I deliberately do not give further details of the piano as I am genuinely seeking advice on the procedure.
(Apologies if this sort of thing has recently been a forum topic, but I have not found this on a forum search).
- Colin Nicholson
- Executive Poster
- Posts: 1839
- Joined: 04 Jul 2010, 19:15
- Location: Morpeth, Northumberland
If you sell it privately - obviously your asking price/ advert/ piano condition/ serial number etc needs to be accurately described.
Ask for 3 independent valuations - 3 different shops --- accept the highest - depending on your location. Grands are generally more difficult to sell - and you might need to rely on a shop selling it for you for some commission? .... thats another option..... but - it might be a "sitting duck" experience!
To clarify, I have not yet organized a new piano (considering a Kawai SK2), or spoken to any dealers, and would be prepared to take time to sell first independently, and rely on my roland for a few weeks. (No, I don't have room for two grands!)
And I certainly understand the "sitting duck" comment - exactly what trying to avoid!
Regarding my S6, nothing I don't like, rather the opposite, I've loved it for 10 years! I'm considering changing because of its size - it's in a relatively small room (14foot square), low ceiling and now wooden floor. I play regularly in that room in chamber (flute/violin etc) groups, jazz trio, singer etc.
Apart from its physical size and domination of the room, the sound is very "big" - I think too big for the space, and disruptive all round the house (even at mf!). (I know ... should have got an S4 but I was greedy for bass in those days).
Previously I had a small, old reconditioned Bechstein which was technically frustrating but just right in volume and great tone of course (once was Edith Vogel's piano). I am looking to go back to that sort of thing, but with a reliable and satisfying action. (It's got to do Schubert, but also heavy montunos without breaking under the strain!).
My information on all this is mostly from internet, and I am wary about the value of auditioning pianos (for tone/volume) in inappropriate environments, so I am very open to any further advice, (and may well stick with my Yamaha into old age!)
If you want an indication of what you might nett, I suggest taking the dealer retail asking price of your used piano, divide by two, then take away 24%.
Not very attractive is it ?
A trade-in is the best for an immediate result subject to figures. You would get more by selling privately but it could take months or even years.
I hope you are successful. Best of luck.
I think Chamberlain had an S6 'ex-rental' for about £30,000, and a new one seems to be selling for about £39,000, so without seeing the piano, and assuming it's in good condition, the top dollar price would be about £18,000 in a private sale, and then start knocking the price down from there to take condition and use into account. If the piano is perfect and you are prepared to wait you might be lucky. Good luck. It's not easy to sell pianos second hand, when people can buy new ones (albeit of lower quality) for so little. S6 is a good piano, and regarded as a close second to a Steinway B, so it's certainly sought after by those in the know.
If you wanted to buy a smaller piano, you should really go into a higher price range, like one of the top German pianos - Grotrian Steinweg, Bechstein, Bluthner, Steinway, etc. Yes, you will loose a bit on the bass, but the quality of the rest of the piano will more than make up for it.
That isn't the case with the Shigeru Kawai and the Yamaha S series. I don't know the CF series except for the CFX. They are all fine pianos, but they don't have quite the same refinement of design in their smaller models.
Why the aggression Joe ? I didn't overlook your observation that the auction house 'might' waive their commission, or question your experience. I merely pointed out some of the downside of an auction, and the actual amount that vendor would have received without special terms.
My experience is different to yours. Your own examples of possible discounts shows that prices are anything but FIXED. As you then go on to say, a piano is worth what some-one is prepared to pay.
As an after thought, to the OP, why not try ebay ? It's cheap and will showcase your piano to a much wider audience than any traditional auction. Before anyone jumps in, yes I have used it, and yes it does work.
Idly reading this thread, it strikes me you may be able to reduce the volume not only by voicing the hammers but also by some acoustic measures such as rugs, drapes and sound absorbing panels or, a good suggestion, tall book cases and music shelves. A bit of interior design might use them and some furniture or whatever to counteract the dominance of the piano.
The Scotsman in me hates the idea of losing money on a good instrument and then spending more on another one that will be no better, all for the sake of a few inches.
There seem to be a number of strands going now on this thread.
Firstly, regarding selling the S6, I have learned a lot from the lively debate! The issues with methods of sale seem to be about angst, and managing risk, in relation to the financial aspects (true for any sale I suppose). I am picking up on the issues with auction; for example, I don’t think I could commit without a reserve and then presumably if no sale .. all that hassle, transport etc …the comment about being a “sitting duck” seems spot on. However the prices mentioned don’t seem too bad – I paid £23000 in 2001 (sorry, 12 not 10 years old – I can’t believe it was that long ago). I was able to audition at Milton Keynes from a choice of two just imported at Yamaha , and price included a “toning” by Yamaha expert about a year after. I have had 12 great years out of it since then, so sale price now not so bad perhaps (compared to a car etc), although it seems as good as new to me.
On changing to a smaller piano, you all have really got me thinking – particularly whether it will be so much of a change in “footprint”. However, I am not so worried about “downgrading”, as I am older, my ears are older etc., and it is nearly 40 years ago since I got my LRAM! If it has a reliable and satisfying action (like my S6), and a “singing tone”, I will be happy. I know more than one person who has bought a new Steinway and was “never satisfied” (but of course my alter ego hankers for a C.Bechstein 167 on spec.!). Also, I don’t have great confidence in auditioning good pianos in inappropriate environments (that’s why I wanted to play two S6’s side by side before committing). And that's why I have been thinking about an SK2 on spec and reputation as a likely candidate for my "level" and price constraints (but feel free to disabuse me) .
Now, about reducing the decibels from my piano. Thanks for the comments – I have already tried closing the front lid completely, and that works (but sound quality compromised I think, and a hassle to swap over regularly). Dampening the environment – bit of a catch 22 here – I took up the carpet to the sprung wooden floor a couple of years ago, to help enhance the room acoustic for my wife and friends – violin, singers etc. – and it has really helped make it a better music room altogether (also with a great piano sound for me when playing solo). I know, I am really asking a lot here, for problems of my own making! I will definitely have the piano toned, and won’t rush in to sell it quite yet.
Two more idle thoughts.
My wife came home with two large middle eastern floor cushions the other day which she put under the piano. I don't think it was for acoustic reasons but they certainly have an effect. They are easy enough to move. As I understand it an acoustic panel or drapes facing the open lid can dampen the sound a bit. At the risk of acousticians' wrath about lack of absorption, that should be easy enough to assess with a duvet or two.
An accompanist I met told me that smaller Blüthners are perfect for her.
I still remember my experience inside an anechoic chamber when doing a school project on wind instrument frequencies over 40 years ago, so I well appreciate the possibilities here. Thanks again - you've given me new impetus to make an effort to improve the acoustic.
Re Bluthner- yes, I was brought up on an old bluthner (1888) but I'm afraid it was well past its prime by then, although i had very good use of it, and a modern one would i'm sure be great. I remember being told actions before about 1912 couldn't really be sorted (probably apocryphal).
Back to S6, thanks for the encouragement! When I was researching buying it, I took a bit of a long term risk and had to rely on my own feelings, as opinions on S series at that time were "varied" and as I have said above, you can't always trust your own judgement in auditioning a piano (I can't anyway!). Although I am going to wait before again considering selling (and have already started arrangements to have it looked at and toned), I am still not quite convinced that a well-made smaller grand not quite to the standard of bechstein L/new bluthner etc. would not satisfy me now. Its just a pity a piano is such a physical lump that makes buying and selling such particular trouble - should have played the violin!
One thing you might consider is a private exchange with someone who hasa piano on your wish list and wants a bigger one. I suppose you might have to wait some time for an opportunity to come up but the wait should be worth it.
I've had the hammers pricked and this has made a tremendous difference - apparently the hammers were in very good condition and the sound is now much softer and "mellow" - but no loss of sonority as far as I can tell, and I have been able re-open the front part of the lid (closing this did slightly spoil the sound I think - "boxy"). I am also looking into acoustic tiles/rugs etc under the piano. So, backing away from changing my S6 piano, and looking forward to many more years with it!
Thanks also to Richard of Young's pianos Leicester who has just done the toning!
Most of the time, pianos that you want to change just need a good servicing.