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#3212760 04/30/22 08:00 AM
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A customer of mine has a 2015 Steinway B in black gloss with Spirio. There was some finish damage done in a move and it is getting a complete refinish at Cavalieri on insurances dime (Cavalieri did Steinway USA's factory finishes until 2017 or so when Steinway set up their own finishing line). The piano will be essentially show room new. The piano was unused for almost its whole life as well - they simply didn't use it. He tells me that after the finish is redone he wants to sell it and has asked me to sell it for him. I have no handle on the market for pianos that are almost new or in this case essentially new. Thoughts?

Last edited by jkess114; 04/30/22 08:02 AM.
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Not sure, he should sell it himself to be honest. Is it basically a rich person who wants furniture? Sad life for a piano... No tunings either because it wasn’t played I’m guessing...?
Wouldn’t you want some money for doing that for him or what?

Post it on Craigslist and Offerup if you were to sell it and I would put lots of info in the desc. Serial number, length, overall condition, etc. Many posts for pianos have NO info-it made me mad when I was shopping!

Happy piano selling 🙂

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Originally Posted by probably blue
Not sure, he should sell it himself to be honest. Is it basically a rich person who wants furniture? Sad life for a piano... No tunings either because it wasn’t played I’m guessing...?
Wouldn’t you want some money for doing that for him or what?

Post it on Craigslist and Offerup if you were to sell it and I would put lots of info in the desc. Serial number, length, overall condition, etc. Many posts for pianos have NO info-it made me mad when I was shopping!

Happy piano selling 🙂

TBH, JKess is a piano tech who will likely be a better seller than the piano owner. It is just an unusual selling situation so he wanted advice from other dealers/techs.


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Yes I thought of that... at least a good seller.

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JKess, I’m just an amateur piano player, but to me, the other part of the question here is in regards to the Spirio system, and how that would affect the selling price for this piano. From another thread, it sure seems like there’s a huge market for the Spirio system (my recollection is that half of recent Steinway sales have had a Spirio system), so maybe this does indeed add value. However, I have a sense that depending on the buyer, this could actually be a turn off and decrease what someone is willing to pay…

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Josh,

When you broker a piano for someone, they agree to pay you a % of the selling price. You should set your % high enough to give you incentive to put the piano in tip top selling condition (i.e. tuning, voicing any regulation issues, spirio issues, etc.) You want the potential buyer to say: "WOW, I must have this piano!" This is where you earn your commission and is something the seller cannot do. You become the third party expert which is a valuable sales tool.

If he sent it to a dealership for the same purpose he will pay as much as 50% brokerage fee, so let that be a guide for you. Of course they have a showroom and many points of comparison which you do not (that is their sales technique), but you stand as the qualified expert which reduces the perceived risk for any potential buyer (risk reduction is the KEY to higher selling price). I will not reveal my brokerage fee here but it is somewhere between 15% and 40%. He will do better with you than with a dealer and he knows it, but DON'T UNDERSELL your services.

The sad part about the whole thing is that he is going to take a significant loss based on what he paid for it. If he swallowed the SS sales vomit that his purchase was a better investment than on Wall Street, then he's going to be in for a very rude awakening when he finds out how much he's going to lose. If though he's a reasonable human being who gets the reality, you're in good shape. If he balks at the projected sales price OR your fee, then WALK! You don't want to get involved with it DAMHIK!

This can take a long time and involve numerous trips to show the piano as well as keep it in tip top condition. This is why you get the fee. It's not a matter of getting the highest price necessarily but rather the difference between selling it and not selling it. Both you and the seller need to recognize this.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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Another way to look at brokering piano sales:

Let's say you sell his piano to a local customer. In my area, that buyer might well become MY new tuning customer. This is a conflict of interest because I can't represent the interests of both the buyer and the seller. This is why I simply don't get involved in piano transactions.

I sure there are plenty of technicians will gladly make a buck by flipping pianos like this, but I don't like to get in the middle of things. This just came up recently--a customer was selling a very nice Yamaha WX-7. A customer of mine was looking for a piano; she bought it and asked me how much my finder's fee was. I said nothing--I stay out of it because I can't possibly represent both sides in this case. I'll give each party a general range if they ask me, but I won't be specific or tell them what to offer. That's between them.

Tread carefully.

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Greetings,
I agree with Scott, I don't get into brokering piano sales. The majority of buyers will question my recommendation if they know I am being paid by the seller, and I HATE to have my credibility questioned. I charge sellers to evaluate their piano and tell them what I have seen the market produce in the way of prices. If it is an otherwise good piano that is badly out of regulation, I may recommend they hire me to bring it up to a reasonable level of performance, but in terms of major work, I discourage them investing in the piano to make it more sellable, as it often isn't a net gain for them. If they want to sell it as is, and I know of someone interested in it, I will tell both sides how much a regulation or other work would cost so that everybody knows what the deal is and their price negotiations will have that expense figured in.

The other aspect is that since I am a piano technician, and regarded as "the expert", if I broker a piano, I have created an implied warranty for the buyer and I simply do not want that expectation or responsibility. My life is simpler and less fettered this way.
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Aw man, y'all are fantastic. Thank you, thank you for chiming in. Probably Blue, I have a restoration shop and I sell pianos out of it. Reputation is everything here so I make sure that anything I sell, I sell with a warranty. This means that I don't quick-flip anything. I put in the energy to clean things up until I think the piano has a very small chance of problems for buyers and this way I am providing a service that I can stand behind, and the hope is that every transaction is makes people happy and will grow my reputation for making folks happy. That sounds like fluff but I am very serious in that regard.

With respect to the piano I posted about: If I agree to take this on, it will wind up coming back to my shop and this is where I get antsy. That is a lot of piano value that I will have to worry about in the shop and insure, and, I have yet to find out what he thinks is a realistic selling price - a conversation we'll have in the future. First thing is to get it refinished and then we can have that chat.

I have a decent idea of the value of older pianos, older rebuilt pianos, but not a quasi-new Steinway B with Spirio. Its a tough one that doesn't come up too often.

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"The other aspect is that since I am a piano technician, and regarded as "the expert", if I broker a piano, I have created an implied warranty for the buyer and I simply do not want that expectation or responsibility."

Ed, precisely. A couple of years ago, I pointed a customer towards a piano that someone else was selling. The potential buyer says "will you stand behind it?"

Oh yeah......

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Josh,

You are wise to think twice about taking on such an instrument, especially in your shop (unless this in fact part of your business model for which you are fully insured and set up for). All this expense and risk us precisely why a dealer will generally get about 50% of the sales price, BECAUSE they need to house it, insure it, service it, stand behind it, etc etc. This overhead costs money.

I would advise that you check around to dealers in the area who may consignment work like this and refer your client to one of them as an alternative. There is no harm in saying that it just won't work here (if that is what you want). Remember too that if the seller wants to lock you into an unrealistic price that's a bad sign. Heed it.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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Spirio is high status auto-performance furniture.
I suspect that marketing, maintenance and warranty of a Spirio is significantly different from ordinary Steinway pianos.
I wonder what kind of support Steinway will give to an independent seller of a secondhand Spirio.


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If I had the room, I’d be interested. Has he come up with a price? It has to be a good deal compared to a new Spirio. Does it have only the playback option? I like player pianos, and think they add a whole new dimension to experiencing a piano. I have a Yamaha DYUS5, and, yes, I do play, and sometimes it plays. It’s like my Tesla, sometimes the car drives and sometimes I drive.

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Originally Posted by Ed Sutton
Spirio is high status auto-performance furniture.
I suspect that marketing, maintenance and warranty of a Spirio is significantly different from ordinary Steinway pianos.
I wonder what kind of support Steinway will give to an independent seller of a secondhand Spirio.

There was a post a few years ago here, where there was a problem transferring te Spiro to the new owner. I would advise checking with Steinway on how this needs to be arranged.


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Originally Posted by jkess114
A customer of mine has a 2015 Steinway B in black gloss with Spirio. There was some finish damage done in a move and it is getting a complete refinish at Cavalieri on insurances dime (Cavalieri did Steinway USA's factory finishes until 2017 or so when Steinway set up their own finishing line). The piano will be essentially show room new. The piano was unused for almost its whole life as well - they simply didn't use it. He tells me that after the finish is redone he wants to sell it and has asked me to sell it for him. I have no handle on the market for pianos that are almost new or in this case essentially new. Thoughts?
Regarding the market for pianos that are almost new, etc., I would ask, instead, "What is the market for a USED Steinway Spirio in the business area I serve"? I would also ask who, in that market, is going to be able to afford such a purchase.

That Spirio is not just a luxury piano. It's a luxury piano with Spirio. For some that would be a plus; for others, not so much. It is also not NEW, despite condition, and most people won't pay NEW for not quite new.

Seems to me the Spirio buyers would be people who have significant discretionary cash for luxury purposes who could be sorted into three categories:
- People who play the piano who also have the desire to enjoy listening to, and some cases even making Spirio recordings.
- People who cannot or do not play the piano but want a high end sound reproduction system for regular recreational listening to piano music
- People who want a beautiful piece of furniture that can, with the touch of a button, provide a background for a social event

From what you've written, the current owner appears to fit nicely into Cat 3.

Do you have the population in your service area that could afford a Steinway Spirio? Would they buy a USED one, or must it be new? Had I the means to be in that market would I care about the piano being USED? Would I care about warranties? If the piano were going to one our billionaires - Musk, Bezos, etc - people who have more discretionary cash than my local county government, would they care about those things?

Maybe poke around a bit before taking on the commission. Feel out the market. You write that you have a shop where you sell refurbished instruments. Are you ready and able to take on a high end luxury instrument with all the potential headaches? The piano is already being refinished...

Do let us know how it all goes down, and good luck.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
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What is sad is that people think that player pianos are pianos that are not meant to be listened to, that they’re just there for background music. I blame it on the hotel industry, I guess. Pianos are mechanical devices that are perfect for mechanical playback. The artists of old had no trouble recording and distributing music for player pianos and people had player pianos in their homes as home entertainment systems.

I suppose radio killed the player piano. Still, no piano on the radio, or any stereo speaker, ever sounds as good as a player piano, if the piano is tuned.

Last edited by LarryK; 05/01/22 09:52 AM.
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Originally Posted by LarryK
What is sad is that people think that player pianos are pianos that are not meant to be listened to, that they’re just there for background music. I blame it on the hotel industry, I guess. Pianos are mechanical devices that are perfect for mechanical playback. The artists of old had no trouble recording and distributing music for player pianos and people had player pianos in their homes as home entertainment systems.

I suppose radio killed the player piano. Still, no piano on the radio, or any stereo speaker, ever sounds as good as a player piano, if the piano is tuned.


Larry, I don’t think that is true any longer. In fact, most Steinway Spiro are sold to non-players. They must be buying them because of the ability to actually listen to good music, produced with high quality.


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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by LarryK
What is sad is that people think that player pianos are pianos that are not meant to be listened to, that they’re just there for background music. I blame it on the hotel industry, I guess. Pianos are mechanical devices that are perfect for mechanical playback. The artists of old had no trouble recording and distributing music for player pianos and people had player pianos in their homes as home entertainment systems.

I suppose radio killed the player piano. Still, no piano on the radio, or any stereo speaker, ever sounds as good as a player piano, if the piano is tuned.


Larry, I don’t think that is true any longer. In fact, most Steinway Spiro are sold to non-players. They must be buying them because of the ability to actually listen to good music, produced with high quality.

How do you know most Steinways Spirios are sold to non-players? There is no way to verify your hypothesis. There can always be someone in the family that plays.

It’s nice that acoustic pianos are bought for any reason at all, and, yes, I expect the people who buy them appreciate the quality of the recordings.

Given the small market for player piano recordings, I wish all player systems would share their recordings, and by that I mean, sell them. I am more than willing to pay the recordings of Steinway artists to be played on my Disklavier, or my Disklavier Pro, if I ever get one of those.

Last edited by LarryK; 05/01/22 02:40 PM.
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by LarryK
What is sad is that people think that player pianos are pianos that are not meant to be listened to, that they’re just there for background music. I blame it on the hotel industry, I guess. Pianos are mechanical devices that are perfect for mechanical playback. The artists of old had no trouble recording and distributing music for player pianos and people had player pianos in their homes as home entertainment systems.

I suppose radio killed the player piano. Still, no piano on the radio, or any stereo speaker, ever sounds as good as a player piano, if the piano is tuned.


Larry, I don’t think that is true any longer. In fact, most Steinway Spiro are sold to non-players. They must be buying them because of the ability to actually listen to good music, produced with high quality.

How do you know most Steinways Spirios are sold to non-players? There is no way to verify your hypothesis. There can always be someone in the family that plays.

It’s nice that acoustic pianos are bought for any reason at all, and, yes, I expect the people who buy them appreciate the quality of the recordings.

Given the small market for player piano recordings, I wish all player systems would share their recordings, and by that I mean, sell them. I am more than willing to pay the recordings of Steinway artists to be played on my Disklavier, or my Disklavier Pro, if I ever get one of those.

How do I know about Spiro data? I believe that was in the data Steinway released with the announcement of going public. I don’t believe you will see Steinway making their recordings available for anything but Steinway pianos.

Last edited by dogperson; 05/01/22 02:52 PM.

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I believe the owner, a very nice fellow btw, loves music and wanted to have the instrument because he and his wife love music and they had the cash to "go for it". I am a licensed installer of QRS and know my way around player systems....I am sure Spirio is essentially the same as the others - to someone who brought that up. I would like to try and sell it if the deal is right.

There are a lot of people who love to listen to music and player systems are a gift to those who love piano and cannot play, and have disposable income.

I'll keep you posted since you were kind enough to chime in.

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