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Saturday, 30 August 2014

New Pianos

Surely, buying a new piano should to be straightforward enough, shouldn't it? As there are not so many piano shops around, if you wish to compare prices or try pianos in more than one shop, your hunt for a new piano will mean a good deal of travelling.

A piano can seem perfect in the shop, but at home in your music room, the sound hardens into a strident, in-your-face tone which is difficult to control and hard on the ears. Second thoughts, regret and disappointment are not easy to overcome when you have bought an expensive piano. Surely a piano costing so much should be satisfactory from Day One! 

It is not uncommon, as a technician, to be called in to deal with a brand new, expensive and newly-delivered piano that is terribly out of tune and/or the action is very heavy and difficult to play. Promises that the action would loosen up or the tone would mellow after being played for a while, prove to be disappointingly empty. The owner is very unhappy - and understandibly cross that there is a problem at all!

These issues can all be sorted but not in about 10 minutes. It is not rare to find a brand new piano which is so heavy to play the action needs re-centring. Frequently one finds keys that are sluggish, hammer-felts that are as hard as nails, notes going wildly out of tune or pedals that squeak every time they are pressed down. 

I have a great deal of sympathy for New-Piano-Buyers who feel so let down by their new piano. Piano brochures - without exception, make bold claims about the quality and care of manufacture. But sadly, too often, modern pianos never quite live up to expectations. 

In an ideal world, all pianos would be ready and 'match fit' long before it is delivered to the home of an excited pianist who has invested their hard-earned money in their dream piano. 

Perhaps 50 - 60% of new piano owners would say they are totally satisfied with their purchase. Possibly, the tuner/technician's satisfaction rate would be rather less, but the reality is noticeably less 'glossy' than the brochures that use extravagant superlatives to describe the build quality. 

Buyers should insist on standards that match the price they pay for a piano. One expects the quality of a cheap piano to match its low price. Equally, the quality of an expensive piano ought to be at least as high as the price - certainly, no lower!

Tuner's Journal


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