :p :p :p :p

Spruce Soundboards only has 230 to go!
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 07/17/02 01:53 PM

231. :p :p :p :p
Posted by: Steve the ragtimer

Re: King of the Hill - 07/17/02 10:34 PM

touche, Jolly
(232!)
Posted by: subarus

Re: King of the Hill - 07/18/02 02:10 AM

Even after 409 posts there is no consensus to who the King of the Hill is... not even a consensus that there is no King on the Hill yet.

At least at the Spruce soundboard thread, I know what wood the lid, rim, soundboard and legs of Pramberger piano are made of.
Posted by: JohnC

Re: King of the Hill - 07/18/02 02:33 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by subarus:
Even after 409 posts there is no consensus to who the King of the Hill is... not even a consensus that there is no King on the Hill yet.

[/b]
The King is dead. Long live the King.
Posted by: chosenhandle

Re: King of the Hill - 07/18/02 09:11 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by subarus:
At least at the Spruce soundboard thread, I know what wood the lid, rim, soundboard and legs of Pramberger piano are made of.[/b]
Maybe YOU do. I am still waiting on final verification. I assume that means we are going to buy one and take a power saw to it.
Posted by: Xerxes

Re: King of the Hill - 07/18/02 01:39 PM

I should have known better than to read a 400+ post topic.

Full of sound and fury... :p
Posted by: jgoo

Re: King of the Hill - 07/18/02 01:56 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by JohnC:
The King is dead. Long live the King.[/b]
Long live the king? But, the king is dead. You said so yourself. And if the king is already dead, how can he continue to live long? hmmm... :p \:D
Posted by: shantinik

Re: King of the Hill - 07/18/02 02:14 PM

So while this thread has gone on, Yamaha has sold several "crore" (go look it up) more pianos, with soundboards specially aged for wherever you happen to live. It is still a decent, reliable, overpriced -- whoops! overvalued -- piano that obviously lots of people like and should be commended for their choice.

Hey -- anyone know what the legs are made of? Are G legs different from C legs from S legs?
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 07/18/02 02:42 PM

I have information from a reliable source that all Yamaha grand legs are made from wood.

I'd like to double confirm that on the GP1, however. ;\)
Posted by: David Burton

Re: King of the Hill - 07/21/02 04:13 PM

I think that although their reign may be short lived, YAMAHA, has become the undisputed "king of the hill." I expect to see more "piano = YAMAHA" on more CD liner notes. And with the likes of Frederic Chiu, "the next Glenn Gould," recording on YAMAHA, even if he may not actually have one installed in his residence in Paris, I feel certain that more will follow suit. "So much more consistent than the ____________s we used to have here," was too often stated to be ignored. Someone certainly had better be listening.

Why did I post here today? Golly, sure had to beat out that tedious "spruce soundboards" thread.
Posted by: Mr. Gould

Re: King of the Hill - 07/26/02 12:35 AM

Wow this topic has 12 pages!!!!!!!!

just thought I would add to it! \:\)
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 08/01/06 12:04 PM

Thought this would be a nice thread to drop a small rumor...anybody else heard that Yamaha will be transferring most vertical production to China within the next 18 months?

If Yamaha is made in China, would that make any difference to the prospective buyers? Or is the Yamaha name so linked with a quality image that it doesn't matter where the pianos are made?

Long live the King....
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: King of the Hill - 08/01/06 12:17 PM

Could it be that you were perhaps worried that the MrsSV thread could topple the King of the Hill thread? \:D

...but this rumor should easily spark enough debate to add a few more pages and keep KOTH safely ensconced on top.

My hunch is that IF Yamaha outsources vertical production to China (and I'd love to hear that rumor confirmed by a Yamaha dealer), it won't make a dent in their sales. Name recognition and brand image counts for so much more, and I suspect that the vast majority of Yamaha upright buyers would never even think to ask where the pianos are manufactured. I would think that you'd have to see a sustained drop in quality for a long time before Yamaha started suffering any ill effects from such a move, and there's no reason to believe that would occur.
Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: King of the Hill - 08/01/06 12:54 PM

I think that, if true, it will cost them significantly.

Their competitors will be sure to point out the country of origin. And, there is definately a gereral perception that the Chinese-made products are of lesser quality than those of the USA and Japan. Even the Indonesian-made pianos have a better reputation.

I'm not saying that it is justified, only that it will be a factor.
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 08/01/06 01:37 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica Kern:
Could it be that you were perhaps worried that the MrsSV thread could topple the King of the Hill thread? \:D

...but this rumor should easily spark enough debate to add a few more pages and keep KOTH safely ensconced on top.

My hunch is that IF Yamaha outsources vertical production to China (and I'd love to hear that rumor confirmed by a Yamaha dealer), it won't make a dent in their sales. Name recognition and brand image counts for so much more, and I suspect that the vast majority of Yamaha upright buyers would never even think to ask where the pianos are manufactured. I would think that you'd have to see a sustained drop in quality for a long time before Yamaha started suffering any ill effects from such a move, and there's no reason to believe that would occur. [/b]
Nah, I already had her by over a hundred posts, and that thread has dropped off the front page. :p
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 08/01/06 01:40 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Cohen:
I think that, if true, it will cost them significantly.

Their competitors will be sure to point out the country of origin. And, there is definately a gereral perception that the Chinese-made products are of lesser quality than those of the USA and Japan. Even the Indonesian-made pianos have a better reputation.

I'm not saying that it is justified, only that it will be a factor. [/b]
You don't think the Cable Nelson stuff has been a trial run to tweak the factory?
Posted by: seebechstein

Re: King of the Hill - 08/01/06 01:50 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica Kern:
Name recognition and brand image counts for so much more, and I suspect that the vast majority of Yamaha upright buyers would never even think to ask where the pianos are manufactured. [/b]
Monica, can I reason that you would think that Steinway could move their production to China and they would suffer no loss of customers, since the customers are so attached to the name recognition?
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: King of the Hill - 08/01/06 02:07 PM

No...and I was careful to make a distinction between upright and grands here. I agree that Steinway outsourcing to China would severely hurt their business; ditto for Yamaha outsourcing their grands. BUT...I'm still not convinced that outsourcing Yamaha uprights would. I'd argue that the majority of people buying Yamaha uprights are first-time purchasers, most of whom are not going to do a lot of research or read the Fine book or come here, and for these people name recognition is probably going to count more than details about manufacturing.

Steve did make a good point that Yamahas' competitors would make sure to bring up the point of origin. I hadn't considered that, but I guess I'm not persuaded that even that would hurt sales too much. Most uprights are made in other countries, so I can see a lot of purchasers thinking "China? Indonesia? Japan? What's the difference?" They may be discomfited by the competitors' remarks, but they will in the final analysis be comforted by the fact that at least they have HEARD of Yamaha pianos.
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 08/01/06 02:14 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by seebechstein:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica Kern:
Name recognition and brand image counts for so much more, and I suspect that the vast majority of Yamaha upright buyers would never even think to ask where the pianos are manufactured. [/b]
Monica, can I reason that you would think that Steinway could move their production to China and they would suffer no loss of customers, since the customers are so attached to the name recognition? [/b]
There have been a lot of Bostons sold over the years based primarily on the cache' of the Steinway name. How many Boston owners knew or cared that their piano was built by Kawai?
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 08/01/06 03:39 PM

BTW, the Cable Nelson:

http://www.yamaha.com/yamahavgn/CDA/Cont...53DNEWS,00.html
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: King of the Hill - 08/02/06 06:47 AM

 Quote:
My hunch is that IF Yamaha outsources vertical production to China (and I'd love to hear that rumor confirmed by a Yamaha dealer), it won't make a dent in their sales.
[/b]

They have been using Chinese built actions in the USA production verts for some time now. They don't play well in comparison to what else is available in the price range,but they do sell a few of them.

In the entry level piano, I tend to agree with Monica. It could play like a truck, but if it looks pretty, they will still sell a few.
Posted by: gryphon

Re: King of the Hill - 08/03/06 01:41 AM

You magnificent bastard.
Posted by: Piano Gal

Re: King of the Hill - 08/03/06 10:09 AM

Yamaha pianos, in my opinion, are work horses and are good on stage, but in a home, no way!!! They lack dynamics and are to harsh/loud. They are good on stage because of the loudness. You could put a yamaha on an outdoor stage for days and it will stay in tune, but a Steinway on an outdoor stage and it will lose it's tune in an hour. What does that mean? Is yamaha better? Is steinway crud? NOPE!!! Yamaha is built like a work horse and steinway and others/baldwin, mason, ec., are better in homes. It's like driving a SUV, do you really need to buy a tractor, when a lexus can do the job?
Posted by: Jolly

Re: King of the Hill - 08/03/06 12:00 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Galassini:
 Quote:
My hunch is that IF Yamaha outsources vertical production to China (and I'd love to hear that rumor confirmed by a Yamaha dealer), it won't make a dent in their sales.
[/b]

They have been using Chinese built actions in the USA production verts for some time now. They don't play well in comparison to what else is available in the price range,but they do sell a few of them.

In the entry level piano, I tend to agree with Monica. It could play like a truck, but if it looks pretty, they will still sell a few. [/b]
Talking about Chinese production...

Sure, the Yamaha name is its own advertisement, but name will only carry you so far.

Yammie used to own[/b] the middle area of the flute market because they delived superior value and playability (is that a word?) for the money. In recent years the price has shot up for those middle ground Yamaha flutes, production has moved away from Japan for some models and I think their market share has diminished.

Does not that sound a bit like the current situtation in pianos?