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I'm relatively new to participating in this forum, but I've been reading it for years, and I have never seen a comment from someone who spent a significant amount of money on a piano and who later regretted it.

And it makes perfect sense. When you invest so much in something, you are automatically and reflexively geared to continually support and sustain that decision.

I see this even among people who buy top-tier pianos. I don't see any reason why anyone should feel the need to justify their purchase of an objectively outstanding product. I wonder if it just comes down to the snobbery factor. Well, my _________ isn't a Steinway, but . . .

I don't know, it just strikes me as odd. So, how much of the debate is just confirmation bias?


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I've noticed that bias in Amazon reviews for most anything.

But, as drummers say, most of the problem is at the big end of the stick. 😀

"That extra something special" is worth it to concert pianists and amateurs with critical ears and fingers, however. Thing is, there are many kinds (and price points) of special. Also, a great deal of "special" is dealer prep and on-going maintenance.


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Originally Posted by Piano90X
I'm relatively new to participating in this forum, but I've been reading it for years, and I have never seen a comment from someone who spent a significant amount of money on a piano and who later regretted it.
About 2 years ago there was a guy who bought a NY Steinway D and loathed it. He ended up trading it for a Hamburg.

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"How much of the "best piano" debate is confirmation bias?"

100% smile

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Confirmation bias is why reviews by owners should not be given too much weight.

Vested interest bias is why reviews by dealers(most, with a few notable exceptions) should not be given too much weight. Has there been a single dealer post out the many millions of PW posts that said something less than positive about a piano they sell? IMO the more a dealer talks about the piano(s) he sells, the less weight their opinion should carry.

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Unfortunately there are far too many wonderful pianos that I won't ever be able to buy. Talking about these, am I biased? Surely, by the eternal emptiness of my pocket...

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Originally Posted by Piano90X
I'm relatively new to participating in this forum, but I've been reading it for years, and I have never seen a comment from someone who spent a significant amount of money on a piano and who later regretted it.


Ah, but I haven't bought my piano yet to put that comment up here laugh


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Some PW posters feel that Steinway or Mason & Hamlin, or other fine brands mostly succeed by hype. I am afraid I don't share this. When you get a great piano under your fingers, it does something great to you. And great pianos don't happen by accident. They happen by a deliberate process. And if the experience one gets from playing them is something that thrills you, (and you can reasonably afford it), By all means it is worth it. Last time I checked all evidence points to life as a one-time experience. I have many people who once they acquire a great piano, (and the majority of these are Steinway) tell me it is the best purchase they ever made. Carpe Diem!!


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I think it is revealing that concert pianists, when given a choice of several top-tier pianos to choose from, can change allegiances depending on what they're playing. And don't forget that the vast majority - probably all - have been brought up on Steinway, and might never have played (say) a Shigeru Kawai in performance before. You might think that adjusting to the different key action, key weight and tonal qualities of the different brands from what they're used to might put them off, but not so.

This was demonstrated markedly in recent piano competitions......

So, if you ask them: "What's the best piano you've played?" - they would probably say: "Depends on what I was playing."


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Originally Posted by Piano90X
... I have never seen a comment from someone who spent a significant amount of money on a piano and who later regretted it.


Cool. How much do I have to spend to make sure I will not regret it?


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Hendrik, that is the wrong question. It should be "How much do I have to spend to make sure I will not admit regretting it?"


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We recently bought a Bechstein B124. When we first auditioned it, we were at the beginning of our piano shopping adventure (it was literally the first piano we looked at), and immediately we could hear it's beautiful tone compared to the other pianos in the showroom. I had been away from the piano world for over 20-years, so while I vaguely recognized the Bechstein name, it really didn't mean anything to me. Right away, without even knowing its price or lineage, it stuck out as a being in a class of its own (well except for the Grotrian upright which had very similar tone, but a bigger, fuller sound, and a bigger, fuller price to go with it).

After going to pretty much every dealer in town and auditioning every decent upright, we came back to this piano. It's a beautiful piano with a beautiful tone, and we're very happy with it.

That said, if it were my decision, I wouldn't have spent as much money as we did. Would we have been just as happy with a Japanese or Chinese piano? Probably pretty close, and with a lot more money in our pockets too.

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Originally Posted by PhilipInChina
Hendrik, that is the wrong question. It should be "How much do I have to spend to make sure I will not admit regretting it?"


Indeed.


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Quote
Last time I checked all evidence points to life as a one-time experience. I have many people who once they acquire a great piano, (and the majority of these are Steinway) tell me it is the best purchase they ever made. Carpe Diem!!


From my own experience, most people who bought something, even a lesser piano will say same.

Don't forget the buying process for many shoppers is a very stressful event usually followed by a normal, appreciated relieve when its over.

And when set up and maintained right, most pianos in today's market will deliver.
Not thinking this is overly brand specific....

Norbert smile

Last edited by Norbert; 08/29/16 05:11 PM.

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The amount of $$$ before you think your piano is the best? IMHO, $100.00. You will always think your $100 piano is the best of the $100 pianos. You will not defend your choice against the Tier 1 pianos.

If you buy a $5,000 piano, you will always defend that yours is best 'in the class of $5,000 pianos'.

At some point, the argument changes to 'my piano is as good as XXXX, even though XXXX is rated in a higher tier, and I paid $XXX less for it'.

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No more advertising on here, Ed.

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Bennevis you say in your post: "So, if you ask them: "What's the best piano you've played?" - they would probably say: "Depends on what I was playing."

That brings up an important point...

There is a Historical Piano Study Center in Ashburnham, Massachusetts my husband and I visited a while back. The center houses a collection of historical pianos kept in playing condition. A nice couple, the Fredericks' who run the center gave a nice tour to a group of us PianoWorld members. One of the most interesting demonstrations was the playing of the same piece of music on different pianos. Different pianos naturally brought out different qualities of the music. So, yes, some pieces of music and/or t ypes of music lend themselves much better to certain piano voices than others. Which means the "best" piano may depend on what type of music you tend to play.

And I would add the "best" piano is an individual point of view - depends on what you are looking for, what's most important to you: sound quality, piano action/touch, dynamics, sustain..of course all of those things and more I just didn't think of off the top of my head enter into people's opinions.

My take is debate over which is "the best piano" is a moot point. There is no such things as a "best" piano. First, are we asking for the best built, quality piano? Or how it plays or your experience of playing it?

When someone asks "what is the best piano" I always think, there are many *great* pianos. And even among pianos that are considered lesser quality you occasionally come across a gem that is much better than its brothers and sisters - and visa versa.

I played a very high end European piano (more $$$ than Steinway)that seemed nothing special. A few years later I played the same model - different location - that was absolutely stupendous! So basing one's opinion on having played one particular piano can be very dangerous. I'm thinking the impression I had of the first piano had a lot to do with the cavernous music shop in which it was for sale!

Conclusion, it's really not an easy thing to come to educated conclusion about pianos. We need to play numerous examples of each piano in differnt types of environments and prepped by different technicians in order to make the best educated decision on which piano you like best.

Aha! I think that is really how the question should be framed: Which piano do you like best? Not, "Which piano is best?"

Jeanne W

Last edited by Jeanne W; 08/30/16 07:27 AM.

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Originally Posted by Jeanne W

Aha! I think that is really how the question should be framed: Which piano do you like best? Not, "Which piano is best?"
Jeanne W


But Piano90X wasn't asking that. He or she was asking if people speaking highly of what they paid a lot of money for skews the general consensus of what is good or the best. Given human behavior, it sort of has to.

That said, while most posters here like their pianos a lot, I don't think many of them actually would vote that their brand is the "best" piano brand. I'd go so far as to say that the people who seem to offer advice most in line with confirmation bias are Steinway owners, but even then, it's just a small subset of Steinway owners.

I spent a lot of time and effort shopping for my first piano. Almost bought a beautiful Steinway A, but instead, I bought a M&H AA. When I got it, I didn't like part of the bass scale at all, and I actually wound up having it re-scaled. I posted the details of that experience here years ago. Now that I know how to listen, I can hear the tones/sounds that bothered me in the M&H, in all the Steinways shorter than a B. But maybe if I had paid 10K more for the A, knowing it was an old and established model that nobody complained about (as opposed to my AA which was an entirely new scale), I wonder if I might have convinced myself I loved the sound, and then actually loved the sound. Perception is influenced by expectations after all.

I couldn't love an A now that I had that experience with the AA, because I listen for certain things, but back then, who knows. Confirmation bias isn't necessarily a bad thing.



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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Confirmation bias is why reviews by owners should not be given too much weight.

Vested interest bias is why reviews by dealers(most, with a few notable exceptions) should not be given too much weight. Has there been a single dealer post out the many millions of PW posts that said something less than positive about a piano they sell? IMO the more a dealer talks about the piano(s) he sells, the less weight their opinion should carry.


You know, I'm not so sure about the bit I put in bold. There have been a few cases on here of people buying a piano and having "buyers remorse" afterwards, and a number have talked honestly both about what they like and don't like about the pianos they have bought. That kind of info from people who actually use pianos regularly can imho be really helpful, and be really useful as part of a buying process. Of course, a simple "my piano is great" doesn't help much, but I think a more considered "I love my piano because" can be really helpful even if you have to adjust a bit for the inevitable confirmation bias.

But the bit in italics. Yes, I'd wholeheartedly agree with that one, and in my own search disregarded at least one dealer largely because of this.

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My very well-seasoned experience leads me to the conclusion that the overwhelming percentage of reviews and comments are confrontational bias.


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