Piano Pricing

General discussion about piano makes, problems with pianos, or just seeking advice.

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Fallada
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Piano Pricing

Post by Fallada » 10 Oct 2011, 17:21

If only I was buying a Yamaha things would be so different. Apart from the sheer choice, especially in the second hand market, it's always easy to see how much the piano costs.

But I'm looking for a German piano. As soon as a piano is over the 5000 pounds mark there is rarely a price given. I'm tired of ringing up and being told they will get back to me if I'll just give them my number. Some piano models I just want to know roughly what the price is to see if it's within my budget or worth considering. I trawl the net and nothing. No idea. So I call and am told £20,000. Waste of my time.

Then the variations. Take the Bechstein A124. I've had 16,000, 15,000, 14,000, and from mainland europe 11,000.

I wondered about the Schimmels. Lots of models, only a few prices. I'd like to know what the differences are in each of the models too. No help anywhere (apart from this site and what it has to offer, thank you).

Visiting the stores is one way to do it. I live in London so there are no shortage of dealers. Ideally I'd like to buy from the nearest dealer to me. Support a local business and have after sales services close at hand. But everyone has only limited stock of course. Chappells don't have what I want but their website is good for price information. A bit expensive in my opinion but hey.

Here's my advice: When you advertise a piano give it's price, even if you qualify this with (around). Give it's dimensions all round. Then some indication of the piano's action, its case materials etc. Pretty basic stuff I would have thought. As it is I can get more detailed information on a £1.50 bath plug, plus reviews! I understand that with some dealers it is a ruse to force the buyer to contact them. Others may have legal restrictions I'm unaware of. Others might find it somehow cheap or vulgar to print prices. Maybe they think that if I have to ask I can't afford it. Who Knows? Not me. I'm just the guy with the cash.

I'm off now to put my head in a bucket of cold water!

Ps I was playing on a C.Bechstein Elegance today. Way out of my budget but so beautiful. The best piano I've tried so far.

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by Withindale » 10 Oct 2011, 17:45

Well, if people don't give a price you can name yours. New prices are here http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/pin.htm in dollars. Convert to £'s, apply a discount for a new one, knock off 50% and annual depreciation for used ones. Don't fall in love; if you do, remember money can't buy you happiness but it can buy you a piano. Or go to Germany!

Ian

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by Fallada » 10 Oct 2011, 20:17

Thanks for the bluebook tip. Really helpful.

And I am considering a trip to Germany. With the freight and airfares it'll still probably be cheaper to buy there, rather than here!

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by Barrie Heaton » 10 Oct 2011, 20:19

Manufacturers are now discouraging retailers form putting discounted prices on the web, the high end have done this for a wile now. The low end are starting to put POA and the reason is too much discounting from some retailers who do very little prep to none at all, resulting it some retailers telling the Manufacturers we are no long stocking your product as we spend X hours making them good and Mr x down the road is selling them for £0000.15

So you will see less prices on the net not more Well maybe the RRP and call us for best price.


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Fallada
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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by Fallada » 11 Oct 2011, 08:35

Interesting Barrie. As a customer I had no idea about the prepping situation. But then how would I? Since I'm merely a customer, far down the food chain and strictly on a 'need to know basis'. How do I know which stores prep and which do not? Anyway, your reply is helpful thanks. So there may be a £3000 price discrepancy because one dealer spent X hours prepping. Does prepping mean tuning? Or is there more to it than that?

Cheers!

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by NewAge » 11 Oct 2011, 15:05

Fallada wrote:Interesting Barrie. As a customer I had no idea about the prepping situation. But then how would I? Since I'm merely a customer, far down the food chain and strictly on a 'need to know basis'. How do I know which stores prep and which do not? Anyway, your reply is helpful thanks. So there may be a £3000 price discrepancy because one dealer spent X hours prepping. Does prepping mean tuning? Or is there more to it than that? Cheers!
Prepping is a whole lot more than just tuning.
Besides tuning the piano, pre-delivery should ideally include the removal of any packing material inside the piano, regulation checks of the pedals and keyboard (to check and rectify any stiction) and particularly to check the position and the alignment of hammers to the strings – this preferably in the early life of the piano because that sets their definitive position, and it’s this alignment which will maintain the regularity of the set-up in the long term.
Experience shows that the better dealers will perform a comprehensive pre-delivery check to the satisfaction of the client. Some others will not, knowing that many first-time buyers are often satisfied with the piano 'out of the box'.

It's generally well considered that Yamaha's, Kawais, and German pianos are reasonably well set-up at the factory, but this doesn't mean that pre-delivery checks are not required by the dealer, as these instruments have spent many weeks in containers during shipment, with possible large variations of temperature and humidity. It is for this reason that tuning and good regulation are required. And additional tuning/minor regulation in the home several weeks after delivery.
I quite frequently get the opportunity to play Chinese uprights and grand pianos in showrooms, and they have quite obviously been un-boxed and priced for as quick a sale as possible, and most would agree that Chinese pianos (with a few exceptions) need a lot of preparation to bring out the best in them.
There is some good advise under Piano Buying Tips FAQ on the index page of this forum.
I have also found the following to be an excellent info source:
http://www.ptg.org/Scripts/4Disapi.dll/ ... uKey=Menu7

And a previous post of mine which resulted in some interesting comments:-
http://www.piano-tuners.org/piano-forum ... f=3&t=7357
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by sussexpianos » 11 Oct 2011, 17:30

As a dealer, I do show my prices and measurements and as much info as I can with links, but some manufacturers have rubbish websites, poor dealer info and no leaflets/downloads. The main problem is people go to a shop, spend time getting the info and then they search for the best price. Nothing wrong with that, but it means the local dealer might not be able to beat the quote as they have to factor in the prep work, tuning and warranty call out. I think you will be mad to buy overseas, if it is damaged during transport, you try and get sorted, some firms have a limit of £100 per piano! Also when it goes wrong, are they going to send a technician by plane? I think not. I think it might cost you more in costs and hassle.
Us dealers try to please everyone but we can not stock everthing, and upright pianos over £7k will not be in large quantities as this area is a small market and some dealers will probably make more money on the cheaper £2.5k-£4k market.
If you want a German piano under 10k, try Ronish, which is now built by Bluthner, Schimmel, Petrof(I know but it close to Germany) and Seiler. I do have to admit that sometimes I can not see why they are so expensive when compared to good Japanese pianos. Work force wages and factory techniques will have an affect more than material quality.
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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by joe » 11 Oct 2011, 17:48

Disagree,for many years the piano wholesalers in the U.K have been overcharging the piano retailers not all but most,why not go to Germany to buy a new Bechstein upright and save £0000s i would, the instrument will carry a 10 year manufacturers warranty and the insurance is not a problem.One example in the past was Wheppdale,Maxwell Codd pricing of Bluthner pianos to the retailers they had no chance of selling them as they would undercut as they where the sole distributors,so i went direct to Germany and was able to save roughly 35% off the trade price never mind the retail price.Going back only 5 or 6 years Bechstein Concert Model 8 upright piano was selling around the 18k mark RRP in U.K,the wholesaler was making a 120% mark-up to the trade,they where costing them just over 5K the dealers where paying 12k and trying to sell on at 18k to the public,daylight robbery.

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by sussexpianos » 12 Oct 2011, 09:10

Who is going to carry out the warranty? A Bechstein dealer does not have to do any warranty on a piano they have not sold. Its also only 5 years and for UK bought models only. Kawai will only honour UK bought models, acoustic or digital. Its a high risk.
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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by Barrie Heaton » 12 Oct 2011, 09:50

sussexpianos wrote:Who is going to carry out the warranty? A Bechstein dealer does not have to do any warranty on a piano they have not sold. Its also only 5 years and for UK bought models only. Kawai will only honour UK bought models, acoustic or digital. Its a high risk.
Well you have to cover warranty sadly for UK retailers, good for the consumers. EEC rules state if a company like Kawai or Bechstein who sells a product in the EEC member states and if a person buys in this case a piano in the say Germany, ships it to the UK and that piano is faulty. Then, the buyer has the right to take that product to their local main dealer in their state to get it fixed or replaced. It was done for Cars but it covers all products sold within the EEC

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by D.J.Smith » 12 Oct 2011, 10:21

Tell that to Kawai Barrie.

Kawai UK refuse point blank to honour their warranty on digitals bought elsewhere in the EU. They even refuse to supply info to UK techs appointed by EU suppliers to address warranty issues. No doubt this company policy also applies to acoustics too.

I would never by another Kawai of any description from anywhere.

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by Barrie Heaton » 12 Oct 2011, 11:35

D.J.Smith wrote:Tell that to Kawai Barrie.

Kawai UK refuse point blank to honour their warranty on digitals bought elsewhere in the EU. They even refuse to supply info to UK techs appointed by EU suppliers to address warranty issues. No doubt this company policy also applies to acoustics too.

I would never by another Kawai of any description from anywhere.
Did you try trading standards

You have this as well
The EU directive 1999/44/EC.
http://ec.europa.eu/publications/bookle ... dex_en.htm

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by D.J.Smith » 12 Oct 2011, 13:56

I read the 1999 Directive a long time ago. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me to place the onus for warranty on the supplier, not the manufacturer's representative. This means a supplier in, say, Italy or Germany who supplys a customer in the UK, is responsible for warranty, not the UK-based distributor/manufacturer's representative.

No, I did not try trading standards, partly because of my understanding of the Directive, and partly because they are a waste of space, in my experience.

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by Fallada » 12 Oct 2011, 14:08

Well the whole process is messy and annoying. I can see that's just the way it is for the many reasons involved.
I'll have to check out the Zimmermanns. They are close to my budget.
I really would like a £16,000 Bechstein, maybe five years old or so, selling for £10,000 and under.
I noticed a (sadly sold) Bosendorfer 130CL selling for £10,000. That was a six year old I think.
Also someone has a Yamaha SU7 in pristine condition for £10,000. So these pianos are out there.
I'll be ready to move quickly if I spot something interesting and I've chosen to not rush this.
Also I was wondering if piano dealers have January sales? Seems doubtful.

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by D.J.Smith » 12 Oct 2011, 15:07

Fallada.

There is such a massive difference in price between the UK and the EU that it makes sense to buy there. Warranty support should not be a problem if you buy from a reputable source who would have UK support in place already. As for set-up and prep., you could afford to pay your own tech., and still be £thousands in pocket. You would also have the pleasure of visiting our foreign friends to pick your piano.

Sorry if this upsets any UK retailers, but the savings are too great to be ignored.

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by Fallada » 12 Oct 2011, 16:05

The savings would have to be substantial and in some cases they are, but not always.
Another oddity I noticed is; if one where to, for example, take a model line of Bechsteins and compare prices between here and Germany.
Model A, perhaps £15,000 here and £12,000 there. A worthwhile saving indeed!
Model B, perhaps £18,000 here and £17,500 there. I don't get it!

More variables. One heck of an equation is needed to make sense of it all!
Or perhaps purchasing a piano should be classed as a sport.

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by joe » 12 Oct 2011, 17:58

Would jump at the Bosendorfer 130L at £10,000 if in good condition,if you need help purchasing in E.U.send me a private message be able to save you lots of time and money.

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by Withindale » 12 Oct 2011, 18:37

Barrie Heaton wrote:
D.J.Smith wrote:You have this as well.
The EU directive 1999/44/EC.
http://ec.europa.eu/publications/bookle ... dex_en.htm
Barrie,
I am no lawyer but I had a look out of interest. The principles are explained here in more detail http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/ ... 022_en.htm

Basically consumer goods must be in conformity with the contract of sale. It makes sense to spell everything out at the time of sale anyway. Might be best to establish who will be responsible for major faults, buy out the rest and employ your own tech.

Ian

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by D.J.Smith » 12 Oct 2011, 19:42

Ian.

The Directive is quite clear ; the seller is responsible for all faults.

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by Withindale » 12 Oct 2011, 21:42

D.J.Smith wrote:Ian.

The Directive is quite clear ; the seller is responsible for all faults.
The Directive does not mention faults. Art 3 says "The seller shall be liable to the consumer for any lack of conformity which exists at the time the goods were delivered." Art 5 says " The seller shall be held liable under Article 3 where the lack of conformity becomes apparent within two years as from delivery of the goods."

You go to Germany, select a piano, the seller checks it, and you have it delivered. 18 months later you notice a crack in the plate or the soundboard. Who is responsible for such a fault? The seller? The transport company? Your tuner? Your insurance company? How do you resolve the matter?

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by D.J.Smith » 13 Oct 2011, 09:06

I think Article 2 explains what is meant by 'conformity' . 'Conformity' clearly includes faults, as well as other aspects of a purchase/supply contract.

Your example of a cracked frame is certainly a major fault, covered by the Directive. Obtaining redress from an unco-operative seller in compliance with the Directive could be difficult wherever a buyer was located,

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by Withindale » 13 Oct 2011, 10:02

Conformity certainly covers some faults, such as manufacturing faults, but not some others that arise during transport, storage and use. Presumably that's why the directive is drafted as it is.

Warranty claims on good pianos may be relatively unlikely, compared with cars and hair dryers, but it's as well to agree in advance what you are going to do if a problem arises when (say) you are in Birmingham and the seller is in Dresden. Will the seller fly to Birmingham to inspect the piano at his expense, will you return it to Dresden for replacement at whose expense, or is there some form of insurance to cover eventualities?

See: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/Lex ... 44:en:HTML

PS An example in the US on Piano World: "I have a two year old Kawai that has two plate bolts sheared off at the first tuning. I have been working on this for over a year with Kawai, the dealer and the tuner and have not been able to resolve it."

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthre ... 871/1.html

PS Kawai are now making arrangements to replace the bolts.
Last edited by Withindale on 18 Oct 2011, 19:25, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 18 Oct 2011, 10:58

Yes many piano shops advertise a January sale. Whether the sale is genuine or not is another question
Yamaha Pianos for sale (usually 50+ in stock)
email markgoodwinpianos@gmail.com with any Yamaha, Kawai, Bechstein or Steinway questions :)

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by Barrie Heaton » 18 Oct 2011, 17:52

D.J.Smith wrote:Ian.

The Directive is quite clear ; the seller is responsible for all faults.
I was tuning for a TS client and I asked what was the rules She said that there was an EU department that is in places for problem with items bought in one EU member state and used in an other The car buying public make good use of it Bur id you have an uncooperative manufacture and an uncooperative retailer at the point of sale

It will take time to sort out as you will be dealing with the EU :roll:

Not saying cracked frames don't happen they do , but its more like you will get one form the back of the W/H that has not been preprepared So long battle with the EU or you savings that you made could get eaten up paying a tuner in the UK to bring the piano up to speed



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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by Fallada » 19 Oct 2011, 23:37

Sorry to interrupt these interesting comments but just to say I have recently purchased a Schimmel 130 T upright. Made in 1997 in perfect condition both inside and out. I paid £7500 which included a high quality adjustable stool and delivery from Dorset to London.

The sale was made through a husband and wife team, their company is called 'The Piano Agency'. The husband Martin Wilson is a piano tuner and technician of long standing with all those letters after his name. A thoroughly nice bloke and VERY informative.

I visited the old couple selling it who had the piano regularly tuned 3 times a year and apart from the slight dents in the hammer felts, which were to be expected and in any case not deep, it would be hard to see any difference between it and a new model. I feel like I got a reasonable deal. It has a lovely slightly mellow tone and very clear top end.

The piano plays very nicely. I'm just beginning to get to grips with the action which is quite heavy. When I have it tuned in around a months time I may see a technician to adjust it to my liking if that is possible. The C and C sharp below middle C are sometimes silent if you hit them too softly. I noticed from looking inside that these keys are where the split is between the bass strings and the treble strings. I'm not sure if that might be significant or a common thing. I shall have it looked at.

A picture of it may still be on the Piano Agency's site here:

http://www.thepianoagency.co.uk/Sales/

Or a double clicking on the image here will give you a better view if interested:

http://www.pianoshop.co.uk/pianodetails ... usic_Panel

It is quite obviously a quality piano that will surely outlast me. I call her Dorothy, after my Aunt who left me some money in her will. As a point of interest rather than a plug, to all those looking I can thoroughly recommend The Piano Agency.

Thanks for everyone's advice. I get the feeling I may be needing some more and shall continue with this site.

Cheers!

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Re: Piano Pricing

Post by dancarney » 20 Oct 2011, 08:09

Congrats on your purchase!

:)
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