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Joined: Dec 2008
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Hi All
Well my in person 'audition' of pianos has just begun.
Some info
Some advice
Some Changes
Need some Opinions

My 1st two Showroom Encounters have been shall we say, less that exciting.
On one of the other threads I read that certain well known dealerships can be very 'snooty'
I NOW know what was meant by that. (I had a great sales associate/ the owner seemed like he couldn't be bothered)
I was meant to feel like, you can't afford at your price point the quality of what you are looking for.
I played 2 Steinway's an A and a B that needed so much work it was almost disgraceful putting them on a showroom floor
at the prices they had(tho in their defense, one was a consignment)

I was lectured extensively about the importance of having a certain 'Certified' Brand and then
they actually looked me in the eye and told me why a 60k piano, NOT Certified, was that price!
I DON"T THINK SO.
FYI - several days ago I put in a low bid for the beautifully rebuilt piano and have heard nothing either way!
Oh well, at least I won't go thru life thinking, I should have put in a bid of what I would pay for the piano.

I also realized after having a 6' 1" piano for 25 years - anything under 6' felt inferior.
So my list has changed somewhat:
I still have about 3 more dealers/showrooms to see - but I believe I will be returning to an old RELIABLE Friend
Who has stepped in before I put a down payment on a piano - and showed me what TRUE Genuine HONEST dealing is about.
EBONYK - knows 1st hand about this! LOL
I will be visiting Philadelphia, my home town this summer and most likely purchasing one of the following there:
I have adj my price point slightly to (25k - 35k+)

#1 Mason & Hamlin Model AA (1900-1930)
#2 Steinway Model A (1895 - 1940)
#3 Cunningham Chamber Grand (New)- have to figure out if a 7' will fit in my music room LOL
#4 Cunningham Parlor Grand (New) - very promising
#5 Kawai GX-3 (New)
#6 Boston GP193 -PE II (New)

[b][/b]

brdwyguy
Onward and Upward to the Piano of my Dreams!
(MY Dreams & not a Salesman's Dreams)
LOL

Last edited by brdwyguy; 04/14/21 12:57 PM.

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The snootiness from steinway, some of it isn't personal.

They're used to dealing with people in higher income brackets, so when they throw around figures like 60k, to someone making 300,000k a year, 60k sounds like 10-15k. Obviously people making 40k see it differently.

Last edited by EinLudov; 04/14/21 01:10 PM.
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The choices you mentioned all have great potential.

Wnat's a "certified brand"?

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Dear Brdwyguy:

Have you explored the piano store in Hendersonville ?

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

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I’m SO excited for you!! Oh, I wish I could get to Philly, my daughter LOVED her visit there, and now there’s so much more to see than the Liberty Bell, LOL! 😂😂😂

Sending you tons of luck that you find your dream piano, I have such a good feeling that you will! ❤️


Lisa

Playing RCM 7-8 repertoire
Cunningham Studio Grand & Yamaha CLP645

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EinLudov: you are probabl correct, just a little of my neurosis and a little anxiety. LOL

Pianoloverus: My thought's exactly! But I am referring to Steinway's, basically must be ok'd by Steinway to be genuine Steinway's.

Karl W: I am scheduled to go there on Sat the 24th - it's only 10mins from my house.

ebonyk: THANKS!


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Brdwyguy - I’m sorry your first couple showroom experiences were not terrific. I guess I’m feeling really grateful that just about every place I visited recently pretty much just let me play pianos and didn’t subject me to a great deal of salesmanship (although everyone was very happy to answer questions).
It seems like you’re not in a rush (which is great). Not sure what advice to give except to try not to get frustrated and to try to enjoy the experience. I usually hate shopping for anything but have to say that I had lots of fun looking at pianos. If there are plenty of fish in the sea, there are also lots of pianos ... not sure how best to complete the phrase but you know what I mean.
I have every confidence that you will find a piano that you love that is within your budget.
Let the search continue!

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Originally Posted by brdwyguy
Karl W: I am scheduled to go there on Sat the 24th - it's only 10mins from my house.
If you are referring to Freeburg Pianos, I would be VERY interested to hear your impression of the new and used Perzina grands they carry. Who knows......your affordable dream piano may be found in your own backyard. smile

Last edited by Carey; 04/15/21 11:32 AM.

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Hi Brdwyguy- read your recent post on another thread but decided to respond here so as not to derail that thread.
I really enjoyed the story of your piano journey. Thanks for sharing!
Here are some additional ideas after my own piano search:

1. I wonder if you really have your heart set on a good M&H. I know that for me, piano is a very personal/emotional thing. I was at a store that had a Kimball from the 70s. I’m sure it wasn’t a great piano when it was first made, and age has not lent it extra charm or improved its voice. Yet I really enjoyed playing it. And that was because my grandmother (a much better pianist than I am) had a kimball for most of her life. No, it wasn’t the same instrument at all. Yet playing that kimball somehow invoked my grandmother in a way that was unique. Now I certainly wasn’t tempted to buy that piano! But if my grandmother had owned and played a M&H, I’m not sure that I wouldn’t have ultimately ended up really trying to find an M&H. I say this because it seems that along your piano journey, you had a really powerful experience with an M&H. If that’s what you want, my recommendation is to focus your attention on finding a nice M&H! They’re around! rather than getting too sidetracked with other options (your list of pianos is really quite varied, and I suspect that many of them are ultimately not going to appeal to you very much).

2. If you are truly open minded about what you want, is there a reason that Baldwins aren’t on your list? There was a recent thread about the relative value of Baldwins over other American brands. I suspect there may be something to this. On my search, I got to play this Model L: https://jordankitts.com/used/752 . Now, I’m not a piano technician, and the piano may have problems I’m not aware of. But I believe the dealer is quite well-regarded, and the asking price on this piano is well within your budget. To me, this piano had A LOT of personality. I really didn’t enjoy how a bit of a Mozart sonata sounded on it. But when I played some more modern stuff, it was really, really fun! I absolutely felt this was a piano that someone was going to fall in love with. The model also seems to be right around the size you are looking for.

And if you are looking at new pianos in the budget you mentioned, I have to say that the new Baldwin BP 178 I played at PianoCraft was MUCH more satisfying than similarly priced pianos from Boston or Kawai (which are the pianos from this category that are an your list).

I hope this is helpful! I also really, really encourage you to try to have fun on your search. You sound as if it’s been a bit of an agony, and I feel like this should be a process that is instructive, but more than that, fun. Or maybe I am just a bit of a Pollyanna... but I honestly enjoyed every place I visited, and I do feel that this is how it should be.

Good luck!

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I'll second what Sgisela says. I too love the American piano sound, and Baldwins fall into this category along with Steinway and M&H. I'm kind of surprised you're considering Bosendorfer, which, at least in my opinion has a very different type of sound.

I'd also mention that a few months ago I listened to Hugh Sung play the Cunningham Parlor, and was pretty surprised with how it sounds compared to my 1928 MH model A. Recordings can be deceiving, I realize, but I was surprised nonetheless.

I also had Kawai, so I think I understand where you're coming from.

Last edited by Dore; 04/20/21 10:11 PM.

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Originally Posted by Dore
I'll second what Sgisela says. I too love the American piano sound, and Baldwins fall into this category along with Steinway and M&H. I'm kind of surprised you're considering Bosendorfer, which, at least in my opinion has a very different type of sound.
Shouldn't we be distinguishing between the American built Baldwins and the current models built in China? Do they really sound and feel the same? How about build quality?


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That's probably true, especially about what I've heard about Baldwins. However, I'm not so sure nowadays about the MH's and Cunninghams. I'm pretty sure that that Cunningham Parlor that Hugh Sung played was made in China and finished in Philly. And the quality part I can only speculate on.


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Originally Posted by Dore
That's probably true, especially about what I've heard about Baldwins. However, I'm not so sure nowadays about the MH's and Cunninghams. I'm pretty sure that that Cunningham Parlor that Hugh Sung played was made in China and finished in Philly. And the quality part I can only speculate on.
Correct about the Cunningham. As per Piano Buyer:

“Designed by Frank Emerson, the Matchless Cunningham is based on the original Cunningham scale designs. “Matchless” is used in reference to an offer made by Patrick Cunningham over a century ago: that he would pay $10,000 to anyone who could build a better piano. Because no one ever took him up on his offer, Cunningham labeled his piano the Matchless. Today, Matchless also refers to a unique combination of high-quality parts and a successful American scale design, assembled in China at the world-class Hailun factory, and with quality control overseen by Cunningham in Philadelphia.”

Originally Posted by Dore
I'd also mention that a few months ago I listened to Hugh Sung play the Cunningham Parlor, and was pretty surprised with how it sounds compared to my 1928 MH model A. Recordings can be deceiving, I realize, but I was surprised nonetheless.

I was searching for a M&H for years before I bought my Cunningham Studio grand. The sound and build quality are exactly what I’d been looking for. Frank Emerson also designed M&H. Makes sense to me. 😊


Lisa

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I was not trying to imply that older vs new Baldwins sound the same. I’m entirely unqualified to comment on build quality (and made no claims to that end). I did play examples of both recently, and I enjoyed the experience, for both the new, manufactured-in-China Baldwins and some older, manufactured-in-America Baldwins. The OP listed pianos as disparate as preowned Steinway As, M&H AA, new Kawai Gx3, new Cunningham chamber grand, new Boston, and in another post, Bechstein, Fazioli, Bosendorfer, and Perzina models. He seems to be trying to find a balance between his dream of a ‘golden age’ American piano and a piano that plays well and fits within his budget. I suspect that he can probably find something that checks all his boxes and that will bring him a great deal of enjoyment. But since the process seems to have been more frustrating than he had hoped, I wanted to throw in some ideas based on my recent search.

Since he is considering mass-produced pianos, I thought that compared to other new, mass produced pianos I played recently at a similar if not higher price point (including some models that the OP is considering), the new Chinese-manufactured Baldwin I played was significantly more satisfying. This is my opinion. The BP178 and BP190 are both on Larry Fine’s list of ‘staff picks.’ I doubt that they would be there if there were major concerns about build quality, but as I said, I am not qualified to comment on this.

I also thought that if the OP decides that what he really wants IS an American piano with a characteristic American piano tone, a used American Baldwin may be worth considering and is likely to fit within his budget. Of course, he may have his reasons for not including Baldwins (any of ‘em!) on any of his prior lists!


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