I'm a first time poster and I have a number of questions to ask about what piano to buy etc.
The usual stuff.
But I'll save that for later and outline an annoying problem/character trait I have first.
I started taking piano lessons just before I turned fifty, so a late starter.
I've been playing now for almost a year and enjoying it immensely.
So now I feel it's time to move up from the Roland F110 I've been using and buy an acoustic upright.
I have a decent budget of around 8000 pounds.
Of course finding the right piano involves visiting lots of showrooms and even people's houses, to try them out.
But I feel like such a dork fumbling around on the keyboard when anyone else within earshot can listen.
Ideally I would love to declare, "Right! Everybody out! I need a couple of hours alone."
I know I shouldn't let this get in my way and the sellers don't care etc.
But I can't help it and I wondered did anyone on this forum have similar problems.
Or any advice.
- Colin Nicholson
- Executive Poster
- Posts: 1839
- Joined: 04 Jul 2010, 19:15
- Location: Morpeth, Northumberland
I'm not interested in selling the roland or part exchanging it.
Really it was the mortal embarrassment of not being able to play piano at all well within earshot
of a room full of musicians that caused me such unease.
I was wondering if anyone else has suffered this perhaps in their early days?
Some customers are different and I can tell that they'd rather I stay in the room the whole time. But often, it seems helpful for me to disappear completely. Bringing a teacher, friend, family member, family pet (!) etc can all help and is fine by me.
I only wish I stocked pianos worth £8000. My most expensive is less than £4000!
Actually all these pianos are much too good for me as regards my playing skills but I have a few friends who drop by now and again and they all play. Also I figure on getting one that will last me all the way. Back in my teenage years I wanted to be a guitarist and I seem to remember reading advice from Jimmy Page to all students saying, 'Get the best instrument you can afford, and learn on that.' Always stuck in my head.
I spend a lot of time trawling the net for opinions knowing they are subjective but nonetheless trying to get a feel for what is generally said. It's like being locked in an obsessive infinite loop!
Thanks for the encouragement Gill.
No piano is ever too good for any student.
I did play a second hand Schimmel (the top of the range model, 132 DT), which would fit into your budget. I thought it was a nice instrument although not very well prepared by the dealer (who seemed uninterested) so I didn't pursue it. For a beginner it would be superb instrument.
If you haven't tried them already I would also consider Kawai (new).
It is an interesting position to be in - selecting a very good piano while a beginner. I would definitely recommend getting a friend who plays to go along with you so that you can stand back and listen. I would also perhaps not blow your budget but focus on getting a new-ish piano with a very good action that will also have decent resale value (or less bad resale value!). I say that because I am sure if you continue to play your preferences in terms of both sound and touch will change and in another 8 to 10 years you will want to change. I am sure people on this forum can give advice on which manufacturers to avoid when considering depreciation. For example, the value of Petrof sinks like a stone (just look at the London piano auctions site for proof of that).
Good luck, do let us know.
In reply to 'rgreig' who gave me food for thought : You are right about the nearly new market being rather thin on the higher end makes.
I did however spot a Bluthner Model C advertised on the Chamberlainmusic site priced at £9000. I'd never come across this outfit before. The site feels like you're looking for an Epsom printer or electrical components. There is no indication as to exactly how old the piano is. I called them and it's a 2005 year. They told me they are selling it for a woman who paid $20,000 for it. They must have seen her coming! Either that or they used to be more expensive.
I think of someone selling a car and placing their ad- 'Saab for sale. Red colour. 9000 pounds.' Or better still- 'Saab for sale. red colour. P.O.A.'
Like you however I may end up buying new.
I do consider re-sale value and the likelihood that my preferences could change over time and for that reason I would more readily look towards Bechstein, Bluthner or (what am I saying?) S&S. All just a little bit pricey for me unless they are a few years old.
I see that Thomann are selling the Bluthner Model C new at 11359 pounds which makes the used Chamberlain one seem slightly overpriced?
In any case perhaps a visit to Bluthner in London where I live would be the thing to do.
Thanks again for the advice and I'll let you know how it's going.
You may like to try the Bechstein Academy range which may fit into your budget if you look at the smaller models. I tried the 124cm model and for the price I was very impressed.
A showroom that I am considering travelling to is Besbrode Pianos in Leeds. They have a lot of stock, enough to make the trip worthwhile.
I've been wondering though, if I were to buy an old Bechstein, Bluthner, Steinway or whatever. Some 100 year old or 70 year old refurbished model, would I be having to spend more than usual getting it tuned and maintained? Do these pedigree piano dogs have huge vet's bills?
Maybe I see a fabulous old Bluthner that sounds wonderful to my ears. Maybe it fits all my criteria. Am I in for a few shocks do you think? This is why I would still prefer to buy new. It strikes me that my budget is maybe £4000 shy of a sure thing. I'm not a wealthy man by any stretch. I work and save and buy according to priority. I'm passionately dedicated to classical piano and taking it up has improved my life in many ways. I'm always happy to pay my teacher because it feels like money very well spent. This, along with my other passion for quality is why I'm intending to spend the amount I specified.
And I will certainly try the Bechstein Academy range as you suggest.
Thanks again for the help and suggestions.
I have owned a piano that was 60-70 years old in the past and I didn't spend a huge amount on its maintenance. I have often read that older pianos don't cope as well with modern central heating systems (which is understandable!). I think the key thing would be getting it carefully inspected by a good tuner to validate exactly what has and has not been restored or replaced.
It would be interesting to know from the technicians on the forum how many uprights of that age are actually economically viable to restore. If the answer is "not many" then you may find that only a minimal amount of work is actually done in most cases.
I think its perfectly normal, or at least not all that uncommon, for someone to feel self conscious about playing in a shop full of strangers. Not everyone is at the same level but that doesnt mean anyone is any less entitled to play piano or test out a particularly nice piano.
If its any consolation ive been playing the piano for almost 20 years so wouldnt consider myself a begginer but i still find it awkward playing in front of people or where people are listening from a distance and still fall to pieces/ have major irrational lapses in concentration. Call it nerves or whatever, I think its just a human affliction for some of us regardless of ability, and happens to the best of us.
So just bear in mind all those other people who can hear you have either been in your shoes already or are fellow pianists who sympathise with you want to find the piano that right for you. The rest are probably clueless all the same or not even that bothered as much as you think! Just enjoy looking for your ultimate piano as its suppose to be fun and not everyone gets a chance to do it on a healthy budget so happy hunting....
I mentioned my problem in regards embarrassment to my teacher and she tells me this
is something I must overcome and she reminds me that I am the one paying.
Thanks for the advice Cascade. I often fall apart when I'm playing for someone.
I play my best when I'm doing what I should be doing, which is hearing the music and nothing else.
Anything that intrudes on this will break my concentration.
There is a purity and simplicity about hearing the music. Even mistakes cease to really matter.
What is the problem with a mistake? It is only the ego that has a problem with it.
Intention is everything.
Well, that and a lifetime of practice, dedication and skill perhaps.
Still, these words do not fix my problem. I won't bother the members of this site with my personal cowardice issues. Time to Man Up!
I would also be interested in this. And thanks for the tip about Yorkshire Pianos.rgreig wrote: It would be interesting to know from the technicians on the forum how many uprights of that age are actually economically viable to restore. If the answer is "not many" then you may find that only a minimal amount of work is actually done in most cases.
I'm feeling at this point that I should have a breather. I get too intensely caught up in
the buying process and start to lose perspective.
Those names. Bosendorfer, Steinway, bechstein. There is a pull towards buying into that name, owning a piece of something romantic.
But really the feel and tone is what matters. In many ways the magnetic awareness of these brands spoils the purity of my choice much as the awareness of someone in the room spoils my choice of how to approach the music I am interpreting.