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Hello, this is my first post to the forums, so here goes. I am a college student who is studying music, and I really want to get my own piano. We had one growing up, but about 2 years ago our piano got damaged when a tree came through our house during a storm. At the home I now live in I no longer have access to an acoustic piano so for the past 2 years I've been getting by with just the casio keyboard that I own. I just sold my old cars (i had an old beemer and an old volkswagen beetle I fixed up) and I want to use the money to buy a nice piano. Since I look at a piano as a huge investment, I want to buy the nicest one I can afford. Right now I've got just over 10 grand for a piano and a local steinway dealer whom I know rather well said he might be able to get me a very used model B for around 25k which means I'd have to finance about 15g on it. I am very stressed over the idea of financing a piano at that much. So should I bite the bullet and go for the well-used steinway and make payments on it, should I keep saving until I can put more money into a piano? Also, I mean it's not the first piano we've ever had in the household but it'll be MY first piano so it's kinda a big deal for me and it's a lot of money and I'm wondering if you think it'll be worth it in the long run. I know decent B's (used) can go for 35-40k. Thanks guys!

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Welcome to PianoWorld!

I think there is a number of questions here, no?

a) can you get a really nice deal on a Steinway Grand where at 25k its really a steal? I'd suggest that if the dealer is not under cash flow stress or part of the family, the answer is no and you get (at best) exactly what you pay for. That is not bad at all, of course. Just get an independent technician to assess the piano before you write the check.

b) is a grand piano for you? I could afford one, but I don't have one, because I do not have the room (until the kids move out :-). Do you have the room? Will you always have the room? Will you be able to afford moving the grand wherever you go?

c) should you finance a piano? If you are in the states, do you not already have to finance your education? How fast can you pay back, you think? Personally, I'd not have financed anything as a student. Maybe, if there is a bargain on a piano, I'd finance what I can pay back in a year, which would not have been too much.

I think for a) you actually must assume that you will not get a steal. b) is probably the most important question, because only if you are 100% sure you want a grand, need a grand and will greatly benefit from a grand, it makes sense to finance and how much. And you can actually replace "grand" with "Steinway" and ask the same questions again. You do not need to have a Steinway to become an excellent musician. More important who teaches you.

All the best and keep us posted!


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Everybody is different but, I would not to go into debt for a piano.
Best wishes,


phacke

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Don't know if it ever has been, but i think today a piano is not an investment. It's value goes down with wear and tear, and that's especially rapid as you study on it, no matter what badge it has on the fallboard. By the way: a lot of actual investments ( meaning goods wich really keep or increase their value in time ) loose a big part of their financial momentum the moment you have to finance and pay interests on their purchase.


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Greetings,
25K will buy a lot more piano than a very used anything. If you were to look at that B as an investment, with visions of restoring it, playing the beautiful piano for your life, and then selling it and recouping your investment, you are off to a rocky start. For that scenario to work,you have to start with a $5K basket case and go up the ladder. At a 25K starting point, "Ya got no percentage".

I have seen late model, virtually unused B's for sale at the $30- 35K mark, so measure your distance, accordingly. That is also the second largest piano that Steinway makes, and is often used in small halls. I service a number of them, and they are rarely played full tilt in the homes, they are simply too powerful, even for some of the larger, and I mean "country-star-mansion" large, rooms. They cost more to move, and fit in fewer spaces, too.

Thirdly, you may not want a piano that will be in a perpetual state of compromise, (and a well used piano, without regular technical care, will be). If you are trying to study and improve your ability, the interruptions, and inability to regulate that come from a worn out piano will be a liability. A dependable, trouble-free Yamaha/Kawai/Baldwin/somestein or other, might be a better route at this time.

Whatever you do, have an independent tech, on your own dime, examine any piano you are considering, and tell you how much it will cost to get from where the piano is at present, to where you want it to be. These things can be money-pits, frustrating their owners until the money is gone, yet still left with a bunch of problems. Caveat !
Regards,

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i'm a debt free pay cash only type of guy, but i realize not everyone is in that position and as long as you can pay the debt without too much sacrifice (and a decent interest rate) i see no reason not to consider the finance option. People think nothing of financing a $30K (or more) car or SUV that they will probably keep 5 years as most. If you get your dream piano, you will likely keep it many many years - a lot longer than people keep a car. the Steinway should last you the rest of your life - or until you are rich and famous and decide to upgrade to a model D smile.


of course, as others said, get a tech to inspect and make sure the piano is in good to excellent condition.

gw

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Logan Avery,
Have you searched your locale to see if any piano rebuilders are nearby? Or talked to any of the top technicians who have a significant clientele of fine grand pianos? They may know of some of their clients who are downsizing and need to sell their grand piano.


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Originally Posted by gwood
i'm a debt free pay cash only type of guy, but i realize not everyone is in that position and as long as you can pay the debt without too much sacrifice (and a decent interest rate) i see no reason not to consider the finance option. People think nothing of financing a $30K (or more) car or SUV that they will probably keep 5 years as most. If you get your dream piano, you will likely keep it many many years - a lot longer than people keep a car. the Steinway should last you the rest of your life - or until you are rich and famous and decide to upgrade to a model D smile.


of course, as others said, get a tech to inspect and make sure the piano is in good to excellent condition.

gw

Greetings, I look at financing as one thing and net debt as another. To the OP, as a student as I was at one time, I needed to be flexible, mobile, and liquid,so I got a reasonably good electronic keyboard. I understand that it's as likely your situation is different .
Best wishes.


phacke

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I would take your time with this purchase and think long and hard on whether you want to go into debt as a student for a piano. Might be worth it to check out Larry Fine's The Piano Book as you examine your options. You could likely get a very decent non-Steinway used piano with about $10,000 or so, depending on your market. That said, I think it is worth thinking about some of the things the other posters have mentioned above me: will a grand work in your space? can you afford to move it? should you be financing a piano right now? could you get by with a better digital (which is more easily moved around) until you are ready to purchase a grand or good upright?

In my own case, I worked myself up to a grand several years after leaving college. I had a digital for a while (and still do!), and then I bought a wonderful upright. After a year or so of that, I had even more money in the bank and made a trade for my grand. I could have easily gone into debt for a "better" piano, but it's nice to have some peace of mind, knowing it's all paid for. Plus, I love my piano! Good luck with your decision. Don't rush it.

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I think that it would be a mistake to go into debt to purchase a piano that is, at the moment, evidently beyond your financial means. The emotional burden of debt is one that can hang heavily and compromise your life style, particularly at your stage in life when future earnings do not yet seem to be established and when unforeseen financial emergencies should always be planned for by not going into debt.

With your $10,000.00 and a little bit of time and patience, you could find yourself quite a decent piano that would suit your current needs and would relieve you of the oppressive burden of long-term debt.

Save the big investment of funds until such time as you are financially secure, and enjoy what you can afford at the present.

Regards,


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First off, a piano is not an investment, they depreciate. A LOT. Like cars. For 10K, you can get a very nice instrument. I don't believe in buying for name recognition. There's wonderful pianos out there right in your budget. Don't go into debt for a piano.

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Originally Posted by Hendrik42
You do not need to have a Steinway to become an excellent musician. More important who teaches you.

Logan - Just want to highlight the above statement. The fact that you are a college student with $10K to spend on a grand piano is commendable - but you can buy any number of excellent used instruments for that amount that will serve you well. I completed graduate studies in piano performance and taught for several years without actually owning a piano. I finally purchased a studio upright when I was 29 (which we've moved ten times over the years) and didn't buy my first grand (Korean built) until I was in my mid-50's. My current Mason and Hamlin grand is comparable to Steinway in most respects, and it was worth the wait !! smile Life is long. Enjoy the journey !!

Last edited by Carey; 08/02/16 12:15 AM.

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Greetings Logan,

Assuming this piano is a necessary "tool" of your trade and career path as a music major, I don't think it's stupid to accrue a little debt to acquire a suitable instrument in certain situations. It's a legitimate educational expense, a piano lasts a long time, and you can depreciate the value and deduct maintenance expenses for the instrument on your taxes over time in certain cases against freelance income that you earn as a professional musician (consult the IRS rules).

However, I don't know that a 7 foot piano in marginal condition, way above your original budget, at this stage in your life is the best tool to choose. As I finished my DMA degree and started my couple of jobs as an apartment-dwelling adjunct faculty member (and even the beginning of my tenure-track job, where I remained for much longer), it was really great to have a new, high quality, tall upright piano to practice on-- it was easier and cheaper to move frequently, had a mute rail for late-night practice, and was still musically satisfying enough to practice on for stretches of days when I couldn't get to a big grand piano easily. That sort of instrument is readily available within the $10k original budget, and can become a second piano when you have an appropriate budget (and space) later in your career. In my case, I decided to spread my accrued pianos out with the grand at home, the upright at my in-laws, and the digital at my parents homes, allowing me to practice just about anywhere I tend to visit often.

Hope this helps - good luck with your search.


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WOW I wasn't expecting so many great replies!! I appreciate all this interest in my post and all the great help and expertise you guys have offered.

So to put a blanket address on as many as possible, The steinway dealer made it sound like it was really a very used piano that belonged to a concert pianist. It's a 1936 B that has just had the action regulated and re-strung among many other things. The previous owner put about 20,000 into it to restore or refurbish it. It really is a nice piano, but I'm wondering if an 80 year old piano is really worth it. It play nice and has great sound.

And as for school, I have 2 years free college (with scholarships) and I don't think I'll have any trouble getting a lot more scholarship money toward school for the other years so when it comes to financing, it's just simply something I think I can do since I won't have any other debt for at least 2 years anyway. Although I do see a recurring theme: going into debt for this instrument is a bad idea.

The reason I don't want an upright is because I know I can afford a small grand (and I just really hate uprights.. don't know why.) That being said, there are plenty of other grands for my price range such as excellent yamaha or kawai grands for about what I can afford. I do really want a steinway and I will have one at some point of my life, but I don't want to spend 10-15 grand on a piano now, and then another 35 grand on a used one in the future when I can afford something nicer, just in the long run to me it seems like it's more money. Although I could be wrong on that, and I'm sure you guys know more about that than I do, that's why I ask questions on here-to learn from those who know more than I do.

Which is where my use of the term "investment" comes in. I know I'll probably never get my money back out of the piano, but it's an investment in myself. A nice piano that I can enjoy and learn with for a long, long time.

Okay, that was more than enough for you guys to read, so here it is: All factors considered, my final verdict:

I'm not getting the piano. It really is a wonderful piano that I really like but realistically for the age (and 80 year old piano) and for the price, I don't think it's worth my while. I mean there's nothing wrong with sound and feel, but obviously the newer the steinway, generally the higher quality I can count on it being, and odds are the longer it will last. Like I mentioned, I want something I can enjoy playing until I am 40 or 50, and by then this piano will be 120 years old and will probably have quite the pretty penny in maintaining it. So for me (since I'm so set on a steinway.) I think right now, the best option would be to either buy a used Yamaha N1 or N2, or just save until I can afford a better steinway or maybe a Boston 193 or something. I'll just have to be really cheap for the next few months, and then we'll see where I am financially.

Again, it was a wonderful first post and I'm looking forward to maybe making contacts in this forum community, learning about what the more knowledgable members have to offer, and having fun! Thanks all! Please feel free to share what you think about my final decision since I am still open for any thoughts and discussions on the matter.

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I don't like debt so I probably wouldn't do what you are consdering.

There are many great pianos besides Steinway which cost much less. At least research it and see how far your money could go with other piano options. Baldwin pianos, for example, are sometimes available at great bargains.


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Originally Posted by Logan Avery
The reason I don't want an upright is because I know I can afford a small grand (and I just really hate uprights.. don't know why.)
Perhaps you haven't played any truly great ones.
Quote
Which is where my use of the term "investment" comes in. I know I'll probably never get my money back out of the piano, but it's an investment in myself.
A good teacher and hard work are the far better "investments" in yourself.


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Originally Posted by Logan Avery

The reason I don't want an upright is because I know I can afford a small grand (and I just really hate uprights.. don't know why.)

I agree that the difference in action between an upright and a grand is something that can be very irritating. At least a third (or maybe half) of the PW members subscribe to the "a good upright is better than a bad grand" view, but in my opinion, because the action is different you can not really compare.

However, because you need to put more effort in, in a upright (e.g. repetition), as a student it could potentially benefit your technique.


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Another consideration: if you teach, while your students deserve a good instrument, they will pound it into junk (along with your personal practice) in short order. It won't hurt to have TWO pianos, eventually. There are tax write-offs for teaching instruments.


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Originally Posted by Logan Avery
...
it's kinda a big deal for me and it's a lot of money and I'm wondering if you think it'll be worth it in the long run...

No. On your own dime for your fist time purchase, I'd avoid the big brand names. Especially if they see you coming. Shop more. Find a great piano for 8,000 and go on vacation with the rest. Upgrade in 5-10 years as you likely will anyway.

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I disagree. Steinway's go up in price three percent a year so affording one is always a moving target. I would buy one of the model Bs out of the piano bank at Steinway hall for about 20% less than a new one or one of their heirloom pianos that are totally rebuilt by Steinway. I once saw an heirloom model B that was killer. Maybe you can get a mortgage and buy one. After many years I bought a Steinway (from Steinway hall) and now I know I should have bought one when I was much younger, better late than never.

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