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Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57550
10/03/07 07:54 PM
10/03/07 07:54 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 869
Singapore
Digitus Offline
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Singapore
It's kind of hard to live a "Made in the USA" life these days, particularly when the country owes so much money to the rest of the world. And there are no such things as perfect countries or perfect governments. Reality often has a nasty habit of refusing to match fantasy. :rolleyes: laugh

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Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57551
10/03/07 08:20 PM
10/03/07 08:20 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,011
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Steve Cohen Offline
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Posts: 11,011
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Quote
Originally posted by Digitus:
It's kind of hard to live a "Made in the USA" life these days, particularly when the country owes so much money to the rest of the world. And there are no such things as perfect countries or perfect governments. Reality often has a nasty habit of refusing to match fantasy. :rolleyes: laugh
Ver well put.


Piano Industry Consultant

Contributing Editor & Consultant - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Family Owned and Operated Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57552
10/03/07 10:08 PM
10/03/07 10:08 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 512
Sterling Heights, Michigan
M
Mat D. Offline
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Mat D.  Offline
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M

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 512
Sterling Heights, Michigan
Quote
Originally posted by packa:
You can dress it up anyway you like, but no manufacturer today goes to China to get better quality; they go to get lower costs at some acceptable level of quality. That is China's current role in the world economy. How and when that role evolves in the coming years is an interesting subject for discussion and speculation, but it doesn't change the current facts on the ground.
Paul, well put...it is a reality (at this moment) no matter how one tries to spin it.

Also, the fact that they play unfair when it comes to environmental affairs etc (I did even mention human rights!!). is just wrong...it rubs me the wrong way when I see US companies buying into, and feeding this practice; by doing so, they become part of the problem.....like feeding the 'enemy'...literally! I'm afraid I am not astute enough in business and economics to understand why this is allowed to happen, but logic tells me it is wrong, wrong, wrong.

There, I said it.....and I own a 'pre-Chinese" M&H BB. If I were buying today, I would definately put the "Chinese Connection" down in the negative column.
Mat D.

Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57553
10/03/07 10:23 PM
10/03/07 10:23 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 512
Sterling Heights, Michigan
M
Mat D. Offline
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Mat D.  Offline
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 512
Sterling Heights, Michigan
Quote
Originally posted by gutenberg:

should we be so enthusiastic and so deeply enmeshed in business with a country that has so little regard for free speech and freedom of expression?

are we so eager to stock our walmarts, and obtain quality pianos at a better price point, that we are willing to overlook who we are dealing with?

forgive my rant, but it seems to me these things should be talked about more. maybe not here.
I DO think this should be discussed here....bringing this to light and putting it into perspective can only help fight the trend...If the Chinese abided by all THE rules as we here in ther US must abide by, it would be a different story. As it is, it is unfair and immoral IMO. Thanks for sharing your passion & thoughts.
Mat D.

Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57554
10/03/07 06:53 PM
10/03/07 06:53 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 82
D
daifanshi Offline
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daifanshi  Offline
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Posts: 82
Quote
Originally posted by Mat D.:
Quote
Originally posted by gutenberg:
[b]
should we be so enthusiastic and so deeply enmeshed in business with a country that has so little regard for free speech and freedom of expression?

are we so eager to stock our walmarts, and obtain quality pianos at a better price point, that we are willing to overlook who we are dealing with?

forgive my rant, but it seems to me these things should be talked about more. maybe not here.
I DO think this should be discussed here....bringing this to light and putting it into perspective can only help fight the trend...If the Chinese abided by all THE rules as we here in ther US must abide by, it would be a different story. As it is, it is unfair and immoral IMO. Thanks for sharing your passion & thoughts.
Mat D. [/b]
In other words,
"Chinese, bad bad bad!!! American, good good good!"

Really, this is starting to look more and more like some sort of cultural xenophobia.

Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57555
10/03/07 07:40 PM
10/03/07 07:40 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 512
Sterling Heights, Michigan
M
Mat D. Offline
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Mat D.  Offline
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M

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 512
Sterling Heights, Michigan
Quote
Originally posted by daifanshi:
Quote
Originally posted by Mat D.:
[b] [QUOTE]Originally posted by gutenberg:
[qb]
In other words,
"Chinese, bad bad bad!!! American, good good good!"

Really, this is starting to look more and more like some sort of cultural xenophobia. [/b]
I am obviously referring to Chinese business practices, but go ahead and try to defend some of the Chinese social injustices.
Mat D.

Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57556
10/03/07 07:44 PM
10/03/07 07:44 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 33
NJ
C
Confucian Offline
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Confucian  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 33
NJ
Apparently I touched a nerve.


Confucian
Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57557
10/03/07 08:20 PM
10/03/07 08:20 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 82
D
daifanshi Offline
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daifanshi  Offline
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D

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 82
Quote
Originally posted by Mat D.:
Quote
Originally posted by daifanshi:
[b]
Quote
Originally posted by Mat D.:
[b] [QUOTE]Originally posted by gutenberg:
[qb]
In other words,
"Chinese, bad bad bad!!! American, good good good!"

Really, this is starting to look more and more like some sort of cultural xenophobia. [/b]
I am obviously referring to Chinese business practices, but go ahead and try to defend some of the Chinese social injustices.
Mat D. [/b]
I'm not sure how you concluded that I was defending ANYTHING. Pretty big stretch. I was just pointing out how absurd and ridiculous your "morality" rant is.

And what specific business practices are "immoral" and how does this relate to pianos?

Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57558
10/03/07 08:30 PM
10/03/07 08:30 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 512
Sterling Heights, Michigan
M
Mat D. Offline
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Mat D.  Offline
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M

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 512
Sterling Heights, Michigan
Quote
Originally posted by Confucian:
Apparently I touched a nerve.
Sorry, no, i just went back and read your post for the first time.

Certainly the Chinese can make a fine action part, but that is not really the point in the bigger picture IMO.

Sorry, I usually don't get involved in these arguments (they never go anywhere but down), but the topic struck me (again) and I happen to be a M&H owner so I thought it was somewhat relevant.
Mat D.

Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57559
10/03/07 08:34 PM
10/03/07 08:34 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 33
NJ
C
Confucian Offline
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Confucian  Offline
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C

Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 33
NJ
As a Chinese who lived in China till 1984 and as an American who has been living in the US since 1984, I think we should put things in perspective so as to see how far China has progressed in the past 20 years.

China before 1984 was totalitarian, repressive, communist in the worse sense of the word.

Today's China is an entirely different China than the one I grew up in. I visited China a few times in the past few years. Every time I went back, I saw astonishing improvements in the lives of ordinary Chinese people. When I left China in 1984, the tallest building in Shanghai was 24 stories. A bicycle was considered a status symbol. In the community I lived (some 500 families), there was one piano.

Last year when I went back, I visited my old neighborhoold. The old buildings were torn down. 50-story apartment buildings stand in their place. Teachers, office workers, some factory workers live there. There are about 120 cars, about equal number of motor cycles, and at least a few dozens of pianos (Unlike cars, I can't see pianos parked in the garage, but I can hear them as I go up and down the elevator!)

It is true that today's China still does not have as much personal political freedom as the US. However, the people have vastly improved living standards, and enjoyed a kind of political freedom that I never had when I grew up there.

It takes time for political freedom to come to a country where economic development takes first priority. Taiwan and Singapore - 2 major growth engines in Asia - went through a similar process as today's China. People don't realize that just a short while ago, Taiwan was a dictatorship. Democracy will eventually come to China -- economic prosperity is the bedrock on which democracy can take hold. Show me a country where every citizen is well fed, well clothed, and well educated -- I can guarantee you it is a democracy.


Confucian
Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57560
10/03/07 08:40 PM
10/03/07 08:40 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 512
Sterling Heights, Michigan
M
Mat D. Offline
500 Post Club Member
Mat D.  Offline
500 Post Club Member
M

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 512
Sterling Heights, Michigan
Confucian said: "It is true that today's China still does not have as much personal political freedom as the US. However, the people have vastly improved living standards, and enjoyed a kind of political freedom that I never had when I grew up there.

It takes time for political freedom to come to a country where economic development takes first priority. Taiwan and Singapore - 2 major growth engines in Asia - went through a similar process as today's China. People don't realize that just a short while ago, Taiwan was a dictatorship. Democracy will eventually come to China -- economic prosperity is the bedrock on which democracy can take hold. Show me a country where every citizen is well fed, well clothed, and well educated -- I can guarantee you it is a democracy."

Confucian, thank you for your story and your insight...I agree with you...freedom is what human beings yearn for naturally...it is a need.
Mat D.

Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57561
10/03/07 08:42 PM
10/03/07 08:42 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 512
Sterling Heights, Michigan
M
Mat D. Offline
500 Post Club Member
Mat D.  Offline
500 Post Club Member
M

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 512
Sterling Heights, Michigan

Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57562
10/03/07 09:42 PM
10/03/07 09:42 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 7,439
torrance, CA
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member
turandot  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 7,439
torrance, CA
Originally posted by packa:
Quote

You can dress it up anyway you like, but no manufacturer today goes to China to get better quality; they go to get lower costs at some acceptable level of quality. That is China's current role in the world economy.
Why is it so difficult to accept the possibility that an item from China could be of a higher quality than what is available from the competition elsewhere??

Take plates for example. If Mason & Hamlin wishes to buy a plate in the US, they must buy from Kelly, wholly owned by Steinway. Walter does this. Mason & Hamlin has chosen to go elsewhere. If they choose to buy in Europe, they must in all probablility buy from Pilnikov, which is already busy due to the closure earlier this year of Europe's other large foundry. It's not like M & H can go to the Yellow Pages and ring up the local plate suppliers.

If Mason and Hamlin says that their new plate results in a better product, I'm inclined to believe them. Just because O.S. Kelly has been in business forever in the US doesn't make it better than all other options.

As to China's 'role in the current world economy', who is the casting director assigning the roles?


Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier
Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57563
10/03/07 11:07 PM
10/03/07 11:07 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 879
Hillsborough, NC
Toddler2 Offline
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Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 879
Hillsborough, NC
The BRIC emerging markets are likely to dominate the world economically in the near future. That doesn't mean they won't have growing pains. Most of what we read or hear about China in the US is horribly biased by our culture and our revisionist history. Stereotyping a country with 1billion people is a sure sign of that.

And try to remember, when you look for Made in the US tags because you don't like China's politics, that we were as bad or worse than the Chinese for years. We had slaves, we offered money for scalps, we lied and broke treaties, and Joe McCarthy was what, 50 years ago?

China has four times our population and a lot less money. Despite that their government is laying the foundation, the infrastructure, for amazing growth and development. So before you judge them, consider how many more Chinese would be sick and starving if their government were only twice as efficient as ours is right now.

Freedom is a relative need, we give up many freedoms even in the US. Food, clean water, shelter . . . have historically taken precedence over freedom in many countries. Or don't you guys think slavery had an economic rationale?

When you pass judgement on the Chinese government, try not to forget our growing pains were equally horrendous. Rich as our country is, it wasn't too long ago that our government locked up people for their political beliefs, segregated them due to the color of their skin, or supported invading another country because a president lied.

Oops, sorry, better turn rant mode off before I go even further off topic. I'll head to bed now.

Todd


Previously: M&H AA (2006)
Currently: Phoenix C212 (2016)
Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57564
10/04/07 01:40 AM
10/04/07 01:40 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 387
Wichita, Kansas
G
gutenberg Offline
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Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 387
Wichita, Kansas
just to be clear, i'm not looking for "made in the us" tags. and i'm sorry if i sound zenophobic. that was not my intent. in fact, i have a great deal of trouble with what we have done in the world for many years now. i can understand somebody not wanting to do business with us because of this.

and i know it is difficult, if not impossible, to base purchasing decisions solely on the country of product origin.

and i have respect for some of the pianos coming out of china, and for the people who buy these pianos because they are decent and affordable pianos.

my problem is that we tend to equate business success with a status that i don't think is deserved by the chinese government. it may be that they have come a long way, as Confusion believes, but they have a long way to go as ar as the basic rights that i cherish. to say that they will get there is by no means assured. and flooding the world with goods is not going to get them there.

i don't think there is any question but that we are there because china currently has one of the cheapest labor forces. that is what we do. go where labor costs are cheapest. and we are there because, as norbert recognizes, it is a huge country of consumer opportunities.

i don't like to measure things in consumer opportunities. or lowest labor costs. i will, and have, paid more to avoid this.

i'm not saying we shouldn't do business with china. a lot of good that would do. what i am saying is we have an obligation to influence our own government to influence china to liberalize rights in the country. we have no right to just make a buck off the opportunities that china represents.

now, to return to this thread. Larry Fine was NOT demoting M&H because they did business with china. he ranked them lower because they have taken steps to cut costs. they could be dealing with pakistan, for all Larry cares. they are not taking a cost is no object approach which other first category piano manufacturers do take.

thats fine for M&H to do, and they maintain a wonderful product, but if this takes them out of the first category it should come as no surprise to anyone.

Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57565
10/04/07 05:05 AM
10/04/07 05:05 AM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 869
Singapore
Digitus Offline
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Singapore
If M&H cut costs and still makes instruments that are as good as or better than before then what's the big deal? That's the question.

Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57566
10/04/07 05:22 AM
10/04/07 05:22 AM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 365
München, Germany
mjs Offline
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München, Germany
@Norbert -- actually a lot of German business are withdrawing production from Eastern Europe and China because of the near impossibility of proper quality control. With wage gaps slowly getting smaller, that is becoming more and more an issue. Part of the current economic upturn in Germany and reduction in unemployment (which unfortunately took a while to materialise) is that production (and not only the design and marketing) is called back into Germany because most German companies, in the markets they compete in (which are generally high-price markets) just cannot afford doubtful and varying quality from their suppliers and manufacturing. If you can only sell half of what is produced, what benefit is it if wages are low?

@Cofucian: Germany has no need to launch an astronaut into outer space to prove itself. And actually is part of a rather successful commercial space programme with the Ariane rockets. The technology exists.


Steingraeber D-232 # 45 777
Neupert Telemann harpsichord
Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57567
10/04/07 05:26 AM
10/04/07 05:26 AM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 365
München, Germany
mjs Offline
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München, Germany
@Toddler2 - of course, consistency is part of quality. But with an ISO9000 certification you can still consistently produce shoddy quality and you won't lose the certification as long as you document your processes.


Steingraeber D-232 # 45 777
Neupert Telemann harpsichord
Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57568
10/04/07 07:32 AM
10/04/07 07:32 AM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 879
Hillsborough, NC
Toddler2 Offline
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Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 879
Hillsborough, NC
mjs,
I agree, thought I had already said so.

But M&H can't test every screw and spring before using it. So consistancy makes it possible for them to trust the parts they spec in China.

If the random sampling they tested were all better quality than the Renner parts they examined, and the factory is ISO9000 certified and using 6sigma methodology (which I consider more valid), they likely have a better part than Renner produces.

I don't know if they do. But unlike many, I clearly believe it is quite possible to beat US and German quality in China, and to save money as a bonus. Outsourcing is no longer a strictly cost saving strategy, even in China.


Previously: M&H AA (2006)
Currently: Phoenix C212 (2016)
Re: The New Mason Hamlins #57569
10/04/07 08:24 AM
10/04/07 08:24 AM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 365
München, Germany
mjs Offline
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mjs  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 365
München, Germany
Toddler2 - must have misunderstood your earlier statement (my apologies), since I thought you qualified your agreement with making it sound as if consistency was almost a sufficient criterion (which it isn't) rather than a necessary (which it is) of quality.

To be honest, ISO9000 certification in my opinion is a bureaucratic heap of crap - interestingly mostly displayed by companies with a (at least perceived) deficit on the quality front. Those companies who intrinsicly have an approach to quality wouldn't benefit by going through a "certification" - it becomes an administrative exercise in self confirmation which costs time and money.

To be honest, I also believe that there is no reason to believe why a Chinese company shouldn't be able to produce first rate quality - but that has nothing to do with them being certified or not.

However (and I think I said that earlier), I do see problems with sourcing parts (and that applies to anything) from China, but these are mostly political, social, and environmental issues. But this is not limited to China - I also disagree with buying meat from other continents just because it may be cheaper to produce there as an example.

As I have said in a different thread - I have never played or seen a M&H piano, and sourcing action parts (and plates? I'd be much more worried about those, to be honest) from China may on paper be a sensible business decision based on an completely unemotional cost-benefit analysis. However, pianos are highly emotional items, and therefore only time will tell whether the decision was wise.

Markus


Steingraeber D-232 # 45 777
Neupert Telemann harpsichord
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