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Estonia Pianos
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saerra Offline OP
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I'm soooo tired of piano shopping. And it's only been one week.

Is it too much to expect that a reasonably priced piano will inspire "piano love" and "it's the one!" feelings? Maybe I'm simply hoping for too much?

I can't tell at this point if I'm simply too picky, if I'm hoping for too much, or if playing the Estonia has ruined me - and my brain refuses to fall in "love" with any other piano!

After hours at the piano store today, I came home and honestly thought - I don't want a piano anymore. I don't want to buy one, don't want to own one. It's too hard, and my digital is SO well behaved, always in tune, not at all fussy, and could care less about the windows, humidity, or nearby hard surfaces. And, best of all, it's paid for!

I did get to play alone with the RX1 that I had been looking at. And, really quickly decided I didn't like it. I didn't feel like, "yay, I'm so glad they left us alone and I can practice on this wonderful piano" - more like a little dark cloud of gloom descended on me. I kinda think the RX1 must have stuck out its tongue and gave a great, big raspberry at me :P pfffffff.

I tried a couple other very affordable new grands as well, but... they just didn't feel *right*.

I'm back to 3 thoughts:
1 - Looking at my finances for the 500th time to try to afford the Estonia. It still *might* be do-able, but I think I'd want to go back and play, alone, with it a bit to be 100% sure it's worth the cost. I love it, but I'm not completely sure that I love it THAT much. (I might, I'd just like to try again to be certain.)

2 - Just getting a cheap upright. If I can't get the Estonia, rather than trying to find something else to love (which it appears I won't) - just going for cheap and utilitarian. A decent upright would still be an improvement over the digital, and this way I wouldn't spend SO much money and NOT be in love! I'd spend just a little money, and have something functional.

3 - Giving up on the whole thing for now, continue practicing on my little digital (which I appreciate more after all!) and trying to grab a bit of practice time here and there at the church where I take lessons, to get some acoustic practice in.

*sigh*!

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I know, Saerra; it's so hard to be feeling pressure about something that is supposed to be fun.

Someitmes you need to accept that there are a few steps between where you are and pure "piano love." It depends on how much risk you're willing to accept.

Good luck with your shopping. Maybe if you concentrate on your playing for the next week, something will come clear about your purchase.

Nancy


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If you can get what you love; get it. You won't be truly happy unless you do. I am in love with my Baldwin. It actually flirts with me and is constantly tempting me to come and play. I was actually starting to resent the 'cheap', slutty piano I had before! wink


“Some people stay far away from the door if there’s a chance of it opening up. They hear a voice in the hall outside and hope that it just passes by.” Billy Joel

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Get what you love and it will age gracefully.. that's what life's all about.
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If you can get the one you want without putting yourself in a financial hole, get it. Otherwise, if you will someday be able to reasonably afford it, wait until you can buy it. If you don't see a way to reasonably afford it in the foreseeable future, find something else that you can live with and get that. There's not much to be gained by buying a second starter piano, it's time to make a long term commitment.


Piano self teaching on and off from 2002-2008. Took piano instruction from Nov 2008- Feb 2011. Took guitar instruction Feb 2011-Jul 2013. Can't play either. Living, breathing proof some people aren't cut out to make music.
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Hey buddy, I feel your pain....

Allow me to tell a short story. I went snow blower shopping a few years ago, and the price was shocking to me. I shopped and shopped, looked at just about every one on the market, and finally decided I did not need the one I wanted, so I got a small one that would fit my needs and do the job with a few more passes.

After two winters in a row that were killers, I decided I needed a bigger machine. My old one is worthless so I gave it to my kid who lives in Oregon, and bought the one I wanted from the beginning.

Now I am happy. I wrote off the fact the one I bought to begin with was, in fact, a waste of money. Another lesson among the many lessons I seem to like repeating.

Then, my lovely bride digs out an envelope she had put away two years ago when I saved all that money by going with the cheaper one.

A lovely note saying she would bet the house that within two years I would go and get the one I wanted to start with. Ya just gotta love her. Not a word for two years. I could never sit on something like that for that long.

So, quit making yourself crazy. You found your love. Wait until you can get her and don't settle for any thing else. It is cheaper in the long run. Whatever you get "for now" will fall short and not make you happy.



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Thanks. Well, I went back today (yes, again. I'm apparently becoming a "regular"...) and asked if they could give me some time alone to play with the Estonia.

This is proving really helpful for me, because alone, I can get out my books, and just go through a normal practice session, and see how I feel actually working through things.

I have nothing negative to say about the Estonia... but practicing on it... I could tell, I'm not enough in love to make the necessary financial sacrifice, if that makes sense. Beautiful great piano with a wonderful feel to it, but I'm ok looking for something else now (more affordable). That helps!

I'm still not sure that I'm going to find something that I absolutely fall crazy in love with though! wink I think I'll love the piano (any piano!) much more once it's home and I get to actually work through some music with it wink

Phew. Still searching!


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Have you had a chance to play a Hailun or Knabe, saerra? They're affordable and get good reviews on the forum.


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saerra, have you considered a Yamaha grand (C1, GC1, C2, etc.)? I don't remember if you mentioned those in your other thread.

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Monica - I haven't had a chance to play the Hailun. (Actually, I might have, but I'm not remembering it clearly.) I am playing the Knabes at the dealership that I've been spending all my time at...

The upright Knabe (50") is really nice... when I first start playing, the sound is beautiful and full, but as I go on, all the overtones build up and become a bit too much for me... (I'm wondering if I'm going to have this problem with all/most "American" sounding pianos?!)

It's too bad, it's a really pretty piano too, and has a real sostenuto pedal AND a practice lever!

I also played on a 5'3" Knabe grand today. It's a bit more than the uprights... and I really need to listen again. I didn't not like it wink although I'm starting to feel like I'd rather spend less and get a "starter" piano, and plan to upgrade in a few years. (This one was at a little over $15k.)

I also played with some May Berlin grands... not bad, but... the smaller one was *wobbling* when I played on it frown And the bigger one had a couple notes (not super high either) that really annoyed my ears (piercing sounds). Despite that, I'm going to give their upright another try on my next visit... it's very affordable.

AND! I got to play a hidden Schimmel upright today. It's an "event piano" about 2 years old (I'm trying to figure out what that means, in terms of wear-and-tear.) It does come with the full, "new" warranty from Schimmel though, and a nice discount. I enjoyed playing on this one, although it was a little metallic/bright. I'm going to give it another shot too.

I'm starting to look more at the uprights as "starter pianos" for me, and really thinking how useful a practice pedal would be in my tiny townhouse. smile

Chardonnay - I did get to try 2 used C3s. One of them, I tried multiple times. I want to love Yamaha - my digital is a Yamaha, and my teacher's personal piano is one, so I feel predisposed towards them... but so far, no love. The sound was great when the dealer played and I stood back, but when I played... it seemed a little mushy ? It just didn't seem quite clear to me, I'm not sure how to really put it into words. I kept going back to try again, b/c I really thought I'd love it!

Sooo... still trying!

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The only thing I didn't get that I wanted with my piano was a true practice pedal, and I miss it already (Walters have sostenuto pedals on their uprights- who would guess?) So, maybe there is a starter upright out there for you! It would be a nice feature.

It was only three months for us to find our piano, but it seemed like years, and I remember the shock of how much time it was going to take made me really irritated in the first two weeks. Don't give up! It's just not like buying anything else. Well, maybe a wedding dress. I gave up and bought a crummy dress, but I stuck with it on the piano, and I am pretty happy now!

Are you travelling at all this fall? Visisting piano stores during my travels helped me a bunch. PS- the Berlin sounds nice, but they feel like junk if you ask me...I can't believe it was moving! The Shimmels were much more to my taste as well, but about 7 times my budget.

Also, don't forget the power of finding something used. I fell in love with a Walter that I really couldn't justify, and so didn't pull the trigger on for a couple weeks while waiting for some cash to flow from my consulting....while I was waiting and feeling sick over the price, I found a gently used one for sale that was less than half the price of a new one, and in immaculate shape. It needs a tiny bit of regulation and a piano saver, but it is sitting happily in my living room despite all odds and my general fear of using Craigslist for a big purchase.

If you know the exact piano you love, start trolling Craigslists from your region and pianomart and everywhere you can think of. If it's cheap enough, the moving costs and the trip to visit it might work out ok! Lot of work, but worth it. Worked for us!

Good luck!


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Originally Posted by lvp
The only thing I didn't get that I wanted with my piano was a true practice pedal, and I miss it already (Walters have sostenuto pedals on their uprights- who would guess?) So, maybe there is a starter upright out there for you! It would be a nice feature.


Hmmm... My 1520 made in 2006 has a practice pedal and no sostenuto. Personally I'd rather have the sostenuto, since I have a digital for the rare instances where I need to keep quiet and never use the PP.

BTW-- My C1 is being tuned, regulated and voiced as we speak, so I will have a better idea later today whether I've found piano love, or whether it's just another one night stand.

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Originally Posted by bluekeys
Originally Posted by lvp
The only thing I didn't get that I wanted with my piano was a true practice pedal, and I miss it already (Walters have sostenuto pedals on their uprights- who would guess?) So, maybe there is a starter upright out there for you! It would be a nice feature.


Hmmm... My 1520 made in 2006 has a practice pedal and no sostenuto. Personally I'd rather have the sostenuto, since I have a digital for the rare instances where I need to keep quiet and never use the PP.

BTW-- My C1 is being tuned, regulated and voiced as we speak, so I will have a better idea later today whether I've found piano love, or whether it's just another one night stand.


So, you have the Renner action? Or the new Walter action? This model from 2001 is the Langer. The newer no-name Walter action had the practice pedal, and we assumed this would, but whatever. I am fine with it. I just have to actually get good enough to want to use the sostenuto. Right now I am sure my neighbors would prefer the practice mode. Another round of "Jingle Bells", anyone! Hah! Poor bastards. Or perhaps another rousing rendition of the Maple Leaf Rag, courtesy of Mr. LVP?

So glad we live in the suburbs. Looking forward to hearing how CW holds up against the Yami! I bet a $100 your going to keep both. Permanently. wink


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Go for your third option. If you are tired right now, give it a rest for awhile and stop scouting for these babies. When you are not looking anymore, it will be interesting how the great ones will just fall in your lap like you actually asked for them.

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Yes, I have the Renner. Honestly, sostenuto vs PP means very little to me. I would only use either one once in a blue moon. Since the C1 has sos and the CW has PP I guess I have the best of both worlds now. Can't take that $100 bet just yet -- the tech's dinging away on the C1 and it sound a whole lot better already! smile

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Hi Ivp - How did the Craigslist thing work out for you? It scares me too, though I've definitely been watching, just in case. I'm particulary not comfortable with showing up at someone's house with thousands of dollars of cash in hand - yikes!

I still think I love the Estonia 168, and they never seem to show up used. Even on pianomart, with no geographic limits, there were no 168s, and only 2 190s, last time I looked (and not local, of course.) *heavy sigh!*

Yeah, I obviously have some concerns about the May Berlins too... the wobbling was just so weird. I haven't experienced that before, even with other small grands. Very disconcerting!

I am back to suffering over the Estonia, and trying to decide if I should just suck it up and borrow the money for it... (I know, I know... I keep going back to the thought that the price increases mean it will only get less-affordable though!)

I probably need to hear the Schimmel upright again... I think I won't get back out there til this weekend, and really, I'm just feeling exhausted by the whole thing... so I'm trying to just get some rest at this point!


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Originally Posted by saerra
How did the Craigslist thing work out for you? It scares me too, though I've definitely been watching, just in case. I'm particulary not comfortable with showing up at someone's house with thousands of dollars of cash in hand - yikes!


I really believe buying on craigslist is perfectly safe as long as you use a little common sense. Of course you're not going to get a warranty, but you know that going in, and you're well compensated for it by getting a better price, plus you can mitigate that risk with a good tech eval.

As for "scary" people trying to lure would-be piano shoppers into their clutches to commit acts of thievery or worse -- if you think about it, there's no dumber thing that a criminal could do than to give a potential victim his home address, which presumably the victim might share with someone before coming, and ask the victim to come to his house. Wouldn't it make about a zillion times more sense for bad guys to answer craigslist ads, where they could show up anonymously and commit their dastardly deeds?

I've looked at maybe 8 or 9 craigslist pianos in the past couple years, and every time I exchanged at least 3 or 4 emails first, and about 80% of the time spoke with the person on the phone first. If I was the least bit apprehensive, I could have spoken on the phone first every time. The vast majority of people selling pianos were middle-aged women in middle class neighborhoods. By the time we'd talked enough to warrant a personal visit I was pretty darn confident that the person really had a piano they wanted to sell and that I might want to buy.

At no time did I have any substantial amount of cash with me. There was no need during any first look. The only one I came back to see more than once was the Yamaha that I ended up buying. For that one I made 4 trips: a first look, a second look where I played it for an hour, my tech evaluation, and finally the pick up.

At the time of pick up I paid with a bank check made out to the seller -- a middle aged woman -- and I was accompanied by five (yes five!) burly guys from a piano moving company that I contacted through an established piano store.

I really can't think of any point in the process where I was in any danger beyond the possibility that I might make a bad buy -- and that's just as likely, maybe more so, at a piano store.

I certainly understand that some people are more comfortable going to dealers. But I don't believe that danger from private sellers is a legitimate concern.




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I have decided that Craigslist is awesome, I have managed to find so many things that were otherwise out of my budget- including the piano! The trick is really lots of communication first AND a willingness to travel a bit AND trusting your gut. ASK QUESTIONS. Don't be shy. One guy around me sells a ton of pianos and had two I was interested in. Turns out he doesn't play at all....didn't bother going to see him. Why? He couldn't answer my questions and I thought it was a weird business to be in if you couldn't play. I didn't get that tidbit until our third call. Be persistent! And be as cautious and cynical as you need to be to feel comfortable.

So, on the Walter I did buy___ I had exchanged at least a dozen emails and three phone calls with the sellers before I even went to see the piano. I brought my husband and a piano tech, and as usual, the seller was a middle aged woman, her husband and teen son. The money from the piano was going to her daughter in music school who needed an upgrade for her film scoring work. How sweet to know that my hard earned cash was helping us both to be more musical!

The biggest issue is really not the weirdness of meeting, but payment. That's where I always get really cautious. When I bought my treadmill off craigslist, it was easy. I tried it out in their house, it worked, we loaded it my truck, I paid them. Not so easy with the piano. You have multiple options, but they are different. First, some moving companies will act as the escrow agent, carrying the check to the pickup and exchanging the money for the goods on site. I like that option.

Also, you can use PayPal, but there is a little lag from when you click 'pay' and when the money appears, so either you pay early on faith, or they accept payment a bit later on faith. Not a great system, but it was actually what we used. The sellers were really great, people of deep faith (as we could tell by the religious art in their home) and it just did not feel like we were going to be swindled. Not a great system, but a check made her nervous, and I didn't want to send the movers with cash.

Lastly, there are piano escrow services. I met Joe Ross of pianomart.com (he actually checked the piano for me on site) and I know he has one, that seems legit (though I know some are not, proceed with caution!). Others might have opinions about payment options if you get to that point.

Anyhow, it made me more nervous than a store transaction, but don't let that dissuade you totally. Frankly, I think our eight year old piano has less wear on it than the 'new' one that the dealer was trying to sell us (can anyone say 'piano lessons'?) and was a great bargain. And yesterday, I saw another Walter on Craigslist for $1000~ I am almost sad that I didn't wait another month~

Your Estonia is out there, I swear. Somewhere, someone is downsizing or moving to Europe or accidentally cut off their fingers in a freak para gliding incident, and they need to sell this lovely piano. Just give it time. Buying a piano forces you to become a zen Buddhist for a while. Go with it.

Read our piano buying thread if you want more confirmation that the exhaustion and frustration is just part and parcel of the whole deal. I took off a week and a half at some point, and came back to it feeling really good. Someone in that thread told me that at some point, a piano would just 'follow me home'. I loved the visual of a piano, like a puppy, just trailing me. It was such an apt comment. Once I found it, it just all fell in place. It will come. And don't worry about it being far away. That, my friend, is what movers are for. Mine came a solid 8 hours to get to us!

Hang in there! Your piano will follow you home, too!



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PS

There is an 'estoniaworld.com' forum that you might want to check out. Maybe a 168er is upgrading??? Keep your eyes on it!



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Hmm... thanks for the rundown on Craigslist. That's a lot of good stuff to think about. I think I would feel a million times better if I spoke to the owner on the phone before showing up at their house wink

And, I AM watching craigslist... I just don't often see much that looks great. There are lots of very old, sad looking piano-like things there frown

(The ads do make me laugh though. Things like, "all keys, except 3, work. And those 3 you hardly use anyway!" and... "hasn't been tuned in 10 years. Very playable!" *hehe*)

My favorite is when they say, "MUST SEE!" - but don't bother to include pictures wink I know what they mean, but it strikes me as funny wink

"...or accidentally cut off their fingers in a freak para gliding incident" - I guess one can hope! wink

Thanks for the thoughts. I've tried taking it easy this week... I'm back to obsessing on the Estonia. I think though that I'm really not "serious" enough to spend that much on a piano, it doesn't make sense (maybe in a couple years) - but after only 2 years of playing. I'm a little scared I'll get a big expensive piano, and then... get distracted by another hobby... (I love piano, but I've loved lots of things I no longer do...)

There's a steinway store near where I work, so I may stop by Friday at lunch, and see what kind of used uprights they carry.

And, yes, keep my eyes peeled on craigslist!

Thanks,
-saerra

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