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#1954395 - 09/05/12 05:27 PM New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer  
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The new, Fall 2012 edition of Piano Buyer will be posted at www.pianobuyer.com in the next day or so.

[carnival barker mode]

New Ratings!!! New feature articles!!! Updated prices and manufacturer profiles!!!

[/carnival barker mode]


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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www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
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#1954402 - 09/05/12 05:35 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Thanks for the heads up Steve -

LOOKING FORWARD TO READING IT - SUCH A WONDERFUL RESOURCE !!!!!!!!!!!

thumb


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#1954488 - 09/05/12 09:09 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Ditto

#1954490 - 09/05/12 09:11 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Steve, Is there a direct link to purchase hard copies?


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
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#1954492 - 09/05/12 09:15 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Now THAT is good news!


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#1954574 - 09/06/12 02:56 AM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Thanks and look forward to!


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#1954718 - 09/06/12 10:06 AM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Dave B]  
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Originally Posted by Dave B
Steve, Is there a direct link to purchase hard copies?


Wait a few days then go to http://www.pianobuyer.com/buybooks.html.



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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My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
#1954766 - 09/06/12 11:22 AM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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#1954786 - 09/06/12 12:07 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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No changes, as far as I can tell, to the "Highest Quality" list. And U.S. Steinway isn't on it! (p.44)



Robert Swirsky
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#1954803 - 09/06/12 12:38 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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I pre-ordered mine from Amazon last night.


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#1956632 - 09/09/12 09:27 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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I very much enjoyed the articles on boutique pianos and on regulation/voicing of performance pianos.

I have a question about navigating on each page. I have always had this problem for every online edition and I'm guessing it's due to some lack in basic computer skill.(I'm using the Flash version not that I know what that means.)

Anyway, when I enlarge the page to read it and am scrolling up and down to read the page, the page always seems to shrink back to its smaller size. So the result is while I'm reading a page I have to enlarge it several times while reading the page.

Can you tell what I'm doing wrong?

#1956641 - 09/09/12 09:56 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Hot off the press! Gotta love it!

PLU - Once you have enlarged the page, don't click on the wheel or you will change the page size. Just roll (scroll) the wheel and it will raise or lower the page without a change in size.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#1956653 - 09/09/12 10:11 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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It seems to me that most makers wish to go out of business.

The price increases are breathtakingly absurd especially considering that most people have lower disposable income, not greater, with each successive year due to stagnant salaries and rising costs of food, utilities, gas, health care, and education.

Also it looks as if Larry Fine is backing away from the concept of SMP.


#1956654 - 09/09/12 10:11 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Can you tell what I'm doing wrong?
If you are having trouble with the flash version, try the HTML version, a.k.a. normal webpage.

You lose some of the cool flash features, but it navigates fine. On the HTML version, enlarging the size is "command +" on my mac and I think "control +" on my PC.


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#1956662 - 09/09/12 10:21 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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I just finished reading through the new edition, including re-reading a lot of the parts I have studied before. Nice job, Larry!

#1956781 - 09/10/12 06:42 AM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: dsch]  
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Originally Posted by dsch
It seems to me that most makers wish to go out of business.

The price increases are breathtakingly absurd especially considering that most people have lower disposable income, not greater, with each successive year due to stagnant salaries and rising costs of food, utilities, gas, health care, and education.
I also got the impression that the price increases were greater than usual although this was just a general impression.

I got an even stronger impression that many makers are using MSRPs that are much higher than the SMPs.

Originally Posted by dsch
Also it looks as if Larry Fine is backing away from the concept of SMP.
Did he write something specific about that in the latest issue? If not, I see zero evidence of any backing away from SMP. It's listed on every page of the piano pricing section.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 09/10/12 06:53 AM.
#1956782 - 09/10/12 06:56 AM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Thanks !
Is the SMP the suggested maximum price for the wholesaler or retailer ?

#1956823 - 09/10/12 08:51 AM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: custard apple]  
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Originally Posted by custard apple
Thanks !
Is the SMP the suggested maximum price for the wholesaler or retailer ?
For the customer. To get the benefit from the SMP you should read the very clearly worded explanation on the pages before the SMPs for particular pianos are listed.

#1957037 - 09/10/12 05:00 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Stee,

I notice that the "profesional" category of pianos had a short shelf life. Maybe the tables should be marked with an expiration date like dairy products.

It would seem that Pianobuyer is now trying to tell me that Bohemia, W. Hoffmann (Tradition), Irmler (Professional)* Seiler (ES)*, Wilh. Steinberg (AC). and Vogel are better pianos than a Yamaha C or Kawai RX grand. "Good", "better", and "best" are fighting words, but I'm not sure they're in accordance with a snapshot of the market today. grin

I can only begin to imagine the tremendous effort that went into finding numerous samples of all these "Best" Intermediate grade rare birdss and the extensive hands-on testing that must have taken place before awarding them a "Best" designation.



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#1957051 - 09/10/12 05:22 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Tur,

The "Professional Grade" category didn't have a short shelf life. I suggested to Larry that "Intermediate Grade" was a more descriptive name and it didn't carry the baggage of the word "professional". He agreed and the change was made.





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Jasons Music
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Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
#1957057 - 09/10/12 05:25 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Turandot, Go out and look for yourself.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
#1957078 - 09/10/12 05:55 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Is it possible that so much emphasis has been put on the idea that consumers have to bargain prices down that manufacturers are raising prices so that the dealers can give a greater percentage as a discount? I have long believed that this is the practice in many other industries, so why not in the world of pianos? That way, a consumer can feel that he or she got a good deal because the discount was greater. If this has happened in the world of pianos, it is a truly unfortunate byproduct of what I consider to be excessive bargaining; I would view it as an extremity to which manufacturers and dealers have bee pushed.

I heard an ad on the radio the other day that said that in many dealerships (not pianos, I have forgotten what the ad was selling, furniture I think) the discount price was becoming the "regular" price. And I am convinced that car prices increase at least in part for the reasons outlined above.

On the other hand, raw materials and fuel, as well as components of manufacturing like health care for employees, increase in cost at a rate far greater than inflation. And, has been pointed out elsewhere on this Forum, wages in countries where many pianos are manufactured are going up to approach fairer levels. So there are reasons other than marketing necessity that might cause prices to increase.

In any event, there are lots of reasons why the consumer price index (or inflation) is not a reliable gauge for what constitutes an appropriate price increase. I find it inconceivable that any manufacturer willingly prices its products at an arbitrarily high level to insure that it cannot survive the current economic climate.


#1957088 - 09/10/12 06:16 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: turandot]  
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Originally Posted by turandot

I notice that the "profesional" category of pianos had a short shelf life.


I noticed that as well, particularly because I'm in the market for a professional
grade instrument, i.e. a Yamaha C3.

How something can be renamed from "professional" to "intermediate" is very strange to me.

I wonder where the new Yamaha CX line will end up when it is added in the future, with the better parts, more hand-built, and more parameters for voicing.

#1957095 - 09/10/12 06:28 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
Tur,

The "Professional Grade" category didn't have a short shelf life. I suggested to Larry that "Intermediate Grade" was a more descriptive name and it didn't carry the baggage of the word "professional". He agreed and the change was made.


Okay Steve. So Intermediate replaces professional. But what about Good. Better, and Best? Is that warranted> on what basis?

Part of the criteria for inclusion inthe Professional class was successful use in professional installations like studios, teaching institutions, and concert venues. Make a case for me about how that applies to most of these 'Best" pianos.

I think you know what I'm getting at. Most of these "Best" pianos are not widely found in store inventories. and it's not because they're selling quickly. Many, such as the Steinberg AC and the Seiler ES, have no track records at all either under their current names or earlier incarnations. Who supplied the data? Who did the hands-on testing? What's the basis of judgment for being "Best" of grade?? And please don't tell me it was verified by the manufacturers or culled from a quick look at some show ponies at NAMM.




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#1957098 - 09/10/12 06:42 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: turandot]  
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Originally Posted by turandot
Okay Steve. So Intermediate replaces professional. But what about Good. Better, and Best? Is that warranted> on what basis?
The basis is the judgement of Fine and the numerous techs/industry professional he consults.

Originally Posted by turandot
Part of the criteria for inclusion inthe Professional class was successful use in professional installations like studios, teaching institutions, and concert venues. Make a case for me about how that applies to most of these 'Best" pianos.
There no longer is a professional category so your question is meaningless. The relative ranking of the pianos(including Seiler and Steinberg in comparison to Yamaha)in the Piano Buyer has changed only a little and very gradually over the years. The names of the various categories and sub categories don't really matter very much unless you are just trying to be argumentative.

Originally Posted by turandot
I think you know what I'm getting at. Most of these "Best" pianos are not widely found in store inventories. and it's not because they're selling quickly. Many, such as the Steinberg AC and the Seiler ES, have no track records at all either under their current names or earlier incarnations. Who supplied the data? Who did the hands-on testing? What's the basis of judgment for being "Best" of grade??
Ever think that Fine and the many people that help him make the ratings might have just a little bit more experience in every aspect of the piano industry than you? Have you even tuned a single piano for pay or sold a single piano you didn't own or been to a single factory outside the U.S., etc.?



Last edited by pianoloverus; 09/10/12 06:57 PM.
#1957131 - 09/10/12 08:14 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Quote
The basis is the judgement of Fine and the numerous techs/industry professional he consults.


If this is true then the "techs and industry professionals" failed to point out that there are often considerable differences in quality between the different models by very same manufacturer.

This is nowhere more true than among the so-called "Consumer Grade" of pianos.

And NOT only having simply to do with country of origin...

Not making this crucial differentiation, something every unbiased professional I know is only too aware of,is leaving out one very important part of the equation.

Simply rating things by "brand" deprives shoppers the opportunity to check out and select a particular model that's perhaps cutting edge and sticking out from the crowd.

Which is exactly what shoppers in today's highly varied market are after.

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 09/10/12 08:28 PM.

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#1957146 - 09/10/12 08:43 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Norbert]  
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Originally Posted by Norbert
Quote
The basis is the judgement of Fine and the numerous techs/industry professional he consults.


If this is true then the "techs and industry professionals" failed to point out that there are often considerable differences in quality between the different models by very same manufacturer.

This is nowhere more true than among the so-called "Consumer Grade" of pianos.

And NOT only having simply to do with country of origin...

Not making this crucial differentiation, something every unbiased professional I know is only too aware of,is leaving out one very important part of the equation.

Simply rating things by "brand" deprives shoppers the opportunity to check out and select a particular model that's perhaps cutting edge and sticking out from the crowd.

Which is exactly what shoppers in today's highly varied market are after.

Norbert
I think the reason Fine doesn't rate the separate models of each piano maker is pretty simple and obvious. It's complicated and controversial enough to try and rate the makes in general.

For some makes he does discuss(and has always discussed)the relative merits of their different models in the section that has write ups on each manufacturer.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 09/10/12 08:53 PM.
#1957167 - 09/10/12 10:15 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus

Originally Posted by dsch
Also it looks as if Larry Fine is backing away from the concept of SMP.
Did he write something specific about that in the latest issue? If not, I see zero evidence of any backing away from SMP. It's listed on every page of the piano pricing section.


I wrote that because in the past, there was a considerable difference between MSRP and SMP. Now, these two figures are converging for most of the "better" brands. For many brands the two values are identical. It was not always like this. I imagine that Fine received a lot of flak from manufacturers for daring to suggest that a particular discount was standard.

But who pays list price aside from institutions, professional athletes, movie or rock stars, drug dealers, politicians, and greedy developers? I'd like to know.

Ten years (or so) ago Perry Knize bought a Grotrian Cabinet for $27K. Now they are nearly triple that price. What made them worth almost three times as much in such a short time span? That, too, is something I'd like to know.

I do not wish to see the makers of the finest pianos go extinct but I honestly know of 0 people in my circle of acquaintances who could ever hope to buy one.

I guess my only hope at this point is to get a somewhat used nice instrument from a desperate seller. This is taking advantage of a different kind of desperation compared to the $1.50/hr Chinese or Indonesian labor that many of the Euro makers are now enjoying.

Last edited by dsch; 09/10/12 10:17 PM.
#1957178 - 09/10/12 10:42 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: dsch]  
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Originally Posted by dsch
Originally Posted by pianoloverus

Originally Posted by dsch
Also it looks as if Larry Fine is backing away from the concept of SMP.
Did he write something specific about that in the latest issue? If not, I see zero evidence of any backing away from SMP. It's listed on every page of the piano pricing section.


I wrote that because in the past, there was a considerable difference between MSRP and SMP. Now, these two figures are converging for most of the "better" brands. For many brands the two values are identical. It was not always like this. I imagine that Fine received a lot of flak from manufacturers for daring to suggest that a particular discount was standard.

But who pays list price aside from institutions, professional athletes, movie or rock stars, drug dealers, politicians, and greedy developers? I'd like to know.
Actually, my strong impression(not a scientific comparison)is that the opposite of what you say is true, i.e. the tendency has been for a greater increase between the MSRP and SMP for the best pianos.

Form the very beginning of the Supplements to the Piano Book(more than 10 and maybe as much as 20 years ago), Fine gave SMPs, although I think the actual term "SMP" may have only appeared when the Piano Buyer was introduced. And I believe from the beginning he also suggested typically available discounts from the SMP. All this is nothing new for manufacturers so I see nothing to indicate that manufacturers would have recently become upset about the SMPs and suggested discounts.

You mention that institutions pay full price, but the opposite is true. Institutions(as in music schools)typically receive bigger discounts than individuals because they purchase multiple pianos.

Finally, although the price of Grotrians has increased, I think your figures there are incorrect. The latest SMP for the Cabinet Grand is around 75K. With 30% off that the selling price would be closer to 52K, a little less than twice what Knize paid.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 09/10/12 10:51 PM.
#1957199 - 09/10/12 11:30 PM Re: New Fall 2012 Edition of Piano Buyer [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Larry Fine's SMP is pretty much the same as an industry publication from Ancott that was available only to dealers since the 1980's but was discontinued about 5 years ago. When both price lists were published simultaneously for awhile, they were in agreement.

Dealers relied on the Ancott resource as a level playing field to see what other piano brands 'actually' cost -- and now this same level playing field is offered to consumers who consult Larry's publication.

I think that piano buyers should be grateful to have access to this very accurate pricing information.

I believe that Larry probably does most of his work for the Pianobuyer publication in this area to make sure that consumers are accurately informed.

He has stated that shoppers can disregard the MSRP (bogus) since the SMP is the most 'in the know' figure, and this is where having some standardization really helps in regard to pricing.

Some dealers subscribe to this philosophy while others do not, perhaps not wishing (nor able) to adhere to a normal margin due to very high overhead expenses.

I have always advised customers to take into account not only the piano brand and pricing, but ultimately the percentage of discount you are able to receive for a particular brand in order to achieve the best value, and having a standardized source as a starting point is a tremendous aid.

Larry is doing a great service to consumers in bringing the 'real' retail prices to the public, from which you can still expect to receive a discount, and I believe that it is done with great care and the integrity for which he is known.

I have always supported 'truth in pricing' and applaud Larry for what he has done to help our industry.

Thanks,

Nick


Nick's Piano Showroom
Naples, Fort Myers, & Sarasota, FL
New Estonia, Mason & Hamlin, Baldwin, Brodmann & Ritmuller
239-206-4541 direct line
www.nickspiano.com

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