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MMD > Archives > October 2002 > 2002.10.31 > 05Prev  Next

New Piano vs. Old Pianos
By Bruce Clark

Who wants a new piano?  Who wants a piano five years old or less?
I don't, and I will tell you why.

Unless I was prepared to buy a top-of-the-line new piano costing many
thousands, I would choose a restored well-known brand manufactured
during the 1920's to late 1930's, such as a Knabe, Chickering, Mason &
Hamlin or Steinway.

"The best is the cheapest in the long run."  This means you have fewer
problems and if it is a very good piano you usually can retrieve your
initial investment or more when it is time to dispose of it.

The piano industry suffered during the 1940's because of the war.
From then on, many old time workers who took extreme pride in their
workmanship slowly faded from existence.

Today the market is filled with thousands of PSOs (Piano Shaped
Objects).  Many modern manufacturers cut corners so severely that many
new pianos are poorly constructed.  Rather than build a nice wooden
molding to surround the cast iron plate, one manufacturer hot-glued
gilded rope for a replacement.  This solved another step in
manufacturing and it looked "nice."

I have seen brand new pianos with hammers that do not hit the correct
strings!  In addition, I found the tenor and treble strings in one new
piano were all size 15.  (We did not understand why strings were breaking
until we measured them!)  Another impressive new grand piano had a lid
so poorly made it warped, cracked and eventually broke from being
propped open.

Why do so many people equate "brand new" with quality?  At one time the
piano industry did a survey on why people bought a piano.  The most
frequent answer was: "It looks so nice in my living room."  From then
on, many piano manufacturers concentrated on nice looking cases and
cheapened the mechanics of the inside.

I have seen new pianos with pumice polishing compound spattered all
over the insides, new pianos shipped with wood shavings inside of them,
chip-board cases with mahogany veneer and pianos missing major parts!
Few are correctly regulated, but who would know the difference?

We are living in an era where people do not care.  Popular music has
decayed to such a point that most of it cannot be played on a piano.
Money is the object, and who cares about quality?  Very few.

Someone recently said, "Modern industry is run by clever crooks selling
junk to morons!"  Before you go charging out there to buy something
new, do your homework before buying!

Bruce Clark

(Message sent Wed 30 Oct 2002, 18:51:45 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  New, Old, Piano, Pianos, vs

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