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Joined: Aug 2020
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Yes, grand pianos are expensive. So the cunundrum could be phrased as : (A) "How can you afford one if you are not wealthy?", or (B) "How to become wealthy so you can afford one?" We mostly hear on these forums clever and encouraging advice on (A). I can offer more personal, and perhaps original comment on case (B).

By the time I took up piano seriously at age 70, I was on the cupse of retirement, had sold my shares in a very successful business, and could afford any piano I wanted. But the interesting story, I believe, is that the decision to make money had been taken by me much earlier, fifty years ago, precisely as a mean to afford expensive hobbies. It was not directed at pianos at the time: sail boat racing was my passion. And although I loved classical music and jazz throughout my life, other expensive pursuits also claimed their share of the spoils : archeology, collecting ancient books and modern paintings, even private aircraft ownership. It's ironic that my other lifelong passion, video games, only requires the budget of a teen-ager.

I sure won't bore anyone with another huckster's guide on how to get rich quick. First it did take a lot of time. But I would like to point out some of the very different mental attitudes necessary, when you compare to a concert pianist career which I presume would be a reference for many forum members.

First you have to forget about your own tastes, but focus on the tastes of your fellow contemporaries. It is only by fulfilling their tastes, wants, needs, and desires that you will get them to part with their monies in your favour. What you like to do is irrelevant, what you are able to do is all that counts.

Second you will not ultimately succeed by your own wits alone. At some stage you will need to enlist the wits of others because things get too big and too complex to be mastered by one soul only. You will need to successfully transition to management (of other people) like a soloist becoming director.

Third you will never accumulate substantial wealth without building up equity, ie. acquiring ownership (with the potential benefit of resale) of what you have built over the years. A lifelong duration of income (salaries, fees) even quite high as for lawyers and doctors is unsufficient. Capital has to be created, like the wealthy musicians today are those who have sold the intellectual property they created, like Dylan.

These are not particularly original thoughts, but consider how they differ from the motivations of your typical aspiring young pianist.

As pertains to my experience, I can add that I voluntarily sacrificed the profession that most appealed to me when young, architecture, because I felt I could never satisfy my contemporaries needs in this field : I would be much too adventurous. It does not mean I would condemn myself to galley-slave in Wall Street, I chose advertising and media because I knew I would meet a lot of interesting creative people, and an infinite variety of clients. I was clearly privileged by having been brought up by parents who were not wealthy, but well-paid civil servants (diplomat father, archeologist mother) and bequeathed to me early in life tremendous intellectual capital, as Bourdieu would say.

But because my professional life was always geared to support my hobbies, I consider I did escape the rat race. So I did afford that one-tonner designed by German Frers, and eventually that Steinway.


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Truthfully I really can’t justify what I paid for my piano, but that’s what’s so wonderful. I can buy the piano I want which is certainly way above the piano I deserve. It’s one of rewards for working full time for so many years.


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Originally Posted by j&j
Truthfully I really can’t justify what I paid for my piano, but that’s what’s so wonderful. I can buy the piano I want which is certainly way above the piano I deserve. It’s one of rewards for working full time for so many years.

My piano punches way above my weight but I worked hard for it so through that logic I deserve that piano.

It is being used on a daily basis and it gives me great joy, so I do deserve that piano after all.

Same applies to you j&j, you deserve that piano. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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Very Wise Words Learux!

I have no regrets spending what I consider is a large sum for a piano.
My playing has improved immensely since the Steinway got here.
I play up to 2 -3 hours everyday.
and it's like meditation while I am playing.

brdwyguy


1961-1964: Lester or Emerson Upright
1969-1992: Westbrook Spinet
1991-2021: Schomacker Model A (1912) "Schoowie"
2021-Present: Steinway Model A (1912) "Amalia"

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Originally Posted by j&j
I can buy the piano I want which is certainly way above the piano I deserve.

I really disagree with this view. Every serious player deserves the finest piano. Whether they can afford it is of course another matter.

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Originally Posted by Learux
Originally Posted by j&j
Truthfully I really can’t justify what I paid for my piano, but that’s what’s so wonderful. I can buy the piano I want which is certainly way above the piano I deserve. It’s one of rewards for working full time for so many years.

My piano punches way above my weight but I worked hard for it so through that logic I deserve that piano.

It is being used on a daily basis and it gives me great joy, so I do deserve that piano after all.

Same applies to you j&j, you deserve that piano. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Hi Learux, glad to hear that you are enjoying that 2006 AF215 I auditioned in 2020, it deserved to be played and appreciated. It was a rare find here in So Cal.

Last edited by blueviewlaguna.; 01/07/22 08:47 PM.

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Originally Posted by David-G
Originally Posted by j&j
I can buy the piano I want which is certainly way above the piano I deserve.

I really disagree with this view. Every serious player deserves the finest piano. Whether they can afford it is of course another matter.

Of course. I was just expressing the fact that for pianos, I have more money than talent.


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I heard Pete Seeger tell a story about 2 maggots on a load of manure being hauled through the town. They decided to jump off and make their way in the world. So they jumped and one landed in a dry dusty spot in the middle of the road and the other landed in the middle of a dead cat. Some time later, the one made his way from the street toward the side of the road and met his brother. He said, "Oh Brother, I am so small and weak and barely alive, while you are so sleek and fat! To what do you attribute your success?"

The other maggot answered, "Brains and personality, Brother! Brains and personality!"

And that's pretty much how I ended up with a lovely piano.


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Originally Posted by malkin
I heard Pete Seeger tell a story about 2 maggots on a load of manure being hauled through the town. They decided to jump off and make their way in the world. So they jumped and one landed in a dry dusty spot in the middle of the road and the other landed in the middle of a dead cat. Some time later, the one made his way from the street toward the side of the road and met his brother. He said, "Oh Brother, I am so small and weak and barely alive, while you are so sleek and fat! To what do you attribute your success?"

The other maggot answered, "Brains and personality, Brother! Brains and personality!"

And that's pretty much how I ended up with a lovely piano.
😃
Me Too!, "Brains and personality!" thats how I got my piano! Even though it's an upright.


My piano's voice is my voice to God and the great unknown universe, and to those I love.In other words a hymn.That is all, but that is enough.Life goes on, despite pain and fear.Music is beautiful,life is beautiful.


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I agree that no one needs to "qualify" for their piano.
But I do appreciate the humility associated with the perspective.

I probably wouldn't "merit" my own piano (and I paid embarrassingly little for it). thumb


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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
I agree that no one needs to "qualify" for their piano.
But I do appreciate the humility associated with the perspective.

I probably wouldn't "merit" my own piano (and I paid embarrassingly little for it). thumb

I'm sure you got a great deal on your Baldwin M, Ret, and your Baldwin R! And, you certainly deserve them, if you liked them and wanted them and could afford them! smile

As to the answer to the question regarding this thread, (I assume it is a question, without a question mark?) I would think one could afford the grand piano they can afford, more or less.

Obviously, some members here are much more financially well off than others. I'm sure there are some who are millionaires, and perhaps a billionaire or two? And, there are likely many thousandaires, and maybe even hundreds of thousands, but perhaps not quite a million?

Of course, it is certainly none of my business how much money anyone has, or how much they are worth, but my point is that, as a general rule, someone who wants a nice grand piano will buy the best grand piano they can afford, or think they can afford.

Some people buy more piano than they can really afford (because they can be incredibly expensive), which may cause other financial hardships on them or their families, but that too is none of my business.

Again, my point is that we all spend what we feel we can afford on a grand piano. The how is, well, that is how much money we have to spend on a grand piano, and still pay for any maintenance costs. Plus, you also have to live in a house/dwelling/apartment/flat where you can house a grand piano. Surely that factors into the affordability equation.

In my case, since I don't have lots of money to spend on an expensive, non-essential, luxury item like a grand piano, but I do have a house/room large enough to house a grand piano (or two smile ) I found the best pre-owned grand piano(s) I could comfortably afford at the time.

It is pretty simple, really... or is it? smile

When I hit the lottery, I'll come back to this thread and re-post, regarding my newest new $100,000+ grand piano. But that is not likely to happen, because I stopped buying lottery tickets long ago, so I could afford my current grand pianos. (A bird in hand is better than two in the bush anytime:-).

Rick


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[quote=Retsacnal]I agree that no one needs to "qualify" for their piano.
But I do appreciate the humility associated with the perspective.

Sorry I did not want to sound uncaring, but If I really did not stop my irrational guilt I probably would jump off...(must be the weather?) At least Malkins story of the maggots gave me something to smile about.If a smile is good for your health grab it. 😊

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[quote=brdwyguy]

2020 - COVID COVID COVID
2021 - Both my parents were lost to COVID within 2 weeks of each other.[quote-brdwguy]

I am sorry about you losing your parents like that.Covid has brought so much stress and grief to so many.I am glad you have the consolation that music can provide.

Giving advice on how afford to buy a grand piano? Since I have an upright piano I never felt I should be part of this thread.As I said Malkins "opinionated maggots" made me smile and I wondered if she was being deliberately ironic.

I remember years ago, a friend and myself watching a little green caterpillar trying to cross the road.It was about 1/4 of the way across and It was a really hot day. The tar on the road seemed as though it would melt.There were only a few cars around, it did not seem possible that this tiny creature would ever make it across alive. It was just too hot and the road too broad. My friend whom I used to tease and say "she wore her heart on her shoulder" picked up a soft leaf and gently manouvered the little caterpillar on the leaf and crossed the road.She set the caterpillar free on some weeds growing on the the side of the road.I do not know if this has anything to do with this thread, however that is what thought of when I read Malkins story.

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Hi Everyone - question on this thread
Did I misunderstand - I may need to go back and read

I was thinking the original poster was asking people who purchased grand pianos
what was the story of how they eventually afforded to purchase a Grand?

Did I misunderstand
It is why I wrote such a long response (basically the story of my piano life)
LOL

Just as an FYI
my Steinway Model A was nowhere near the price for a brand new one.

PS - just reread the OP's initial question and I don't think I misunderstood.
Did this thread just move slightly off the original topic? Which is often common.

Last edited by brdwyguy; 01/09/22 08:44 AM.

1961-1964: Lester or Emerson Upright
1969-1992: Westbrook Spinet
1991-2021: Schomacker Model A (1912) "Schoowie"
2021-Present: Steinway Model A (1912) "Amalia"

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Hi smile
Remember these?

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/3132155/1.html

and this...

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...-extreme-piano-delivery.html#Post3129060


Mine is the second link.

But briefly, I was 7 when i started to play. That lasted about 6 months. Then never again until September 2020 when i was 49 years old during a lockdown period. Broke first piano, a cheap no name upright and then looked for my grand. Why spend so much when i have no real ability? Well i intend to learn! Is it an expensive item? Yes of course. About the cost of a nice car. However i intend to keep it til i die. Lets say thats 30 years away....divide that by the cost of your piano, and suddenly its a cheap hobby. For me that's £700 per year or £60 per month plus tuning etc. How did i pay? Well, after i stopped paying for my motorcycle about 10 years ago, i kept the payments going to an account i don't use. Then bingo, it's paid for, .....plus my father likes the piano so i jokingly asked him if he would like to buy a grand piano for me.....he aid he would go halves! That helped a lot. I would have got it anyway though. Now a short time in, i am loving it. Definitely made the right decision.

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Originally Posted by brdwyguy
Hi Everyone - question on this thread
Did I misunderstand - I may need to go back and read

I was thinking the original poster was asking people who purchased grand pianos
what was the story of how they eventually afforded to purchase a Grand?

Did I misunderstand
It is why I wrote such a long response (basically the story of my piano life)
LOL

Just as an FYI
my Steinway Model A was nowhere near the price for a brand new one.

PS - just reread the OP's initial question and I don't think I misunderstood.
Did this thread just move slightly off the original topic? Which is often common.

Hello, brdwyguy. I don't think you misunderstood the OP's thread/question(s), but I think I did. I was focusing primarily on the topic of the thread, "How do you afford your grand piano".

So, when I read your latest post, I went back and reread scottgreen94's (the OP) initial thread/post. To be analytical, the thread title is a question... "How do you afford your grand piano". I think many posters in this thread focused on that part of the thread/question.

Next, there are three other questions asked, besides the title of the thread; "How old where you when you started playing", what age where you when you bought your grand piano?; How long do you have it and do you work full time or are you retired?"

Technically, the last question is three questions in one, which is how long you've had your grand piano and do you work full time or are you retired"

So, 6 questions total, and then a statement about hearing everyone's story of how they chose the right grand piano, and their journey playing it, which could also be considered a question, which would make 7 questions.

To be honest, that is a LOT of ground to cover.

I don't think this thread has gone off-topic. I think some posters, including myself, focused more on one particular question asked in the thread. Hence, by default, the responses could go in many different directions.

Now, since I originally focused on one part/question in this thread, the "how do you afford" part, I'll back track and try to answer all the questions...

Question one, "How do you afford your grand piano". I've already elaborated on this one in my last post, so no need to go there.

Question two, "How old where you when you started playing". 45 years old. Started learning to play the piano later in life.

Question three, "What age where you when you bought your grand piano". 50 years old.

Question four, "How long do you have it". My first grand piano was a Tokai G180 (5'10"), which I owned about two years before I bought my Yamaha C7 (Circa 1978), which I still have. I also have two other grand pianos, and have owned a third, which I sold.

Question five and six, "Do you work full time or are you retired?" I worked full time since I was 18 years old. I retired about three years ago.

And, lastly from the OP... "I’d love to hear your stories of how you chose the right one and the journey playing it!"

I think many of my previous threads here on PW are about my pianos, how I acquired them, and the story/journey behind the pianos. But I'll reframe from posting about it here. I've said enough, and still probably got it wrong. But the journey has certainly been a lot of fun, and then some! smile

All the best!

Rick


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Perhaps the question should be, how do you afford the house that fits a grand piano? To fit a grand comfortably, we would have had to buy a house of almost double the size, and my wife and I did not want to maintain a large house, so, I wound up with a Yamaha DYUS5 upright.

I tended to look at larger houses when we were looking for a house to buy. My wife’s familiar refrain was, too much house! House prices are relatively affordable where I live. Don’t talk to me of the unaffordable housing markets.

Of course, my teacher in New York had a grand in the living room of her one bedroom apartment, so, if you must have a grand, you can find room for it.

Last edited by LarryK; 01/09/22 01:12 PM.
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The best way forward to afford buying a grand is to look at used pianos on CL.This can take time but many have found thier treasured instrument this way.There are wonderful used Japanese and other grands out there.It is more difficult now with Covid however as many are being sold quickly.A used Yamaha or Kawai is an excellent brand to start with.

Sometimes you find really great older American made pianos on CL with a very different tonal quality than Japanese pianos. There are wonderful Baldwin pianos, sometimes so well preserved because they are so well made.Others like Knabe, Masons; Charles Walter are all possibilities.There is a possibility for you to find your grand piano at the right price.
You have to begin your search however and you need to go and play all the instruments.I hope to read about your "new to you grand piano" soon here on PW. Best wishes, tre corda

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Guess I've been lucky with my career that I've been able to afford one for a long time but I could never justify having one as I didn't feel I played enough. I remember going around the piano shops in London in the mid 90s when I was at uni thinking it would be lovely to have a grand some day but when you're hardly playing the piano you have an hour a month it just doesn't make sense. That is until the kids came along and showed a real interest. Amortising the cost of the piano over 10 years and 2 kids playing made buying one a much easier decision. And surprisingly now that I have one, I've been playing a lot more (7-10 hours every week). It's rekindled my love for the piano (not that it ever went away) and it's good for my memory smile. I'd been noticing my short term memory hadn't been as sharp in the last two years but having to memorize all the pieces I play has had a knock on effect of making my short term memory better. So it's a double win for me!

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I bought my first new piano when getting my first job and at same time moving out of my childhood home in my early twenties. After getting my first paycheck I walked into piano dealer and bought a new U3. (To be honest, I lended most of the money and it took 2 years to pay them back). I have never had any urge to own expensive cars or stuff, and I have never had any problems investing in instrument that is "too expensive". Pianos hold their value very well, it is not money wasted, it is more like money stored in your living room.

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