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Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Fareham] #2708417
01/25/18 02:55 PM
01/25/18 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Fareham
Ah I suspect we're down to the 7 (+2) deadly sins :
[...]
on that basis, I reckon that just about everybody who posts on PW gets caught by at least one of the above


Probably more than one, and on most days, in my case.

Incidentally, is "boasting" a sin only if it is unjustified? Is justified boasting not a sin? Just wondering.

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Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Colin Dunn] #2708420
01/25/18 03:09 PM
01/25/18 03:09 PM
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Georgia, USA
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Originally Posted by Duke of Dunning
Rick,

The “Don’t worry” guy is Bobby McFerrin. He is very much alive and active not only as a jazz vocalist, but also as a symphony orchestra conductor.

Just goes to show you can't believe everything you read on the Internet... smile

Glad he's still around, not worrying and happy! grin

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Colin Dunn] #2708425
01/25/18 03:17 PM
01/25/18 03:17 PM
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New York City
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Originally Posted by Colin Dunn
For all consumer products, there is a range from basic to ultra-luxury. There is a "sweet spot" in the middle where performance approaches that of the high end, but at considerably less cost. That is what I want to help people find.
But there has already been and continues to be a huge amount of discussion about this at PW. But most of that discussion didn't denigrate those who own/want to own a more expensive piano or suggest that the way to achieve this was by buying a 7' plus piano or denigrate performance level pianos. Hence, the backlash to some of your posts.

There has been endless discussion on PW about the advantages of buying a used piano or one of the top ranked consumer grade pianos for those on a relatively modest budget.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 01/25/18 03:21 PM.
Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Dave Ferris] #2708434
01/25/18 03:31 PM
01/25/18 03:31 PM
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Colin Dunn Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Dave Ferris

And then in 2006 I came across a 9 month old Steinway D on eBay. The owner had to sell because he had gotten into a dire financial situation. I flew out to Creston, Iowa, of all places, to check it out. It was housed in the Community College. I wasn't all that impressed on first playing but I knew the potential so I took a leap of faith with it. I sold my S6 for 29K to cover about half the cost - yes this was a once in a lifetime deal. So basically for the price someone would pay for a Honda Accord EX, I got a 9 month old Steinway D.


This hints at a topic that deserves its own thread. How to get the best bargains in the used market.
Somebody ran into financial trouble, and had to liquidate a piano for fast cash. That puts bargaining power in the hands of the buyer. A Steinway D, nearly new, for about $58K out the door (29K cash + 29K netted from selling a piano). That is a ridiculously good deal, coming from fortunate timing for the buyer. The seller really took a bath on that one if he paid MSRP.

Other things that can help you, as a buyer, drive a hard bargain and get a piano cheap:
- The seller needs to move and can't bring the piano with them. If you can line up a piano mover quick, a seller panicking in the days leading up to their move will let the piano go for cheap.
- The seller doesn't appreciate the true value of what they have. An example would be when someone's parents die, and none of the kids are interested in the piano. They just want to sell it to get it out of the house.
- The piano is in an out-of-the-way location. Moving costs are higher because it's out of the way, but fewer buyers interested in traveling to evaluate the piano.
- The piano needs work, but the work isn't expensive. Having some knowledge of piano technology and how to inspect pianos helps with this. Being a piano technician is even better, because then the cost of fixing it up is mostly your own time.
- The finish is something other than ebony black. If you can live with wood finish or even odd colors, the piano has fewer willing buyers, which will help you get a better price.
- Haggle, haggle, haggle. Don't be an obnoxious low-baller, but for a used piano, it isn't unreasonable to ask for 20-25% off the top, especially if the listing is new and the seller hasn't repeatedly cut the price.

From a seller's perspective, getting top dollar for a piano requires time / patience. The pool of buyers shrinks as the price goes up. So it takes longer to find the right buyer.


Colin Dunn
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Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Colin Dunn] #2708449
01/25/18 04:12 PM
01/25/18 04:12 PM
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Glendale, Ca.
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Originally Posted by Colin Dunn
Originally Posted by Dave Ferris

And then in 2006 I came across a 9 month old Steinway D on eBay. The owner had to sell because he had gotten into a dire financial situation. I flew out to Creston, Iowa, of all places, to check it out. It was housed in the Community College. I wasn't all that impressed on first playing but I knew the potential so I took a leap of faith with it. I sold my S6 for 29K to cover about half the cost - yes this was a once in a lifetime deal. So basically for the price someone would pay for a Honda Accord EX, I got a 9 month old Steinway D.


That is a ridiculously good deal, coming from fortunate timing for the buyer. The seller really took a bath on that one if he paid MSRP.


In 2006 the D was at 100K. Being the head of the Jazz Education Dept. at this school, he received an institutional discount. I believe he lost about 20% of what he paid.

But yes again, a once in a lifetime deal for someone like me , with a very small window of opportunity. He held it for me for a few days ( since I called on it first) while I got a flight to Omaha and then drove out to Creston. I literally had two hours at the school to make up my hesitant mind on it , as representatives were coming up from the KC Symphony at 6 PM sharp with cashier's check in hand to buy sight unseen.

It cost me another $2200 for the ship to LA. Aside from meeting my wife in High School, the luckiest day of my life. smile


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Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Dave Ferris] #2708455
01/25/18 04:23 PM
01/25/18 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Ferris

In 2006 the D was at 100K. Being the head of the Jazz Education Dept. at this school he received an institutional discount. I believe he lost about 20% of what he paid.

But yes again, a once in a lifetime deal for someone like me , with a very small window of opportunity. He held it for me for a few days ( since I called on it first) while I got a flight to Omaha and then drove out to Creston. I literally had two hours at the school to make up my hesitant mind on it , as representatives were coming up from the KC Symphony at 6 PM sharp with cashier's check in hand to buy sight unseen.

It cost me another $2200 for the ship to LA. Aside from meeting my wife in High School, the luckiest day of my life. smile


Dave, I'm curious about what attracted you to move away from Yamaha to a Steinway? I always thought a C7 was my dream piano. Then when I had the opportunity to by, a Steinway B won out over the a comparably priced C7.

Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Colin Dunn] #2708494
01/25/18 06:09 PM
01/25/18 06:09 PM
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GC13 you wrote a wonderful post in this thread earlier. I wholeheartedly agree with you that pianoword is a place that is really free from snobbery. I’ve been posting here for over 20 years (I lost my original log in details some time ago and re-registered) and the people here are truly some of the most polite, friendly and helpful you could hope to meet. I too love both Steinway and Yamaha and spent a long time deliberating between both. In the end I bought a Steinway B core and had it rebuilt. I believe if you want a Steinway the re-built market is the “sweet spot’. Why did I buy Steinway vs Yamaha? It’s a very good question. The C7 is a fantastic piano. It’s pretty much the go-to piano for most recording studios, particularly those that deal with pop music. It has a wonderful, clean “cut through the mix” sound. I compared a lot of recordings and actually found I liked the C7 for most of them over a Steinway B except for classical music. But then I found myself asking why? And I couldn’t properly answer that question other than by reasoning that I simply was used to hearing the Steinway sound on classical repertoire. Does that make it a better piano? I don’t know. I do know that a used Yamaha C7 is better value overall. In fact a used Yamaha C6 or S6 are also great/better value.

Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: GC13] #2708548
01/25/18 08:32 PM
01/25/18 08:32 PM
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Glendale, Ca.
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Originally Posted by GC13
Originally Posted by Dave Ferris

In 2006 the D was at 100K. Being the head of the Jazz Education Dept. at this school he received an institutional discount. I believe he lost about 20% of what he paid.

But yes again, a once in a lifetime deal for someone like me , with a very small window of opportunity. He held it for me for a few days ( since I called on it first) while I got a flight to Omaha and then drove out to Creston. I literally had two hours at the school to make up my hesitant mind on it , as representatives were coming up from the KC Symphony at 6 PM sharp with cashier's check in hand to buy sight unseen.

It cost me another $2200 for the ship to LA. Aside from meeting my wife in High School, the luckiest day of my life. smile


Dave, I'm curious about what attracted you to move away from Yamaha to a Steinway? I always thought a C7 was my dream piano. Then when I had the opportunity to by, a Steinway B won out over the a comparably priced C7.


I had two of the most popular Yamaha models for a combined 21 years. I loved the pianos and still think they are fantastic -- especially for pop and rock music as noted already.. But after years of playing Terry Trotter's (one of my teachers) B , the great Tom Garvin's older O ( or maybe an L ?) , the legendary Jimmy Rowles' even smaller grand of which I don't recall the model -- I always missed that darker, more complex, weighty and sustaining sound on my Yamaha.

It takes some regulation to get them where you want but the touch and connection to the sound is very different from Yamaha as well. The newer CF series closes the gap tonally but they still aren't there imo.

Basically for my ears and taste, the NY Steinway is the quintessential piano for Jazz that is based on the Blues and has Afro-American roots. All the old Blue Note, Prestige and Columbia recordings featured either a NY B or D. And all my favorite players, their preference is the American Steinway -- Hank Jones, Kenny Barron, McCoy Tyner, Mulgrew Miller, Fred Hersch, Cedar Walton, David Hazeltine, etc., etc., etc. Again for what I like, there's no other piano that captures the tradition and spirit of the music that I love like the NY Steinway.

Although I have to say, and I've posted this often here -- even after I got the D home , I still was used to my S6, which had been tweaked to the nines. It took a solid 3 years for the tone to open up and blossom-- it was a long and anxious three years.

Now I guess I'm just so used to that Steinway sound, whenever I play a nice European piano I feel -- wow that's sounds great ! Much clarity and a real sparkle to the sound. But when I get home, sit down to play and strike the first chord -- the initial reaction for the past almost 12 years has been -- yep that's it ! I feel like I'm really more at home musically speaking.

And to add - It might be my imagination but I don't think so. It seems like it keeps getting better with age (something either Yamaha never did), just ever so subtly.

Last edited by Dave Ferris; 01/26/18 12:10 AM.

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2005 NY Steinway D
Yamaha CP4, CP5, RCF TT08A speakers
Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: kevinb] #2708624
01/26/18 01:43 AM
01/26/18 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by kevinb
Originally Posted by Fareham
Ah I suspect we're down to the 7 (+2) deadly sins :
[...]
on that basis, I reckon that just about everybody who posts on PW gets caught by at least one of the above


Probably more than one, and on most days, in my case.

Incidentally, is "boasting" a sin only if it is unjustified? Is justified boasting not a sin? Just wondering.


God says a little bit is ok if the thing you're boasting about is really great, but don't overdo it. grin

Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Colin Dunn] #2708634
01/26/18 03:20 AM
01/26/18 03:20 AM
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since religion has been introduced by invoking the deadly sins (a medieval 'innovation' i.i.r.c.), ando assuring us that god tolerates boasting, and the mantra, 'don't worry be happy', the original source of the latter is not mcferrin, but Meher Baba, who adhered to silence for most of his life, communicating by writing. his health problems and physical decline were attributed to a serious auto accident. there's a well known rock opera "Tommy" by peter townsend dedicated to M.Baba.

Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Colin Dunn] #2708971
01/26/18 06:22 PM
01/26/18 06:22 PM
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One perspective that I don't think has been addressed yet is that this disruption has actually been underway for about 40 years now. I don't think this is the thread in which I posted the "what happened in 1980 graphics," and I don't want to work them to death so I won't re-post them now, but the American piano market has been under "assault" by foreign competition for a long time. The formerly "inferior" pianos are now held in relatively high regard, and the Chinese pianos will follow suit in time. In fact, to some extent, that recognition is in process.

The piano market has also been contracting for multiple decades in the U.S. and because of that many shops have closed and many technicians have struggled with lack of business. I think the "shake out" may be over, but what we have remaining are the "combat veterans" of that long term contraction. so I can understand that it's a touchy subject for many. At the same time, if it was survival of the fittest, those who remain (dealers, techs, etc), are probably the best of the best.



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Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Colin Dunn] #2709116
01/27/18 11:23 AM
01/27/18 11:23 AM
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Comparing the price to build a piano and build a house is ridiculous. Currently a basic house in my area costs about $150/sq foot to build but I don't think you will get it done for that because you will want upgrades, plus you have to buy the land, 150K at least for the land alone. As for comparative value of pianos, to get the best you pay the most. Thats true of pianos, houses, shotguns, cars etc. It costs allot more to get top performance and very often that top performing item takes greater maintenance and care to keep it performing at the top level.

Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Colin Dunn] #2709170
01/27/18 01:17 PM
01/27/18 01:17 PM
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If a fine piano is assembled and regulated with the finest of standards, which includes light enough hammers, firmly sized and precisely fit bushings, string terminations that maximize the pivot termination effect and are softer than the string; my experience has shown they will require much less in service and maintenance.


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Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Colin Dunn] #2709232
01/27/18 04:22 PM
01/27/18 04:22 PM
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I've only skimmed this thread, so this point may have come up before:

The overwhelming percentage of a new piano's selling price is not labor. 30%-40% of new piano selling price is the retailer's profit margin, another significant percentage is the wholesaler's margin. Then comes the cost of materials and the non-labor costs of production (machinery, power, space and other overhead. This is true with almost all brands.


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Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Colin Dunn] #2709239
01/27/18 04:46 PM
01/27/18 04:46 PM
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Actually, by far the largest percentage of a new piano's selling price is the cost of the piano. Within the cost of the piano may be the wholesaler/importer charge if there is a wholesaler/importer. Some pianos are bought direct from the manufacturer and the wholesaler/importer charge is eliminated.
The cost of labor becomes a higher percentage in pianos that require more labor and are made with highly skilled labor such as in Europe, the US, and some Japanese pianos. Materials become a higher percentage of the cost the more the piano is mass produced and the more the labor is less skilled and lower paid.


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Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Colin Dunn] #2709243
01/27/18 04:53 PM
01/27/18 04:53 PM
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And there's no reason to think that pianos from China will remain inexpensive. There seems to be an inexorable progression of initial cheap labor/poor quality to higher labor costs/better quality (usually better quality), and not just when it comes to pianos. Labor costs and quality will go up in China and prices will follow. Maybe Africa will be the next manufacturing site of cheap pianos.


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Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Colin Dunn] #2709261
01/27/18 05:38 PM
01/27/18 05:38 PM
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Quote
So I asked of this group: just how sucky are those no-name Chinese pianos?


Very few if any are "no-name" - have been for quite a while. Hailun, Perzina, Ritmuller, Feurich and several others have been building remarkable pianos for long time. Often with truly astounding sound qualities.
No, this is no hyping. [don't care if you think..]

Grotrian, now Chinese owned, has just introduced during this NAMM extremely capable uprights, all Chinese built. Others are in process to follow suit. Steingraeber has done same but perhaps not easily available on market here. Impossible to think Schimmel wouldn't follow, now owned by China.

China remains the largest retail market by far. We don't seem to count much anymore. In fact, some of its best pianos are already starting a get harder to come by.

Others are in process to follow suit or are actually doing it already. Sauter's name popping up. The price to be allowed selling your stuff in China. They call the shots, not us. Business hugely up. Angela & some others love it....

China also seems to increasingly gobble up world's very best [and most expensive] pianos. We are not that important any more. They're really busy over there.

Spend your money as see fit.

Or "are still able to"....

I told you 10 years ago.

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 01/27/18 05:55 PM.

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Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Steve Cohen] #2709273
01/27/18 06:23 PM
01/27/18 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen

The overwhelming percentage of a new piano's selling price is not labor. 30%-40% of new piano selling price is the retailer's profit margin, another significant percentage is the wholesaler's margin. Then comes the cost of materials and the non-labor costs of production (machinery, power, space and other overhead. This is true with almost all brands.


That is a lot of middlemen before it even reaches a store. Why do we need “wholesalers” between the manufacturer and the retailer?

Wonder if anyone will try an Internet direct model for selling pianos?


Colin Dunn
2018 Sight-Reading Challenge Longest Winning Streak: 21 days
Organizer, Denver Area Piano Group (https://www.meetup.com/Denver-Area-Piano-Group/)

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Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Colin Dunn] #2709284
01/27/18 07:16 PM
01/27/18 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Colin Dunn
Originally Posted by Steve Cohen

The overwhelming percentage of a new piano's selling price is not labor. 30%-40% of new piano selling price is the retailer's profit margin, another significant percentage is the wholesaler's margin. Then comes the cost of materials and the non-labor costs of production (machinery, power, space and other overhead. This is true with almost all brands.


That is a lot of middlemen before it even reaches a store. Why do we need “wholesalers” between the manufacturer and the retailer?

Wonder if anyone will try an Internet direct model for selling pianos?



Take a look at the pianos on Alibaba. Most manufacturers there will be happy to give you a retail price if you'd like to buy one, or a wholesale price, if you'd like to buy many.

Re: The piano market is ripe for disruption. [Re: Colin Dunn] #2709893
01/29/18 06:12 PM
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I am a professor and I work for a fairly unknown state university. My university is not ranked in any Top 100 university list but we are nevertheless one of the top tire research universities in the Carnegie classification. Before I came to work for my current institution, I have worked and attended other highly ranked universities. I also know many other faculty members in my field working at other colleges and universities. I read academic journals regularly and I attend conferences in our discipline. I have a pretty good sense of who the productive and good scholars are in our field.

Now, I have met students who are willing to pay double or triple tuition to go to a private institution for which I know their quality is not as good as ours. I also know faculty members at private institutions who are equally or less productive than me and my colleague at a state university but get paid much more. Fair, no! Is it fair that top ranked private universities admit sons and daughters from major donors even though there are more qualified applicants. No! Is it fair that wealthy families send their kids to expensive private universities not to learn any subjects but just so their kids can "network" with other rich kids, and they graduate and get the top offer from Wall Street? No. Why would students choose to go to expensive private universities when they can get the same quality education from a state university?

The world is not fair and if I am always worry about why I am not paid as much as people at a private institution or why this and that, I will never have peace with myself and I will never be as good as I can in my job. The world is not fair and rich people are not all worth of their money, but they get to spend their money on whatever they want given that's a Bösendorfer or Rolex or a yacht. For me, I just do my best in my job, love my family, and enjoy what I have.

Let me close this by quoting a legendary golfer Bobby Jones, “Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots, but you have to play the ball where it lies.” Yes, there are bad and expensive pianos and there are good and affordable pianos. Play the one you have and don't worry about who's buying the expensive pianos.

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