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Posted By: Whiggs Pianos - what do you get when you pay more? - 11/14/19 05:22 AM
Hi everyone,

I’m a complete noob here, so I apologize upfront for the stupid question...
Looking at the brochures for the upright pianos from different vendors, it isn’t quite evident to me what improvements do you get when you buy a more expensive acoustic piano.

With digital pianos it’s quite clear: usually there’s a very distinct improvement in features, such as action type, sensing subsystem, rendering engine parameters (realism, sample bank size, polyphony etc), audio reproduction system, and of course cabinet “sophistication”. There are also auxiliary features such as connectivity which are sometimes improved as you step up the line.
So if you compare, e.g. Roalnd LX705 to LX708, it’s quite clear what you’re getting for your extra dollars.

But with acoustic pianos it is not clear to me, perhaps due to lack of background with acoustic pianos (I’ve only played electronic keyboards when I was younger).

Can somebody please help me understand what makes piano A better than piano B?
Obviously the sound will be different, and sometimes the action would feel different, but reading through this forum it seems that “different” is not always “better”, and people are encouraged to try the instrument before they buy it.
Still, Yamaha charges way more for the YUS5 than for, e.g., the U1. And it’s not clear to me why.

Specifically, are more expensive instruments better in terms of longevity, and cadence/type of maintenance?

Appreciate any thoughts.
You should better compare U1 to YUS1. YUS5 is a 52" upright.

This is how it is advertised on the Yamaha YUS pianos web page to justify the price difference.

Quote
YUS Series pianos share many features from our Flagship CF Series pianos. From hand-wound German strings and concert quality hammer felt to meticulous voicing and regulation that brings out a range of colors more reminiscent of a grand piano than a traditional upright. It’s quite simply the grandest sounding upright available.

The top ten percent of solid spruce from around the world is hand selected from our Kitami Mill in Hokkaido, Japan for the YUS piano soundboards. The crown is reinforced with full-length, solid spruce ribs for a refined, dynamic tone expected in a grand piano

YUS pianos are voiced and regulated by master technicians in Kakegawa, Japan to ensure that everything, from the strike of the hammers to the weight of the keys and depth of the key travel, are reminiscent of the finest grand piano.

Yamaha artisans wind each bass string by hand to the exacting standards and sound profile of every YUS piano at our factory in Kakegawa, Japan.

We took everything we learned from crafting the hammers of our flagship CFX concert grand and redesigned the hammers of the YUS to bring out powerful, nuanced tones on an upright piano.

Each YUS piano features a proprietary Yamaha tone escapement system that helps provide the clarity of tone and power that is rarely found in an upright.

Years of cutting-edge research, including our proprietary wood-drying process, result in durable back posts that maintain their shape, strength and resonance for years to come.

Yamaha was the first company to use an advanced Vacuum Shield Mold casting technology called V-Pro to create a stronger, lighter, more durable frame. Every YUS Series piano features a full-perimeter frame built to our exacting specifications at our Iwata Forge in Japan.

Often copied but never equaled, the patented Yamaha aluminum action rail helps assure our piano keyboards are resistant to tiny fluctuations in humidity and temperature over time.
You can learn a lot on the manufacturer’s websites.
How they are built ( handcraftship or not, quality of materials used) , where they are built ( that justifies a lot the difference of prices, even within the same brand)
Cool, thanks for the pointers guys.

What about my other question - should there be any difference in the longevity of the piano? (More expensive = better aging)?
Is there any correlation to 2nd hand market value retention?
Err, did you flick through or read the Piano Buyer guide?
So difference between u series and yus, according to yamaha, without the marketing bs, comes down to better hamners, better strings, and better voicing.

Im sure that's an improvement, but not so much as to justify a 30% price increase. 10% would fine. 30% is robbery
Originally Posted by Snail
So difference between u series and yus, according to yamaha, without the marketing bs, comes down to better hamners, better strings, and better voicing.

Im sure that's an improvement, but not so much as to justify a 30% price increase. 10% would fine. 30% is robbery
Buying a piano is somewhat like buying almost any other product. If one piano costs twice as much as another it doesn't mean the more expensive one is "twice as good". If I spend $25 at restaurant and buy the same dish for $50 at a better restaurant it doesn't mean the second dish was twice as good.

Here is a very good article about the differences between very expensive and lower priced pianos:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/the-uncompromising-world-of-high-end-pianos/
Originally Posted by Snail
So difference between u series and yus, according to yamaha, without the marketing bs, comes down to better hamners, better strings, and better voicing.

Im sure that's an improvement, but not so much as to justify a 30% price increase. 10% would fine. 30% is robbery


You are entitled to your opinion. Others might value these differences more highly than yourself, and not necessarily dismiss the other differences stated by Yamaha as marketing bs either. We all have to make our own value judgments..
Posted By: j&j Re: Pianos - what do you get when you pay more? - 11/14/19 02:10 PM
All the previous responses explain the difference quite well. One of the biggest differences between expensive pianos and less expensive models is an “improved playing experience” for the player and improved sound quality for the player and audience. The sound will be warmer, richer, more color, better sustain. From a warm rich growl in the base to a sparkling clear upper treble. The action will be very even and fluid. Practicing is actually enjoyable rather than a chore. There have been many improvements in upright actions in the last decade or so. Upright actions in higher end models now can do fast repetitions and use longer keys, which improves the players leverage and control. Higher end uprights can deliver a sound and action very close to a grand piano. Taller uprights have longer strings which really improve the sound. I don’t really know if a higher quality upright actually lasts longer than a cheaper one, but in fact it will be much further down the road before the buyer wants to trade up to something better. The best way to see and hear how pianos compare is go out to a dealer and play many to all the uprights on the floor. You’ll suddenly “get it”. You can hear the difference with longer strings, better scale design, better soundboards and hammers. You can feel the difference with higher quality actions. The best way to know the difference between a Toyota Corolla and a Ferrari 488 Spyder is to test drive both. My example is a huge exaggeration to make a point, but only you can decide what price you can comfortably pay and which piano is a pleasure to play and listen to. Best wishes on your piano journey.
Originally Posted by Whiggs

With digital pianos it’s quite clear: usually there’s a very distinct improvement in features, such as action type, sensing subsystem, rendering engine parameters (realism, sample bank size, polyphony etc), audio reproduction system, and of course cabinet “sophistication”. There are also auxiliary features such as connectivity which are sometimes improved as you step up the line.

It's great question, Whiggs.
I agree with you that with digital instruments, it is easier to quantify the differences.
With acoustic pianos, IMHO, not so much.
Me, I like to keep things simple. Boiled down - the more expensive an acoustic piano is, in most cases, the better it will feel, sound and look to which I will add that it should hold up better under heavy use.

It gets a little complicated when one factors in that people don't agree on what sounds better, feels better, looks better. Read any of the threads on which piano hammers are better for an example that supports my contention. Your head will spin.

Quantifying hold up better over heavy use is tough. There is the ability of the keyboard and associated parts to stand up to many hours of playing. The quality of the bushings in the keys plays a big part. And then, there are the hammers - some will require more frequent voicing than others. What about the repetition parts - how frequently will they require regulation? under what conditions? Is the piano being used for concerts? weekend living room players? teaching? daily practice?

And so on.

Yes, you can read about the manufacturing details - "our carbon fibre action is better than your wooden ones"; "the wool in our hammers is better than your wool", our soundboard is sourced from the last grove of magic-fir on earth, and so on... But the reality is, at least in my opinion, that a great acoustic piano is more than the sum of its piece parts. Rather it is the synergy of those parts, the way they are adjusted, trimmed, fitted, fussed over, whether installed by computer driven equipment or superbly skilled humans, that creates an instrument that is really better and worth its price.

As to the upper most tier, i.e., the most expensive, that's where you start to see very fancy wooden veneers (exotic woods, beautifully worked), gold plated hardware, and so on. In this case, "better" means more beautiful, more luxurious.

Summing up - the more you spend, the better the piano should look, feel, sound, and hold up. Quantifying the specifics is, IMHO, difficult.

One pianist's opinion.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Snail
So difference between u series and yus, according to yamaha, without the marketing bs, comes down to better hamners, better strings, and better voicing.

Im sure that's an improvement, but not so much as to justify a 30% price increase. 10% would fine. 30% is robbery
Buying a piano is somewhat like buying almost any other product. If one piano costs twice as much as another it doesn't mean the more expensive one is "twice as good". If I spend $25 at restaurant and buy the same dish for $50 at a better restaurant it doesn't mean the second dish was twice as good.

Here is a very good article about the differences between very expensive and lower priced pianos:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/the-uncompromising-world-of-high-end-pianos/


Great article, thanks for posting it. I think people tend to discount the number of labor hours that go into voicing and prepping higher end pianos.
If you have to ask the more expensive piano is not for you.
Originally Posted by Learux
If you have to ask the more expensive piano is not for you.


The OP stated he is a novice in the world of acoustic pianos. The question is therefore more than reasonable and any information would be useful now.... or later.
This might be a decent start:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/the-uncompromising-world-of-high-end-pianos/
I consider more expensive pianos those that I am not yet skilled enough to play. Therefore, I would do the piano no justice and my piece would sound the same on a Schimmel that it sounds on a Kawai GL10. I also look to the unspecified "sum of parts."
Posted By: j&j Re: Pianos - what do you get when you pay more? - 11/14/19 09:36 PM
Originally Posted by JazzyMac
I consider more expensive pianos those that I am not yet skilled enough to play. Therefore, I would do the piano no justice and my piece would sound the same on a Schimmel that it sounds on a Kawai GL10. I also look to the unspecified "sum of parts."


I do understand your point but even a mediocre intermediate amateur deserves the opportunity to enjoy playing a fine beautiful instrument. Even if it’s just once. It doesn’t take much technical skill to enjoy the sound and buttery smooth action of a Bösendorfer 214VC. For me, YMMV, I bought my piano for my enjoyment. Practicing keeps my brain going. Helps hand eye coordination. Keeps hands and fingers more flexible. My Estonia is so far above my playing ability, it’s like my grandmother buying an Indie Car. Even if you never buy one, you owe it to yourself to try one.
Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by JazzyMac
I consider more expensive pianos those that I am not yet skilled enough to play. Therefore, I would do the piano no justice and my piece would sound the same on a Schimmel that it sounds on a Kawai GL10. I also look to the unspecified "sum of parts."


I do understand your point but even a mediocre intermediate amateur deserves the opportunity to enjoy playing a fine beautiful instrument. Even if it’s just once. It doesn’t take much technical skill to enjoy the sound and buttery smooth action of a Bösendorfer 214VC. For me, YMMV, I bought my piano for my enjoyment. Practicing keeps my brain going. Helps hand eye coordination. Keeps hands and fingers more flexible. My Estonia is so far above my playing ability, it’s like my grandmother buying an Indie Car. Even if you never buy one, you owe it to yourself to try one.


Estonia...oh, but a dream. Le sigh.
Originally Posted by JazzyMac
I consider more expensive pianos those that I am not yet skilled enough to play. Therefore, I would do the piano no justice and my piece would sound the same on a Schimmel that it sounds on a Kawai GL10. I also look to the unspecified "sum of parts."

It all depends ? For some the GL 10 may be enough.Perhaps they are just beginners, Later on they may hopefully get a bigger and better Kawai grand or may decide or a YUS5 upright or even a
European 130 upright (or even a performance grade grand)
As for longevity of the piano.,a performance grade piano will probably hold up better than a Japanese piano.Yet I know of a certain Kawai grand which has done a fair amount traveling across continents ,and well into its 50's.It is still being played.
A performance grade piano with "famous" name recognition like Steinways,Bechstein ,Bluthner will
always be easier to sell even when they have "aged", than those called Sauter ,August Forster or Ronisch.
What ever the answer, a person who is inspired by a beautiful tone and a sensitive response is more likely to practice better !
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
What ever the answer, a person who is inspired by a beautiful tone and a sensitive response is more likely to practice better !


I agree with this statement 1000% !!
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
What ever the answer, a person who is inspired by a beautiful tone and a sensitive response is more likely to practice better !


Decidedly!
Whiggs,

Better pianos offer greater musicality (dynamic range, tonal change, flatness of sustain) and better mechanisms with which to control them. These better designs require both better materials and better craftsmanship to be well executed. These determine relative costs. With better materials and craftsmanship, greater longevity is one result.

The rest of the conversation about cost becomes about global branding, global manufacturing, and how different companies deal with differences. Until you reduce the variables, its hard to stay on point.

Value retention or resale value has many factors, but pianos that have better-than-average resale have certain things in common. First is wider appeal. A standard model in basic black has more potential buyers than an art case or wood finish. When new, the first owner paid a premium for the enhancement and it cost more. Once used, many extras bring a smaller premium, and some actually reduce the broad appeal. This is true not only for the cabinet, but if a brand offers different quality levels, not just sizes, then the quality level most associated with the brand will offer better resale. If a consumer-level brand creates a premium or luxury line, those pianos will bring more 2nd hand, but at a much smaller percentage of the original cost. Additionally, if a premium or luxury brand offers a broader consumer-level product, even with the positive brand association, that line will not offer the same level of resale percentage.

There are also a few floors in the piano market for instruments of mass appeal. That can have a strange affect on resale of entry level pianos when industry inflation is as high as it is. At some point, any cheap but working, tuneable, black baby grand with any recognizable brand name on it rarely falls below $4k unless it is quite old or has a real condition issue. But the same piano in a no-longer-trendy wood finish has a lower floor.
Quote
Looking at the brochures for the upright pianos from different vendors, it isn’t quite evident to me what improvements do you get when you buy a more expensive acoustic piano.


This has been one of the most difficult questions to answer, especially in recent times. For one, there's a difference in "more expensive across the board" as opposed to "more expensive" in same store. It's totally possible to buy a less expensive piano that's as good or even better than one of another retailer. It's a known fact that several brands don't allow their dealers to take on directly competing brands, ESPECIALLY if they should be cheaper. This is true for high end pianos as well as those on the lower strata. Besides, retailers have also often very different costs finding themselves in different local scenarios: just consider one with very little competition in same location/town as opposed to one with tons of other businesses in same area/city. Some retailers also require to make much higher profits than others and all of this quickly adds up to a very uneven playing field. Besides, certain customers, especially those who don't play themselves, believe "the higher the price - the better the product" something which is no longer true in each single case. But often are taken advantage of by those who are able to convince their customers of this. For this reason, I have always found it very important to test a piano oneself as much a possible. Check the specs of the diverse instruments INDEPENDENTLY, read Piano Buyer and of course this site. In my world of thinking it doesn't make any sense to select a piano that doesn't sound as good as another, perhaps "cheaper one" This can and is increasingly happening in today's market and that's the reason I have always said:
"Play, study, read & select carefully" "One can do [much] better than is often thought""

Norbert
Posted By: j&j Re: Pianos - what do you get when you pay more? - 11/15/19 02:05 PM
For the most part Yamaha and Kawai uprights and grands especially the Yamaha U and YUS series and Kawai K series are built for institutional use and are built like tanks.
The same for their popular series of grands. With regular maintenance of tuning, voicing, and regulation either brand will last a very long time. Plus, the names are instantly recognizable so it makes resale easier. I’m sure LadyBird could write paragraphs and more paragraphs of why she and her husband fell in love with the Sauter. It’s sound and action stood out above the other uprights they had seen. I too could write paragraphs about my sudden decision to trade my beloved C3 for the Estonia. I made my decision because even more than my C3, practicing on the Estonia is very pleasurable. I look forward to practice. It’s the highlight of my day. Joyful playing. Listening and feeling the incredible response of the whole piano. When I first played the Schimmel Konzerts and especially the very first Bösendorfer grand I tried I really did “get it”. Whatever you try if you love the sound, love the feel, that’s the right piano to bring home, assuming you don’t have to sell your first born or remortgage the house and car. Just kidding there.

There’s been quite a bit of improvement seen, heard, and felt with lesser known brands besides Yamaha and Kawai in the last decade or two. The competitive field has dramatically changed as Norbert reminds us. You just have to try as many pianos as possible and take great notes on each model and brand to find the piano you love.
> Specifically, are more expensive instruments better in terms of longevity, and cadence/type of maintenance?

Sort of. Even on the low end, most new pianos being sold today are not expected to suffer from serious longevity problems (this wasn't always the case, read PianoBuyer for more info on the history -- I've certainly encountered pianos from a few decades ago that are literally falling apart). If anything the cheapest ones will last longer than you want them to -- the problem is they start out with little musical value and then get worse over the years frown . You could pay a technician to improve it with better hammers, more careful regulation, etc.. but at that point you probably should have just bought a better piano, or perhaps started with a used one that had more potential.

In terms of cadence/type of maintenence... I would say the more expensive pianos _tend_ to start out in a better state, because they received more attention at the factory and/or dealer. The very best pianos (and this is true of multiple brands, don't let anybody tell you they're the ONLY ones who do it) go through multiple cycles of being tuned, regulated, voiced, and then having their keys pounded on by a machine. Ideally you want this to be done until the piano is more or less the same before & after the pounder, and it takes a few cycles for that to happen. Of course this process done to its ideal level takes a lot of time and expert labor -- it's one of the main things that drives piano prices into the $50,000+ range! So most of us have to settle for an instrument where the prep work at the factory was at some level of "good enough". Materials come into play as well of course -- cheaper pianos are going to substitute in cheaper wood, they won't age it as long (once again that costs money), and other cost cutting measures may mean that tuning, regulation, and voicing aren't as stable.

Regardless, all pianos have to be tuned regularly (roughly once a year or more frequently depending on climate and use) to sound good. The problem is, if the strings and wood parts weren't well stabilized as explained above, the piano will go back out of tune much more quickly. So either you have to get it tuned very frequently until it starts to cooperate (costing you $$$$), or put up with a piano that spends most of its life a bit out of tune.

It's a similar situation with regulation. Cheap pianos won't have been regulated that well at the factory, and since they probably weren't been pounded in much either the felt parts in the action are going to compress a lot at first as you play it. To some extent you can just put up with it for a while and then have the piano regulated, but it costs more to regulate a piano that's WAY out, plus changing the regulation in some cases puts the parts in contact with fresh felt that's gonna compress yet again. Yay. Of course the quality and design of the action parts will limit just how great the touch on a piano can be as well -- so in that sense a better action is worth paying money for.

Voicing kinda needs to go through a similar cycle of refinement, but the quality of hammers, scaling, and soundboard, as well as the state of regulation and tuning stability, all play a big role in how good the piano can ultimately sound.


All that being said, most _moderately_ priced pianos do quite well in this regard. They didn't necessarily get world-class prep at the factory, but they got enough of it, and will be very stable if serviced appropriately -- in some cases it's because high tech manufacturing processes can actually get you a lot closer to a good end result with less final prep. So the good news is you don't have to mortgage your house to get a decent instrument. It's just that the very cheapest ones tend to skimp the most in this regard. The thing that makes it confusing, IMO, is that manufacturers know people are usually more interested in "features" than they are in the somewhat pedestrian process I described above. Some of them are indeed nice things to have (better hammers, keytops, a properly designed action...) and some are complete B.S. ("GERMAN ENGINEERING!" is probably my favorite), but in the long run they matter less in terms fo the instrument's performance than attention to detail.


TL;DR: more expensive pianos don't really require less maintenance; it's just that a reasonable level of maintenance will have more satisfying results.
Posted By: j&j Re: Pianos - what do you get when you pay more? - 11/15/19 03:44 PM
Originally Posted by Nathan M., RPT
> Specifically, are more expensive instruments better in terms of longevity, and cadence/type of maintenance?

Sort of. Even on the low end, most new pianos being sold today are not expected to suffer from serious longevity problems (this wasn't always the case, read PianoBuyer for more info on the history -- I've certainly encountered pianos from a few decades ago that are literally falling apart). If anything the cheapest ones will last longer than you want them to -- the problem is they start out with little musical value and then get worse over the years frown . You could pay a technician to improve it with better hammers, more careful regulation, etc.. but at that point you probably should have just bought a better piano, or perhaps started with a used one that had more potential.

In terms of cadence/type of maintenence... I would say the more expensive pianos _tend_ to start out in a better state, because they received more attention at the factory and/or dealer. The very best pianos (and this is true of multiple brands, don't let anybody tell you they're the ONLY ones who do it) go through multiple cycles of being tuned, regulated, voiced, and then having their keys pounded on by a machine. Ideally you want this to be done until the piano is more or less the same before & after the pounder, and it takes a few cycles for that to happen. Of course this process done to its ideal level takes a lot of time and expert labor -- it's one of the main things that drives piano prices into the $50,000+ range! So most of us have to settle for an instrument where the prep work at the factory was at some level of "good enough". Materials come into play as well of course -- cheaper pianos are going to substitute in cheaper wood, they won't age it as long (once again that costs money), and other cost cutting measures may mean that tuning, regulation, and voicing aren't as stable.

Regardless, all pianos have to be tuned regularly (roughly once a year or more frequently depending on climate and use) to sound good. The problem is, if the strings and wood parts weren't well stabilized as explained above, the piano will go back out of tune much more quickly. So either you have to get it tuned very frequently until it starts to cooperate (costing you $$$$), or put up with a piano that spends most of its life a bit out of tune.

It's a similar situation with regulation. Cheap pianos won't have been regulated that well at the factory, and since they probably weren't been pounded in much either the felt parts in the action are going to compress a lot at first as you play it. To some extent you can just put up with it for a while and then have the piano regulated, but it costs more to regulate a piano that's WAY out, plus changing the regulation in some cases puts the parts in contact with fresh felt that's gonna compress yet again. Yay. Of course the quality and design of the action parts will limit just how great the touch on a piano can be as well -- so in that sense a better action is worth paying money for.

Voicing kinda needs to go through a similar cycle of refinement, but the quality of hammers, scaling, and soundboard, as well as the state of regulation and tuning stability, all play a big role in how good the piano can ultimately sound.


All that being said, most _moderately_ priced pianos do quite well in this regard. They didn't necessarily get world-class prep at the factory, but they got enough of it, and will be very stable if serviced appropriately -- in some cases it's because high tech manufacturing processes can actually get you a lot closer to a good end result with less final prep. So the good news is you don't have to mortgage your house to get a decent instrument. It's just that the very cheapest ones tend to skimp the most in this regard. The thing that makes it confusing, IMO, is that manufacturers know people are usually more interested in "features" than they are in the somewhat pedestrian process I described above. Some of them are indeed nice things to have (better hammers, keytops, a properly designed action...) and some are complete B.S. ("GERMAN ENGINEERING!" is probably my favorite), but in the long run they matter less in terms fo the instrument's performance than attention to detail.


TL;DR: more expensive pianos don't really require less maintenance; it's just that a reasonable level of maintenance will have more satisfying results.

thumb Bingo +1
What a great post, Nathan Monteleone! Thanks for taking the time to sum that up really nicely.
If not "German Engineering" then "German Piano making" is greatly to be admired
and to be considered if thinking about spending more !
My apologies to the great Bösendorfer which is Austrian and the great NY Steinways !
Here's what I've gleaned anecdotally from techs I've discussed this with in my area:

-Expensive pianos aren't always better designed.
-Case in point: Steinway, more difficult to work on, some screws hard to access so easy to strip, surprising poor workmanship/design in the stringing
-Not impressed with Bosendorfer or Fazioli from workmanship standpoint given the price
-Stock strings from even top brands tend to be one-size-fits-all and not optimized for the piano
-Steinway hammers suck

Moral of the story: a well built piano like a run-of-the-mill Yamaha, restrung with hybrid strings, good hammers, and proper action balancing will likely play and sound better than most new high end pianos.

Sounds controversial to me, but part of me hopes it's true, since I will never own a high end piano. The idea of being able to soup up an old Honda to beat a Ferrari at the race track has always appealed to me. What do you guys think?
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Sounds controversial to me, but part of me hopes it's true, since I will never own a high end piano. The idea of being able to soup up an old Honda to beat a Ferrari at the race track has always appealed to me. What do you guys think?

Could be a case of "Ford vs. Ferrari" smile



Don't see why it's not possible. IMO, a piano is only as good as the parts that make it up and then how it is assembled, regulated, and tuned.
Hah. Yes, I thought I should have used Ford as the example right after I posted it.
As I said my profound apologies and my sympathies to the .........

..
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Here's what I've gleaned anecdotally from techs I've discussed this with in my area:

-Expensive pianos aren't always better designed.
-Case in point: Steinway, more difficult to work on, some screws hard to access so easy to strip, surprising poor workmanship/design in the stringing
-Not impressed with Bosendorfer or Fazioli from workmanship standpoint given the price
-Stock strings from even top brands tend to be one-size-fits-all and not optimized for the piano
-Steinway hammers suck

Moral of the story: a well built piano like a run-of-the-mill Yamaha, restrung with hybrid strings, good hammers, and proper action balancing will likely play and sound better than most new high end pianos.

Sounds controversial to me, but part of me hopes it's true, since I will never own a high end piano. The idea of being able to soup up an old Honda to beat a Ferrari at the race track has always appealed to me. What do you guys think?
Such extreme negative comments about some of the most revered and respected pianos sounds very exaggerated to me, especially comments like "Steinway hammers suck". After seeing some videos about Fazioli and Boesendorfer production I find it close to impossible to believe their workmanship is less than fantastic.
That may have been some hyperbole on my part about the Steinway hammers. The gist is that the expensive brands are not all they're cracked up to be, and a good rebuilder can take a modest piano and make it better than most expensive pianos from a factory. My impression was that a lot of the premium paid for the very expensive pianos was for the brand/mystique, not necessarily objective superior performance.
There are a great deal of rebuilders who talk .......Emery! I like your Kawai !
As you know I am a fan. I think Nathan is not saying all performance grade pianos are not worth the price. The concept of " Great German Engineering " is a little old school ,old boys club , " It may also
threaten certain " piano rebuilders " of American pianos "
This is more of a feeling than a theory.
The other day I watched a piano dealer presenting a youtube video of rebuilt Steinways.Beautiful pianos with beautiful cabinets.He often presents rebuilt restored Steinways and European pianos .
These rebuilt Steinways were "dead " when he played the bass.STONE DEAD !
I would rather you buy a bigger Kawai or Yamaha grand than go that route.
Best wishes with your Ford ! Kawai 's are wonderful pianos! ,I know I had one for most of my life !
Manufacturer's know what they are doing ! This is becoming a theory !




.
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
The gist is that the expensive brands are not all they're cracked up to be, and a good rebuilder can take a modest piano and make it better than most expensive pianos from a factory. My impression was that a lot of the premium paid for the very expensive pianos was for the brand/mystique, not necessarily objective superior performance.


And where did you acquire this wisdom?

If this were to be true wouldn't top ranked piano brands be out of business?
Originally Posted by Learux
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
The gist is that the expensive brands are not all they're cracked up to be, and a good rebuilder can take a modest piano and make it better than most expensive pianos from a factory. My impression was that a lot of the premium paid for the very expensive pianos was for the brand/mystique, not necessarily objective superior performance.


And where did you acquire this wisdom?

If this were to be true wouldn't top ranked piano brands be out of business?



OK but Emery's piano was cited as an example of a medium priced good brand to contrast with
your brand (Schimmel )as a more expensive brand., so why not a bit of hyperbole on his part ?
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
What a great post, Nathan Monteleone! Thanks for taking the time to sum that up really nicely.


Thanks for the kind words smile

Originally Posted by Lady Bird
If not "German Engineering" then "German Piano making" is greatly to be admired
and to be considered if thinking about spending more !
My apologies to the great Bösendorfer which is Austrian and the great NY Steinways !


I agree. I don't have extensive experience with German-made pianos, but I've certainly played some amazing ones. Steingraeber & Söhne and Grotrian were particular favorites.

I scoffed at the "German Engineering" claim because it's used to deceive people into thinking they're getting a comparable product at a bargain price! Just because the design (or some part of it) comes from Germany doesn't mean it will be any good if it's built from cheap parts by the lowest bidder. The devil's often in the details smile

Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Here's what I've gleaned anecdotally from techs I've discussed this with in my area:

-Expensive pianos aren't always better designed.
-Case in point: Steinway, more difficult to work on, some screws hard to access so easy to strip, surprising poor workmanship/design in the stringing
-Not impressed with Bosendorfer or Fazioli from workmanship standpoint given the price
-Stock strings from even top brands tend to be one-size-fits-all and not optimized for the piano
-Steinway hammers suck

Moral of the story: a well built piano like a run-of-the-mill Yamaha, restrung with hybrid strings, good hammers, and proper action balancing will likely play and sound better than most new high end pianos.

Sounds controversial to me, but part of me hopes it's true, since I will never own a high end piano. The idea of being able to soup up an old Honda to beat a Ferrari at the race track has always appealed to me. What do you guys think?


There's some truth to this, but also some limitations. And also some things I don't know enough to comment on :P

- A good rebuilder can definitely give you more musical value for the money, compared to buying an instrument new from a dealer.

- Steinway has a constantly running FUD campaign ("Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt") directed at rebuilt pianos. The stuff about genuine Steinway parts, and if you don't use them it's a "Steinwas"? That's what I'm talking about. It's baloney.

- On the other hand, not all rebuilders are created equal. I've certainly heard talk of some famous ones that have a reputation among techs for selling flashy casework and new but poorly fitting action parts as "fully restored" and charging way more money than they should for it. I'm not going to name names until I catch firsthand proof of it -- but if you talk to enough techs you probably already know what I mean.

- A lot of technicians have complaints about the quality and consistency of Steinway hammers for sure. Consensus is that they've gotten better in recent years, but even then you can probably replace them with something better. The caveat being that the rebuilder needs to know what (s)he's doing in terms of choosing appropriate hammer weights for the action and scale design.

- Hybrid stringing basically allows you to get a more even transition between the wrapped bichords and plain strings. I'm oversimplifying a bit, but that's where it has the most musical value. How much that matters to you depends on how much said unevenness bothered you in hte first place -- for ex. someone pointed out to me on a certain model of Bosendorfer (sorry not coming to me at the moment) that there's a big difference in power between the last plain string and the first wound bichord. Playing the notes back to back it's quite obvious, but when I just played music on it I really didn't care and the piano sounded quite nice. YMMV.

- All that rebuilding work still costs money! Pulling on the car analogy, if you really want to get an old Ford competing with a Ferrari you're gonna spend a lot on high performance parts and the labor to install them.

Bah, out of battery. Will try to follow up more tomorrow...
Thanks Nathan. You're right the rebuilding is not cheap. One price I got was about $4k to hang new strings & hammers, and $4k to balance keys. A new WNG action stack is about $2,300. Unrestored 6 foot pianos from the 70s and 80s can be had from a local dealer for about $4,500. Assuming soundboard and pinblock are in good shape, seems like about $12k - $15k might get you a top performing 6 foot grand piano, ostensibly comparable to one costing 4-5x as much. Do some of the work yourself and cost may be even less. It's an attractive proposition I'd like to explore one day, and luckily I have that free Kurtzmann upright to practice on. Depending on how that turns out, I'd love to find that Ford and try turning it into a Ferrari.
I will go straight against all this and say that most expensive brands are a bad deal when they are brand new and the best value after 15-20 years.

Just the same as a 2-3 year old Lexus is the best value for money.(Cheap and best value are mutually exclusive)

I do not believe that a good rebuilder can make a mediocre piano great without spending close to what a best value piano would get you.

But what do I know.
"Good deal"new "bad deal" can be very subjective.My Sauter is in a
state of in "inflorescence" especially when it comes to its tone !
I am not the only one who has noticed this ! A comfort does not often
come in a difficult time!
Originally Posted by Learux
I will go straight against all this and say that most expensive brands are a bad deal when they are brand new and the best value after 15-20 years.

Just the same as a 2-3 year old Lexus is the best value for money.(Cheap and best value are mutually exclusive)

I do not believe that a good rebuilder can make a mediocre piano great without spending close to what a best value piano would get you.

But what do I know.

You have a very good European piano Learux !
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Thanks Nathan. You're right the rebuilding is not cheap. One price I got was about $4k to hang new strings & hammers, and $4k to balance keys. A new WNG action stack is about $2,300. Unrestored 6 foot pianos from the 70s and 80s can be had from a local dealer for about $4,500. Assuming soundboard and pinblock are in good shape, seems like about $12k - $15k might get you a top performing 6 foot grand piano, ostensibly comparable to one costing 4-5x as much.
There's a lot more to a great piano than the action, strings, and hammers. Just because the soundboard is still "OK" doesn't mean it's as good as the soundboard from the best pianos either in design or how good it is after 50 years. Even if everything(a lot more than what you said) in the piano gets replaced, the plate determines a lot about the scale design so you may have an inferior scale design that's not changeable. You also left out the 10K to refinish the piano.
Alright, game on! wink Seriously, thanks for all the feedback. Just wanted to throw a different perspective on things to see what people thought. My impressions are built on underwhelming experiences testing out the expensive pianos at local stores, and conversations with techs and folks I meet at PTG meetings. However, I do realize my info is mostly anecdotal and based on small sample sizes, so I defer to those here with far more experience than me.

That being said, I feel like the guy who just has to try building that rocket in his barn. Hopefully I'll be in a position to give my ideas a try in about a year. I'll post my results here and you guys can see if it was a success or a failure. Regardless, however, I'm sure I will learn a whole lot about this instrument that I've come to love. Pianoworld is one of the places that has taught me so much, so thanks in advance for everyone's continued invaluable advice and insights.

And to the OP, thanks for your understanding as I temporarily hijacked your thread.
Posted By: j&j Re: Pianos - what do you get when you pay more? - 11/16/19 02:17 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Sounds controversial to me, but part of me hopes it's true, since I will never own a high end piano. The idea of being able to soup up an old Honda to beat a Ferrari at the race track has always appealed to me. What do you guys think?

Could be a case of "Ford vs. Ferrari" smile



Don't see why it's not possible. IMO, a piano is only as good as the parts that make it up and then how it is assembled, regulated, and tuned.

In fact that very idea is quite popular in the car collection hobby. You can build and design the car of your dreams but collectors frequently spend as much in special parts and in years of labor as someone that just bought a nice Ferrari. And then at auction, the souped up Honda or Ford brings pennies on the dollar. Of course the collector has had the enjoyment of owning that hot Honda resto mod. One of the things that the announcers always point out is when a 2008 Bentley or 2003 Mercedes SClass AMG comes across the block, a new owner can get a luxury dream car with fairly low miles at less than 20% of sticker price. Cars depreciate faster than pianos. Just my humble opinion but there are many high quality used pianos that still have all their high quality parts and handcrafted work out there just waiting for a new home. To me, that just might be the best way to go.
Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Sounds controversial to me, but part of me hopes it's true, since I will never own a high end piano. The idea of being able to soup up an old Honda to beat a Ferrari at the race track has always appealed to me. What do you guys think?
Could be a case of "Ford vs. Ferrari" smile

Don't see why it's not possible. IMO, a piano is only as good as the parts that make it up and then how it is assembled, regulated, and tuned.
In fact that very idea is quite popular in the car collection hobby. You can build and design the car of your dreams but collectors frequently spend as much in special parts and in years of labor as someone that just bought a nice Ferrari.

I did that with my sport bike. I replaced many of the parts with better parts and probably put as much money into it as it was worth. Instead, I would have been better off buying a BMW S1000RR, or something already pre-built. If I had sold it, I would have gotten pennies on the dollar for my improvements, if that. (Instead, it was totaled in a hit-and-run in 2011.)
Posted By: j&j Re: Pianos - what do you get when you pay more? - 11/16/19 02:54 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Sounds controversial to me, but part of me hopes it's true, since I will never own a high end piano. The idea of being able to soup up an old Honda to beat a Ferrari at the race track has always appealed to me. What do you guys think?
Could be a case of "Ford vs. Ferrari" smile

Don't see why it's not possible. IMO, a piano is only as good as the parts that make it up and then how it is assembled, regulated, and tuned.
In fact that very idea is quite popular in the car collection hobby. You can build and design the car of your dreams but collectors frequently spend as much in special parts and in years of labor as someone that just bought a nice Ferrari.

I did that with my sport bike. I replaced many of the parts with better parts and probably put as much money into it as it was worth. Instead, I would have been better off buying a BMW S1000RR, or something already pre-built. If I had sold it, I would have gotten pennies on the dollar for my improvements, if that. (Instead, it was totaled in a hit-and-run in 2011.)

Thank heavens you’re still alive!
Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Could be a case of "Ford vs. Ferrari" smile Don't see why it's not possible. IMO, a piano is only as good as the parts that make it up and then how it is assembled, regulated, and tuned.
In fact that very idea is quite popular in the car collection hobby. You can build and design the car of your dreams but collectors frequently spend as much in special parts and in years of labor as someone that just bought a nice Ferrari.
I did that with my sport bike. I replaced many of the parts with better parts and probably put as much money into it as it was worth. Instead, I would have been better off buying a BMW S1000RR, or something already pre-built. If I had sold it, I would have gotten pennies on the dollar for my improvements, if that. (Instead, it was totaled in a hit-and-run in 2011.)
Thank heavens you’re still alive!

Thanks. Went down at 65mph on the highway and my right shoulder is laced with titanium and relevant to piano playing, I've got permanent nerve damage in the right arm. Wife forbid getting another bike and is now thrilled I've replaced motorcycles with piano.
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[quote=j&j][quote=Tyrone Slothrop]
Thanks. Went down at 65mph on the highway and my right shoulder is laced with titanium and relevant to piano playing, I've got permanent nerve damage in the right arm. Wife forbid getting another bike and is now thrilled I've replaced motorcycles with piano.


This is why one should buy an expensive piano and not an expensive vehicle! When was the last time you heard of someone grievously injuring themselves at the piano?

I rode a motorcycle for a while and almost hit the back of a truck one night. There was a box in the road, I went around it, and then, another box, and I went around it, and then I went around the corner and met the truck stopped in the road. Luckily, I stopped in time.
Originally Posted by Learux
I will go straight against all this and say that most expensive brands are a bad deal when they are brand new and the best value after 15-20 years.

Just the same as a 2-3 year old Lexus is the best value for money.(Cheap and best value are mutually exclusive)

I do not believe that a good rebuilder can make a mediocre piano great without spending close to what a best value piano would get you.

But what do I know.


At the risk of getting seriously off topic, I think this is actually MORE true if pianos than cars. Many high end car brands nowadays have SO many things to break, and the maintenance costs can get pretty insane. Not so much Lexus but think stuff like Mercedes or Ferrari... My mechanic advised me if I ever wanted to drive one of those to lease a new one and let all the maintenance costs be somebody else's problem after 3 years.

And this is why you should spend your money on pianos instead of cars 😅
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Assuming soundboard and pinblock are in good shape, seems like about $12k - $15k might get you a top performing 6 foot grand piano, ostensibly comparable to one costing 4-5x as much. Do some of the work yourself and cost may be even less. It's an attractive proposition I'd like to explore one day, and luckily I have that free Kurtzmann upright to practice on. Depending on how that turns out, I'd love to find that Ford and try turning it into a Ferrari.


Therein lies the problem - assuming the soundboard and pinblock are in good shape is a dangerous assumption. Pianos that have been in institutions are a good example of this - the amount of tuning they go through, the amount of playing they go through, it all puts strain on the pinblock. Sometimes - more often than should be the case - the tuners working on these pianos are less than competent and working a rush job, which again puts strain on the pin block. I appreciate there are many good tuners out there doing a wonderful job but I've now seen too many messes to trust an institutional piano that hasn't been given a clean bill of health by a top technician.

Even a piano that hasn't had that kind of use, when you reuse an old pinblock, the piano might be OK for a hobbyist who gives it light domestic use, but it's not really going to be that good for a professional, or a hobbyist who plays a lot. A piano with a reused pinblock certainly won't stand up to institutional use.

Soundboards are different. If the piano was well-made in the first place and the piano isn't too old, and has been kept in good ambient conditions, then the soundboard may well be OK. It's rare for an old piano to have a good soundboard - or at least one that doesn't need to have extensive work done to it - but it does happen occasionally. I know of a few pianos that have been rebuilt by people who are normally very quick to replace soundboards, and they've taken the decision to retain the original because it was in such good shape it couldn't be improved. In each case those pianos were Steinways, just for the record.
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Here's what I've gleaned anecdotally from techs I've discussed this with in my area:

-Expensive pianos aren't always better designed.
-Case in point: Steinway, more difficult to work on, some screws hard to access so easy to strip, surprising poor workmanship/design in the stringing
-Not impressed with Bosendorfer or Fazioli from workmanship standpoint given the price
-Stock strings from even top brands tend to be one-size-fits-all and not optimized for the piano
-Steinway hammers suck

Moral of the story: a well built piano like a run-of-the-mill Yamaha, restrung with hybrid strings, good hammers, and proper action balancing will likely play and sound better than most new high end pianos.

Sounds controversial to me, but part of me hopes it's true, since I will never own a high end piano. The idea of being able to soup up an old Honda to beat a Ferrari at the race track has always appealed to me. What do you guys think?

Blanket assertions such as this are entirely unhelpful. What is it about Steinway hammers that sucks? IIRC Steinway hammers are cold pressed (as opposed to hot pressed hammers that seem to be ubiquitous these days), they are neither as dense nor as hard as most other hammers. In the past it would take a few years of playing them in to make the piano bloom. Consumers today are too impatient to do that so Steinway has developed a way of building tone using shellac. The problem with hot pressed hammers is they are dense and hard from the start so a bright piano can be voiced down but will relatively quickly brighten up and if not voiced down they can get strident. My point is, if your beef with Steinway hammers is that out of the box they sound muffled, that is a feature not a bug.

As for a run of the mill Yamaha playing and sounding better than most new high end pianos, that sounds like BS you heard from a Yamaha dealer and does not match my experience. Yamaha pianos sound and play rather nice, but so many other high end pianos spound and play much better to my fingers and ears, including Bosendorfer (VC series was very enjoyable) and Shigeru Kawai. I've looked for Yamaha S series and CF series, and have even played a CFX (great piano!), but not the shorter ones aimed for home use. BTW, if Yamaha believed their pianos played and sounded as good as a Bosendorfer then why did they buy the company and why make the S and CF series?
Posted By: j&j Re: Pianos - what do you get when you pay more? - 11/16/19 06:46 PM
Just a complete amateur here but a couple of the differences between the Yamaha CF and the CX is a completely different rim, a sand cast rather than a vacuum cast plate, higher quality hand twisted strings, highest quality hammers and it’s completely hand made. I recently played a CF4 a few steps from a C3X, and the difference in sound and feel was stunning. I just don’t think you can soup up a C3X to be the equivalent of CF4. I hope I’m wrong but you’d have to toss out a bunch of basic parts and start all over again.
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/the-uncompromising-world-of-high-end-pianos/

Here is my article from several years ago. Its a little survey course on what makes a good piano a fine piano.
Posted By: j&j Re: Pianos - what do you get when you pay more? - 11/16/19 08:17 PM
Originally Posted by S. Phillips
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/the-uncompromising-world-of-high-end-pianos/

Here is my article from several years ago. Its a little survey course on what makes a good piano a fine piano.

Wonderful article. Thank you.
Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by S. Phillips
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/the-uncompromising-world-of-high-end-pianos/

Here is my article from several years ago. Its a little survey course on what makes a good piano a fine piano.

Wonderful article. Thank you.

Agreed! I also saw an picture of the Sauter Ambient half concert by Sauter!
It would be a big decision for me to decide between that and a Bösendorfer !
OK nice fantasy, let's stop.
Originally Posted by Nathan M., RPT
Originally Posted by Learux
I will go straight against all this and say that most expensive brands are a bad deal when they are brand new and the best value after 15-20 years.

Just the same as a 2-3 year old Lexus is the best value for money.(Cheap and best value are mutually exclusive)

I do not believe that a good rebuilder can make a mediocre piano great without spending close to what a best value piano would get you.

But what do I know.


At the risk of getting seriously off topic, I think this is actually MORE true if pianos than cars. Many high end car brands nowadays have SO many things to break, and the maintenance costs can get pretty insane. Not so much Lexus but think stuff like Mercedes or Ferrari... My mechanic advised me if I ever wanted to drive one of those to lease a new one and let all the maintenance costs be somebody else's problem after 3 years.

And this is why you should spend your money on pianos instead of cars 😅


I’ve never bought a new car in my life and when I did own cars, over twenty years ago, I never spent more than $5k for one. Am I allowed to buy a new piano now?
Originally Posted by LarryK
I’ve never bought a new car in my life and when I did own cars, over twenty years ago, I never spent more than $5k for one. Am I allowed to buy a new piano now?

Yes, and whatever brand and model you wish... smile

Rick
Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by LarryK
I’ve never bought a new car in my life and when I did own cars, over twenty years ago, I never spent more than $5k for one. Am I allowed to buy a new piano now?

Yes, and whatever brand and model you wish... smile

Rick


Thanks! Receiving this kind of support is why I post on here!
Originally Posted by LarryK

I’ve never bought a new car in my life and when I did own cars, over twenty years ago, I never spent more than $5k for one. Am I allowed to buy a new piano now?


Yes.
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by LarryK
I’ve never bought a new car in my life and when I did own cars, over twenty years ago, I never spent more than $5k for one. Am I allowed to buy a new piano now?

Yes, and whatever brand and model you wish... smile

Rick


Thanks! Receiving this kind of support is why I post on here!

Yes ! You need to start trying some though !
One thing I have always wondered about though ----
If one just ordered a piano from a catalogue .,high end, say the Elegance 124 by CBECHSTEIN.
Is it possible or likely that one will receive the same discount from a floor model in the dealer
that one has tried or haggled over ?
I have a feeling this is what LarryK is thinking of doing ?
Perhaps I am wrong Larry ?(I then apologize to Larry for my wrong conclusion )
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
One thing I have always wondered about though ----
If one just ordered a piano from a catalogue .,high end, say the Elegance 124 by CBECHSTEIN.
Is it possible or likely that one will receive the same discount from a floor model in the dealer
that one has tried or haggled over ?
I have a feeling this is what LarryK is thinking of doing ?
Perhaps I am wrong Larry ?(I then apologize to Larry for my wrong conclusion )


I spoke with someone who special ordered a Sauter MasterClass 122 because the dealer said that they never had one on the floor.

I don't know how it works as far as pricing. I assume a price would have to be negotiated in either case, I don't know if one way would yield a better price than another.

I don't know if this is what I'll do.
That's an interesting question.

On the one hand the dealer wants to shift the piano he already has. On the other, the new piano already has a buyer so it won't be taking up space.
Originally Posted by j&j
Just a complete amateur here but a couple of the differences between the Yamaha CF and the CX is a completely different rim, a sand cast rather than a vacuum cast plate, higher quality hand twisted strings, highest quality hammers and it’s completely hand made. I recently played a CF4 a few steps from a C3X, and the difference in sound and feel was stunning. I just don’t think you can soup up a C3X to be the equivalent of CF4. I hope I’m wrong but you’d have to toss out a bunch of basic parts and start all over again.


Thanks for sharing this comparison smile

As a tuner I can say for sure that better quality wound strings really do make a world of difference, although I imagine the ones on a C3X are already pretty decent. For starters it's really important that each bichord pair is matched as closely as possible; if not you end up with different inharmonicity in the two strings and the unison always sounds out of tune. And I'm not talking about just a slight roll or waver -- more like noisy whiny nasal garbage. It's also important that things progress smoothly from note to note or you can't get all the important intervals to sound even with each other... Juggling these kinds of compromises is part of the job of course, but ultimately the end result doesn't sound as good if I'm having to tune around a bunch of inconsistencies.

It is pretty interesting that hand-made wound strings would be *more* consistent than machine-made ones, isn't it? Basically one has to keep a very even tension on the copper wire as it's being twisted onto the core -- too little and the string will rattle because it's loose; too much and the copper wire starts to stretch and thin out, which ruins the consistency. Apparently it's quite difficult to design machinery that can match the ability of human muscles, nerves, and brains to hold the wire at just the right tension and angle! It's not much, but it's one thing we can hold over our robot overlords wink
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
One thing I have always wondered about though ----
If one just ordered a piano from a catalogue .,high end, say the Elegance 124 by CBECHSTEIN.
Is it possible or likely that one will receive the same discount from a floor model in the dealer
that one has tried or haggled over ?
I have a feeling this is what LarryK is thinking of doing ?
Perhaps I am wrong Larry ?(I then apologize to Larry for my wrong conclusion )


I spoke with someone who special ordered a Sauter MasterClass 122 because the dealer said that they never had one on the floor.

I don't know how it works as far as pricing. I assume a price would have to be negotiated in either case, I don't know if one way would yield a better price than another.

I don't know if this is what I'll do.

I think you would have to commit to buying (pay first ?)From what I heard here(dealers are different though ?)They will not order on "speculation",unless they normally keep a MC122 Sauter in the showroom .
That is what I understand ,perhaps someone can clarify ?
We had similar experience when we bought our Yamaha S400E back in the early '90's. We went to our local Yamaha dealer and played their standard range of grands and the S400E (the predecessor to the CF4). It was very clear what our choice would be. We were looking for a Disklavier to record our own playing and we ended up having to custom order an S400E with a Disklavier mechanism. It was not cheap, actually more than our Bosie 225 which we had bought a few years earlier from a dealer in Paris, choosing it at the Vienna factory. We were very fortunate, because the US Dollar was the highest it had ever been and we were buying in French Francs. We are still very happy with both pianos, three decades later.
Wonderful instruments Astrotoy !
The issue of trying pianos is a funny one. You never get to try them in your own room so you never know what they’re going to sound like in there before you buy them. Over time, the instrument changes you. You adapt to what you’re given. The sound and touch you like today might not be the sound and touch you like in five years.

When I sold my fine French violin, a girl had it on loan from the dealer for over a year! She did well with the violin in a competition so her parents finally coughed up the money. With classical guitars, you’re lucky to get a three day trial period so you can’t learn much about the instrument. Eventually, I went more towards buying from highly respected luthiers and that actually worked out well for me. I’ve had professionals play my guitars and they’ve been impressed by the instruments.

With an expensive piano from a low volume manufacturer, I would tend to think that you’d have a better chance of getting a good instrument, because of the extra man hours allocated to voicing and adjusting the piano, than when buying a higher volume less expensive instrument which has had less prep time.

Thoughts?
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Sounds controversial to me, but part of me hopes it's true, since I will never own a high end piano. The idea of being able to soup up an old Honda to beat a Ferrari at the race track has always appealed to me. What do you guys think?
Could be a case of "Ford vs. Ferrari" smile

Don't see why it's not possible. IMO, a piano is only as good as the parts that make it up and then how it is assembled, regulated, and tuned.
In fact that very idea is quite popular in the car collection hobby. You can build and design the car of your dreams but collectors frequently spend as much in special parts and in years of labor as someone that just bought a nice Ferrari.

I did that with my sport bike. I replaced many of the parts with better parts and probably put as much money into it as it was worth. Instead, I would have been better off buying a BMW S1000RR, or something already pre-built. If I had sold it, I would have gotten pennies on the dollar for my improvements, if that. (Instead, it was totaled in a hit-and-run in 2011.)


Speak of the devil and the devil appears. Today’s New York Times has an article on “restomods” costing anywhere from $350k-$700k+.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/14/business/collector-cars-restomods.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share

Madness. I’ve driven some of the deathtrap muscle cars of old and I wouldn’t give you anything for one, and they still cannot be made as safe as a new car. Plus, our reflexes slow with age such that driving a high powered car can be more dangerous now than when we were twenty.

But, James Joyce managed to sum up the attraction to go fast with this line from a story:

“Rapid motion through space elates one.”

The rich guy I worked for got over his obsession with supercars and shifted his attention to building telescopes. I guess he had to do something with the money.

The cost of any new piano I’m considering pales in comparison to the cost of supercars or telescopes. If a car would have cost me $500/month, I figured I’ve saved $120k over the last twenty years by not owning one. Ok, subtract maybe $20k in transit costs from that.
Posted By: j&j Re: Pianos - what do you get when you pay more? - 11/17/19 02:29 PM
Originally Posted by LarryK
The issue of trying pianos is a funny one. You never get to try them in your own room so you never know what they’re going to sound like in there before you buy them. Over time, the instrument changes you. You adapt to what you’re given. The sound and touch you like today might not be the sound and touch you like in five years.

When I sold my fine French violin, a girl had it on loan from the dealer for over a year! She did well with the violin in a competition so her parents finally coughed up the money. With classical guitars, you’re lucky to get a three day trial period so you can’t learn much about the instrument. Eventually, I went more towards buying from highly respected luthiers and that actually worked out well for me. I’ve had professionals play my guitars and they’ve been impressed by the instruments.

With an expensive piano from a low volume manufacturer, I would tend to think that you’d have a better chance of getting a good instrument, because of the extra man hours allocated to voicing and adjusting the piano, than when buying a higher volume less expensive instrument which has had less prep time.

Thoughts?



Expensive pianos from a low volume piano maker can take many months to complete because the woods have to age and loose the younger wood moisture. All the woods are carefully selected for each individual piano. The soundboard is trimmed and fitted by hand for each piano. The voicing and tuning process takes much longer because it is done to produce the best sound and voice for that instrument rather than a factory standard sound and voice. The factory prep time is significantly longer and done by the best voicers which takes a very long time for the individual craftspeople to learn. Plus, because the dealer has so much more invested in these pianos, the dealer will most likely put their best piano techs on final dealer prep. Our own Sally Phillip’s wrote a great article on that very subject, which she included in a thread yesterday. It’s in Larry Fines Piano Buyer.
The few opportunities I’ve had to play hand made Yamaha’s CF series, Schimmel Konzert series, and Bösendorfers, Holy Smokes, what gorgeous sounds and incredible response! I still remember those pianos years later. And I’m just a mediocre intermediate player and I was “blown away”.
Still on my first cup of coffee on a cool Sunday morning, skimming through the threads and posts on PW. So, I figured I'd share a few more thoughts here in this thread. Good topic, by-the-way, basically do you get more when you pay more, when it comes to pianos. My thoughts are that, yes, you do usually get more when you pay more, but how do you define that? Also, it is not always a given that you will get more when you pay more; there is no absolute guarantee.

Okay, back to the main topic of the thread, what do you get when you pay more? I'm quite sure you'll get lots of differing opinions from different members here, both pro and non-pro alike. Sally Phillips' article was great, and from the perspective of a lifelong pro.

Having said that, we pretty much always form our perceptions and opinions based on our own personal experiences. So, here is mine... what do you get when you pay more? You likely get better and higher grade materials, which is a biggie. Next, you likely get better and more hands on expertise and craftsmanship. This is typically where the "what do you get when you pay more" is the most palpable.

Fact is, a really good piano technician can make a relatively inexpensive and mediocre piano sound and play very good. But how long will that last? The answer to that is this, it varies based on materials and craftsmanship. The good quality materials and craftsmanship is what you want. And that is what is worth paying more (if you can afford it:-).

When I first looked at my Yamaha C7 (circa 1978) being sold by a large Pentecostal Church, I was impressed with it right off... big time. It looked good and sounded good, despite a couple of chipped ivory keys and a couple of broken bass strings. The paint on the cast iron plate looked fresh, like it had been repainted recently. The color of the string felts looked newish and vibrant, like it had recently been replaced with new felt. The tuning pins looked newish. The steel strings look good, and the copper wound strings looked good. The finish on the soundboard looked clean and newish. The exterior case finish looked good.

My conclusion? The Yamaha C7 had been rebuilt at some point in its life, maybe when the Church originally purchased it, or at least at some point in the past. A few months after I purchased the C7 I asked Sally Phillips to come and do some voicing and regulation on the C7, and to my surprise, she said it had not been rebuilt and was all original, although in excellent original condition. I was shocked and a little embarrassed that my original assessment of the C7 was wrong. But I did not regret buying the older C7 at all; I love it! smile

To me, that is a good example of what you get when you pay more, or at least what you should get. Materials that last a long time, hold up over time, and look good 30 or 40 or 50 years down the road. You should get good materials and good workmanship.

Fortunately, I got the older Yamaha C7 at a very good price. But it made an impression on me that will last a lifetime. And that is that, although you can get musical enjoyment from an inexpensive piano, (or even an old, worn out saloon piano:-) you'll likely get more enjoyment, for a longer period of time, from a better quality instrument.

Now back to the coffee, which has gotten cold by now. (headed to the microwave... smile )

Rick
I have enjoyed reading all of the posts on this topic. Very interesting, divergent views...
Originally Posted by Rickster
Still on my first cup of coffee on a cool Sunday morning, skimming through the threads and posts on PW. So, I figured I'd share a few more thoughts here in this thread. Good topic, by-the-way, basically do you get more when you pay more, when it comes to pianos. My thoughts are that, yes, you do usually get more when you pay more, but how do you define that? Also, it is not always a given that you will get more when you pay more; there is no absolute guarantee.

Okay, back to the main topic of the thread, what do you get when you pay more? I'm quite sure you'll get lots of differing opinions from different members here, both pro and non-pro alike. Sally Phillips' article was great, and from the perspective of a lifelong pro.

Having said that, we pretty much always form our perceptions and opinions based on our own personal experiences. So, here is mine... what do you get when you pay more? You likely get better and higher grade materials, which is a biggie. Next, you likely get better and more hands on expertise and craftsmanship. This is typically where the "what do you get when you pay more" is the most palpable.

Fact is, a really good piano technician can make a relatively inexpensive and mediocre piano sound and play very good. But how long will that last? The answer to that is this, it varies based on materials and craftsmanship. The good quality materials and craftsmanship is what you want. And that is what is worth paying more (if you can afford it:-).

When I first looked at my Yamaha C7 (circa 1978) being sold by a large Pentecostal Church, I was impressed with it right off... big time. It looked good and sounded good, despite a couple of chipped ivory keys and a couple of broken bass strings. The paint on the cast iron plate looked fresh, like it had been repainted recently. The color of the string felts looked newish and vibrant, like it had recently been replaced with new felt. The tuning pins looked newish. The steel strings look good, and the copper wound strings looked good. The finish on the soundboard looked clean and newish. The exterior case finish looked good.

My conclusion? The Yamaha C7 had been rebuilt at some point in its life, maybe when the Church originally purchased it, or at least at some point in the past. A few months after I purchased the C7 I asked Sally Phillips to come and do some voicing and regulation on the C7, and to my surprise, she said it had not been rebuilt and was all original, although in excellent original condition. I was shocked and a little embarrassed that my original assessment of the C7 was wrong. But I did not regret buying the older C7 at all; I love it! smile

To me, that is a good example of what you get when you pay more, or at least what you should get. Materials that last a long time, hold up over time, and look good 30 or 40 or 50 years down the road. You should get good materials and good workmanship.

Fortunately, I got the older Yamaha C7 at a very good price. But it made an impression on me that will last a lifetime. And that is that, although you can get musical enjoyment from an inexpensive piano, (or even an old, worn out saloon piano:-) you'll likely get more enjoyment, for a longer period of time, from a better quality instrument.

Now back to the coffee, which has gotten cold by now. (headed to the microwave... smile )

Rick

I loved hearing about how you discovered such a treasure Rick !
Enjoy your wonderful semi concert grand !!! (keep the artistry alive ,just play and play......)
Posted By: j&j Re: Pianos - what do you get when you pay more? - 11/17/19 11:52 PM
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Originally Posted by Rickster
Still on my first cup of coffee on a cool Sunday morning, skimming through the threads and posts on PW. So, I figured I'd share a few more thoughts here in this thread. Good topic, by-the-way, basically do you get more when you pay more, when it comes to pianos. My thoughts are that, yes, you do usually get more when you pay more, but how do you define that? Also, it is not always a given that you will get more when you pay more; there is no absolute guarantee.

Okay, back to the main topic of the thread, what do you get when you pay more? I'm quite sure you'll get lots of differing opinions from different members here, both pro and non-pro alike. Sally Phillips' article was great, and from the perspective of a lifelong pro.

Having said that, we pretty much always form our perceptions and opinions based on our own personal experiences. So, here is mine... what do you get when you pay more? You likely get better and higher grade materials, which is a biggie. Next, you likely get better and more hands on expertise and craftsmanship. This is typically where the "what do you get when you pay more" is the most palpable.

Fact is, a really good piano technician can make a relatively inexpensive and mediocre piano sound and play very good. But how long will that last? The answer to that is this, it varies based on materials and craftsmanship. The good quality materials and craftsmanship is what you want. And that is what is worth paying more (if you can afford it:-).

When I first looked at my Yamaha C7 (circa 1978) being sold by a large Pentecostal Church, I was impressed with it right off... big time. It looked good and sounded good, despite a couple of chipped ivory keys and a couple of broken bass strings. The paint on the cast iron plate looked fresh, like it had been repainted recently. The color of the string felts looked newish and vibrant, like it had recently been replaced with new felt. The tuning pins looked newish. The steel strings look good, and the copper wound strings looked good. The finish on the soundboard looked clean and newish. The exterior case finish looked good.

My conclusion? The Yamaha C7 had been rebuilt at some point in its life, maybe when the Church originally purchased it, or at least at some point in the past. A few months after I purchased the C7 I asked Sally Phillips to come and do some voicing and regulation on the C7, and to my surprise, she said it had not been rebuilt and was all original, although in excellent original condition. I was shocked and a little embarrassed that my original assessment of the C7 was wrong. But I did not regret buying the older C7 at all; I love it! smile

To me, that is a good example of what you get when you pay more, or at least what you should get. Materials that last a long time, hold up over time, and look good 30 or 40 or 50 years down the road. You should get good materials and good workmanship.

Fortunately, I got the older Yamaha C7 at a very good price. But it made an impression on me that will last a lifetime. And that is that, although you can get musical enjoyment from an inexpensive piano, (or even an old, worn out saloon piano:-) you'll likely get more enjoyment, for a longer period of time, from a better quality instrument.

Now back to the coffee, which has gotten cold by now. (headed to the microwave... smile )

Rick

I loved hearing about how you discovered such a treasure Rick !
Enjoy your wonderful semi concert grand !!! (keep the artistry alive ,just play and play......)


Don’t we all love good piano stories? 😍
For sure J&J ! Especially when it's the owner (pianist) telling the story !
Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Originally Posted by Rickster
Still on my first cup of coffee on a cool Sunday morning, skimming through the threads and posts on PW. So, I figured I'd share a few more thoughts here in this thread. Good topic, by-the-way, basically do you get more when you pay more, when it comes to pianos. My thoughts are that, yes, you do usually get more when you pay more, but how do you define that? Also, it is not always a given that you will get more when you pay more; there is no absolute guarantee.

Okay, back to the main topic of the thread, what do you get when you pay more? I'm quite sure you'll get lots of differing opinions from different members here, both pro and non-pro alike. Sally Phillips' article was great, and from the perspective of a lifelong pro.

Having said that, we pretty much always form our perceptions and opinions based on our own personal experiences. So, here is mine... what do you get when you pay more? You likely get better and higher grade materials, which is a biggie. Next, you likely get better and more hands on expertise and craftsmanship. This is typically where the "what do you get when you pay more" is the most palpable.

Fact is, a really good piano technician can make a relatively inexpensive and mediocre piano sound and play very good. But how long will that last? The answer to that is this, it varies based on materials and craftsmanship. The good quality materials and craftsmanship is what you want. And that is what is worth paying more (if you can afford it:-).

When I first looked at my Yamaha C7 (circa 1978) being sold by a large Pentecostal Church, I was impressed with it right off... big time. It looked good and sounded good, despite a couple of chipped ivory keys and a couple of broken bass strings. The paint on the cast iron plate looked fresh, like it had been repainted recently. The color of the string felts looked newish and vibrant, like it had recently been replaced with new felt. The tuning pins looked newish. The steel strings look good, and the copper wound strings looked good. The finish on the soundboard looked clean and newish. The exterior case finish looked good.

My conclusion? The Yamaha C7 had been rebuilt at some point in its life, maybe when the Church originally purchased it, or at least at some point in the past. A few months after I purchased the C7 I asked Sally Phillips to come and do some voicing and regulation on the C7, and to my surprise, she said it had not been rebuilt and was all original, although in excellent original condition. I was shocked and a little embarrassed that my original assessment of the C7 was wrong. But I did not regret buying the older C7 at all; I love it! smile

To me, that is a good example of what you get when you pay more, or at least what you should get. Materials that last a long time, hold up over time, and look good 30 or 40 or 50 years down the road. You should get good materials and good workmanship.

Fortunately, I got the older Yamaha C7 at a very good price. But it made an impression on me that will last a lifetime. And that is that, although you can get musical enjoyment from an inexpensive piano, (or even an old, worn out saloon piano:-) you'll likely get more enjoyment, for a longer period of time, from a better quality instrument.

Now back to the coffee, which has gotten cold by now. (headed to the microwave... smile )

Rick

I loved hearing about how you discovered such a treasure Rick !
Enjoy your wonderful semi concert grand !!! (keep the artistry alive ,just play and play......)


Don’t we all love good piano stories? 😍


Yes, we all love good piano stories-at least I do.
Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by LarryK
The issue of trying pianos is a funny one. You never get to try them in your own room so you never know what they’re going to sound like in there before you buy them. Over time, the instrument changes you. You adapt to what you’re given. The sound and touch you like today might not be the sound and touch you like in five years.

When I sold my fine French violin, a girl had it on loan from the dealer for over a year! She did well with the violin in a competition so her parents finally coughed up the money. With classical guitars, you’re lucky to get a three day trial period so you can’t learn much about the instrument. Eventually, I went more towards buying from highly respected luthiers and that actually worked out well for me. I’ve had professionals play my guitars and they’ve been impressed by the instruments.

With an expensive piano from a low volume manufacturer, I would tend to think that you’d have a better chance of getting a good instrument, because of the extra man hours allocated to voicing and adjusting the piano, than when buying a higher volume less expensive instrument which has had less prep time.

Thoughts?



Expensive pianos from a low volume piano maker can take many months to complete because the woods have to age and loose the younger wood moisture. All the woods are carefully selected for each individual piano. The soundboard is trimmed and fitted by hand for each piano. The voicing and tuning process takes much longer because it is done to produce the best sound and voice for that instrument rather than a factory standard sound and voice. The factory prep time is significantly longer and done by the best voicers which takes a very long time for the individual craftspeople to learn. Plus, because the dealer has so much more invested in these pianos, the dealer will most likely put their best piano techs on final dealer prep. Our own Sally Phillip’s wrote a great article on that very subject, which she included in a thread yesterday. It’s in Larry Fines Piano Buyer.
The few opportunities I’ve had to play hand made Yamaha’s CF series, Schimmel Konzert series, and Bösendorfers, Holy Smokes, what gorgeous sounds and incredible response! I still remember those pianos years later. And I’m just a mediocre intermediate player and I was “blown away”.


Yes, I seek out a piano that will make me, a mediocre player, feel good, and will blow me away. Is that a crime?
LarryK
I applaud your quest to find a piano that will ‘blow you away’. Given our individual price constraints, I hope that is the path each of us will take. To have a piano that you love to play is so inspiring for practice and enjoyment in playing —- what ever your skill level

Happy hunting
Originally Posted by dogperson
LarryK
I applaud your quest to find a piano that will ‘blow you away’. Given our individual price constraints, I hope that is the path each of us will take. To have a piano that you love to play is so inspiring for practice and enjoyment in playing —- what ever your skill level

Happy hunting


Thanks. It’s nice to know that expensive pianos do not reserve their charms for advanced players. Of course, advanced players can more easily show the beauty of more refined pianos than lesser players.

I wish there was some possibility that an expensive piano would go up in value, but, alas, that won’t happen. My French violin doubled in value in the fifteen or twenty years that I owned it, which was a nice thing to have happen.
Posted By: j&j Re: Pianos - what do you get when you pay more? - 11/18/19 08:57 PM
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by dogperson
LarryK
I applaud your quest to find a piano that will ‘blow you away’. Given our individual price constraints, I hope that is the path each of us will take. To have a piano that you love to play is so inspiring for practice and enjoyment in playing —- what ever your skill level

Happy hunting


Thanks. It’s nice to know that expensive pianos do not reserve their charms for advanced players. Of course, advanced players can more easily show the beauty of more refined pianos than lesser players.

I wish there was some possibility that an expensive piano would go up in value, but, alas, that won’t happen. My French violin doubled in value in the fifteen or twenty years that I owned it, which was a nice thing to have happen.

Because of piano depreciation it means you can buy a fabulous used piano at an equally wonderful discounted price as Rick did when he bought his C7. Universities rotate their performance pianos on a regular basis.
Originally Posted by j&j

Because of piano depreciation it means you can buy a fabulous used piano at an equally wonderful discounted price as Rick did when he bought his C7. Universities rotate their performance pianos on a regular basis.


Unfortunately, not. We're fortunate that our primary performance piano here is only 5 years old, but most university concert pianos I've played in recent years are over 15 years old, sometimes over 30 years old, and sometimes even more (with some parts replaced or partial or full rebuilding, with highly mixed results).
Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by dogperson
LarryK
I applaud your quest to find a piano that will ‘blow you away’. Given our individual price constraints, I hope that is the path each of us will take. To have a piano that you love to play is so inspiring for practice and enjoyment in playing —- what ever your skill level

Happy hunting


Thanks. It’s nice to know that expensive pianos do not reserve their charms for advanced players. Of course, advanced players can more easily show the beauty of more refined pianos than lesser players.

I wish there was some possibility that an expensive piano would go up in value, but, alas, that won’t happen. My French violin doubled in value in the fifteen or twenty years that I owned it, which was a nice thing to have happen.

Because of piano depreciation it means you can buy a fabulous used piano at an equally wonderful discounted price as Rick did when he bought his C7. Universities rotate their performance pianos on a regular basis.


From seeing a few pianos in practice rooms at a music school, I don't think I would ever buy one. I believe those pianos get a lot of playing wear, and their fair share of abuse.

Not everybody can buy used. Some people have to buy new so that other people can buy used.
Posted By: j&j Re: Pianos - what do you get when you pay more? - 11/18/19 09:53 PM
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Originally Posted by j&j

Because of piano depreciation it means you can buy a fabulous used piano at an equally wonderful discounted price as Rick did when he bought his C7. Universities rotate their performance pianos on a regular basis.


Unfortunately, not. We're fortunate that our primary performance piano here is only 5 years old, but most university concert pianos I've played in recent years are over 15 years old, sometimes over 30 years old, and sometimes even more (with some parts replaced or partial or full rebuilding, with highly mixed results).

Glad you corrected me. I guess I confused universities with European concert halls that I was told replace their concert grands every few years. Our university bought 2 really nice used grands recently. One was a 2016 Schimmel C189 and the other was a 2016 Steinway B. So maybe universities buy up nice used performance pianos instead of sell them. Oh well.
Originally Posted by j&j
Glad you corrected me. I guess I confused universities with European concert halls that I was told replace their concert grands every few years. Our university bought 2 really nice used grands recently. One was a 2016 Schimmel C189 and the other was a 2016 Steinway B. So maybe universities buy up nice used performance pianos instead of sell them. Oh well.

j&j, I understood exactly what you were saying.

I think the distinction/point should be made that even very high-end, very expensive pianos have limitations, in that they can be worn out in a relatively short period of time, depending on their purpose, location, and how hard/often they are played.

Getting back to the auto comparison, I believe they change out the engines in the NASCAR race cars after every race, and sometimes during the race.

Not sure this changes anything regarding "what do you get when you pay more". I guess it depends on who "you" actually is, and how much you actually pay... smile

Rick
The University piano practice rooms used to be looked after by a supervisor when I was there .On the whole music students were "different"to other students.Deliberate abuse of a piano just never happened .Every piano was cared for by the supervisor.At least in when I was there.
There were Steinway and Yamaha grands. Also quite a few Steinways uprights.
In the university concert hall there was a Steinways concert grand.(or semi concert ?)That one was
really a wonderful piano.
Quote
Given our individual price constraints, I hope that is the path each of us will take. To have a piano that you love to play is so inspiring for practice and enjoyment in playing —- what ever your skill level


To me, that's where it's at. And to answer the original question: IMHO there's no direct relationship between 'high price' and "being blown away" In fact, many high priced pianos can be - and often are - very disappointing. Case of "emperor without clothes?" You judge. Remember the sometimes considerable price difference AMONG high priced pianos themselves will not be indicative of which piano you personally will end up liking best. Rest assured in this business you certainly don't always "get what you pay for" even though most commission based salesmen want you to believe that. As a result outright disappointment can and is often the end result. The piano you as player, will "connect with" is something slightly different. It's not just infatuation but real love. Something you can feel when playing it. Less dramatic perhaps, but much more 'real' Your inner voice will make this choice: it may very well be a piano you least expected to be. Perhaps you found it by coincidence somewhere and didn't follow the normal roads of "logic". This fact, IMHO gives unique power to buyers and pianists alike, something the industry doesn't exactly seem to encourage you to explore. Fact is you don't have to follow what someone else or the industry is telling you or wants you to believe. Your heart will know and it will always be honest with you. Never forget, you have the voice and the "power" within.
JazzyMac, you don't have to be skilled to enjoy a nice piano. I bought a Yamaha U1, I had only been taking for a year. It sounded a bit like a tin sound if there is such a thing. I turned it in within the first month and bought the YUS 5. I am on my 6th year of lessons. I may never be able to play what the piano is capable of, however it is truly a joy to play. This will be my life time piano, I'm 59 and this is good enough for me. I consider it for me a high end compared to what I could have paid for a piano, others may consider it a low end. What is important is if you like it. I had a $600 keyboard when I started and about 6 months later bought a Clavinova which I still have and play. I like to use the headphones, my husband appreciates it. If it dies I would get another one.
Larry, not at all. No different than an average golfer getting a high end set of clubs to play. Do what you enjoy, you certainly don;t have to be good at something to get a high end product. The way I play I am not deserving of a YUS 5, but it's fun and brings me hours of enjoyment. I know people who have great fishing boats, but are not very skilled at fishing. Have fun and enjoy life!
Originally Posted by DFSRN
Larry, not at all. No different than an average golfer getting a high end set of clubs to play. Do what you enjoy, you certainly don;t have to be good at something to get a high end product. The way I play I am not deserving of a YUS 5, but it's fun and brings me hours of enjoyment. I know people who have great fishing boats, but are not very skilled at fishing. Have fun and enjoy life!


Thanks, I agree. As long as I enjoy the thing and use it, I don’t have a problem with buying a high end product. I used to buy Leica cameras and lenses. Did I have the photographic skills of Henri Cartier-Bresson? No, but I used my gear and I appreciated the quality of German manufacturing.

I’ve never regretted the money I’ve spent on high end instruments. I play my guitars every day, on a rotation, and I played my violin every day when I owned it. It would be the same for the piano. It would be something I enjoyed every day, just like you.
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