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Piano Ratings #135834
01/28/09 10:08 PM
01/28/09 10:08 PM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 63
Boston, MA
L
Larry Fine Offline OP
Full Member
Larry Fine  Offline OP
Full Member
L

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 63
Boston, MA
I am soliciting advisory opinions on my rating of pianos from dealers and others with a wide knowledge of current product. (Because of frequent product changes, current knowledge is very important.) Opinions can be submitted to me confidentially. The following rules apply:

1. Use my rating structure and brand listing from the 2008-2009 Annual Supplement, modifying the list of brands only to the extent necessary to account for changes that have occurred in the past year.

2. Use two columns for the ratings: one for my rating, the other for yours.

3. Base your ratings on: the piano's performance (tone, touch, looks); its expected durability as reflected in its materials, construction, and recent track record; attention to detail in design, workmanship, and musical preparation; its acceptance in academic and professional circles; the "legendary" status of its name; and any other criteria you believe are important.

4. Leave blank the rating for any brand you do not know enough about to rate responsibly.

5. Place an asterisk (*) next to any brand you sell.

6. Send to me by email (larry@pianobook.com) as an attached Excel spreadsheet or Word document, along with a sentence or two describing your relationship to the piano industry (e.g., owner of XYZ Piano Co. in Anytown, US for 10 years). Be sure to include your name and email address. Anonymous responses will be discarded.

I will attempt to report back to this forum some kind of summary of the results when I am able.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Larry Fine


Publisher and Editor, Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer
and Author, The Piano Book
Piano & Music Gifts & Accessories (570)
Piano accessories and music gift items
Re: Piano Ratings #135835
01/28/09 10:19 PM
01/28/09 10:19 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 4,683
San Francisco
F
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member
FogVilleLad  Offline
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F

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 4,683
San Francisco
I'm one of many who recommend your annual supplements. Just wanted to say that your continual effort and your integrity and modesty do not go unnoticed.

Re: Piano Ratings #135836
01/29/09 11:51 AM
01/29/09 11:51 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,342
Lexington, Kentucky
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012
Monica K.  Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,342
Lexington, Kentucky
Ditto here... thank you for your efforts to bring clarity and information to the otherwise confusing venture of piano shopping.

Re: Piano Ratings #135837
01/29/09 12:01 PM
01/29/09 12:01 PM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 771
New Jersey
V
VGrantano Offline
500 Post Club Member
VGrantano  Offline
500 Post Club Member
V

Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 771
New Jersey
Hi Larry, as you know I am retired and as such will not be sending you any recommendations,however I would like to echo the comments above. And to thank you for your contributions to our industry.
Vince Grantano

Re: Piano Ratings #135838
01/29/09 02:40 PM
01/29/09 02:40 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,628
Encino, California
ChatNoir Offline
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ChatNoir  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,628
Encino, California
My technician is a fan of Yamaha pianos, and he tried to steer me towards a Yamaha grand. During our discussion, he advised me to read Larry Fine's Piano Book. In that book, I found the description of Estonia, which sounded more like the piano I would like to have. Two months later, a 168 came up for sale on the Recycler. It was a match made in heaven. Thank you, Larry.


Some men are music lovers. Others make love without it.
Re: Piano Ratings #135839
01/29/09 06:40 PM
01/29/09 06:40 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,433
Surrey, B.C.
Norbert Offline
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Norbert  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,433
Surrey, B.C.
Larry:

Thank you for the priviledge being allowed to participate in your survey.

To be sure,we dealers need to be very careful *not* to give in certain temptations here...

Difficulties may be encountered as a number of manufacturers are increasingly offering variable products of quality between their respective models this, especially true for some of those in tier group 3 and 4.

In addtition, some of them have just - or *are* in the process of bringing out brand new and/or completely redesigned models, some of which are just about or have not 'hit the market' as of yet.

Hope everybody participating will be as fair and 'objective' as possible!

Looking forward for your next Annual Supplement!

Norbert thumb


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
Re: Piano Ratings #135840
01/29/09 07:40 PM
01/29/09 07:40 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 10,996
Williamsburg, VA
Piano*Dad Offline
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Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 10,996
Williamsburg, VA
Larry,

As a consumer with very incomplete information about a significant number of brands, I would be quite reticent about sharing a ranking.

I wonder, however, how you can meaningfully aggregate any information you receive here except as a representation of popularity among a very biased population. It would seem to be quite noisy information at best, since many people who may respond may have precious little real information beyond their preferences, and quite unreliable at the worst since many who respond may not be fully on the level. Such is the consequence of tallying the views of people who are anonymous and who may have 'interests' on a forum that may be quite unrepresentative of the population you really wish to sample.

Having said this, I too would like to thank you for filling a real need 'out there.'

Re: Piano Ratings #135841
01/29/09 08:04 PM
01/29/09 08:04 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 527
Dublin, Ireland
Mocheol Offline
500 Post Club Member
Mocheol  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 527
Dublin, Ireland
Thank you Larry.
Dont have your book.Is it available in Ireland or online?
Would like to obtain a copy.
Keep up the good work


vcz
Re: Piano Ratings #135842
01/29/09 09:44 PM
01/29/09 09:44 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 64
Utah
wadslee Offline
Full Member
wadslee  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 64
Utah
Larry,

Great job on your annual supplements--you opened my eyes to a great number of makes that I would never have considered otherwise.

Just one small suggestion, in my now very biased opinion, the Estonia needs to be upgraded. thumb


Estonia L190 - 6789 'Hidden Beauty'
Roland HP-203
Re: Piano Ratings #135843
01/29/09 09:59 PM
01/29/09 09:59 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Jerry Groot RPT  Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
Larry, this should also be posted in the Piano Technician's forum as well.


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
Re: Piano Ratings #135844
01/29/09 10:02 PM
01/29/09 10:02 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 136
New York
transpsych Offline
Full Member
transpsych  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 136
New York
Quote
Originally posted by wadslee:
Just one small suggestion, in my now very biased opinion, the Estonia needs to be upgraded. thumb
So does Yamaha.


Brian Lee
Frank and Camilles' Keyboard Centers of Hartsdale
Representing Yamaha, Petrof, Nordiska, Pearl River,Kohler & Campbell in NY/NJ
Re: Piano Ratings #135845
01/29/09 10:20 PM
01/29/09 10:20 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,433
Surrey, B.C.
Norbert Offline
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Norbert  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,433
Surrey, B.C.
People have to respect that Larry has a very difficult task: IMHO he has done a formidable job to date.

Larry has always been very clear that his ratings are based on "opinions" based on as reliable feedback as possible, and may not state actual 'fact' in each and every case.

Besides this, shoppers may and often *do* digress from anything 'written" about any products: pianos are certanly no exception in this regard.

For those among us dealers who think they can use the opportunity to advance their own cause, they are sadly mistaken.

In our own case, Larry could testify that we have proposed for upgrading some of our own competitors and in one case, recommended downgrading of certain models by one of our brands.

Norbert shocked


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
Re: Piano Ratings #135846
01/29/09 10:47 PM
01/29/09 10:47 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 7,051
K
kenny Offline
7000 Post Club Member
kenny  Offline
7000 Post Club Member
K

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 7,051
Larry, when can we expect a fifth ed?

Fourth ed is c2001 and (though we gobble up your supplements) the red covers are getting rather old.

May I suggest blue for the fifth ed cover?

Re: Piano Ratings #135847
01/30/09 01:28 PM
01/30/09 01:28 PM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 63
Boston, MA
L
Larry Fine Offline OP
Full Member
Larry Fine  Offline OP
Full Member
L

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 63
Boston, MA
Just to reply to a few posts:

Thank you for your kind words of support.

To Piano Dad: The rules I laid out in my original post do not allow anonymous responses. Also, I require that the respondant describe his/her affiliation or relationship to the piano industry and indicate which, if any, brands he/she sells. Of course, it's possible someone could just brazenly lie about who they are, but I have ways of checking up on such things. I personally know or know of many of the people who post here, and I expect that most of the responses I receive will be from them. In fact, I have contacted some of them privately seeking their opinions. My own ratings will not necessarily be just an average of what I receive, but as a reality check it's useful to see to what extent my rankings differ from those of other people I respect and who might have greater exposure to certain brands than myself. My purpose in doing rankings in the first place is to provide newcomers to the piano market with some kind of rough guide to how the piano industry sees itself, just as a starting place, an orientation. Asking others in the industry to rank pianos is one way of obtaining this kind of information. Granted, there will be biases of various kinds, but knowing that, I can make allowances for it.

To Mocheol: The Annual Supplement is available as an electronic download through a link from my web site www.pianobook.com. The Piano Book is not available in this manner, but can be ordered in print through the web site, or can be ordered through a local bookstore. I don't know about Ireland, but I know that in the UK, bookstores can order through a distributor called Gazelle Book Services (in case your bookstore wants to know).

To Kenny: Concerning a fifth edition, I will have more to say about that in a couple of months. (Warning: Be careful about jumping to conclusions from that statement!)

Larry Fine


Publisher and Editor, Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer
and Author, The Piano Book
Re: Piano Ratings #135848
01/30/09 01:39 PM
01/30/09 01:39 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 10,996
Williamsburg, VA
Piano*Dad Offline
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Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 10,996
Williamsburg, VA
Larry,

It helps if I actually read the whole thing, doesn't it! Number six, in particular. whome

Re: Piano Ratings #135849
01/30/09 06:29 PM
01/30/09 06:29 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,406
SouthWest Michigan
R
Roger Ransom Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Roger Ransom  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,406
SouthWest Michigan
For some reason we rarely hear anything about the bulk of your book that is most useful. All of the sections about actually shopping for a piano.

I find the little historical articles about the many companies interesting.

Comments about each piano/company based on your criteria are very useful but in my opinion, the rankings are a complete waste of your time and seem to be mostly fodder for egos. I believe the information should be available and let people make their own decisions.

There is massive silly hand wringing about the ranking section. However, from your point of view, I expect it sells a lot of books and supplements.


Laugh More
Yamaha G7 - Roland FP7 - Roland FP80
[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
Re: Piano Ratings #135850
01/30/09 06:49 PM
01/30/09 06:49 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,031
Belgium
S
schwammerl Offline
2000 Post Club Member
schwammerl  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
S

Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,031
Belgium
Re. point 3 of the criteria:

Quote
its acceptance in academic and professional circles; the "legendary" status of its name; and any other criteria you believe are important
With all respect, but if these criteria play in the ranking and input is coming from PW forum dealer members of which at least over 95% are from Noth America, this ranking list should then clearly state it is only valid for the North American market; I do't know if this is the case now.

Acceptance and legendary status of a piano brand may highly differ from one part of the world to the other.
E.g. for M&H, with one dealer in Paris, acceptance and legendary status is almost zero in Europe.

schwammerl.

Re: Piano Ratings #135851
01/30/09 09:03 PM
01/30/09 09:03 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 277
Portland, OR
S
Seneca Offline
Full Member
Seneca  Offline
Full Member
S

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 277
Portland, OR
As a purchaser of two copies of your book (having 'lent out' the first one), a big thank you from me is in order.

I appreciate that you are trying to cast you net more broadly, to encompass more than just the tuner's perspective, but I do think, even with the controls you've established, you are likely to find a statistical bias in the voluntary responses you have solicited here, since, while you can control for the input from your respondents, you have no way of adjusting for non-respondents. And people who voluntarily respond to a request like this are not necessarily either representative or possessing superior knowledge. So, in the end, it will come down to your judgement, which was certainly helpful to me in the past.

One question about your rating system. I preferred not having the tiers for the performance pianos segments subdivided into 1A, 1B, . . . 2A, 2B, and so on (thought it conveyed illusory precision). But if you are going to go that way, have you considered eliminating tiers 1 and 2, and using a purely alphabetical approach--1A-C would be A, B and C and 2A-C becoming, D, E and F? I'm not quite sure why you have both the tiers and the alphabet soup, and going one way or the other might diminish some of the 'massive silly handwringing' (which would be useful) or perhaps intensify it (which would be entertaining).

Just a thought.

Re: Piano Ratings #135852
01/30/09 10:21 PM
01/30/09 10:21 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,433
Surrey, B.C.
Norbert Offline
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Norbert  Offline
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Posts: 15,433
Surrey, B.C.
I can't speak for Larry but I believe he would be first to agree that ranking of products such as pianos is problematic at best.

I believe Larry points out in his Piano Book/Supplements on several occasions that his rankings are just an attempt to bring something *orderly* in an otherwise seemingly unorderly or at least very confusing industry - sort of general buyer's guide for the average consumer if you will.

Outside any other help for piano shoppers, Larry's book and Annual Supplements certainly could be thought of as very helpful - which they have rightfully become famous for - while others perhaps couldn't care less one way or the other.

As long as there are players,pianists and musicians in this world, they shall forever digress on which particular make or model to use leading regularly to the discussion *who's is the finest on the wall* - certainly among many musicians I happen to know.

Thankfully...

By the way,anybody ever talked to guitar players?

Norbert wink


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
Re: Piano Ratings #135853
01/31/09 02:04 AM
01/31/09 02:04 AM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,930
El Cajon, CA
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member
88Key_PianoPlayer  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,930
El Cajon, CA
I've also wondered how to figure out rankings of different-sized pianos.... for example a particular cheap Chinese concert grand may be a comparable price to a top-tier European studio upright... how to compare them?

Also... do the ratings apply to ALL pianos in a line, from the spinets (in this case I mean a few years ago when a few makers were still making spinets) to the concert grands, or how does that work? I guess what I'm trying to say is I wouldn't put a Yamaha spinet in the same tier as a Hailun concert grand of course - the grand would obviously blow the spinet away. What about comparing similar sizes with similar sizes? If that's the case, while it doesn't apply to currently-made pianos, I'd rank older Baldwin Acrosonic spinets at like 1A, or at least 1B (keep in mind I'm comparing similar-sized pianos, NOT comparing them to larger uprights or grands).

What are your thoughts? (I'm asking everyone in the thread.) How do you go about comparing/contrasting pianos that are the same size, or that are a different size but the same price, for example?


Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
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