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How can a shop have no in-tuned pianos and survive?
#2313537 08/09/14 06:07 PM
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I visited a piano store yesterday just for fun while my wife was shopping in a store next door(I do not need a piano as I already have a fine Mason-Hamlin BB) and it amazed me that the store had no pianos recently tuned. They carried the Kawai line and even had a large new (6'7") Shigura Kawai as well as an almost-new Bechstein Academy that had been traded in, a few other trade-ins from good brands like Steinway, Mason-Hamlin, Boston, and Baldwin, but nothing was in-tune. I casually commented to the owner that it must be a job trying to keep so many pianos tuned and he casually replied that they have a guy come in once a week to tune one or two pianos. I smiled and dismissed the comment, but thought to myself that if I was actually shopping for a piano, I would not have been able to get interested in any of these pianos in their current state. It just seems like bad business to display your wares in that state. I wondered if the "guy" was even qualified to call himself a tuner. Has anyone else encountered this kind of neglect in stores?

Re: How can a shop have no in-tuned pianos and survive?
Chopinlover49 #2313555 08/09/14 07:48 PM
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I hear you, CL49...

If I may quote Del Fandrich here, "a well regulated poor action is better than a poorly regulated good action". By the same token, to me at least, a well tuned lesser quality piano sounds better than good quality piano that is out of tune.

On the other hand, acoustic pianos can go out of tune rather quickly, and even more so if they are newer and haven't reached any level of tuning stability.

Maybe the tuning guy needs to come in more often and stay longer. smile

Rick


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Re: How can a shop have no in-tuned pianos and survive?
Chopinlover49 #2313600 08/09/14 10:15 PM
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Greetings,
Maybe all the ones that the tuning guy tuned sold, and the only ones left in the store were the untuned ones.
And……. maybe the store owner is glad that he didn't waste any money getting the unsold ones tuned…..

Re: How can a shop have no in-tuned pianos and survive?
Chopinlover49 #2313609 08/09/14 10:26 PM
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What Ed said really does make sense. It's summer. Dealers get a lot of stock for the fall this time of year. Maybe their tuner just got behind or was on vacation.


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Re: How can a shop have no in-tuned pianos and survive?
Chopinlover49 #2313673 08/10/14 01:10 AM
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Maybe they were all in tune but they have had so many window shoppers come mess with them that they are now suddenly out of tune wink

Re: How can a shop have no in-tuned pianos and survive?
Chopinlover49 #2313689 08/10/14 01:58 AM
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Cl49 :

Isn't it hot and humid in your area at this time of year? That and an air-conditioned store with doors opening and closing all the time might well account for the out-of-tune pianos.

No, wait! If the dealer has no customers, I guess the doors aren't opening and closing all the time! Maybe the environment is stable and he just doesn't tune the pianos.

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Re: How can a shop have no in-tuned pianos and survive?
Chopinlover49 #2313729 08/10/14 07:09 AM
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Could be that the dealer is experiencing hard times or has decided to cut costs by not tuning the pianos until delivered. Besides, there is quite a few people who can't tell the difference when a piano is in tune or not.

Re: How can a shop have no in-tuned pianos and survive?
Ed A. Hall #2313736 08/10/14 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed A. Hall
Could be that the dealer is experiencing hard times or has decided to cut costs by not tuning the pianos until delivered. Besides, there is quite a few people who can't tell the difference when a piano is in tune or not.


I thought that. Maybe selling to tone deaf pianists?


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: How can a shop have no in-tuned pianos and survive?
Chopinlover49 #2313755 08/10/14 09:10 AM
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A guy out for a Sunday stroll walks into a beachside restaurant and asks permission to use the bathroom. The owner nods and waves him to the rear of the place behind the bar.

A few days later the guy is talking to a friend and tells him that he would never order a meal at that restaurant. The friend asks him why.

The guy, who hasn't paid for a meal at any restaurant in years, answers that the restrooms in the place aren't very clean.


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Re: How can a shop have no in-tuned pianos and survive?
Chopinlover49 #2313790 08/10/14 11:33 AM
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Cl49,

The manager may not have very much say in the matter. Many retail stores budget every expense, including technical staff. They don't have the advantage of having many technicians on staff and their "bread and butter" customers may know little about it anyway.

Interestingly, when it comes to entry level pianos, businesses like this one can do well. However we regularly have folks visit us who are turned off by this.

There is more than one way to run a piano business. One doesn't need to be passionate to make money.


Rich Galassini
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Re: How can a shop have no in-tuned pianos and survive?
turandot #2313791 08/10/14 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by turandot
A guy out for a Sunday stroll walks into a beachside restaurant and asks permission to use the bathroom. The owner nods and waves him to the rear of the place behind the bar.

A few days later the guy is talking to a friend and tells him that he would never order a meal at that restaurant. The friend asks him why.

The guy, who hasn't paid for a meal at any restaurant in years, answers that the restrooms in the place aren't very clean.


I understand your point, but there is something you are missing. If the Sunday stroller were a chef or a food critic (cl49 is a discerning player) who tasted a few dishes you would have been more accurate.

Also cl49 has owned more musical instruments over his lifetime than many here.

A discerning player who owns a fairly new and well cared for 7 ft. grand is certainly more likely to be somewhat active in the arts community, either as a supporter or a patron and come in contact with potential piano buyers. (Cl49 could easily be a performer if he so chose, IMHO)

People like this are asked their opinion by folks who know less on a regular basis. If he used the bathroom without ever auditioning a piano your point would have had validity.

My 2 cents,


Rich Galassini
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Re: How can a shop have no in-tuned pianos and survive?
Chopinlover49 #2313803 08/10/14 12:15 PM
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Hmmm... I think I know the dealer. Were you in NC at the time? this is the exact scenario I encountered while piano shopping a while back.

Re: How can a shop have no in-tuned pianos and survive?
Chopinlover49 #2313813 08/10/14 12:49 PM
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As a tuner, I always think that in tune pianos sell better. But I'm always willing to give the benefit of the doubt. After all you might walk into the same store in two weeks and everything would be better.

However, as Rich Galassini said, many dealers don't tune their stock regularly, possibly because they can't find a qualified tuner or because the entry level stock is priced so low. I mean if it's a used spinet and the dealer tunes it three times there is likely NO profit in selling it. However if they have a $50,000 piano on the floor the customer for that piano is likely to be much more discriminating. I do think customers ought to complain when a dealer's stock is so out of tune. Then at least there is some feedback on which the dealer could act.



Sally Phillips
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Steinway & Sons Pianos
Columbus, GA
New Steinway, Boston and Essex pianos
www.steinwaypiano.com
Acoustic Piano Technical Consultant - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
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Re: How can a shop have no in-tuned pianos and survive?
Chopinlover49 #2313874 08/10/14 03:56 PM
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IMO being "in tune" is not a black and white thing but a continuum.
So when someone says the piano(s) were out of tune what does this mean?

It's hard for me to imagine all the pianos were at the extreme end of the "out of tune" range.

Re: How can a shop have no in-tuned pianos and survive?
Chopinlover49 #2313888 08/10/14 04:24 PM
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Any dealer that does not regularly tune their inventory is penny wise and pound foolish. With over 125 piano on our floor it is a never ending daily process to keep them in tune. It's just a cost of doing business. That being said there are times when when dealers receive many new pianos at once and there could be a week or two of working through the process of tuning and prepping the new inventory.


Glenn Treibitz

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Re: How can a shop have no in-tuned pianos and survive?
Chopinlover49 #2313975 08/10/14 09:17 PM
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I guess I don't know why the pianos were out of tune. As several posters have pointed out, he may not be in a position to afford the tunings, or a higher-up may not be approving a big enough budget, the summer weather may have given them a problem, or whatever. I just know I would have a problem making a purchase until the piano I was considering was prepped properly for an audition. Maybe most of his sales are on the low-end and he can promise potential buyers that he will tune the pianos they are interested in if they can come back the next week or something? It just seems like a tough way to sell pianos.


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