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Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
ColinDS #2323185 09/02/14 03:12 PM
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I am the happy owner of a 2004 seven-foot Mason-Hamlin BB semi-concert piano. Previously I played a Steinway L for several years. Now, the seven-footer is a different animal from the six foot Steinway, but I can tell you they are both great. I like my bigger piano more, but I have played Steinway B's and if I had $92,000 to invest in a piano, I might be tempted. Of course, if I had that kind of money, I would also be drooling over the Mason-Hamlin 9.4 foot grand! The original question was why are semi-concert pianos so expensive? Well, it has been mentioned that there are semi-concert pianos of lower tiers that are affordable. Before I made my piano choice, I tried a very nice new 7'6" Albert Weber grand. It was a very nice piano, easily controlled, nice tone, attractive case, etc. The price was in the high 20's. For most pianists, this piano would be a perfect choice. It is made in Korea and I am unsure of the longevity that can be expected for the components, but I think it would be a decent choice. I think I got a world-class piano by buying used, but I probably could have been happy with the Weber, too. There is a big difference in performance quality when pianos get bigger, so I think they are more desirable, but most manufacturers probably sell many more small pianos, so from a price point, it may be harder to jusify making the big ones unless they can charge a lot more for them. I am sure it costs more to make a bigger piano, too, but let's consider the car market. I recently traded in my 2002 car for a new 2014 model of the same make. Now this maker is kind of like the Mason-Hamlin in its placement in the car world, a high tier but not the highest. What makes someone buy a Rolls Royce or other car from the stratosphere when they could spend a fraction of that and have a solid luxury car like the one I just got? Because they can. I think prestige is expensive, but it matters to many people.

Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
ColinDS #2323195 09/02/14 03:32 PM
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Semi-concert grands aren't so expensive, they are semi-expensive.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
ColinDS #2323595 09/03/14 10:02 AM
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Behave MM or you will be back in the cooler for another 30 days.


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
ColinDS #2323674 09/03/14 12:37 PM
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It's simple math.

Consider a Steinway D, which is 272 cm, and a Steinway B, which is 211 cm. The ratio of B:D is approximately .77, or 77%.

So, in a new Steinway D sells for about $140,000, then a Steinway B should sell for 77% of that, or about $108,000. In fact, you can get a new B for around $95,000, or around $13,000 of its CSMP (Calculated Suggested Maximum Price, as contrasted with Larry Fine's SMP - Suggested Maximum Price).

I present this equation : CSMP = SMPPiano1 * (LengthPiano 2 / LengthPiano1)

Ergo, I have mathematically proven that the Steinway B is a tremendous value as compared to a Steinway D.

QED

I am submitting this in paper form to the Journal of Improper Mathematical Analyses soon. I'll send you a link when it's published.


Cello, Piano, Electric Bass

1967 Baldwin SD-10 | Kawai MP11
Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
Chopinlover49 #2324239 09/05/14 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Chopinlover49
... What makes someone buy a Rolls Royce or other car from the stratosphere when they could spend a fraction of that and have a solid luxury car like the one I just got? Because they can. I think prestige is expensive, but it matters to many people.

A very interesting -- at least I found it interesting -- book on this subject is The Language of Things, Understanding the world of desirable objects by Deyan Sudjic (published by Norton, 2009). At the time of writing Sudjic was the Director of the Design Museum, London as well as a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art.

In this book he explores the differences between need and desire.

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
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(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
Minnesota Marty #2324891 09/06/14 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Semi-concert grands aren't so expensive, they are semi-expensive.

+1



Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see
~Mark Twain
Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
PhilipInChina #2324892 09/06/14 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by PhilipInChina
Behave MM or you will be back in the cooler for another 30 days.

+2



Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see
~Mark Twain
Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
Steve Peterson #2324894 09/06/14 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Peterson
It's simple math.

Consider a Steinway D, which is 272 cm, and a Steinway B, which is 211 cm. The ratio of B:D is approximately .77, or 77%.

So, in a new Steinway D sells for about $140,000, then a Steinway B should sell for 77% of that, or about $108,000. In fact, you can get a new B for around $95,000, or around $13,000 of its CSMP (Calculated Suggested Maximum Price, as contrasted with Larry Fine's SMP - Suggested Maximum Price).

I present this equation : CSMP = SMPPiano1 * (LengthPiano 2 / LengthPiano1)

Ergo, I have mathematically proven that the Steinway B is a tremendous value as compared to a Steinway D.

QED

I am submitting this in paper form to the Journal of Improper Mathematical Analyses soon. I'll send you a link when it's published.

+3 (originality)
-2 (accuracy)



Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see
~Mark Twain
Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
Del #2324895 09/06/14 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Del
Originally Posted by Chopinlover49
... What makes someone buy a Rolls Royce or other car from the stratosphere when they could spend a fraction of that and have a solid luxury car like the one I just got? Because they can. I think prestige is expensive, but it matters to many people.

A very interesting -- at least I found it interesting -- book on this subject is The Language of Things, Understanding the world of desirable objects by Deyan Sudjic (published by Norton, 2009). At the time of writing Sudjic was the Director of the Design Museum, London as well as a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art.

In this book he explores the differences between need and desire.

ddf


Yes, a very interesting book!



Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see
~Mark Twain
Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
Glenn Treibitz #2324897 09/06/14 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Glenn Treibitz
The reason they charge those high prices on new Steinway is because the can!

This is the correct answer!

The only relationship costs have to the selling price is that if an item can't be sold for more than it costs to bring to market (production, shipping, warehousing, advertising, etc) then it won't be produced.

If it can be sold for a 10% profit it probably will be. Likewise for a 100% or 1000% profit. If the profit margin gets squeezed down to something very small, or negative, the product shouldn't be produced.



Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see
~Mark Twain
Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
Retsacnal #2324941 09/07/14 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Originally Posted by Glenn Treibitz
The reason they charge those high prices on new Steinway is because the can!

This is the correct answer!

The only relationship costs have to the selling price is that if an item can't be sold for more than it costs to bring to market (production, shipping, warehousing, advertising, etc) then it won't be produced.

If it can be sold for a 10% profit it probably will be. Likewise for a 100% or 1000% profit. If the profit margin gets squeezed down to something very small, or negative, the product shouldn't be produced.


Profit margin is that part of the sales price, not cost, which is profit. So it cannot exceed 100% and can be that high only if cost is zero.


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
ColinDS #2325591 09/09/14 03:50 AM
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When I bought my Shigeru SK5, I factored in costs for "maintenance", just as one should do for a car or house. The true "cost" of the piano, that one should consider, is not what is on the price tag or sales slip alone. I anticipate that my "10-20 year" cost will be less than with another brand, because of the Millenium III action, for example.

As regards pricing for perceived luxury items, I refer to an article I read in the distant past regarding Porsche 911's. The then-president of the company stated that they manufacture one (1) LESS 911 than they project they will sell each model year; thus a reflection of what THEY perceive (i.e. analyze) the demand to be, and then price the vehicles to that level of exclusivity. That is the business side of making a profit, and as much as the company can get away with. I think the piano manufacturing companies probably operate similarly.

Last comment: I looked at many restored Steinways during my search process. I found one in particular that I liked because of special wood and a good "sound" and "touch". Everything was "rebuilt" except for the rim, however, and I lost lots of sleep because I couldn't justify spending any amount of money on the piano that said "Steinway" on it, but wasn't really a Steinway any more. I find it very difficult to make price comparisons between "original equipment" Steinways and restored ones. That is not to say that a restored Steinway that pleases a potential owner is not worth paying for--I almost did, but would have done so with the understanding that it really was not a Steinway. The "prestige" factor was not valid to me, in the case of the restored piano. I considered buying it because I liked it, regardless of the name.


Shigeru Kawai SK5L
Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
ColinDS #2325654 09/09/14 09:23 AM
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I am curious as to why you are still piano shopping. When you bought your Shigeru SK5, were you thinking that you were purchasing your final piano?

Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
ColinDS #2325660 09/09/14 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ColinDS
I am curious as to why you are still piano shopping. When you bought your Shigeru SK5, were you thinking that you were purchasing your final piano?


No such thing as "final piano".


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
LFL #2325766 09/09/14 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by LFL


Last comment: I looked at many restored Steinways during my search process. I found one in particular that I liked because of special wood and a good "sound" and "touch". Everything was "rebuilt" except for the rim, however, and I lost lots of sleep because I couldn't justify spending any amount of money on the piano that said "Steinway" on it, but wasn't really a Steinway any more..


Was this particular Steinway rebuilt with non Steinway parts? If so I can understand but if it was rebuilt with Steinway parts then I don't see any difference. Also, since you are concerned about long term costs then did you calculate which piano will hold it's value more say in 20 years?




Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
ColinDS #2325814 09/09/14 07:40 PM
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PhilipInChina: Say it ain't so, Joe.

frown

Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
ColinDS #2325859 09/09/14 10:55 PM
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Perhaps I wasn't clear; I found the restored Steinway during my search and the final choice was between it and the SK5.

To Miguel: I didn't buy the piano with resale or long-term value in mind. The piano is for me to use. Nobody else in my immediate family plays (to my chagrin) and if my kids or grandkids inherit it and/or want it, that's fine. If not, it is not important to me what it is worth in 10 years, 20 years, or more, because I will have paid for it and enjoyed it. It is not an investment (there are much better places to invest $50-100K) and I hope that for most people who are buying pianos of the upper echelons of brand/manufacturing, the future value is irrelevant. If they have enjoyed it during their ownership and lifetime, the $$ amount later is less than secondary in importance. Anyway, the value of a "used" piano is even more in the eye of the beholder than when it was new...the value is what someone is willing to pay for it and what the seller is willing to accept. That simple.

Regarding the parts issue, I recollect that the particular one I was looking at was completely Steinway parts, except maybe for Abel hammers (I hope I have the correct name). But what is the value of that piano?...just as I said above, it is worth what I was willing to pay for it, which was less than the restorer (did a great job and I believe him to also be an honest businessman)was willing to accept. I believe that part of his "pricing" was the "Steinway" name. I feel that all of the restored pianos should have a "carfax" type website so people can check out the history of the piano. (If such a site exists, please educate me!)

Here is my rhetorical question--how should the value of these 2 pianos compare: #1 a 1950 Steinway B with all original "equipment" except for say new strings, hammers and dampers vs. #2 a completely restored 1950 B with replaced soundboard, keyboard, pinblock, pins strings, hammers, dampers, etc. (original rim, lets say). Of course, assume they play and sound equally "well". The answer is probably different for each one of us, but I would tend to be willing to pay more for #1 because it is an "original" Steinway. I doubt everyone agrees with me, though.


Shigeru Kawai SK5L
Re: Why are semi-concert grands so expensive?
ColinDS #2360550 12/11/14 08:07 AM
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I guess I had a different buying experience. I bought the Seiler about 20 years ago when the dollar was strong and the Euro didn't exist yet. Hardly anyone in the US knew the piano.

The good news was that the authorized dealer had a half dozen 206 and larger models in his showroom, and the Baldwin dealer across the river had bought out the Seiler dealer in Atlanta, so they had a 206 they had to sell as "used" since they weren't an authorized dealer. They had been holding this piano for nearly 2 years, and I finally made them an offer they couldn't refuse.

As a result, I bought the piano for less than a mid-range upright. So, if you know what you are looking at, and you don't need the S&S label, there are some exceptionally good 7' pianos to be had for very reasonable money. I had a similar experience with a 6' Schimmel in the late 90's when they changed over the design. The older model, sold for a song, and frankly was a better piano. I imagine Sauter may be in the same position in the US today, especially if you find a used one.


Seiler 206, Chickering 145, Estey 2 manual reed organ, Fudge clavichord, Zuckerman single harpsichord, Technics P-30, Roland RD-100.
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