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Hello all, new member here. I just joined to get some advice because you all seem so lovely and knowledgeable. I'm in Malaysia (a hot, humid country in Southeast Asia) and am looking to buy my first grand. I've only ever had 2 different Petrof uprights my whole life and am hardly an expert pianist (I can only play from sheet music and not extemporaneously!), but I've finally decided to take the plunge to acquire that blissful sound which thus far I've only been able to dream about.

I have a budget of about 47,500 US Dollars (converted from the local currency) and after trying a bunch of different pianos from various dealerships, I've narrowed my choices down to a Petrof Breeze (173 cm), a Boston 178 or 193 (the 193 is around the same price as the Petrof), and a Yamaha C3X. All are new; I wouldn't mind used options but no particularly nice offers have come my way. I don't have an expert ear so I don't hear a vastly different sound between any of the choices. The Yamaha sound is perhaps my least favorite because it sounds a bit sterile in comparison to the other two brands. It does have the lightest touch, though; the Petrof has the heaviest and the Boston is somewhere in between.

The Petrof is attractive because I do love continuity and it is the only one that is handmade (I'm assuming the others aren't). However, my living room is on the larger side with high ceilings and cold, hard flooring and walls (no wood), so I'm worried that the Petrof would be too small to really resonate. The Boston 193 is much bigger than the Petrof and costs the same so the extra value is great, but I'm worried because this sub-brand doesn't seem to be particularly well-regarded.

A brand-new Shigeru Kawai SK3 was on the horizon for awhile and I was very excited about it because of a 50% discount and the prestige associated with this line, but after trying it out I was very disappointed by what I felt was a muffled, covered sound and a touch almost like that of a digital piano.

I would appreciate any help and advice on what to do next as I have zero experience in these matters. My thanks to this forum for being such a sounding board!
I wouldn't put much emphasis on claims of "handmade" much because no pianos are completely handmade and many steps in piano production can be done better by computer controlled machines. I also think, from what I've read only, that the newest Bostons are superior to the Bostons that were first introduced 30 years ago and that they have a good reputation. You can read the latest PB article about Bostons here:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/brand/boston/
Is the Boston under consideration one of the PE 11 models mentioned in the article?

The Yamaha seems not in the running unless you can get the dealer to adjust the tone more to your liking which may be possible. It's possible they will try to do that without any commitment on your part. As far as deciding between the Petrof and longer Boston that is a decision you mostly have to make for yourself although some would say the extra 10" on the Boston should be a major consideration.

Perhaps trying out the Boston 193 and Petrof Breeze again will help you decide.
I have played a new Boston in that size and a few smaller models as well, and I really liked them.

I would recommend the Yamaha just because of how well they hold their tuning, especially for your climate concerns (I owned a Yamaha upright when I lived in Japan and it was a great instrument and very reliable). BUT don't get the Yamaha if you don't like its sound or touch. I have read people describe the Yamaha sound as generic, so your "sterile" is probably similar to that.... the benefit of that is perhaps it makes it versatile, but again, if you don't like it, then don't consider it.

Just from my experience test-playing Bostons, I suspect it sounded much warmed and maybe more complex than the Yamaha.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Is the Boston under consideration one of the PE 11 models mentioned in the article?

Yep, both the models being sold are the latest editions.

I confess to being guilty of thinking that European-made pianos are better or perhaps more unique-sounding. A saleslady I talked to concurred, stating that Japanese pianos have more of a generic sound (and her dealership sells Asian-made pianos!). Larry Fine's ranking of Petrof as Performance Grade and the other two brands as Consumer Grade also has had an influence on me, and I know that I shouldn't be so swayed by this kind of talk!

The Boston 193 does have an allure because it is so much bigger than the Petrof 173 - does a difference of 20 cm make a big impact on the sound and tonal quality of the piano? What makes me apprehensive about the Boston is reading things like how it is no better than an equivalent Kawai (I'm not too inclined towards this brand after trying out the SK3) and various other asides about buying one merely to get a 'sub-Steinway'.
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Just from my experience test-playing Bostons, I suspect it sounded much warmed and maybe more complex than the Yamaha.

That was my experience, too. The Yamaha had a sweet, tinkly sound; the Boston came across as more full-bodied with a heavier touch.

I had a favorable impression of the CX7 but that model is a little over my budget.

I was a bit shocked that a new SK3 had such a big drop in price (at least 50% off) considering how prestigious this line seems to be. The smarminess and possible unscrupulousness of the dealer didn't help as well.
I can't really comment on the Petrof/Boston as I've never played either. I have played quite a few Yamahas (Cx/Sx/CF series) and I wouldn't say that the German makes are more unique sounding. In fact I would argue that the difference between the Cx vs the Sx (when I played them side to side) was greater than the difference between a Cx and my Grotrian or comparing to Bluthner/Bechsteins I have tried. How much is the C3x? Here in the UK I have seen them around £23k sometimes lower. The S3x I have seen around £35k. Doing a quick convert shows that your budget is around £36k? Maybe worth seeing if you can find one to try. I don't know how many C3xs the dealer has to try either. It would be worth trying a few if you can to see if you can find one which has a sound you love.
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Larry Fine's ranking of Petrof as Performance Grade and the other two brands as Consumer Grade also has had an influence on me, and I know that I shouldn't be so swayed by this kind of talk!
Remember that Fine states his "rankings" are now based primarily on price although he does state that there is general relationship between price and quality. For a given size, Petrof is a more expensive piano. When shopping for a piano, there is often a choice between a shorter but perhaps higher quality piano vs.a longer but possibly lesser quality piano. A choice only you can make.
You are being swayed by hype and market perception. You should instead be swayed by touch and tone, price and appearance.
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
You are being swayed by hype and market perception. You should instead be swayed by touch and tone, price and appearance.

Yes, I'm trying not to be.

As I said, I don't have an expert ear so when I play the Boston and the Petrof, for example, I don't hear much of a difference in the sound. With the Yamahas, the difference is more stark.

For me, the appearance matters very little. I'm buying a grand piano primarily for the sound and not for decorative purposes. If between any of the choices I've mentioned, I could hear that one has a sound which I vastly prefer, I wouldn't hesitate to get it even if the brand is less prestigious. The problem for me is that the differences don't jump out very readily.
Originally Posted by Aritempor
I can't really comment on the Petrof/Boston as I've never played either. I have played quite a few Yamahas (Cx/Sx/CF series) and I wouldn't say that the German makes are more unique sounding. In fact I would argue that the difference between the Cx vs the Sx (when I played them side to side) was greater than the difference between a Cx and my Grotrian or comparing to Bluthner/Bechsteins I have tried. How much is the C3x? Here in the UK I have seen them around £23k sometimes lower. The S3x I have seen around £35k. Doing a quick convert shows that your budget is around £36k? Maybe worth seeing if you can find one to try. I don't know how many C3xs the dealer has to try either. It would be worth trying a few if you can to see if you can find one which has a sound you love.

I wish I was in the UK then if the C3X is going for so little over there. Over here, the minimum is around £30k or more.

Funny thing is that there was a Bechstein I tried that didn't particularly impress me. Later on, I found out that it is such a prestigious brand; even if it wasn't over my budget, I wouldn't get it because the sound and feel didn't suit me.

Also tried some Steinways where the Boston is being sold, and with those even I could hear and feel the difference. I didn't spend too long on them, however - why prolong the agony!
Hi again all. Dissatisfied with the limited options available here, I reached out to dealers in neighboring countries and was pleased to find that they offer shipping to Malaysia. A much wider selection of brands is available in countries like Thailand and Singapore. The problem is that with COVID, it would be impossible for me to try out all (if any) of the pianos I've zoned in on that fit my now heightened price range:

Seiler SE-186
Estonia L190
Sauter "Delta" 185/Sauter "Omega" 220
Petrof "Storm" P194/Petrof "Pasat" P210

To anyone who's played any of these models, I'd appreciate any advice and recommendations. Out of all the grands I've tried in this newfound search of mine, I most liked the touch and feel of the Hamburg Steinways. As for the sound, I'd most like to avoid a sort of muffled, covered sound that I found most glaringly apparent in the Shigeru Kawai SK3 that I tried. I'd like a ringing, resonant sound; one that has purity and clarity and with a good sustain.
Of that list, I really liked the couple of Sauter Omegas I've played, but I've only seen a couple. Have played a Petrof Storm but not a Pasat, and would be very curious to try the 210cm one. I have played many more pianos in the 205cm-234cm size range that I'd be happier with as my "forever" piano than then stuff in the 185-194cm size range, but there are individual examples that have been exceptions to that. Granted, I get to play concert grands on a weekly basis at work...
Out of those I would probably take these-

Estonia (a good price for an excellent piano)
Sauter Delta or the Omega
Seiler SE
Shigeru or the Yamaha CX (you mentioned)
Boston

I am surprised by your repulsion at the Kawai Shigeru.Perhaps the ones you tried needed to be prepped? By the way they have been making pianos for a 100 years now.Do you think they would have lasted making Boston pianos for Steinway, if they did not know how to make successful pianos? The same goes for Yamaha.The Japanese pianos are excellent well made instruments.It is your choice of course and it's important you buy the piano you like and suits you.(even if it is the Petrof).
I hope you find your perfect piano.
Originally Posted by tre corda
Out of those I would probably take these-

Estonia (a good price for an excellent piano)
Sauter Delta or the Omega
Seiler SE
Shigeru or the Yamaha CX (you mentioned)
Boston

I am surprised by your repulsion at the Kawai Shigeru.Perhaps the ones you tried needed to be prepped? By the way they have been making pianos for a 100 years now.Do you think they would have lasted making Boston pianos for Steinway, if they did not know how to make successful pianos? The same goes for Yamaha.The Japanese pianos are excellent well made instruments.It is your choice of course and it's important you buy the piano you like and suits you.(even if it is the Petrof).
I hope you find your perfect piano.

Well, perhaps repulsion is too strong a word. The SK3 would've been perfect in terms of price, size and availability so I wanted very much for it to be THE one, but the feel and sound just didn't appeal to me. In fact, it was probably my least favorite out of all the pianos I tried. I suppose it could've used more prep, but the dealer didn't mention that anything was amiss.

I don't mean to cast aspersions about these brands - perhaps it's just that they'll appeal to people with different tastes. They have lasted for so long and are so highly regarded so they must be doing something right. All the Yamahas I tried were fine; it is just that none of them blew me away. The Yamaha dealers here don't even carry anything higher than the CX line, so that makes local options even more limited. Luckily I found dealers in nearby countries that carry all these brands that are simply unheard of in Malaysia; at least now the choices on offer are wider!
RiverwayInca35
Of course I understand revulsion is too strong a word (or repulsion) I too at times develop a dislike for a brand especially if I have been "put off" by a piano in some m way. However then you find beautifully tuned one and that makes one think again.I do not think that you need to be worried about the Boston being made by Kawai.From what I have read the piano has totally different specifications to a Kawai.
They do not even sound the same.I do prefer the Kawai to the Boston, still that is just taste.Regarding the new Petrofs I do not know much about them at all.
I've played Shigeru Kawais that I found muffled but others that weren't. I don't know if it was due to each one being individually voiced to suit different tastes or whether some of them had just been on the floor for longer and had hammers that had been played in. Recently I played a nice SK-2, I actually liked it significantly more than the SK-6 in the store. I think the person who bought that SK-2 had the same feeling and posted about it here. I wouldn't give up on all Shigeru Kawais based on your experience, you might have to treat them all as individual pianos to try out.

To my memory, the Sauters had a controllable touch but the sound profile was unique. It wasn't to my taste but other people love theirs. And I know Estonia has a big fan base but I've only played one that I really liked, a concert grand.

I played a Seiler a while back, not a European made one, but one of their Asian made ones, and I really liked the tone. I think I played another recently but it was hideous to look at (weird mix of colors and satin silver hardware if I recall). It may have been a European one. They both had a sweet and clear sound.
Yes ED Seiler can be very nice, so can the othe model not totally German made.I have never seen European Seiler grand but have played a new SE and older Seiler uprights.
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Hi again all. Dissatisfied with the limited options available here, I reached out to dealers in neighboring countries and was pleased to find that they offer shipping to Malaysia. A much wider selection of brands is available in countries like Thailand and Singapore. The problem is that with COVID, it would be impossible for me to try out all (if any) of the pianos I've zoned in on that fit my now heightened price range:

Seiler SE-186
Estonia L190
Sauter "Delta" 185/Sauter "Omega" 220
Petrof "Storm" P194/Petrof "Pasat" P210

To anyone who's played any of these models, I'd appreciate any advice and recommendations. Out of all the grands I've tried in this newfound search of mine, I most liked the touch and feel of the Hamburg Steinways. As for the sound, I'd most like to avoid a sort of muffled, covered sound that I found most glaringly apparent in the Shigeru Kawai SK3 that I tried. I'd like a ringing, resonant sound; one that has purity and clarity and with a good sustain.

That's quite a jump in budget smile. I'll chip in on the Sauter (at least the Delta anyway) which I have had the pleasure to try at Coach House in London. Bear in mind it's a sample size of one. To me anyway it was on the bright side. A pure sound which I would describe as crystal like clarity in the treble and upper tenor. The lower tenor was richer and the bass as good as I've heard for pianos around 6 feet. I do prefer my pianos more mellow so it didn't grab me unlike the Bosies that I tried that same afternoon. It's always hard to judge based on playing one piano but Sauters (in my head) are similar to the brighter Yamaha sound at least in the treble. I'm sure they can be mellowed but I'd rather start with something I loved then try and fix something that wasn't quite right.
Oh my

A SK-3 on discount !

Please please I beg you to reconsider.

As long as the sound board is satisfactory, Grag it at 50%

Then call the factory in Japan. Or call first …

If it’s new, their technicians to come to you in Malaysia as a free service

They can perform magic

Of course do your diligence and check serial first. Amongst others usual suspects.

Rarely encounters a below average S Kawai

If you don’t want it may I be rude and ask for the sellers details. I will buy it.

Trust an old fool. This is something you don’t want to miss

A factory prepared s Kawai IN THE RIGHT HANDS. Can match anything in a double blind no decal comparison.
Apologies for poor grammar and typo error.

I type in Larghetto (second movement ) mode and got locked out !
The estonia is an excellent piano for the price. I have played the Sauter Delta several times. It is a wonderful piano with a greqt touch but it definitely is on the clarity side with a solid bass (for that size) though in my view with more harmonic complexity than a C3. It will mellow with time, but the general character will stay.

The difficulty in your case is to define and choose which color you like. For thqt reason it is complicated to choose a piano remotely.
The advice to purchase a piano whose tone you dislike based on specs, reputation, forum hype, or price…is simply poor advice. Unless you’re a decorator.
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
The advice to purchase a piano whose tone you dislike based on specs, reputation, forum hype, or price…is simply poor advice. Unless you’re a decorator.

Exactly so. If you get the chance to play a different Shigeru it is worth doing that just in case the particular one you tried was poorly set up, but we all like different pianos so do get the one that speaks to you rather than someone else's favourite.
A good comparison between the SK3 and the Estonia L190. Of Course you cant make a choice based on a YT recording. But it gives you some basics about the character of each piano.

Originally Posted by Aritempor
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Hi again all. Dissatisfied with the limited options available here, I reached out to dealers in neighboring countries and was pleased to find that they offer shipping to Malaysia. A much wider selection of brands is available in countries like Thailand and Singapore. The problem is that with COVID, it would be impossible for me to try out all (if any) of the pianos I've zoned in on that fit my now heightened price range:

Seiler SE-186
Estonia L190
Sauter "Delta" 185/Sauter "Omega" 220
Petrof "Storm" P194/Petrof "Pasat" P210

To anyone who's played any of these models, I'd appreciate any advice and recommendations. Out of all the grands I've tried in this newfound search of mine, I most liked the touch and feel of the Hamburg Steinways. As for the sound, I'd most like to avoid a sort of muffled, covered sound that I found most glaringly apparent in the Shigeru Kawai SK3 that I tried. I'd like a ringing, resonant sound; one that has purity and clarity and with a good sustain.

That's quite a jump in budget smile. I'll chip in on the Sauter (at least the Delta anyway) which I have had the pleasure to try at Coach House in London. Bear in mind it's a sample size of one. To me anyway it was on the bright side. A pure sound which I would describe as crystal like clarity in the treble and upper tenor. The lower tenor was richer and the bass as good as I've heard for pianos around 6 feet. I do prefer my pianos more mellow so it didn't grab me unlike the Bosies that I tried that same afternoon. It's always hard to judge based on playing one piano but Sauters (in my head) are similar to the brighter Yamaha sound at least in the treble. I'm sure they can be mellowed but I'd rather start with something I loved then try and fix something that wasn't quite right.

Not quite a jump if you knew how much they are going for. I don't know how much Sauters and Petrofs cost in the West, but based on what I've seen online I'm shocked that the prices are so low in some of the Southeast Asian countries (and these are totally legit, authorized dealers).

Thanks for your input on the Delta. I'm starting to shy away from the biggest models on my list because I've come to the realization that the prices are a bit prohibitive, so right now I'm leaning towards the Petrof P194 or the Delta. I'll probably make one overseas trip (scary because of COVID) and the showroom I'm visiting only has the Omega so I'm hoping that the Delta is a close approximation in terms of touch and sound. I'm worried about the Petrof because I've read some accounts of long-term quality issues but it is bigger than the Delta (and cheaper) - perhaps the size is a good trade-off even though the quality of the Sauter may be better?

I've loved the sound of the Estonia in videos but I won't be able to make another trip elsewhere to try it out in person, so ordering it sight unseen puts me in a bind.
Originally Posted by Sidokar
A good comparison between the SK3 and the Estonia L190. Of Course you cant make a choice based on a YT recording. But it gives you some basics about the character of each piano.


This was actually the video that I watched the night before I was supposed to put a deposit on the SK3 and it really did sour me off a bit on the SK3 - listen to that sustain on the Estonia and the SK3 just pales in comparison!

A few days later when I had the opportunity to play the Shigeru more thoroughly I realized that the impressions I got from the video corresponded to my playing experience. Maybe it's just that I'm new to grands, but the touch and sound were odd, almost like playing underwater (perhaps I'm not used to the plastic actions?). It could also be just me - I didn't really like the Bechstein next to the SK3 that I played...a very clinical tone, I thought.

I don't mean to cause offence to any Shigeru owners; I may just need to find one that is really well prepared!
If you're able to go in person, I would recommend this so strongly. Imagine if this piano that you've spent a fortune on shows up and it's disappointing. After my own piano search I am advising to only buy if you find a specific piano that really grabs you.

Are most people in Singapore and Malaysia vaccinated/boosted? It would make a big difference in how secure I feel. Where I am, things are getting back to normal (I totally get that it's difficult to shift out of the fear mindset after having lived it for so long!). My friend's wife (in her 60's, had cancer last year) got COVID but she was only sick for a day and it wasn't bad at all. I don't know the situation where you are or if you have reasons to be extra concerned, but another option is to put off your purchase until you can do a proper search, and perhaps save up more. I am convinced that it'll be worth the wait if you're able to try out a whole bunch of pianos and really feel like you found the right one.
I do not think I have ever heard any of those or any other European pianos that sounds like a Yamaha.There is something online about the key resistance being rather heavy with the Sauter Delta though. If you do not mind me asking how much is a Sauter Delta in Malaysia now?
I would also say that modern Kawai pianos sound rather different to the older ones.The Kawai model GX and a Shigeru sound the nearest.(I do not mean a muffled one)
I tried a Petrof Storm recently and liked it. It was in the shop with Mason and Hamlins and was going for about $55k (this is in the US). I'd describe the character as warm, and it was noticeably less strident/projecting than any of the Masons next to it.

Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Maybe it's just that I'm new to grands, but the touch and sound were odd, almost like playing underwater (perhaps I'm not used to the plastic actions?).

If you're coming from an upright, when sitting at a bench I think grand pianos can actually sound more muffled, especially if the music desk is up, because you're no longer 2ft from and facing the soundboard directly. I honestly can't really tell how the action materials impact the feel. I'm very used to playing the composite Millennium III action on the Kawai, and when trying to M&H I really tried to feel out whether there was anything different about the WNG carbon fiber action versus the Kawai or an all-wood action. I'm thinking unless you're an advanced pianist, much of the difference has more to do with factory prep and regulation than materials?
[quote=twocats]If you're able to go in person, I would recommend this so strongly. Imagine if this piano that you've spent a fortune on shows up and it's disappointing. After my own piano search I am advising to only buy if you find a specific piano that really grabs you.

My friend's wife (in her 60's, had cancer last year) got COVID but she was only sick for a day and it wasn't bad at all.[/quote twocats

She was just extremely lucky.
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
I don't know how much Sauters and Petrofs cost in the West, but based on what I've seen online I'm shocked that the prices are so low in some of the Southeast Asian countries (and these are totally legit, authorized dealers).

The Sauter Delta is about 53k euros catalog price, the Omega is 68k. I have seen the Petrof 194 at 45k euros, in a similar range as the Estonia 190.
Originally Posted by twocats
If you're able to go in person, I would recommend this so strongly. Imagine if this piano that you've spent a fortune on shows up and it's disappointing. After my own piano search I am advising to only buy if you find a specific piano that really grabs you.

Are most people in Singapore and Malaysia vaccinated/boosted? It would make a big difference in how secure I feel. Where I am, things are getting back to normal (I totally get that it's difficult to shift out of the fear mindset after having lived it for so long!). My friend's wife (in her 60's, had cancer last year) got COVID but she was only sick for a day and it wasn't bad at all. I don't know the situation where you are or if you have reasons to be extra concerned, but another option is to put off your purchase until you can do a proper search, and perhaps save up more. I am convinced that it'll be worth the wait if you're able to try out a whole bunch of pianos and really feel like you found the right one.

I agree with twocats 100%. Do not buy a piano unless you have played it yourself.
Originally Posted by twocats
If you're able to go in person, I would recommend this so strongly. Imagine if this piano that you've spent a fortune on shows up and it's disappointing. After my own piano search I am advising to only buy if you find a specific piano that really grabs you.

Are most people in Singapore and Malaysia vaccinated/boosted? It would make a big difference in how secure I feel. Where I am, things are getting back to normal (I totally get that it's difficult to shift out of the fear mindset after having lived it for so long!). My friend's wife (in her 60's, had cancer last year) got COVID but she was only sick for a day and it wasn't bad at all. I don't know the situation where you are or if you have reasons to be extra concerned, but another option is to put off your purchase until you can do a proper search, and perhaps save up more. I am convinced that it'll be worth the wait if you're able to try out a whole bunch of pianos and really feel like you found the right one.

Thanks so much all for the input.

And yes, I think the vaccination rate in Singapore and Malaysia is pretty good. Our death rate has fallen dramatically from early last year, but the daily case rate is still high enough that travelling gives cause for concern. Anyway, I've bitten the bullet and am going on my piano shopping tour the week after the next, so fingers crossed! My god, the hassle in dealing with all the COVID paperwork and rules when flying is just terrible - sometimes, I feel a bit foolish going through all this trouble when, as a pianist, I am even less than an amateur!

There's nothing like trying the piano for yourself, I agree. If I was a multimillionaire, I'd think nothing of buying a piano sight unseen and sound unheard, but that is regrettably not the case.

tre corda, Sauter is not available in Malaysia (which is one of the reasons why I'm going overseas!), but the neighboring dealer has quoted me a price of around RM 240k (in the local currency) for the Delta which I think in USD is around 56k?
Just to chime in I am currently doing a short term contract in Cambodia. All the same problems here. The humidity is a real problem.

In the old days it used to be possible to get a piano "tropicalised". I am not sure what that involved but, in the days of the Raj it helped pianos to survive.
Originally Posted by PhilipInChina
Just to chime in I am currently doing a short term contract in Cambodia. All the same problems here. The humidity is a real problem.

In the old days it used to be possible to get a piano "tropicalised". I am not sure what that involved but, in the days of the Raj it helped pianos to survive.

Yes, this is also an issue that worries me. I am currently looking for info on what can be done to take care of the piano long-term in such conditions, but write-ups are scarce.

Piano Buyer writes that Sauter pianos are "tropicalized", but what does that even entail? I have no idea.
I saw an old tropicalized piano while visiting the Fandrichs a while ago when I was piano shopping. I think they were restoring it. I don't remember the details at all (was it brought from India?) but there were metal studs all over the inside, and metal bracing. I think the intention was for the metal to control the wood so that it didn't warp or change shape. I wish I had a photo as it was all very impressive looking (they said it was heavy!) but I doubt that's what's done to tropicalize pianos today. It seemed very extreme.
I've also heard the term "climatized" which may be the same thing?



It also involved processes such as single-piece waterfall keytops, nailing the keytops to the keysticks, extra screws supporting the rim/legs, and screwing soundboard ribs into the soundboard. Seems like most/all of these modifications are to help reinforce the glue/joints and prevent warping and separation?
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Originally Posted by PhilipInChina
Just to chime in I am currently doing a short term contract in Cambodia. All the same problems here. The humidity is a real problem.

In the old days it used to be possible to get a piano "tropicalised". I am not sure what that involved but, in the days of the Raj it helped pianos to survive.

Yes, this is also an issue that worries me. I am currently looking for info on what can be done to take care of the piano long-term in such conditions, but write-ups are scarce.

Piano Buyer writes that Sauter pianos are "tropicalized", but what does that even entail? I have no idea.
The soundboard and other critical areas are sealed or covered by some kind of material which helps or prevents problems with humidity and yet does not affect them negatively. I once read about it but cannot remember exactly what it was.
So I just got back from my piano shopping trip and need some advice. I loved the Sauter Omega in the showroom (tops was Fazioli but that's way out of my budget) - now, the thing is, before going, a sales representative had told me that the Omega in the showroom was significantly more expensive than if they were to order the piano for me directly from Sauter. He never mentioned that he was telling me this in confidence, and so I mentioned this discrepancy in pricing to the director of the establishment (I never met the sales representative) - in response, he gave me a bit of a dirty look and muttered that he was going to have a word with the sales rep. In hindsight, I realize that I shouldn't have shared so much with the director. Now the sales rep has gone silent on me and is not replying to my messages and I fear that I might've cost him his job or something.

Should I follow up with the director and insist that he should drop the price of the model in the showroom (which is at least a few years old) or should I perhaps see if I can order the Omega directly from Sauter since I now know that the price straight from the factory is cheaper than if I were to buy the piano I played in the showroom?
Personally, I would never buy any piano J had not played—- and I would expect that if I bought from this dealership, the after-sales service would be less than stellar. The sales rep is not likely to answer your calls.

Only you can decide what you want to do, but these are my thoughts.
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Should I follow up with the director and insist that he should drop the price of the model in the showroom (which is at least a few years old) or should I perhaps see if I can order the Omega directly from Sauter since I now know that the price straight from the factory is cheaper than if I were to buy the piano I played in the showroom?

You can always ask them to drop the price. It never hurts to gives them your lowest offer.

One question--how many Sauter dealers are in your area? If you have $2k ordering from the factory, you get a piano you've never played so you are taking a chance, and a dealer who will ghost a potential customer who hasn't yet paid will CERTAINLY ghost a non-customer; if you need warranty work and Sauter points you to their only authorized dealer in the area, are you going to be out of luck?

It sounds unfortunate about the salesperson, but you came across (they volunteered) legitimate information on purchase options that they were happy to keep from you; you should use that to your full advantage in negotiations. The worst thing they can say is "no deal."

Another option: order something that necessitates a special order anyways (exotic wood finish, chrome hardware)? Might cost more than the vanilla option, but no harm no foul from the store perspective.
The piano on the dealers showroom floor has been for you. maintained and serviced.Perhaps that's the reason that the piano is more expensive than the one which perhaps has to be still manufactured, (at Sauter) and then prepared for you. Otherwise it's because many do not want to order a piano they have not played before.

I do not think you can insist on a lower price, however just keep negotiating a good price with the dealer.I hope it turns out well
for you.
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Should I follow up with the director and insist that he should drop the price of the model in the showroom (which is at least a few years old) or should I perhaps see if I can order the Omega directly from Sauter since I now know that the price straight from the factory is cheaper than if I were to buy the piano I played in the showroom?

You can always ask them to drop the price. It never hurts to gives them your lowest offer.

One question--how many Sauter dealers are in your area? If you have $2k ordering from the factory, you get a piano you've never played so you are taking a chance, and a dealer who will ghost a potential customer who hasn't yet paid will CERTAINLY ghost a non-customer; if you need warranty work and Sauter points you to their only authorized dealer in the area, are you going to be out of luck?

It sounds unfortunate about the salesperson, but you came across (they volunteered) legitimate information on purchase options that they were happy to keep from you; you should use that to your full advantage in negotiations. The worst thing they can say is "no deal."

Another option: order something that necessitates a special order anyways (exotic wood finish, chrome hardware)? Might cost more than the vanilla option, but no harm no foul from the store perspective.

No Sauter dealers where I live, unfortunately. I actually e-mailed Sauter directly before I travelled and he pointed to two dealers in neighboring countries.

Although I did love the powerful sound of the Omega in the showroom (Fazioli was first by far and the Petrofs and Schimmels were way below the 1st two), the touch and look of the instrument felt a little worn which is why I'm guessing that it must be at least a few years old. I figured that it would be an advantage to get a new one and at a cheaper price, too. It is the same brand and model - could a new Omega sound and feel much different from the one in the showroom? I thought that it would be improved in all respects, but then I admit to knowing next to nothing about these things.

I had not thought about warranty work - I'll be e-mailing Sauter directly again to inquire about that if I do decide to buy one. Since there are no dealers where I live, I wonder how that will work.

I'm going to give the sales rep one or two more days to respond; if he doesn't, I'll be e-mailing the director. I do wonder how he'll respond knowing that I know that he's told the rep not to contact me, and knowing that I know that he's jacking up the price of a worn Omega to make a profit when I can buy one directly from Sauter for less (nearly 10k USD's worth).
A "worn Sauter Omega" being sold as new? Perhaps the Petrof and the Schimmels are worn too?.😉 I think there are quite a few high tier European grands that do sit in a store for a few years.They are regarded as new until bought.Of course if it's been there for 5 or 6 years he may decide to give you more of a discount eventually.... I would not mention more about buying directly from the manufacturer to anyone at that dealer.If that's what you do decide then just do that.Remember even with the most magnificent pianos they are still very individual pianos.There could be just something you do not like at all in the piano you receive.

Regarding the warranty I am sure if you could find a really well qualified and experienced technician like a concert technician the manufacturer may agree to him attending to any warranty work.
Originally Posted by tre corda
I would not mention more about buying directly from the manufacturer to anyone at that dealer.If that's what you do decide then just do that.Remember even with the most magnificent pianos they are still very individual pianos.There could be just something you do not like at all in the piano you receive.

I read what Riverway said as "the dealer could order the piano new, for a different price than taking the one off the floor." If that's the case, I think it remains a viable option to bring up until the dealer unequivocally says they won't do it (in which case, I think I would seriously reconsider having to anything to do with that dealer?)

Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
a sales representative had told me that the Omega in the showroom was significantly more expensive than if they were to order the piano for me directly from Sauter.

I'm not sure why the price would be different for such a "direct sale" though. If the dealer were doing the ordering, wouldn't they just add their usual markup to whatever the "wholesale price" is? And presumably if it is wholesale, it's a good question whether the manufacturer would have a direct-to-consumer sale model (that would potentially conflict with the dealer model)?
I am not sure what is happening? Is the OP considering buying directly from Sauter or do they have to pay more to order a new one from the dealer? I can understand the first mentioned situation would cause problems for the sales person if they suggested or perhaps even mentioned that.(it would be unfair to terminate the person's work position though) About charging more for a new piano, I do not know? Is this sometimes normal practice, or are the shipping costs far more expensive now.Has the MSRP price gone up since the showroom Omega was acquired by the dealer?
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
It is the same brand and model - could a new Omega sound and feel much different from the one in the showroom? I thought that it would be improved in all respects, but then I admit to knowing next to nothing about these things.

These are extremely low-production pianos made with a lot of hand labor. So...Yes, they can sound and feel different from one to the next, particularly if you're a high-level player or just very perceptive and discerning.
I wonder if there are some cultural issues at play here in terms of the relationship between the director of the dealership, the initial sales person, and the customer, particularly with regard to communication about pricing. My sense is that the final pricing in this situation is up to the ‘director’ rather than the sales person. Given how much prices have gone up, it seems odd to me that an ‘out of the crate’ brand new piano would be much much less expensive than a piano that would have originally been purchased several years ago, and I wonder if there was some initial miscommunication from the salesperson about pricing. Anyways, it is up to you to determine if you feel comfortable working with this dealership. Since you are in a different country, my guess is that unless a true warranty issue comes up, the dealer will not be involved much in after-purchase support, and I would also confirm with Sauter and the dealership that if there is a warranty issue, this dealer will handle it. Given that the director has indicated that the buck stops with him, I don’t think it’s worth trying to deal with the initial salesperson. From your story, the salesperson does not have a lot of authority to negotiate with you.
Unlike many goods, buying a piano brand new and out of the crate is not generally a great idea. The piano you end up with could be considerably different in touch and tone from the piano at the showroom. Also, the showroom piano will have had prep work — including multiple tunings (so it should be more stable) than a piano that arrives in a crate. In your situation, where you are in a different country, the dealer cannot just send one of their technicians to do some of this work in your home, and if you are getting the piano at a significant discount to the floor model, I do not think they will be paying a tech of your choosing (or theirs) to do that work.
So the sales rep has (surprisingly) gotten back to me. My impression is that he is more subdued and has probably been instructed to toe the party line. He has sent me a photo of the Sauter in the showroom with the serial number on it (I could not find it myself), and from my research the piano is at least a decade old. The sales rep reiterated the cheaper cost of ordering a new one from Sauter, and said that they could assist me by having the piano rerouted to my country instead of to theirs, thereby bypassing their country's import tax.

I argued that the establishment has many old pianos (some decades old) so shouldn't they offer fairly good discounts in comparison to prices of new models? He stated that that is not company policy, that prices go up every year and therefore their pricings have to reflect that even with very old pianos. A bit of a ridiculous reasoning, if you ask me; no wonder they have scores of old pianos sitting on multiple floors that have not been bought for years!

For example, there was an old Schimmel that I was interested in (the C 182, a discontinued model) that had an almost perfect touch although the sound was a little weak. This piano was made in 2005 - 2006 and the asking price is 65,673 USD! Only after a little badgering from me did he agree to lower it to 61,296 - fat chance of me buying it when I can get a new Estonia L190 from Indonesia for 57,400!
That’s a nice budget! What about a Steinway…for this price you could find one original from a few decades ago, (90s) or something older, restored. Depending on your luck, could be better than a new Estonia or Yamaha.
I don't think that L190 for USD57,400 is a good deal.
IIRC the usa price for L190 is comparable to yamaha c3x,
so that price is far too much.

however, in Asia, european pianos are always more expensive.
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
So the sales rep has (surprisingly) gotten back to me. My impression is that he is more subdued and has probably been instructed to toe the party line. He has sent me a photo of the Sauter in the showroom with the serial number on it (I could not find it myself), and from my research the piano is at least a decade old. The sales rep reiterated the cheaper cost of ordering a new one from Sauter, and said that they could assist me by having the piano rerouted to my country instead of to theirs, thereby bypassing their country's import tax.

Ah, import tax. And you live in a different country than the shop you visited. That fills in the blanks for how a shop might offer you a lesser amount for a new order than for existing stock on their showroom.

Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
I argued that the establishment has many old pianos (some decades old) so shouldn't they offer fairly good discounts in comparison to prices of new models? He stated that that is not company policy, that prices go up every year and therefore their pricings have to reflect that even with very old pianos. A bit of a ridiculous reasoning, if you ask me; no wonder they have scores of old pianos sitting on multiple floors that have not been bought for years!

I don't know the shop economics, but it sounds right that this is more a "policy" thing or perhaps something in their dealer agreement. When I was shopping, what I heard was more along the lines of what you expected. The shop had a piano they had purchased wholesale from the manufacturer for X price, so they were offering it at X + A price to me. If I wanted to special order a custom piano from the manufacturer, they were happy to help me do so, but since the piano now costs Y wholesale instead of X, they would have to charge me Y + A. Which is fair as far as I'm concerned. In fact, shops here will often say "there's a price increase happening on all new orders starting next month, so you may want to buy now before it happens."

I'm not a piano or sales expert, but as a consumer, I would never consider something sitting in a shop for 10 years as brand new, even if it's never been played. So I agree with your reaction (and applaud your skepticism earlier about this unit).

All said and done, I think you're sitting with some good information. Is this shop head over heels great? No, doesn't sound like it. Are they underhanded and sneaky? No, sounds like they're being generally transparent with you, and you still have the option to buy drop-shipped at a lower cost if you want to risk an untried piano that you'll be stuck with long-term on the chance you don't like it (perhaps the shop would be willing to swap it out with their 10-year-old new piano in that case). This shop is just somewhat inflexible, and it sounds like they're happy to have old models sit around for many years while they try to find someone willing to buy them at a higher price than the original markup. Maybe they find that buyer, maybe they wait another decade. But you know better where you stand?
Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
That’s a nice budget! What about a Steinway…for this price you could find one original from a few decades ago, (90s) or something older, restored. Depending on your luck, could be better than a new Estonia or Yamaha.

The problem is that I couldn't actually try such a piano. Used Steinways are unheard of where I live, and even travelling to a country within this region to sample European brands that are unavailable here was such an awful strain because of all the COVID restrictions and requirements. I'm assuming to find a used Steinway one would have to go to North America or Europe which is simply an impossibility at the moment with international air travel being so nightmarish.
Originally Posted by tirta
I don't think that L190 for USD57,400 is a good deal.
IIRC the usa price for L190 is comparable to yamaha c3x,
so that price is far too much.

however, in Asia, european pianos are always more expensive.

I don't think it's that great a deal either which is why I never went to Indonesia to try an Estonia (being Indonesian, you'd probably know which store we're talking about here).

I just think it is a bit incredible to pay a not insignificant amount more for a smaller, discontinued Schimmel from 2005/2006 when I could get a new Estonia instead.
I see. Hmm. Well Sauter looks like the one to go with. It’s a little older but so what? I’ve never played one but the way you describe it makes it sound awesome. I have played Estonia, and Yamaha CX/SX, and was impressed but not smitten. I’d expect Sauter to bump you up a tier in quality.
Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
I see. Hmm. Well Sauter looks like the one to go with. It’s a little older but so what? I’ve never played one but the way you describe it makes it sound awesome. I have played Estonia, and Yamaha CX/SX, and was impressed but not smitten. I’d expect Sauter to bump you up a tier in quality.


The downside to the floor model, IMHO, is that you are paying a premium for a ten yr old piano. If you decide to sell it in ten years, I think a potential buyer would view it as a twenty year old piano.

The downside of the new-in- box shipment is there would be no dealer prep, and this would be a never-played piano
Another downside of a newly ordered Omega is that it would take months to make.It is unlikely that there would be one already waiting to export at Sauter.
Classic supply-and-demand situation.

The floor model has been prepped. It’s older. And it’s also more expensive? But it’s the known versus unknown.

New from factory Sauter, does anyone know what to expect from these? Obviously the product is essentially the same, but how much is that prep worth to you?

Can they offer for a tech to come by and set it up as part of the deal? Someone knows how to prep it.

I figure this is the situation to make work for you one way or another. A bit of negotiating and discussing with them.
Originally Posted by Gombessa
In fact, shops here will often say "there's a price increase happening on all new orders starting next month, so you may want to buy now before it happens."

I've heard this before with stores over here. Like with the Petrof Breeze I mentioned in my original post - they were all like, you have to get it now if you want it at this price; next month, prices will be raised. Thankfully, I wasn't blown away by the piano because my piano shopping tour yielded a bigger Storm (this time, really new and not a decade old or more) that actually costs less than the smaller piano in my own Petrof dealership!

Visiting this foreign store was overall a pleasant experience, but yes, their insistence on labeling a Bechstein from the 1970s or a Schimmel from 2005/2006 as "new" just because they'd never been owned before is a bit much. In my opinion, a bad marketing tactic too; I'd seriously consider getting one of these "new" pianos if the price reflected the age of the instrument.

Another concern is that when they first took me up to the floors with the pianos, the rooms were all dark and hot (it's a tropical country anyway) - I had to wait ages for the air-conditioning to kick in to the point where I actually stopped sweating! So you have so many grands and uprights all bunched up together just sitting there for years in such humid conditions only getting reprieves when people come to check them out! Doesn't really give one full confidence that the pianos are in their optimum states.
Riverway, I’m completely speculating, but based on your description of the situation, I really wonder if the issue is related to the international nature of the transaction and if between red tape, taxes, and other factors, it’s just not worth it to the dealer to send you a piano from their store, unless you pay a big premium. Whereas if they arrange for the manufacturer to send you the piano, the manufacturer takes care of most of the red tape. Just speculating, but if this is the case, I wonder if this is a problem you are going to run into with many dealers outside Malaysia. If this is the case, you will have a harder time than most of us in terms of weighing the risks and benefits of buying a piano sight unseen and paying the money for the store model.

I lived in Bangkok for several years as a youngster. I would be quite concerned about pianos that had stayed for many years in such an environment with little or on-and-off climate control.
Originally Posted by Sgisela
I lived in Bangkok for several years as a youngster. I would be quite concerned about pianos that had stayed for many years in such an environment with little or on-and-off climate control.

For sure I would not buy a "new piano" which had been kept in those conditions.I never realised the Omega had been in that store for 10 years either.I do not understand the pricing at all either.It does not make sense.
I’m not sure what to say about the humidity issues. Can’t an independent tech clear this all up for you? Because I don’t think any of us can tell remotely if that Omega is in great condition or not, just based on doubts about whether it is or not, cast by concerns about the climate. Maybe it’s fantastic, despite heat, humidity, age, etc. Work with the “best case scenario” and then see if it’s too good to be true. Be willing to part with money on a tech inspection, but also be willing to see it through if the piano is one you really love. That’s what makes sense to me anyway. That’s based on your best judgment, that this specific piano is the preferred one among those you’ve tried, available to you in your budget…
Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
I’m not sure what to say about the humidity issues. Can’t an independent tech clear this all up for you? Because I don’t think any of us can tell remotely if that Omega is in great condition or not, just based on doubts about whether it is or not, cast by concerns about the climate. Maybe it’s fantastic, despite heat, humidity, age, etc. Work with the “best case scenario” and then see if it’s too good to be true. Be willing to part with money on a tech inspection, but also be willing to see it through if the piano is one you really love. That’s what makes sense to me anyway. That’s based on your best judgment, that this specific piano is the preferred one among those you’ve tried, available to you in your budget…
I think new pianos in North America are kept in warehouses or at the dealer's store. (that are climate controlled or have air conditioning) This piano is 10 years old, and more expensive than a new one.I do not understand it but I now see the OP's point of view.
The average relative humidity in much of Southeast Asia is about 80%. It is often above this. Myunderstanding is that at these very high humidity conditions, problems like string corrosion and mold (among others) are quite common. I am guessing that if my piano lived in these conditions (without any environmental mitigation measures) and I had a warranty issue, I would have problems with the claim given the ‘extreme environment’ exception in my warranty agreement. I would certainly be worried about spending a ton of money on a piano that’s been sitting for 10 years between 70-90% humidity and is being sold for the price of a premium, very expensive brand new piano. This is actually a situation where I would really consider ordering an out of the crate piano (especially if it is considerably less expensive than this ‘new’ piano that’s been sitting around in a tropical climate for 10 years) to be potentially a less risky choice.

I also think the usual advice to get an independent technician to inspect the piano may not be a trivial proposition for the OP. Does the OP speak the language of the country where the piano is located, and with fluency, so that they are able to communicate effectively about technical aspects related to a piano’s condition and performance capabilities? How does the OP locate a qualified technician in another country? And confirm that the technician is independent? How will the OP arrange to pay for the inspection? By wire transfer? There may be relatively easy options to do all this. But there well may not be. And the technician needs to be set up so that it is also worth it for the technician. If I were a good technician with plenty of local business, and I usually got paid in cash for my services, I don’t think I’d be inclined to go through the headache of figuring out how I could get funds from a stranger in a foreign country, who will never be utilizing my services again, to inspect a piano.

I do not think that the best decision (or least risky decision) in this situation is obvious at all. I think there are a lot of potential complications, whatever the OP decides to do. My best advice is for the OP to continue looking into their options until they feel comfortable with a particular decision. This means understanding what the risks of that decision might be, and having some idea of how they might deal with these issues, if they arise.
I’m just seeing it as supply and demand. They’ve got the piano…if he wants it enough, they can charge what they want (I guess). They’re placing a premium on it being the only one just like it. In essence, they’re making it seem extra special (which is hard to confirm or disconfirm if he can’t just try out another Omega). Maybe it is extra special. At the very least, one from the factory might be different. And we all know how personalized people’s preferences are. The factory one could be prepped, but…

Yeah I still say it’s worth thinking both angles. If it sounds so great and it’s prepped well, they’ve got good techs there and they can set up another Omega similarly. So what about my idea of buying factory new, and asking what it would cost to have them prep it (if it’s not to your liking from the box)? Now one thing I can’t grasp is a shop that supposedly operates under conditions not conducive to quality piano storage, and yet appears to be storing pianos that are impressive, and competing with others stores wares kept in more appealing environments(?)…
If European pianos are ridiculously priced there, how are Asian pianos, by comparison?
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
If European pianos are ridiculously priced there, how are Asian pianos, by comparison?

I think the OP mentioned earlier in this thread that Yamahas were also more expensive new than in the UK.
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
I argued that the establishment has many old pianos (some decades old) so shouldn't they offer fairly good discounts in comparison to prices of new models? He stated that that is not company policy, that prices go up every year and therefore their pricings have to reflect that even with very old pianos. A bit of a ridiculous reasoning, if you ask me; no wonder they have scores of old pianos sitting on multiple floors that have not been bought for years!

Just out of curiosity where did you travel to? Thailand? Singapore?

The fact the jack the price up every year and are still in business (and I assume have been in business for longer than the 16+ years) would suggest that their business model works so why change? Irritating for you but it sounds like they shift enough pianos.
Quote
I think the OP mentioned earlier in this thread that Yamahas were also more expensive new than in the UK.

that's odd.

Asian pianos should be cheaper in Asia,
at least they are, here in Indonesia.
Originally Posted by Sgisela
Riverway, I’m completely speculating, but based on your description of the situation, I really wonder if the issue is related to the international nature of the transaction and if between red tape, taxes, and other factors, it’s just not worth it to the dealer to send you a piano from their store, unless you pay a big premium. Whereas if they arrange for the manufacturer to send you the piano, the manufacturer takes care of most of the red tape. Just speculating, but if this is the case, I wonder if this is a problem you are going to run into with many dealers outside Malaysia. If this is the case, you will have a harder time than most of us in terms of weighing the risks and benefits of buying a piano sight unseen and paying the money for the store model.

I lived in Bangkok for several years as a youngster. I would be quite concerned about pianos that had stayed for many years in such an environment with little or on-and-off climate control.

I'd have thought so too, but the director told me that they get plenty of international customers (China, Cambodia, etc.) buying pianos from the showroom. The establishment is located in an area that is crawling with expatriates (Japanese, European, etc.) which makes good business sense - any expat can walk in and buy a piano and have it delivered to their home country, and all for next to nothing because the local currency is extremely weak against the major currencies.

I don't want to make it sound like this place which I visited for three consecutive days provided a terrible experience; as many might know, the Thai people are lovely and extraordinarily accommodating in general. I just think that some of the company's policies don't make much sense.

And since the cat is now out of the bag, this is the establishment in question:

https://www.peterson.co.th/
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
If European pianos are ridiculously priced there, how are Asian pianos, by comparison?

Well, I contacted Yamaha Thailand directly and they sent me their brochures with all the prices written in them - Yamaha pianos are MUCH cheaper over there than over here.

What's even more surprising is that they are willing to sell to me and do direct orders from Japan - Steinway and Fazioli most certainly do not allow that...you want their pianos, you have to get them from your local distributor/dealer.
Originally Posted by Sgisela
The average relative humidity in much of Southeast Asia is about 80%. It is often above this. Myunderstanding is that at these very high humidity conditions, problems like string corrosion and mold (among others) are quite common. I am guessing that if my piano lived in these conditions (without any environmental mitigation measures) and I had a warranty issue, I would have problems with the claim given the ‘extreme environment’ exception in my warranty agreement. I would certainly be worried about spending a ton of money on a piano that’s been sitting for 10 years between 70-90% humidity and is being sold for the price of a premium, very expensive brand new piano. This is actually a situation where I would really consider ordering an out of the crate piano (especially if it is considerably less expensive than this ‘new’ piano that’s been sitting around in a tropical climate for 10 years) to be potentially a less risky choice.

I also think the usual advice to get an independent technician to inspect the piano may not be a trivial proposition for the OP. Does the OP speak the language of the country where the piano is located, and with fluency, so that they are able to communicate effectively about technical aspects related to a piano’s condition and performance capabilities? How does the OP locate a qualified technician in another country? And confirm that the technician is independent? How will the OP arrange to pay for the inspection? By wire transfer? There may be relatively easy options to do all this. But there well may not be. And the technician needs to be set up so that it is also worth it for the technician. If I were a good technician with plenty of local business, and I usually got paid in cash for my services, I don’t think I’d be inclined to go through the headache of figuring out how I could get funds from a stranger in a foreign country, who will never be utilizing my services again, to inspect a piano.

I do not think that the best decision (or least risky decision) in this situation is obvious at all. I think there are a lot of potential complications, whatever the OP decides to do. My best advice is for the OP to continue looking into their options until they feel comfortable with a particular decision. This means understanding what the risks of that decision might be, and having some idea of how they might deal with these issues, if they arise.

Sgi, thanks for articulating my concerns so well!

And yes, I do not speak the local language; thankfully, most Thais that I've encountered speak English. I'm definitely unwilling to spend nearly 80k USD on a 10-year-old piano that looks and feels worn; it is a credit to the piano that it could still yield a very powerful and beautiful sound.

I'm still awaiting a response from that nice sales rep - the Schimmel K195 I tinkered on in the showroom has been sold so he's contacted Schimmel directly to find out their discount policy on ordering a brand new one from the factory.

Many dealers in the United States ship internationally as well and I have contacted a few; it is just a bit scary because travelling such a distance is out of the question, so I'd be buying a piano sight unseen even though I've played the same make elsewhere.
FWIW and BTW, my wife is from China. Many things are way more expensive there. Even a Kingsburg (Chinese-made) piano costs at least twice what it’d cost in America.
Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
FWIW and BTW, my wife is from China. Many things are way more expensive there. Even a Kingsburg (Chinese-made) piano costs at least twice what it’d cost in America.


That is so odd. Coming from the world of smartphones, I'm used to seeing (hearing about) extremely cheap domestic flagships (Xiaomi, etc.) that go for less than half of what they cost when released internationally...
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
FWIW and BTW, my wife is from China. Many things are way more expensive there. Even a Kingsburg (Chinese-made) piano costs at least twice what it’d cost in America.


That is so odd. Coming from the world of smartphones, I'm used to seeing (hearing about) extremely cheap domestic flagships (Xiaomi, etc.) that go for less than half of what they cost when released internationally...

I think it varies depending on the item. Some stuff is probably very cheap, other stuff very expensive. And it would depend on region. Like a modest house, I understand (in a city) costs at least a million U.S. dollars there. That's why almost everyone rents. She tells me that if we were to move to China, our money would only go about 1/7th as far.
I wonder what the price of European and Asian pianos are like in Hong Kong?
I have read about at least two members of PW from Singapore who bought pianos like Sauter and I think Bechstein there.I suppose the prices of pianos there would be quite high?
Originally Posted by tre corda
I wonder what the price of European and Asian pianos are like in Hong Kong?

I was even willing to travel there but the dealers I contacted never got back to me. With COVID being quite severe there at the moment, the notion of flying to Hong Kong is moot anyway.

I'm currently exchanging e-mails with a few Singaporean dealers and depending on what they have available to try in their showrooms, that may be my next destination. The Bechstein Academy series is well within my price range; the Concert series is unfortunately not. The Sauter dealer told me that Sauter is all fully booked up with orders, so even if I do decide to get one straight from the factory, I may have to wait until next year for my piano to arrive. Argh!
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The Sauter dealer told me that Sauter is all fully booked up with orders, so even if I do decide to get one straight from the factory, I may have to wait until next year for my piano to arrive. Argh!


Sauter is very low volume. Fazioli, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber and a few others are also in the same boat - only a few hundred per year. Given increased demand AND reduced output/supply chain issues, there's a 12+ month backlog on new orders. As you probably expect, this also contributes to pricing increases at a lot of makers.
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The Sauter dealer told me that Sauter is all fully booked up with orders, so even if I do decide to get one straight from the factory, I may have to wait until next year for my piano to arrive. Argh!


Sauter is very low volume. Fazioli, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber and a few others are also in the same boat - only a few hundred per year. Given increased demand AND reduced output/supply chain issues, there's a 12+ month backlog on new orders. As you probably expect, this also contributes to pricing increases at a lot of makers.

Yes, I had heard of supply chain issues. Sigh. Looks like if I want a grand soon I'll have to go for a showroom model. In the U.S. that probably wouldn't be an issue but it is in this region because of a dearth of showrooms and the pianos in them!
Just up the road from you in Thailand, I’ve been playing my locally-bought SK-3 for 7-ish years in living rooms similar to what you describe for hours/day, usually with all sliding glass doors fully open to the outside just 2 or 3 meters from the salt pool; over 5,000 hours of pure enjoyment so far.

So I can report that “muffled” impression of which you speak is merely a *first* impression at the dealer (especially as my ears had been accustomed to the standard, full-size, thin-sounding, used Yamaha upright @ home) and that what you’re hearing is a rounded/fat sound.

I’m strictly jazz/pop and do alot of LH, 5 note, rootless chording so you can imagine it’s crucial how far south my LH can travel without muddiness. So on a visit to my home, the official master technician did some quick magic and I got almost a full extra octave down there for these thick chords. And smacking a single note down there produces so many overtones...I feel like Stanley Clark (funk bass popping sound, yeah...).

On the action, again *wow,* never been happier, specifically w the dynamic range my RH soloing can produce, like soft-loud-soft when doing an 8 or 16 note run. Very pleasing, being able to create that sense of emotion with single note runs.
They have a Sauter Delta available and a number of other top tier brands in Hong Kong.I am sure you could order a Delta through them.
https://www.tomleemusic.com.hk/products/sauter-185delta?_pos=2&_sid=8e7d18ae7&_ss=r
Sorry I meant you could order a Sauter Omega through them.One of these store branches may just have an Omega in stock.When it comes to warranty work you may need, I think you would find the manufacturer very helpful in relation to your situation.
Thanks all for the input. Just got back from Singapore; quite a tiring trip hence the lack of updates. Certainly met a number of interesting piano people...

Anyway, it's looking like a:

Blüthner Model 6 - Again, "new" because it's never been sold but the piano was likely made in 2004/2005/2006. Sounded good to me but the action might've been a little stiff and the piano costs at least 14 to 15k USD less than a new one.

August Förster 190 - Would be a brand new one from the factory; it is cheaper than the Blüthner and the overall price is slightly less than 55k USD.

Sauter Delta 185 - Brand new from the factory but would have to wait until next year to acquire it. Costs a bit more than the Förster.

I did manage to try a used, 15-year-old Estonia L190 and was not particularly impressed. That might've been because it was used but I don't know. Anyway, I'm not favorably inclined towards Estonia because their customer service is atrociously bad. I've attempted to contact them through multiple channels and have been completely ignored. Ugh.

Any thoughts?
I’d expect the Bluthner to be the finest piano there…best reputation (also has the richest sound based on what I’ve heard in recordings). But I haven’t played any of these brands (let alone these specific pianos). Maybe the action could be lightened a bit. It’s also possible you’d get used to it pretty quickly.

Otherwise it mostly just comes down to which one you prefer.
Do you like the sound of the Bluthner? Whatever you end up spending is going to be a significant amount and it's more than likely you'll like it. There's always a risk with ordering a new piano directly that you've never played though of not actually loving the sound very much.

That's why some would suggest if you decide to order a brand new one from the factory that you actually travel to the factory and pick one you absolutely love.
How do you rate the Bluthner and the Forster?
Putting aside the Estonia, the other 3 are all nice pianos. I did not play the Forster but i do know the other 2. For the Sauter it has been a long time, but my recollection is that it sounds very clear and articulate with a silvery tone which is quite specific to several Sauter pianos. The Bluthner will have more warmth in the mid bass and maybe more harmonic complexity, it has brilliancy also but not the silvery tone of the Sauter. At the end it is really down to personal preferences.
Originally Posted by Withindale
How do you rate the Bluthner and the Forster?

PW cut me off before I finished this. Sidokar is right and Aritempor's visit would work well if the manufacturers have the pianos on show for you to choose

If it were me I'd decide between the Bluthner and the Forster as they available and then see if I wanted to wait for a Sauter.
Originally Posted by Withindale
How do you rate the Bluthner and the Forster?

Thanks for your insights all!

Blüthner - I liked the sound of it, resonant and warm; as I said, the action was a bit stiff and I don't know if it is naturally like that or whether that was due to age. I'm a bit scared of getting a piano that old even though it's supposed to be "new" - wouldn't a piano of that age already be showing a bit of wear and tear? If they don't discount the price further (they said the piano's only been in the showroom since 2010 but a serial no. of 151083 likely indicates the piano is older than that), I'm not sure if the piano would be a good value buy or not.

Förster - I unfortunately did not get to try the 190, only the 170 (which is too small for me), but I'm encouraged because the smaller model had a lovely, light action and a pleasant, silvery tone. The treble was maybe a bit thin; the Blüthner had perhaps a richer sound with more depth.

The Delta I also did not get to try; it seems like they had every size but the 185! However, I'm again encouraged because the Alpha 160 had a resonant sound with much projection. The dealer exhorted me to have titanium pins added if I buy the Delta (at extra cost) - he said that it would make a lot of difference in the sound but I've no idea if that's true or not?
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The dealer exhorted me to have titanium pins added if I buy the Delta (at extra cost) - he said that it would make a lot of difference in the sound but I've no idea if that's true or not?

When I was shopping, I tried a Sauter Delta with the Ti pins. Honestly, without A/B testing next to a model without the Ti, I have no idea how you'd even notice what impact it has, if any.

I would just approach whatever model you test on it's own merits, whether the pins are Ti or cardboard...
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Thanks for your insights all!

Blüthner - I liked the sound of it, resonant and warm; as I said, the action was a bit stiff and I don't know if it is naturally like that or whether that was due to age. I'm a bit scared of getting a piano that old even though it's supposed to be "new" - wouldn't a piano of that age already be showing a bit of wear and tear? If they don't discount the price further (they said the piano's only been in the showroom since 2010 but a serial no. of 151083 likely indicates the piano is older than that), I'm not sure if the piano would be a good value buy or not.

Not sure I understand the situation. You mean that they have it in store for 12 years and never managed to sell it ? What about 2004-2010 then ?

I am not sure what stiff means for you. Everybody is using different terms. I assume you dont mean heavy but which has some sort of inertia or shows some difficulty to push the action ? if thats the case, I would assume that is due to the number of years without usage, which is not a good sign or could be a problem of humidity. I would have it checked by a tech, as it may be a sign of internal problems in the action. At least in mine, I dont feel anything unusual. The Bluthner piano are supposedly of lesser quality before 2005 or so though by that date, they were probably back to their top level. Normally it would have a Renner action.


Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The Delta I also did not get to try; it seems like they had every size but the 185! However, I'm again encouraged because the Alpha 160 had a resonant sound with much projection. The dealer exhorted me to have titanium pins added if I buy the Delta (at extra cost) - he said that it would make a lot of difference in the sound but I've no idea if that's true or not?

A question for an expert ! but even if it does, the question is whether you will like the change.
do you try playing yamaha sx pianos in Singapore?
That sounds like a really frustrating trip, without pianos you totally (or even somewhat) liked, or even the correct models in stock. And it sounds like you’re still stuck buying a piano you haven’t played, in most cases.
Hmm...I figure, maybe it's worth having a tech look at the Bluthner. Might only cost $100 or so, and you'd have all your questions answered.

From there, you might not need to spend money on any techs, because you'll be getting something new from factory. A tech inspection, tuning, and other work, would presumably be covered with the new sale price, after the piano is delivered (should you decide to go that route, e.g. with a Sauter or Forster).

FWIW even though you aren't getting to play on the exact pianos in the case of Forster and Sauter, these will be new from factory. They will be of a high quality and any additional customizations to voicing and regulation needed can be made later on.

Am I also correct in understanding that you can make custom requests from the factory in many cases, like "voice mellower in treble" or "medium key weight" -- something to this effect?

In any case, I gather that voicing and regulation work are not such a big deal for experienced techs, and are fairly small tasks in the big picture, relative to the work it takes to build or restore a piano. It shouldn't hold you back from getting the brand and piano you want, just due to logistics, that they have to order one from the factory, as a different copy from one you'll be demoing...
Originally Posted by tirta
do you try playing yamaha sx pianos in Singapore?

Yes, the SX3 (which is all they had and none from the CF range were available).

I wasn't very impressed to be honest. From my point of view, most European-made pianos I've tried have more depth in the sound. Yamahas are clean and light but the overall sound is a tad thin and lacking in complexity.

All IMO, of course.
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Thanks for your insights all!

Blüthner - I liked the sound of it, resonant and warm; as I said, the action was a bit stiff and I don't know if it is naturally like that or whether that was due to age. I'm a bit scared of getting a piano that old even though it's supposed to be "new" - wouldn't a piano of that age already be showing a bit of wear and tear? If they don't discount the price further (they said the piano's only been in the showroom since 2010 but a serial no. of 151083 likely indicates the piano is older than that), I'm not sure if the piano would be a good value buy or not.

Not sure I understand the situation. You mean that they have it in store for 12 years and never managed to sell it ? What about 2004-2010 then ?

I am not sure what stiff means for you. Everybody is using different terms. I assume you dont mean heavy but which has some sort of inertia or shows some difficulty to push the action ? if thats the case, I would assume that is due to the number of years without usage, which is not a good sign or could be a problem of humidity. I would have it checked by a tech, as it may be a sign of internal problems in the action. At least in mine, I dont feel anything unusual. The Bluthner piano are supposedly of lesser quality before 2005 or so though by that date, they were probably back to their top level. Normally it would have a Renner action.


Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The Delta I also did not get to try; it seems like they had every size but the 185! However, I'm again encouraged because the Alpha 160 had a resonant sound with much projection. The dealer exhorted me to have titanium pins added if I buy the Delta (at extra cost) - he said that it would make a lot of difference in the sound but I've no idea if that's true or not?

A question for an expert ! but even if it does, the question is whether you will like the change.

The saleswoman claimed that most apartment dwellers don't have the space for such a big piano, hence the Blüthner being unsold for so long. Not a very believable reason, IMO. She also insists that the piano was opened and crated in 2010. From my research, a serial number of 151083 likely indicates that the piano is quite a bit older. I can't say for certain, however, because Blüthner has not been immediately forthcoming about serial numbers and ages since about 2003. Once I know exactly how old the piano is, I'll be making a counteroffer to the saleslady (she's already dropped the price a fair bit once).

When the keys are pushed on the Blüthner the feeling isn't as light as, say, a Schimmel or a Yamaha. I'm not an expert so I can't say whether Blüthners generally feel like that or whether that's the piano's age talking. I'll no doubt have the piano thoroughly evaluated by a technician if I get serious about buying it.
Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
Am I also correct in understanding that you can make custom requests from the factory in many cases, like "voice mellower in treble" or "medium key weight" -- something to this effect?

The Sauter dealer is the only one who's proffered that this can be done.

Honestly, he was so passionate and sincere in delivery that I feel almost obligated to get a Sauter! At the very least, he convincingly makes the Sauter sound (in every which way) like a brand that's an octave above all others.

It's a pity that the Delta is 5 cm shorter and that one would have to wait so long to finally get it.
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
It's a pity that the Delta is 5 cm shorter and that one would have to wait so long to finally get it.

Well...


If you're going to consider a custom order and put up with the associated wait, there is always the Omega wink
Sauter sounds like they're good at marketing...there's one across town (an Omega from 2016) I've been wanting to try. But I'd have to masquerade as a "prospective buyer", I suppose. I also want to try a Fazioli there. https://www.northwestpianos.com/collections/grand-pianos/products/sauter-omega-220-73
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Originally Posted by tirta
do you try playing yamaha sx pianos in Singapore?

Yes, the SX3 (which is all they had and none from the CF range were available).

I wasn't very impressed to be honest. From my point of view, most European-made pianos I've tried have more depth in the sound. Yamahas are clean and light but the overall sound is a tad thin and lacking in complexity.

All IMO, of course.

Hi, may I ask which shopping mall or branch you tried the SX3?
Originally Posted by Jojovan
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Originally Posted by tirta
do you try playing yamaha sx pianos in Singapore?

Yes, the SX3 (which is all they had and none from the CF range were available).

I wasn't very impressed to be honest. From my point of view, most European-made pianos I've tried have more depth in the sound. Yamahas are clean and light but the overall sound is a tad thin and lacking in complexity.

All IMO, of course.

Hi, may I ask which shopping mall or branch you tried the SX3?

Thomson Plaza.
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Originally Posted by tirta
do you try playing yamaha sx pianos in Singapore?

Yes, the SX3 (which is all they had and none from the CF range were available).

I wasn't very impressed to be honest. From my point of view, most European-made pianos I've tried have more depth in the sound. Yamahas are clean and light but the overall sound is a tad thin and lacking in complexity.

All IMO, of course.

thanks for the reply.

iirc on your previous post, you wrote that you like c7x.
so you prefer c7x to s3x?
Originally Posted by tirta
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Originally Posted by tirta
do you try playing yamaha sx pianos in Singapore?

Yes, the SX3 (which is all they had and none from the CF range were available).

I wasn't very impressed to be honest. From my point of view, most European-made pianos I've tried have more depth in the sound. Yamahas are clean and light but the overall sound is a tad thin and lacking in complexity.

All IMO, of course.

thanks for the reply.

iirc on your previous post, you wrote that you like c7x.
so you prefer c7x to s3x?

Oh, definitely. I think I'd prefer the S3X to the C3X, but the sheer size advantage that the C7X has over the S3X would make it the winner.
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
It's a pity that the Delta is 5 cm shorter and that one would have to wait so long to finally get it.

Well...


If you're going to consider a custom order and put up with the associated wait, there is always the Omega wink

The prices of Sauters keep going up from Thailand to Singapore...but oh, how I wish I could get the Omega!

Out of all the pianos I've tried (not including Steinway, Fazioli and all those brands which are way out of my range), the Omega is my favorite but the price/s are just slightly too extravagant. If I'd be willing to pay that amount, I certainly wouldn't mind waiting a bit longer for it!
Sautet omega definitely is excellent piano.
So how much is the best price you get for omega?
Originally Posted by tirta
Sautet omega definitely is excellent piano.
So how much is the best price you get for omega?

The minimum seems to be around 1,001,014,240.06 Indonesian Rupiahs (that figure was achieved through a currency converter) for a brand new one from the factory which you'll have to wait until next year to acquire.

The one I tried in a showroom that was at least 10 years old costs about 133,432,943.75 Indonesian Rupiahs more!
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The minimum seems to be around 1,001,014,240.06 Indonesian Rupiahs (that figure was achieved through a currency converter) for a brand new one from the factory which you'll have to wait until next year to acquire.

Converted to euros, that is the same price in Western Europe.
I think to pay the necessary price for a piano you seek is worth it. Because every time you sit down and play, you’ll remember. And this need not be a monetary price—it can also be thought of as the space it occupies in our life. Namely, to find the time and dedication for it, even as other forces distract us from the music we love.
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The minimum seems to be around 1,001,014,240.06 Indonesian Rupiahs (that figure was achieved through a currency converter) for a brand new one from the factory which you'll have to wait until next year to acquire.

The one I tried in a showroom that was at least 10 years old costs about 133,432,943.75 Indonesian Rupiahs more!

ah the pricing is odd indeed.
while I might prefer the sound of european pianos,
I think I choose c7x or s7x since compared to that price, they are much cheaper here.
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The minimum seems to be around 1,001,014,240.06 Indonesian Rupiahs (that figure was achieved through a currency converter) for a brand new one from the factory which you'll have to wait until next year to acquire.

Converted to euros, that is the same price in Western Europe.

The prices go up in Singapore. I asked the dealer there whether it would make a difference if I ordered the piano through him or via Thailand and he replied that it didn't really matter. Odd.

I'm leaning towards the Blüthner Model 6 now after getting a good offer directly from the factory. However, I've read some not so flattering comments about modern Blüthners (especially the smaller grands) - is there any truth to them? I liked the Blüthner I played, but that piano is 17 years old - has the quality deteriorated since then?

As for the August Förster 190, the price is attractive, but I haven't been blown away by the sound in clips. It seems very clear and quite bright; the Sauters and Blüthners appear to have a deeper and more full-bodied sound. August Förster also seems to be a lesser-known brand - are quality and workmanship standards high?

The Sauter Delta sounds good but I'm worried that 5 cm makes a difference - does it? That piano also seems to veer towards a clearer and brighter sound.
I think based on general reputation at least, it goes something like Sauter < Forster < Bluthner (regarding quality). But it's also just down to personal preferences. Here's an interesting article anyway, with quite a bit to say about each: https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/...h-end-pianos-they-service-parts-1-and-2/
Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
I think based on general reputation at least, it goes something like Sauter < Forster < Bluthner (regarding quality). But it's also just down to personal preferences. Here's an interesting article anyway, with quite a bit to say about each: https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/...h-end-pianos-they-service-parts-1-and-2/
You cannot judge these brands like different brands of T shirts
or toasters.These are ALL very high brands.In Fines ratings with Bluthner being the best brand.August Forster are regarded on the same level as Sauter.You need to look at the models of these.It is generally accepted that the Sauter Omega is one of the most remarkable pianos around.The Delta is a very good piano but not in that range at all.( I am not talking about size) I am sure Bluthner have some really excellent models.The OP does not like August Forster but I feel there are some here who love thier August Forster pianos.You cannot say that Sauter has the best quality therefore ALL the models that Sauter makes are the best quality.
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The minimum seems to be around 1,001,014,240.06 Indonesian Rupiahs (that figure was achieved through a currency converter) for a brand new one from the factory which you'll have to wait until next year to acquire.

Converted to euros, that is the same price in Western Europe.

The prices go up in Singapore. I asked the dealer there whether it would make a difference if I ordered the piano through him or via Thailand and he replied that it didn't really matter. Odd.

I'm leaning towards the Blüthner Model 6 now after getting a good offer directly from the factory. However, I've read some not so flattering comments about modern Blüthners (especially the smaller grands) - is there any truth to them? I liked the Blüthner I played, but that piano is 17 years old - has the quality deteriorated since then?

As for the August Förster 190, the price is attractive, but I haven't been blown away by the sound in clips. It seems very clear and quite bright; the Sauters and Blüthners appear to have a deeper and more full-bodied sound. August Förster also seems to be a lesser-known brand - are quality and workmanship standards high?

The Sauter Delta sounds good but I'm worried that 5 cm makes a difference - does it? That piano also seems to veer towards a clearer and brighter sound.
You mean you are judging the August Forster grand based on a "sound clip?"
Originally Posted by tre corda
Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
I think based on general reputation at least, it goes something like Sauter < Forster < Bluthner (regarding quality). But it's also just down to personal preferences. Here's an interesting article anyway, with quite a bit to say about each: https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/...h-end-pianos-they-service-parts-1-and-2/
You cannot judge these brands like different brands of T shirts
or toasters.These are ALL very high brands.In Fines ratings with Bluthner being the best brand.August Forster are regarded on the same level as Sauter.You need to look at the models of these.It is generally accepted that the Sauter Omega is one of the most remarkable pianos around.The Delta is a very good piano but not in that range at all.( I am not talking about size) I am sure Bluthner have some really excellent models.The OP does not like August Forster but I feel there are some here who love thier August Forster pianos.

That's interesting, because Fine distinctly states that "Sauter is considered in Europe to be a medium-high quality piano". So is this just misinformation? It's based on something, surely. Have things changed drastically since the time of publication? Ideally, I'd play them all, gladly. But that's easier said than done. In the meantime, I can still read about them, and much has been said. And it isn't all along the lines of what you say at all. In the Fine's book I have, technically the Bosendorfer is the highest rated -- but this is only taking into account a difference in "information" (a 0.5 point of difference). Otherwise, Bluthner, Forster, Steingraeber, also all have the same ratings.
But you know what? I totally understand where you're coming from. Because we've made a thing of it, I'm going to go and play the one Omega in town -- along with a Fazioli. You're totally right that I should try these pianos out, and in so doing, I will become more experienced and better-informed. Bluthner and Forster I can't find in this town, maybe somewhere else someday.
Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
But you know what? I totally understand where you're coming from. Because we've made a thing of it, I'm going to go and play the one Omega in town -- along with a Fazioli. You're totally right that I should try these pianos out, and in so doing, I will become more experienced and better-informed. Bluthner and Forster I can't find in this town, maybe somewhere else someday.
Chromium, I agree with you.Sauter is one of the best manufacturers in Europe..but thier masterpiece with grands is often said to be the Omega.Also I did not mean at all that Bluthner is a higher quality than Bosendorfer, not at all.It is generally regarded here that "Bosendorfer is king of all pianos".
I do not know August Forster pianos that well to say that they are better or worse that Sauter.Perhaps they are smaller than Sauter yet produce thier own "Omega" grand,( I mean a stunning semi concert model) Sauter also makes some rather basic upright models (more economic) which perhaps are not as good as the other models.I am just saying that you have to consider the different models of these brands.I guess all Bosendorfers are great instruments.The one I tried (from the 70's or 80's had the best tone I have ever heard) I was speaking to the OP about needing to play the August Forster rather than make a judgement without playing the instrument, (brand and model) Even then that is only ONE example of that brand/model.
How about something totally different
Originally Posted by tre corda
How about something totally different
I like the part where it says
TITLE TEXT HERE

Haha
Title Text? Where?
Something totally different, indeed! (Isn't this one of the same pieces people have been listening to and playing for the last 180 years or so?) smile

But regarding the piano itself...yes, this is admittedly a little uncharacteristic of expectations. It sounds very good to me. My initial thought was...a little bright, though?
Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
That's interesting, because Fine distinctly states that "Sauter is considered in Europe to be a medium-high quality piano". So is this just misinformation? It's based on something, surely. Have things changed drastically since the time of publication? Ideally, I'd play them all, gladly. But that's easier said than done. In the meantime, I can still read about them, and much has been said. And it isn't all along the lines of what you say at all. In the Fine's book I have, technically the Bosendorfer is the highest rated -- but this is only taking into account a difference in "information" (a 0.5 point of difference). Otherwise, Bluthner, Forster, Steingraeber, also all have the same ratings.

You're using the Piano Book from over 20 years ago for this reference, right? I wouldn't call that information current anymore. Or are you using the current Piano Buyer brand profiles and "Map of the Market" (which isn't really a rating)?

Splitting these sorts of hairs quickly becomes stupid. They are all high quality makes with different voices. I wouldn't pick a piano based on its arbitrary "rating", I pick it because I like the tone, and hopefully to a similar extent, the touch. Someone who likes a juiced up NY Steinway B isn't going to like the tonal palette of a Bosendorfer 200. Someone who likes the tone of a Förster 215 is probably not going to be a perfect match for a Blüthner model 4. At that point, ratings don't matter to a serious player with an open mind. And almost, tiny differences in quality won't, either.
Of course you are right. The book is just some opinions. And what matters is your opinion as the person buying/playing/using the piano.
Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
Something totally different, indeed! (Isn't this one of the same pieces people have been listening to and playing for the last 180 years or so?) smile

But regarding the piano itself...yes, this is admittedly a little uncharacteristic of expectations. It sounds very good to me. My initial thought was...a little bright, though?

Yes obviously I was only talking about the piano.(you think I do not know that Chopin?) Perhaps we need to listen more, rather than only listening to a degree we think that brand deserves to be listened to. 😉 There are many great pianos around from the US, Europe and Japan.I think I am getting rather tired of this idealised Omega that seems to be so unavailable..
No, I was just kidding. I assumed you’d know it. You’re right. I totally agree with you. I’m trying to advocate for the same approach I’d use myself, which is to buy the piano you like best to the degree that you can afford the price, and that its availability suits you (digressions and tangents aside)…pending things like tech inspection etc
Tre corda:
title Text where?

I was sure I saw it, I cannot find it anymore!
Well that Seiler Concert piano is $253,232 SMP price in Brand Profiles."She ain't no low class Lady!" 😃
https://www.pianobuyer.com/brand/seiler/
Originally Posted by tre corda
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The minimum seems to be around 1,001,014,240.06 Indonesian Rupiahs (that figure was achieved through a currency converter) for a brand new one from the factory which you'll have to wait until next year to acquire.

Converted to euros, that is the same price in Western Europe.

The prices go up in Singapore. I asked the dealer there whether it would make a difference if I ordered the piano through him or via Thailand and he replied that it didn't really matter. Odd.

I'm leaning towards the Blüthner Model 6 now after getting a good offer directly from the factory. However, I've read some not so flattering comments about modern Blüthners (especially the smaller grands) - is there any truth to them? I liked the Blüthner I played, but that piano is 17 years old - has the quality deteriorated since then?

As for the August Förster 190, the price is attractive, but I haven't been blown away by the sound in clips. It seems very clear and quite bright; the Sauters and Blüthners appear to have a deeper and more full-bodied sound. August Förster also seems to be a lesser-known brand - are quality and workmanship standards high?

The Sauter Delta sounds good but I'm worried that 5 cm makes a difference - does it? That piano also seems to veer towards a clearer and brighter sound.
You mean you are judging the August Forster grand based on a "sound clip?"

No, I did get to try the August Förster 170. That size is unfortunately too small for me and I will not consider buying it, but it was the best I could do as the 190 was not in stock.

Not the best sound I've ever heard - clear, silvery, but a bit too 'light' for me, and that goes for the touch as well. A regional dealer told me that August Förster is more suited for playing classical and baroque music, and I can believe it. Now, I realize this is a smaller model than I'd be aiming to buy (the 190), but I tried the Sauter Alpha 160 and it is remarkable how similar it was to the Omega in terms of general sound and touch. I think there's a Singaporean user floating around here who took a chance on the Delta after only having tried the Alpha and he is very happy with it; I was wondering if I could use the same approach in purchasing the August Förster 190.
Originally Posted by probably blue
Originally Posted by tre corda
How about something totally different
I like the part where it says
TITLE TEXT HERE

Haha

I tried the Seiler SE-186 at Bechstein World where they also stock Seiler, and boy, was I disappointed. That piano was at a perfect price point for me, but it was readily obvious to even a neophyte like me that the sound and touch were inferior to many of the other brands I'd tried.

No offence intended to Seiler owners - this is all solely IMO, of course!
There is a certain amount of brightness in many European pianos.That includes some excellent models of Sauter uprights and the smaller grands.The German Seiler SE is apparently quite bright.I would suggest that for the larger SE models of grands you would have to try them before you can judge..Then remember you are judging ONE example of this brand and model.The Concert grand in the YouTube video I am SURE is nothing like you describe, unless it's unprepared, or it has been ruined by something like exposure to extremly high humidity levels. By the way I have tried Sauter pianos as well.The Delta I played was rather disappointing, the touch was very stiff, and not that smooth.I went online and discovered there were others who had the same experience.Apparently this seems to be the case with only SOME of the pianos.(I mean Deltas) The tone was good but quite frankly some Sauter uprights had a more beautiful tone than that grand piano. The piano had been tuned and apparently regulated. Apart from this the Omega is apparently is a huge step up from the Delta.in performance quality.You cannot completely judge a brand or model by playing one example.I doubt that the Alpha would have much in common with the semi concert
Omega.A similar signature tone yes, but this small grand would probably have more in common with a Sauter130 than the Omega.
https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=57501.0
https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=61377.0
Originally Posted by tre corda
Then remember you are judging ONE example of this brand and model.

Well, unfortunately for some of us this is all we'll have to go by. Not all of us live in regions where a wide variety of piano brands are available, and certainly we can't all go traipsing around the world trying as many pianos as we can.

Of course, one has to use their common sense. If the piano has suffered through shitty conditions then it can't be judged accurately. However, if the piano purports to be in good condition and has been well-maintained and you still aren't impressed by it, that's a strike against it and the brand.

And I don't know about you, but I could perceive a similarity in richness of sound between the Alpha and the Omega (LOL, that almost sounds Biblical!). This is unique to Sauter and something I didn't experience with other brands; it is almost like speakers are turned on and the sound is especially amplified when playing with the right-hand side pedal.
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
I'm leaning towards the Blüthner Model 6 now after getting a good offer directly from the factory. However, I've read some not so flattering comments about modern Blüthners (especially the smaller grands) - is there any truth to them? I liked the Blüthner I played, but that piano is 17 years old - has the quality deteriorated since then?

The usual observation is that the quality standard is up to their top level since around 2005/2006 after the cold war period.

Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The Sauter Delta sounds good but I'm worried that 5 cm makes a difference - does it? That piano also seems to veer towards a clearer and brighter sound.

5cm versus which model ? The Omega is 220. If you are talking about a 190cm piano from another brand, it is difficult to point out one particular element that would make a difference. The Omega will have obviously a deeper and stronger bass and mid bass which will give more balance to the tonal spectrum. Now each piano size in any given brand has its own voice. Whether you prefer one over the other is often a question of appreciation. Personally I like piano which have enough bass but not an overwhelming bass presence, someone else may judge that more bass is just right.

The Delta will have less harmonic complexity than the Bluthner which has also a more full bodied sound which I find nicely balanced for me (thats why I bought one). The Delta I have tried had a rather silvery, brilliant sound but quite elegant. The concept of bright is again personal to each person, so I wouldnt use that term, but it is definitely less full-bodied than some other brands in equivalent size.
Well there you go, as you say because one Seiler SE 186 was awful, I agree all Seiler's must be trash.I wonder what that says about Sauter then considering I did not like that Delta which was also kept in such an excellent environment? I do not understand RailwayInca why is this discussion going on and on.Why not order the Omega or buy the one in the store.By the way I am a Sauter fan. I do think it's rather naive to trash a brand because of one example, no matter how frustrating it is to be dissapointed by playing a certain model ( individual piano in the store) I am hoping to try another Sauter Delta sometime.No these brands and models are not all over the place here either and I am not just able to fly around the world to try out pianos.I know nothing about these modern Seiler pianos, but I do feel I am am open enough to judge them fairly.One PW member in Sweden loves her new Seiler upright.So it seems some Europeans certainly value them. There are also two other members who own Seilers and one of them I know really loves his Seiler grand.So there you go then.. 😨 😟 🙀 😉 😄
I think as a buyer, there is certainly only so much you can do. I'll have to take "on faith" that when someone writes off a brand while shopping, they're doing so out of necessity due to the constraints imposed around the process: travel to see different models, not being able to A/B, extremely limited selection, limited time at the shop and for shopping generally, limited energy, etc. I don't even think it's bad for someone to truly come to a conclusion about the brand based on one or two samples. Opinions are as common as...noses, after all. And every brand has it's opportunity to impress, through it's availability, price, dealer network, the tuning and prep of the model(s) available at the time....

The beauty contest is unfair and constrained. But that's life some people will walk away not liking Steinway. Or Bosendorfer. Or Seiler or Young Chang.

Originally Posted by tre corda
I do not understand RailwayInca why is this discussion going on and on.Why not order the Omega or buy the one in the store.

I have to admit I've lost the train of this thread as well! 😅RiverInca35, can you remind us where you stand currently in your selection journey?
Well all I can say is if it takes one year to build a Sauter 122 Maly design piano, it's going to take at least 5 years to build an Omega.( I still do not think it does though) So yes there will either be a long wait or the need for more traveling will become even more essential.Considering the differences experienced by some with the Delta model (see the link above) I would want to travel so I can try the piano out before buying that Omega.Still since you have just bought a top level grand Gombessa perhaps you can be more helpful to the OP.
The beauty contest is unfair and constrained. But that's life some people will walk away not liking Steinway. Or Bosendorfer. Or Seiler or Young Chang.
quote/ Gombessa]

No it's more likely that they have the same or better taste than a wealthy person who can afford a Bosendorfer or. a Steinway. The reason they choose something less expensive is because they know what thier budget is.That is why when we give up on a brand we should at least be sensitive about it when we can afford something far higher.(well I try to be)
Originally Posted by tre corda
The beauty contest is unfair and constrained. But that's life some people will walk away not liking Steinway. Or Bosendorfer. Or Seiler or Young Chang.
quote/ Gombessa]

No it's more likely that they have the same or better taste than a wealthy person who can afford a Bosendorfer or. a Steinway. The reason they choose something less expensive is because they know what thier budget is.That is why when we give up on a brand we should at least be sensitive about it when we can afford something far higher.(well I try to be)
Don’t take this personally Gombessa... 😅
Originally Posted by tre corda
The beauty contest is unfair and constrained. But that's life some people will walk away not liking Steinway. Or Bosendorfer. Or Seiler or Young Chang.
quote/ Gombessa]

No it's more likely that they have the same or better taste than a wealthy person who can afford a Bosendorfer or. a Steinway. The reason they choose something less expensive is because they know what thier budget is.That is why when we give up on a brand we should at least be sensitive about it when we can afford something far higher.(well I try to be)
.

This post seems more inclusive and respectful of different pianos. This is great! This recent post copied below did not give the same impression. It read to me that European pianos are the only pianos.

… and why not a "European Piano Club?" Not really workable here I know.They are expensive, still they are special. Many prefer them to what else is offered, and for good reasons too! No amount of "puppetearing" will stop people from buying them;."Long may they reign!"
Originally Posted by tre corda
Well all I can say is if it takes one year to build a Sauter 122 Maly design piano, it's going to take at least 5 years to build an Omega.( I still do not think it does though) So yes there will either be a long wait or the need for more traveling will become even more essential.Considering the differences experienced by some with the Delta model (see the link above) I would want to travel so I can try the piano out before buying that Omega.Still since you have just bought a top level grand Gombessa perhaps you can be more helpful to the OP.

I have to admit, sometimes I have a hard time following the conversation with you tre corda, so I apologize if I'm misinterpreting what you say!

Overall, it does in fact take multiple years start to finish, 3-6+ to make any of these pianos. But that involves long production-independent lead times of curing the wood used and the plate, and I think that all happens in the background such that we can disregard those parts of the proccess.

I don't understand why it seems to be an offensive comment to point out the reality (what OP has experienced, what I have, and what others have reported as ll) that in today's circumstances, you are going to deal with a long wait, more than a few months, if you put in a new order? Nobody is saying it takes 12-18 months for actual production when an order is received (this isn't a drive through preparing a big mac). On the contrary, it sounds like there's a long wait just to get started on any new orders. They get the order in, it's placed in a queue, they have finite resources and manufacturing capabilities, including as you mentioned, limited manpower due to the pandemic. They have set production and delivery schedules for vendors such as Kludge, Renner, Abel, from whom they have to send in orders and wait for parts. And it does takes several months to pull the formed rims, cured plate and soundboard, assemble the keyboard and action, finish the casing, prep, voice, and ship. But at the heart of it, whatever the reason for the capacity limitation, it seems a lot of manufacturers are working at that limit, meaning they can't go faster, and so if you put in an order today, that order is going to be sitting in their queue for maybe 6-8+ months before they even get around to starting on it, because all of their people are are busy completing the 2021 orders right now.

Hopefully they get back to matching their production capacity with demand. But I know that some mfgs, like Fazioli, only make ~140 pianos a year, and that's all they want to make, regardless of demand. So if you want one new from the factory, you are going to wait a long time.
Originally Posted by tre corda
Well all I can say is if it takes one year to build a Sauter 122 Maly design piano, it's going to take at least 5 years to build an Omega.( I still do not think it does though) So yes there will either be a long wait or the need for more traveling will become even more essential.Considering the differences experienced by some with the Delta model (see the link above) I would want to travel so I can try the piano out before buying that Omega.Still since you have just bought a top level grand Gombessa perhaps you can be more helpful to the OP.

Originally Posted by tre corda
No it's more likely that they have the same or better taste than a wealthy person who can afford a Bosendorfer or. a Steinway. The reason they choose something less expensive is because they know what thier budget is.That is why when we give up on a brand we should at least be sensitive about it when we can afford something far higher.(well I try to be)


I have to admit, sometimes I have a hard time following the conversation with you tre corda, so I apologize if I'm misinterpreting what you say!

As an aside, from what I've read and seen online, it does in fact take multiple years start to finish, 3-6+ to make some of these pianos. But that includes long production-independent lead times of curing the wood used and the plate, and I think that all happens in the background regardless of the order-production process, such that we can disregard those parts of it.

What I don't understand why it seems to be an offensive comment to point out the reality (what OP has experienced, what I have, and what others have reported as ll) that in today's circumstances, you are going to deal with a long wait, more than a few months, if you put in a new order? I'm not talking about European pianos, just small-volume makers. That includes Shigeru Kawai. Presumably Yamaha CF series, maybe Charles Walter, Stuart and Sons, etc. They can only make so many a year, or only want to make so many.

Nobody is saying it takes 12-18 months for actual production when an order is received (this isn't a drive through preparing a big mac). On the contrary, it sounds like there's a long wait just to get started on any new orders. They get the order in, it's placed in a queue, they have finite resources and manufacturing capabilities, including as you mentioned, limited manpower due to the pandemic. They have set production and delivery schedules for vendors such as Kludge, Renner, Abel, from whom they have to send in orders and wait for parts. And it does takes several months to pull the formed rims, cured plate and soundboard, assemble the keyboard and action, finish the casing, prep, voice, and ship. But at the heart of it, whatever the reason for the capacity limitation, it seems a lot of manufacturers are working at that limit, meaning they can't go faster, and so if you put in an order today, that order is going to be sitting in their queue for maybe 6-8+ months before they even get around to starting on it, because all of their people are are busy completing the 2021 orders right now.

Hopefully they get back to matching their production capacity with demand. But I know that some mfgs, like Fazioli, only make ~140 pianos a year, and that's all they want to make, regardless of demand. So if you want one new from the factory, you are going to wait a long time.
Gombessa I happen to know someone who ordered an upright piano (classic series) who received thier piano in a few months that's all. I also apologize if I offended you, it was not my intention at all and it was only related to your post not you.

dogsperson you have chopped a piece out of what I said in a totally different thread and quoted that totally our of context.
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by tre corda
The beauty contest is unfair and constrained. But that's life some people will walk away not liking Steinway. Or Bosendorfer. Or Seiler or Young Chang.
quote/ Gombessa]

No it's more likely that they have the same or better taste than a wealthy person who can afford a Bosendorfer or. a Steinway. The reason they choose something less expensive is because they know what thier budget is.That is why when we give up on a brand we should at least be sensitive about it when we can afford something far higher.(well I try to be)
.

This post seems more inclusive and respectful of different pianos. This is great! This recent post copied below did not give the same impression. It read to me that European pianos are the only pianos.

… and why not a "European Piano Club?" Not really workable here I know.They are expensive, still they are special. Many prefer them to what else is offered, and for good reasons too! No amount of "puppetearing" will stop people from buying them;."Long may they reign!"
That was in Starrs thread and I was asking about joining thier "Seiler club" I was joking because I am the only active Schimmel upright owner.What I said needs to be read in context and I was joking.As a Schimmel owner I am sure I could not belong to a Mason & Hamlin club or a Kawai club.It was not meant to be snobbish or hurtful.I was talking to Starre.Something caused me to write that.I cannot remember, I never normally say "long may they reign".At the moment I am trying to recover from a Covid infection.So dogsperson I am sorry I really cannot remeber why I wrote such strange stuff.
Originally Posted by tre corda
Gombessa I happen to know someone who ordered an upright piano (classic series) who received thier piano in a few months that's all.

That can definitely happen! What was explained to me by several dealers is that there are certainly situations where you may get it faster even if the factory is operating at full capacity; among them:

a) mfg's production line capacity differs between uprights and grands;

b) someone orders from a large dealer who gets 20 pianos/year. They can "switch" an in-process order that is near/at the front of the queue, but hasn't started production yet, to what the customer asked for. Another dealer, who is only allotted 1-2 every year, may not have a reservation that they can pull forward.

c) as I was told above with Fazioli, sometimes dealers or customers will cancel orders, or change them after production begins, so if the "orphaned" piano happens to be one another customer/dealer wants, that will be completed faster;

d) some small segment of the annual allotment will not be "reserved." E.g., if the maker always wants at least one concert grand produced per year...when I asked about Bosendorfer in February, they only had a 280VC (that could have been made into a Beethoven 250th), and I think one other, that were been build without a pre-existing dealer reservation; and

e) some dealers will air freight, others go by ship for delivery, which impacts delivery time by a few weeks.

I'm sure there are a lot of other situations, but my takeaway from this is that some dealers are better situated to get orders from the factory sooner. But very few of these factors have to do with how long it actually takes to put together the piano.

Originally Posted by tre corda
I also apologize if I offended you, it was not my intention at all and it was only related to your post not you.

Thanks for the clarification, and no worries, we're all friends here!! 🫂👍
Originally Posted by tre corda
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by tre corda
The beauty contest is unfair and constrained. But that's life some people will walk away not liking Steinway. Or Bosendorfer. Or Seiler or Young Chang.
quote/ Gombessa]

No it's more likely that they have the same or better taste than a wealthy person who can afford a Bosendorfer or. a Steinway. The reason they choose something less expensive is because they know what thier budget is.That is why when we give up on a brand we should at least be sensitive about it when we can afford something far higher.(well I try to be)
.

This post seems more inclusive and respectful of different pianos. This is great! This recent post copied below did not give the same impression. It read to me that European pianos are the only pianos.

… and why not a "European Piano Club?" Not really workable here I know.They are expensive, still they are special. Many prefer them to what else is offered, and for good reasons too! No amount of "puppetearing" will stop people from buying them;."Long may they reign!"
That was in Starrs thread and I was asking about joining thier "Seiler club" I was joking because I am the only active Schimmel upright owner.What I said needs to be read in context and I was joking.As a Schimmel owner I am sure I could not belong to a Mason & Hamlin club or a Kawai club.It was not meant to be snobbish or hurtful.I was talking to Starre.Something caused me to write that.I cannot remember, I never normally say "long may they reign".At the moment I am trying to recover from a Covid infection.So dogsperson I am sorry I really cannot remeber why I wrote such strange stuff.


We all write or say things we don’t necessarily mean. Good to know you don’t exclude Japanese and American pianos from the worthy.
Originally Posted by tre corda
Well there you go, as you say because one Seiler SE 186 was awful, I agree all Seiler's must be trash.I wonder what that says about Sauter then considering I did not like that Delta which was also kept in such an excellent environment? I do not understand RailwayInca why is this discussion going on and on.Why not order the Omega or buy the one in the store.By the way I am a Sauter fan. I do think it's rather naive to trash a brand because of one example, no matter how frustrating it is to be dissapointed by playing a certain model ( individual piano in the store) I am hoping to try another Sauter Delta sometime.No these brands and models are not all over the place here either and I am not just able to fly around the world to try out pianos.I know nothing about these modern Seiler pianos, but I do feel I am am open enough to judge them fairly.One PW member in Sweden loves her new Seiler upright.So it seems some Europeans certainly value them. There are also two other members who own Seilers and one of them I know really loves his Seiler grand.So there you go then.. 😨 😟 🙀 😉 😄

Well, there's no need to be quite so dramatic.

I am not trashing anything. As Gombessa pointed out (thanks, Gombessa!), not all of us have the opportunity to play multiple makes of the same brand or model. I play the piano; if it is in relatively good condition and I'm not impressed, I write it off. That's a strike against the brand FOR ME (not for anyone else), and it can't be helped because I don't have a wide variety to choose from. To say that just because I didn't like one Seiler that I'm intimating that the whole brand is trash is just a ridiculous thing to say.

And this discussion is going on because I don't have great gobs of cash like you to throw around on any piano that strikes my fancy so first choices have to be struck off, less ideal options have to be considered, etc. I don't know why you ask that question anyway. You don't have to participate in this discussion if you don't want to.
"And this discussion is going on because I don't have great gobs of cash like you to throw around on any piano that strikes my fancy" [quote/RiverInca35]

You are being highly offensive, and what you saying is uncalled for.Anyway Bye Bye, I am leaving. I hope you find out the difference between the Alpha model and the unobtainable Omega.
I do wonder if anyone has ever been spoken to in such a way on PW before?
Originally Posted by tre corda
"And this discussion is going on because I don't have great gobs of cash like you to throw around on any piano that strikes my fancy" [quote/RiverInca35]

You are being highly offensive, and what you saying is uncalled for.Anyway Bye Bye, I am leaving. I hope you find out the difference between the Alpha model and the unobtainable Omega.

Look at yourself in the mirror.

You basically tell me that there's no point in continuing a thread which I started - the way you make it sound, it's like, shut your whining, make up your mind and just buy the damn piano.

And you have also accused me of maligning entire brands when I have never had the intention of doing so.
I think there were probably some threads crossed and misinterpretations on all sides here. Let's just let bygones be bygones (hug it out??) and we can all help bring this thread back on track so it doesn't get locked? smile
Riverway, if you do want to get this thread back on track, I think it would be useful to summarize where you currently are in the shopping process, as Gombessa recommended. You’ve been to different countries in your search, and it’s not at all clear to me where your thinking stands, let alone what kind of information you need to move you toward a final decision. (No need to go over all the pianos you didn’t like very much, just the things that are currently at the top of your list).
Lets take it cool. This is just a forum for discussion, at best to exchange ideas and get some hopefully good recommendations, have fun or get angry and write nasty comments. We dont have to achieve something here and the OP does not owe us anything. Most threads dont go anywhere, they are just random ramblings with no specific purpose, though we would like to make them logical (I guess our western cartesian spirit).
I'll just do a recap of my thoughts. First, something which is relatively accessible, you can read about pianos and their reputations online or in books. There's lots of info out there, and I think many of us serious about pianos will be interested in exploring those resources. We don't have access to endless pianos from history, and the tech specs, details, etc. can be quite relevant when considering a purchase. You often won't know about that stuff just sitting down to play an instrument.

There's no shame in doing your research and learning about brand reputations. But, you wouldn't want that to weigh too heavily or bias you, regarding how you personally feel about a piano (or a brand in general). Second, of course, much less accessible, you can play them in person. This is where the proof is in the pudding. Playing in person should always take precedent when it comes to how you personally judge a piano. But it is somewhat specific to the individual piano(s), and often the more you play, you realize overall patterns or lack of patterns.

It's always best if you can play, at length, the single, unique instrument you will be taking home, before you purchase it. Just getting a copy, while probably still offering a decent shot at verisimilitude from a factory-new instrument, might still disappoint you when it arrives. Worst case scenario, you'll be looking at significant prep work to get it like the floor model was, and it may never quite get there anyway. So if you're going to be picky and discerning about what you want, you'll want to make sure you take that identical one home. Some would be very firm on that (and personally I like the idea of preowned purchases for this reason, as it illustrates necessarily that the piano you've found and fallen for is one-of-a-kind).

It's very easy to get sucked into marketing tactics when you're at the store. Piano salespeople are often quite good at their jobs. And they don't even care what it is you buy, as long as you buy something. They'll just try to work their magic so that you make a purchase (the bigger the better), even if it's distracting you by trying to hard sell stuff you're not as excited about (so that you naturally go running to the stuff you really want by contrast).

I would base the final decision entirely on how the piano plays and sounds to you (and maybe to some outside observers--excluding the salespeople). Forget about the brand. Play pianos until you find one standing out that you love. And then play a little game with yourself. Pretend it wasn't [brand x], and insert the brand of a piano you have a less positive association with. Ask yourself if you'd still buy it. It might not be totally realistic (because pianos brands are all so different in how they play and feel), but do try to dissociate yourself with perceptions of the branding, if possible.

I'm sorry for any part I personally have played in anyone feeling bad on here. That is not my intention. I think we're all good people on here. I think misunderstandings happen. I wish they did not, but this is par for the course sometimes. Good luck!
Thanks all for the advice. I'll try not to be so touchy from now on! wink

I've likely narrowed it down to a Blüthner Model 6, an August Förster 190 or a Sauter Delta 185. I'm inclined towards the Blüthner because that's the only model I actually got to play. For the other two brands, I only played bigger or smaller models than the ones I'm actually eyeing. The Omega was my favorite out of all the pianos I tried (discounting Fazioli and Steinway); it is slightly too expensive for me but I may eventually be persuaded otherwise because I'm not alone in making the decision. I'm a bit nervous about my likeliest choices because I didn't get to play all of them and these makes aren't like Yamahas or Steinways where there's a wealth of opinions and clips available on them.

chromaticvortex, I agree that it would be most prudent to buy the piano that you actually played. Unfortunately, the two pianos that could've induced me to take them home are really old and too costly in relation to brand new models from the factory for me to feel that it would be worthwhile to buy them.
Looking back at your posts on these pianos, you didn’t seem to be all that enthusiastic about the A. förster you played (which I think was a bit smaller than the 190, and you expressedhopes that the larger piano will sound better to you. Your description of the Blüthner was also not particularly enthusiastic — kind of luke warm. You did like both the smaller and larger Sauters that you played (I think they were the Alpha and Omega smile ), but there was no delta to try.

My sense from your description of trying pianos in at least 3 countries in Southeast Asia is that the availability and practice around selling very high end European pianos is different there. It seems like the practice is for people to order the pianos for delivery, rather than to have new pianos regularly stocked on the showroom floor. I suppose this may be a reflection of the same supply issue we are seeing in the US, but from what you write, it seems like something else is going on — that the culture/practice around this kind of purchase is to order pianos straight from the manufacturer. Either way, your conclusion was that after visiting multiple countries, you didn’t want to take home any of the pianos you saw (many of which were being sold as new, for prices significantly higher than a ‘truly new’ piano, when the piano had been on the floor for 10-20 years). I understand your reluctance to buy one of these pianos.

From what you’ve written, I think your decision about how to proceed depends on how you weigh different factors. One option is to try to wait and see if piano availability changes. My sense is that this will require a lot of patience and you will end up waiting a very, very long time. Another option, which will not be cheap (and may also mean waiting for some time) but at least gives you some confidence in getting a piano you like, is to communicate with the Sauter dealer and arrange for a trip to visit the Sauter factory at a time when they have pianos to select from. This does mean you will have to factor in the price of the trip into the total purchase price, and this will also be a significant investment of your time. I chose Sauter because from my reading of your posts, it really seemed like you preferred this to other pianos.
Another option is just to accept the risk that you don’t know exactly what the piano is going to feel and sound like and order either a Sauter or Bluthner. If you go this route, I’d really consider the prices of each, as well as the expected time to delivery, because you are taking on significant risk, and in this scenario, I’d at least try to be happier with other aspects of the purchase. Yet another option is to completely rethink the process and look at pianos that are more widely available to you — which I am guessing would be pianos made in China and Japan. Look for one that you like. It doesn’t have to be your last piano purchase, but it may be a lot less expensive than the options you are looking at, and maybe it can be a piano that you can be happy with for quite some time. Perhaps down the road, the opportunity will come to buy the Sauter Omega of your dreams.

I’m sure others will have additional paths you could consider. I don’t know what I’d do if it were me. But I wouldn’t spend a ton of money on a piano that I was tepid about. I hope this helps.
Originally Posted by Sgisela
Looking back at your posts on these pianos, you didn’t seem to be all that enthusiastic about the A. förster you played (which I think was a bit smaller than the 190, and you expressedhopes that the larger piano will sound better to you. Your description of the Blüthner was also not particularly enthusiastic — kind of luke warm. You did like both the smaller and larger Sauters that you played (I think they were the Alpha and Omega smile ), but there was no delta to try.

My sense from your description of trying pianos in at least 3 countries in Southeast Asia is that the availability and practice around selling very high end European pianos is different there. It seems like the practice is for people to order the pianos for delivery, rather than to have new pianos regularly stocked on the showroom floor. I suppose this may be a reflection of the same supply issue we are seeing in the US, but from what you write, it seems like something else is going on — that the culture/practice around this kind of purchase is to order pianos straight from the manufacturer. Either way, your conclusion was that after visiting multiple countries, you didn’t want to take home any of the pianos you saw (many of which were being sold as new, for prices significantly higher than a ‘truly new’ piano, when the piano had been on the floor for 10-20 years). I understand your reluctance to buy one of these pianos.

From what you’ve written, I think your decision about how to proceed depends on how you weigh different factors. One option is to try to wait and see if piano availability changes. My sense is that this will require a lot of patience and you will end up waiting a very, very long time. Another option, which will not be cheap (and may also mean waiting for some time) but at least gives you some confidence in getting a piano you like, is to communicate with the Sauter dealer and arrange for a trip to visit the Sauter factory at a time when they have pianos to select from. This does mean you will have to factor in the price of the trip into the total purchase price, and this will also be a significant investment of your time. I chose Sauter because from my reading of your posts, it really seemed like you preferred this to other pianos.
Another option is just to accept the risk that you don’t know exactly what the piano is going to feel and sound like and order either a Sauter or Bluthner. If you go this route, I’d really consider the prices of each, as well as the expected time to delivery, because you are taking on significant risk, and in this scenario, I’d at least try to be happier with other aspects of the purchase. Yet another option is to completely rethink the process and look at pianos that are more widely available to you — which I am guessing would be pianos made in China and Japan. Look for one that you like. It doesn’t have to be your last piano purchase, but it may be a lot less expensive than the options you are looking at, and maybe it can be a piano that you can be happy with for quite some time. Perhaps down the road, the opportunity will come to buy the Sauter Omega of your dreams.

I’m sure others will have additional paths you could consider. I don’t know what I’d do if it were me. But I wouldn’t spend a ton of money on a piano that I was tepid about. I hope this helps.

Thanks for summarizing everything that I've been babbling on about from the start, Sgisela. smile

Thankfully, the Förster seems to be falling by the wayside because the, um, folks I'm with are not keen on the sound. So, that leaves either a Sauter or a Blüthner. It may seem like I'm leaving out a whole lot of other brands that are out there, but many aren't feasible options, really. I've tried Steinways, Faziolis and Bosendorfers, all of which are out because they're too expensive. I do not mind and have nothing against Asian brands at all, but all the ones I've tried have been lackluster (and that includes Yamaha, Kawai, Hailun and Ritmüller), and the folks I'm with are also not keen on them. I just can't bring myself to buy something that I'm not keen on at all even if it is so much cheaper than an European option.

Sauter in general does seem to have a sound that I'm fond of, but I'll be honest, I'm impatient. wink I don't know if I can wait that long for a grand, and a couple of dealers have warned me that the wait may be very long indeed. In this part of the world, yes, the market for high-end European pianos isn't very deep at all. One would be hard-pressed to find a piano like the Omega anywhere to try; most folks who aren't loaded will never spend that much on a piano, so the dealer has to take on a lot if they order a prestigious piano that no one will buy and which will just sit in the showroom for decades.

In-depth reviews and opinions on Blüthners and Sauters seem to be quite scarce, so if anyone can send some my way, I'd much appreciate it. smile
I'm looking on Klaviano now, too. Does anyone know if it is trustworthy to buy pianos through ads on that site?
Decided to go the online route and narrowed it down to two pianos both of which are being sold by stores in Holland:

A 20-year-old Blüthner Model 2 (238 cm) with one previous owner who bought it for a museum to give occasional concerts in; the museum closed and the store has bought it back from the owner. The piano purports to be in a condition that is "like new".

A 10-year-old Grotrian 'Cabinet' model (192 cm) that has never been previously owned before. The store claims that the piano is somewhere between a Fazioli and a Yamaha. The Grotrian is around 4,540 USD cheaper than the Blüthner.

An offer of free shipping for the Blüthner ends on the 28th of June - guys, please help!
Are you going to fly out and try them? I don't recall if you've played those models of Bluthner/Grotrian before?

There are definitely situations where you can justify buying sight unseen, but I wonder if this is really one of them.

If "free shipping" is what is driving your time pressure, you should call the shop and ask them to extend the deadline (or offer a refundable deposit)...there's no reason why that deadline is anything other than a sales tactic.
How much is a plane ticket (and how long is a flight) to Schiphol airport? Although inconvenient, that would eliminate a lot of uncertainty.
The voice of a default modern Grotrian and a Blüthner are different. And the sizes are different. This makes the comparison, on paper, even more difficult to do. Both are offered to you in sizes that are well-liked by their dealers, owners, and fans.

Can you provide recordings? How much is the all-in price, to your doorstep? How do you intend to use it, and how big is your space?
Riverway, if you can’t make it to Holland, I would suggest you get recordings of someone playing the specific pianos you’re interested in, preferably playing something selections that reflect the styles of music that you play. And get a technician to evaluate both pianos and report back to you what they thought.
But as TerminalDegree said, there’s also a big difference in size between the two instruments, and the space you have will matter.

I also have difficulty imagining that ‘free shipping’ is truly ‘free shipping.’ Rather, I suspect that this means that the shipping costs are factored into the final price. Shipping a grand piano from Holland to Malaysia cannot be cheap, and I just can’t imagine that the seller is truly going to be absorbing that cost,
If you bought a piano sight unseen and it turns out that you didn't like it all that much, would you be able to live with your decision? Something that seems like a good deal right now may not end up being such a great deal if you're saddled with a piano that you're unhappy with.
Originally Posted by Gombessa
[quote=tre corda]Gombessa I happen to know someone who ordered an upright piano (classic series) who received thier piano in a few months that's all.

That can definitely happen! What was explained to me by several dealers is that there are certainly situations where you may get it faster even if the factory is operating at full capacity; among them:

a) mfg's production line capacity differs between uprights and grands;

b) someone orders from a large dealer who gets 20 pianos/year. They can "switch" an in-process order that is near/at the front of the queue, but hasn't started production yet, to what the customer asked for. Another dealer, who is only allotted 1-2 every year, may not have a reservation that they can pull forward.

c) as I was told above with Fazioli, sometimes dealers or customers will cancel orders, or change them after production begins, so if the "orphaned" piano happens to be one another customer/dealer wants, that will be completed faster;

d) some small segment of the annual allotment will not be "reserved." E.g., if the maker always wants at least one concert grand produced per year...when I asked about Bosendorfer in February, they only had a 280VC (that could have been made into a Beethoven 250th), and I think one other, that were been build without a pre-existing dealer reservation; and

e) some dealers will air freight, others go by ship for delivery, which impacts delivery time by a few weeks.

I'm sure there are a lot of other situations, but my takeaway from this is that some dealers are better situated to get orders from the factory sooner. But very few of these factors have to do with how long it actually takes to put together
[/quote Gombessa]

This is enlightening Gombessa!
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Decided to go the online route and narrowed it down to two pianos both of which are being sold by stores in Holland:

A 20-year-old Blüthner Model 2 (238 cm) with one previous owner who bought it for a museum to give occasional concerts in; the museum closed and the store has bought it back from the owner. The piano purports to be in a condition that is "like new".

A 10-year-old Grotrian 'Cabinet' model (192 cm) that has never been previously owned before. The store claims that the piano is somewhere between a Fazioli and a Yamaha. The Grotrian is around 4,540 USD cheaper than the Blüthner.

An offer of free shipping for the Blüthner ends on the 28th of June - guys, please help!


Buying un-seen is always a risk, especially second hand. Irrespective of whether "new" is really new (I guess you can ask for pictures), you dont know if the sound and feel will please you. For purchase of that amount, for me it would be too much risk. Now I dont know if that is possible but if you ever go to Europe, for vacation for example, tour up some dealers and buy over there.
Thanks for the responses all!

The price of the Blüthner is more than 50% less than a new one (all in, including shipping and other associated costs, is 49k Euros). I suppose that isn't too outrageous considering the piano is 20 years old. At least one Dutch technician I have e-mailed with 25 years experience in the field has assured me that the word of this store/company is as good as gold. It sounds like such a good offer which is why I'm afraid to pass it up. The owner or manager assured me that the piano is in "top" condition and seems a bit puzzled at my hesitation over what in his mind is an absolute steal. This is a clip he had made:



I have already hired a technician who will be inspecting the piano today. I've tried two Blüthners previously - one that was really ancient (I'm not sure what model it was) and not particularly striking and another that was a 17-year-old Model 6 that I liked.

The piano will be used for purely recreational purposes; I'm not too concerned about sizing because the living room is quite large with a very high ceiling. There will be quite a few objects cluttered around the piano; I will remove them if they compromise the sound.

The store that sells the Grotrian is a smaller scale affair but another technician also assures me that they're legit. I've never played a Grotrian before, but I love how the 'Cabinet' sounds in clips and the fact that the piano is much younger than the Blüthner is a draw (also like that it's never been pre-owned).

ETA: And oh, how I wish I could visit Holland! A trip is unfortunately not in the cards for the foreseeable future.
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The price of the Blüthner is more than 50% less than a new one (all in, including shipping and other associated costs, is 49k Euros). I suppose that isn't too outrageous considering the piano is 20 years old....

It sounds like such a good offer which is why I'm afraid to pass it up.

I'm not sure of depreciation schedules outside of what PianoBuyer has for the US market, but half the price of new sounds about right to me for a 20yo used piano? In fact I might think you could find it for even less? I feel it is more typical than steal?

Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The owner or manager assured me that the piano is in "top" condition and seems a bit puzzled at my hesitation over what in his mind is an absolute steal.

This to me sounds like a very typical sales tactic. "It would be crazy to pass up this deal, I just don't get it!!!"

Riverway, I know you're dealing with additional difficulties shopping in an SEA final destination, but am curious what drew you to shops in the NL of all places. It seems so...random, like throwing a dart at a globe and saying "I will buy whatever piano they have....here!" And the pianos you are seeking are beautiful and premium, but they're not "rare" in any sense of the word, either new or used. It's not like you're looking of 10 existing copies of Chopin's Pleyel here.

Not trying to disparage you, but I was hoping you could share your rationale here (am I missing something like an export treaty between your countries, family ties to Netherlands etc.)? Maybe I'm just disgustingly dripping out US privilege here, and just don't understand international scarcity for these
instruments?
Well, there comes a time when you have choose from what you can find. The pedigree of the piano sounds good. Assuming the report is favourable and you are happy with the price and the insurance arrangements then why not? It's an adventure to have a piano come from afar. Get a good technician to set it up and enjoy
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The price of the Blüthner is more than 50% less than a new one (all in, including shipping and other associated costs, is 49k Euros). I suppose that isn't too outrageous considering the piano is 20 years old....

It sounds like such a good offer which is why I'm afraid to pass it up.

I'm not sure of depreciation schedules outside of what PianoBuyer has for the US market, but half the price of new sounds about right to me for a 20yo used piano? In fact I might think you could find it for even less? I feel it is more typical than steal?

Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The owner or manager assured me that the piano is in "top" condition and seems a bit puzzled at my hesitation over what in his mind is an absolute steal.

This to me sounds like a very typical sales tactic. "It would be crazy to pass up this deal, I just don't get it!!!"

Riverway, I know you're dealing with additional difficulties shopping in an SEA final destination, but am curious what drew you to shops in the NL of all places. It seems so...random, like throwing a dart at a globe and saying "I will buy whatever piano they have....here!" And the pianos you are seeking are beautiful and premium, but they're not "rare" in any sense of the word, either new or used. It's not like you're looking of 10 existing copies of Chopin's Pleyel here.

Not trying to disparage you, but I was hoping you could share your rationale here (am I missing something like an export treaty between your countries, family ties to Netherlands etc.)? Maybe I'm just disgustingly dripping out US privilege here, and just don't understand international scarcity for these
instruments?

Hi, Gombessa. smile

Nah, no special ties to the Netherlands. I was doing searches on Klaviano and sent out many inquiries into pianos I was interested in. I hardly got any replies although many sellers were based in France or Germany so they might not have bothered with queries written in English, I don't know. However, these two Dutch sellers responded, I checked them out and they were legitimate stores, and they were offering pianos at good prices. A new Blüthner Model 2 is more than 500k in the local currency, so being able to acquire one at 225k even if the piano is two decades old, seems to me to be a fairly good deal. The Grotrian is even less at 204k, and a new one comes in at well over 300k.

My little trips unfortunately did not prove to be very fruitful. Brands which were readily available like Schimmel and Petrof I ruled out because their sound quality was not up to par. I am keen on Sauter, but the Omega costs over 300k and I am not willing to spend that much. I soured on the Delta after receiving feedback from a dealer I have come to trust, with him informing me that the Omega is Sauter's only real standout piano because the materials used in its construction are of higher quality than the other models.

My lovely technician has reported back on the Blüthner today and is of the opinion that the piano is in very good condition. Almost like new he says, and the piano seems to have been hardly played. Just a little regulation of the mechanics and some major polishing of the cabinet are all that's needed to make this Blüthner appear brand new. I just wish that all this info would make the decision easier...
Riverway, in the US, typical depreciation for a 20 year old piano would be to 35-45% of the price of a new piano (at least, that is what the PianoBuyer depreciation table lists), depending on condition. I am guessing that depreciation is similar in Europe. I’m also not sure what price you’re comparing to… how much a new Bluthner or Grotrian would cost if you were to buy it in SE Asia vs how much it would cost if you were to buy it in the Netherlands. From what many people have posted here, the price of European-made pianos in Europe is substantially lower than in the US, and my guess is that the cost (new) of the piano in Malaysia would also be substantially higher than if one were to buy the same piano in Europe.
In any case, my guess is that you’re getting a reasonable (but not fantastic) price on the piano, if the cost includes shipping/delivery, which must be substantial if it’s being sent from the Netherlands to Malaysia.

If you decide to proceed, do just be aware that you are incurring a fair amount of risk (risk that you will may not like this piano you have never seen or played, and also that it will be significantly impacted in a negative way by the shipping process). The latter can perhaps be mitigated by insuring the piano during transit. But this may not cover every eventuality. There was a post to the forums, within the last year, where a buyer bought a rebuilt Steinway from across the United States. The piano clearly had some issues during transit, but I don’t think they were the kinds of issues typically covered by insurance. The dealer made arrangements for a local technician to try to remedy the issues, but despite a lot of work in the piano, it continued to have problems. There were some additional nuances to the story, but it ended with the dealer offering to take the piano back, and the owner returning the instrument. Not every dealer would have accepted this resolution, and I suspect that if a piano is shipped from the Netherlands to Malaysia, the dealer will not be very willing to accept the piano back, if an issue were to arise.

I’m not telling you that you should absolutely avoid purchasing a piano from afar. Just trying to help you understand some of the risks you would be incurring with this kind of purchase.
I used to play on a Grotrian at my piano teacher’s house. Those can really resonate. Nice, rich, deep, almost “woody” sound. And a classic European feel.
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
My lovely technician has reported back on the Blüthner today and is of the opinion that the piano is in very good condition. Almost like new he says, and the piano seems to have been hardly played. Just a little regulation of the mechanics and some major polishing of the cabinet are all that's needed to make this Blüthner appear brand new. I just wish that all this info would make the decision easier...

Thanks very much for the detailed response! I was mainly expressing concern because from your thread here, you're clearly a discerning buyer looking to make the right decision as a player. Clearly, buying any premium brands within your country is a challenge!

Best of luck with the final decision. The Bluthner definitely looks and sounds great in the video, and I really love the idea of their aliquot stringing, I imagine there must be so much resonance and color in the tone. The big unknown of course is really is whether you will love it in person, and what you think you'll do if somehow you don't. Of course fingers crossed that will not be the case!
Originally Posted by Sgisela
Riverway, in the US, typical depreciation for a 20 year old piano would be to 35-45% of the price of a new piano (at least, that is what the PianoBuyer depreciation table lists), depending on condition. I am guessing that depreciation is similar in Europe. I’m also not sure what price you’re comparing to… how much a new Bluthner or Grotrian would cost if you were to buy it in SE Asia vs how much it would cost if you were to buy it in the Netherlands. From what many people have posted here, the price of European-made pianos in Europe is substantially lower than in the US, and my guess is that the cost (new) of the piano in Malaysia would also be substantially higher than if one were to buy the same piano in Europe.
In any case, my guess is that you’re getting a reasonable (but not fantastic) price on the piano, if the cost includes shipping/delivery, which must be substantial if it’s being sent from the Netherlands to Malaysia.

If you decide to proceed, do just be aware that you are incurring a fair amount of risk (risk that you will may not like this piano you have never seen or played, and also that it will be significantly impacted in a negative way by the shipping process). The latter can perhaps be mitigated by insuring the piano during transit. But this may not cover every eventuality. There was a post to the forums, within the last year, where a buyer bought a rebuilt Steinway from across the United States. The piano clearly had some issues during transit, but I don’t think they were the kinds of issues typically covered by insurance. The dealer made arrangements for a local technician to try to remedy the issues, but despite a lot of work in the piano, it continued to have problems. There were some additional nuances to the story, but it ended with the dealer offering to take the piano back, and the owner returning the instrument. Not every dealer would have accepted this resolution, and I suspect that if a piano is shipped from the Netherlands to Malaysia, the dealer will not be very willing to accept the piano back, if an issue were to arise.

I’m not telling you that you should absolutely avoid purchasing a piano from afar. Just trying to help you understand some of the risks you would be incurring with this kind of purchase.

Thanks, Sgisela, for such helpful points.

For Blüthner, I have found this UK-based site to be helpful because their prices match what I have been able to find out from dealers and from the Blüthner factory itself:

https://www.clementpianos.com/bluthner-model-2/

91,700 pounds for a new Model 2 would be nearly 500k in the Malaysian currency, so more than a 50% discount for this 20-year-old Blüthner which is more or less following along the lines of Piano Buyer's depreciation price lists. I would be keener on this offer if the piano weren't so old; 20 years is a long time to shave off a piano's age. The owner has assured me that 20 years is barely a blip for a piano of this brand and model, but who knows, that could all be just sales talk. The report from the technician is good, but still.

I'm aware of the risks which is why I can't do anything but vacillate. I'm of half a mind to just let that June 28th deadline slip by...
Is this part the salesperson says about the Omega true, though? I thought it was just a size difference between Delta and Omega (from the factory). Materials and build all the same otherwise. No?

Maybe I take that back. On the website it looks like the Omega has some other features. Having played neither, I can't say how relevant it all is to quality.

I'd struggle ordering anything sight unseen, though. So much of piano selection is based on personal taste.

If forced to do so, I'd make an educated decision and take the plunge. It would feel a bit risky on some level, but might also be exciting.
From what I know there are some things to discuss with the seller; offer date, repolishing (who wiil do it), transport arrangements (on deck or temperature controlled), final price, your decision (may decide to let the opportunity pass), and so on. That's what I would do. As to risk, I bought my piano sight unseen on ebay so the risk was off the scale. But it was a top brand and I had spoken to the dealer who had refurbished it for his own use some years before.. The risk factor was no one had wantef the piano before the owner movef house - there was a reason for that which I discovered when it arrived.

Would you be happier letting the opportunity pass or would you seriously regret that?
I think that despite the common refrain here, buying sight unseen is probably much more common than generallythought, and it might even be the most common practice, for all price points. My main concern was whether the OP was familiar with the sound of the specific models being considered, as potential problems aside, the general character of the instrument is the easiest mitigated risk.
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
91,700 pounds for a new Model 2 would be nearly 500k in the Malaysian currency, so more than a 50% discount for this 20-year-old Blüthner which is more or less following along the lines of Piano Buyer's depreciation price lists. I would be keener on this offer if the piano weren't so old; 20 years is a long time to shave off a piano's age. The owner has assured me that 20 years is barely a blip for a piano of this brand and model, but who knows, that could all be just sales talk. The report from the technician is good, but still.

I'm aware of the risks which is why I can't do anything but vacillate. I'm of half a mind to just let that June 28th deadline slip by...

Pianos even used at this kind of money don't necessarily sell quick. I wouldn't worry too much about the deadline especially if the piano has been sitting around for awhile. Besides if you're buying unseen then there's always another one that you could consider? It's not like this is the one piano you've fallen in love with that has that specific sound/touch you are looking for.

Originally Posted by Gombessa
I think that despite the common refrain here, buying sight unseen is probably much more common than generallythought, and it might even be the most common practice, for all price points. My main concern was whether the OP was familiar with the sound of the specific models being considered, as potential problems aside, the general character of the instrument is the easiest mitigated risk.

I think most people will probably have tried the model they want to buy. Some may opt for a new one in a box rather than the piano on the floor especially in parts of the world where new trumps everything. I don't necessarily agree that the general character of the instrument is the smallest risk though. I've played enough Yamaha C3/C3Xs in the UK at various dealers and the range of brightness of tone has been eye opening. Yes some of that is going to be due to the instruments being used (and new instruments might well have a smaller variation in tone) but (as is almost dictum on here) it is easier to find a piano with a tone you love than to buy one and change it via voicing after.

The posters on this board by their sheer nature are a self selected population of fanatics. Most on here view piano buying as a religious pilgrimage. However, having said that, even if you're a more casual buyer, dropping close to £40k on a piano that you haven't played runs a real risk of buyer's regret when you get it and aren't bowled over by what you bought. It's not like you're buying a £40 shaver that you just put aside and buy another.
Hi Riverway,

I am a new member and just come across your post. It’s fascinating going through your journey in search of your dream piano. All the best and cheers smile

Actually I am very curious with the Bluthner piano brand. It’s considered one of the most prestigious piano brand in the world, yet in my city, no dealer carry this brand and no one talks about it. Pls let us know if you finally bought this beauty and how much you love this instrument smile
Maybe others can correct me if I'm wrong here (just some ideas). Feel free to tell me if this doesn't sound right to you.

If you get various pianos from the factory, say a bunch of Bluthner 6s, all like new, but with somewhat different voicing and regulation, you can make modifications to make them virtually the same at the end of the day (assuming parts are all the same).

But you can't make a Bluthner action play like a Renner. It'll always be different. So if there's something not to your liking about Bluthner, as a brand, you're not going to be able to do much about that without changing parts out. And then you're just building a new or custom piano (or buying a different piano).

So doing this kind of shopping (sight unseen) is about knowing what you can play-test and be confident of replicability on a piano not in front of you. But ideally you do need to have *the* experience of sitting down and loving how a piano feels. Otherwise, why would you buy it? If you have hang-ups about the piano of that brand, it wouldn't make sense to think "well, if I order one sight unseen then maybe it'll be better or I can make it the way I want it". Unless you're willing to put in extra work which could be quite extensive (again, Abel parts generally won't play the same as Steinway parts).

I seem to remember you had hang-ups about the Bluthner. You said the action was too heavy or something? Action can be made lighter or heavier, but the feel of the action cannot always be changed. That's what makes it specifically a Bluthner action. Action is important, and tone. Those are the big ones.
Originally Posted by James Gordon
Is this part the salesperson says about the Omega true, though? I thought it was just a size difference between Delta and Omega (from the factory). Materials and build all the same otherwise. No?

Maybe I take that back. On the website it looks like the Omega has some other features. Having played neither, I can't say how relevant it all is to quality.

I'd struggle ordering anything sight unseen, though. So much of piano selection is based on personal taste.

If forced to do so, I'd make an educated decision and take the plunge. It would feel a bit risky on some level, but might also be exciting.

The dealer who told me that about the Omega is a Sauter dealer himself; his prices were unfortunately higher than Peterson's, so I had to pass, but I assume that he was being on the level. He said only the Omega uses wood from the Val di Fiemme; they tried to implement it on the concert grand but the wood ended up sinking, so it seems that only the Omega can bear up that kind of wood.

The dealer advised me that if it comes down to the Delta 185 or the August Förster 190 to go for the latter. We weren't crazy over August Förster, so that was a bit of an ixnay on both choices.
Originally Posted by Aritempor
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
91,700 pounds for a new Model 2 would be nearly 500k in the Malaysian currency, so more than a 50% discount for this 20-year-old Blüthner which is more or less following along the lines of Piano Buyer's depreciation price lists. I would be keener on this offer if the piano weren't so old; 20 years is a long time to shave off a piano's age. The owner has assured me that 20 years is barely a blip for a piano of this brand and model, but who knows, that could all be just sales talk. The report from the technician is good, but still.

I'm aware of the risks which is why I can't do anything but vacillate. I'm of half a mind to just let that June 28th deadline slip by...

Pianos even used at this kind of money don't necessarily sell quick. I wouldn't worry too much about the deadline especially if the piano has been sitting around for awhile. Besides if you're buying unseen then there's always another one that you could consider? It's not like this is the one piano you've fallen in love with that has that specific sound/touch you are looking for.

Originally Posted by Gombessa
I think that despite the common refrain here, buying sight unseen is probably much more common than generallythought, and it might even be the most common practice, for all price points. My main concern was whether the OP was familiar with the sound of the specific models being considered, as potential problems aside, the general character of the instrument is the easiest mitigated risk.

I think most people will probably have tried the model they want to buy. Some may opt for a new one in a box rather than the piano on the floor especially in parts of the world where new trumps everything. I don't necessarily agree that the general character of the instrument is the smallest risk though. I've played enough Yamaha C3/C3Xs in the UK at various dealers and the range of brightness of tone has been eye opening. Yes some of that is going to be due to the instruments being used (and new instruments might well have a smaller variation in tone) but (as is almost dictum on here) it is easier to find a piano with a tone you love than to buy one and change it via voicing after.

The posters on this board by their sheer nature are a self selected population of fanatics. Most on here view piano buying as a religious pilgrimage. However, having said that, even if you're a more casual buyer, dropping close to £40k on a piano that you haven't played runs a real risk of buyer's regret when you get it and aren't bowled over by what you bought. It's not like you're buying a £40 shaver that you just put aside and buy another.

He's already telling me that another serious client is interested and that the clock is ticking, basically. Hmm. I don't think it has been very long since the store bought the piano back from the museum owner, but maybe I should check to confirm. They had a cheaper used Model 6 that I was interested in and was advertised, but it had just been sold when I contacted them about it. My impression is that the store does brisk business at least with their used models.

The point is well taken about the shaver - no returning to Ikea for a refund or an exchange with this one, LOL!
Originally Posted by James Gordon
Maybe others can correct me if I'm wrong here (just some ideas). Feel free to tell me if this doesn't sound right to you.

If you get various pianos from the factory, say a bunch of Bluthner 6s, all like new, but with somewhat different voicing and regulation, you can make modifications to make them virtually the same at the end of the day (assuming parts are all the same).

But you can't make a Bluthner action play like a Renner. It'll always be different. So if there's something not to your liking about Bluthner, as a brand, you're not going to be able to do much about that without changing parts out. And then you're just building a new or custom piano (or buying a different piano).

So doing this kind of shopping (sight unseen) is about knowing what you can play-test and be confident of replicability on a piano not in front of you. But ideally you do need to have *the* experience of sitting down and loving how a piano feels. Otherwise, why would you buy it? If you have hang-ups about the piano of that brand, it wouldn't make sense to think "well, if I order one sight unseen then maybe it'll be better or I can make it the way I want it". Unless you're willing to put in extra work which could be quite extensive (again, Abel parts generally won't play the same as Steinway parts).

I seem to remember you had hang-ups about the Bluthner. You said the action was too heavy or something? Action can be made lighter or heavier, but the feel of the action cannot always be changed. That's what makes it specifically a Bluthner action. Action is important, and tone. Those are the big ones.

That was the 17-year-old Model 6 in Singapore whose sound I liked but had a clunkier feel. Now, there was another newer Model 6 sitting right next to it whose touch was lighter but had a sound that I didn't care for as much - I'm assuming that that means the touch is something which can be changed with adjustment?

And then there's the Grotrian. I like that it is half the age of the Blüthner and is cheaper, but it bothers me that what I gather is a fine piano has never been sold since 2012 because other brands are more popular (this is according to the store). I've never played a Grotrian (all e-mails to them go unanswered which is another minus point), but I like the sound of the 192 in clips...my feeling is that it's akin to the Estonia 190? I also liked the Estonia in clips but was disappointed when I finally tried one. A dealer also told me to stick to family-owned if possible, and Grotrian is now controlled by Parsons whereas Blüthner is still family-run. Is the quality of Blüthner generally higher than Grotrian?

And to Gombessa's point about being familiar with the sound of the specific model - I've had no personal experience with the Blüthner Model 2, only with the Model 6 which was good enough. Claims that the sound of Blüthners are somewhat "industrial" may not be entirely invalid. To those who've had experience with Blüthners - would a Model 2 be just a more amplified version of the Model 6? I think someone mentioned that Blüthner returned to quality from 2005 onwards; does that mean that my Model 2 is deficient in craftsmanship since it was made in 2002/2003?
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
And then there's the Grotrian. I like that it is half the age of the Blüthner and is cheaper, but it bothers me that what I gather is a fine piano has never been sold since 2012 because other brands are more popular (this is according to the store). I've never played a Grotrian (all e-mails to them go unanswered which is another minus point), but I like the sound of the 192 in clips...my feeling is that it's akin to the Estonia 190?
This reminds me of the story I got from a dealer about a 10-year-old Indonesian-made Seiler sold to me as new for around half the price of a new one. The story was it went from warehouse to warehouse for years before ultimately sitting on the dealer's showroom for a year. But why? "These things happen in this business," is what I was told. Turns out there was a soundboard issue for many of these models the year it was made. The reason it sat in warehouses for years is the soundboard installation was defective, and ultimately had to be shipped back to the factory and replaced. This fact wasn't made known to me until I went to trade it in on a different Seiler and the new dealer researched the serial number through Seiler before making an offer. Ultimately the dealer couldn't make me an offer over the phone. I had to ship it to the dealer who inspected it, found the soundboard replacement was done well (he said that can only be done once, and if it's done poorly you're out of luck), and sell it on consignment with full disclosure to any prospective buyers (of course). Moral of the story: the little voice I ignored when buying it was right. If it's too good to be true, there's likely something the dealer isn't telling you.
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
And then there's the Grotrian. I like that it is half the age of the Blüthner and is cheaper, but it bothers me that what I gather is a fine piano has never been sold since 2012 because other brands are more popular (this is according to the store). I've never played a Grotrian (all e-mails to them go unanswered which is another minus point), but I like the sound of the 192 in clips...my feeling is that it's akin to the Estonia 190? I also liked the Estonia in clips but was disappointed when I finally tried one. A dealer also told me to stick to family-owned if possible, and Grotrian is now controlled by Parsons whereas Blüthner is still family-run. Is the quality of Blüthner generally higher than Grotrian?

And to Gombessa's point about being familiar with the sound of the specific model - I've had no personal experience with the Blüthner Model 2, only with the Model 6 which was good enough. Claims that the sound of Blüthners are somewhat "industrial" may not be entirely invalid. To those who've had experience with Blüthners - would a Model 2 be just a more amplified version of the Model 6? I think someone mentioned that Blüthner returned to quality from 2005 onwards; does that mean that my Model 2 is deficient in craftsmanship since it was made in 2002/2003?

Well I would be concerned about any new piano that has sat around unsale since 2012 whatever the make especially moreso if the dealer is known to shift pianos reasonably quickly. Having said that I bought a (then) 16 year old Grotrian 225 myself which was dealer refurbished which I absolutely love. Parsons took over controlling ownership in 2014/15 if I remember correctly. If you have concerns about their effect on Grotrian, then the piano built in 2012 was at a time when Parsons didn't have a controlling stake and arguably one you want to buy laugh!

Even if I have a Grotrian I wouldn't be blinkered enough to think every piano that comes out of their Braunschweig factory is perfect. Every manufacturer makes lemons. Having said that Bluthners are not uncommon in the UK and I've certainly played on quite a few including the new ones at Bluthner London. Enough certainly to say I can appreciate the difference between Grotrians and Bluthners. IMO compared to Grotrians, Bluthners are more mellow and more pure especially between C4 and C6. The bass is present but not as visceral/growly. It's a more subdued sound that's easy on the ears with less brightness (and overtones) in then upper registers and great balance between the registers. Grotrians have a more present bass and more colour to the notes. Not like SKs where there are too many overtones (imo). The fundamental note is there in Grotrians but there's more colour and more brightness available in the attack. Played softly, there's a clarity of the fundamental tone in the C5/6 region that is never overwhelmed and provides a beautiful contrast to the potent bass. Yes I love my 225. That's why I think you should bite the bullet and actually get on a plane and play the pianos and find one that speaks to you.
Thanks for the cautionary tale, MrSh4nkly!

The technicians nearby the area in which the store (Grotrian) is located have not been responsive, but I'm definitely not even going to consider buying this piano now unless I can get a technician to give it a thorough examination!
Originally Posted by Aritempor
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
And then there's the Grotrian. I like that it is half the age of the Blüthner and is cheaper, but it bothers me that what I gather is a fine piano has never been sold since 2012 because other brands are more popular (this is according to the store). I've never played a Grotrian (all e-mails to them go unanswered which is another minus point), but I like the sound of the 192 in clips...my feeling is that it's akin to the Estonia 190? I also liked the Estonia in clips but was disappointed when I finally tried one. A dealer also told me to stick to family-owned if possible, and Grotrian is now controlled by Parsons whereas Blüthner is still family-run. Is the quality of Blüthner generally higher than Grotrian?

And to Gombessa's point about being familiar with the sound of the specific model - I've had no personal experience with the Blüthner Model 2, only with the Model 6 which was good enough. Claims that the sound of Blüthners are somewhat "industrial" may not be entirely invalid. To those who've had experience with Blüthners - would a Model 2 be just a more amplified version of the Model 6? I think someone mentioned that Blüthner returned to quality from 2005 onwards; does that mean that my Model 2 is deficient in craftsmanship since it was made in 2002/2003?

Well I would be concerned about any new piano that has sat around unsale since 2012 whatever the make especially moreso if the dealer is known to shift pianos reasonably quickly. Having said that I bought a (then) 16 year old Grotrian 225 myself which was dealer refurbished which I absolutely love. Parsons took over controlling ownership in 2014/15 if I remember correctly. If you have concerns about their effect on Grotrian, then the piano built in 2012 was at a time when Parsons didn't have a controlling stake and arguably one you want to buy laugh!

Even if I have a Grotrian I wouldn't be blinkered enough to think every piano that comes out of their Braunschweig factory is perfect. Every manufacturer makes lemons. Having said that Bluthners are not uncommon in the UK and I've certainly played on quite a few including the new ones at Bluthner London. Enough certainly to say I can appreciate the difference between Grotrians and Bluthners. IMO compared to Grotrians, Bluthners are more mellow and more pure especially between C4 and C6. The bass is present but not as visceral/growly. It's a more subdued sound that's easy on the ears with less brightness (and overtones) in then upper registers and great balance between the registers. Grotrians have a more present bass and more colour to the notes. Not like SKs where there are too many overtones (imo). The fundamental note is there in Grotrians but there's more colour and more brightness available in the attack. Played softly, there's a clarity of the fundamental tone in the C5/6 region that is never overwhelmed and provides a beautiful contrast to the potent bass. Yes I love my 225. That's why I think you should bite the bullet and actually get on a plane and play the pianos and find one that speaks to you.

Thanks for sharing your impressions, Aritempor!

My trusty dealer informed me that Burkhard Stein was a good head of the company, so I feel more at ease knowing that he might've been around to actually approve the piano I'm interested in before it was shipped out of the factory. And yes, that thought did occur to me also that 2012 was pre-Parsons! On the other hand, if the company was forced to change ownership soon after that, concerns do materialize about whether they were already cutting costs by then and/or suffering shortages in labour.

The is the clip that made me fall in love with the sound of the 192:



One thing I noticed is that the interior of a Grotrian is much more basic-looking than a Blüthner although I'm not sure that really means anything. I do play more pop and contemporary music than classical - my impression is that the Grotrian might be more suited to those genres than a Blüthner? The Blüthner I tried did strike me as having a mellow sound, slightly contained and not especially powerful. Purity and clarity of tone are especially important to me (as well as sustain) - which would you say does better in those regards?
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
I've never played a Grotrian (all e-mails to them go unanswered which is another minus point), but I like the sound of the 192 in clips...my feeling is that it's akin to the Estonia 190? I also liked the Estonia in clips but was disappointed when I finally tried one. A dealer also told me to stick to family-owned if possible, and Grotrian is now controlled by Parsons whereas Blüthner is still family-run. Is the quality of Blüthner generally higher than Grotrian?

This is a scary way to make a decision.
I have played several Grotrian 192 and Estonia 190 pianos, and I have enjoyed the majority of Grotrians more, at that size. Bump up to the next larger size, and things get more complicated for me, though...
The dealer, if referencing the top-line Grotrian product, is full of it. I've played post-Parsons Grotrians that were still really good.
I don't think the most important difference between a modern Blüthner and a Grotrian is the tone. They are not similar to my ears.
I feel like bright versus mellow is more of a voicing thing, and also one that's rather subjective. Customers will designate preferences to whoever (including those from the factory), and then if there's a "standard route from the factory", it turns out to be surprisingly not all that strict. That's the reason why people like to go and try 10, 20, or 50 brand new pianos of a given model (and notice clear differences), if possible. The piano-makers do it that way on purpose (this is probably review, I think we talked about this already).

Taking a more bird's eye view of the situation...the brands that have been mentioned, Grotrian, Bluthner, Sauter...all are known for being high-quality brands. All happen to be European. They're all likely quite different as piano brands tend to be, but ask anyone which they like best, and you'll be listening to their subjective opinion (which is not necessarily useful to you as the pianist and buyer).

This is all else being equal in terms of condition, regarding those specific instruments. So no one can make the decision for you. These are all highly reputable brands (and the price shows it). Grotrian is on the ever so slightly more budget end, but...don't let that stop you, if you love the piano (and that's relatively speaking -- it's still an expensive product). If you don't really enjoy the piano, then there's no sense in fussing over it or worrying about it (regardless of the brand's reputation).

I still really think your fingers and ears should be your guide. Otherwise it's just a bunch of names.
Hi Riverway,

I friend of mine is searching for his dream piano recently. After much searching and thoughts, he narrows down to two pianos, namely a Grotrian 192 and a FAZIOLI 183. He would like having some 2nd opinion and so asked me trying out these pianos for him. In my opinion, Grotrian grand pianos are really really good at it’s price point but I would say FAZIOLI are just magical. Of course, it comes with a higher price so direct comparison seems not fair. Since Blüthner pianos are not available for sale in my city, I couldn’t give you an idea how they compare with each other. But I can say Grotrian grand are very very good. Some photos taken and share with you, cheers!

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Lovely pictures! I did not know Grotrian also single-hitched all strings (just like Bosendorfer, and I think August Forster?)
Hi Gombessa, nice to know you and I am a new member here. I have recently joined this forum to share my joy and happiness in searching of my dream piano and it finally come true last month when my Shigeru Kawai SK2L was delivered at my home. I really like the Grotrian192 too. it’s just fascinating but nevertheless too big and not possible bringing into my room.

Wow, you have a Bosendorfer D214vc !!!!!!!!! I really really envy you. You must be the happiest pianist on the planet , cheers smile

Grotrian 192 photo

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My understanding is that Grotrians are similar to Hamburg Steinway (maybe the closest you can get, given the Grotrian-Steinweg connection?)...I've played a lot of NY Steinways (and probably some from Hamburg before I knew the difference). I played one restored NY Steinway with German hammers (recently), that the salesman said he thought was more like a Hamburg Steinway (and it was different, reminding me more of something like a Bechstein, Bosendorfer, or Grotrian I had played). Fazioli I don't know much about except that people love them, and they're very special and different, especially regarding precision of action and tone. I look forward to trying one someday. I've heard from a few sources that Fazioli should ideally be played by advanced pianists, because of their telepathy-like responsiveness. Otherwise their sensitivity can be wasted.
I'm sending you a private message smile
Originally Posted by James Gordon
My understanding is that Grotrians are similar to Hamburg Steinway (maybe the closest you can get, given the Grotrian-Steinweg connection?).

I've played a few 6'10" Grotrian Charis and a few Hamburg Steinway B models, and I do not find this analogy to be true (at that size comparison, anyway).
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Originally Posted by James Gordon
My understanding is that Grotrians are similar to Hamburg Steinway (maybe the closest you can get, given the Grotrian-Steinweg connection?).

I've played a few 6'10" Grotrian Charis and a few Hamburg Steinway B models, and I do not find this analogy to be true (at that size comparison, anyway).

Maybe I'm off there...this is where my limited experience fails me. Regardless, you're looking at a very high-quality piano in Grotrian (to my knowledge).
The Grotrians have a very unique dark, haunting sound that groans.. very different from steinway.. I didn't like the two grotians I played that much, although I thought their uprights are superb
I think the big issue for me is it has been ages since I played Grotrian (but I did so very often in those years). I remember it having a dark sound and really nice touch, a bit of friction and firmness there (at least on the one I played). I remember that compared at least to a Steinway (probably NY being what was featured at the music college), it did not have as full or projective of a tone, but was almost as enjoyable to play in its own way.
Thanks for all your thoughts, my lovelies!

I've been trying to put off the Blüthner seller for as long as I can, and the thought of an import tax just occurred to me today so I've asked him to lower the price even further. This country unfortunately has no FTA with the E.U. so the addition of an import tax pushes the price a bit further than I would like it to go. If the seller accedes to my wishes after having accommodated me so much already, I might just HAVE to buy the piano!

And Hi, Simcity! Thanks for sharing your photos. Good to know that the Grotrian compares favourably to the Fazioli, but seriously, after having tried the latter at Peterson's for the first time, not many brands will come close. Fazioli has an unbelievably smooth touch, almost too much so (yes James, only for advanced pianists!) - I felt almost sacrilegious blundering about on it with my clumsy playing!

All your warnings are impelling me to book another trip where this time I will ensure that ALL the brands I want to try are available at my destination. Holland is a trip too far, but I'll try to find a place that isn't!
I am also using klaviano and pianova to inquire and compare prices. (mainly for C.Bechstein Academy and Schimmel). There is one C.Bechstein A192 (Concert) floor model for about $50k euro, the model stood out in my last comparison.

Anyways let me know it goes. Im also considering a trip which I think it may well worth it. For new pianos Merriam marked them very high (almost twice as the price I quoted from Germany). I don't see why I can't neotigated close to the euro price + shipping, tariff and even a trip.

There are also many bosendorfer 200 (20 years) in your price range. I'd highly suggest to take a week to Germany/ Holland as "piano vacation". The pianos condition really differs one from another.
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The nice technician sent me an image of what I think are the hammers of the Blüthner. I'm not sure if the image indicates that they are in good condition or not?
It’s seen some time under the key pounder at the factory, and some playing time, I’d guess. Has the piano been rented out, used in the showroom’s concert space, or in a high-traffic dealer? (I can’t remember the story of this piano and don’t feel like rereading the thread)

It doesn’t look bad at all, but it also doesn’t look brand new, if that makes sense. What matters most is how the tone sounds to you at various dynamic levels. It’s easier to tell how much wear from a profile view of a raised hammer.
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
It’s seen some time under the key pounder at the factory, and some playing time, I’d guess. Has the piano been rented out, used in the showroom’s concert space, or in a high-traffic dealer? (I can’t remember the story of this piano and don’t feel like rereading the thread)

It doesn’t look bad at all, but it also doesn’t look brand new, if that makes sense. What matters most is how the tone sounds to you at various dynamic levels. It’s easier to tell how much wear from a profile view of a raised hammer.

The seller never mentioned anything about the piano being rented out. They originally sold it to someone who bought it for a museum to give occasional concerts in, the museum eventually closed, and the store bought it back. According to the technician, the piano does not look like it has been played much.

Had no idea about a raised hammer revealing more; I'll ask the technician if he took any such pictures. I'm wondering what that alien-looking goo is that appears to have been spattered on some of the hammers...

What's a key pounder?
Congrats on 200
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
It’s seen some time under the key pounder at the factory, and some playing time, I’d guess. Has the piano been rented out, used in the showroom’s concert space, or in a high-traffic dealer? (I can’t remember the story of this piano and don’t feel like rereading the thread)

It doesn’t look bad at all, but it also doesn’t look brand new, if that makes sense. What matters most is how the tone sounds to you at various dynamic levels. It’s easier to tell how much wear from a profile view of a raised hammer.

Terminaldegree, I think OP mentioned this is on a piano that's 20 years old, and has had a previous owner. Given that, I'd say it looks pretty good from a wear perspective, assuming the hammers haven't been refaced/reshaped?
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