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First piano shopping experience #2870305
07/18/19 11:28 AM
07/18/19 11:28 AM
Joined: Mar 2019
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WeakLeftHand Offline OP
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Ok, here goes. I'm going to tell this story with no names because the piano world is so darn small and I still need to buy a piano.

I went into Piano Store A. They were friendly, welcoming, non-arrogant and stayed with me after hours to let me try the pianos. It was my fault for not realizing their closing time and I expressed my gratitude for them accommodating me. I just felt comfortable there. I had all my questions answered to my liking, except I had a question mark about one of the sales person's comments about a particular piano's specs, and after further investigation, found out that the sales person's information was just wrong. I'm not sure if it was based on ignorance or purposeful (i.e., to make the piano sound better than it really is).

I went into Piano Store B. They had very few benches so you had to ask for a bench to try a piano. And I got the "put down others so you'll look better yourself" kind of sales tactic. I was put off immediately. In addition to that, when I said that I was buying a piano for myself, and I'm a beginner, I got a reaction that wasn't the most receptive (maybe he didn't mean it); almost like they never get older people who buy pianos for themselves who are beginners. But the sales person was otherwise friendly, answered my questions (although I went "huh?" to some of them) and he wasn't really snooty or anything, but I just didn't feel right in that store. It wasn't like Store A, where I felt welcomed to sit and play for as long as I wanted. I kind of felt like I wanted to leave after only a few minutes of tinkering. And I did leave.

When I started this piano shopping journey, I thought it would be simple: I'd go in, play the pianos and based on which one I liked the most and the price I was willing to pay, I was going to buy my piano! Looks like the customer service and vibe of the store is really affecting my shopping! I think I'm really going to have to push all the extraneous stuff aside and concentrate on "just the piano".

I'm not liking this piano shopping experience at all. Gotta drive all around town and there's only 1 dealer for a specific brand, which basically means there is no competition. If I want piano X, I must buy it from Store X, even if I don't want to. frown

*Sigh* - Gotta few more stores to visit...

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Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2870354
07/18/19 02:37 PM
07/18/19 02:37 PM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 62
New Orleans area
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Rally Offline
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It seems your actual piano shopping experience is not up to the expectations you imagined. Piano shopping is such a rare and different task, it is almost impossible to know what will come your way when you walk into a piano store. Details of your shopping up to this point sounds a lot like the ins and outs of piano shopping others have posted on the forum. My guess is you have the personality and temperament to objectively assess the offerings in your area and find a piano you will enjoy for many years.

My oddest moment when piano shopping involved a saleswoman. I explained to her which pianos I was interested in playing. Instead of showing me those pianos, she sat down at a piano I would never consider and began to play then pitched me on what a great deal they had on this marvelous piano. I was polite and after a few minutes steered the conversation to the reason I walked through the door. I was amazed, instead of walking over to the other pianos, she invited me to sit and at least give the one I did not want a quick play. I did a bit of quick thinking, removed the phone from my pocket, glanced at the screen, said 'oops, something has come up, I must go. bye.'

Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2870356
07/18/19 02:46 PM
07/18/19 02:46 PM
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Posts: 3,383
UK
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I will only buy from a store or salesperson, and after sales, I am comfortable with, and I will then fight myself to maintain objectivity over the purchase. That can often mean saying no. A lot.

Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: spanishbuddha] #2870362
07/18/19 03:25 PM
07/18/19 03:25 PM
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Posts: 386
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WeakLeftHand Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Rally
It seems your actual piano shopping experience is not up to the expectations you imagined. Piano shopping is such a rare and different task, it is almost impossible to know what will come your way when you walk into a piano store. Details of your shopping up to this point sounds a lot like the ins and outs of piano shopping others have posted on the forum. My guess is you have the personality and temperament to objectively assess the offerings in your area and find a piano you will enjoy for many years.

My oddest moment when piano shopping involved a saleswoman. I explained to her which pianos I was interested in playing. Instead of showing me those pianos, she sat down at a piano I would never consider and began to play then pitched me on what a great deal they had on this marvelous piano. I was polite and after a few minutes steered the conversation to the reason I walked through the door. I was amazed, instead of walking over to the other pianos, she invited me to sit and at least give the one I did not want a quick play. I did a bit of quick thinking, removed the phone from my pocket, glanced at the screen, said 'oops, something has come up, I must go. bye.'


Kind of reminds me of buying a used car...

Your situation sounds like she wanted you to buy that piano and only that piano! Did you ever go back to that shop? Did you ever get to try the pianos you were intending to try?

Originally Posted by spanishbuddha
I will only buy from a store or salesperson, and after sales, I am comfortable with, and I will then fight myself to maintain objectivity over the purchase. That can often mean saying no. A lot.


What if you REALLY loved a certain piano and you're not comfortable with the shop but only that shop sold it? Would you be willing to walk away and buy your 2nd favourite piano?

Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2870376
07/18/19 04:12 PM
07/18/19 04:12 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 4,280
Florida
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WeakLeftHand
In my experience, unless you live in piano store nirvana, where there is another dealer right around the corner, you need to be prepared to travel or to accept you might not be wild about the dealer. You need to take charge. It does not matter how well you play as you hold the checkbook and that is better than a winning poker hand ... they must have sales to stay in business.

I’m not marrying the dealer but I do marry the piano.

I also would not shy away from the private market....but that’s just me.😊 and that's where I found THE ONE

Last edited by dogperson; 07/18/19 04:15 PM.

"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2870379
07/18/19 04:23 PM
07/18/19 04:23 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,401
not in Japan anymore
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You have my sympathies, WeakLeftHand, you really do. Although, if there are two piano dealers in the city where you live, you are already much better off than I am, since there are exactly zero piano dealers in my city, and my piano shopping requires me to drive all over tarnation.... whome

Quote
What if you REALLY loved a certain piano and you're not comfortable with the shop but only that shop sold it? Would you be willing to walk away and buy your 2nd favourite piano?


I have thought this exact question, since there's a Seiler I like but only at one dealer and the owner is... well let;s just say my husband and I basically ran out of that store as fast as we could! crazy

I haven't figured out the answer yet. I decided I will give that dealer one more chance and see how it goes (as soon as we can make the drive up there again...)

Regarding Store B (that was the one you didn't like, right?) give them one more chance maybe? Perhaps if you come in a second time they will see you as a more serious customer?

I will say that I might buy from someone who I don't necessarily like, but I won't buy if I think they're dishonest, so there's a line there. You want to figure out where that line is for yourself and then that should make it a little easier for you.

And coming here to vent is always good too! laugh

What are you shopping for, upright or grand? New or used?


Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

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Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2870388
07/18/19 04:51 PM
07/18/19 04:51 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,359
Southwest
j&j Offline
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As WeakLeftHand points out, you’re not marrying the dealer just the piano. Do you reject your true love because their mother or father is a bit of a nag?
If you decide you really like Piano Brand A but don’t like the dealer or salesperson, be blunt. Especially if you’re paying cash. Don’t walk in leading with the long story of your inexperience and lack of piano knowledge. Tell the salesperson straight, “these are the pianos I want to try.” Id like a bench to use and I’d like to be left alone.” If they get insulted and don’t want to work that way, find another dealer. You are THE PROSPECTIVE BUYER. You rule! You have the power. The dealer’s profit or the salesperson’s commission depends entirely on you feeling happy and buying an expensive instrument from them. Why do we walk in into piano stores or car dealerships like meek little sheep? Afraid of being judged. The only judgement going on in the piano store is the salesperson trying to figure out what you’d like so the sale is made and you tryptophan figure out which piano really sounds and feels like. No one cares how well or how poorly we perform. A terrible pianist’s money as just as good as a professional.
I love piano shopping. No one admires my playing quite as much as my piano dealer. 😁


J & J
Yamaha C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
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Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2870393
07/18/19 05:03 PM
07/18/19 05:03 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,359
Southwest
j&j Offline
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I sounded rather harsh there. No one should be an inconsiderate jerk when shopping but the potential buyer is in the driver seat when piano shopping and if you want quiet play time, ask for it. If you don’t want to try something, don’t. Piano shopping should be fun not stressful.


J & J
Yamaha C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
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Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: j&j] #2870399
07/18/19 05:17 PM
07/18/19 05:17 PM
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 174
Hawai'i Island
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Hawai'i Island
Originally Posted by j&j
No one admires my playing quite as much as my piano dealer. 😁


Snicker...
For the OP, it took me years to finally the piano I wanted, partly because I live on an island with a small population nowhere near big enough to sustain a dealership. The private market is pretty atrophied too. Finally, a real possibility emerged, but at a dealelership on Oahu, so just to try it involved a $300 round trip on Hawaiian Air. It was worth it though, as I instantly fell in love. At long last, I had found my (B)eau! Fortunately, this dealer is great to work worth, but he could have been Atilla the Hun and I still would have snagged that piano. But, it also just so happens that the only person who has ever touched its insides is a well regarded, concert level tech who happens to live in our island, so I didn't have to worry about post sale service quality and that would be something I might be concerned with in your shoes. Someone said, you're marrying the piano, not the dealer. True, but if you're dependent on him for service, he might be an annoying in-law that you have to tolerate. Good luck in your hunt and just remember to be patient.

Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2870413
07/18/19 06:06 PM
07/18/19 06:06 PM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 2,119
North Vancouver
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Lady Bird Online content
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North Vancouver
When I was looking for my ideal upright piano I
visited the following sorts of dealers in Vancouver .
(A) I hate to describe this one like this but rather
"fly by night " ,just an impression,perhaps not this
bad ? It was small but full of uprights and a few
grand pianos ---not a good experience.
(B)A small but nice piano dealer downtown.The owner
helped me ,he also sort of chose the piano for me
to try -a used Steinways,a new Schultz and Polman upright which I quite enjoyed .An American upright
but I cannot now remember which one.Perhaps a
Mason and Hamlin upright ?It was very nice.
(C) A very really posh looking dealer downtown who
sold Fazioli grands and a few other really expensive
European upright and grand pianos.
The ones we considered were a Bechstein Academy,
and W Hoffman 130 which were at the bottom of
the barrel price wise.Then I saw a used Yamaha YUS5.When I wanted to try the piano the Russian lady
went on and on until she was almost saying that
a Yamaha piano was not really a piano.She led me to
a K8 Bechstein.Which yes was wonderful but I could
never afford.
(D)A mega dealer with a combination of 2 German
brands,Yamaha YUS5 was there as well as U1 and there was Steinways with Boston and Essex.
The sales lady crowded me at first but was not overwhelming.A different day a salesman gave me
incorrect information and was quite aggressive in his
sales method.Because we both liked the Sauter we
visited when the sales lady was there because she allowed us to just play the piano in peace.
Eventually we bought that particular piano after
checking with the manufacturer on when the piano
made,the model ,and when it was sent to Canada.
My technician checked the piano and friend of mine
who also teachers the piano went to play the instrument.We also visited chain stores dotted
around Vancouver.Strangely enough the piano of
same brand and model,different wood finish sold in
our local dealer in North Vancouver at almost the
same time ?(unusual, but true)I preferred the one I
was interested in downtown.
One has to be relentless trying to find the piano
you like and that means at times ignoring
overbearing sales people.





Last edited by Lady Bird; 07/18/19 06:15 PM. Reason: Extra word
Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: Lady Bird] #2870422
07/18/19 06:24 PM
07/18/19 06:24 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 152
Alsea Oregon, USA
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A few years ago I visited the two largest piano stores in Portland, Oregon looking for something to replace our Yamaha GC1. No cash in hand and I was honest with the proprietors making it clear that I was just shopping but intended to upgrade in the future. One store was wonderful..."play anything you want including the Imperial over there and let me know what you think". At the time I was very impressed with a mid-sized Kawai (not sure the size). Then my friend and I went to the second store where a young women ushered us to each piano that SHE thought I'd be interested in and never shut her mouth. She increased her volume so she could be heard whenever I tried to play one of the pianos. She condescended to my friend who does not play piano but is wealthy enough to buy all the pianos in both stores by simply writing a check. My friend was deeply offended and I will naturally never even consider buying a piano from the second store.


John Shelton
Shelton-Farretta Guitars
www.sheltonfarrettaguitars.com
Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2870497
07/19/19 01:46 AM
07/19/19 01:46 AM
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Haha...the OP's experience sounds just about exactly like my first experience (and my only one)

It was definitely an unusual experience for me being a first timer but now, after having done it once and having purchased a piano, I have a small bit of perspective that I didn't have before.

PS: I did flee the smaller creepier store and went with the good one that was willing to show me what I wanted and allow me all the time in the world to decide. That gave me a good feeling that if the piano was delivered and there was a problem that they would not pretend that they didn't know me!

The transaction turned out great, the piano is great and I'm happy.


Until the upgrade-shopping-trip comes smile

Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: Rally] #2870499
07/19/19 02:24 AM
07/19/19 02:24 AM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 1,148
Moscow, Russia
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Iaroslav Vasiliev Offline
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Originally Posted by Rally
My oddest moment when piano shopping involved a saleswoman. I explained to her which pianos I was interested in playing. Instead of showing me those pianos, she sat down at a piano I would never consider and began to play then pitched me on what a great deal they had on this marvelous piano. I was polite and after a few minutes steered the conversation to the reason I walked through the door. I was amazed, instead of walking over to the other pianos, she invited me to sit and at least give the one I did not want a quick play. I did a bit of quick thinking, removed the phone from my pocket, glanced at the screen, said 'oops, something has come up, I must go. bye.'

I would not give up so quickly. It could have been that the piano of your dream was waiting for you there! wink I would give a quick try to that piano and consider it a warm up.

Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: Rally] #2870523
07/19/19 05:36 AM
07/19/19 05:36 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,333
Queensland, Australia
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I wasn't put off by any store - some were more welcoming to me just browsing and playing EVERY piano they had. Others followed me around till they got sick of it and left me to it.

The important thing to keep in mind is that you want the "Perfect Piano" for you - not the perfect salesperson. The only way to do that is to play many, many pianos.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2870569
07/19/19 08:08 AM
07/19/19 08:08 AM
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Posts: 253
North Tx
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You might just need to tell piano store B what will work for you. I had a store owner badly disparage another brand I was considering, and frankly to do so is laughable. Basically attempting a fear, uncertainty, and doubt tactic. I did not plan to return to the store, but when the sales person (not the owner) reached out to follow up, I just told them it was horribly off putting and incredulous. I got a seemingly genuine apology email from the store owner. I ended up have subsequent positive experiences there, and I could recommend the place to others even. In the end, you are in the driver's seat. I'd not be intimidated by any single experience. They want your money.

Last edited by dhull100; 07/19/19 08:09 AM.
Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2870578
07/19/19 09:19 AM
07/19/19 09:19 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
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Southwest
j&j Offline
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When you’re piano shopping you shouldn’t have to train dealers or salespeople how to sell you a piano. But you don’t want to let an incompetent or annoying person stand between you and the piano of your dreams.
Apparently being bossy, rude, and insulting brands they don’t carry, works on some piano buyers. You need to speak up the instant you’re put off. Be firm.
The three things you’re really looking for is 1) a nice assortment of well-prepped pianos in or slightly above your price range. 2) knowledgeable, factual information on the history of used pianos and new pianos you try. 3) great support and courtesy after the sale.
Most piano dealers, if they’ve been in the piano business for years, and are a well respected business people, understand those terms and should be able to meet your conditions.
The Music Industry is a very tough business and most dealers want you to have a wonderful experience and to count you as a delighted customer. If their sales staff is acting unprofessionally or stupidly, they need to know.
Don’t be afraid, speak your mind. Best wishes on wonderful piano shopping


J & J
Yamaha C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
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Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2870593
07/19/19 10:04 AM
07/19/19 10:04 AM
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WeakLeftHand Offline OP
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Thanks for everyone's experiences and thoughts. I'm taking everyone's thoughts to heart. I know I'm holding the credit card, so yeah, I should be the one in control. I should not let the first 2 experiences dampen my spirits. My experience at Store B kind of tainted my view of Piano B. I'm going to brush that away and give that line of pianos another chance, as well as the store.

Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2870597
07/19/19 10:39 AM
07/19/19 10:39 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,573
Georgia, USA
Rickster Offline
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Next time you go to a piano store, find the piano you are interested in the most, and sit down and play it. Of course, a lot of piano stores do not have the bench with their new pianos, for some reason. They bring out the bench when a customer wants to audition a certain piano. You could play the piano standing up, if that is the case.

I often wondered about that (lots of pianos in the store, but none of them with benches in front of them). Maybe they figure it takes up too much space, or maybe it is a kind of sales strategy, I'm not sure. But that is the experience I've had at the largest piano stores I've visited.

But find the piano you want to play, and play it; ask the salesperson questions if you have questions. But don't let them dominate the conversation. Try to block-out the salesperson and pretend you are in your own home playing that particular piano. I think the better, more knowledgeable and experienced piano salespeople have learned to leave the customer/prospect alone and let them spend some quality time with the piano they are interested in. Some haven't learned that.

Don't be discouraged and keep at it! But my piano shopping experience with dealers is limited.

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: Rickster] #2870670
07/19/19 03:49 PM
07/19/19 03:49 PM
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Posts: 386
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WeakLeftHand Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Rickster
Next time you go to a piano store, find the piano you are interested in the most, and sit down and play it. Of course, a lot of piano stores do not have the bench with their new pianos, for some reason. They bring out the bench when a customer wants to audition a certain piano. You could play the piano standing up, if that is the case.

I often wondered about that (lots of pianos in the store, but none of them with benches in front of them). Maybe they figure it takes up too much space, or maybe it is a kind of sales strategy, I'm not sure. But that is the experience I've had at the largest piano stores I've visited.

But find the piano you want to play, and play it; ask the salesperson questions if you have questions. But don't let them dominate the conversation. Try to block-out the salesperson and pretend you are in your own home playing that particular piano. I think the better, more knowledgeable and experienced piano salespeople have learned to leave the customer/prospect alone and let them spend some quality time with the piano they are interested in. Some haven't learned that.

Don't be discouraged and keep at it! But my piano shopping experience with dealers is limited.

Good luck!

Rick


About the benches. I would've thought that if you put a bench in front of every piano, then it would be more conducive to customers just helping themselves, sit down and play each one. Sure, if I'm serious enough, I would ask for a bench, but every time I wanted to try another piano, the sales person would have to move the bench for me. That to me seems annoying, but I also understand in some stores, space is an issue and that may be why.

I also have to admit that I probably have a self esteem issue with my playing, so it is difficult to get me to feel really comfortable when testing a piano in a showroom. I don't mind so much the sales person, but other people (and kids) testing pianos and playing all sorts of crazy stuff...and me playing Row Row Row Your Boat makes me feel self conscious. I guess I could picture everyone in their underwear... grin

Re: First piano shopping experience [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2870694
07/19/19 05:22 PM
07/19/19 05:22 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,401
not in Japan anymore
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not in Japan anymore
Benches! This is kind of a pet peeve for me too. Maybe not every piano comes with a bench with an adjustable-height bench, but there should be one near every piano, even if there's not one *for* every piano.

At one dealership, there were lots of benches, but not all could be adjusted. I got an artist's bench adjusted to the height I like, and then each time I moved pianos, I had my husband move the bench for me (because it was a duet bench with a padded seat and weight as much as a small car!) My husband complained that the dealer should have done that, but I didn't ask the dealer for help, so how was he supposed to know? Plus the dealer was leaving me alone to play as much as I wanted, so I didn't have any complaints (sorry Dear whome

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 07/19/19 05:24 PM.

Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

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