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Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Norbert #2181942 11/13/13 09:45 PM
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Relative prosperity in the piano industry has always been linked to a growing middle class. The inexorable march of robotic work that is ever increasing and eliminating middle class jobs-is shifting markets everywhere. When our technology reaches the point where economy of scale is so reduced from the previous two centuries that new products can be made more or less custom for price-insensitive consumers-the middle class will be dead. When wealth creation is no longer dependent on making things for the middle class-the middle class is dead.

Discussing the future of the piano market without understanding the implications of robotic custom production and wealth aggregation is incomplete. All nations will be affected deeply.


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
Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Ed McMorrow, RPT #2181949 11/13/13 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT

Discussing the future of the piano market without understanding the implications of robotic custom production and wealth aggregation is incomplete. All nations will be affected deeply.


Sooner or later the capitalists will realize they can only sell so much stuff to each other.


Gary
Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Plowboy #2181987 11/13/13 10:53 PM
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The small percentage of the worlds population that owns most of the capital will soon no longer need to sell things to the middle and lower classes to support the expansion of technology. Couple that with robotic defense and you can begin to glimpse a brave new world where the 200 million or so wealthiest people on the planet could see a much better future for humanity minus the lives of 4 billion poorer people.

Look at how the robots are now the majority of stock trades. How does an algorithm gain new information about market conditions? They are not self-learning yet that I am aware of- and if the do become that way they will bid up asset values in a way that allows the debt linked expansion of the money supply to fuel the bubble endlessly. The wealthy will be printing money for themselves that almost never trickles down to the rest of us.


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
Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Norbert #2182033 11/13/13 11:48 PM
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Perhaps you should revise your sig...


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Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
terminaldegree #2182036 11/13/13 11:53 PM
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Well, I don't need a signature line since I post under my real name. Are you suggesting I revise my tag line to "infinitely pessimistic"? Is that my "Terminal Degree"?


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
Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Norbert #2182060 11/14/13 12:59 AM
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As someone posted earlier, the only obstacles will be whether there is a large enough market to sustain this many brands.



Yes, in China itself.

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I cannot begin to guess what will happen to Grotrian, Boesendorfer, C. Bechstein, Steingraeber, Seilers, Schimmel, Steinway, Mason & Hamlin and Charles Walter and some other brands that I cannot recall. Will they be relegated to the Museums of Germany and Austria and the US?



Not if they've taken the Chinese market seriously enough from the beginning. Ironically it's exactly makes like Steingraeber, Sauter, Grotrian and Foerster who decided to stay 100% German that are doing well today - with full order books.

To a large extent 'because' of China.

AS a German would perhaps say: "Others may hate you"

"But we can't afford to"

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 11/14/13 01:14 AM.

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Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Ed McMorrow, RPT #2182074 11/14/13 01:57 AM
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Re: Middle-class Robots.. laugh

The middle class is alive and well in the US, it just looks a bit different than the ones our grandparents saw. Instead of working at the GM factory they work at Google. It's really no different. I run a tech company and I think Americans need to change their mindset. Computer Science, sure it's not as easy as getting a psychology or business degree, but it isn't that hard. Americans just lack self-confidence in these subjects and some of us are a bit lazy. They think they can talk their way out of everything. Check out this article:
http://qz.com/139453/theres-one-key-difference-between-kids-who-excel-at-math-and-those-who-dont/ - it's all attitude and self-confidence.

Re automated hedge funds. A good friend of mine runs one. They don't base their trades on fundamentals, news, politics, wars, etc... Most of it's statistical arbitrage and when they have a good or bad month, they can't tell you why. So now you can sleep well tonight knowing a huge chunk of the world's money is managed this way smile

Oh yeah, re Chinese pianos. I might be due for a new piano in about 20 years so we'll see where they are then. If they can stay away from bad PR and clean up their image a bit, they might get their toe into the higher tier markets, and of course build nice pianos. I know some don't think that matters, but they're a minority. People definitely value good corporate citizens. And maybe a good first step is to stop hiring dealers to spam forums with their ads. Notice the other tier 2 & up guys don't do that.






Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Norbert #2182091 11/14/13 04:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Norbert
If, as by your reasoning, Pearl River makes Trabbi-like pianos but is importing more German parts and components for their top line pianos than is used by all German makers combined, there must be some pretty lousy stuff coming from Germany parts makers indeed.

Well, the Trabbi was made in Eastern Germany, so there...
But I believe that as cars, Trabbis were worse than Pearl Rivers as pianos. The "jokes" are just hyperboles. Not even that funny. I'm not a comedian. wink

Originally Posted by Norbert
You still haven't answered if you actually know the UH uprights or GH grands I'm talking about.

I don't know. I played a few notes on a Ritmuller 160, a Kayserburg upright, and various Pearl River models. The ones exhibited on the Frankfurt Musikmesse. And I don't know why a Ferrari was at the Pearl River stand.

Last edited by patH; 11/14/13 04:05 AM.

My grand piano is a Yamaha C2 SG.
My other Yamaha is an XMAX 300.
Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Norbert #2182260 11/14/13 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by patH
Well, the Trabbi was made in Eastern Germany, so there...
But I believe that as cars, Trabbis were worse than Pearl Rivers as pianos....

I'm not so sure about that. The early PR pianos were at least as close to the bottom of the barrel (as pianos go) and the Trabbi was (as cars go -- or not go, as the case may be).

The difference is that PR learned rapidly from their early mistakes and has been steadily improving.

ddf


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Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Norbert #2182279 11/14/13 12:17 PM
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The difference is that PR learned rapidly from their early mistakes and has been steadily improving.



This is often pointed out but it says little about where we will be going. It reminds me a bit of where "Auto-Union" was at one time and where Audi is today..

If the rapid improvement by these makers is any indication, it is totally possible that the future will point to some pretty exceptional pianos.

Which would require some adjustment of thinking where we're really at today.

Let's wait to next Jan 2014 Anaheim show and see what a $ 40,000 Chinese 6' grand will look like. [wholsale!!]

Chances are, a lot of of people will stop by to have a peek.

Something tells me somehow that a lot will be at stake....

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 11/14/13 12:21 PM.

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Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Norbert #2182674 11/15/13 07:33 AM
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Norbert, I don't know exactly where you were going with the "Auto Union" thing. I know at one time they had quite a fantastic reputation competing with Benz in the pre-war years and having a fantastic racing team as well. I bought a bunch of Audis 100LS's and other upscale models through the mid 90's and all I could conclude was that they were in a perpetual slide since acquisition by VW. I got rid of my German cars and also got rid of my towing policies and never looked back. Even my British cars have proven more reliable, moreso than my wife's SLK Benz, so where exactly were you going with this train of thought?? In order for Chinese products to command princely sums, there must be a public perception of Chinese goods in general of having high quality. The Japanese have done a fabulous job of cultivating this as a cultural phenomenon. Whether the Chinese decide to do this is another matter entirely. Until they do, that $40K 6 footer will become the "nail down" in the showroom.

Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Norbert #2182705 11/15/13 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Norbert

If the rapid improvement by these makers is any indication, it is totally possible that the future will point to some pretty exceptional pianos.

Which would require some adjustment of thinking where we're really at today.


I'm not sure where you are going with this thread...

From a rebuilder's perspective, seeing Chinese pianos appear in the $40K department is great news. Not only can the best of us (rebuilders) compete with this, we can turn out instruments that are actually made of wood (instead of MDF/coated with plastic), that are incredible custom instruments, for a bit less than 40K. We can do it locally, with materials grown and produced in this country. We can do this by offering clients a way around the hype of the showroom floor. We can do this competing, at this price on price alone. But once we are on a level playing field we offer way more than price comparison...we offer the necessary long term relationship with the artisan/designer who created the instrument, and we offer a real connection to both the client relationship and the piano...one can't ship this in a container from the East.

Higher priced Chinese products mean that the only advantage that anything coming from China has, which is price point, has been voluntarily relinquished...bad idea China...at least outside of China.

None of my clients who own Chinese instruments have any personal or emotional or financial commitment to these instruments...they just buy them because they are cheap. If anything they are a stepping stone to an instrument they can imagine having some personal connection to. Though, to a person, they are frustrated with their Chinese pianos, they resolutely cannot imagine actually spending money on them to finish building them, and or correct gross fabrication blow-outs, because why would you put any more money into something that has no value.

If the Chinese get to a point where they are producing good instruments at prices competitive with the larger market place, it means the skewed playing field has been leveled. This is great news for all of us in the developed world.

Further, you look at current demographic and monetary conditions within China and project those conditions as if they will remain constant in the next ten years...ha...good luck...thank goodness for the internet. Educated and internet savvy young will not put up with what their parents put up with, much like the children of immigrant parents in this country.

Look at the Chinese demographics and current societal trends. The young are not, to their elder's dismay, following in the workaholic-for-the-fatherland mind set...thank goodness...and are just as interested in having an enjoyable, fun, non-indentured servant life as the rest of the developed world's young.

Bring on the higher priced, better products China...it is good for the whole developed world.

Jim Ialeggio


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Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
John Pels #2182739 11/15/13 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by John Pels
I got rid of my German cars and also got rid of my towing policies and never looked back. Even my British cars have proven more reliable...


Ouch! That hurts!


Gary
Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Norbert #2182760 11/15/13 11:28 AM
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None of my clients who own Chinese instruments have any personal or emotional or financial commitment to these instruments...they just buy them because they are cheap. If anything they are a stepping stone to an instrument they can imagine having some personal connection to. Though, to a person, they are frustrated with their Chinese pianos, they resolutely cannot imagine actually spending money on them to finish building them, and or correct gross fabrication blow-outs, because why would you put any more money into something that has no value.


Gee, the folks that played my little Chinese grand either didn't know what they were doing or just weren't very good pianists. Most thought it was a pretty decent little piano, especially when I told them what it cost.

OTOH, we don't play much classical, so I guess none of us would qualify as pianists. Piano players, probably. Pianists? Nah.

See, I think reasonable folks buy what they can afford. Sure, most of them would like a new Steinway, but they just don't have the fare. Therefore, they buy what they can buy, for the money they have.

In the past, a lot of Chinese pianos weren't very good, but some were OK. Now, most are OK, and some are pretty good.

In a contracting and possibly dying business (acoustic piano), I think we need all the players we can get...Even if they did learn, and God forbid form an emotional attachment, to their Chinese piano.


TNCR. Over 20 years. Over 2,000,000 posts. And a new site...

https://nodebb.the-new-coffee-room.club

Where pianists and others talk about everything. And nothing.
Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Norbert #2182799 11/15/13 12:27 PM
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There seems to be a widely shared underlying theme that we just don't feel comfortable with the Chinese forging into so much of our economic life.

I personally share this sentiment.

By same token it doesn't help when looking at the reality of things out there. Not my invention..

Anybody tossing out their I-phones or computers because of it?

Or "not" perhaps considering a piano with great American heritage like Baldwin?

A piano with great "brand equity" as Steve Cohen recently put it?

100% made in China.

We are where we are and the march seems to be going on.

Show me a viable alternative - without willing to pay the price - and I will start believing.

P.S. Also thinking the 40,000 Chinese "super-grand" will be nailed on floor - for a while..

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 11/15/13 12:35 PM.

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Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Norbert #2182811 11/15/13 12:58 PM
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Does anyone know what percentage of Pearl River's pianos are sold in China? Because part of this story is surely the huge popularity of the piano as an instrument there.

Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Norbert #2182831 11/15/13 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Norbert
There seems to be a widely shared underlying theme that we just don't feel comfortable with the Chinese forging into so much of our economic life.

I personally share this sentiment.


You should be very comfortable with this as it's paying your bills smile Heck, if I were you, I'd be spamming forums with adverts. Oh wait, you're already doing that.

I don't agree with everything you said, but I do agree that Chinese pianos are probably a good solution for a the entry-mid level market, probably the most important part of the market. And I think it's generally a good thing to have as much quality at prices where more people can afford.

Here's where we differ. It sounds like the new Baldwin's are pretty nice, but I don't think they'll fool anyone into thinking they have much to do with the original Baldwin's. Even the Chinese Yamaha's had problems here and that's why they're discontinuing them. And I'm not even sure Baldwin such a hot brand anyway. If you're under 40, you probably grew up with some pretty bad Baldwin's which Yamaha & Kawai took advantage of. That was also the era where America in general was making garbage, and appealing to people too much older than that isn't going to help their business.

And stop comparing iPod's to pianos. They're nothing alike and the work that's being done in China is also totally different. A more fair comparison to a Chinese piano might be the Diamond Rio MP3 player.

But anyway, I think for people who just need a decent piano, possibly good pianos now but I haven't played one yet, for the kids to learn, can't spend tens of thousands, and don't really care about where it's made, status, etc...then the Chinese pianos should be good for them.


Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Norbert #2182841 11/15/13 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Norbert
There seems to be a widely shared underlying theme that we just don't feel comfortable with the Chinese forging into so much of our economic life.


yeah...but you just morphed your question about a 40k Chinese piano into your usual generic chinese piano thread. ... lost focus?...looks like...

To repeat, my take is I welcome the Chinese as equals playing according to the same rules, and actually paying their employees something that resembles a developed world living wage. Until then, they are gutting the market with the express intent of putting the competition out of business.

Show me a 40K Chinese grand and I will welcome all that that means. But, owing to the name they have made for themselves, I too would expect it to provide fine ballast for a while.

Jim Ialeggio

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Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
BornInTheUSA #2182933 11/15/13 04:34 PM
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"I don't agree with everything you said, but I do agree that Chinese pianos are probably a good solution for a the entry-mid level market, probably the most important part of the market. And I think it's generally a good thing to have as much quality at prices where more people can afford."

I think the big mistake here is in lumping all Chinese pianos into a single category. Among makes, there are differences in quality and sound. And no, I don't agree that certain Chinese pianos are only appropriate for entry level players. Here is a guy who owns 2 Perzina grands and he is not what I would call an entry level player:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1zjhBSdie4&list=UUxgsLw65rrsHZoswN6TAAnw

And I disagree with Jim's post that one does not become emotionally attached to a piano made in China. Like Jolly, I love my piano. I chose to buy my piano over a Yamaha C and Kawai RX because of the difference I heard in the tone and saw in the build quality and attention to detail which I was able to judge without letting any preconceived biases get in the way. I believe I bought a better made and better sounding piano.

Last edited by Grandman; 11/15/13 04:35 PM.

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Re: Chinese pianos: next chapter coming
Grandman #2182952 11/15/13 04:57 PM
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Another thing about expensive pianos, that may have been mentioned already on this thread: They are not just music instruments but also status symbols. And I don't believe Chinese instruments are (yet).

In fact, three days ago was "Bad Pun Day", so I'll just say: If you believe Chinese instruments are status symbols, you are a high loon. wink

If we draw the parallel to cars: The Volkswagen Phaeton was probably not worse as a car than the Mercedes S class or the BMW 7, or the Audi A8. And yet, as I heard a reporter put so eloquently: Does anybody want to spend 100.000 $ on a Volkswagen? Not really.

In China, people may not be so brand focused; the Phaeton is doing well there. The question is: Will Chinese buy their pianos?
I don't know; but the piano market will be interesting to observe.


My grand piano is a Yamaha C2 SG.
My other Yamaha is an XMAX 300.
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