30 Dec 2011

Buying a piano

You’d think that buying a piano would be a really great experience. You get to try dozens of pianos ranging from used uprights to new 9 foot grands worth $150,000. You simply pick the one you want, and buy it. Unfortunately it’s not that simple. Most of the dealerships (at least where I live) are the exclusive dealers for several brands. That means if you want to compare a Yamaha to a Kawai, you can’t. No store sells them both. To make matters worse, the Kawai salesmen are prepped to criticize Yamaha and vice-verse….. A lot. I kept telling the salesmen “I don’t care what you think, stop telling me all other pianos suck. I’m a pianist, I’ll decide which one I prefer.” This worked for the most part, but they’d still jab occasionally. Also, while I’d play through my repertoire, some of the salesmen would just wait. Rather than wait for me to finish, to discuss details, some of them would follow me around the shop. I found this a little annoying, and I’d tell them “Don’t mind me, I’m going to play all your pianos, and then when I know which one I like, we talk talk numbers.” The good salesmen left me alone. The bad ones would follow me around, and makes comments in between my playing.

Side note, I went to one dealership, and told them my approximate price range. They showed me their pianos, but I didn’t like them. They then blamed it on my budget and said “You aren’t going to find anything that’s as good as you want for your budget. You should settle for a Kohler and Campbell and upgrade later.” He really acted as though I was being unreasonable.

That made me furious. I’d already found pianos that I liked, and that were in my budget (Brodmann, Pramberger and May Berlin). The dealer just didn’t stock those, and therefore criticized them.

After testing dozens of grands I ended up buying a Brodmann PE187 (6’2″) grand. It’s amazing. Finally, after spending two years without a piano, I now have one. Now I can practice again.