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Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2196764
12/13/13 12:01 AM
12/13/13 12:01 AM
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MM,

Quote
You need to learn a great deal about the design of the Cunningham. If you did, your obvious lack of credibility might be less obvious.


My credibility? You had no idea the Cunningham's soundboard was plywood until I told you. No need to thank me. The education is on the house.

Quote
I don't really know, and we would need to ask Rich or Tim. I sincerely doubt that it is, but if that is the case, it is done without any detriment to the sound of the piano.


Mike


smoke 'em if you got 'em
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Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Jolly] #2196772
12/13/13 12:15 AM
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Jolly,

Quote

You haven't played the Cunningham. Therefore, thank you for admitting you really don't have a clue about what you are talking about.


Huh? Nothing I have said was dependent on playing yet another chinese piano with a plywood soundboard. But, for the sake of argument and since it seems to be bothering you so much, I'll stipulate that the Chinese Cunning+ham is equal to a Fazioli, Yamaha CFX, and for our Austrian fans a Bosendorfer Imperial. Happy?

It still does not change the facts: a chinese piano with plywood soundboard sells for about 30 to 50 percent of a Japanese artist grand because it lacks brand authenticity. Simple stuff.

Mike



smoke 'em if you got 'em
Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Mike Carr] #2196777
12/13/13 12:37 AM
12/13/13 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Carr
Jolly,

Quote

Therefore, thank you for admitting you really don't have a clue about what you are talking about.


Nothing I have said was dependent on playing another chinese piano with a plywood soundboard. But, for the sake of argument and since it seems to be bothering you so much, I'll stipulate that the Chinese Cunning+ham is equal to a Fazioli, Yamaha CFX, and for our Austrian fans a Bosendorfer Imperial. It still does not change the facts: a chinese piano with plywood soundboard sells for about 30 to 50 percent of a Japanese artist grand because it lacks brand authenticity. Simple stuff.

Mike



Play the piano.

If you're worth two bits as a pianist or even as a person who can decently evaluate a piano, you'll form your own opinion. You don't have to throw smoke about whether the Cunningham is equal to a Bosie (we both know it's not), just rate the piano as what it is...because, if it can run with an artist Japanese grand, why the heck would you want to buy a Japanese grand?

Unless you feel the need to flaunt the name on the fallboard.

In that case, I wouldn't buy the Bosie. I think Steinway has more snob appeal. At least here in the states. Too many people who don't play the piano have no idea what a new Bosie costs, but they'll ooh and ah over a Steinway.


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Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Jolly] #2196785
12/13/13 01:14 AM
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Jolly,

Quote
Back to the 5'10" Cunningham...In build quality, this is the Mason & Hamlin of Asian-sourced pianos. The rim is thicker (yeah, I brought a tape measure) and all maple. The plate is the most massive of any piano in its class. The bracing is well done and the joints are flawless. The soundboard is not going to crack or compression crown. The finish on the piano I saw was well executed.


I'm almost afraid to play one of these pianos. I might never shut up about it.

Quote
If you're worth two bits as a pianist or even as a person


Come on.

Quote
It is thicker and it is beefier than anything in its class.


Do you plan on playing the thing or grilling it?

Mike


smoke 'em if you got 'em
Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: pianoloverus] #2196823
12/13/13 03:45 AM
12/13/13 03:45 AM
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Pianoloverus,

Quote
The MSRP could be called arbitrary but that is definitely not the case for the SMP. This is precisely why the SMP is useful and the MSRP is not. The SMP, together with the suggested range of discounts to be expected, is not perfect but still the best way to get a handle on a reasonable sale price.



For me, the SMP is arbitrary in the sense that it was "created". And since the MSRP coincides with the SMP on many occasions, it's hard to call the MSRP arbitrary without calling the SMP arbitrary as well, especially in those instances where it is the same or near the same price as the MSRP. I understand what you are saying, though.

And while I think the pricing guide is worth a look, it's nothing I'd wholeheartedly pin my hopes on or subscribe to, but at the same time I wouldn't disagree that for some people it's "not perfect but still the best way to get a handle on a reasonable sale price."

For getting a feel for the market, for me at least, there's no substitute for going to piano shops and checking pianos on craigslist.


Mike


smoke 'em if you got 'em
Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Jolly] #2196834
12/13/13 04:15 AM
12/13/13 04:15 AM
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Mr. Carr
To me it seems like you disqualify yourself using salestalk:
http://www.pianobuyer.com/fall13/94.html

If I understand correctly the durability of this type of soundboard might be higher than that of a common solid spruce soundboard. As you don't want to discuss sound quality (Which seems to be indisputed when it comes to Cunningham) what do you intend to say?

Quote
The principal new type, known as a "veneer-laminated" or "surface-tension" soundboard, consists of a core of solid spruce (essentially a solid spruce soundboard) covered on both sides by a very thin veneer of spruce. This type of soundboard vibrates much more like a solid one than a plywood one, but still retains the benefit of protection against cracking and loss of crown. Pianos with these soundboards usually sound reasonably good, and occasionally very good.


About buying Chinese goods:
Do you own a car? Do you own a computer? If one of these questions is answered with a yes your cheap rethorics about China are worth less then a dime.

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: WimPiano] #2196843
12/13/13 04:55 AM
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Quote
About buying Chinese goods:
Do you own a car? Do you own a computer? If one of these questions is answered with a yes your cheap rethorics about China are worth less then a dime.


You know, Wimp, that's about the smartest thing I've heard all night, although I will remind you that I was worth two bits about an hour ago.

Mike


smoke 'em if you got 'em
Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Jolly] #2196848
12/13/13 05:23 AM
12/13/13 05:23 AM
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Just wondering: why the disdain, even in your first post in this topic?

Edit: I picked the forum-name on purpose: It makes it easy to distinguish good intention from bad. (Most people would understand my first name is Wim)

Last edited by wimpiano; 12/13/13 07:22 AM.
Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: BornInTheUSA] #2196871
12/13/13 07:42 AM
12/13/13 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by michaelh
Originally Posted by Mike Carr

Chinese pianos with plywood soundboards generally sell for 30 to 50 percent of Japanese artist grade. Over reliance on MSRP or SMP, both arbitrary figures, tends to misrepresent market trends, especially those of an immediate nature, while giving the buyer a confidence that is not only unearned but unrealistic.

Chinese piano companies and their container agents, in an effort to match the brand authenticity of Japanese pianos, tend to rely on shake and bake marketing schemes, mostly centering around the revival of defunct brand names with Germanic or American shading.

In an effort to distance themselves from the superficial heritage of their own brands, Chinese marketers often hire old men who once worked for these defunct companies, looking remarkably clean and well kempt (as if the family has decided to send them into town for a quart of milk), in thoughtful poses, usually poised over a piano frame or soundboard, chisel or hammer in hand (some seem uncertain as to what it is they are doing), while wondering how soon they can cash their next check.

Mike


I have read in PB about an era when many piano makers were using "plywood" soundboards. Laminate, I believe (too lazy to Google it now). Not sure if that's true with some of the newer/better Chinese pianos everyone here keeps raving about, but I don't know.

I don't have much evidence either way about your other statements but I've suspected similar things, too: if Lothar Thomma actually works at Ritmuller or if they're just renting his name. Again, not saying they are just that I'm suspicious given the Chinese government and all their state owned companies' record of lying, corruption, and piracy.

This isn't exactly news, but last week I read about Chinese now bootlegging French Bordeaux and Burgundy.
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/wine-fakers-get-sharper-industry-fights-back - What I'm curious about, is what kind of wine is actually in that bottle of Chateau Latour that some chump just paid $10,000/bottle for. Maybe it's Franzia (box wine) or Charles Shaw (coined the 2-buck Chuck from Trader Joe's). LOL

Another thought I had was some of these Chinese pianos with Abel Hammers, Renner Actions, Strungz soundboards, XYZ Keys, Rosslau Strings, etc....it starts to sound like a trip to Fry's Electronics to custom build your own PC, a custom-built Dell, etc.

Again, the speculation up there is just speculation. I guess if you don't care about the politics and you think the piano sounds & feels good, then get it. Either way, basically all of us are supporting the Chinese gov't already since almost everything in our house is made there already. Might as well go all the way and get a Chinese piano.


A ridiculous statement. You are obviously paranoid.

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Mike Carr] #2196872
12/13/13 07:46 AM
12/13/13 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Carr

MM,

Quote
You need to learn a great deal about the design of the Cunningham. If you did, your obvious lack of credibility might be less obvious.


My credibility? You had no idea the Cunningham's soundboard was plywood until I told you. No need to thank me. The education is on the house.

Quote
I don't really know, and we would need to ask Rich or Tim. I sincerely doubt that it is, but if that is the case, it is done without any detriment to the sound of the piano.


Mike


You're coming across as a moron. You don't know anything about the cunningham or other well made chinese pianos.

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Jolly] #2196873
12/13/13 07:50 AM
12/13/13 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Jolly
Originally Posted by Mike Carr
Jolly,

Quote

Therefore, thank you for admitting you really don't have a clue about what you are talking about.


Nothing I have said was dependent on playing another chinese piano with a plywood soundboard. But, for the sake of argument and since it seems to be bothering you so much, I'll stipulate that the Chinese Cunning+ham is equal to a Fazioli, Yamaha CFX, and for our Austrian fans a Bosendorfer Imperial. It still does not change the facts: a chinese piano with plywood soundboard sells for about 30 to 50 percent of a Japanese artist grand because it lacks brand authenticity. Simple stuff.

Mike



Play the piano.

If you're worth two bits as a pianist or even as a person who can decently evaluate a piano, you'll form your own opinion. You don't have to throw smoke about whether the Cunningham is equal to a Bosie (we both know it's not), just rate the piano as what it is...because, if it can run with an artist Japanese grand, why the heck would you want to buy a Japanese grand?

Unless you feel the need to flaunt the name on the fallboard.

In that case, I wouldn't buy the Bosie. I think Steinway has more snob appeal. At least here in the states. Too many people who don't play the piano have no idea what a new Bosie costs, but they'll ooh and ah over a Steinway.


Yes, finally words of wisdom. Play the piano and judge it by how it sounds and feels. Inspect the build quality. Thats how it's supposed to be done.

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Mike Carr] #2196875
12/13/13 07:51 AM
12/13/13 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Carr
Jolly,

Quote
Back to the 5'10" Cunningham...In build quality, this is the Mason & Hamlin of Asian-sourced pianos. The rim is thicker (yeah, I brought a tape measure) and all maple. The plate is the most massive of any piano in its class. The bracing is well done and the joints are flawless. The soundboard is not going to crack or compression crown. The finish on the piano I saw was well executed.


I'm almost afraid to play one of these pianos. I might never shut up about it.

Quote
If you're worth two bits as a pianist or even as a person


Come on.

Quote
It is thicker and it is beefier than anything in its class.


Do you plan on playing the thing or grilling it?

Mike


On build quality, I'll stand by every statement I made - with a tape measure, a scale and a micrometer.

It's well known that the Hailun (the OEM of the Cunningham) is a beefy piano - ask the guys who deliver them. The Cunningham has a different scale, though, requiring a different, and heavier, plate. Put a micrometer on the bracing and a rule on the height of that bracing or just look at the weight.

Maple is heavy and hard on bits, ask any woodworker. But it's a dense wood, musically reflective and it lasts a long, long time. That's what the Cunningham rim is made of and it's a thicker rim than anything I've seen in its class, or in the RX or C series.

Fit and finish of the bracing can be ascertained by looking for yourself.

As per your truncated quote about you as a person...well, that's your interpretation. Don't let me stand in the way of self-flagellation.

Lastly, and again, play the piano. You may not like it. I didn't buy it. But that's personal preference. It has nothing to do with whether the piano is a good piano, or not.

Play the piano, and give us an honest opinion.


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Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Jolly] #2196877
12/13/13 07:58 AM
12/13/13 07:58 AM
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What I don't get about Mike Carr's posts is the personal nature of his attacks. I don't really think he is interested in pianos at all, and certainly not in the truth about them. He is interested in personally attacking a particular pair of brands and maybe a specific person all of whose identities we all know at this point.

Mike, if you want to attack piano brands, at least play a representative of the brand first. (My ignorance of piano technology is infinite, but I do play more than one piano of each and every brand I mention here.) Since you at least pretend to some knowledge of piano construction, you should then examine the piano to see whether your statements about its construction are accurate, preferably with an expert nearby to take you on a tour of the interior. At that point it might be possible to have a conversation with you on this forum, depending on whether you can shed your obvious personal bias and your preference for scoring cheap points (whether true or not). Incidentally, how is that preference working out for you? Do you think that anyone on this thread takes you seriously at this point?

Anticipating your reaction to this post, I would like to point out that there is a difference between responding to your posts and taking them seriously. If all you want is a response (any response), your strategy seems to be working. If you want the content of your posts to be taken seriously, it is not.

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Rank Piano Amateur] #2196891
12/13/13 08:54 AM
12/13/13 08:54 AM
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Dear Rank Amateur:

For those of us not involved in this needless blood-bath, thank you for your last. It's an oasis of sanity and balance.

Nevertheless, I have to ask: what is the point of such hateful vehemence in expressing a dissenting opinion ? Who is served by such abuse ?

To an outsider looking in, the contributions of MC are hysterical and mental. Was a member of his family injured by a Chinese person or persons ? Is there a rational explanation for this venom ?

Surely we can do better than to attempt, again and again, to provoke a less than gracious response from Jolly or others. I'm proud that the appallingly bad manners displayed here have been limited to just one.

In the end, the Cunningham 5'10" is still what is was to begin with: an excellent and very sturdily-built piano that may be purchased at a surprisingly affordable price. No amount of border-line ranting can change that.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Mike Carr] #2196895
12/13/13 08:56 AM
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Quote
I'm almost afraid to play one of these pianos.



Be a man or listen to your landlord Jeb play it.


Rerun

"Seat of the pants piano player" DMD


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Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Jolly] #2196908
12/13/13 09:31 AM
12/13/13 09:31 AM
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Why cant people just discuss Pianos instead of slinging mud! If someone has a beef then do it privately!
I come here to talk pianos, not to view arguments and petty squabbles!


If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.
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Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Jolly] #2196928
12/13/13 10:13 AM
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"If you're shopping in the entry-level price range and a piano with a laminated soundboard meets your musical and other expectations, there's no reason not to purchase it."

Mr. Carr,

I happen to agree with this quote from Larry Fine. It is one of the reasons that I am unconcerned about the manufacturing process used in the construction of the Cunningham soundboards. My assessment of these pianos are based on my eyes, ears, and hands as a pianist. It is an assessment based not on price, but rather on the response of the piano as a musical instrument.

I completely agree with Jolly's assessment.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Mike Carr] #2196934
12/13/13 10:21 AM
12/13/13 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Carr
Pianoloverus,

Quote
The MSRP could be called arbitrary but that is definitely not the case for the SMP. This is precisely why the SMP is useful and the MSRP is not. The SMP, together with the suggested range of discounts to be expected, is not perfect but still the best way to get a handle on a reasonable sale price.



For me, the SMP is arbitrary in the sense that it was "created". And since the MSRP coincides with the SMP on many occasions, it's hard to call the MSRP arbitrary without calling the SMP arbitrary as well, especially in those instances where it is the same or near the same price as the MSRP. I understand what you are saying, though.

And while I think the pricing guide is worth a look, it's nothing I'd wholeheartedly pin my hopes on or subscribe to, but at the same time I wouldn't disagree that for some people it's "not perfect but still the best way to get a handle on a reasonable sale price."

For getting a feel for the market, for me at least, there's no substitute for going to piano shops and checking pianos on craigslist.
"Arbitrary" generally means(to quote the definition) "based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system."

That is definitely not the case for the SMP. My understanding is that the SMP and discount ranges from the SMP were created using knowledge of factors like dealer wholesale costs, typical retail prices, typical discounts, and margins necessary to sustain a dealership. The SMP has been around as a concept in the Piano Book, Supplements to the Piano Book, and finally the Piano Buyer for at least 15 years, but probably longer. Even if one disagrees with some of the details in the formula used for the SMP I think it is impossible to deny that it serves the extremely useful purpose of leveling the playing field by giving a figure other than the MSRP(which can be totally arbitrary and deceptive).

When the MSRP matches the SMP it simply means the maker has chosen to not arbitrarily inflate their MSRP prices. In most case, I take this as something positive and certainly not any indication that the SMP is as arbitrary as the MSRP. The important point is that the SMP is virtually never greater than the MSRP. In recent years, my strong impression is that a lot more of the manufacturers have chosen to have their MSRP bigger than the SMP so that cases where the SMP and MSRP are the same or close have decreased.

Craigslist may be good for getting an idea of what used pianos sell for(although one only gets the advertised price so it's not ideal) but the SMP is primarily for new pianos. I think the SMP is useful to decide if a dealer's offered selling price(either before or after negotiation)is reasonable. The SMP is not meant to take into account the latest economic conditions or the specific locale.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 12/13/13 10:36 AM.
Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Jolly] #2196950
12/13/13 11:07 AM
12/13/13 11:07 AM
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In my latest piano negotiations, I found the SMP to be a very useful negotiating tool. I found that in the dance of offer/counter-offer, it kept one from making an offer so low as to offend the seller, but at the same time let me know what ceiling I would not go above.

In sports parlance, it let me know where the end zones were, so I could play the ball up and down the field.


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Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. [Re: Jolly] #2197014
12/13/13 01:21 PM
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How does PIanoBuyer have all the wholesale prices? I also imagine that the official wholesale prices may actually be higher than what some/many dealers pay either because of volume, some special deal, or seasonal specials.

I suspect that there's "wiggle" room in the wholesale prices especially from Chinese companies but probably with many of them to varying degrees. So if the SMP is based on a wholesale price that may not be completely reliable, then perhaps the discount range should be much wider.

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