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Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220157 12/29/07 12:16 AM
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Hi, I am continuing on my quest to purchase a grand piano. Tomorrow I am looking at a private sale of a Steinway Model M 5'7" piano. The price is $18,000 or best offer.

From the advertisement: "New hammers, shanks and flanges, action regulated -- all done last year. Restrung in mid-60's. Soundboard and bridges in very good condition as is the finish."

I spoke with the technician who did the work, and he encouraged me to view the piano and try it out. However, he also said that "old pianos are like old houses - they will have their idiosyncrasies". He also remarked that when purchasing a Steinway or other top name brand you are paying a premium for the name.

The impression I got from him is that for $18,000 I could get a very fine new instrument from a less well-known company.

I would love to hear opinions on this, particularly the issue of old pianos vs new pianos.

Thank you.

Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220158 12/29/07 01:38 AM
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The only way to be sure you are not paying a premium for the Steinway name is to not buy one.

Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220159 12/29/07 02:22 AM
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Mrswright, I'm concerned that the action stack was rebuilt but the strings were not restrung. So it's a partial rebuild.

My gut feel is that this is some tech who made a hobby of rebuilding this piano and was only knowedgeable about the action. So this still needs some $$ for a full rebuild thus it doesn't sound like the price is a bargain.

Just for comparison, one can get a Steinway M freshly rebuilt with brand new action, freshly finished plate, new bridges, new agraffes, new strings, soundboard refinished (not replaced), entire piano exterior refinished, everything functioning like new for $25K plus or minus, and from a master rebuilder.


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Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Electro 4 HP

Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220160 12/29/07 02:32 AM
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You may just as well ask "Is an 80-year-old Rolls Royce a good car?". It all depends on the current condition, and if it was restored, the quality of parts used and the skill of the rebuilder.

Have a different tech check it out. You have many excellent choices in that price range.

--Cy--


Cy Shuster, RPT
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Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220161 12/29/07 04:13 AM
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Cut a major corner on the action rebuild. Didn't change the wippens, so therefore one can assume the backchecks,letoff buttons and the remainder of the action was not addressed. Damper action is surely original. One can assume if one didn't change the wippens he cut the rest of the corners. One had 4 bald tires and only changed 2. Probably plays minimally better than the original action. A Repin and Restring 40 years ago is a no value upgrade at present. I guarantee the pinblock is history in certain sections. The restring was done in the "stoneage" Most likely oversized pins (3 opt 4 opt or bigger) It's due for a new topend rebuild (with new pinblock)at 40 years, believe me.

What I'm trying to say is the partial prior rebuild has NO value. You would not salvage anything if one restored the piano in it's entirety at present. You are better off buying one, newly restored as per Jazzwee suggested for more $ or find a less expensive Steinway "rebuildable core" and commision a reputable rebuilder to restore it in it's entirety. Restoration is an accumulative endeavor so either do it all or don't bother. Jazzwee got it right

I've never heard a tech take out his own rebuild.
I hate to sound presumptuous but I've been down this road 250+ times with vintage rebuildable Steinways. What year is this M ? 18K is way to much for a rebuildable core piano. If 18Kish is your peak pricepoint there are many other new or low milage preowned pianos out there in the marketplace.


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Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220162 12/29/07 01:16 PM
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pb, I forgot about the 'pinblock'. That's so critical. Without replacing the pinblock, you have not renewed the life of the piano in any way.


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Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220163 12/29/07 02:05 PM
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thanks everyone, your comments are very helpful. And about the tech - he is very experienced and reliable. If the work done was not complete, I would guess that it was because the client only wanted a certain amount done.

Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220164 12/29/07 02:21 PM
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Ask more questions, specifically the condition of the pinblock and the bridge. If you do not get a satisfactory answer, there are reasonably priced pianos out there, including the Steinway designed "Essex" model. They are also good for trade-in if you want a new Steinway piano later on.

- Mark


...The ultimate joy in music is the joy of playing the piano...
Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220165 12/29/07 02:35 PM
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"The impression I got from him is that for $18,000 I could get a very fine new instrument from a less well-known company."

If you haven't looked at what you can buy for $18,000 new, you need to... I believe you can find a few new brands that are just as "well known" as Steinway in this price range for the same size piano. And most new $18,000 pianos will be nicer than most 80 year old used pianos.


Matt Crossette
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Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220166 12/29/07 06:05 PM
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mrswright,
An 80 year old Steinway have the POTENTIAL to be a good piano.
Each and every 80 year old such piano (and considerably younger) needs usually a lot of work.

Such pianos, prior to rebuilding have a fairly set value in the market.
Assuming that this is indeed an M and not an ex player, there is no severe delaminating of the rim, no cracked plate, adn no special carpentry needed (as well as some other possibilities that can reduce the value of such pianos greatly), it would have a market value to a rebuilder of about 5K - 6.5K.

A respectable rebuilder will invest usually a lot more money in the restoration of the instrument than the piano is worth, and the value of the instrument after the work will depend greatly on the quality of the work done rather than the work done.

Most of the value of such completed instrument is in the restoration work, rather than the initial cost of the instrument prior to rebuilding, and when one buys restored pianos, they pay mostly for the rebuilding rather than for the piano body itself.

Should a private person buy such pianos, I do not recommend for them to pay more than the value of the piano is for a rebuilder.

The rebuilders/dealers will get heir profit and cover their overhead when the buyer brings the piano for them for restoration.
This is especially true for sub 6' pianos.

The value of their pianos, in spite of the comforting promises some rebuilders make, will not exceed the cost of the piano plus the cost of the restoration done even if they bought these instruments at their fair market value (5K-6K for an M). It will be quite similar to the prices the rebuilder is selling similar instrument, which he had already restored and completed...and I mean REALLY selling rather than just posting a ridiculous asking price.

If one were to pay 7 -8 K for such a piano, and than take to a rebuilder for restoration, he is not likely to save a penny over the cost of a similar ready piano from the same rebuilder, when everything is taken into consideration including the moves and the price of money paid as a deposit until the work is done.
If one were to pay more than that, they are most likely to pay more than they would for getting a similar piano, with similar quality full restoration work from a rebuilder.

The result of the work, of course, is unknown as well, so unless someone is attached to the piano for sentimental reasons, they will usually do better if they were to trade in such a piano prior to its restoration, and get another one completed (or any other instrument). The trade in value, of course, will be the same 5K-6K, regardless of whether the instrument was purchased for $8,000 or $18,000…


In regards to this specific piano, I can't be 100% sure without seeing it, but based on my experience of seeing 1000's of such pianos in the past, it definitely sounds like no real restoration work was done, and like any expenses that were done to the piano are a kin to a Band-Aid plastered over a person in need of a heart surgery.

In other words, a partial patch up job does not increase the value, and such instrument is likely to have a value, to a respectable rebuilder, no greater than it would have had, if there were no strings at all, and it needed full rebuilding.


Yes, if one’s expectations are not too high, such pianos can play and be satisfactory for a number of years.
But, I can tell you that although I’m not a great believer in lower end piano, the likelihood is that you’ll be happier with almost ANYTHING within a 10K budget than a Band - Aid Steinway, let alone 18K.


Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - CT / NYC area.

One can usually play at our showroom:

Bluthner, Steingraeber, Estonia, Haessler, Sauter, Kawai, Steinway, Bosendorfer and more.

www.allegropianos.com
Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220167 12/30/07 04:10 AM
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Ori, most everthing you've said is on point and I am in agreement,with exception of a few comments. A large % of fully restored Steinway grands are marketed through retail piano showrooms whereas the markup by the retail dealer can be substantial. Whether the retailer commisioned the rebuild at wholesale, raising their profit margin even more so is a common practice in the industry. Many restored pianos are on consignment
from rebuilders whom don't have the marketing tools to sell to the end user. The fair market value of a Steinway grand is based on the REPLACEMENT value less depreciation and other factors that add or take away from it's calculated value. Value is not derived by the core piano purchase price + restoration cost invested in the instrument. It can be helpful as a guideline in arriving at the fair market value.

Most restoration firms don't really sell that many restored pianos on spec. A dealer like yourself, is an exception whereas one could be confronted in negociating a restoration job vrs. buying a restored piano already done with maybe a trade-in in the mix. That is why there is such a thing as RETAIL. An average Steinway buyer would not even think of buying an unrestored "core" piano and getting it restored not to exceed what he or she could purchase it already done. Only the savy with alot of time and energy could benefit in this scenario and purchase direct from a rebuilder or search for that rare core piano at under market value. But those savings can be had for those only who do the research not the common retail buyer whom buys out of convienience and service. Same analogy as for one who shops at Neiman Marcus rather than going direct to the garment district in that seedy part of town to buy wholesale.

As for buying direct from a restoration co.,it would seem to me purchasing a finished product for less $ than buying a unrestored "core" and commisioning a rebuild is definitely possible. My business mdl. whereas restoration cost to the client is and should be more than the exact same restoration on a finished piano. They already own the piano. One is a service and one is a sale. Think of it this way,a prospective buyer has the extra incentive to buy a restored piano for lesser $ than the alternative of finding a core piano etc.etc.This way one sees,plays and hears the finished product.Steinway being a hand made piano will turn out different no matter how precision your restoration is. Individual geometry is the way it is with Steinway and one may not like the finished product which they commisioned.

If you are banking on acquiring unrestored Steinways for 5-6K on a regular basis,you'll be doing very few restorations. Aquiring a good rebuildable core for 5-6K if one is a private party is near impossible. When one in your part of town is looking to sell their Steinway grand, they call Steinway directly. Steinway bids low and most sellers are grateful in anything more than Steinway's original offer. Steinway sets the precedent as for value in the Northeast.


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Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220168 12/30/07 02:19 PM
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Pianobroker,
I find your post written in a confusing and hard to understand manner, so I maybe missing any point you're trying to make.

Trying to sort through your Neiman Markus/garment district, and "rare core piano under market", leaves me with the feeling that you I may have not explained myself very well before.


Here is it again, simplified:

The "core" value (as you call it) of an 80 years old Steinway "M", in need of restoration, is let's say, $6,000.

A private customer has purchased this piano for its true value of $6,000, and would like to get it restored.
To simplify things, lets say that the piano is going to be fully restored and refinished (including new soundboard assembly, pin block and action).

He turns to 2 rebuilders, specifies the same parts replaced.

Rebuilder "A" has a top notch name and known restoration quality.
He is selling his completed pianos as fast as they can be produced, and routinely gets $35,000 for his fully restored and refinished pianos, whether the pianos are sold out of his factory or showroom, including the delivery and first tuning.

The price this rebuilder would charge for the full restoration and refinishing is $28,000.
One must add to that, however, the cost of moving the piano to and from the factory for restoration ($500), and the price of money for a 50% deposit over the time of restoration (let's say also about $500).

Rebuilder "B", for various reasons, can not routinely get $35,000 for his completed pianos.
He too would love to be able to charge more and put his daughters through college, but he is able to sell his completed pianos for only $27,000.

The price rebuilder "B" would charge the customer for the full restoration and refinishing is $20,000.

Still, One must add to that the cost of moving the piano to and from the factory for restoration ($500), and the price of money for a 50% deposit over the time of restoration ($500).

So now, lets do some simple calculations.


If the customer decides to go with rebuilder A since he thinks the quality of the restoration/refinishing is better, and he feels that this is the better value in spite of the higher price, he would pay the following:

Un restored piano 6K.
Restoration 28K.
Cost of moves/money 1K.

The total is $35,000.
The price of a similar, already restored piano from rebilder "A" is $35,000...


If the customer decides to go with rebuilder B since he thinks the quality of the restoration/refinishing is similar, or that rebuilder A's higher price is too much for the quality difference, or he feels that this lower price better suits his needs , he would pay the following:

Un restored piano 6K.
Restoration 19K.
Cost of moves/money 1K.

The total is $26,000.
The price of a similar, already restored piano from rebuilder "A" is $26,000...


The point I was trying to make in my prior post, and now emphasized, is that should a consumer buy a piano, even at its un restored true market value, and take it to a rebuilder, he is not likely to save much money, if anything at all, over buying such a completed piano from the same rebuilders.

I hope that now we can agree on the above.
The difference between us, as I see it, is that based on my experience in the industry and knowledge of pianos, I believe that there are differences between restoration qualities, and that lower initial price does not mean necessarily better value.

I'm a firm believer (and my industry experience and piano knowledge supported it each and every time) that if rebuilder "B" quality was really as good as rebuilder A, he COULD have sold his pianos for more, and WOULD have sold his pianos for more.

I see your position as one who would like people to believe that the customers routinely buying pianos from the most reputable restoration facilities in the country, are basically stupid, and are just paying too much for the same thing...

Personally, I find such approach a little hypocritical, since most of the medium quality rebuilders make the same argument I just made in regards to the lower end "patch up artists", partially reconditioning pianos in need of a lot more work.

You too, in fact, made such a comment in your first post on this thread, saying that whoever did the work on the piano asked about, "Cut a major corner on the action rebuild. Didn't change the wippens", and that cutting corners is not usually limited to one part of the work done to a piano...

Also, I'm sure that you are well aware of the piano restoration facilities that offer "full wholesale restorations" for less than 5K...yet you do not send your pianos for restoration their, neither do I, even though the cost of restoration, in our own facilities to us is much, much higher than that...

Had you really believed that the quality offered in these factories was good enough, it would be prudent of you to send your pianos for restoration there...yet you do not...or at least I hope that you don't.

By the way, do you offer in your shop wholesale work for technicians or other dealers at a reduced cost?
Also...as another side note, if you pay too much for your piano, all you're doing is setting yourself to be less competitive in your market in comparison to other rebuilders. I don't have any problems to buy Steinway "M" for the prices I mentioned above, and we can get as many as we want. The "bottle neck" in our factory is that we cannot produce more pianos than we do now, while maintaining the quality that we desire.

We can both purchase and/or sell more pianos than we can produce.
So pianobroker, if indeed you ARE paying too much for the pianos, and would like to purchase a truck load of these for 10K each, to make my time and effort in acquiring, moving and storing these worth while, than feel free to call me anytime.

As seen on this thread, a private seller (or maybe even a dealer who feels no responsibility to the customers over the long run) can ask 18K for these "bargains"...

In any case, a discussion about whether to send the work to rebuilder A or B is the right decision for the customer, is really moot.

I hope I explained clearly this time that regardless of the choice of rebuilder, the customer is not likely to have any significant savings over buying a ready piano form the same rebuilder, no matter how "savvy and willing to spend time", as you described before, even in the best case scenario.

And this is the sad part of this segment of the market...the scenario I described at the beginning of this post IS usually the best case scenario from the stand point of the customer.

In that scenario, the result is that the "Jem" that the consumer found, cost her just about the same to complete as getting a ready one, and all she lost was time and effort...and of course the freedom to choose a piano that she actually tried and liked before purchasing it.

The reality in most cases, unfortunately, is much more grim.

First, the seller of the piano has no reason to sell this "jem" for its real value of 6K. The can sell the piano for this price to a dealer with a simple phone call.

No, usually they want more.
Whether they want more to cover their effort of putting an ad in the paper, paying a commission to a "tech" or "broker" who'd recommend their pianos to a consumer...does not really matter.

They would like to get more.
In the case of the above piano, the "jem" is offered for 18K.
The unknowing "savvy" buyer, who usually have little understanding or concept of the real condition of the piano, and/or what it would need in the relatively near future, is judging the offered price by the cost a new one (over 40K), or of similar vintage pianos offered at dealers for 25K - 35K, without understanding that these usually see at least some major work, which will be much more costly for him to contract than to the dealer/rebuilder.

At 18K, it sounds like a fair price to the unknowing consumer.
At 15K, is sounds like a deal...and at 12K, he'd write that check with a quivering hand, feeling that he lucked out on a "deal of a life time".

He now pays an extra $300 to move the piano to his home, and another $125 for a tuner to tune it.
At this point, if the consumer is REALLY LUCKY, he finds out that the piano is un tunable to such a degree, the honest tech is suggesting that restoration is needed, and he is looking to contract a restoration facility such as rebuilders A or B above...only with a cost base of $12,425 rather than 6K in the un restored piano, leading to a virtual loss of $6,500 over the options described in this post, in addition to the leg work and waste of time.

If the customer is LESS lucky, and the piano can hold a tune, at least for a while, the tech may try to "improve it", by doing some partial action work, new hammers, perhaps new strings, in home bridge work, or any other work the tech will describe as "using his skills"...leading the customer to spend anywhere between $1,000 - $5,000 on the piano.

At this point, the piano, in spite of the name Steinway on the fallboard, is not likely to perform better than the average low end piano that can be bought for less than 10K. And it value is still 6K, in spite of the “skills of the tech”
If the customer is interested in a low performance pianos, has low expectations, and likes to see the name Steinway on the board, this may do for a few years…until of course more major work is needed, which is inevitable, at which point he is back to square one and choosing between rebuilder A or B, only this time his cost base prior to restoration is over 16K instead of 6K .

The even LESS lucky customers, are usually those that like to believe in ferry tales, “sales”, and other “bargains”.

These consumers, after spending much legwork and effort acquiring this 6K piano for 12K or more, refuse to acknowledge reality once told, sooner or later after the piano is in their homes, that it needs major work.
Usually after performing some in home work (back to 16K cost base), they do the same leg work and effort, leading them to another “bargain”…rebuilder C, who promises them that his rebuilds are just as comprehensive as rebuilders A or B, and that he is performing the same scope of work (except things that are not really needed, and rebuilders A and B are "just charging for them to make money"), and by performing “just the really needed work” he is preserving the “integrity” of the piano and its “soul” (It's authentic!).

After dropping another 10K – 15K at the patch up artist's bank, leading their cost base for that piano to almost 30K, the ferry tale chasers are usually left with a piano, with significantly less objective performance than other pianos they could have purchased for the mid 20’s or teens, has a 6K – 8K value should they want to sell it in the near future, and which is still, likely to need the same 25K full restoration from rebuilder A, should they actually want their piano to live up to its reputation as a quality piano, instead of just presenting a low performance piano in a case with the name Steinway plastered on.

In this case, once the piano is finally completed and the consumers pleased, they had spent over 55K, and went through a misery road worth writing a book about, only to get the same piano they could have bought with a lot less effort and money from that same rebuilder a couple of years before.


Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - CT / NYC area.

One can usually play at our showroom:

Bluthner, Steingraeber, Estonia, Haessler, Sauter, Kawai, Steinway, Bosendorfer and more.

www.allegropianos.com
Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220169 12/30/07 05:58 PM
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Wow what a long post Ori! I don't think you two are differing much here.

The two of you frequently argue over $25K vs $35K as signifying some quality measure. Pianobroker's business model is volume. So, Ori, I think your assumptions about market pricing are incorrect. If pb has more Steinways to sell, then he can lower his price. It doesn't speak to quality.

I and my neighbor are both enjoying wonderfully rebuilt Steinway O's from pianobroker. And it is of the highest quality I have found in Southern California. I am not in the piano business. I'm just a regular consumer.


Pianoclues.com for Beginners
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Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Electro 4 HP

Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220170 12/30/07 06:14 PM
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Quote
The point I was trying to make in my prior post, and now emphasized, is that should a consumer buy a piano, even at its un restored true market value, and take it to a rebuilder, he is not likely to save much money,if anything at all, over buying such a completed piano from the same rebuilders
We are in agreement on this point.Again in my business mdl.restoration cost as a service is more expensive than the itemized cost of restoration if one purchased the piano already done.
Quote
The difference between us, as I see it, is that based on my experience in the industry and knowledge of pianos,I believe that there are differences between restoration qualities, and that lower initial price does not mean necessarily better value
We are in agreement as for differences in restoration quality. Much of the inflated restoration costs are accounted to high overhead of the facility/dealer and also persons whom play middleman(including the Steinway dealer)in subcontracting the restoration job at wholesale but quoted to the client at RETAIL. If one dealt with the rebuilder directly it is obvious of the great savings to the client. Most important is the efficiency level of the personnel and the facility.It would make sense that one that does 50 high end restorations a year doesn't need to charge the same $ as one that does 6 in that their overhead would not be proportionally different. I know the prices that the Steinway factory personnel charge in their moonlighting side ventures to the non Steinway dealers.We converse with them on a regular basis. At 28K for just restoration, a dealer is doing quite well compared to the $ vested in this project whether on spec or a client's piano restoration. The refinishers on the east coast charge twice the $ of a comparable finish on the west coast due to labor cost factors in the refinishing industry. Iv'e had dealers on the east coast whom want to ship pianos for refinish only. Even with shipping costs both ways,it is still considerably cheaper. Maybe that's where alot of the disprepancy lies. Ori,what do you charge for a hand rubbed lacquer finish ?
Quote
Also...as another side note, if you pay too much for your piano, all you're doing is setting yourself to be less competitive in your market in comparison to other rebuilders. I don't have any problems to buy Steinway "M" for the prices I mentioned above, and we can get as many as we want.
I doubt very much you can acquire a neverending replenishable supply of Steinway M grands for 5K. Maybe other rebuilders in your area can chime in as to this replenishable supply for 5-6K
Quote
The "bottle neck" in our factory is that we cannot produce more pianos than we do now, while maintaining the quality that we desire.
That statement basically tells the tale as to where our discrepancy lies. Your production and efficiency level is limited in your capacity and output. No problem there!

In conclusion we are really on the same page as for misconceptions of the prospective Steinway buyer in purchasing a partial whatevered nightmare. Our only disprepancy is what $ amount one needs to shell out to achieve a high end restoration. Even Steinway Restoration in New York has approached us in wanting to upgrade their efficiency level along with output and like you not compromise in their quality level. Now let's sell some pianos !Happy Holidaz!


www.pastperfectpiano.com
Largest selection in the USA
100+Steinway and M&H grands
Warehouse showroom Onsite Restoration
Preowned & Restored
Hailun dlr.818-255-3145
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z8RvhXGKzY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voo0zumHGgE
Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220171 12/30/07 07:19 PM
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Jazzwee,
First, as to "volume" operations, I do believe that at this time, our family owned restoration facility is one of the, if not THE largest in the country for full restorations of Steinways pianos.

So I doubt that pianobroker's business, albeit dubbing himself as the "west coast authority", can lower his prices because he can make up something in volume.

In any case, any business that is truly focused in the high end, is usually a service business rather than volume, and this is the way that I see our operation.
We do not seek or interested in the representation of any mass-produced pianos, trading quality for volume numbers.

Now, the money needed for the restoration doesn't HAVE to be a quality measure.
But usually, if a rebuilder can get more money for his restorations, he would charge more.

If a rebuilder acquires one such un restored Steinway for $3,000 for example, and another such identical piano for $6,000, and they get the same restoration from him...and presented in his shop side by side, do you think that he would charge a lower price for the one he bought for less?

Any rebuilder that will tell you that he would is either lying to make an excuse for you to feel you're getting a "deal" on one piano, or will not stay long in business to support the piano warranty he provides...


I'm very happy that you are pleased with the 1917 Hamburg "O" you bought from pianobroker, and for which you apparently said "wasn't the least expensive in his stable due to being a Hamburg".
But, as you didn't know when you made this remark that unlike newer vintage Steinways, pre war Hamburg Steinways usually have a LOWER value, at least here on the east coast, than pre war NY Steinway pianos.

Perhaps, we should not further underestimate the needed communication between customer and rebuild.
probably you just THOUGHT that it was supposed to be more expensive since the new ones are, and probably it never occurred to piano broker to mention that these are actually LESS expensive in the market since you never asked.

So please make sure that you communicate with him well, and ask him, just to be sure, about the history of this piano, and that indeed he actually restored it, and that it isn't one of the original bleached boards pianos with beautiful finishes and need of restoration making their way to the US from Poland.

I do not say that this is one of these pianos, but as you were under the wrong assumption before, regarding the price of old Hamburgs, perhaps it is better to be 100% sure as to who did the restoration as well.


Pianobroker,
I'm glad that you are in complete agreement with me as to the point I was trying to make.
If so, there was no need for you to confuse the issue, breaking in an infomercial about how cheap restorations can be great.

I know that this is your line, but if reciting it is so important for you, then please make sure there is a reason for you to bring it up.

Also, please do not try to analyze my "efficiency level", as it is fine,.
If you were not so focused on volume and quality, as apparent by your "authority - over 120 Steinways" tagline, you'd notice the second part of the sentence I wrote and you quoted, saying "while maintaining the quality that we desire".

If you are so bent on restoring Steinways as if they were mass produced pianos than so be it, but just as you offer me advice, I can tell you that if you could transmit to the customer that there is quality and value in your operation, your inventory of unsold Steinways would not grow so rapidly as it does, according to your own tag lines (only a short time a go it used to read 100 Steinways, and now you're up by 20%...).

For the record, you can keep on dubbing yourself as the "authority" of the west coast (whatever that means), but those of us in the business know enough as to ignore empty rhetoric and relate to reality.

And reality dictates that if you could sell the same amount of pianos (and it makes no difference whether it is 10 or 100 a year), and get more money for them than you would.

If consumer would think that there is more value in tour restoration, and that you offer MORE, no matter what more is...and they would be willing to routinely pay more, than you would charge more money for your pianos.

The only reason that you don't charge more, is because, for whatever reason, you can't get more.

It is as simple as that, and both you and I know it. So while you are free to tell your customers whatever you wish in your shop, rest assured that when you spill the same empty rhetoric here, from time to time at least, someone will be here to correct you.


I wish you a very happy and successful new year!


Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - CT / NYC area.

One can usually play at our showroom:

Bluthner, Steingraeber, Estonia, Haessler, Sauter, Kawai, Steinway, Bosendorfer and more.

www.allegropianos.com
Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220172 12/30/07 07:49 PM
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Ori,
You refuse to accept the fact that someone can be at a higher efficiency level or output than you.
You need to surface to the 21st century and out of the stoneage as for restoration capabilities.
As for my business mdl. I probably sell more Steinway grands in a month than you do in a year. So that would account for my growing Steinway inventory and my choice as for reinvesting in my co. Evidently our differences are not gonna be recounciled because "Talk is Cheap on both of our behalves. So as you say we let the consumer decide as for the better value.
I also wish you a very happy and successful new year. We both must be doing something right!


www.pastperfectpiano.com
Largest selection in the USA
100+Steinway and M&H grands
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Hailun dlr.818-255-3145
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z8RvhXGKzY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voo0zumHGgE
Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220173 12/31/07 01:38 AM
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mrswright -- where are you on your proposed purchase? You have stimulated a remarkable discussion from two major rebuilders that if PW gave certificates, you'd probably be able to hang one on your wall saying you attended a qualified course on the financial impact of piano rebuilding.

The advice they are giving is your "opportunity" is not once in a lifetime and that you are probably better off purchasing a piano that is already totally rebuilt. Of course that would cost more than $18k (or any reasonable offer), however eventually the piano will need the work given it's age.


2005 Steinway B
Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220174 12/31/07 03:15 AM
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Hi Ori, pianobroker has revealed to me the actual source of the piano (California) and I have verified directly from Steinway who the original owner was and when that owner passed, the piano was inherited by children in California.

BTW - my neighbor bought a NY Steinway from pianobroker. I don't know of anyone else who bought a Hamburg from him. I do know of several people who have bought pianos from pianobroker.

Perhaps among classical musicians, the sostenuto pedal might be of importance, but to jazz musicians, the Hamburg has a premium and is more desirable to many of us because of the sound and especially nice sustain, and neither I nor my teacher (a jazz master) have used sostenuto pedals. And he specifically recommended that I choose the Hamburg over any other piano. If I remember right, sostenuto was only added to Hamburgs in what? The '60's? So I don't buy your comments on that. Not all musicians in the world are classical pianists.

I have no axe to grind. I've seen pianobroker's operation. I've seen his competitors who charge $10K more for the same piano. I've compared their pianos. My ears can tell the difference I think. Pianobroker was referred to me, believe it or not, by another local rebuilder. I spent considerable time listening to Steinways all over town that I could probably write a book about it like Perri Knize. I picked my piano because of the sound.

In fact even after I purchased it, and after regulation and tuning, there were some problems with some strings that weren't resolvable by tuning. Pianobroker has made good on every issue.

My tuner/tech is also the one prepping new Steinways at the Steinway dealership and he has given me glowing marks for the performance and sound of the piano. I even asked some local jazz people to try out the piano before I bought it and all commented about the extraordinary sustain in the treble.

So, I don't consider myself the average buyer. I'm sure Jeff Bauer and other local dealers were a bit frustrated by my picky ears. Now did I pay a significant premium because I had a Hamburg? No but apparently, according to pianobroker, the seller knew they had a Hamburg and asked for a higher price for the original core piano. And pb said he paid what he considers to be the market price for it for rebuilders. And it still didn't cost me $35K.

So far, pianobroker is batting a 100 with me. He has never lied to me and has been very upfront even when I've had problems. From my eyes, he appears to moving those pianos so whatever his business model is, I don't think he's experiencing a 'piano recession'.

You and pb are not even competitors. You're on different coasts, so maybe the market is different there. So I'm not going to dispute your opinions as it may work there.

best regards,

Jazzwee


Pianoclues.com for Beginners
My Jazz Blog
Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Electro 4 HP

Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220175 12/31/07 12:18 PM
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This is a great informational post...it educates me in one area..buy only a new or already restored
piano..anything else is a gamble..like a trip to Vegas! Mswright..is doing just that..I wish her luck..

Re: Is an 80 year old Steinway a good piano?
#220176 12/31/07 02:01 PM
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Quote
You and pb are not even competitors. You're on different coasts, so maybe the market is different there. So I'm not going to dispute your opinions as it may work there.
But they are competitors, jazzwee. East Coast / West Coast geographical constraints will not be that meaningful to the Piano 'Quest' ...'Search'... 'Odyssey' ... types who frequent this forum, and this little spat is about winning the hearts and minds of such individuals who have it in mind to spend 25k or 35k on a 90-year-old piano.

Beyond that is the conflict in basic philosophies. PB believes that streamlining the rebuilding process with concessions to modern machinery makes sense on every level. Ori feels that this sort of activity is cutting corners and selling to a price instead of a standard.

Even beyond that is the matter of how two peacocks choose to display their plumage. PB favors the somewhat flamboyant 'West Coast Authority' tagline with reference to more than one hundred Steinway dowagers owned free and clear. He freely owns up to his passion for fast cars, motorcycles, and other trappings of hedonistic excess. Ori counters with the stiff upper-lipped "our family owned restoration facility is one of the, if not THE largest in the country for full restorations of Steinways pianos" (whatever that means), and depositing installments of the Gospel according to Ori in threads which suit his purposes. heck, the actual advice of Ori to the OP on this thread could have been given in one or two sentences.

The fact that Ori casts doubt on your beloved and much-publicized Hamburg O, raising the possibility that it is a Polish bleached-board cheapo, laugh is admittedly a low blow even by the colorful standards of dealer sniping in this forum. But you had it coming IMO since you often interject yourself into these Ori / PB altercations citing yourself as a new-minted piano expert with picky ears who could himself (perish the thought)write a piano-quest novel based on his LA area piano search.
wink


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