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#1386409 - 03/02/10 12:35 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Norbert]  
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Turandot

I follow your perspective. (And you are right, I didn't consult piano buyer about whether the free loan was a good idea ;-). I think my points have become diluted by discourse. My starting point and where I still am:

1 Mr Cohen is obviously and blatantly conflicted
2 There appears to be favouritism in favour of Mr Cohen and piano buyer and this favour is not extended to other dealers
3 It was inappropriate for the moderator to remove several posts when Mr Cohen complained
4 Mr Cohen's editorial title suggests he edits and is therefore a content decision maker.
5 The co-editor / contributing-editor terminology is mere semantics that Mr Cohen could resolve personally by not calling himself an editor
6 I do not think it is appropriate for Mr Cohen to be permitted to make constant references to piano buyer in a generic way (with no reference to post specific guidance) when other dealers are castigated for brand promotion and breaching pw "rules".

I wonder how other advertisers feel now that they have learnt that there is a no cost reciprocal advertising arrangement between piano buyer and piano world? Does everyone get this benefit?

If they don't, then it must be a bit galling, especially when a dealer is allowed to promote pb constantly in threads.

Kind regards

Adrian






Re-learning after a long break from playing. New piano for 2017. 7ft semi concert grand.
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#1386426 - 03/02/10 01:02 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Plowboy]  
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Originally Posted by Gary Schenk
.....So perhaps the answer is indeed that the best way to change the ratings of pianos is to have no rating.....

Here's the problem: People LIKE ratings.

This has been seen in other venues also. Here's a couple:

The (great) baseball writer and analyst, Bill James, at first just wrote theoretical pieces about his ideas. He had trouble getting them published. He was told that what people want to see is ratings and rankings -- take his ideas and show how players and teams would rank. That worked -- and over time, his ideas caught on.

And there's also this familiar notorious thing: music competitions.
We're fond of saying that competitions are stupid and destructive, who needs them. Yet, when the organizations put on festivals that are just "celebrations," with no competition and no ranking, somehow we're not nearly as interested.

People like ratings.


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1386463 - 03/02/10 01:33 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: terminaldegree]  
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Originally Posted by theJourney

Well! There you have it!

The decision of Fine, Cohen et al to soften the critique of Steinway was a commercially sound one for the publication.

If Steinway continues to advertise and commits to multiple pages for multiple years, then the sky is the limit on how they can improve their ratings!

Quid pro quo.
Ain't the America way great?
1. Wasn't NY Steinway downgraded in the last tiered rating system in the Piano Buyer?
2. Has NY Steinway quality control/finished instruments improved in the past few years? The technician I respect most seems to think that the current new crop of NY S&S are the best he's ever seen in his lifetime. How many NY S&S pianos do you get to play over there?
3. Isn't S&S and their affiliated dealers one of the largest advertisers in all musical publications in the US? Local, state, and national music teachers organizations, industry publications, etc. etc.

Your "conspiracy theory" seems weak at best based when put in perspective. Yes, I'm an apologist...


There were different rating systems in the PB and the Supplement that immediately preceeded it. NY Steinway was not downgraded in the PB.

In the Supplement, NY Steinway was rated in Tier 1C and in the PB it was in 2A(the highest level in Group 2). But since the PB Tier 1 didn't have A,B, and C levels and Tier 1 in the PB included the pianos in Tier 1A from the most recent Supplement, there was no downgrading. Most or all of the piano in Tier 1B and 1C in recent Supplement were moved to Tier 2A in the PB.

I think this is an example how misinformation or lack of complete understanding can be harmful.


Last edited by pianoloverus; 03/02/10 03:03 PM.
#1386465 - 03/02/10 01:33 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Plowboy]  
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Originally Posted by Gary Schenk
[quote=terminaldegree]


So perhaps the answer is indeed that the best way to change the ratings of pianos is to have no rating. Keep the Piano Book style descriptions and prices of pianos along with good articles about pianos and shopping for them. That would remove any idea of conflict of interest, no?

There would still be the possibility to "damn with faint praise."

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#1386479 - 03/02/10 01:48 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: AJB]  
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Originally Posted by AJB
I wonder how other advertisers feel now that they have learnt that there is a no cost reciprocal advertising arrangement between piano buyer and piano world? Does everyone get this benefit?

If they don't, then it must be a bit galling, especially when a dealer is allowed to promote pb constantly in threads.


At the risk of starting up yet another firestorm, yes, it is a bit galling, and no, its not a good feeling.

IMHO, Frank has the absolute right to make any type of arrangements he wishes with individual advertisers. But to announce the arrangement between PB & PW publicly on the forum is distressing to an advertiser who has and is paying for advertising here all the while not being able to self-promote in threads.

This is my opinion only, I don't presume to speak for others.


Nancy Fanzlaw
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#1386483 - 03/02/10 02:02 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: M.O.P.]  
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Originally Posted by M.O.P.
Originally Posted by AJB
I wonder how other advertisers feel now that they have learnt that there is a no cost reciprocal advertising arrangement between piano buyer and piano world? Does everyone get this benefit?

If they don't, then it must be a bit galling, especially when a dealer is allowed to promote pb constantly in threads.


At the risk of starting up yet another firestorm, yes, it is a bit galling, and no, its not a good feeling.

IMHO, Frank has the absolute right to make any type of arrangements he wishes with individual advertisers. But to announce the arrangement between PB & PW publicly on the forum is distressing to an advertiser who has and is paying for advertising here all the while not being able to self-promote in threads.

This is my opinion only, I don't presume to speak for others.


Piano Buyer gets thousands of unique visitors online every month, and is growing. The overwhelming majority of those readers are acutely interested in pianos and many do not know about Piano World. Piano World gets significant traffic by advertising in Piano Buyer.

I am sure Frank would be glad to discuss ads swaps with other sites that provide the same number and as well-targeted a reader as Piano Buyer does.

If M.O.P. has that kind of draw, let Frank know. But, no one should be galled by this swap unless they have the same advantages to offer.


Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
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Since 1937.

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My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
#1386510 - 03/02/10 02:37 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
Originally Posted by M.O.P.
Originally Posted by AJB
I wonder how other advertisers feel now that they have learnt that there is a no cost reciprocal advertising arrangement between piano buyer and piano world? Does everyone get this benefit?

If they don't, then it must be a bit galling, especially when a dealer is allowed to promote pb constantly in threads.


At the risk of starting up yet another firestorm, yes, it is a bit galling, and no, its not a good feeling.

IMHO, Frank has the absolute right to make any type of arrangements he wishes with individual advertisers. But to announce the arrangement between PB & PW publicly on the forum is distressing to an advertiser who has and is paying for advertising here all the while not being able to self-promote in threads.

This is my opinion only, I don't presume to speak for others.


Piano Buyer gets thousands of unique visitors online every month, and is growing. The overwhelming majority of those readers are acutely interested in pianos and many do not know about Piano World. Piano World gets significant traffic by advertising in Piano Buyer.

I am sure Frank would be glad to discuss ads swaps with other sites that provide the same number and as well-targeted a reader as Piano Buyer does.

If M.O.P. has that kind of draw, let Frank know. But, no one should be galled by this swap unless they have the same advantages to offer.


As always, this answer has nothing to do with potential piano consumers other than seeing them as gullible marks to be taken advantage of by undisclosed, mafiosi arrangements.

#1386513 - 03/02/10 02:40 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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I don't understand why the question is suddenly shifting to P.W.

Frank is not a "Contributing Editor" of *Piano Buyer* - he is the owner of this website.

He does not take swings at other members and has never expressed his preferences 'for' or 'against' certain makes.

He does sell stuff but it has nothing to do with piano brands or 'ratings'

Frank has been a most gracious host and should be completely left out of the discussion.

The basic question was 'ratings' and if and to which extent Mr. Cohen is personally involved in this as "Contributing Editor" of Piano Buyer.

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 03/02/10 02:42 PM.

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#1386516 - 03/02/10 02:43 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: AJB]  
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Originally Posted by AJB


I think my points have become diluted by discourse. My starting point and where I still am:


No, I read you loud and clear. Realitically, to accomplish the changes you want, you will need to exchange your seat among the bored for a seat on the Board here. Good luck with that!

Adrian and Nancy,

Pianobuyer gets a free ticket here. MOP gets a free ride. AJB get a free ride. turandot gets a free ride. It's all FREEEEEEEEEE!!! grin

Frank's largesse exceeds his business sense. grin

Nancy, At $196 for a multi-issue PB ad, how can you go wrong? grin




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#1386520 - 03/02/10 02:51 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Norbert]  
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I disagree. Frank has unfortunately involved himself by:

a) allowing moderators to delete posts that don't suit Steve Cohen
b) allowing Steve Cohen to advertise piano buyer indiscriminately in his posts, even though Steve has a vested interest in PB advertising revenue among other things
c) revealing that there is a no-cost reciprocal advertising deal (that Steve has felt it necessary to defend) that other dealers do not benefit from.

But I do agree that the central issue is Mr Cohen's conflict of interest.

And the fact that this calls into further question (along with the obvious advertising aspect) the independence of piano buyer.

Adrian


Re-learning after a long break from playing. New piano for 2017. 7ft semi concert grand.
#1386523 - 03/02/10 02:55 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Norbert]  
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Originally Posted by Norbert
I don't understand why the question is suddenly shifting to P.W.

Frank is not a "Contributing Editor" of *Piano Buyer* - he is the owner of this website.

He does not take swings at other members and has never expressed his preferences 'for' or 'against' certain makes.

He does sell stuff but it has nothing to do with piano brands or 'ratings'

Frank has been a most gracious host and should be completely left out of the discussion.

The basic question was 'ratings' and if and to which extent Mr. Cohen is personally involved in this as "Contributing Editor" of Piano Buyer.

Norbert


That question has been answered by Larry at http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubb...from%20Larry%20Fine%20.html#Post1386478.


Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
#1386525 - 03/02/10 03:02 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: turandot]  
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It's not $196. Read it again.


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#1386532 - 03/02/10 03:12 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: AJB]  
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Originally Posted by AJB
I disagree. Frank has unfortunately involved himself by:

a) allowing moderators to delete posts that don't suit Steve Cohen
b) allowing Steve Cohen to advertise piano buyer indiscriminately in his posts, even though Steve has a vested interest in PB advertising revenue among other things
c) revealing that there is a no-cost reciprocal advertising deal (that Steve has felt it necessary to defend) that other dealers do not benefit from.

But I do agree that the central issue is Mr Cohen's conflict of interest.

And the fact that this calls into further question (along with the obvious advertising aspect) the independence of piano buyer.

Adrian


In answer to your claims:

a. The moderator deleted the posts becausse he agreed that they were inappropriate, and they were. I have no leverage in that matter other than to report the post and ask that it be removed.

b. Piano World's owner, Frank Baxter has posted here his reasoning. It is certainly his right to what he feels is fair, not have to bend to your pressure. smile

c. The exchange wasn't made between a "dealer" and Frank. It was made by Larry and Frank. It wasn't between Jasons Music Center and Frank, although I am sure that if a dealer could provide Frank with a large steady source of reader, he would be nore than willing to deal.

As to my supposed conflict of interest I refer tou to Larrys post: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubb...0from%20Larry%20Fine%20.html#Post1386478



Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
#1386534 - 03/02/10 03:15 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
Let me put the advertising issue in perspective:

The single biggest asset Piano Buyer has is Larry Fine and his reputation. (I know I'll be personally attacked on this, and could, in advance name those who will do so, and what they are going to say!)

The cost of a full-page ad in Piano Buyer to multi-issue advertisers is relatively inexpensive.

Would we jeopardize Larry's reputation by "accommodating" an advertiser for such an insignifcant amount?

Give me a break!!!



Steve, the problem is that there is no difference between a perceived or actual conflict of interest in terms of the damage it does to an organization. This is one of the fundamental lessons those of us who have to pass yearly 'code of conduct' exams learn early on. I can have every faith in your integrity and in Mr. Fine's, but that isn't really the point.

Each of us, when doing research on any significant purchase, needs to make an assessment on the value of the information presented based on its source. When buying an automobile you are going to likely going to be more careful with advice coming from a newspaper supplement as compared to Car & Driver, or perhaps on the other end of the spectrum, Consumer Reports or JD Powers. By choosing to become an advertising vehicle for the product you are evaluating the perception of conflict of interest is unavoidable.

I have no issue with PB and the decision to take advertising and wish you the best of luck. I believe PB still has a valuable role to play, especially in the age of the internet. But forgive me for saying so, it is naive for you and Mr. Fine to expect that adopting a new business model would not impact how you are perceived in the marketplace.


Doug

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss
#1386542 - 03/02/10 03:27 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: M.O.P.]  
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As usual, the tread has gone off the rails. I confess, and will admit, I have let myself get sucked into it. smile

Turandot - I have no beef with Steve that PB has made a nice arrangement with PW. Free enterprise, I said Frank has the absolute right to make any deal he wants. No sour grapes here because of it. Announcing it on a public forum can be misunderstood and lead to further issues. My skin is plenty thick (has to be in this business :)), taunting and such is generally recognized and just slides right off.

Steve - My last commentary is this: It's wonderful PB has a nice arrangement with PW for the advertising. I understand SEO, PPC, and all the other fun stuff of internet advertising and how it works. My point is all who pay for advertising here always see a pickup in their traffic when reviewing their site analytics. We wouldn't advertise if the traffic didn't pick up, both here and other places. Both of my sites have increased traffic. I'm just not allowed to reference continually the same way PB is to get the numbers even higher. That's just the way it is.

PB is a great publication and I know all involved have worked very hard on it and continue to do so. I believe it is a good reference for those shopping who are trying to educate themselves. I hope it is around for a very long time and continues to improve. It will always be controversial, just as the printed edition always has been. Its just the nature of the beast. Larry Fine is an upstanding member of the piano community and I have no doubt he is fair, and will continue to be.

I'll retire to the sidelines to watch the rest of the game now, maybe it will get back on track. Anything else said will just be provoking more bad vibes. Hate bad vibes, they don't benefit anyone.

Cheers, everyone!



Nancy Fanzlaw
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"The piano was God's gift to music." Lou Mason

#1386599 - 03/02/10 04:29 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: M.O.P.]  
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Originally Posted by M.O.P.
As usual, the tread has gone off the rails. I confess, and will admit, I have let myself get sucked into it. smile

Turandot - I have no beef with Steve that PB has made a nice arrangement with PW. Free enterprise, I said Frank has the absolute right to make any deal he wants. No sour grapes here because of it. Announcing it on a public forum can be misunderstood and lead to further issues. My skin is plenty thick (has to be in this business :)), taunting and such is generally recognized and just slides right off.


Would it have made a difference if I'd said we (PW) purchased $1000.00 worth of advertising from PB, and PB purchased $1000.00 worth of advertising from PW?

Because essentially it was figured as a swap. We could have exchanged checks, but that seemed a little silly.

My 2 cents, backing quietly away from the room before more arrows start flying :-)


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#1386616 - 03/02/10 04:52 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
Originally Posted by Norbert
I don't understand why the question is suddenly shifting to P.W.

Frank is not a "Contributing Editor" of *Piano Buyer* - he is the owner of this website.

He does not take swings at other members and has never expressed his preferences 'for' or 'against' certain makes.

He does sell stuff but it has nothing to do with piano brands or 'ratings'

Frank has been a most gracious host and should be completely left out of the discussion.

The basic question was 'ratings' and if and to which extent Mr. Cohen is personally involved in this as "Contributing Editor" of Piano Buyer.

Norbert


That question has been answered by Larry at http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubb...from%20Larry%20Fine%20.html#Post1386478.


No, actually it has not been answered. As I responded to Larry, good intentions do not constitute a credible means of handling the kinds of conflicts of interest that your multiple roles raise, Steve. Being a good guy doesn't give you immunity from this issue. It's akin to saying "Well the rest of you can use the boats, we'll just walk across the water." This type of response, that it somehow doesn't apply here along with the indignant bluster, diminishes rather than increases confidence that it is being handled appropriately.

Sophia

#1386629 - 03/02/10 05:10 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: sophial]  
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Sophia,

Do you think that Piano Buyer would better serve the typical consumer if manufactuter's and dealer's perspectives were not examined and accurately explained to shoppers?

You and other have levied some very strong criticism about potential conflicts of interest, when in fact, while the potential is there, it simply hasn't happened! Sure, you can talk endlessly about how little things creep in, yet no one has based their criticism on the content of Piano Buyer.

Principles, in theory, without reality.

I know that I will not change your thinking. However I KNOW what has gone on in my relationship with Larry and Piano Buyer, and I know that what you suspect and accuse us of simply hasn't occurred.



Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
#1386638 - 03/02/10 05:26 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Almost no one on the the thread has accused the author or contributing editor of anything specific regarding the supposed conflict of interest due to advertising. The one specific criticsm about NY Steinway's rating going down is not true for anyone who compares the PB and latest Supplement with any care.

Then, some say Mr. Fine and Mr. Cohen are of the highest integrity, but I'm concerned about what the average non piano nut will conclude?

Why not just let Mr. Fine and Mr. Cohen worry about that(if in fact, they have to)?

#1386640 - 03/02/10 05:29 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Quote
Do you think that Piano Buyer would better serve the typical consumer if manufactuter's and dealer's perspectives were not examined and accurately explained to shoppers?


This is not the question at hand.

The question of "how" "by whom" and "in which way" this information has been collected and becomes published "is"

Norbert


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#1386672 - 03/02/10 05:56 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Norbert]  
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You either understand the concept of conflict of interest and how this undermines credibility or you don't. It does not require a negative effect of conflict of interest to have occurred for the conflicted parties to be damaged by association with a conflicted position. Anyone who works in law, finance and banking is taught this rather basic concept as a junior.

Steve and pianoloverus either do not understand this or pretend not to, as the latter suits their position. There comes a point when sustaining their "show us proof" argument" simply undermines their credibility even more.

Everyone who is conlficted will always say "I am a good boy. Show me the evidence that I am not". Get real.

Turandot. You were off by a factor of 10. This is mots unlike you ;-) The sums involved may be significant in the context of an advertising budget for a small dealer struggling in the present recession.

A



Re-learning after a long break from playing. New piano for 2017. 7ft semi concert grand.
#1386679 - 03/02/10 06:08 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Perhaps this whole debate has gone a bit too far off the rails while in fact this is not necessary.

As Larry Fine explained himself in a seperate thread here recently P.B. serves as a general orientation for the vast majority of piano buyers.

It may well not at times competely satisfy the high value seekers of the traditional Piano Forum public (the minority of piano buyers), but isn't that where the Pinao Forum is for? For the high value seekers and for those wanting additional information after having read P.B. (complementarity).

As someone said here P.B is not the 'bible' (or any other Holy Book) and even if it were, in this modern age a good deal of exegesis (= a critical explanation or interpreation of a text) is common sence.

In fact I found a mature recommendation of how to use the P.B on the new US Hailun website:

Quote
In addition to their own analysis, the editors invite other knowledgeable authors to contribute significant articles. While reading The Piano Buyer, the reader needs to be aware that the publication mainly solicits information from suppliers and manufacturers and does not seek to substantiate its validity per se. Thus the reader still has to apply appropriate discernment. We heartily recommend this publication as one of the best sources to help you begin on your piano search.


What is more I think is that in the future it will become ever more tough setting up a ranking by brand as already now the sound character of various models of the same brand are no longer uniform. This was brought up - I think by Norbert - when discussing Hailun and is summarized nicely again on their new US website:

Quote
Hailun pianos do not reflect a certain preferred sound philosophy. Rather the instruments give expression to the cumulated experience and tonal inclinations of those piano-builders who primarily created them.


schwammerl.

#1386691 - 03/02/10 06:23 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: AJB]  
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Originally Posted by AJB
You either understand the concept of conflict of interest and how this undermines credibility or you don't. It does not require a negative effect of conflict of interest to have occurred for the conflicted parties to be damaged by association with a conflicted position. Anyone who works in law, finance and banking is taught this rather basic concept as a junior.

Steve and pianoloverus either do not understand this or pretend not to, as the latter suits their position. There comes a point when sustaining their "show us proof" argument" simply undermines their credibility even more.

Everyone who is conlficted will always say "I am a good boy. Show me the evidence that I am not". Get real.

Turandot. You were off by a factor of 10. This is mots unlike you ;-) The sums involved may be significant in the context of an advertising budget for a small dealer struggling in the present recession.

This is not a court of law or Wall Street. I doubt many planning to buy a piano think or care or even know how conflict of interest is viewed in those arenas.

If someone feels there is a conflict of interest then I guess they won't value PB ratings/reviews as much as someone who doesn't feel there is a problem. PB is a great book even if one only looks at all the rest of the information besides the reviews/ratings.

Aren't the people involved with the publication of PB the only ones who should be concerned about this(if, in fact, they need to be)?

You say "get real" and I say "learn how to trust someone".

#1386697 - 03/02/10 06:28 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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This topic went astray when it became a discussion rather than a poll.


Semipro Tech
#1386714 - 03/02/10 06:45 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Norbert]  
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Quote
"Turandot - I have no beef with Steve that PB has made a nice arrangement with PW. Free enterprise, I said Frank has the absolute right to make any deal he wants. No sour grapes here because of it. Announcing it on a public forum can be misunderstood and lead to further issues. My skin is plenty thick (has to be in this business :)), taunting and such is generally recognized and just slides right off."


Nancy,

I certainly wasn't taunting you or anyone else. I just find it peculiar that so many here seem to feel that a free membership entitles significant representation in the decision-making process. I certainly understand that retailers may feel nudgy about the leverage that becomes available under cross-promotion and ad revenues. I'm not blind to that. I doubt very much if Larry Fine and Steve Cohen are blind to it either. I'm quite sure that they both understand that they are navigating a difficult course.

My contention has been that these are different times and the publication has a different purpose. a purpose clearly laid out by Larry Fine in the opening remarks of Piano Buyer. I prefer the blend of changing content and hard information, and the recognition that the digital world should not be ignored. This is new territory. Steve has invited ideas and suggestions for new content. I've sent him a few. He has acknowledged receipt and expressed thanks. I'm sure he would do the same for anyone here who took the time. Steve has shown a receptiveness to change in this publication format that he has never shown here in his stubborn mule-like defense of the industry sales and distribution model as the only possible model. grin

I also prefer the blunted sword to the sharpened one, especially in the light of the ad revenue. If Mr. Fine blunted his sword in his criticism of Steinway, he forced its competitors to focus on the virtues of their own products rather than pummeling the shortcomings of Steinway. I think that's a good thing. If he were to temper both his criticism and praise of all makers going forward, I think it would suit his new business model and new purpose well. The more detailed he becomes in critiquing, the more his points can be exposed to the criticism that the good piano is where you find it, under the care and preparation of a dealer who takes his own responsibilities seriously. Does anyone want to ask him to establish dealer rankings? grin

If you remember my first post, I suggested that the ratings be abandoned in favor of an alphabetical list of maker's models in three categories: premium products from prestige makers, proven products from established manufacturers, and newer products from factories in emerging markets. This would allow a maker's products to be represented across three categories, and not lumped together because of the prestige of certain members of its lineup. I suggested that the nitty-gritty (including any significant documented negative information) be relegated to the text descriptions of each maker. I still feel the same way, but I hardly expect to have a say in the matter. I rather enjoy that Steve throws these questions out here, and that Larry Fine has a capacity to change with the times.

Nancy and Adrian,

I apologize for my factor-of-ten miss on the ad cost. I thought I read $196. Maybe I read incorrectly; maybe I did read that and it was edited. In any case, no taunting from me. and absolutely no wish to undermine the efforts of Larry Fine, Frank Baxter, and Steve C. to do something that requires great care in planning and execution to pull off. I hope everyone would rather see them succeed than fail.


Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier
#1386765 - 03/02/10 07:32 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: BDB]  
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I read the first few post on this thread and became disinterested in evaluation methodology. I tapped back in today and was blown away. So, I went back to the beginning and read the whole sage straight through.

Here are some truths that seem self evident to me, but somehow escape several posters:

1.Frank Baxter owns this site and offers it FREE. It doesn’t have to be fair (although I believe it is). It doesn’t have to be unbiased (although I believe it is). It only has to be what Frank Baxter wants it to be.

2.The moderators (Ken Knapp, et. al.) work for/answer to Frank Baxter. They do not operate in a vacuum or unilaterally. I do not believe they act capriciously, with malice, or have any agendas other than the forum rules that are posted.

3.I see the Forum posters and lurkers in four categories: a. Industry professionals (not likely to shop for pianos). b. Tuners/technicians (not likely to shop for pianos). c. Regular, long time members (have pianos). d. Actual novice, first-time piano shoppers/buyers. Larry Fine’s Piano Buyer is written for category d, not really for the rest (although all may benefit from the book).

4.Some might see Jenn and my book as one of the only other competitive guides to Larry Fine’s publications. We simply do not have a problem of Piano Buyer being promoted on the PW Forum. It is being offered free on the internet. If it were not offered free I might object.

5.I see no problem with PW Forum and Piano Buyer having reciprocal advertising agreements. It is fitting and offers a synergy to both. See thought #1.

6.From time to time I have thought Steve Cohen’s touting Piano Buyer a bit excessive. Then I return to my thought that the folks that need the information the most are not regular posters who are on the Forum daily. The ones that need it the most are those to drop in for a couple of days with questions during their shopping. There is a constant flow of these folks with ad hoc needs coming into the Forum weekly then drift away after they buy a piano. Viewed in this context, Steve’s postings are legitimate, and timely, IMO.

7.The information in the Larry Fine publications are his and other’s opinions and observations. He has always been careful and consistent at the beginning of each publication to state his methodology and this concept. So much of what is dealt with is subjective. It was never presented or intended to be imperical.

8.Steve Cohen has been above board and up front with this association with Larry Fine and Piano Buyer from before the beginning. I have yet to see evidence from any industry professional retailer/dealer of bias or influence by Steve in Piano Buyer. Larry Fine's publications are sold and viewed internationally. Steve has one location in Maryland. It is ludricrus to suggest that Larry Fine would allow his work to be compromised by Steve for his retail gain. It is even more ludricrus to suggest the Steve would try.

9.For those who can’t “abide” Frank’s Forum content, style, moderation, advertising, etc., don’t participate. Have you forgotten yourselves? You are guests here. Find another outlet for your “expertise” in ethics, publishing, retailing, fairness, etc.

10.For those who can’t tolerate the Piano Buyer for its POTENTIAL for unfairness and advertiser paid bias (I have not seen any evidence of this), don’t dial it up for free. Better yet, take the time and energy and write your own!

Instead of posting about pianos, their care, their enjoyment, the enjoyment of making music, construction, terminology, methodology, brands, models, performance etc. Too many folks here are obsessed with telling (shouting) at Frank how to run his business, Larry Fine how to write and promote his publications, Steve Cohen how to part his hair, and retailers how to represent and sell their products, IMHO.


Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.
#1386827 - 03/02/10 08:50 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
Sophia,



You and other have levied some very strong criticism about potential conflicts of interest, when in fact, while the potential is there, it simply hasn't happened! Sure, you can talk endlessly about how little things creep in, yet no one has based their criticism on the content of Piano Buyer.

Principles, in theory, without reality.

I know that I will not change your thinking. However I KNOW what has gone on in my relationship with Larry and Piano Buyer, and I know that what you suspect and accuse us of simply hasn't occurred.


Sure about that?

Originally Posted by Steve Cohen

1st, As my signature indicates, in addition to being Piano Buyer's Advertising Director, I am a Contributing Editor. As such, I have been consulting Larry on all major issues for well over a year.

3rd, you question whether my position at Piano Buyer compromises the integrity of the publication. I assure you that it does not. If you or anyone else see any indication, in the current or any future edition, that Piano Buyer has compromised its independence and neutrality, Larry and I encourage you to bring it to our attention. We have a new issue coming out in a few weeks. There will be several possible controversial changes. Feel free to scrutinize every word!

Part of my job at Piano Buyer is to protect our biggest asset: Larry Fine's reputation for honesty and integrity. In that light I, and Larry as well, hope that all readers of Piano Buyer, including you, diligently scour every issue for any indication that we are violating the trust Larry has garnered since The Piano Book was first published over 20 years ago.



I am sure many will be busy with scrutiny. Careful what you wish for.




Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
#1386861 - 03/02/10 09:54 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Marty Flinn]  
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Originally Posted by Marty Flinn
I read the first few post on this thread and became disinterested in evaluation methodology. I tapped back in today and was blown away. So, I went back to the beginning and read the whole sage straight through.

Here are some truths that seem self evident to me, but somehow escape several posters:

1.Frank Baxter owns this site and offers it FREE. It doesn’t have to be fair (although I believe it is). It doesn’t have to be unbiased (although I believe it is). It only has to be what Frank Baxter wants it to be.

2.The moderators (Ken Knapp, et. al.) work for/answer to Frank Baxter. They do not operate in a vacuum or unilaterally. I do not believe they act capriciously, with malice, or have any agendas other than the forum rules that are posted.

3.I see the Forum posters and lurkers in four categories: a. Industry professionals (not likely to shop for pianos). b. Tuners/technicians (not likely to shop for pianos). c. Regular, long time members (have pianos). d. Actual novice, first-time piano shoppers/buyers. Larry Fine’s Piano Buyer is written for category d, not really for the rest (although all may benefit from the book).

4.Some might see Jenn and my book as one of the only other competitive guides to Larry Fine’s publications. We simply do not have a problem of Piano Buyer being promoted on the PW Forum. It is being offered free on the internet. If it were not offered free I might object.

5.I see no problem with PW Forum and Piano Buyer having reciprocal advertising agreements. It is fitting and offers a synergy to both. See thought #1.

6.From time to time I have thought Steve Cohen’s touting Piano Buyer a bit excessive. Then I return to my thought that the folks that need the information the most are not regular posters who are on the Forum daily. The ones that need it the most are those to drop in for a couple of days with questions during their shopping. There is a constant flow of these folks with ad hoc needs coming into the Forum weekly then drift away after they buy a piano. Viewed in this context, Steve’s postings are legitimate, and timely, IMO.

7.The information in the Larry Fine publications are his and other’s opinions and observations. He has always been careful and consistent at the beginning of each publication to state his methodology and this concept. So much of what is dealt with is subjective. It was never presented or intended to be imperical.

8.Steve Cohen has been above board and up front with this association with Larry Fine and Piano Buyer from before the beginning. I have yet to see evidence from any industry professional retailer/dealer of bias or influence by Steve in Piano Buyer. Larry Fine's publications are sold and viewed internationally. Steve has one location in Maryland. It is ludricrus to suggest that Larry Fine would allow his work to be compromised by Steve for his retail gain. It is even more ludricrus to suggest the Steve would try.

9.For those who can’t “abide” Frank’s Forum content, style, moderation, advertising, etc., don’t participate. Have you forgotten yourselves? You are guests here. Find another outlet for your “expertise” in ethics, publishing, retailing, fairness, etc.

10.For those who can’t tolerate the Piano Buyer for its POTENTIAL for unfairness and advertiser paid bias (I have not seen any evidence of this), don’t dial it up for free. Better yet, take the time and energy and write your own!

Instead of posting about pianos, their care, their enjoyment, the enjoyment of making music, construction, terminology, methodology, brands, models, performance etc. Too many folks here are obsessed with telling (shouting) at Frank how to run his business, Larry Fine how to write and promote his publications, Steve Cohen how to part his hair, and retailers how to represent and sell their products, IMHO.


This is simply the best post I have read on PW. (Is anyone surprised?)

Marty, thank you very much. I needed that!

[I assume you won't mind my copyig it to Larry's Post. If so, let me know and I will remove it.]


Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
#1386879 - 03/02/10 10:22 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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AJB and others,
If I may, many of your arguments make no sense whatsoever. It would be like saying that because CNN or the Financial Times, New York Times etc. do have advertisers they will be partial by promoting advertisers in their articles/news reports. Similarly, if you want to use the car comparison, cars magazines are full of advertisements yet they can do their own evaluations and ranking.

Similarly Business Week does a ranking of Business Schools and, obviously, it does accept ads that have no influence on the ranking.

The idea that to be independent someone has to avoid advertisers (and money) like a plague is
naive at best. You clearly stated that you feel that Piano Buyer is, to your personal opinion, less independent than it used to be. Yet you didn't produce any convincing evidence.

The idea that ratings should be made only by professional piano players is dangerous too. Some piano brands do tie up artists to their brand making them not ideal testers. Moreover, personal taste plays an even higher impact when you deal with artists.

On another note I can't list all the users that did that but I found the comments against the moderator and site owners even more silly. They have no duty to conform to your idea of free speech and they have all the rights to remove something if they feel is rubbish (and given the quality of some posts, I think that they do often turn a blind eye..perhaps too often).

I found piano buyer very useful and I don't have the feeling that the listings/rankings are tied up to any particular advertiser. I applaud their idea and entrepreneurial spirit to cover their costs with advertisers.

It beggars belief how some members think that no one is entitled to cover costs/make a profit while providing a service. Apparently, in their ideal world, editors etc. should work for free to provide them with a service they have the right, with no valid ground, to snob.

The presence of advertisers is a confirmation that the industry does trust that publication and, very fairly, is paying to be present with an ad. Would you prefer an ad free guide with an hidden agenda? I wouldn't.

Regards
David

#1386881 - 03/02/10 10:24 PM Re: How Would You Rate Pianos? [Re: gurugeek]  
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Thank you, David.


Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
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