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#2036831 - 02/21/13 10:07 AM The true value of a piano (long)  
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Morodiene Offline
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Some of you know that I own a grey market Yamaha G3. When I purchased it, I knew it was refurbished, but I had no idea it was grey market, what grey market even was, etc. I found out afterwards when I had issues in the dry winter climate of central Wisconsin. After having my tuner work on it a bit and installing a Dammp-Chaser, it stabilized and I was quite happy with it to teach from at my studio.

Last year, I moved to FL and only could afford to move the Petrof. The Yamaha stayed at our house in WI (which we still own) and I had someone who goes in there every two weeks to keep the humidifier running in the room and the Dammp-Chaser full. In September, I opened a vocal conservatory with a fellow voice teacher and we have been using our digital pianos (no way I was moving the Petrof!). Hubby said that if things seemed to be working out with this new venture that we could move the Yamaha. Well, it so happens that things have been going very well and the school could afford to pay for the move. I had told my piano tech in FL about it and he said G3s are excellent pianos and was saying how great it would be for the school.

We had it delivered on Monday, and the tech came out on Tuesday. Now I had informed him that it probably would need some work since I had only tuned it once this past year rather than the usual 3-4 I give it. Also, I was aware that the tuner I used in WI was limited in what she could do based on the work that was needed for my Petrof that the FL tech was able to do. I was very happy with what he did for my Petrof, so I knew he was a worthwhile technician.

After he had a chance to look at it, he told me that if he had known this Yamaha was in this condition he never would have told me to move it. The soundboard is cracked and he said it's affecting the sound, and the hammers are so hard they really should be replaced. He said that the pins were jumping so it won't hold its tune, but I have dealt with that in the past with having it tuned 3-4 times per year. Basically, he said we'd need to invest about $5,000 into it to bring it up to standard, but it wasn't even worth that. He then said we should just try to sell it.

At that point I told him that it's worth more to me as it is than to sell. To my ears, it sounds and feels beautiful, and perhaps not what a brand-new G3 would be like, but FAR better than having my piano students play on a digital piano. I told him it would be a waste for me to sell it, so why couldn't he just tune it and we won't invest more money into it. We can just have him tune it before we hold recitals - which I would do anyways. Eventually, when the school has more money or the thing is no longer usable, then we'll upgrade. But to me and my partner this piano has more value just as it is.

The body itself is in beautiful condition and it was a pleasure to see my students walk in the room and be inspired to play on it. I was practicing while I was waiting for my next student and when she and her mother arrived they walked in and the little 7-year-old exclaimed, "I want to have my lesson on THAT piano!" I was more than happy to oblige.

It is also great for my voice students since they sing opera and a digital piano really doesn't have the carrying power for them to hear it over their singing. With a grand piano they really have to sing out more. We held our opera class after my tech tuned it and he was in the other room working on a $200 craigslist find (Schubert 44" that was 10 years old) and he said to me afterwards that after hearing it from afar he thought it sounded much better than he originally said.

So perhaps my ears are not as refined as my tech's, and I appreciate that he has standards for pianos he works on. I could be listening to a singer who someone says they love their voice and I can find many faults with their technique, but that doesn't negate the fact that someone is deriving enjoyment out of it.

I've owned the G3 for about 10 years now, and I would never buy a grey market piano in the future. However, I know I got my money's worth out of it and as long as it still plays well, it has much more value than what I'd get for selling it in its sorry condition.


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#2036844 - 02/21/13 10:35 AM Re: The true value of a piano (long) [Re: Morodiene]  
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Steve Cohen Online content
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#2036846 - 02/21/13 10:42 AM Re: The true value of a piano (long) [Re: Morodiene]  
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While a soundboard crack can be indicative of an underlying problem (e.g. extremely dry winters in Wisconsin) in and of itself the crack is almost never detrimental to the piano tone. There is a good chance the piano will respond favorably to the climate in Florida. This adjustment may take some time - up to or over a year.

Hammers get worn and harden, voicing can make a huge difference. Replacing them at some point will make an even bigger difference.

Stay the course, enjoy your Yamaha for what it is - a great tool for you and your students.

#2036862 - 02/21/13 11:17 AM Re: The true value of a piano (long) [Re: Morodiene]  
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Joined: May 2012
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It doesn't seem that it is in a "sorry condition" at all.

You've enjoyed it in the past, are enjoying it now, and let the future take it's course.

Cheers to you and your students!



Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
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#2036877 - 02/21/13 11:46 AM Re: The true value of a piano (long) [Re: Morodiene]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Thanks, everyone. The piano tech did say he could do voicing, but then I'd need to have it done within a month again or something (if I heard him correctly) and didn't seem to think it was worth it. I'm going to wait a little bit, let it get acclimated and see about doing that, perhaps before recitals at the end of April.

I also remember that my entire childhood was spent playing on a spinet with a broken frame. The damper pedal didn't work so I had to use the sostenuto pedal in combination with the damper to get any sort of sustain out of it. Some of the bass notes barely made tone, but gave a satisfying "clunk" along with some semblance of pitch. It was never tuned, of course. And yet, I learned how to play on it and managed. Anything better than that was a treat and any time I saw a piano I'd run to it to play on it, even if it weren't necessarily appropriate for me to do so.

So, yes, there are ideals, and who knows what difference having a better piano would have made in my development as a pianist? I'd say it earned its keep. smile


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#2036890 - 02/21/13 12:16 PM Re: The true value of a piano (long) [Re: Morodiene]  
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Interesting thread...

How much is a piano worth?

I know I’m not much of pianist… in fact, I don’t even feel comfortable calling myself a pianist; I simply play the piano a little. smile

That being said, I have three very nice pianos in my home, and one in my enclosed garage. I get a tremendous amount of comfort and stress relief, and just pure fun out of playing (or at least attempting to play) my pianos. The therapeutic value alone is priceless! grin

Thing is, they are older models, though brand names, and it didn’t break my bank account when I bought them.

If I were to sell my pianos, I’m afraid I’d have to get a lot more out of them than I paid… wink

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#2036903 - 02/21/13 12:24 PM Re: The true value of a piano (long) [Re: Morodiene]  
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I've had similar experience with a G7 that I bought in 1967. It had the same sort of issues - cracked soundboard, worn out hammers, pin block problems etc.

After lots of agonizing thought, I had new hammers, new pin block, new strings, soundboard repaired and a few other things. It cost me around $9,000.00 and was among the best things I have ever done. To me it's better than most pianos I've ever played and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I was also advised to replace it by several 'knowledgeable' people.

They were wrong.

I love it, it's my friend.


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#2036918 - 02/21/13 12:42 PM Re: The true value of a piano (long) [Re: Roger Ransom]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by Roger Ransom
I've had similar experience with a G7 that I bought in 1967. It had the same sort of issues - cracked soundboard, worn out hammers, pin block problems etc.

After lots of agonizing thought, I had new hammers, new pin block, new strings, soundboard repaired and a few other things. It cost me around $9,000.00 and was among the best things I have ever done. To me it's better than most pianos I've ever played and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I was also advised to replace it by several 'knowledgeable' people.

They were wrong.

I love it, it's my friend.


Perhaps if this were a G7 I'd be more inclined to put the money into it as well. For the purposes of this school and our very limited budget, I feel blessed to own the G3, "warts and all". Still, if we are in a position in the future to have several grands, then it may be worth investing a little more into this one for the long haul. Even if we put in the recommended $5000, are you going to be able to find a G3 for that price? Maybe if you're lucky, but it probably will need work beyond that.


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#2036937 - 02/21/13 01:22 PM Re: The true value of a piano (long) [Re: Morodiene]  
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Nice story! Great that it still works for you.

Still the tech's remarks on the pins and hammers probably hold. You might consider treating them over time


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#2036955 - 02/21/13 02:02 PM Re: The true value of a piano (long) [Re: Morodiene]  
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Norbert Offline
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Quote
He said that the pins were jumping so it won't hold its tune, but I have dealt with that in the past with having it tuned 3-4 times per year. Basically, he said we'd need to invest about $5,000 into it to bring it up to standard, but it wasn't even worth that.


I would like to know what the tech would do for $ 5000 because this would neither provide new hammer plus fixing soundboard and pinblock [new pins & strings?] for that.

My recommendation in your case would be to have hammers reshaped, action re-regulated, tuned, voiced etc. Jumpy pins can be selectively "re-pinned". Ignore soundboard crack.

best of luck

Norbert smile


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