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Hello expert community,

As I continue to search for a grand new or used depending on the merits/dealer I come across so many stores in the DMV area that sell pianos that are not fully prepped even on their showroom floor. They promise to give the final prep after purchasing or even after delivering. Some have pianos on the floor that are barely tuned. Only one of them has urged me to come back to check out again the ones that were not yet fully voiced, regulated and tuned. (That alone may make me purchase from that store.)

Lack of prep work has made it even more difficult to choose. Has it always been like this? Is high demand lowering the quality of prep work and therefore value?

Which stores in the DMV have had reliable preparation work I count on during this busy season?

I feel I may need to wait until the current hot market that piano salesmen tell me every time I visit a store calms down a bit.

Thank you for for keeping my hopes up to find my piano.


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I just sent you a PM.

Also, here is a thread I started in March on a highly related topic. I suspect that much of the other posters’ recommendations will not have hanged since then wink

Pianos DC metro area

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*that was supposed to say ‘changed,’ not ‘hanged,’ but too late to fix the post blush

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I bought two brand new piano so far one Kawai and one Yamaha. Both were not prepped prior to delivery. But Yamaha came in with near perfect factory prep and Kawai was bad with noticeable uneven touch here and there. I guess most dealers except Steinway now rely on first in home tuning to remediate new piano issues.

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Call and make advance appointments. That usually meant the pianos I saw were tuned and egregious issues resolved by the time I saw them.


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Originally Posted by letters.music
[...]
As I continue to search for a grand new or used depending on the merits/dealer I come across so many stores in the DMV area that sell pianos that are not fully prepped even on their showroom floor. They promise to give the final prep after purchasing or even after delivering. [...]

Pure speculation on my part, and I could be way off base:

I wonder - if indeed this is a "hot market" for many dealers - if some dealers are relying on much of their business coming from understandably clueless Mommy and Daddy buying a piano for Johnny and Jane, said potential buyers not critical enough to require (let alone ask for) pianos being well tuned and regulated on the showroom floor. A simple offer of an in-house tuning after delivery might suffice for such buyers.

Regards,


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Originally Posted by letters.music
As I continue to search for a grand new or used depending on the merits/dealer I come across so many stores in the DMV area that sell pianos that are not fully prepped even on their showroom floor.
What do you mean by not fully prepped? Every part of prep whether tuning, voicing, regulation, or cosmetic exists on a continuum. For example, one person's idea of out of tune might be satisfactory for most customers or even most professional pianists. What problems have you seen?

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Sooo, I will interject as I was recently looking at pianos in this same metro area. There was one dealer where every single piano was pretty badly out of tune, two pianos did not have the damper pedal connected, and one piano seemed to be missing its dampers altogether. I would say these were not ‘fully prepped.’

This was a uniquely not wonderful situation; things were significantly better every where else I visited, but yes, the level of preparation was variable and on a continuum.

My question is less about the ‘hot market’ and more about whether COVID-related restrictions regarding the numbers of people at the workplace means that it has been much harder to ensure that all of the showroom pianos are maintained to the level that they were pre-pandemic. But then I didn’t visit the showrooms pre-pandemic, so I don’t really know if there has been a change.

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It costs a lot of money and time to keep all of the pianos on a floor in tune, especially if the weather has recently changed! Usually when I go to a store there's a mix of pianos that are in tune and ones that are not. That said, there are two big stores in town where I'd feel completely comfortable asking for one (or more) pianos to be prepped for further evaluation. The other big store is kinda famous for doing as little prep as possible aside from a basic tuning.

There is one store that I visited during my search (out of town) where all of the pianos were in meticulous condition. The manager is an excellent technician and spends all day touching up the inventory. That is definitely not the norm so if you find a dealer like that, I'd shop there!


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Originally Posted by JerryFan2000
I bought two brand new piano so far one Kawai and one Yamaha. Both were not prepped prior to delivery. But Yamaha came in with near perfect factory prep and Kawai was bad with noticeable uneven touch here and there. I guess most dealers except Steinway now rely on first in home tuning to remediate new piano issues.

Did you get bigger discounts buying them unprepped? New pianos could need 4 tunings in the first year.
Did they fix all issues in a reasonable amount of time?
Good to know about Yamaha but I take it must have been a higher tier model.

Thank you!


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Originally Posted by letters.music
Originally Posted by JerryFan2000
I bought two brand new piano so far one Kawai and one Yamaha. Both were not prepped prior to delivery. But Yamaha came in with near perfect factory prep and Kawai was bad with noticeable uneven touch here and there. I guess most dealers except Steinway now rely on first in home tuning to remediate new piano issues.

Did you get bigger discounts buying them unprepped? New pianos could need 4 tunings in the first year.
Did they fix all issues in a reasonable amount of time?
Good to know about Yamaha but I take it must have been a higher tier model.

Thank you!
Originally Posted by letters.music
Originally Posted by JerryFan2000
I bought two brand new piano so far one Kawai and one Yamaha. Both were not prepped prior to delivery. But Yamaha came in with near perfect factory prep and Kawai was bad with noticeable uneven touch here and there. I guess most dealers except Steinway now rely on first in home tuning to remediate new piano issues.

Did you get bigger discounts buying them unprepped? New pianos could need 4 tunings in the first year.
Did they fix all issues in a reasonable amount of time?
Good to know about Yamaha but I take it must have been a higher tier model.

Thank you!

Yea, I got almost 60% discount for a brand new C2X on 30 March 2021. I actually didn't ask for discount and that's the initial price they offered. My first piano was a Kawai K300 which I purchased from a group deal. So both were purchased at good discount and unprepared. But I think discount was not the reason why they were delivered unprepared. I think It's just how dealers operate nowadays in Toronto.

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Originally Posted by JerryFan2000
Yea, I got almost 60% discount for a brand new C2X on 30 March 2021. I actually didn't ask for discount and that's the initial price they offered. My first piano was a Kawai K300 which I purchased from a group deal. So both were purchased at good discount and unprepared. But I think discount was not the reason why they were delivered unprepared. I think It's just how dealers operate nowadays in Toronto.

Is that 60% off MSRP?


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by letters.music
As I continue to search for a grand new or used depending on the merits/dealer I come across so many stores in the DMV area that sell pianos that are not fully prepped even on their showroom floor.
What do you mean by not fully prepped? Every part of prep whether tuning, voicing, regulation, or cosmetic exists on a continuum. For example, one person's idea of out of tune might be satisfactory for most customers or even most professional pianists. What problems have you seen?

I agree it exists on a continuum but I expect a basic standard specially on floor models. Several dealers are trying to sell me a piano barely in tune and with uneven or stuck keys. And regarding voicing only one dealer admitted to clearly harsh notes and is willing to address it before I visit again. Some of these pianos I know have great potential and come from respectable brands but that alone is not enough to convince me to buy from them.


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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Call and make advance appointments. That usually meant the pianos I saw were tuned and egregious issues resolved by the time I saw them.

I will try this suggestion too. I have been making appointments in advance but I'll ask about their inventory and my interests in advance as well.


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Originally Posted by twocats
It costs a lot of money and time to keep all of the pianos on a floor in tune, especially if the weather has recently changed! Usually when I go to a store there's a mix of pianos that are in tune and ones that are not. That said, there are two big stores in town where I'd feel completely comfortable asking for one (or more) pianos to be prepped for further evaluation. The other big store is kinda famous for doing as little prep as possible aside from a basic tuning.

There is one store that I visited during my search (out of town) where all of the pianos were in meticulous condition. The manager is an excellent technician and spends all day touching up the inventory. That is definitely not the norm so if you find a dealer like that, I'd shop there!

Feel comfortable sharing which stores they were? I see you are in OR not sure if you meant in your area or Washington DC metro area. Thanks!!


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Originally Posted by letters.music
Feel comfortable sharing which stores they were? I see you are in OR not sure if you meant in your area or Washington DC metro area. Thanks!!

I meant in Portland smile I just shared my experiences to show that each dealer has a different approach to how they sell pianos. I think the ones who do a lot more prep are the places where I'd rather spend my money, even if they cost more. It's possible that the places that aren't willing to invest in prep are targeting buyers who are shopping on price alone.


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Originally Posted by twocats
Originally Posted by letters.music
Feel comfortable sharing which stores they were? I see you are in OR not sure if you meant in your area or Washington DC metro area. Thanks!!

I meant in Portland smile I just shared my experiences to show that each dealer has a different approach to how they sell pianos. I think the ones who do a lot more prep are the places where I'd rather spend my money, even if they cost more. It's possible that the places that aren't willing to invest in prep are targeting buyers who are shopping on price alone.

Got it! I agree


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I am a dealer in the DMV market and I'd say 80%-90% of my inventory is in tune, however not for long. The seasonal change and the conversion from heat to a/c is about to take hold. Dozens will go out of tune in the next few weeks.

For the next few months these pianos will be "in transition" as far as tuning stability is concerned. They will stabilize, only to start sliding flat as we go into Fall.


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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
I am a dealer in the DMV market and I'd say 80%-90% of my inventory is in tune, however not for long. The seasonal change and the conversion from heat to a/c is about to take hold. Dozens will go out of tune in the next few weeks.

For the next few months these pianos will be "in transition" as far as tuning stability is concerned. They will stabilize, only to start sliding flat as we go into Fall.

Thank you, Steve. Sometimes simple explanations like yours can be sufficiently satisfying. I have not visited your dealer yet but it is on my list.


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Originally Posted by Sgisela
Also, here is a thread I started in March on a highly related topic. I suspect that much of the other posters’ recommendations will not have hanged since then wink

Pianos DC metro area

Fantastic thread. So happy you found your forever piano!


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