Buying a new piano!

Learn about pianos and how to maintain them

Postby LK123 » Mon Mar 13, 2006 7:38 pm

I am going to be in the market for a new piano, my first grand - I am so excited. I have started to look around and do some preliminary research, but it is a daunting task as everyone has their own product to push. Has anyone used Larry Fine's book, and if so, is it a good resource to have? Can anyone suggest any other resources to look at before I do some serious shopping?
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:50 pm

There is a review of Larry Fine's "The Piano Book" in our Reviews section. I happen to be the author of that review, and I consider the book to be far and away the best consumer guide to pianos ever published. It's quite exhaustive, but it is well worth taking the time to read it thoroughly.

Best of luck!

Dr. Bill Leland.
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
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Postby Stretto » Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:57 pm

I accidentally ran across the book when I was looking to buy my current piano and had never heard of Larry Fine or the book. I went ahead and read it and I attribute the information in Larry Fine's book to enabling me to make an educated, well-informed decision on my piano purchase.

I would highly recommend that anyone planning to purchase a piano read Larry Fine's book and even take notes if you have to. Without the information in his book, I would have had no idea what to look for in a piano.

Again, I've had my piano over 10 years, have no complaints about it, got a good price and I know I would have never ended up with a piano I'm this satisfied with had I not read the book. One of the reasons I think I'm so happy with it too is I know I made a well-informed choice. I can't imagine what it would have been like looking for a piano without knowing what to look for and I can't imagine what kind of piano and condition I would have ended up with otherwise.

The book also explains how to take care of one's piano once purchased and what can happen if not cared for properly. For example, proper humidity levels, etc.

I've heard Larry Fine and his book mentioned a lot since.




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Postby Cy Shuster » Thu Mar 16, 2006 4:25 pm

I also highly recommend Fine's book. He teaches you how to evaluate the physical condition of a piano, its construction, and also its sound.

Most of us have only played one piano our whole lives, which means we don't have an idea of the range of sound and action feel that's out there. Play as many different pianos as you can, even ones out of your budget!

In addition to "The Piano Book", I highly recommend his Annual Supplement. It lists all the current models available, and typical prices. It also updates "The Piano Book" with the latest industry changes (of which there are currently many!).

You can even get the Annual Supplement as an electronic book, right from Fine's site:
http://www.pianobook.com

--Cy--
New grandpa -- it's a girl!
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Postby minorkey » Fri Mar 17, 2006 7:52 am

Cy Shuster wrote:Most of us have only played one piano our whole lives, which means we don't have an idea of the range of sound and action feel that's out there. Play as many different pianos as you can, even ones out of your budget!

Easier said than done. Ever try to wander inconspicuosly into a dealership and just play on several different types of pianos, long enough to identify their sound and feel? This type of window-shopping is impossible in the dealerships I've been too. You cannot avoid being hounded by a salesperson who insists on talking and interrupting you repeatedly, even after you've pleaded for some time alone with the piano. While I certainly understand their need to make a sale, I feel they don't understand the different stages of the shopping process from our perspective well enough.
And it's my impression that they do not appreciate your "sampling" of pianos that you have no intention of buying (i.e., those out of your budget). Once you reveal to them your realistic price range (sometimes you have to answer their questions just to get them momentarily off your back), you're done! Any practicing on a Bosendorfer, Fazioli, or Steinway will just earn you cold glares at that point, because you're wearing down the hammers.
-Don't mean to gripe relentlessly on piano salespeople/dealers- most of them are very nice, pleasant and knowledgeable people just trying to do their job- but I do feel it's a legitimate complaint. I know I cannot do any early-stage "shopping" for a grand, and must wait until I am very nearly ready to buy. Does anyone have suggestions for both the shoppers and the salespeople on how we can mutually make the shopping experience more pleasant and productive all around? :angry:
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Postby Cy Shuster » Fri Mar 17, 2006 11:43 am

I'm sorry you've had that experience. Most places are busy on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (if they're open); earlier in the week and sometimes Saturday morning is less busy. If you're the only one in the store, they usually don't mind what you play (except pianos that have a "SOLD" sign on them).

It can be uncomfortable to be in a store. I know I've been embarrassed to bring music along, much less actually play it. I guess I'd advise you to talk to the store manager and let them know about your experiences. No one likes a hard sell, regardless of the product.

How can you know if you're ready to buy, unless you can freely try the product? Who knows, if you fall in love with the next piano you try, you might make an offer on it! Sales should be a win/win.

"The Piano Book" has lots of inside info on how pianos are sold.

--Cy--
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Fri Mar 17, 2006 11:50 am

Another tip: Choose your dealer carefully. You're not likely to get either a good instrument, a knowledgable salesperson or decent after-sale maintenance from a store that sells pianos in one corner, refrigerators in another, and washers and dryers somewhere else.

Find a place that is an authorized dealer for a reputable brand name, preferably one with a resident technician or even a rebuilding shop in the back. They invariably sell more than one brand, and often have good used pianos.

It helps a lot, too, to get some advice from the music dept. of a local university or from some of the leading teachers (of course, maybe you're it!).

Bill L.
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
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Postby LK123 » Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:41 am

Thank you to everyone who responded! Always good to hear other people's experiences. I am definately going to read the book before I go any further and get as much information as possible. Thanks again, much appreciated.
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