In FineÂ´s rating the tiers seem to be watertight compartments. IsnÂ´t it more true that excellent made pianos of a lower tier may excell the badly made pianos of a higher tier and represent very good value?
I don't think that Mr. Fine regards his categories as watertight. If anything, his own statements on the applicablility of his ratings over the years would indicate something quite different.
Taken literally, your post is about how the piano has been made, not how it has been prepped and tweaked to get it to perform at its absolute best. Mr. Fine's categories are also about that. He is trying to determine the ability of the piano to perform over a lifetime of use, not the ability of a good tech to make it play and sound at a given moment well beyond its price.
I think that if a poorly- made
piano were positioned in a compartment with a higher numerical rating than an excellently- made
piano, Mr. Fine would want to address that and correct it.
It may well be the case that there are samples of so-called hand-built pianos that are not as well-made as other samples of the same. I think Mr. Fine's expectation would be that such pianos would not be released for sale by their makers until whatever ails them is corrected. If it is not a question of individual samples but a tendency of the maker to offer for sale poorly-made pianos, then I think Mr. Fine would be moving that maker cautiously and incrementally to less desirable compartments to the extent and at the rate that he can move it without losing his own credibility with the buying public.
It may also be true that there are excellently-made pianos emerging at lower prices from builders who have not proven themselves in a way that gives Mr. Fine sufficient confidence to place them in a different compartment. I think Mr. Fine does not want to be personally responsible for buyer disappointment should some of these pianos over time be not as excellent as they first appeared to be. I suspect such pianos that do not disappoint in their initial years of ownership will be moved slowly and incrementally to other more desirable compartments.
Now when you open the discussion to individual models of the makers, personally I think all heck will break loose and all those water-tight compartments will begin leaking, sharing their water, and you and I will be putting on our lifejackets and jumping overboard from the rating structure. I'm afraid of diving, so I'll be jumping from the lowest deck.
BTW, I like your word 'compartments'. I'm going to steal it and use it freely.
It's so much better than tiers. Tiers belong on wedding cakes. Tiers are scary too. The only reason that one is higher than others is the support of the ones under. Should there be a problem, the one on top will fall the furthest.
He probably hasn't pained himself over whether or not some generic Chinese maunfacturer deserves 4C of the bottom of the barrel, 4D.
fits very well with your assorted musings in this forum on the nature and capabilities of what you have referred to as the 'lower Asians'. I'll say this for you. You wear your bigotry on your sleeve for all to see.