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Sunday, 3 June 2012

Piano Brochures

Brochures about New Pianos are littered with adjectives that imply a superiority of tone, craftsmanship, build quality, choice of materials, the range of models... on and on!

The unfortunate would-be buyer, has to learn a sort of code before coming close to making a decision. Then, when the piano is delivered, the tuner often has to 'iron out' the niggles and tweak the odd misbehaving notes before the customer feels he has made the right choice.

The most difficult part about using words and pictures to describe a piano, is that every piano is so different. Tastes are different. The process of choosing a particular piano from among many is, for most pianists, a deeply personal thing. Any attempt to narrow the decision down to a particular piano by answering a series of questions or by simply reading a brochure, is doomed to meet with disappointment.

In a glossy brochure, references made to the piano maker's art, is little more than part of the overall intention to impress the reader. What does it really mean? There is something about building a piano that does make it more of an art than a skill - though great skill and patience are essential to build a piano worth having! What buyers really need to know is that their choice will match their expectations, that the bold words of a loquacious salesman will be seen to have at least some sincere content.

It would be good if makers could have genuine and honest feedback on their pianos - more than a simple 5 option response to 5 general questions. As a tuner, I come across many new pianos whose questionnaires, if I filled them out, would have the 'least satisfied' option selected in most cases. This is not because I do not like new pianos, but because I am often disappointed myself with the condition of the piano when I get to tune it in the customer's house.

If I were spending serious money on a piano, I would feel justified in having high expectations - Isn't that what the brochures are trying inspire in the buyer? 

A while ago, a customer who bought a top name 'silent' piano, to replace a piano that was rather old and definitely inferior, said she regretted ever buying the new one! Why? Because it was not what she led to believe it was. This is not a customer who will go about saying she was 'completely satisfied' with the piano. 

Piano makers seem not to care about their pianos once in the hands of the retailer. Pianists are the buyers and users of pianos - if the goods supplied are poor, the demand will soon drain away. In the Piano Trade, we have a lot of work to do!  

The Piano World

© Steve Burden

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