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#2102574 - 06/14/13 05:25 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Rickster]  
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Originally Posted by Rickster
I don’t see it as a bad idea at all, if the store owners/sales people don’t mind.

I’ve only visited a Steinway dealer/showroom once in my life, and it was by mistake. I’d say my experience there was rather unusual, and it made me think about my persona and the way I present myself to piano dealers/sales people…

In this instance, I had planned on visiting a rather well known piano store in the metro Atlanta area; the Steinway dealer was right next door to the dealer I wanted to visit. Since I had never visited either store, I walked into the Steinway store first, by mistake, and asked for a particular salesperson I had spoken to on the phone. A rather well-dressed salesman told me that person didn’t work there, but worked at the dealer next door. I said I was in the wrong store… he said, “no, you’re in the right store”.

He asked me what I was looking for and how much I wanted to spend. I told him what kind of piano I had planned on checking out at the dealer next door.

.........
The whole time I was thinking I was in the wrong place, and that salesperson had sized me up one side and down the other, and made a determination that I was Cristofori material and not Steinway material. After I thought about that a while, it kind of hurt my feelings a little… smile

Rick


Hi Rick,
So if he asked what kind of piano you were looking for and how much you wanted to spend, was that consistent with the Cristofori line? If so, it seems like he was just being guided by your stated intentions. It would be odd if you had stated you were interested in a Steinway and then he brought you over to the Cristoforis but that doesn't sound like the case.. I'm not sure what the problem was.

Sophia

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#2102575 - 06/14/13 05:25 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
The only reason any salesman might care how you play is if there is another customer in the store who might enjoy it or be impressed by the piano if you played well. Otherwise, why would they care how you play? They are much more interested in how serious a customer you are. Their job is to sell pianos.


,,, and if they are actively working with another customer, you will likely be asked to get off of the piano.

#2102577 - 06/14/13 05:40 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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My advice to the OP is, if one wants to try out pianos above one's price range, then try out ones that are way above one's price range. If one tries a piano closer to one's price range there is the chance that one will have buyer's remorse if one buys the less expensive piano but really liked the more expensive piano better.

After listening to the Van Cliburn Competition for two weeks, I know(actually I knew long before from listening to so many YouTube videos where the greatest pianist play that piano) I'd love to have a Hamburg Steinway D, but since it's so above my price range I don't regret purchasing my Mason BB(which is great, but really can't compare).

Last edited by pianoloverus; 06/14/13 05:46 PM.
#2102579 - 06/14/13 05:43 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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Originally Posted by sophial
Hi Rick,
So if he asked what kind of piano you were looking for and how much you wanted to spend, was that consistent with the Cristofori line?
No
Originally Posted by sophial
If so, it seems like he was just being guided by your stated intentions. It would be odd if you had stated you were interested in a Steinway and then he brought you over to the Cristoforis but that doesn't sound like the case.. I'm not sure what the problem was.

Sophial, I’m not sure there was a problem either. Thing is, I was so naive at that point, I honestly didn’t know what kind of piano I wanted.

Had he invited me to play the Steinway grand, I may have fell in love with it and bought it… even if it did cost more than my house. smile

Do most piano shoppers honestly know what they really want when they go shopping? I didn’t.

Rick




Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
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#2102585 - 06/14/13 06:10 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Rickster]  
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Originally Posted by Rickster

Do most piano shoppers honestly know what they really want when they go shopping? I didn’t.


Well, that depends on a few things. Is it the first time one ventures into the scary world of pianos and encounters the fanged sales people crazy, or is the eighth time, and you're refining options. Are you trying to decide between an entry level 4'6" or a 5'1", or are you trying to decide between a Bluthner or a Steingraeber! Are you a beginner -- or shopping for an eight year old student -- or are you a person who plays at a high level.


#2102603 - 06/14/13 07:04 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus

After listening to the Van Cliburn Competition for two weeks, I know(actually I knew long before from listening to so many YouTube videos where the greatest pianist play that piano) I'd love to have a Hamburg Steinway D, but since it's so above my price range I don't regret purchasing my Mason BB(which is great, but really can't compare).


PL,
What a Hamburg D won't fit in your apartment? I've never come across a Hamburg D but the one Hamburg B I played was just outstanding.

Rich


Retired at the beach (well maybe not completely)

Anton Rubinstein said about the piano: "You think it is one instrument? It is a hundred instruments!"
#2102624 - 06/14/13 08:02 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Chopinlover49]  
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Originally Posted by Chopinlover49
Real salesmen never judge you by your clothes. In NYC I once went to one of the most important antique dealers' shops dressed in my work clothes because I had just finished delivering antiques to Sotheby's and didn't feel like driving in NYC again after going back to my motel out of town. They treated me like a king and never blinked. Most of the items there were five and six figures but they let me roam around and offered me a beverage, asked if there was anything they could do to help, and left me to enjoy the shop. I could have been Bill Gates. Who knows? (Unfortunately I was just me.)


siiiigh. i keep running into 'unreal' sales people, i guess. have met exactly *one* who even asked any good questions. i have always thought the 'budget' question is particularly tricky, because different customers have different priorities. even so, to ask it first in a setting where prices tend to be squirrelly even if they *are* posted, is to telegraph, "well you are lucky, because i have a [piano from the worst year of a brand name you remember from a 70's game show], and it's priced at [exactly the top of your budget]!" salesfolk probably aren't quite that obvious, but why so many start by putting the thought into the customer's head..? i don't get it. how about asking first what we've played so far, and what we remember of the experience? how about asking asking if we know what our favorite would be if money were no object?

along tbe lines of your comment, chopinlover49, that you "could have been bill gates": more people are willing to flex on budget than one might think, if led to the right instrument.

yeah, i'll be looking for the right used vertical into the foreseeable future.


thorn

-- Sometimes I poke. Even if I like you.

1920's Mason & Hamlin A
#2102649 - 06/14/13 09:26 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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Someone mentioned that no serious player would show up in a piano store with music books or sheets planning to buy a piano and that is probably true more often than not, but when I went to stores, I had no choice but to bring my music as I cannot remember anything. Not even Mary Had a Little Lamb. Nothing. I wasn't wasting the store's time, however. I bought a Mason-Hamlin BB grand. Not all of us are accomplished, but some of us love our music and our pianos anyway.

#2102699 - 06/14/13 11:32 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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One should ABSOLUTELY try out pianos they can not afford!


Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...
#2102700 - 06/14/13 11:32 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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Thinking that trying and comparing some of world's finest [and most expensive..] pianos is only giving perspective to buyers.

In many case it has not only helped people realize for how much less money great quality is available in today's market but how "good" pianos can be, even in much lower price groups than expected.

Not trying to be pretentius but all of our last Sauters,Estonias and even Ritmuellers sold this way - the more the better.

Bring'em on Baby!

Then go spend your money as see fit...

Norbert thumb

Last edited by Norbert; 06/14/13 11:36 PM.

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#2102708 - 06/14/13 11:58 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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I think one of the best parts of piano shopping is being able to try pianos you can't afford!


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#2102802 - 06/15/13 07:02 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Piano*Dad]  
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
My son and I had a great time visiting Steinway Hall a few years back. I did a good job of appearing to be on the market. That kept up their interest. grin

Well, I WAS in the market at that point, but even an "A" was beyond my budget.


But wasn't that before THE BOOK came out?

ha


"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."
#2102815 - 06/15/13 08:16 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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ha ha indeed!

In their brochures it's listed as a "best-seller." crazy

But like many things in academia, that term has a very different meaning from what normal people understand. wink

#2102826 - 06/15/13 09:13 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Withindale]  
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Originally Posted by Withindale
It's a good idea to audition pianos when you're waiting for probate.


... and between spouses.


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#2102846 - 06/15/13 10:17 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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Another take on this, is that by "auditioning" a really enjoyable piano, and by experiencing the different flavors that various brand excellent pianos offer, one can get a sense of:

1-what is possible
2-what piano sound/touch really rings your bell(s).

Then, for those who don't have a prayer of purchasing a piano in those price ranges, you can, now fully informed and directed by an inner muse that knows what's possible, talk to one of the high end rebuilders who can make this happen for you at an affordable price. 35K-45K for a customized piano which can hold its own in the company of any teir 1 instrument. Plus, you get serious long term service...ie you get the tech who knows and designed the instrument, committed to the instrument and client as a porfessional relationship, honing it over time, to realize its full and glorious potential. You get a piano tailored it to suite your personal needs.

These sounds are within the grasp of ordinary folk, if you can think past the "buying into a brand" mindset.

Having auditioned the sounds that you want to "own", you now have both the authority and knowledge to audition the individual that can make it happen for you...or find the individual who has already made it happen in the form of a completed re-manufacture.

Jim Ialeggio

ps Obviously I'm a rebuilder/designer, but my professional standing was and is driven by my own desire as a pianist to have these excellent sounds at my finger tips in my own home, in my own way, in a way I could afford...as many other high-end rebuilders, I wear the pianist consumer's hat, the professional's hat, and the middle class hat.

Last edited by jim ialeggio; 06/15/13 10:20 AM.

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#2102861 - 06/15/13 11:10 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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Jim,

Why would someone who owns and entry level instrument consider putting a $45K rebuild into that instrument, when they could simply shop for pianos in a totally different price category? In that price range, there are newly and totally rebuilt instruments already available to play and make a selection. $45K would also purchase very fine new instruments. Those are the instruments that are referred to as "a piano you cannot afford" in the title of this thread.

Do you consider it wise to 'customize' an instrument which was never designed to be other than a very low cost, entry level, instrument? The word "lipstick" comes to my mind.

Remember, a Steinway owner might consider a Steingraeber to be "a piano you cannot afford."


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2102871 - 06/15/13 11:38 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Why would someone who owns and entry level instrument consider putting a $45K rebuild into that instrument, when they could simply shop for pianos in a totally different price category?

Hi Marty,

Where in Jim’s post did you read that he was suggesting that owners of entry level instruments consider spending big bucks to have them rebuilt?

No doubt, Jim was making a case for piano seekers to consider rebuilds, but I did not get the impression anywhere in his post that he was suggesting having entry level instruments rebuilt.

Just my .02.

Rick




Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#2102878 - 06/15/13 11:56 AM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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The above shows why I advice my customers simply to look at all options WITHIN same price range.

It's not "one agianst the other" but simply comparing apples to apples.

"Appels" being dollars...

Norbert wink


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Brodmann 780-405-8908
#2102887 - 06/15/13 12:24 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: jim ialeggio]  
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Rick,

Considering the topic of this thread, I found these statements to be rather odd:

Originally Posted by jim ialeggio
... talk to one of the high end rebuilders who can make this happen for you at an affordable price. 35K-45K for a customized piano which can hold its own in the company of any teir [sic] 1 instrument. ...

... Having auditioned the sounds that you want to "own", you now have both the authority and knowledge to audition the individual that can make it happen for you...


Having a piano rebuilt is very different that going to a store and playing pianos in a high price range.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2102891 - 06/15/13 12:34 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Rick,

Considering the topic of this thread, I found this statement to be rather odd:

Originally Posted by jim ialeggio
... talk to one of the high end rebuilders who can make this happen for you at an affordable price. 35K-45K for a customized piano which can hold its own in the company of any teir [sic] 1 instrument. ...

... Having auditioned the sounds that you want to "own", you now have both the authority and knowledge to audition the individual that can make it happen for you...


Having a piano rebuilt is very different that going to a store and playing pianos in a high price range.


Made perfect sense to me.


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"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins
#2102894 - 06/15/13 12:41 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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Wouldn't $30-45K for an instrument, new or rebuilt, already place it into the category of "a piano you cannot afford?"


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2102920 - 06/15/13 02:13 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: jim ialeggio]  
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Originally Posted by jim ialeggio
Another take on this, is that by "auditioning" a really enjoyable piano, and by experiencing the different flavors that various brand excellent pianos offer, one can get a sense of:

1-what is possible
2-what piano sound/touch really rings your bell(s).

Then, for those who don't have a prayer of purchasing a piano in those price ranges, you can, now fully informed and directed by an inner muse that knows what's possible, talk to one of the high end rebuilders who can make this happen for you at an affordable price. 35K-45K for a customized piano which can hold its own in the company of any teir 1 instrument. Plus, you get serious long term service...ie you get the tech who knows and designed the instrument, committed to the instrument and client as a porfessional relationship, honing it over time, to realize its full and glorious potential. You get a piano tailored it to suite your personal needs.

These sounds are within the grasp of ordinary folk, if you can think past the "buying into a brand" mindset.

Having auditioned the sounds that you want to "own", you now have both the authority and knowledge to audition the individual that can make it happen for you...or find the individual who has already made it happen in the form of a completed re-manufacture.

Jim Ialeggio

ps Obviously I'm a rebuilder/designer, but my professional standing was and is driven by my own desire as a pianist to have these excellent sounds at my finger tips in my own home, in my own way, in a way I could afford...as many other high-end rebuilders, I wear the pianist consumer's hat, the professional's hat, and the middle class hat.


Nice post, Jim. I completely agree.

It's a great idea to audition instruments one cannot afford. I always advise my friends/clients/fellow pianists and musical collaborators to play as many top quality instruments as possible when shopping - even when they ultimately will seek out something as modest as a $1500. used vertical. It is imperative to develop a benchmark of excellence in terms of tone and touch; this is highly useful when making future comparisons down the road.

Until you experience the best, you'll be at a serious disadvantage when auditioning pianos, no matter what your skill level is.

And 45k could represent an outstanding value when compared to a new piano costing 75-100k. Especially when it can be custom tailored for what the client wants.


Keyboardist & Composer, Piano Technician
www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/
#2102922 - 06/15/13 02:16 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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To the OP my answer is YES! Go try all the fine pianos you can get your appendages on.

JIm was suggesting, (and I second that) to also include piano rebuilders along with dealers of new pianos.

Recent market history has shown that finely rebuilt Steinways and Mason & Hamlin pianos will retain their value better than any other piano you can call an "investment". So that is another reason to audition rebuilders as well as dealers of new pianos. They can be the most affordable fine piano available.

Caveat; a significant proportion of the "rebuilders" do not produce a quality equal or better than new-so take your time to sort it out if you are going that route.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
#2102942 - 06/15/13 02:57 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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When I had my exam two weeks ago, they put me in this little practice room, and I warmed up on the practice piano, which was a 40-ish year old institutional American upright. Anyway the piano was horribly bright. People are always claiming how Yamaha is so bright, and assume anything American isn't, but this American piano was far and away brighter and harsher than any Yamaha I've heard, it sent fingernails on chalkboard vibrations up my spine.

I practically didn't recognize my pieces. Some of the dampers were not really working, and none of the unisons were completely clean. While it was in tune, kinda, but definitely not by any tech's standards. This is one of these pianos that people are generally quite positive on whenever others ask about them. I guess the truth is any piano could be horrible if not well maintained.

Anway this thing was so bad that I was in shock, yet I realize lot of people play on an instrument like this everyday, and many cannot afford even a brand new Chinese piano. When I got home, I played a few minutes on my Essex, and it absolutely sounded like a tier-1 piano compared to that practice piano at the exam. I am under no delusions. My Essex is no Steinway, but it's not bad, not at all.

Moral of the story, comparing up makes you wish you had a nicer piano. Comparing down makes you appreciate what a great piano you actually own. Many people that hangs out on PW suffers from upgraditis, including myself, but since the exam, I think I'm cured, if only temporarily.

As I recall, you already went from a baby grand to your current piano, and now you are looking at Steinways.... LOL!


Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci
#2102990 - 06/15/13 05:06 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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I guess I should have been more clear when I said Audition...I didnt mean I am looking to change pianos. I meant as in wanting to know what a high end piano sounds like more out of curiosity to see what extra money gets you and find out where the point of diminishing returns is at least for my ears. laugh


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*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

*Young Chang Y150 (Del F design) (gone)
#2102998 - 06/15/13 05:33 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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kapelli Offline
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kapelli  Offline
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Poland
Yes, you should definitely go and try. To hear and to touch the peak of the pianos. The sound I omit, because there is range from Bluethner to Fazioli in terms of brightness/clarity. Nevertheless, the power of sound, dynamics rage, big stunning bass and open trebles should be good in each of them. Once I was playing on a almost new Steinway D, which keyboard I loved (compared to all the old bad maintained stuff in polish music school) and my ongly thought was "wow, how it sounds, how it plays, what's the action, the first piano on which I can fully express myself". But the last two octaves intrebles were like somebody was inserting needels in my ears (OK, I have oversensitive ears, so often harsh sounds are making psychical pain for me) so it wasn't my dream, but this could be easily corrected by a good technician.

I haven't had this treble problem on new B model.

#2103004 - 06/15/13 06:03 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: jim ialeggio]  
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laguna_greg Offline
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laguna_greg  Offline
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guess where in CA and WA
Hi Jim,

Originally Posted by jim ialeggio


Then, for those who don't have a prayer of purchasing a piano in those price ranges, you can, now fully informed and directed by an inner muse that knows what's possible, talk to one of the high end rebuilders who can make this happen for you at an affordable price. 35K-45K for a customized piano which can hold its own in the company of any teir 1 instrument.



I agree with the sentiment. But the drawback is that even the best rebuilders cannot/should not/will not guarantee that the core piano you bring them will come out a winner, after all that work is done and the money spent.

When you start rebuilding, it's a crap shoot about how the thing will come out. Who wants to spend $45k when you can't even know what you're going to get out of it?

It's better to go and hear already rebuilt pianos.


Last edited by laguna_greg; 06/15/13 06:05 PM. Reason: oops

Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/greg-dempster/34/325/6b9/ (my day job)
#2103011 - 06/15/13 06:23 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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RickG1 Offline
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RickG1  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 345
TX
I have played very expensive instruments just to get "that sound" in my ear to help judge other ( including my own) pianos against. From Bosies, Steinways, Bluethners, Bechsteins, M &H, etc. Never have tried Faziolis but sure would like to. I am able to play a lot of stuff from memory and by ear so I can concentrate on the sound and not reading the notes. That really helps, IMHO.


Mason-Hamlin "A" and Schlicker 2 manual and pedal pipe organ
#2103018 - 06/15/13 06:50 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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malkin Offline
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malkin  Offline
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*sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Wouldn't $30-45K for an instrument, new or rebuilt, already place it into the category of "a piano you cannot afford?"


Some people must be able to afford them, or else no one would make them.


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2103023 - 06/15/13 07:08 PM Re: Is it a bad idea to audition a piano you cannot afford? [Re: shaolin95]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014
Minnesota Marty  Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Joined: May 2012
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Rochester MN
malkin - read the thread.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
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