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I am wondering if anyone has experience with requesting to return/exchange a new piano. I know it's not like returning a dress, but should I expect a new piano to have devalued by c. 25% a couple of weeks after leaving the store, the same way a new car does when you drive it off the lot? Context- I bought a high-end German piano which turns out to be much too much of a good thing for my space (despite voicing, acoustic treatments etc). I would like to exchange it for a smaller or less powerful instrument within the same price range. Dealer is open to the idea of an exchange, but for something worth about 25% less than I originally paid.

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Originally Posted by Fortissima
I am wondering if anyone has experience with requesting to return/exchange a new piano. I know it's not like returning a dress, but should I expect a new piano to have devalued by c. 25% a couple of weeks after leaving the store, the same way a new car does when you drive it off the lot? Context- I bought a high-end German piano which turns out to be much too much of a good thing for my space (despite voicing, acoustic treatments etc). I would like to exchange it for a smaller or less powerful instrument within the same price range. Dealer is open to the idea of an exchange, but for something worth about 25% less than I originally paid.

Hello, Fortissima, and welcome to Piano World!

It sounds to me like you pretty much know how it works... buying a new piano is indeed similar to buying a new vehicle, and there is no return or exchange at the value you paid. With a new vehicle, the only way this would happen (total refund/exchange) would be due to lemon laws or other legalities. I don't think auto dealers would do that out of the goodness of their hearts.

It is the same with piano dealers. Some dealers might work with you, but when you buy a new piano, you are pretty much stuck with it, unless you sell it or trade it in at a loss.

I have not had experience with this regarding new pianos, but I have regarding new vehicles.

I'm not saying it (refund or exchange at what you paid) is not possible, but highly unlikely, unless a warranty claim is involved, or you have an exceptional dealer. Over the years, I have heard of a few dealers who refunded a buyers total purchase price and took a piano back due to some kind of dissatisfaction with the piano, but that usually does not involve new pianos.

Good luck!

Rick


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I answered you on another thread. FWIW, if you go this route, I would recommend offering to pay the dealer's expenses to try another piano in the same room for a few days to see if it works better for you. I have no idea if the dealer will go for this but you can ask. The problems you are experiencing might not be the piano, it could be the room or something else that wont change with the different piano.
As I am writing this I am wondering if there is any other spot in your house that might be more suited to a piano or is the space in which the piano is now the only possibility?


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Hi Keith, thank you for the suggestions. I will ask about trying out the alternate piano...although I am sure he is totally fed up with me by now! There is only one room the piano can go in, which worked fine for the piano before this one (7' Schimmel). Clearly a very different beast smile

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Hi Rick, I thought as much! I am grateful to the dealer for being open to coming to some sort of arrangement. Just a little bit of sticker shock/buyer's remorse/heartbroken disappointment that my piano doesn't love me back lol

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Hi Fortissima, have you tried treating the piano itself, and not just the room? Others have had success with acoustic panels wedged under the soundboard. I personally like the quick and easy solution of putting towels under there. It can make a big difference.

I can imagine how upsetting this whole situation is. I hope you're able to find a solution that doesn't involve taking a 25% loss!


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Keith gives great advice. The dealer is stuck because most state consumer laws require once something new has been sold and delivered from the dealers control, it cannot be sold as new again. It must be marketed as a used piano.

I would like to know if you have an independent piano technician to advise you? Especially one who is superb at tone regulation. The dealer might be willing to subsidize technical work to make you happy with your piano, but trust in the tech is of paramount importance. You should audition examples of their work that they think you would like, and to allow them to better learn what your expectations are.

I am not a fan of the hammers Schimmel uses. If you find the tone is brittle and inflexible dynamically like so many of the Schimmel grands I have experienced, installing lighter softer hammers might solve the issue. They also will stay in voice much better over time and if properly regulated make the action capable of more subtle control.


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Hi Fortissima, can you be more specific about your piano model, room dimensions, what acoustic treatments you tried?
There might be a way to keep your piano in your space.


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My tech just made some regulation and voicing adjustments to my 7'4" piano which I have found too loud in my home since buying it, and we have further improvements that we can make to the regulation. We are waiting to see if the current setup is good or not - if I still find it too loud he is going to reduce hammer blow a little bit.

But softening the voicing in the treble, evening out the mid-section, and some minor adjustments made a world of difference in how it sounds to me at the keyboard. Though this all helped the player, not any neighbors, as the piano still puts out the same volume, or very close to it, as before. I swear it sounds quieter though, simply b/c the sound is more pleasant and dynamic control is much improved.

Try the towels thing twocats suggested. I was using it for a few weeks and it definitely took the edge off.

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Voicing the room well can work wonders especially if you have a fairly thick carpet, the right furniture and pictures. Schimmel uses Renner hammers or has that now changed to Abel? So similar to most European pianos then.

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I believe the OP has a Steingraeber at this time.

I have twice requested a warranty exchange for a piano I thought was too flawed (not necessarily for myself, I have worked in various university music departments). But both were because of more serious structural or material defects.


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Fortissima - You have a big, beautiful, high end German piano. There are things that can be done to the room and non permanent things that can be done to your Steingraeber that can quiet the sound. I would suggest something like a quality string cover. Ask you piano tech. Acoustic panels would cost far less than the 25% hit you would take trading back your piano.

The Steingraeber sang to you when you purchased it. Keep it and find the best way to control its power. Best Wishes.


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Originally Posted by Fortissima
There is only one room the piano can go in, which worked fine for the piano before this one (7' Schimmel). Clearly a very different beast smile

I am so in touch with this, LOL! My little 5‘4“ Cunningham grand is such a strong and vibrant piano, it sounds like a concert grand in my little space, LOL! Luckily my technician showed me how to tame it down with felt and pillows, LOL! When my uncle played it a few weeks ago, the first words out of his mouth were “This is a KILLER PIANO!!!” 😂😂😂

I’m sorry that you’re dealing with this, and I hope there’s a way to voice it down for you. In the last 25 years or so, I’ve really learned that pianos are sentient beings with their own energy and personality. Sometimes it’s like taming a tiger! I hope your situation turns out fine, and that you end up very happy with your beast! ❤️


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Originally Posted by j&j
The Steingraeber sang to you when you purchased it. Keep it and find the best way to control its power. Best Wishes.
Exactly this, I know there will be a solution, a good tech will absolutely figure this out! Your beast just needs a bit of a harness, LOL! ❤️


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Originally Posted by Fortissima
Hi Keith, thank you for the suggestions. I will ask about trying out the alternate piano...although I am sure he is totally fed up with me by now! There is only one room the piano can go in, which worked fine for the piano before this one (7' Schimmel). Clearly a very different beast smile
Hi Fortissima,

Based on what you wrote, it seems you have bought a larger piano than the 7' Schimmel with a more robust sound.

I don't know what you paid, but 25% might well be $25,000 - a sizable sum to lose.

My suggestion would be to explore treating the room with a paid consultation to an expert in studio design. Wes Lachot is a PW contributor, who, as I understand it, advises people who create high end recording studios. [No, he isn't paying me for referrals...]. Might be worth contacting him, or someone with similar credentials to see what might be done to your living space that would help you enjoy the powerful piano you bought and liked so much.

Also, FWIW, a personal observation on 7' vs larger than 7' pianos like 9' --- the bigger pianos were generally LOUDER than the 7' ones, this in a store where the pianos were near to each other and I could make a meaningful comparison. I think it has to do with projection as much as anything else, and that the larger pianos are built to project into larger spaces. In the Steinway world, the "B" has been the instrument of choice for many musicians as their in home instrument (and teaching studio instrument) even though they play the "D" in concert. I don't think it's just the money difference; I think it's the volume/projection thing.... which leads me back to my original advice to see if there are some things that could be done to treat your room so that a concert grand could be used in it.

Good luck as you work through this.


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I have a Mason BB in my living room adjoining the studio apartment next door. Although I've had it for fifteen years, my neighbor recently started complaining about hearing it in his apartment. My piano guy installed acoustic foam underneath the soundboard and also on top of the plate struts. It quieted the piano considerably, and I didn't notice any change in the tone except for its volume. I think it's certainly worth a try as the total cost for the foam and installation was around $300. Not too much for an experiment even it it fails.

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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
I believe the OP has a Steingraeber at this time.

I have twice requested a warranty exchange for a piano I thought was too flawed (not necessarily for myself, I have worked in various university music departments). But both were because of more serious structural or material defects.


Just curious, Owen, did your institution/music department get the warranty exchange for a new piano when you requested it? I know that requesting and getting are two different things, and we don't always get what we request.

Rick


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Originally Posted by Seeker
Based on what you wrote, it seems you have bought a larger piano than the 7' Schimmel with a more robust sound.

I peeked at her original thread and the replacement piano is a 6'3" Steingraeber, so a much smaller piano but with a much bigger sound! I'm hoping that acoustical panels or towels under the soundboard are a good solution. Losing 25% on this purchase would be a small fortune.

Last edited by twocats; 05/07/21 11:44 AM.

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Originally Posted by twocats
Originally Posted by Seeker
Based on what you wrote, it seems you have bought a larger piano than the 7' Schimmel with a more robust sound.

I peeked at her original thread and the replacement piano is a 6'3" Steingraeber, so a much smaller piano but with a much bigger sound! I'm hoping that acoustical panels or towels under the soundboard are a good solution. Losing 25% on this purchase would be a small fortune.

Well, I sure called that one wrong.
My advice on acoustical treatment of the room is, I believe, still worth considering.
Having a 6' 3" Steingraeber that ROARS. I wonder if it whispers, too.


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Originally Posted by twocats
Originally Posted by Seeker
Based on what you wrote, it seems you have bought a larger piano than the 7' Schimmel with a more robust sound.

I peeked at her original thread and the replacement piano is a 6'3" Steingraeber, so a much smaller piano but with a much bigger sound! I'm hoping that acoustical panels or towels under the soundboard are a good solution. Losing 25% on this purchase would be a small fortune.

Wow! A 6’3” Steingraeber is more powerful than a 7’ Schimmel. ?????????


J & J
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