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The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should.

Posted By: Jolly

The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/12/13 12:56 AM

The Cunningham Matchless.

First off, let me publicly state, that if you want a level of concern and service, second to nobody in the industry, I recommend Rich and the folks at Cunningham Piano Company. First class. Period. Rich probably deserves combat pay after dealing with me. whome

Back to the 5'10" Cunningham...In build quality, this is the Mason & Hamlin of Asian-sourced pianos. The rim is thicker (yeah, I brought a tape measure) and all maple. The plate is the most massive of any piano in its class. The bracing is well done and the joints are flawless. The soundboard is not going to crack or compression crown. The finish on the piano I saw was well executed.

The bass is good. The break is extremely well done. The tone is not anything like the Hailun piano of the same size. It's darker, much softer and maybe more controllable. This is NOTa Hailun stencil, this piano stands on its own.

So, Jolly, why didn't you buy the piano? Well guys, I'm not the main player, the wife is...And, as many of you know, she doesn't have as much power in her hands as in her youth, before time and disease take their toll. She just couldn't get the power she wanted out of the Cunningham, with what she had to put in it. She also found the tone a bit too mellow for her taste. She actually liked the tone of the Hailun vs. the Cunningham.

Having said that, I didn't buy a Hailun, either. In fact, I didn't even buy a grand. But I digress...

Here's what I'd like to leave you with, in this thread: If you are shopping for an extremely well-built, affordable grand with a nice, warm tone, you are doing yourself a disservice by not giving the Cunningham grand a look. I drove 325 miles to look at one and if you are seriously shopping, I'd advise you to put forth some effort to test drive one, too. It's not like anything else - it's a unique voice. It's a Cunningham.

A piano that may just be your cup o' tea.
Posted By: Karl Watson

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/12/13 02:05 PM

Jolly and friends:

Not that the above requires a second, but I have to say that the thoughts expressed are certainly not over the top. That Cunningham 5'10" is a real piano and would be more than satisfactory, at least at home, for the large majority of us. It's a real piano with colour, sustain and beauty at a price that is quite unbelievable.

It seems quite different from any other piano I've played in that price range.

Karl Watson
Staten Island, NY
Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/12/13 02:45 PM

As many of you know, I am quite taken with the Cunningham Parlour Grand (5'-10"). This piano was the very first model I played of the Cunningham line when I visited the store. It defies its low price, and competes with anything in its size, or even larger. The whole line of Cunningham pianos deserve the reputation they are gaining.

I'm curious if there is now a dealer of the Cunninghams in the DFW area, or was it a private sale?

Come on Jolly, give us some more info!
Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/12/13 05:32 PM

The piano was in a private individual's home. It was the closest Cunningham 5'10" available to the wife and I to test drive.

After Rich arranged the try-out, the lady of the home was gracious enough to allow us to try her piano, even though her home, street and trees were still covered with ice.

Since my wife is the principal player, the piano must suit her, not me. As I've said before, arthritis has robbed her of a lot of the power in her hands. When you couple that, with the type of music she likes to play - Southern Gospel, hymns, old-time country & pop - she just felt the Cunningham action was too heavy for her. Tone-wise, she wanted just a bit more "pop" (for lack of a better term)in the midrange. Nice bass, though.

If I would have had her in the Cunningham store, I would had them lighten the action and possibly iron the hammmers just a tad. We might have had a different outcome. Which is the beauty of working with a store like Cunningham's...A full service store with great techs in the building can accommodate requests like that.

Again, as stated before, there's no way I'm getting her on an airplane, except in a casket. Sadly. frown

IMO, I think the piano lends itself a bit more to classical, with an emphasis on melodic individual fingering vs.chording and runs. I also think the piano has more than one gear and can be "driven", which is something the wife can simply no longer do.

Lastly, most of my part when we look at pianos revolves around how the piano is built...the Cunningham is a very solid piano...This is not going to just be a twenty-year, throw-a-way instrument. It is thicker and it is beefier than anything in its class.

It simply is a good piano.
Posted By: BornInTheUSA

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/12/13 07:31 PM

So how much do they go for, roughly? MSRP is 20,190, so maybe $13-14K?

I know some dealers don't like us to get too specific on pricing, but I actually think for these better Chinese pianos it would help them be more specific on how good the pricing is.
Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/12/13 09:08 PM

Originally Posted by michaelh
So how much do they go for, roughly? MSRP is 20,190, so maybe $13-14K?

I know some dealers don't like us to get too specific on pricing, but I actually think for these better Chinese pianos it would help them be more specific on how good the pricing is.


I promised Rich not to divulge pricing, but it's definitely south of $20K.

I know you like Kawai grands. For comparative shopping purposes I would shop the Cunningham vs. the RX2 (or its current model).
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 01:01 AM

Quote
So how much do they go for, roughly? MSRP is 20,190, so maybe $13-14K?


Chinese pianos with plywood soundboards generally sell for 30 to 50 percent of Japanese artist grade. Over reliance on MSRP or SMP, both arbitrary figures, tends to misrepresent market trends, especially those of an immediate nature, while giving the buyer a confidence that is not only unearned but unrealistic.

Chinese piano companies and their container agents, in an effort to match the brand authenticity of Japanese pianos, tend to rely on shake and bake marketing schemes, mostly centering around the revival of defunct brand names with Germanic or American shading.

In an effort to distance themselves from the superficial heritage of their own brands, Chinese marketers often hire old men who once worked for these defunct companies, looking remarkably clean and well kempt (as if the family has decided to send them into town for a quart of milk), in thoughtful poses, usually poised over a piano frame or soundboard, chisel or hammer in hand (some seem uncertain as to what it is they are doing), while wondering how soon they can cash their next check.

Mike
Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 01:06 AM

Mr. Carr,

Have you ever played a Cunningham or do you even know of them?

You're speculation on the construction techniques employed in the manufacture of these instruments shows your total ignorance of the reality.
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 01:30 AM

MM,

Are you saying that a Chinese piano with a plywood soundboard is not a realistic description (although lacking adornment), or simply too stark for your, er, sentiments?

Mike
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 01:38 AM

Originally Posted by Mike Carr
[quote] Over reliance on MSRP or SMP, both arbitrary figures, tends to misrepresent market trends, especially those of an immediate nature, while giving the buyer a confidence that is not only unearned but unrealistic.
The MSRP could be called arbitrary but that is definitely not the case for the SMP. This is precisely why the SMP is useful and the MSRP is not. The SMP, together with the suggested range of discounts to be expected, is not perfect but still the best way to get a handle on a reasonable sale price.

One should not expect the SMP or suggested discounts from SMP to be adjusted for the latest economic situation or for each area of the country.
Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 01:51 AM

Mr. Carr,

I'm not sure what "setiments" are, but your reference is hubristically unaware.

You seem to be blathering on about a piano of which you have no knowledge. This thread is not about Chinese pianos in general, albeit skewed, it is about a specific brand.

You might become more enlightened if you would start reading at the beginning of the thread.
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 02:08 AM

MM

A Chinese piano with a plywood soundboard.

True statement or not.

Mike
Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 02:13 AM

Carr

I don't really know, and we would need to ask Rich or Tim. I sincerely doubt that it is, but if that is the case, it is done without any detriment to the sound of the piano.

Have you played one or not?
Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 02:16 AM

Originally Posted by Mike Carr
Quote
So how much do they go for, roughly? MSRP is 20,190, so maybe $13-14K?


Chinese pianos with plywood soundboards generally sell for 30 to 50 percent of Japanese artist grade. Over reliance on MSRP or SMP, both arbitrary figures, tends to misrepresent market trends, especially those of an immediate nature, while giving the buyer a confidence that is not only unearned but unrealistic.

Chinese piano companies and their container agents, in an effort to match the brand authenticity of Japanese pianos, tend to rely on shake and bake marketing schemes, mostly centering around the revival of defunct brand names with Germanic or American shading.

In an effort to distance themselves from the superficial heritage of their own brands, Chinese marketers often hire old men who once worked for these defunct companies, looking remarkably clean and well kempt (as if the family has decided to send them into town for a quart of milk), in thoughtful poses, usually poised over a piano frame or soundboard, chisel or hammer in hand (some seem uncertain as to what it is they are doing), while wondering how soon they can cash their next check.

Mike


Brother, I think you smoked one too many.

Before you sling around derogatory terms like plywood, why don't you actually play the piano in question, and tell us how good, or how bad this kind of "plywood" can sound?

Before you denigrate folks like Emerson, why don't you play the pianos he has helped designed?

Play the Cunningham, and tell us what you think and what you would compare it against. It does not compare against the GM Kawais or the GC Yamaha, that's obvious.

I challenge you to compare it directly against a Yamaha C or a Kawai RX, made within the last few years. Look at the build quality and materials used. Play the Cunningham and tell me why you would pay more for the Japanese pianos.

Rather than lobbing indiscriminate feces balls, play the Cunningham and give us a review...I'd like to hear your honest opinion.
Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 02:19 AM

Originally Posted by Mike Carr
MM

A Chinese piano with a plywood soundboard.

True statement or not.

Mike


Not really.

The board does use a paper-thin laminate on top of a solid board...standard Hailun technology.

The term plywood conjures up visions of CDX sheathing. But you knew that already, didn't you?
Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 02:20 AM

Originally Posted by Mike Carr
MM

A Chinese piano with a plywood soundboard.

True statement or not.

Mike


Lastly, have you played a Cunningham?

Yes, or no.
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 03:00 AM

I never said I played the Cunningham. I have played many Chinese pianos with plywood soundboards. They are priced between 30 and 50 percent of Japanese artist grands. It has nothing to do with your "honest" impression of them or how you personally view them. They simply do not have the brand authenticity to command a higher price. Simply stencilling the name Cunningham on a Hailun fallboard is not going to change that. Sorry.


Quote
Back to the 5'10" Cunningham...In build quality, this is the Mason & Hamlin of Asian-sourced pianos.


Something we can agree on. I have little doubt that the Mason & Hamlin has just as many Chinese parts as the Cunningham.

Quote

Rather than lobbing indiscriminate feces balls

Grow up.

Mike

Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 03:15 AM

You haven't played the Cunningham.

Therefore, thank you for admitting you really don't have a clue about what you are talking about.

Play the Cunningham, and get back to me with an honest opinion.
Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 03:21 AM

Carr,

You need to learn a great deal about the design of the Cunningham. If you did, your obvious lack of credibility might be less obvious.
Posted By: BornInTheUSA

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 03:40 AM

Originally Posted by Mike Carr

Chinese pianos with plywood soundboards generally sell for 30 to 50 percent of Japanese artist grade. Over reliance on MSRP or SMP, both arbitrary figures, tends to misrepresent market trends, especially those of an immediate nature, while giving the buyer a confidence that is not only unearned but unrealistic.

Chinese piano companies and their container agents, in an effort to match the brand authenticity of Japanese pianos, tend to rely on shake and bake marketing schemes, mostly centering around the revival of defunct brand names with Germanic or American shading.

In an effort to distance themselves from the superficial heritage of their own brands, Chinese marketers often hire old men who once worked for these defunct companies, looking remarkably clean and well kempt (as if the family has decided to send them into town for a quart of milk), in thoughtful poses, usually poised over a piano frame or soundboard, chisel or hammer in hand (some seem uncertain as to what it is they are doing), while wondering how soon they can cash their next check.

Mike


I have read in PB about an era when many piano makers were using "plywood" soundboards. Laminate, I believe (too lazy to Google it now). Not sure if that's true with some of the newer/better Chinese pianos everyone here keeps raving about, but I don't know.

I don't have much evidence either way about your other statements but I've suspected similar things, too: if Lothar Thomma actually works at Ritmuller or if they're just renting his name. Again, not saying they are just that I'm suspicious given the Chinese government and all their state owned companies' record of lying, corruption, and piracy.

This isn't exactly news, but last week I read about Chinese now bootlegging French Bordeaux and Burgundy.
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/wine-fakers-get-sharper-industry-fights-back - What I'm curious about, is what kind of wine is actually in that bottle of Chateau Latour that some chump just paid $10,000/bottle for. Maybe it's Franzia (box wine) or Charles Shaw (coined the 2-buck Chuck from Trader Joe's). LOL

Another thought I had was some of these Chinese pianos with Abel Hammers, Renner Actions, Strungz soundboards, XYZ Keys, Rosslau Strings, etc....it starts to sound like a trip to Fry's Electronics to custom build your own PC, a custom-built Dell, etc.

Again, the speculation up there is just speculation. I guess if you don't care about the politics and you think the piano sounds & feels good, then get it. Either way, basically all of us are supporting the Chinese gov't already since almost everything in our house is made there already. Might as well go all the way and get a Chinese piano.
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 04:01 AM


MM,

Quote
You need to learn a great deal about the design of the Cunningham. If you did, your obvious lack of credibility might be less obvious.


My credibility? You had no idea the Cunningham's soundboard was plywood until I told you. No need to thank me. The education is on the house.

Quote
I don't really know, and we would need to ask Rich or Tim. I sincerely doubt that it is, but if that is the case, it is done without any detriment to the sound of the piano.


Mike
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 04:15 AM

Jolly,

Quote

You haven't played the Cunningham. Therefore, thank you for admitting you really don't have a clue about what you are talking about.


Huh? Nothing I have said was dependent on playing yet another chinese piano with a plywood soundboard. But, for the sake of argument and since it seems to be bothering you so much, I'll stipulate that the Chinese Cunning+ham is equal to a Fazioli, Yamaha CFX, and for our Austrian fans a Bosendorfer Imperial. Happy?

It still does not change the facts: a chinese piano with plywood soundboard sells for about 30 to 50 percent of a Japanese artist grand because it lacks brand authenticity. Simple stuff.

Mike

Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 04:37 AM

Originally Posted by Mike Carr
Jolly,

Quote

Therefore, thank you for admitting you really don't have a clue about what you are talking about.


Nothing I have said was dependent on playing another chinese piano with a plywood soundboard. But, for the sake of argument and since it seems to be bothering you so much, I'll stipulate that the Chinese Cunning+ham is equal to a Fazioli, Yamaha CFX, and for our Austrian fans a Bosendorfer Imperial. It still does not change the facts: a chinese piano with plywood soundboard sells for about 30 to 50 percent of a Japanese artist grand because it lacks brand authenticity. Simple stuff.

Mike



Play the piano.

If you're worth two bits as a pianist or even as a person who can decently evaluate a piano, you'll form your own opinion. You don't have to throw smoke about whether the Cunningham is equal to a Bosie (we both know it's not), just rate the piano as what it is...because, if it can run with an artist Japanese grand, why the heck would you want to buy a Japanese grand?

Unless you feel the need to flaunt the name on the fallboard.

In that case, I wouldn't buy the Bosie. I think Steinway has more snob appeal. At least here in the states. Too many people who don't play the piano have no idea what a new Bosie costs, but they'll ooh and ah over a Steinway.
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 05:14 AM

Jolly,

Quote
Back to the 5'10" Cunningham...In build quality, this is the Mason & Hamlin of Asian-sourced pianos. The rim is thicker (yeah, I brought a tape measure) and all maple. The plate is the most massive of any piano in its class. The bracing is well done and the joints are flawless. The soundboard is not going to crack or compression crown. The finish on the piano I saw was well executed.


I'm almost afraid to play one of these pianos. I might never shut up about it.

Quote
If you're worth two bits as a pianist or even as a person


Come on.

Quote
It is thicker and it is beefier than anything in its class.


Do you plan on playing the thing or grilling it?

Mike
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 07:45 AM

Pianoloverus,

Quote
The MSRP could be called arbitrary but that is definitely not the case for the SMP. This is precisely why the SMP is useful and the MSRP is not. The SMP, together with the suggested range of discounts to be expected, is not perfect but still the best way to get a handle on a reasonable sale price.



For me, the SMP is arbitrary in the sense that it was "created". And since the MSRP coincides with the SMP on many occasions, it's hard to call the MSRP arbitrary without calling the SMP arbitrary as well, especially in those instances where it is the same or near the same price as the MSRP. I understand what you are saying, though.

And while I think the pricing guide is worth a look, it's nothing I'd wholeheartedly pin my hopes on or subscribe to, but at the same time I wouldn't disagree that for some people it's "not perfect but still the best way to get a handle on a reasonable sale price."

For getting a feel for the market, for me at least, there's no substitute for going to piano shops and checking pianos on craigslist.


Mike
Posted By: WimPiano

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 08:15 AM

Mr. Carr
To me it seems like you disqualify yourself using salestalk:
http://www.pianobuyer.com/fall13/94.html

If I understand correctly the durability of this type of soundboard might be higher than that of a common solid spruce soundboard. As you don't want to discuss sound quality (Which seems to be indisputed when it comes to Cunningham) what do you intend to say?

Quote
The principal new type, known as a "veneer-laminated" or "surface-tension" soundboard, consists of a core of solid spruce (essentially a solid spruce soundboard) covered on both sides by a very thin veneer of spruce. This type of soundboard vibrates much more like a solid one than a plywood one, but still retains the benefit of protection against cracking and loss of crown. Pianos with these soundboards usually sound reasonably good, and occasionally very good.


About buying Chinese goods:
Do you own a car? Do you own a computer? If one of these questions is answered with a yes your cheap rethorics about China are worth less then a dime.
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 08:55 AM

Quote
About buying Chinese goods:
Do you own a car? Do you own a computer? If one of these questions is answered with a yes your cheap rethorics about China are worth less then a dime.


You know, Wimp, that's about the smartest thing I've heard all night, although I will remind you that I was worth two bits about an hour ago.

Mike
Posted By: WimPiano

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 09:23 AM

Just wondering: why the disdain, even in your first post in this topic?

Edit: I picked the forum-name on purpose: It makes it easy to distinguish good intention from bad. (Most people would understand my first name is Wim)
Posted By: Grandman

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 11:42 AM

Originally Posted by michaelh
Originally Posted by Mike Carr

Chinese pianos with plywood soundboards generally sell for 30 to 50 percent of Japanese artist grade. Over reliance on MSRP or SMP, both arbitrary figures, tends to misrepresent market trends, especially those of an immediate nature, while giving the buyer a confidence that is not only unearned but unrealistic.

Chinese piano companies and their container agents, in an effort to match the brand authenticity of Japanese pianos, tend to rely on shake and bake marketing schemes, mostly centering around the revival of defunct brand names with Germanic or American shading.

In an effort to distance themselves from the superficial heritage of their own brands, Chinese marketers often hire old men who once worked for these defunct companies, looking remarkably clean and well kempt (as if the family has decided to send them into town for a quart of milk), in thoughtful poses, usually poised over a piano frame or soundboard, chisel or hammer in hand (some seem uncertain as to what it is they are doing), while wondering how soon they can cash their next check.

Mike


I have read in PB about an era when many piano makers were using "plywood" soundboards. Laminate, I believe (too lazy to Google it now). Not sure if that's true with some of the newer/better Chinese pianos everyone here keeps raving about, but I don't know.

I don't have much evidence either way about your other statements but I've suspected similar things, too: if Lothar Thomma actually works at Ritmuller or if they're just renting his name. Again, not saying they are just that I'm suspicious given the Chinese government and all their state owned companies' record of lying, corruption, and piracy.

This isn't exactly news, but last week I read about Chinese now bootlegging French Bordeaux and Burgundy.
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/wine-fakers-get-sharper-industry-fights-back - What I'm curious about, is what kind of wine is actually in that bottle of Chateau Latour that some chump just paid $10,000/bottle for. Maybe it's Franzia (box wine) or Charles Shaw (coined the 2-buck Chuck from Trader Joe's). LOL

Another thought I had was some of these Chinese pianos with Abel Hammers, Renner Actions, Strungz soundboards, XYZ Keys, Rosslau Strings, etc....it starts to sound like a trip to Fry's Electronics to custom build your own PC, a custom-built Dell, etc.

Again, the speculation up there is just speculation. I guess if you don't care about the politics and you think the piano sounds & feels good, then get it. Either way, basically all of us are supporting the Chinese gov't already since almost everything in our house is made there already. Might as well go all the way and get a Chinese piano.


A ridiculous statement. You are obviously paranoid.
Posted By: Grandman

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 11:46 AM

Originally Posted by Mike Carr

MM,

Quote
You need to learn a great deal about the design of the Cunningham. If you did, your obvious lack of credibility might be less obvious.


My credibility? You had no idea the Cunningham's soundboard was plywood until I told you. No need to thank me. The education is on the house.

Quote
I don't really know, and we would need to ask Rich or Tim. I sincerely doubt that it is, but if that is the case, it is done without any detriment to the sound of the piano.


Mike


You're coming across as a moron. You don't know anything about the cunningham or other well made chinese pianos.
Posted By: Grandman

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 11:50 AM

Originally Posted by Jolly
Originally Posted by Mike Carr
Jolly,

Quote

Therefore, thank you for admitting you really don't have a clue about what you are talking about.


Nothing I have said was dependent on playing another chinese piano with a plywood soundboard. But, for the sake of argument and since it seems to be bothering you so much, I'll stipulate that the Chinese Cunning+ham is equal to a Fazioli, Yamaha CFX, and for our Austrian fans a Bosendorfer Imperial. It still does not change the facts: a chinese piano with plywood soundboard sells for about 30 to 50 percent of a Japanese artist grand because it lacks brand authenticity. Simple stuff.

Mike



Play the piano.

If you're worth two bits as a pianist or even as a person who can decently evaluate a piano, you'll form your own opinion. You don't have to throw smoke about whether the Cunningham is equal to a Bosie (we both know it's not), just rate the piano as what it is...because, if it can run with an artist Japanese grand, why the heck would you want to buy a Japanese grand?

Unless you feel the need to flaunt the name on the fallboard.

In that case, I wouldn't buy the Bosie. I think Steinway has more snob appeal. At least here in the states. Too many people who don't play the piano have no idea what a new Bosie costs, but they'll ooh and ah over a Steinway.


Yes, finally words of wisdom. Play the piano and judge it by how it sounds and feels. Inspect the build quality. Thats how it's supposed to be done.
Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 11:51 AM

Originally Posted by Mike Carr
Jolly,

Quote
Back to the 5'10" Cunningham...In build quality, this is the Mason & Hamlin of Asian-sourced pianos. The rim is thicker (yeah, I brought a tape measure) and all maple. The plate is the most massive of any piano in its class. The bracing is well done and the joints are flawless. The soundboard is not going to crack or compression crown. The finish on the piano I saw was well executed.


I'm almost afraid to play one of these pianos. I might never shut up about it.

Quote
If you're worth two bits as a pianist or even as a person


Come on.

Quote
It is thicker and it is beefier than anything in its class.


Do you plan on playing the thing or grilling it?

Mike


On build quality, I'll stand by every statement I made - with a tape measure, a scale and a micrometer.

It's well known that the Hailun (the OEM of the Cunningham) is a beefy piano - ask the guys who deliver them. The Cunningham has a different scale, though, requiring a different, and heavier, plate. Put a micrometer on the bracing and a rule on the height of that bracing or just look at the weight.

Maple is heavy and hard on bits, ask any woodworker. But it's a dense wood, musically reflective and it lasts a long, long time. That's what the Cunningham rim is made of and it's a thicker rim than anything I've seen in its class, or in the RX or C series.

Fit and finish of the bracing can be ascertained by looking for yourself.

As per your truncated quote about you as a person...well, that's your interpretation. Don't let me stand in the way of self-flagellation.

Lastly, and again, play the piano. You may not like it. I didn't buy it. But that's personal preference. It has nothing to do with whether the piano is a good piano, or not.

Play the piano, and give us an honest opinion.
Posted By: Rank Piano Amateur

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 11:58 AM

What I don't get about Mike Carr's posts is the personal nature of his attacks. I don't really think he is interested in pianos at all, and certainly not in the truth about them. He is interested in personally attacking a particular pair of brands and maybe a specific person all of whose identities we all know at this point.

Mike, if you want to attack piano brands, at least play a representative of the brand first. (My ignorance of piano technology is infinite, but I do play more than one piano of each and every brand I mention here.) Since you at least pretend to some knowledge of piano construction, you should then examine the piano to see whether your statements about its construction are accurate, preferably with an expert nearby to take you on a tour of the interior. At that point it might be possible to have a conversation with you on this forum, depending on whether you can shed your obvious personal bias and your preference for scoring cheap points (whether true or not). Incidentally, how is that preference working out for you? Do you think that anyone on this thread takes you seriously at this point?

Anticipating your reaction to this post, I would like to point out that there is a difference between responding to your posts and taking them seriously. If all you want is a response (any response), your strategy seems to be working. If you want the content of your posts to be taken seriously, it is not.
Posted By: Karl Watson

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 12:54 PM

Dear Rank Amateur:

For those of us not involved in this needless blood-bath, thank you for your last. It's an oasis of sanity and balance.

Nevertheless, I have to ask: what is the point of such hateful vehemence in expressing a dissenting opinion ? Who is served by such abuse ?

To an outsider looking in, the contributions of MC are hysterical and mental. Was a member of his family injured by a Chinese person or persons ? Is there a rational explanation for this venom ?

Surely we can do better than to attempt, again and again, to provoke a less than gracious response from Jolly or others. I'm proud that the appallingly bad manners displayed here have been limited to just one.

In the end, the Cunningham 5'10" is still what is was to begin with: an excellent and very sturdily-built piano that may be purchased at a surprisingly affordable price. No amount of border-line ranting can change that.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY
Posted By: Rerun

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 12:56 PM

Quote
I'm almost afraid to play one of these pianos.



Be a man or listen to your landlord Jeb play it.
Posted By: LarryShone

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 01:31 PM

Why cant people just discuss Pianos instead of slinging mud! If someone has a beef then do it privately!
I come here to talk pianos, not to view arguments and petty squabbles!
Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 02:13 PM


"If you're shopping in the entry-level price range and a piano with a laminated soundboard meets your musical and other expectations, there's no reason not to purchase it."

Mr. Carr,

I happen to agree with this quote from Larry Fine. It is one of the reasons that I am unconcerned about the manufacturing process used in the construction of the Cunningham soundboards. My assessment of these pianos are based on my eyes, ears, and hands as a pianist. It is an assessment based not on price, but rather on the response of the piano as a musical instrument.

I completely agree with Jolly's assessment.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 02:21 PM

Originally Posted by Mike Carr
Pianoloverus,

Quote
The MSRP could be called arbitrary but that is definitely not the case for the SMP. This is precisely why the SMP is useful and the MSRP is not. The SMP, together with the suggested range of discounts to be expected, is not perfect but still the best way to get a handle on a reasonable sale price.



For me, the SMP is arbitrary in the sense that it was "created". And since the MSRP coincides with the SMP on many occasions, it's hard to call the MSRP arbitrary without calling the SMP arbitrary as well, especially in those instances where it is the same or near the same price as the MSRP. I understand what you are saying, though.

And while I think the pricing guide is worth a look, it's nothing I'd wholeheartedly pin my hopes on or subscribe to, but at the same time I wouldn't disagree that for some people it's "not perfect but still the best way to get a handle on a reasonable sale price."

For getting a feel for the market, for me at least, there's no substitute for going to piano shops and checking pianos on craigslist.
"Arbitrary" generally means(to quote the definition) "based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system."

That is definitely not the case for the SMP. My understanding is that the SMP and discount ranges from the SMP were created using knowledge of factors like dealer wholesale costs, typical retail prices, typical discounts, and margins necessary to sustain a dealership. The SMP has been around as a concept in the Piano Book, Supplements to the Piano Book, and finally the Piano Buyer for at least 15 years, but probably longer. Even if one disagrees with some of the details in the formula used for the SMP I think it is impossible to deny that it serves the extremely useful purpose of leveling the playing field by giving a figure other than the MSRP(which can be totally arbitrary and deceptive).

When the MSRP matches the SMP it simply means the maker has chosen to not arbitrarily inflate their MSRP prices. In most case, I take this as something positive and certainly not any indication that the SMP is as arbitrary as the MSRP. The important point is that the SMP is virtually never greater than the MSRP. In recent years, my strong impression is that a lot more of the manufacturers have chosen to have their MSRP bigger than the SMP so that cases where the SMP and MSRP are the same or close have decreased.

Craigslist may be good for getting an idea of what used pianos sell for(although one only gets the advertised price so it's not ideal) but the SMP is primarily for new pianos. I think the SMP is useful to decide if a dealer's offered selling price(either before or after negotiation)is reasonable. The SMP is not meant to take into account the latest economic conditions or the specific locale.
Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 03:07 PM

In my latest piano negotiations, I found the SMP to be a very useful negotiating tool. I found that in the dance of offer/counter-offer, it kept one from making an offer so low as to offend the seller, but at the same time let me know what ceiling I would not go above.

In sports parlance, it let me know where the end zones were, so I could play the ball up and down the field.
Posted By: BornInTheUSA

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 05:21 PM

How does PIanoBuyer have all the wholesale prices? I also imagine that the official wholesale prices may actually be higher than what some/many dealers pay either because of volume, some special deal, or seasonal specials.

I suspect that there's "wiggle" room in the wholesale prices especially from Chinese companies but probably with many of them to varying degrees. So if the SMP is based on a wholesale price that may not be completely reliable, then perhaps the discount range should be much wider.
Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 07:00 PM

Quote
I also imagine that the official wholesale prices may actually be higher than what some/many dealers pay either because of volume, some special deal, or seasonal specials.


Absolutely.

I recently spoke with a dealer who handles the new Webers. By doing a one-time volume buy, Young Chang had given him a pretty good discount off of everyday wholesale.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 08:32 PM

Originally Posted by michaelh
How does PIanoBuyer have all the wholesale prices? I also imagine that the official wholesale prices may actually be higher than what some/many dealers pay either because of volume, some special deal, or seasonal specials.

I suspect that there's "wiggle" room in the wholesale prices especially from Chinese companies but probably with many of them to varying degrees. So if the SMP is based on a wholesale price that may not be completely reliable, then perhaps the discount range should be much wider.
You're looking for some perfect system and there is none. But the PB is the best and only source, as far as I know, that is accurate and up to date. The PB and its pricing methodology is meant to give a reasonable ball park figure for an actual sale price.

I'd assume that the wholesale price dealers pay isn't fixed in stone, but probably no one on the planet is more aware of things like that and a myriad of other considerations than the Piano Buyer's author. As Fine very carefully explains in the PB there are numerous factors(and the actual wholesale price a particular dealer pays is one of them) that affect sale price.
Posted By: WimPiano

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 08:49 PM

That's what's a bit weird for me: In the US there is even less price transparency then here.
Over here some dealers (or Thomann from Germany) put prices on the web for which you can buy piano and have an OK deal. Maybe not the best deal but at least it's something. In the US you have MSRP and that's it. The SMP seems like a nice help for that issue..
Posted By: BornInTheUSA

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/13/13 09:58 PM

Another question. I know Cunningham pianos are only sold at that one store in PA. Does he plan on distributing them to other dealers or is it just a "store brand?" It reminds me of Sherman Clay's store brands, one named Sherman Clay and then later Henry F. Miller.
Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 02:07 AM

AFAIK, the only other dealer is in Los Angeles. There has been talk about setting up a small dealer network, but I don't have a clue about the outcome of those meetings.
Posted By: Norbert

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 02:52 AM

If Mike Carr is supposed to be the last bastion of defence for Japanese pianos in same/similar price range like Cunninghams et al, he doing a pretty miserable job.

In fact I would quickly try to think up an entirely different line of arguments.

In that case one could always throw the new main battle tanks of Chinese made Baldwin pianos in - all equipped with solid soundboards...

Norbert grin thumb
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 03:10 AM

Originally Posted by Norbert
If Mike Carr is supposed to be the last bastion of defence for Japanese pianos in same/similar price range like Cunninghams et al, he doing a pretty miserable job.

In fact I would quickly try to think up an entirely different line of arguments.

In that case one could always throw the new main battle tanks of Chinese made Baldwin pianos in - all equipped with solid soundboards...

Norbert grin thumb



Great. Another country heard from. Do have a point, Norbert, or simply spamming your eventual debut as Baldwin dealer? I'm not going to ask if you have anything intelligent to say.

Mike
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 04:08 AM

Jolly,

Quote
First off, let me publicly state, that if you want a level of concern and service, second to nobody in the industry, I recommend Rich and the folks at Cunningham Piano Company. First class. Period. Rich probably deserves combat pay after dealing with me . . . If I would have had her in the Cunningham store, I would had them lighten the action and possibly iron the hammmers just a tad. We might have had a different outcome. Which is the beauty of working with a store like Cunningham's...A full service store with great techs in the building can accommodate requests like that.


Seems you know your way around Cunningham's. Just out of curiosity how much time have you spent there?



Quote
That's what the Cunningham rim is made of and it's a thicker rim than anything I've seen in its class, or in the RX or C series. . . . For comparative shopping purposes I would shop the Cunningham vs. the RX2. . . . It does not compare against the GM Kawais or the GC Yamaha, that's obvious.


Have you ever played these pianos together in the same room or are you basing your opinions on the width of the rims?


Mike
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 07:13 AM

Pianoloverus,

While I understand your comments about "arbitrary", my usage was more at discretion and will than caprice. Likewise, manufacturers have some purpose behind their figures, some reasoning, but as to whether they are more or less defined than Larry's is anybody's guess.

I will say that manufacturers are more interested in displaying an astonishing deal from an inflated MSRP after discount while Larry is more interested in uniformity. In any case, "somewhat arbitrary" might sound better. Even Larry might agree.

I don’t have any problem with either MSRP or SMP, as long as nobody asks me to take them too seriously. However, I’ve seen a few too many steeply discounted pianos recently to recommend you take 20 percent of SMP, waltz into the dealer, and lay your money down. They’ll take your money, of course, but you can often do better.

Mike
Posted By: Dara

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 09:24 AM

Originally Posted by Jolly
The Cunningham Matchless.
First off, let me publicly state, that if you want a level of concern and service, second to nobody in the industry, I recommend Rich and the folks at Cunningham Piano Company. First class. Period.

The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should.


Wow, perhaps Rich and Cunningham should be the dealer and piano of choice for all Americans that can access this incredible level of service and concern in the industry.
One of my local dealers tweaked and put his name on the current "Heintzman" brand. Perhaps a fine piano , but I'm not going to advertise it or him,
as matchless
or the piano I didn't buy
but you should.
Posted By: LarryShone

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 10:08 AM

Originally Posted by Mike Carr


Seems you know your way around Cunningham's. Just out of curiosity how much time have you spent there?




Have you ever played these pianos together in the same room or are you basing your opinions on the width of the rims?


Mike

And have you ever played Cunningham's? The question is still unanswered. If not then it sounds like a case of pot and a black kettle!
Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 12:30 PM

Originally Posted by Mike Carr
Originally Posted by Norbert
If Mike Carr is supposed to be the last bastion of defence for Japanese pianos in same/similar price range like Cunninghams et al, he doing a pretty miserable job.

In fact I would quickly try to think up an entirely different line of arguments.

In that case one could always throw the new main battle tanks of Chinese made Baldwin pianos in - all equipped with solid soundboards...

Norbert grin thumb



Great. Another country heard from. Do have a point, Norbert, or simply spamming your eventual debut as Baldwin dealer? I'm not going to ask if you have anything intelligent to say.

Mike


He ain't spamming. You're trolling.

The new BP line of Baldwins (built by Parsons) stands on its own. While not the classic Baldwin tone, they are in the neighborhood and are among the most American sounDing of the Chinese pianos.

Hard rock maple rims, solid soundboards, etc....they have nice ingredients and the build quality is good.

Haven't seen the 5'10, but I've been through multiple 5'5" and 5'. The 5' is a heckuva piano for its size. definitely a short list piano.

Play one, and enjoy yourself.
Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 12:36 PM

Originally Posted by Dara
Originally Posted by Jolly
The Cunningham Matchless.
First off, let me publicly state, that if you want a level of concern and service, second to nobody in the industry, I recommend Rich and the folks at Cunningham Piano Company. First class. Period.

The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should.


Wow, perhaps Rich and Cunningham should be the dealer and piano of choice for all Americans that can access this incredible level of service and concern in the industry.
One of my local dealers tweaked and put his name on the current "Heintzman" brand. Perhaps a fine piano , but I'm not going to advertise it or him,
as matchless
or the piano I didn't buy
but you should.


No, there are other good dealers across the country, but I said Cunningham is second to nobody. Having dealt with more dealers than I have fingers and toes, I can separate good from very good to best.

Cunningham has been talked about on Piano Boards since the days of Usenet. Find me one post from a disgruntled shopper talking about his bad experience with the company.

That, taken by itself, is a very powerful endorsement.

EDIT: And, you need to wipe a little egg of of your face...the name of the piano is the Cunningham Matchless. It's name is rooted in the history of the Cunningham Piano Company, and I invite you to read about it.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 01:32 PM

Originally Posted by Mike Carr
Pianoloverus,

While I understand your comments about "arbitrary", my usage was more at discretion and will than caprice. Likewise, manufacturers have some purpose behind their figures, some reasoning, but as to whether they are more or less defined than Larry's is anybody's guess.

I will say that manufacturers are more interested in displaying an astonishing deal from an inflated MSRP after discount while Larry is more interested in uniformity. In any case, "somewhat arbitrary" might sound better. Even Larry might agree.

I don’t have any problem with either MSRP or SMP, as long as nobody asks me to take them too seriously. However, I’ve seen a few too many steeply discounted pianos recently to recommend you take 20 percent of SMP, waltz into the dealer, and lay your money down. They’ll take your money, of course, but you can often do better.
The whole point of the SMP is that it is based on a uniform markup formula with the wholesale price as the starting point. Therefore it levels the playing field in terms of evaluating price.

The MSRP is irrelevant and useless for a potential customer. It can be whatever the maker wants and I assume, for those who choose to inflate it, it's the largest number they think will not scare too many buyers away while still give the buyer the false impression they are getting a big discount. The MSRP should IMO not be taken at all seriously but the SMP, while not perfect, should be taken far more seriously.

As far as your recommendation of 20% off the SMP as being possibly bad for the buyer, it could be but for starters the suggested discount is 10-30%. Most buyers also have enough sense to realize that the present economic conditions and myriad of factors(which Fine discusses)might allow for an even larger discount than suggested in the PB. Or if they don't realize this they will if they read the PB's section on pricing.

The PB cannot and, I think, should not change its formula based on the economic climate of the moment or any of the other many factors that might require adjustments to the SMP or its discount range for a particular situation. The only real way to get maximum benefit from the SMP approach is to carefully read Fine's explanation on pricing which explains everything far more clearly than I have done.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 01:35 PM

deleted duplicate post
Posted By: Orz

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 03:25 PM

Seeing all the talks here I got really curious as how good the Cunningham piano really is, I really hope that we can have good quality pianos in a more affordable price range…
So yesterday I called my old college mate who lives in Philly now to try the Cunningham pianos for me and give me some idea as what they are like. Surprisingly, he said he had tried them already while he was shopping for his current piano(He has a Yamaha GC1 now). According to him, the action is little too heavy for him, and they sound like “mellower sounding Samick” which he did not like. However, he did say the Cunningham pianos are the best looking pianos he has ever seen in the price range.

I guess people simply have different preference. I have never played a Samick, so I still have no idea what the Cunningham sounds like. I should give them a try if I visit philly!
Posted By: Karl Watson

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 03:25 PM

Friends:

On the matter of brother Rich, Cunningham Piano Co. and the "Matchless" Cunningham:

to repeat and to repeat again, one has only to visit the concern in question, meet Rich, and play the piano - Chinese origin, engineered soundboard and "Matchless" moniker notwithstanding.

One has to ask just why this simple truth should provoke such animus. Can it be that there is simply no faking Rich's genuine goodness, the standard that his shop achieves or the success of this new, affordable import ?

Faced with an approach or sales philosophy quite at variance, I suppose the typical, dark reaction would be to attack the good, the innocent and the true.

To quote Cosmo Castorini, "that's a sad and crazy day."

Karl Watson
Staten Island, NY
Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 03:43 PM

Karl and All,

It seems to boil down to one contrarian who enjoys stirring the pot when he has never tasted the stew or has any interest in the resulting flavor.
Posted By: Rank Piano Amateur

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 04:16 PM

I agree with Minnesota Marty.

I would also like to add here that I personally have played numerous Cunningham grands of all sizes. I have also heard talented and educated pianists (among whom I am not) play them, from astonishing youngsters through adults.

They are great, and unsurpassed at their price point, at least in my opinion, although it is clear that this opinion is shared by an ever growing number of people who have actually tried them out.

Rich Galassini is also unsurpassed as a salesperson and as an advocate for the piano generally, and I have dealt with a LOT of them. And that is obviously not just my opinion--it is an opinion shared throughout Piano World. I bought my first piano from Rich some 15-20 years ago, and we are still in contact, and I continue to receive invitations to the concerts that Cunningham sponsors. I attend whenever I can, as they are great. The most recent one starred an incredible Steinway concert grand and a group of Temple music students. If sponsoring concerts like this is self-promotion, we all need more of it!

These views are all based on personal experience. I am posting this here and now because Rich, like most dealers who post here, has very sensibly stayed out of this particular thread.



Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 04:58 PM

Originally Posted by Orz
Seeing all the talks here I got really curious as how good the Cunningham piano really is, I really hope that we can have good quality pianos in a more affordable price range…
So yesterday I called my old college mate who lives in Philly now to try the Cunningham pianos for me and give me some idea as what they are like. Surprisingly, he said he had tried them already while he was shopping for his current piano(He has a Yamaha GC1 now). According to him, the action is little too heavy for him, and they sound like “mellower sounding Samick” which he did not like. However, he did say the Cunningham pianos are the best looking pianos he has ever seen in the price range.

I guess people simply have different preference. I have never played a Samick, so I still have no idea what the Cunningham sounds like. I should give them a try if I visit philly!


The action can be lightened, if you wish. The tone? yes, it is a mellow tone and you may not like it. If you do, though, it will be hard for you to find anything as well built for the money. Many people think they are a Hailun stencil, when that is just not the case. They are their own unique piano.

By all means, do try them and form your own opinion.
Posted By: Orz

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 05:50 PM

Originally Posted by Jolly
Originally Posted by Orz
Seeing all the talks here I got really curious as how good the Cunningham piano really is, I really hope that we can have good quality pianos in a more affordable price range…
So yesterday I called my old college mate who lives in Philly now to try the Cunningham pianos for me and give me some idea as what they are like. Surprisingly, he said he had tried them already while he was shopping for his current piano(He has a Yamaha GC1 now). According to him, the action is little too heavy for him, and they sound like “mellower sounding Samick” which he did not like. However, he did say the Cunningham pianos are the best looking pianos he has ever seen in the price range.

I guess people simply have different preference. I have never played a Samick, so I still have no idea what the Cunningham sounds like. I should give them a try if I visit philly!


The action can be lightened, if you wish. The tone? yes, it is a mellow tone and you may not like it. If you do, though, it will be hard for you to find anything as well built for the money. Many people think they are a Hailun stencil, when that is just not the case. They are their own unique piano.

By all means, do try them and form your own opinion.


For me even the yamaha grands feel too heavy... I love the steinway touch which is very light and smooth. I asked the tech who tunes my father's yamaha if its possible to make the yamaha feel like the steinway, he said its possible but will cost a lot of money...
Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 06:07 PM

Originally Posted by Orz
Originally Posted by Jolly
Originally Posted by Orz
Seeing all the talks here I got really curious as how good the Cunningham piano really is, I really hope that we can have good quality pianos in a more affordable price range…
So yesterday I called my old college mate who lives in Philly now to try the Cunningham pianos for me and give me some idea as what they are like. Surprisingly, he said he had tried them already while he was shopping for his current piano(He has a Yamaha GC1 now). According to him, the action is little too heavy for him, and they sound like “mellower sounding Samick” which he did not like. However, he did say the Cunningham pianos are the best looking pianos he has ever seen in the price range.

I guess people simply have different preference. I have never played a Samick, so I still have no idea what the Cunningham sounds like. I should give them a try if I visit philly!


The action can be lightened, if you wish. The tone? yes, it is a mellow tone and you may not like it. If you do, though, it will be hard for you to find anything as well built for the money. Many people think they are a Hailun stencil, when that is just not the case. They are their own unique piano.

By all means, do try them and form your own opinion.


For me even the yamaha grands feel too heavy... I love the steinway touch which is very light and smooth. I asked the tech who tunes my father's yamaha if its possible to make the yamaha feel like the steinway, he said its possible but will cost a lot of money...


You may or may not like the tone, or you may want a more expensive piano, but the GH series Ritmuller has a nice, responsive light action.

If you are looking for a more expensive piano, I've seen several good deals on Charles Walter. A CW190 is a very nice, American sound piano, for usually much less money than a Steinway or M&H.
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 06:08 PM

Jolly,

Just trying to cut through some of the chatter here.

Quote
First off, let me publicly state, that if you want a level of concern and service, second to nobody in the industry, I recommend Rich and the folks at Cunningham Piano Company. First class. Period. Rich probably deserves combat pay after dealing with me . . . If I would have had her in the Cunningham store, I would had them lighten the action and possibly iron the hammmers just a tad. We might have had a different outcome. Which is the beauty of working with a store like Cunningham's...A full service store with great techs in the building can accommodate requests like that.


Despite your "intimate" knowledge of Cunningham's, have you ever stepped inside the store?

Mike
Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 06:49 PM

Mike,

You're not talking, you're not conversing, you're not interested in what I have to say.

You're just nit-picking and looking for a fight.

Therefore, I revert back to my old Usenet days...

<PLONK>
Posted By: Sam Rose

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 11:24 PM

I visited Cunningham Piano when I was passing through Philly on the drive back to Los Angeles, and I agree with the general sentiment here.

I played one of the Cunningham grands immediately after playing on a Bosendorfer concert grand. While that is unfair to the Cunningham, I still found that it was pleasant to play on. I think it was a 5'8" or 5'10" model.

And Rich is nothing but welcoming, passionate, and a fountain of knowledge of the piano. Sure, he's there to sell a product as well so he can stay in business, but his approach to salesmanship is qualitatively different than most salesmen you will encounter, in ANY industry.

Mike, your completely unsubstantiated attacks on Cunningham Piano are doing nothing but bringing the folks who've had a good experience with him and his pianos out of the woodwork to defend him. If you have a vendetta against him, or are competing with him, your best course of action would be to pull the shovel out of the hole you're digging and go home. No disrespect intended smile
Posted By: patH

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 11:44 PM

I've never played a Cunningham, but I enjoyed reading this thread, with one anti-Chinese buffoon acting the troll, and people replying to it.

If the Cunningham reminds of a Mason&Hamlin (which I have played), then that's a compliment. I liked the Mason&Hamlin I played.
So if Cunningham pianos come in the price range of Yamaha C or CX, and with built-in silent systems, then my opinion is that they should not be discarded just because they are Chinese.
Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/14/13 11:50 PM

Originally Posted by patH
I've never played a Cunningham, but I enjoyed reading this thread, with one anti-Chinese buffoon acting the troll, and people replying to it.

If the Cunningham reminds of a Mason&Hamlin (which I have played), then that's a compliment. I liked the Mason&Hamlin I played.
So if Cunningham pianos come in the price range of Yamaha C or CX, and with built-in silent systems, then my opinion is that they should not be discarded just because they are Chinese.


Let me clear up a little misunderstanding...when I referred to the Cunningham as the M&H of oriental pianos, I was talking about build, not tone. The build of the Cunningham is more robust than any other Asian piano of its size...the beefiness of the piano reminds of the way M&H's are overbuilt to last for the long haul.

The piano doesn't sound like a M&H. It has its own voice. One you may like. Or not.
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/15/13 02:21 AM

Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty

"If you're shopping in the entry-level price range and a piano with a laminated soundboard meets your musical and other expectations, there's no reason not to purchase it."

Mr. Carr,

I happen to agree with this quote from Larry Fine. It is one of the reasons that I am unconcerned about the manufacturing process used in the construction of the Cunningham soundboards. My assessment of these pianos are based on my eyes, ears, and hands as a pianist. It is an assessment based not on price, but rather on the response of the piano as a musical instrument.

I completely agree with Jolly's assessment.



MM
If you are agreeing with Larry in the sense that a Cunningham is an entry level piano, I would tend to disagree and put it somewhere above that, given it’s a house stencil made by Hailun. A closer match to entry level Chinese/laminated would be the new Weber line.

If Larry is saying that only entry level Chinese pianos have laminated soundboard because the better ones have solid spruce he’s probably reflecting on the market realities of laminated soundboards and not their musicality. Well aware of these realities, manufactures tend to hide the nature of 3-plies glued together behind terms like “A” class spruce, referring to outer plies as meniscus coating, etc.

Unfortunately the market is more worried about where a piano comes from rather than its sound, which, like it or not, would probably (no one has mentoned price yet) put Cunningham comps more in the 10-20 year used Japanese range than a new RX.

Mike
Posted By: Karl Watson

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/15/13 02:40 AM

Curiouser and curiouser -

What next, "Plan Nine from Outer Space" ?

Karl Watson
Staten Island, NY
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/15/13 02:48 AM

Originally Posted by Jolly
Mike,

You're not talking, you're not conversing, you're not interested in what I have to say.

You're just nit-picking and looking for a fight.

Therefore, I revert back to my old Usenet days...

<PLONK>


Jolly,

So, that's a no, you've never set foot in Cunningham Piano? Why act like you had? I'll be more than happy to listen. I'm only asking because you've gone out of your way to question my credibility.

Mike





Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/15/13 03:39 AM

Carr - your credibility has been in question long before this thread was started. The fact that you are unaware that the RX line has been discontinued is only one example. Your reference to the Cunningham as a "stencil" is another example of your lack of knowledge of the market.

I have no clue if Jolly has ever been to Cunningham Pianos, however, his communication and guidance from Mr. Galassini can not be discounted. It does not need to be face to face to receive valuable information. Since you have never played a Cunningham, I would assume that you haven't been there either. Using your reasoning, you are left without a valid opinion.

This thread is about the sound of the piano, and not about the individual bits and pieces that you seem to hold so dear. Yet, you disclaim that very practice. Not only is your logic flawed, your reading comprehension is faulty.

Based on my experience playing both the Kawai RX-2BLK and the Cunningham Parlour Grand, my choice would be the Cunningham. I would also choose it over the GX2-BLK.

Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/15/13 04:07 AM

Quote
Carr - your credibility has been in question long before this thread was started. The fact that you are unaware that the RX line has been discontinued is only one example. Your reference to the Cunningham as a "stencil" is another example of your lack of knowledge of the market.

I have no clue if Jolly has ever been to Cunningham Pianos, however, his communication and guidance from Mr. Galassini can not be discounted. It does not need to be face to face to receive valuable information. Since you have never played a Cunningham, I would assume that you haven't been there either. Using your reasoning, you are left without a valid opinion.

This thread is about the sound of the piano, and not about the individual bits and pieces that you seem to hold so dear. Yet, you disclaim that very practice. Not only is your logic flawed, your reading comprehension is faulty.

Based on my experience playing both the Kawai RX-2BLK and the Cunningham Parlour Grand, my choice would be the Cunningham. I would also choose it over the GX2-BLK.


MM,

Quote
For comparative shopping purposes I would shop the Cunningham vs. the RX2
I was referring to Jolly's quote, not Kawai's current line, though it shouldn't be hard to find a few "new" rx's lying around. If you have your own definition of stencil, fine, I'm comfortable with mine. Is this your proof of my lack of knowledge? Did you already forget who had to tell you about Cunningham's, er, engineered soundboard?

This isn't about my flawed logic, it's about Jolly acting like he'd been to Cunningham's when he hadn't and an over the top
infomercial that seems to have gone awry.

Nice try, though.

Mike

Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/15/13 04:17 AM

Originally Posted by Mike Carr
Did you already forget who had to tell you about Cunningham's, er, engineered soundboard?


Did you forget that I don't give a flyin' flip about how the Cunningham soundboard is made?

What I care about is how it sounds!

Of that, I am well aware.
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/15/13 04:35 AM

Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted by Mike Carr
Did you already forget who had to tell you about Cunningham's, er, engineered soundboard?


Did you forget that I don't give a flyin' flip about how the Cunningham soundboard is made?

What I care about is how it sounds!

Of that, I am well aware.


MM,

When you bold all your letters like that, does it mean you're yelling? Or just a little bit upset?

Mike

Posted By: Jeff Clef

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/15/13 04:49 AM

"...This thread is about the sound of the piano, and not about the individual bits and pieces that you seem to hold so dear. Yet, you disclaim..."

Marty, and Guys, this thread is about people that are so easy to bait that Mike just can't help but keep trolling. If the fish would quit biting, the angler would pack up the tackle box for the day. It resembles one of those highly mannered comic/dramas, almost like Kabuki theater or even a Punch and Judy show. Or Klingon opera. Or a sitcom. I'm only sorry that so many people's feelings have been injured--- but in another way, it's kind of fascinating. Mike punches the keys, the well-known tempered tones sound forth, the well-worn characters' personae pop up to respond as they always do--- it seems that no one realizes it's as automatic as [1] the pendulum ticks, [2] the hour chimes, [3] the cuckoo chirps, and [4] it's a minute later.

I do not believe Rich's or Cunningham's reputation is being damaged--- it can take care of itself, and it has plenty of momentum. So far, I've never had the pleasure to play The Cunningham, though I'm curious. The idea of a real piano with computer, software, controllers for key and pedal and play/record/print and monitor built right in, at a good price--- it really sounded kind of great. Great, like, a few years down the road, that's the way all the makers are to be doing it. But I don't know how it plays, don't know how it sounds, don't have an opinion. Cunningham's reputation for providing really good pre-sale prep is admirable, and I wish that was the nosecone of the rocket that's going to blast off from Philly and--- ummm---ummm--- I was trying to say something about distribution (by technician equipped rockets), or maybe it was about taking over the world, or at least the market segment.

Anyway, this badminton game would be more fun if people did not, so predictably, take themselves Sooooooo seriously. So, that's my advice: have more fun.
Posted By: BornInTheUSA

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/15/13 06:01 AM

This discussion about laminated soundboards got me interested.

I found this thread here with a very detailed response from Del Fandrich about it:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubb...1/topic/009731/Number/2/site_id/1#import

In summary, I believe what he was saying is using it is very easy to screw up a piano using laminate soundboards if you don't design the rest of the piano correctly. But if you do spend the time to redesign the piano to take advantage of laminate soundboards, they could actually be better. However, to do all of that, it's actually more expensive than to use solid spruce. So unless Hailun/Cunningham designed the rest of the piano to work with the laminate soundboards, it could be a liability.

Posted By: Karl Watson

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/15/13 10:17 PM

Dear Jeff Clef:

Much as I appreciate your take on the foregoing, I can't agree that to ignore the infantile and ridiculous, allowing it to pass without comment, is the easy solution to the disruption caused by a rogue member.

Behaviour that is best described as mental will not go away by just ignoring it. Jolly and Marty, to name only two, are too well-respected by the forum to be forced to endure abuse.

But, at the end of the day, you are quite right about Rich, Cunningham Piano Coy. and their revived "Matchless" piano. I quite prefer an approach that combines honesty, kindness and gratitude that an instrument of its quality has been made available for such an affordable price.

Karl Watson
Staten Island, NY
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/15/13 11:17 PM

Don't forget the wonderful "ignore" button that this site features.

You needn't be forced to see what trolls post.
Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/15/13 11:25 PM

Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Don't forget the wonderful "ignore" button that this site features.

You needn't be forced to see what trolls post.


You sir, are right.

Thank you.
Posted By: Jeff Clef

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/16/13 01:26 AM

Karl, thanks for the kind words. If I could just clear one little thing up:

"...I can't agree that to ignore the infantile and ridiculous, allowing it to pass without comment, is the easy solution to the disruption caused by a rogue member..."

I don't think anyone who has tried holding back a retort or an angry action--- especially when provoked--- would describe it as 'easy.' Your feelings are understandable; I'm not above throwing gasoline on the bonfire, myself. Except--- I've learned that it can be hotter than I was expecting, and the fire will die down anyway without fuel--- leaving our eyebrows and nose hairs where nature put them.

You are quite right, that sometimes we have to give our all when it's necessary to smite the wicked. It seems to me that both responses have their place--- and, with that, I think I've 'seemed' about enough. Got to practice.
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/16/13 05:45 AM

Jeff,

Quote
Mike punches the keys, the well-known tempered tones sound forth.


You make it sound easy, but I’m not just dangling a bare line in the water.

My comments on Chinese advertising and market realities while blunt are factual. The irrelevance of sound in the marketplace vs. brand authenticity might have something to do with the thousands of pianos sold simply because they are loud, shiny, and their name rings a bell. And while the term plywood is arguable, it gets the point across and is less deceptive than grade “A” spruce or meniscus coating.

As far as the SMP being somewhat arbitrary, I was quoting Larry Fine.

You are a good writer, Jeff, but after finishing with me, devoting the other half your post to a piano brand homage doesn’t really help your objectivity.

And then there’s you and Karl commiserating over my wickedness, speculating on my roguishness, and congratulating each other on your restraint. Smite the wicked? Are you guys serious? Wait, don't answer that.

Anyway, if there is a method to my madness it is stick with facts and ignore the trash talk:

“ shows your total ignorance of the reality, personally attacking a particular pair of brands, blathering on about a piano of which you have no knowledge, mental, rogue, I think you smoked one too many, lobbing feces, don't have a clue about what you are talking about, cheap rethorics about China are worth less then a dime, a ridiculous statement, you are obviously paranoid, moron, was a member of his family injured by a Chinese person or persons, is there a rational explanation for this venom, buffoon, the contributions of MC are hysterical and mental, appallingly bad manners, Mike Carr . . . he doing a pretty miserable job, plan nine from outer space, juvenile, Be a man or listen to your landlord Jeb play it,” etc.

I’m not sure whose feelings you say are being hurt, who is showing restraint, or who is trolling, and while it's all pretty heroic stuff, all I see is that everyone seems to be having a good time.

Anyway, if casual observers were to read this thread they'd marvel at a tiny mob of piano cultists and didacts ineffectively chasing me around, that doozy of a beginning with Mr. Second to Nobody describing the inner workings of a piano store he’s never been in, but the final and most intriguing question, the one that would leave most folks scratching their heads?

Who in the **** is Jeb?

Mike
Posted By: Jolly

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/16/13 12:11 PM

An observation:

This "ignore" feature works well! Again, thanks to those who suggested it...
Posted By: Rerun

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/16/13 12:47 PM

Originally Posted by Mike Carr
Jeff,

Quote
Mike punches the keys, the well-known tempered tones sound forth.


You make it sound easy, but I’m not just dangling a bare line in the water.

My comments on Chinese advertising and market realities while blunt are factual. The irrelevance of sound in the marketplace vs. brand authenticity might have something to do with the thousands of pianos sold simply because they are loud, shiny, and their name rings a bell. And while the term plywood is arguable, it gets the point across and is less deceptive than grade “A” spruce or meniscus coating.

As far as the SMP being somewhat arbitrary, I was quoting Larry Fine.

You are a good writer, Jeff, but after finishing with me, devoting the other half your post to a piano brand homage doesn’t really help your objectivity.

And then there’s you and Karl commiserating over my wickedness, speculating on my roguishness, and congratulating each other on your restraint. Smite the wicked? Are you guys serious? Wait, don't answer that.

Anyway, if there is a method to my madness it is stick with facts and ignore the trash talk:

“ shows your total ignorance of the reality, personally attacking a particular pair of brands, blathering on about a piano of which you have no knowledge, mental, rogue, I think you smoked one too many, lobbing feces, don't have a clue about what you are talking about, cheap rethorics about China are worth less then a dime, a ridiculous statement, you are obviously paranoid, moron, was a member of his family injured by a Chinese person or persons, is there a rational explanation for this venom, buffoon, the contributions of MC are hysterical and mental, appallingly bad manners, Mike Carr . . . he doing a pretty miserable job, plan nine from outer space, juvenile, Be a man or listen to your landlord Jeb play it,” etc.

I’m not sure whose feelings you say are being hurt, who is showing restraint, or who is trolling, and while it's all pretty heroic stuff, all I see is that everyone seems to be having a good time.

Anyway, if casual observers were to read this thread they'd marvel at a tiny mob of piano cultists and didacts ineffectively chasing me around, that doozy of a beginning with Mr. Second to Nobody describing the inner workings of a piano store he’s never been in, but the final and most intriguing question, the one that would leave most folks scratching their heads?

Who in the **** is Jeb?

Mike





Originally Posted by Mike Carr
You do not need a contractual or signed agreement to prove collusion or conspiracy regarding antitrust law. The concept of agreement in antitrust doctrine is far removed from the law of contracts and can be proven with direct or circumstantial evidence. Waterboarding, hooking a field telephone to defendants’ appliances, or forced listening to Yma Sumac records are also options. In a practical sense, it’s important to avoid conduct which might be construed as an agreement. Anti-poaching by-laws or ethics codes endorsing customer ownership would likely fit that conduct.

And remember, this action is not aimed at music teachers, it is against the trade organization. Trade organizations, by their nature, an organization of competitors, are petri dishes for anti-competition investigators, the salmonella of anti-trust doctrine.

The only intent the plaintiff has to prove, in a per se anti-trust violation, is the intent to enter into the violation. State of mind or intent to harm are not required.

As a side issue the poster who mentioned frying small businesses now leads me to believe that the anti-poaching clause might have been used in a cooking or possibly hunting lexicon. How would you poach piano students? Straight up water or maybe a butter sauce? I never thought the meat would be that tough to begin with but as with all stringent meat, say tri-tip or brisket, I favor an overnight marinade in the fridge or possibly a shallow dish on the counter covered with cheesecloth.

As for hunting, I was not aware there was a season for piano students. How do you go about it? Sprinkle a little corn on your front lawn? Or do you need a poster of a Steinway in the window to lure them in. Maybe speakers playing Chopin hidden strategically in the bushes will work. But if they are in season, I’m all for hunting them. I heard there is a ready market for the piano students' teeth in China. Chinese piano makers claim that when hand-matched and fitted together the teeth make great piano keys, easily cleaned with pepsodent or dentu-crème.

I discussed this with my neighbor, Jeb Harlan (I often help him haul down the confederate battle flag he flies off his front porch so he can sleep in it), who’s 112 and of the mind that it’s all an Obama conspiracy to get rid of music, Christmas carols in particular, so he can replace them with Islamic chants. Jeb’s also against high fructose syrups and fluoride in the water system.

Mike


Posted By: Larry Larson

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/16/13 01:09 PM

Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Mr. Carr,

I'm not sure what "setiments" are, but your reference is hubristically unaware.

.
"setiments" are feelings that settle in the lowest places of the heart.
Posted By: Karl Watson

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/16/13 02:47 PM

Dear Jeff:

What a wonderful reply and a totally sound conclusion. To paraphrase Gary Graffman - "(we) really should be practising."

Karl Watson
Staten Island, NY
Posted By: Jeff Clef

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/16/13 03:08 PM

"...devoting the other half your post to a piano brand homage doesn’t really help your objectivity..."

Worse: I think I actually made an error of fact. The Cunningham model that features an integrated computer system--- which I think is a great idea--- is an upright model; the one discussed in this thread is a grand. Never played either, no opinion on the sound or playability. Nor has Cunningham ever prepped any piano of mine, but they do have the reputation of exceeding the baseline. When we hear the phrase, "leaf-blower renovation" so many times, it does not suggest that the industry-wide standard is necessarily all that high, but it is comforting--- isn't it?--- when we're assured that "the mouse is included; no extra charge."

"...Who in the **** is Jeb?..."

Jeb Bush? Jed Clampett? Lots of things in this thread didn't really make sense; I just figured it was another cutting remark made with a knife that was too dull.

"...I’m not sure whose feelings you say are being hurt, who is showing restraint, or who is trolling, and while it's all pretty heroic stuff, all I see is that everyone seems to be having a good time..."

Well, you have raised Cunningham's profile a notch or two---at least around here and maybe on Google; that is one effect... and that is the one party I haven't heard complaining. Maybe--- probably--- it's the custom of hunters at a turkey shoot not to consider how the turkeys feel about it. If we admire the sharpshooter's aim, we can still feel for the collateral damage... but now we've strayed from Jeb to Cheney's hunting buddy. You've stated yourself that the gobblers are running around and squawking--- ("Ouch! That was real buckshot!")--- I don't think you can have your turkey loaf and eat it, too.

"...Anyway, if casual observers were to read this thread they'd marvel at a tiny mob of piano cultists and didacts ineffectively chasing me around..."

Ok. So you're putting it on the footing of touch football, rather than blood sport. I see why I didn't get it: it was those compulsory pep rallys in high school; they backfired badly. I've hated football ever since, and my sporting sense is not very well developed. I tend to think of these things more in the light of provoking fights while driving on the public highways, where things can turn into blood sport before we can fairly get the last word in.

Well, it's Monday morning, and I have a life to go to.
Posted By: Plowboy

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/16/13 05:52 PM

Rich owes Mike a steak dinner for all the positive publicity he's gotten out of this thread from people defending him and his piano against Mike.

That is, if he isn't already on the payroll... smokin
Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/16/13 11:50 PM

You're a very sick man.
Posted By: Mike Carr

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/17/13 12:00 AM

MM,
Quote
You're a very sick man.


Aww. Why the name calling? You still smarting from our little tiff? But thanks for the compliment.

In the next thrilling episode, Rich kindly recieves two strangers from the west, and calls home to announce, er, guess who's coming to dinner?

Mike
Posted By: Rickster

Re: The piano I didn't buy, but maybe you should. - 12/17/13 12:17 AM

The thread that was not locked, but maybe should have been... was... is...

Rick
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