Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.7 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Find a Professional
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Advertise on Piano World

(ad)
Accu-Tuner
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Who's Online Now
65 registered members (Antihero, ando, Alex Hutor, Ankee, CharlesXX, Andymania, 36251, AlphaBravoCharlie, 22 invisible), 1,177 guests, and 5 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 2 1 2
Try Before You Buy? Always? #1259254
08/30/09 08:17 PM
08/30/09 08:17 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 59
B.C., Canada
L
lori822 Offline OP
Full Member
lori822  Offline OP
Full Member
L

Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 59
B.C., Canada
I've been in the market for a new piano since early July. First, I was looking for an upright due to space limitations in my apartment condo. My husband talked me into considering a grand (says we'll make room, sell everything else if we have to)! I'm beginning anew to search, this time for a grand.

I've always had the firm impression I shouldn't buy any piano unless I try it and make sure I like that particular one, never buy sight unseen. I'm now being told by salespeople who say they've been in the business for decades that if I buy new, especially a good, hand-made product, i.e. Estonia, Bohemia or Petrof, it is OK to try one owned by one of their recent customers and, if I like it, to order one. I'm being assured if it's a good brand, I will be happy with the piano ordered. I inquired into the voicing and the touch and have been assured it could be voiced and adjusted to exactly the sound and touch I want. Can anyone comment on this for me please? I hesitate to spend that much money in advance of seeing and trying the actual product if this is not necessarily a fact.

Your input would be much appreciated.

Piano & Music Gifts & Accessories (570)
Piano accessories and music gift items, digital piano dolly, music theme party goods
Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: lori822] #1259273
08/30/09 08:58 PM
08/30/09 08:58 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 11,044
Williamsburg, VA
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Piano*Dad  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 11,044
Williamsburg, VA
What's your attitude toward risk? If you're an aggressive risk-taker, go for it!

I wouldn't (and didn't).

The purchase is a big ticket item, and there is enough variability among individual instruments, that for me I needed to be assured that I wouldn't be stuck messing with and modulating a piano that wasn't quite right to me. I'm the sort that really doesn't want to go back and forth with a dealer tweaking this and adjusting that because it just doesn't sound like the one I tried two months earlier in the shop.

I was risk averse enough to need the guarantee of having personally selected the right instrument.

I did indeed try many examples of each instrument that got my attention, and did so in multiple dealerships. I wanted to know the characteristic sounds (if any) of the brand and I wanted to see the variability as well. But ultimately I bought a particular piano.


Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: Piano*Dad] #1259274
08/30/09 09:00 PM
08/30/09 09:00 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,899
San Jose, CA
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Jeff Clef  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,899
San Jose, CA
Lori, you're right, the seller is wrong, and your husband is a great guy.


Clef

Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: Jeff Clef] #1259317
08/30/09 10:18 PM
08/30/09 10:18 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 127
Vancouver
B
boxijie Offline
Full Member
boxijie  Offline
Full Member
B

Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 127
Vancouver
I think the dealer does have a bit of a point. Do dealers now have to stock 5 of each model and size for the shopper to pick the best of the 5? While piano shopping is a little different from car or electronics shopping I don't think the average piano buyer can distinguish subtle differences between the same model, unless there is an obvious mechanical defect.

When you are buying a new piano, you are also getting some after purchase care in terms of the voicing, regulation, and tuning. You also will have a warranty.

I also don't think Petrof or Bohemia (I don't know about Estonia) are all completely handmade. There is probably only a handful of extremely rare and expensive pianos that are. The use of computers and machines to make pianos probably increases the chance of unifomity and less differences between the same model.

There is another positive to getting your piano ordered, in that you might get a really good deal. If the dealer does not have to pay overhead and has not had the piano sitting around for a long time, you may be able to negotiate an even better price for it.

When I read your post I immediately suspected that you got this information from a retailer in Vancouver that has recently moved out of their retail space. When I spoke to the owner about a particular brand he used to have in stock, he suggested the same thing. I was worried, because I had no chance to play one. It is sad to see this dealer be so affected by the economic times, especially since he is the dealer for some very good lines. It is bad for the consumer too because you cannot try them, which in turn makes you less likely to order one, which will again negatively affect the dealer.

If you can find the model that you are interested in and you like it, there is probably not too much that can go wrong. If he will take it back if it buzzes or cannot be voiced to your satisfaction, you have not lost anything. It is dependant on your risk aversion level, however.

Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: lori822] #1259322
08/30/09 10:24 PM
08/30/09 10:24 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,489
B
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member
beethoven986  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
B

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,489
It depends on a lot of things, like the person buying, and the piano. I would not buy a new American piano sight unseen. However, I would be more willing to take that risk with a European or Asian piano.

Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: boxijie] #1259327
08/30/09 10:28 PM
08/30/09 10:28 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 233
choleric Offline
Full Member
choleric  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 233
My understanding is that the touch of the piano is much more malleable than the sound. Voicing (changing the tone to brighter or darker) a piano can only be done so much before you have exhausted the piano's potential. If you are not an intermediate/advanced player with very specific sound/touch requirements, and are buying a reputable brand from a reputable dealer you should be fine just ordering. To protect yourself from a lemon, you could always put a caveat in the sales contract that purchase is dependent upon approval of the piano once it arrives. I don't think you own the piano until the piano has been paid in full and the piano is in your home. Good luck!


Choleric
Yamaha CVP307 digital piano
Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: choleric] #1259335
08/30/09 10:47 PM
08/30/09 10:47 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,470
Urbandale, Iowa
S
Steve Chandler Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Steve Chandler  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
S

Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,470
Urbandale, Iowa
I own an Estonia, but I still wouldn't recommend you buy without trying. There is variation between different individual pianos of the same make and model, including Estonia. You may be able to work out a conditional deal. I refundable down payment such that if you don't like the piano that arrives you can get your money back. In general if you like one Estonia you'll probably like another, especially if you give the dealer some time (at least a week) to really prep it. Let the dealer know that you'll expect a full prep job.

So go ahead and try some of these recently sold instruments. If you like one well enough that you're sold on it see if the dealer will do a refundable deposit. When it arrives play it as soon as possible so that you can hear and feel the raw unprepped instrument. Then go back after the dealer says they're done with it and see if there's improvement. Good luck.

Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: Steve Chandler] #1259347
08/30/09 11:06 PM
08/30/09 11:06 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,178
Minnesota
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014
Marty in Minnesota  Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014

1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,178
Minnesota
lori,

Play the instrument you are considering. Not one like it - play that particular piano. Don't buy a piano out of a box.

No matter the price range, from bottom to top, each instrument feels and sounds differently. A piano isn't an electronic gizmo.

You need to take the time to shop and find the proper instrument for you. Play them all. Hear what you like. Feel what you like. Then make your decision and it shouldn't be sealed in a packing box.


Marty in Minnesota
Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: Marty in Minnesota] #1259387
08/31/09 12:44 AM
08/31/09 12:44 AM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 59
B.C., Canada
L
lori822 Offline OP
Full Member
lori822  Offline OP
Full Member
L

Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 59
B.C., Canada
Thank you, all, for your comments and opinions. I guess I'm not much of a risk-taker, because I really felt uncomfortable with the idea of trying out a recently-purchased piano at a dealer's customer's home, then ordering the same model, if I liked it. I've always been of the opinion I should find the one I LOVE and buy that particular one! I am an advanced student, recently returned after a long hiatus, and I believe I do recognize (perhaps I should say 'feel') subtle differences. After speaking with one particular dealer, I was beginning to doubt myself. Several of you have reinforced my own thoughts.

Besides, I live quite a distance from the dealers in question, so it could be quite a hassle if there were issues with my purchase of an unseen/untried piano. The advice "Hear what you like. Feel what you like." is what I'd always believed in.

Again, thanks to all of you who replied.




Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: lori822] #1259414
08/31/09 02:32 AM
08/31/09 02:32 AM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 127
Vancouver
B
boxijie Offline
Full Member
boxijie  Offline
Full Member
B

Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 127
Vancouver
Of the pianos you mentioned, Petrof, Bohemia, and Estonia, it is only the Bohemia you will have trouble finding to play. Norbert probably has quite a few Estonias for you to try and there are quite a few Petrofs at Tom Lee's Vancouver store.

Good luck

Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: boxijie] #1259587
08/31/09 11:59 AM
08/31/09 11:59 AM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 59
B.C., Canada
L
lori822 Offline OP
Full Member
lori822  Offline OP
Full Member
L

Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 59
B.C., Canada
Originally Posted by boxijie
Of the pianos you mentioned, Petrof, Bohemia, and Estonia, it is only the Bohemia you will have trouble finding to play. Norbert probably has quite a few Estonias for you to try and there are quite a few Petrofs at Tom Lee's Vancouver store.

Good luck


Thanks. I don't think Norbert has any Estonias in stock at the moment. He did earlier, when I was looking for an upright. It was trying one of those Estonia's (just for fun!) that I began to change my mind about getting an upright (shall I blame Norbert?). Now he's out of stock. Hopefully, he will soon have one in. I know I can't find a Bohemia anywhere. So my choices are limited. I have been to Tom Lee's, where I've seen and tried the Petrof, which I also love. The search goes on.....

Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: lori822] #1259610
08/31/09 12:21 PM
08/31/09 12:21 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 992
Carmel, Indiana
Larry Larson Offline
500 Post Club Member
Larry Larson  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 992
Carmel, Indiana
I think there are 2 factors involved with this; how particular is the buyer about tone, and how much variation there is within a particular piano model.

There is variation in tone between pianos pianos of the same model. I think it would be easier for a tech to adjust action than tone. So if your are the kind of person that falls in love with a piano because of the way it sounds, its risky to buy a piano you have not played. But if it's a matter of liking the general tone of a particular model, say the warmth of an Eastern European piano, the clarity of a Yamaha, or the complexity of a Baldwin, they you are less likely to be disappointed with a piano you buy without playing it first.

Some pianos like Yamaha are so consistent from model to model, that the risk is lower with a piano like that. Steinways are known to vary from model to model, reflecting each individual piano's character. I think this might also be true of the higher end European pianos. Larry


1995 Baldwin L grand
2001 Baldwin Hamilton upright
Yamaha S90 synthesizer
www.larrylarsonpiano.com
YouTubeChannel www.youtube.com/LarryLarsonPiano
Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: lori822] #1259614
08/31/09 12:25 PM
08/31/09 12:25 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 127
Vancouver
B
boxijie Offline
Full Member
boxijie  Offline
Full Member
B

Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 127
Vancouver
Showcase Pianos in Vancouver has a 2005 Mason and Hamlin BB. Or at least they did when I was in there about a month ago. It seemed to be deeply discounted. If ever a piano spoke to me during my search, it was that one. I am still looking for an upright though.

Good luck.

Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: boxijie] #1259665
08/31/09 01:59 PM
08/31/09 01:59 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Kansas
apple* Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
apple*  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Kansas
i don't know that i would recommend buying a piano without testing it, however, i think with your better quality pianos, you can expect them to be what they are meant to be if purchased new. The entry level pianos are not consistent. I DID order my piano without playing it first and couldn't be happier. I DID have the chance to play just one a year or so before my purchase and I was enamored.

I was in the situation that any money used to travel to view a piano would be deducted from my purchase price money. I was confident that that was the type of piano I wanted and in my area there was no piano that could come close to the quality at that price level.

To me consistency and quality was more important than the nuances of particular pianos. I also was very comfortable with the dealership I ordered from.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: apple*] #1259745
08/31/09 03:59 PM
08/31/09 03:59 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 35
Michigan
N
Nan W Offline
Full Member
Nan W  Offline
Full Member
N

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 35
Michigan
I just finished (or almost, piano isn't here yet!) a 3-year search, and I don't think I could ever have ordered a piano untouched and unheard. I found that touch and tone varied, even on pianos like Petrof, Estonia, and Bluthner.

And if you guarantee to buy the one they order for you, they have no incentive to prep it well for you -- and you have very little recourse. I think this is just a way for them not to have to put up the money to have the piano on the floor, if times are hard for them at present.

Maybe in a situation like Apple's, where she was very comfortable with the dealer. But I wouldn't trust a dealer who was telling me what they have been telling you!


1920 Steinway A3 (rebuilt 2009)
Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: Nan W] #1259750
08/31/09 04:04 PM
08/31/09 04:04 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 794
Toronto
jnod Offline
500 Post Club Member
jnod  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 794
Toronto
You should not buy a piano that you have not played at least twice on separate occasions. I bought an uprigh last spring and visited the place where I purchased it at least 4 times before taking the plunge - I also spent a lot of time with their competitors looking at other pianos. In the end, my choice came down to two pianos and the store tuned and voiced both of them to my specs so that I could make as informed a decision as possible.

You should do this too. It's a big step!


Justin
-------
Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780
Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: jnod] #1259789
08/31/09 04:52 PM
08/31/09 04:52 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 255
Saint Paul, MN
K
Kieran Wells Offline
Full Member
Kieran Wells  Offline
Full Member
K

Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 255
Saint Paul, MN
Every purchase of a new piano that a dealer makes is done on a sight unseen basis. High end piano purchases are often done one at a time. Dealers are staking their livelihoods on the quality of the product. Smaller dealers paying cash may have (relatively speaking) enormous amounts of money at steak. Chances are, they got to where they are by hard work and conservative decision making based on their many years experience in the industry. True, there are little tonal differences in identical models however, the instruments in the high end strata are generally much more consistent than others and, despite the differences in tonal nuance, are going to be extremely rewarding to play no matter what.

Most dealers are going to want to make sure you are happy so that you can rave about the screaming deal you got and send their friends:)

Last edited by Kieran Wells; 08/31/09 06:33 PM.

Wells Pianos
wellspianos.com
new: Bosendorfer, Seiler, Hailun, Brodmann, Charles Walter, Pramberger
rebuilt: Mason & Hamlin, Steinway and other quality pianos
651-695-1000
651-757-6136
Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: Kieran Wells] #1259980
08/31/09 10:08 PM
08/31/09 10:08 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 5,503
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member
piqué  Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 5,503
this is not so much a matter of avoiding a "lemon" or getting a poor quality or defective instrument.

say you order a top tier grand sight unseen. it may be just perfect in terms of its performance and condition, but it may STILL not speak to your soul.

the higher the caliber of piano, the more unique each of their voices is. even when built to extremely tight tolerances, each piece of wood is different, the wool on the hammers came from a different sheep.

these are organic materials, and there are some things that simply can't be accounted for.

also, each pianist's taste, ear, touch is unique and the way these interact with each piano is unique.

since you say you are an advanced player with a particular ear who wants to fall in love, i'd say there is no question you must play the actual piano first.

if you were a beginner without strong preferences who merely needs a good, premium instrument, then i'd say you could play one make/model piano and order the same and possibly be happy.

the dealer is wrong when he says he can make it sound however you like. especially if you don't live near the dealer, that is asking for big trouble.

ask me how i know!


piqué

now in paperback:
[Linked Image]

Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey
Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: Kieran Wells] #1259981
08/31/09 10:12 PM
08/31/09 10:12 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,178
Minnesota
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014
Marty in Minnesota  Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014

1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,178
Minnesota
Originally Posted by Kieran Wells
Smaller dealers paying cash may have (relatively speaking) enormous amounts of money at steak.


For a laugh, are you talking about a BBQ serving a well grilled Mason & Heimlich or the brand new Sirloin & Sons 178?


Marty in Minnesota
Re: Try Before You Buy? Always? [Re: Marty in Minnesota] #1259990
08/31/09 10:44 PM
08/31/09 10:44 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 457
Melbourne, Australia
Oz Marcus Offline
Full Member
Oz Marcus  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 457
Melbourne, Australia
I am also in the position of searching for a new piano. However, geographical isolation (living in Australia) limits my opportunities to find the piano that I want. Having been searching for a piano for almost 12 months, I found that Pique's book - Grand Obsession - really resonated with me. I *think* that the piano that I want is a Bosendorfer EDGE design piano. However, there are no EDGE piano's in Australia - and the one dealer in Australia - who happens to be in another part of the country - is not financially in a position to be able to order one in and sell it to me if I like it. However, I have played a lot of Bosendorfer piano's over the last 15 years, and I must say that I have never really found one that I did not like. So I am considering making that leap of faith and purchasing a piano unseen and unplayed...... but then, I think of Grand Obsession..... and my confidence falters...

Good luck with your search

Marcus


Oz Marcus
Currently working on:
Schubert Impromptu in C minor - D899
Chopin Prelude Op28 No 15, nocturne Op48 no 1
Bach Prelude & Fuge WTC II No 12 in F minor
Aspiring to Rautavaara - Piano Sonata 2 - Fire Sermon
Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Ken Knapp, Piano World 

(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Bechstein
Shop our Store for Music Lovers!
PianoSupplies.com is Piano World's Online Store
Please visit our store today.
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Roland FP 30 or Yamaha P125 for Beginner
by FAbdul. 10/20/19 03:49 AM
Key off Simulator Casio AP-650
by FrankCox. 10/20/19 02:37 AM
Master's Audition-- Beethoven Op 79, 'Cuckoo'?
by winterflower. 10/19/19 11:29 PM
Baldwin: The End of an Era!
by Retsacnal. 10/19/19 09:46 PM
CAREFUL when performing in China!!
by Norbert. 10/19/19 08:37 PM
What's Hot!!
Our August Newsletter is Out!
------------------
Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour!

-------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics194,621
Posts2,881,133
Members94,716
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers


 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2019 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.1