Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

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peterh
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Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by peterh » 07 Jul 2013, 22:02

I would be grateful for advice on how best to sell (? privately) a 10 year old Yamaha S6 in the UK (combination of best price and reliable, safe method - if possible!). I ask because this is not a common piano for sale and presumably only a relatively small market. I could do part-exchange with a main dealer (as I am getting a new piano) but not sure whether this would make good financial sense.

I deliberately do not give further details of the piano as I am genuinely seeking advice on the procedure.

Thanks
Peter

(Apologies if this sort of thing has recently been a forum topic, but I have not found this on a forum search).

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 08 Jul 2013, 00:18

Part X might be your best option if you want a quick sale [old one out - new one in].... and depends on if you have the space for your new piano and awaiting the S6 to sell. Only you yourself will know about financial gain [or loss].... as you know what you paid for it and know what the main dealer have offered you?.... a dealer will want to make some profit of course.

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!
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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by peterh » 08 Jul 2013, 20:48

Thanks very much for the reply, which makes good sense to me.

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!

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by joe » 08 Jul 2013, 23:43

Hi,why would you change a S6 for Shiregu Kawai SK2 have you played one ?,personally I do not find much difference between a well prepped RX and the SK-series.The Yamaha S6 are great pianos,what do you not like about it ?,feel, tone,etc.Piano Auctions may be a option when selling may be worth giving them a call,and at the SK prices you should be able to pick up a modern Steinway grand which again in my view are far superior instruments than the 2 previously mentioned,best of luck.

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by peterh » 09 Jul 2013, 08:44

Again, thanks for that.
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!)

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by D.J.Smith » 09 Jul 2013, 10:42

Think very hard before putting your piano to auction. The only advantage is you are almost certain of a sale, as long as it's without reserve. The disadvantages are many. You will receive bottom price and have 20% commission and VAT to pay. You will also have the cost of transport whether you sell or not. Further, you must not rely on the mover's or auction house's insurance to cover your piano whilst in their care, in the event of a claim the chance of them paying out is remote, regardless of the responsibility. You must insure it yourself, another additional cost.

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.
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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by joseph » 09 Jul 2013, 11:11

Unless you need to downsize, I would think VERY hard about selling your S6 and getting an SK2. An S6 isn't actually all that much bigger if you think about it, but the tone is far superior. Perhaps you just need a decent tech and some servicing done on your Yamaha.

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.

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by joe » 09 Jul 2013, 13:26

Totally agree with Joseph advice,personally would get the S6 prepped and tuned to the instruments optimum performance level and go from there,pricing is subjective when used and getting £18,000 or thereabouts is in the lap of the Gods,regards Piano Auction you are showcasing the piano in a trade/retailer/private buyers specialist environment and you can reserve price and they may even waiver the commission from the vendor and only charge the buyer 20 per cent,would change for a good Steinway B nothing else.Best of luck.

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by Gill the Piano » 09 Jul 2013, 15:37

Definitely consider having the piano toned by a good technician - it can make a hell of a lot of difference. Also, I have a couple of customers who remove the music desk, close the piano, and replace the desk on top of the piano. Limits the sound considerably.
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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by joseph » 09 Jul 2013, 17:45

Where are you based? I could recommend a couple of techs if I knew where you were. You should try and have the voicing taken right down, if there's still enough felt on the hammers. A Shigeru Kawai SK2 or even a Kawai RX2 won't necessarily be quieter than your S6, to be honest, and I think you'd really feel the downgrade.

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.

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by joe » 10 Jul 2013, 09:28

Further info,the most recent Yamaha S6 achieved £16,500 at auction,hopes that's of help.

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by joseph » 10 Jul 2013, 09:56

Seems like a fair price for buyer and seller - not too high but not low either.

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by D.J.Smith » 10 Jul 2013, 10:08

Not so good if that's the hammer price. Take off commission, VAT, transport and insurance, and the vendor is left with about £12000.

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by joe » 10 Jul 2013, 11:01

As stated earlier and obviously overlooked by the previous OP if its a high quality instrument the Auction House often waiver the vendors commission to attract the quality instruments in to their sales and before you reply I have had on many occasions first hand expierence of this,and sets in my opinion a true reflection of a pianos worth,the value of a piano is not what a shop is selling it for,or what a tuners put on it, quite simply what someone is willing to pay which is prevalent in the used market,the new piano market a totally different proposition as prices are determined by manufacturers,wholesalers and retailers.So what is Yamaha S6 worth £48,000 or the fixed 15 per cent discount offered by all the dealer on the web,or the 30-40 per cent discount you be offered if you phone around.Pricing is subjective you may think,we'll it not its more FIXED than most people realise.

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by D.J.Smith » 10 Jul 2013, 15:55

Ouch!

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.

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by Withindale » 10 Jul 2013, 16:20

Peter

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.

Ian
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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by joe » 10 Jul 2013, 16:43

eBay has a larger buying audience I agree,but this quality of instrument would sell better in a more specialised environment and in my opinion would be a more productive way to sell people are wary about eBay at the high end but willing to take a punt on other items if cheap enough,no aggression intended just a different opinion and straight forward to sell without the hassle.Know many people who have got blind bargain pianos on eBay and other who have been duped into buying usually art-cased pianos at crazy prices which have been rebuilt in Poland and have been shockers but look nice.

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by D.J.Smith » 10 Jul 2013, 17:00

Agree about the variable quality on ebay, but there are good pianos on there. I've sold pianos from 6 to 20,000 via ebay so it can work. It's also cheap so well worth a try.

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by peterh » 10 Jul 2013, 22:11

Wow! – once again thanks for all this great advice – much more than I was expecting in my OP.

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.

Peter

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by Withindale » 11 Jul 2013, 10:52

Peter

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.

Ian

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by peterh » 11 Jul 2013, 15:17

I'll look out for floor cushions -good idea. Had another idea- firm rubber between caster cups and the floor - that may isolate some of the direct vibrations??
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).

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by D.J.Smith » 11 Jul 2013, 16:03

The Bluthner patent action certainly can be sorted. Parts are available and there are a handful of specialists well able of doing the work.

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by peterh » 11 Jul 2013, 18:28

Glad to hear that. A bit late for our old bluthner, but it had a good 100 years of use.

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by joseph » 12 Jul 2013, 10:02

Actually, I played on a Bluthner patent action rebuilt by Paul Leverett and I was really surprised at how fast the repetition was. It was faster than a roller action, actually, which was the surprise. It was also a good bit lighter, or at least that was my perception. Beautiful to play on, but I'd rather work on a roller action because most of the pianos I play on the concert circuit have a roller action. Not that it isn't easy to adapt mind you.

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by joseph » 12 Jul 2013, 10:06

Anyway back to the original topic of the thread - I'm glad you're trying everything else before selling your S6. I think you would regret losing it! I think it's one of Yamahas nicest pianos, and certainly all the ones I have played have been beautiful. Some are loud and bright, some are very mysterious and mellow. It can take a wide range of voicing and still sound excellent.

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by peterh » 14 Jul 2013, 11:56

I remember our bluthner being able to do fast repetitions better than other pianos, didn't realize it was a particular feature of the action.

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!

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by Withindale » 18 Jul 2013, 14:27

Another thought prompted by a brief visit to Challen in London yesterday. There was a rather good S4 close by the new CF4 and CF6 models. The S4 stood comparison with the CF4. I imagine your S6 would be comparable with the CF6, excellent sound and plenty of power, so I understand your dilemma.

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.

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano (not)

Post by peterh » 01 Aug 2013, 12:40

Just updating from great advice I've had from this thread:
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!

Peter

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Re: Advice please - selling a yamaha S piano

Post by joseph » 03 Aug 2013, 17:25

You've done well not to sell it. Yes, there are better pianos than the Yamaha S6, but you'd have to spend A LOT more to get one. Unless you were going for a Bosendorfer, Bechstein, Bluthner, Steinway or Fazioli, or perhaps a Yamaha CF, you'd have felt cheated buying a smaller piano. Actually even if you had bought one of the above makes, you may still have felt cheated buying a smaller piano, because the S6 is so good.

Most of the time, pianos that you want to change just need a good servicing. :piano;

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