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Setting budget #1312049
11/25/09 10:34 AM
11/25/09 10:34 AM
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peejay Offline OP
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I am stuck on the first step of pianobuying (for the record I'm very indecisive confused).

I'm having trouble reconciling what I want vs what I need vs reality vs what I really want to pay (to say nothing of what I can afford). laugh

I am a casual although not entry-level player. Some days I feel like because of that, how can I possibly justify anything much more than a very basic upright. And then I think what I paid for my (used) car, and think a new piano should last longer than a car, why couldn't I at least budget for that amount (okay the piano is a luxury instead of a necessity, but you see the idea)?

There will always be a better/more expensive piano, so how do I find the balance between "good enough" and spending/saving-up-for that slightly better model (and upright vs grand)?

(some I've looked at so far: yamaha m460, t118, u1, used c3; kawai k3, k5, rx2; CW 1500; hailun 5'10 grand; may berlin 6' grand; used brodmann 7' grand; as well as trying some others under and over this price range)

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Re: Setting budget [Re: peejay] #1312059
11/25/09 10:53 AM
11/25/09 10:53 AM
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Here's my $.02 (though I'm kinda new around here):

The first piece of advice (and best advice) that PW members will give is "buy the piano that speaks to you." So let's just get that out of the way from the beginning.

Probably the second most common piece of advice is "buy the best piano you can afford." Also very good advice.

And probably the third most common recommendation (though more controversial) is "buy a grand over an upright if you have the space."

As for your concern about being able to justify more than an upright because you're only a casual player......I would say that you should wipe that thought from your mind right away. A piano is one of the few purchases you will make that has the ability to inspire you and enrich your life in so many ways for years to come. But, if you choose to "settle" for a piano that isn't really what you want, it may just become another piece of furniture. So, bottom line is, spend a ton of time playing as many pianos as possible in your price range (and a little above your price range) and choose the one that you absolutely have to have. A great piano will make you a better pianist (and, dare I say, a better person wink )

Good Luck!


Estonia 190
Re: Setting budget [Re: Brent B] #1312177
11/25/09 02:36 PM
11/25/09 02:36 PM
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I think only you can decide the answers to most of your questions.

Many people end up spending more than their original budget. I did...by a factor of four!

If you're used to playing a budget kind of piano in the past, you should be aware that many inexpensive pianos will probably sound good to you by comparison. But I would recommend also trying at least some beyond your initial budget to see how much better they sound. This can help you decide if the extra money is "worth it".

I don't think you have to have a very definite budget in mind first although having a ballpark figure is reasonable.

Re: Setting budget [Re: pianoloverus] #1312180
11/25/09 02:45 PM
11/25/09 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus


Many people end up spending more than their original budget. I did...by a factor of four!


Us too, but no regrets.


Estonia 168 Hidden Beauty
Re: Setting budget [Re: pianoloverus] #1312182
11/25/09 02:50 PM
11/25/09 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus

I don't think you have to have a very definite budget in mind first although having a ballpark figure is reasonable.


I think that is very true.

You may be better off playing everything from Samick to Steingraeber, figure out what qualities are important to you, then set your budget.

As pianoloverus said, what you are willing to spend has the potential to change once you start looking. My max budget more than doubled after I started my search (though i ended up spending somewhere in the middle because of a great deal on a lightly used piano).



Estonia 190
Re: Setting budget [Re: Brent B] #1312195
11/25/09 03:06 PM
11/25/09 03:06 PM
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I have a student family in the process of buying a piano. They had a budget in mind; then they went to look at pianos and found that their budget would only buy them worthless junk. So they came home and revised their budget.

There is more than one "bottom line" involved: you have to be able to afford it, but you have to get something good for your money.

Using these numbers purely for example and not to represent piano prices: it's better to spend $2000 well, than to throw away $1000 on junk.


(I'm a piano teacher.)
Re: Setting budget [Re: Brent B] #1312234
11/25/09 04:08 PM
11/25/09 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Brent B
But, if you choose to "settle" for a piano that isn't really what you want, it may just become another piece of furniture.

I guess my big fear is that it may become furniture* even if it's a very good piano. I think about what I could do with that extra $5-10k (or whatever amount) if I weren't putting it into a piano.

It's a lot of money to a cheap guy like me. ha




*not necessarily unplayed, just "underappreciated" wink

Re: Setting budget [Re: peejay] #1312264
11/25/09 04:57 PM
11/25/09 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by peejay
Originally Posted by Brent B
But, if you choose to "settle" for a piano that isn't really what you want, it may just become another piece of furniture.

I guess my big fear is that it may become furniture* even if it's a very good piano. I think about what I could do with that extra $5-10k (or whatever amount) if I weren't putting it into a piano.

It's a lot of money to a cheap guy like me. ha




*not necessarily unplayed, just "underappreciated" wink


I'm not sure what kinds of pianos are offered with a "rent with option to buy" option, but if those pianos are the kinds you considering than this could be an option to avoid having an underappreciated piano.

Re: Setting budget [Re: peejay] #1313980
11/28/09 06:07 PM
11/28/09 06:07 PM
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Or maybe the extra 5 - 10K that you spend, will "inspire" you to commit the time to practice so that the new piano doesn't become a piece of furniture, especially since you're frugal. grin But as many posts have said before, play lots of pianos both in your original budget and maybe a little above it. Any piano, no matter what the price, shouldn't be left to just gather dust. Have fun. Let us know what you get.


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Re: Setting budget [Re: j&j] #1314023
11/28/09 08:29 PM
11/28/09 08:29 PM
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I'm in a similar situation, but I have an additional question. Can you finance a used piano? I have enough cash for something that I think is about what I want, but if I decide to go for more I'd need financing. I have a feeling rates are horrible.

Last edited by KillerCharlie; 11/28/09 08:30 PM.
Re: Setting budget [Re: KillerCharlie] #1314086
11/28/09 10:35 PM
11/28/09 10:35 PM
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Columbia County, New York
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The right piano (i.e. Steinway) will retain a lot of it's value, if you buy it used and at the right price. Think of it as an investment, as well as an instrument. I'd rather park an extra $10-15k into a piano which will give me pricelss enjoyment to own, then for the money to sit in a bank, earning 1% interest. Again, the right piano can always be sold, if you need to cash out. Just buy it used and at the right price.

Best of luck, and remember, life is too damn short.

Re: Setting budget [Re: nylawbiz] #1314122
11/28/09 11:53 PM
11/28/09 11:53 PM
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I'm a casual player as well. When my wife and I went piano shopping for an upright, we went to a store to look at their remaining Baldwins that they were closing out. They're also New Jersey's only Charles Walter dealer, and the store itself was going out of business. We were thinking of purchasing one of the Baldwin leftovers, but we were given such a great price on a new Walter, that we took it then and there. That's basically it for us, as we have no room for a grand, and we'll never need to upgrade from the Walter.

Don't fret about it... take your time... do your research. (Make a Pros and Cons list with the different makes) Figure out what's important to YOU and not other people. That's what we did, and we're extremely happy with the end result. Good luck!


Charles R. Walter 1520 QA Mahogany #531739 w/ High Polish, Renner and Quiet Pedal
Re: Setting budget [Re: nylawbiz] #1314138
11/29/09 12:24 AM
11/29/09 12:24 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
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San Jose, CA
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PeeJay, I didn't see Charles Walter on your list. It is a handsome and good-sounding instrument in a surprisingly compact case, and the price may not land you in the poorhouse. They offer it with either a Renner action or a Chinese-made one; I would get the Renner. However, faced with the choice (and the reality that the budget I had in mind wasn't going to get me much of anywhere), I blew the budget and got a Kawai grand. It's a better piano than I am a player, but it's good to have something to grow into.

It's true that only you can answer the questions you posed. I think the advice you've received has been good, except that I wouldn't count on sinking money into a piano as a financial investment. There have been lengthy discussions about that on this forum, if you care to look back for them, hot enough to raise blisters. The investment value is that of your own personal growth, and in growing in musicianship because that's who you are, and you can't help it. It's best thought of as the fulfillment of your being, not as a money-maker. Though, of course, if you buy a good instrument and sell it after five to fifteen years, as money continues to become worth less, the sale value of the piano may nearly equal what you paid for it (but in less-valuable dollars).

That is if you overlook the expense of moving it, paying the tech to keep it tuned and regulated, lessons, music, concert tickets, CDs, recording devices, books about music... it comes along with it. But, what's money for.


Clef

Re: Setting budget [Re: Jeff Clef] #1314676
11/29/09 09:02 PM
11/29/09 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
PeeJay, I didn't see Charles Walter on your list.

It's there...stuck in the middle. Although I should probably revisit it now to give it a fair shot. It was basically the first place I went, before I had strong(er) opinions on what I want.

I'm still continuing to look at uprights and lower-priced grands (okay really only Hailun). I was thinking about what the difference in cost really means, and I came up with $5000 would pay for 41 years of Netflix eek ...maybe a better way to think of it would be in terms of years of lessons whistle but you get the idea.

At least in looking around I'm much more sure of what I don't want, even if I'm not still 100% sure what I do. smile

Re: Setting budget [Re: peejay] #1314732
11/29/09 10:33 PM
11/29/09 10:33 PM
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"At least in looking around I'm much more sure of what I don't want..."

The Miss America Pageant method. It's not a bad way to thin out the herd; it's worked for them for a long time. There can be some argument by the time they get to the semi-finalists, but I've never yet seen one that looked like a woodchuck.

I'm not sure how you'd replicate the critical elements. Talent, of course, is obvious, but I'm not so sure about The Question or the Fancy Beauty-Pageant Walkin'. Even Swimwear: how do you get a skimpy bathing suit on a piano...


Clef

Re: Setting budget [Re: Jeff Clef] #1315101
11/30/09 02:18 PM
11/30/09 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
Talent, of course, is obvious, but I'm not so sure about The Question or the Fancy Beauty-Pageant Walkin'.

Oh just look at those beautiful double wheeled casters. wow

Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
Even Swimwear: how do you get a skimpy bathing suit on a piano...

Well the grand is gonna beat the upright here. Just look at those curves... wink

Also, I know every market/dealer/situation is different, but is there someone (another current/recent shopper, perhaps) that I can PM about a few of the prices I've been given just to make sure they're in the right ballpark for comparison? I'd hate to find out I've rejected something just to find out it was because I was comparing a "sale" price to a "starting" price (I haven't done any "negotiating" yet, so all prices I have are the dealers' initial offers). Piano Buyer guide is a start, but I'm looking for something a little more specific now.

Re: Setting budget [Re: peejay] #1318629
12/04/09 10:12 PM
12/04/09 10:12 PM
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Weather permitting, I may go out shopping again tomorrow. smile

I'm looking to compare Yamaha vs Kawai (specifically) right now, so if anyone can PM me with pricing advice between the T118/U1 and K3/K5, I would appreciate it.

Re: Setting budget [Re: peejay] #1319287
12/06/09 12:20 AM
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30% off used to be considered excellent, but now we hear of 40% off depending on where you are.

Re: Setting budget [Re: asd123321] #1319429
12/06/09 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by asd123321
30% off used to be considered excellent, but now we hear of 40% off depending on where you are.


Off MSRP or SMP? confused

Re: Setting budget [Re: peejay] #1319440
12/06/09 09:57 AM
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