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What should dealer prep include
#2353485 11/22/14 07:58 AM
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I am considering buying a Ritmüller GH148R, GH160R or GH170R from my local dealer here in Denmark, Europe.

I have never owned or bought a grand piano before, let alone a new one. What kind of dealer prep should I expect? Should the dealer regulate the action, even out the voicing etc. or will I just get whatever comes from the factory? What should I except and what should I demand?


Nordiska 120CA (Dongbei) upright from about 2004, Kawai MP11 digital piano, Sennheiser HD 600 headphones.
Re: What should dealer prep include
pinkfloydhomer #2353491 11/22/14 08:22 AM
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You will get what you negotiate. Usually if you say nothing, you'll get a tuning and not much more. But it's a discussion you really should have with your dealer just so you know what you are getting with the deal and what you aren't. Congratulations on taking the plunge - very exciting!

Re: What should dealer prep include
ando #2353498 11/22/14 09:17 AM
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That makes sense, ando.

But then my question becomes: What are the dealer prep "items"/"services" I should try to negotiate? Thorough regulation and equalizing of voicing? Other things? Just after delivery? After a year? What else?


Nordiska 120CA (Dongbei) upright from about 2004, Kawai MP11 digital piano, Sennheiser HD 600 headphones.
Re: What should dealer prep include
pinkfloydhomer #2353512 11/22/14 11:01 AM
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Yes, I think you could negotiate all of those things being done within the first month or two of buying the piano. Voicing really should be done in the home. Regulation could be done prior to delivery. I don't think a dealer would want to provide ongoing maintenance as part of a deal though - there are just too many variables that could leave the dealer at a disadvantage. But hopefully the tech you get as part of the initial deal will be a good one and you can develop an ongoing trust with him/her and keep your piano is good shape.

Re: What should dealer prep include
pinkfloydhomer #2353514 11/22/14 11:08 AM
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I think you may be overanalyzing this. If you play enough pianos at enough stores, you start to get a sense of what a well-prepped (either at the factory, the dealer, or both) piano sounds and feels like. If the piano is really sorted out to you liking at the dealer, then I think it's properly prepped. You can ask what was done (granted, dealers tend to be either truthful or untruthful when it comes to this issue), but the performance of the piano on the floor should be your guide.

If the piano doesn't play to your satisfaction (but it's close), focus on that prior to purchase. If the piano does play well, I might try and negotiate the cost of the first in-home service with the dealer, with a technician of your choosing. Sometimes the store's technicians are well-trained and experienced, sometimes they're not. Since I know the technicians in my area, I'd want to select who makes that critical first round of adjustments after a 2-5 weeks of use, so the piano starts life well.


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Re: What should dealer prep include
pinkfloydhomer #2353532 11/22/14 12:22 PM
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Do you have a piano technician you trust? If you do I would have them inspect the piano(s) after you have tried them and made notes on what you think of the sound and feel of each one.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
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Re: What should dealer prep include
Ed McMorrow, RPT #2353544 11/22/14 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Do you have a piano technician you trust? If you do I would have them inspect the piano(s) after you have tried them and made notes on what you think of the sound and feel of each one.


Unfortunately I don't have or know a technician I trust. Also, these pianos I am considering, the Ritmüller GH-XXXR line, they don't have them on the floor here. So I can't try them before I buy. But my dealer is willing to order one for me and then give me five years to freely swap for something else at the same price or upgrade for the price difference. I know that many people here would never buy a piano without having tried that specific piano or at least the same model. But unfortunately, I don't have that luxury here in Copenhagen, Denmark. I would have to stick to whatever the local dealers have on the floor, and Copenhagen is not New York. And I find most modern grands I've tried here in Copenhagen too bright, distinct, harsh in tone. I love the mellow tone of the Ritmüllers I've listened too online. The five years given by my dealer and the mostly good reputation of the quality of these pianos and the lack of alternatives makes it a tolerable option for me.

The alternative would be that I bought something local I could try out, feel and touch, but which I don't like the tone of and which costs more, typically much more.


Nordiska 120CA (Dongbei) upright from about 2004, Kawai MP11 digital piano, Sennheiser HD 600 headphones.
Re: What should dealer prep include
pinkfloydhomer #2353546 11/22/14 01:43 PM
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Wait - you're going to select a piano based on online recordings? Really??


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Re: What should dealer prep include
pinkfloydhomer #2353553 11/22/14 01:55 PM
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Couldn't you take a trip down to Hamburg or Bremen or somewhere like that? They have a lot more range in Germany.

Re: What should dealer prep include
terminaldegree #2353572 11/22/14 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Wait - you're going to select a piano based on online recordings? Really??


I echo terminaldegree's disbelief!

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: What should dealer prep include
pinkfloydhomer #2353577 11/22/14 02:54 PM
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Do not put money down on a piano sight unseen...especially if you already have an idea of the type of sound you prefer.




Re: What should dealer prep include
pinkfloydhomer #2353584 11/22/14 03:31 PM
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You all seem to have this figured out. Except you don't factor in the things I wrote, or provide alternatives.

Yes, I could go to Hamburg or similar, but it's not like it's just around the corner. Also, I would be on my own with regards to warranty, local support etc.

It is certainly not ideal to select a piano remotely, but it is also far from ideal to select a piano from a remote dealer.

The way I see it, I have to use a reputed local dealer and then make a good arrangement with them. If I don't like the piano, I have five years to choose something else, among the pianos I had available in the first place anyway.

If I had to follow your hard rule, it would mean:

1) Put down a lot of money for something I can try out, but don't really like.

2) Buy from a dealer far away in another country, discarding service, warranty and so on. And that is after having spent a lot of time and money on travelling to different dealers at random to find something I might like enough.

3) Never own a grand piano because I can't find one that I like enough among the ones I have the opportunity to try out.




Nordiska 120CA (Dongbei) upright from about 2004, Kawai MP11 digital piano, Sennheiser HD 600 headphones.
Re: What should dealer prep include
pinkfloydhomer #2353589 11/22/14 03:40 PM
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No, you don't have five years to choose something else. You have a five year warranty which will come into force if the piano has a fault. Not liking a piano just because, doesn't count as a fault - at least not here in Britain. Be very careful. I mean it's not impossible to buy from a dealer sight unseen and be very happy, but you have to be clued up about how warranties work

Re: What should dealer prep include
pinkfloydhomer #2353596 11/22/14 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by pinkfloydhomer
You all seem to have this figured out. Except you don't factor in the things I wrote, or provide alternatives.

Yes, I could go to Hamburg or similar, but it's not like it's just around the corner. Also, I would be on my own with regards to warranty, local support etc.

It is certainly not ideal to select a piano remotely, but it is also far from ideal to select a piano from a remote dealer.

The way I see it, I have to use a reputed local dealer and then make a good arrangement with them. If I don't like the piano, I have five years to choose something else, among the pianos I had available in the first place anyway.

If I had to follow your hard rule, it would mean:

1) Put down a lot of money for something I can try out, but don't really like.

2) Buy from a dealer far away in another country, discarding service, warranty and so on. And that is after having spent a lot of time and money on travelling to different dealers at random to find something I might like enough.

3) Never own a grand piano because I can't find one that I like enough among the ones I have the opportunity to try out.




You do have a tough dilemma. I purchased my piano from quite a distance - plane flight away but in the same country. I am not sure how it would work with you, but I was very comfortable with the dealer I purchased my piano from and did not worry about warranty / service issues as he assured me they would be taken care of if they arose.

All he asked was that I use a PTG Certified technician for any items that needed to be addressed. I did have one item that needed to be addressed - it was handled easily (at least in my mind.) My tech came out, spoke to the dealer on the phone while he was working on my piano and sent his bill to the dealer.

Maybe you could make a few phone calls / swap emails with a long distance dealer who you could develop a relationship with before travelling to try out pianos?

I know it is a tough decision.

Good luck,

Jonathan

Re: What should dealer prep include
pinkfloydhomer #2353598 11/22/14 04:01 PM
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Double post.

Last edited by pinkfloydhomer; 11/22/14 04:04 PM.

Nordiska 120CA (Dongbei) upright from about 2004, Kawai MP11 digital piano, Sennheiser HD 600 headphones.
Re: What should dealer prep include
Joseph Fleetwood #2353601 11/22/14 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by joe80
No, you don't have five years to choose something else. You have a five year warranty which will come into force if the piano has a fault. Not liking a piano just because, doesn't count as a fault - at least not here in Britain. Be very careful. I mean it's not impossible to buy from a dealer sight unseen and be very happy, but you have to be clued up about how warranties work


Yes, I do have five years to choose something else. That is the deal with the dealer. I can freely choose something else within five years, as many times as I want, at no cost, other than the difference in price between the pianos.


Nordiska 120CA (Dongbei) upright from about 2004, Kawai MP11 digital piano, Sennheiser HD 600 headphones.
Re: What should dealer prep include
Jonathan Alford #2353615 11/22/14 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Alford

You do have a tough dilemma. I purchased my piano from quite a distance - plane flight away but in the same country. I am not sure how it would work with you, but I was very comfortable with the dealer I purchased my piano from and did not worry about warranty / service issues as he assured me they would be taken care of if they arose.

All he asked was that I use a PTG Certified technician for any items that needed to be addressed. I did have one item that needed to be addressed - it was handled easily (at least in my mind.) My tech came out, spoke to the dealer on the phone while he was working on my piano and sent his bill to the dealer.

Maybe you could make a few phone calls / swap emails with a long distance dealer who you could develop a relationship with before travelling to try out pianos?


True. That is also an option. Although also non-ideal, as the rest of the options.

I am not sure my non-ideal option is worse than the other non-ideal options smile

Also, I can't be the first person in a small, remote market that is faced with this dilemma. And I can't be the first one in history to choose something not physically available after researching and assessing options.

Maybe I should start a thread for people in this situation or people who have made this choice.

In theory, Denmark isn't that remote of a market. In northern Europe, close to Germany and England. I live in the capital of Denmark even. And we have EU wide laws to protect consumers. In practice, it doesn't feel safe to buy from some unknown dealer far away in another country. And also, I have to find that dealer and the right piano first.

I guess I could visit some German or English dealers that have the Ritmüller grands on the floor, to try them out. But that is certainly easier said than done. And I probably still wouldn't buy that specific piano anyway, foreign remote dealer and all.

I guess the five year deal with my local dealer feels like I am betting that

1) I want to own a grand piano for the next five years.

2) That I will find at least one piano which I like enough for a price am willing and able to pay.

Could you guys elaborate on what you see as the greatest risk in buying a piano remotely?

Is it that the tone I've heard from several different recordings isn't the same in real life?

Is it that there is too much variation on tone between different specimens of the same model, so that even if what I've heard is true, there is a big risk that I will get something else or something worse?

Is it that there is too much variation in build quality, so that there is a big risk I will get a bad specimen?

Or?





Nordiska 120CA (Dongbei) upright from about 2004, Kawai MP11 digital piano, Sennheiser HD 600 headphones.
Re: What should dealer prep include
pinkfloydhomer #2353619 11/22/14 04:35 PM
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Everyone,

Perhaps it's time to answer PFH's question about the prep he should request, although he has not decided whether he wants to buy a Ritmuller grand piano or where he would buy it.

It is received wisdom in this forum that you should only buy a piano that sings to you but, in practice, that sometimes means you are listening to a state of regulation rather than the intrinsic qualities of the piano. There is the story about Roger Jolly prepping seven raw Petrof grand pianos with 21 volunteers. The Petrofs were pretty much indistinguishable after three days work.

On that basis PFH is quite right to ask what prep should be done.

My suggestion would be for PFH to get hold of a regulation checklist and mark down what he wants against all the items he considers important such as depth of aftertouch, alignment of the hammers, and so on.

Ed Foote gave some excellent guidance on assessing aftertouch last week. If I were PFH, I'd pay attention to it and the wealth of other advice to be found in the archives.

Pre-delivery acceptance criteria, no less.

Last edited by Withindale; 11/22/14 08:02 PM. Reason: Correction by PFH

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Re: What should dealer prep include
pinkfloydhomer #2353630 11/22/14 05:02 PM
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I haven't 100% decided that I want to buy a Ritmüller. Or that I have to buy from my local dealer. Or that I am buying a Ritmüller or any other piano before having the opportunity to try it out etc.

I just know that I want a grand piano and I won't wait forever.
I also know that after trying many different brands and models at many different price points at several dealers in Copenhagen, I found nothing I love.
I know that I really like the sound of the Ritmüller GH-XXXR's I've heard recordings of.
If I don't like it, I can freely choose one of the Kawais that my dealer carries. I don't like the sound of the Kawais as much as what I've heard of the Ritmüllers, but if I had to choose something my dealer has on the floor, it would probably be one of the Kawais. I sort of liked the kawai GX-3 that I tried. Just not as much as I like what I've heard of the Ritmüllers. And the price of the GX-3 is... much higher.

Making a thorough pre-delivery acceptance list is a good idea.

Last edited by pinkfloydhomer; 11/22/14 05:03 PM.

Nordiska 120CA (Dongbei) upright from about 2004, Kawai MP11 digital piano, Sennheiser HD 600 headphones.
Re: What should dealer prep include
pinkfloydhomer #2353636 11/22/14 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by pinkfloydhomer
I am considering buying a Ritmüller GH148R, GH160R or GH170R from my local dealer here in Denmark, Europe.

I have never owned or bought a grand piano before, let alone a new one. What kind of dealer prep should I expect? Should the dealer regulate the action, even out the voicing etc. or will I just get whatever comes from the factory? What should I except and what should I demand?


Hi pinkfloydhomer:

As you may know, my company has been selling these pianos (Ritmmüller GH and UH series pianos) since their inception, so I do have, perhaps, the most experience with these pianos that you will find on this forum. Additionally, as a paid consultant to Pearl River, and having a close personal relationship to Lothar Thomma, I have an intimate knowledge of these pianos.

First, I would like to echo some of the posts of others in this thread: While I firmly believe in these pianos, if you haven't played one but are simply making your selection based on recordings, I would not recommend you buying ANY piano without first playing the brand and model/size you are considering. This holds true for ANY brand. Once you have tried one, and find it to your liking, I have no issue with one being ordered in the color and size you prefer - as with any other brand such as Kawai or Yamaha, as these pianos are extremely consistent in tone and performance.

This consistency leads me to recommend the following Dealer prep on these pianos, as this is our nearly unanimous procedure on every Ritmüller grand we unbox:

  • Remove stack and ease key bushings: We have noticed that, in San Francisco, once the piano sits for a few days the bushings can be a little tight. This doesn't take long to do.
  • Check regulation, and adjust hammer travel and let-off. While most of the Rits we uncrate do meet this standard, it is always prudent to check.
  • The pianos arrive VERY mellow, and this is on purpose. It is much easier to add a bit of brilliance than to voice down hammers. We routinely iron the hammers as part of prep, to about 10% harder than they arrive. Remember that pianos get brighter with age and playing, so I wouldn't going any more than 10% at the start. Your technician can always do a bit more when the piano is in the home.
  • Two to Three tunings - We ALWAYS bring these pianos to A442 (European standard pitch) and do a second tuning a few days later. They are very stable and shouldn't need another tuning until 60-90 days after delivery to your home.


While the GH148 is a very musical instrument, if your budget allows I would certainly recommend the GH160 & GH170 as a preference. In fact, the GH170 is the best selling model of any piano of any brand the we carry.

IF your dealer also has access to the Kayserburg GH160 or GH170, and the price is within your budget, I would recommend you consider these as the prep work would be less important, since they receive more fine voicing and regulation at the factory level.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to PM me. I hope the above was helpful.


Russell I. Kassman

FORMER: US Rep.for C.Bechstein - Sauter; Retired founder/owner R. KASSMAN Piano; Consultant - GUANGZHOU Pearl River Piano Co.

www.rkassman.com
russell@rkassman.com
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