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MMD > Archives > January 1999 > 1999.01.12 > 16Prev  Next

Declining Quality of Pianos
By Craig Brougher

I appreciate everyone who contributed to this subject recently.  It is
because of expressed dissatisfaction that companies have the option to
"change their tune," so to speak.

Engineers get carried away sometimes, and totally lose sight of the
reason they even have a job to begin with.  If you look at the manufac-
turers who have a strong corporate structure and are not totally
dictated to by bean counters who see only a (very) temporary bottom
line, you usually also find satisfied and happy employees and quality
products.  It all begins at the top.  But greed and fear are contagious
and synergistic, both.  There is just no satisfying the goddess named

The best way to send the kind of message these basically dishonest
companies need to hear is, first of all, through their dealers.  Their
dealers are either just like they are, or, they are not.  A conscien-
tious dealer will refuse to sell products that he knows will ruin his
own reputation.  So the only dealers selling these things must be the
ones who don't have much to lose and have no pride, in any case.

If you aren't an expert in pianos, you have no business in that
business.  And if you are an expert in pianos, sales of instruments
like the ones described will eventually ruin it for everybody.
Aeolian, in their later years was busy destroying their own industry.
For every piano they sold, they nixed the sale of the next 20.  What
could have been a booming business fell through, largely due to greed
and fear.

Quality of merchandise is the same thing as character.  It always has
been.  Dealers who say, "Well, my customers demand these less expensive
pianos."  Fine.  There are plenty of less expensive pianos out there
that are pretty good, by comparison, and are not built by people
trying to rip you off.  And dealers, when you get in a piano that has
things wrong with it, let the factory know before-hand that either they
will pay for the repairs, or take it back.  Dealers that don't do that
anymore are directly responsible for the overall degradation of this
entire industry.  They enable their manufacturers to get away with it!

Cheaply built, unreliable products in an industry hurts everybody --
not just the poor sap who got stuck with it.  The same rule goes for
rebuilding pianos.  It's easy to hide bad work (or no work) in an old
piano.  If you have a beautiful finish, and the instrument seems to
play pretty well, the only thing you have for insurance is that man's
basic makeup -- his character -- that you know you can trust and rely
on if you have to.  What applies to individuals like rebuilders also
applies to companies -- like Baldwin.

Craig Brougher

(Message sent Tue 12 Jan 1999, 13:05:43 GMT, from time zone GMT-0600.)

Key Words in Subject:  Declining, Pianos, Quality

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