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Joined: Aug 2016
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I kid you not.

Visited a piano dealer while I was traveling on business this week. Had a great time. Tried a bunch of great top-tier pianos.

The salesman actually said "Steinway is dying." Verbatim. That's exactly what he said.

I don't know if he was just trying to pad the other brands available in his shop (which don't need any padding because they are already top-tier) or what.

Anyway, what do you think? Why would a dealer say that?

It's like saying that Ford trucks are dying or something.

Really caught me off guard.




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The Dealers around here that don't carry steinway but do carry other high end brands like Bosendorfer, Bechstein, Fazioli, etc. Always make comments like this.

I've heard variations of Steinway's golden age has long passed, their instruments are not even passing quality tests and falling apart, good production periods ended 30+ years ago, the sound and finish are both poor, some can be alright, but large numbers are absolute trash that cannot be fixed by technicians (voiced to proper tone). By the way, these comments are from 3 different stores.

Also, the other stores will bad mouth brands they are not selling...Bosendorfers have gone down hill a lot since Yamaha's takeover. Faziolis are so bright techs have difficulty voicing them after 10+ years of use and the tone cannot be maintained....

I just attribute it to dealers trying to sell their own brands of pianos.

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Originally Posted by Michiyo-Fir
The Dealers around here that don't carry steinway but do carry other high end brands like Bosendorfer, Bechstein, Fazioli, etc. Always make comments like this.

I've heard variations of Steinway's golden age has long passed, their instruments are not even passing quality tests and falling apart, good production periods ended 30+ years ago, the sound and finish are both poor, some can be alright, but large numbers are absolute trash that cannot be fixed by technicians (voiced to proper tone). By the way, these comments are from 3 different stores.

Also, the other stores will bad mouth brands they are not selling...Bosendorfers have gone down hill a lot since Yamaha's takeover. Faziolis are so bright techs have difficulty voicing them after 10+ years of use and the tone cannot be maintained....

I just attribute it to dealers trying to sell their own brands of pianos.


And that drives me bonkers! How am I supposed to make an informed decision?

I'm going to buy a new piano within the next 5 - 10 years, and despite all of the reading and research I do, that malarky just makes me dizzy.


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Full Disclosure = I do not sell new Steinway pianos. I sell and rebuild Steinway pianos for clients around the world.

Steinway has certainly made mistakes but so have almost every other piano maker. They have, at least here in the USA, ruled the concert and artist market for decades, but today there are beautiful alternatives that really weren't options a few decades ago - Bösendorfer, the Yamaha CFX, Fazioli, and others are now gaining in this field.

When the above happens, something else happens, too. People "in the loop" begin to think differently about the product. For example, there is no mistake that having Formula 1 autos winning races will help an auto manufacturer's reputation. It may not be important to you, but it is to an auto buff, to many mechanics, to the people that review autos, etc.

On the ground level the general public begins to take notice. This used to take many years to happen, but in the age of the internet I have seen it in a matter of months, maybe weeks.

Anyway, Steinway is not dying. In fact, they have recently improved their quality control in their factory, which was certainly needed.

Further, when pianos are sold by the name on the fallboard or by the expectation that its value will soar, instead of by how it sounds, feels, and performs, there may be an issue with those pianos.

My 2 cents,


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Did the dealer/salesman simply assert that with nothing to support his contention? I would be curious to hear the reasoning behind that statement. I would say that it would have to be quite strong to be persuasive.


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Greetings,
I would be curious to know what percentage of Steinway's output is sold to "All Steinway Schools". Anybody know what that might be?

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Having read several books on Steinway's history, it is interesting to note that at a fairly large number of times in their history their business almost did collapse. They always found ways(and maybe sometimes were just lucky)to survive when most of the competition, at least in America, didn't. Sometimes they just lowered their prices or the wages/hours of their workers, although I don't think that would happen today.

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Having read several books on Steinway's history, it is interesting to note that at a fairly large number of times in their history their business almost did collapse. They always found ways(and maybe sometimes were just lucky)to survive when most of the competition, at least in America, didn't. Sometimes they just lowered their prices or the wages/hours of their workers, although I don't think that would happen today.

I am curious if anyone knows what the second most popular make is for classical piano concerts? My guess is the Yamaha CFX.

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I don't have a dog in this fight (figure of speech grin ), but it has been my experience that when it comes to sales, business, profits, and promotion, don't believe most of what you hear from salespeople.

I'm in the market to buy a new vehicle (and get it paid for before I retire smile ) and have had several rounds of banter boxing with a few new car dealers/salesmen. I've been lied to, subtly of course, and deceived, given false promises, given the runaround, all the while having the salesperson smile in my face and pat me on the back and tell me how much the want my business.

My conclusion? There is not much difference between any and all new car dealers.

The same principles can apply to new, high-end piano dealers. We've all seen it here on PW time and time again. The dealer/salesperson will say pretty much anything to put the competition down, and promote the brands they have on their show-room floor. Nothing changes.

The comment "Steinway is dying" is about as bogus as they come. Heck, we're all dying, either slowly or in a hurry. Thing is, Steinway will be here we most of us are dead and gone (to a better place, hopefully smile ).

Just my .02.

Rick


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Steinway isn't dying, in fact, all their old pianos continue to be resurrected through rebuilds and restorations.

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Our local Steinway dealer seems to be doing just fine. One of the local major venues just recently converted to an all-Steinway institute. They were also doing a trade-in sales (too many trade-ins of other brands for them to keep).

FWIW, the 3 local dealers carrying top tier instruments never bad-mouthed others in front of me. Maybe I didn't push the wrong button.

Last edited by Davdoc; 10/21/16 01:54 PM.

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I suspect you came over as too knowledgeable to be successfully lied to.


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I have heard the folks at the Hollywood Steinway Gallery compliment Boesendorfer.

If Steinway is doing anything wrong, it's that annual 5% price hike.


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have read one steinway dealer's marketing blurb, a variation on the 'prestige object as commodity' theme, that a cared for s&s could appreciate over time and be sold later at a profit. not impossible, of course, and the .05 annual price increase can only reinforce the conceit.

when a clearly biased source comes out with a hyperbolic, speculative, wishful-thinking-aloud statement, perhaps it was not intended literally. s&s went from acting like it was above its asian competitors, contracted one to make bostons and added asian built essex's to go after the lower price tier market, then saw yamaha absorb another rival boesendorfer. there will always be legions of s&s loyalists with a 'rule britannia' mentality, plus corps of technicians and restorers making decent livings recycling the old things and riding the brand name.

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Originally Posted by huaidongxi
have read one steinway dealer's marketing blurb, a variation on the 'prestige object as commodity' theme, that a cared for s&s could appreciate over time and be sold later at a profit. not impossible, of course, and the .05 annual price increase can only reinforce the conceit


This reminds me of a thread that was up in the early 2000's here on PW. Larry Fletcher, an old time piano dealer in Atlanta (who has since retired) used the Steinway appreciation thing on a Kimball Whitney spinet he had recently sold.

In 1975 it sold new for around $200 to $300. In the early 2000's he resold it as used for $1200.00. That appreciation blew Steinway (and others) away but this model was decidedly one of the cheapest acoustic pianos ever built.

My 2 cents and foggy memories,


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If that had been said to me I would simply say that it Steinway dying clearly explains why Steinway just built the new Steinway Hall.

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Originally Posted by Plowboy

If Steinway is doing anything wrong, it's that annual 5% price hike.

grin


Last edited by Carey; 10/21/16 05:00 PM.

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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
Did the dealer/salesman simply assert that with nothing to support his contention? I would be curious to hear the reasoning behind that statement. I would say that it would have to be quite strong to be persuasive.


In context, he was talking about Estonia, Mason & Hamlin, and Schimmel (and some other brand I forget), and was talking about how they are just as good but for significantly less and Steinways are over hyped and dying and (implicitly) that I should get on board with one of those other brands.

I don't really care, though, I recognize them all as top tier, and was just getting a feel for what I liked most.

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Originally Posted by LJC
If that had been said to me I would simply say that it Steinway dying clearly explains why Steinway just built the new Steinway Hall.
...which perhaps explains the annual 5 percent price increases !!


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That feels like a used car salesman tactic, and not the presentation of a sales professional.

It's easy to blithely slam the competition. It's hard to show the intrinsic value of what you have to sell as an alternative.

Steinway is doing quite well across Canada from what I hear.

No...They're not dying.

Jay


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