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#57510 10/02/07 12:01 PM
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Schmickus,
I like the idea of plastic/carbon Kawai parts too.

But, ISO 9000/14000 companies exist in China. Nearly 2000 last I looked. And 6sigma methodology can be translated into Chinese very easily.

I went to Renner USA's website. I didn't see anything which led me to believe they have implimented 6sigma or received ISO certification. Maybe they have, maybe they haven't, and either way there is no doubt they make great parts. But if M&H found a manufacturer in China that had quality they felt was better than Renner, at an equal or lower price, they should buy parts from them.

Todd


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Currently: Phoenix C212 (2016)
#57511 10/02/07 12:57 PM
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Originally posted by Rich Galassini:
kluurs,

I agree with you, regardless of where any of the components come from.

Isaac,

You may have sensed emotion from Rank Piano Amateur, but I assure you, RPA is anything but that. Although she does not make a living playing piano, she is a student of the craft of building and performing. I have lost count of the pianos she has purchased from me (I think the count is presently 6), and to put her feelings into perspective:

She still owns the BB she purchased from me 10 years ago. She traded a Bosie 225 that she bought 5 years ago because she enjoyed the new Mason BB so much.

Having said that, my father-in-law (82 yr. old ex marine who landed on Iwo Jima in the third wave) STILL won't buy anything Japanese because as a young man everything they made fell apart... It probably doesn't help that they shot at him so much either.

My 2 cents of perspective, wink
Hey Rich, you put things into perspective quite nicely. Though, I'd point out that the Japanese overcame their lack of quality control to the point that by 1980 or so, they were considered the best manufactureres of automobiles, technology, etc. I'm simply saying that, as a consumer, I don't think China has arrived just yet.

(But, the Cunningham piano is an example of some fine work - so there is hope!)


I. Bruton
Piano at home: Yamaha C3
Piano at church: Yamaha P22
Digitals at home: Roland RD-800, Kawai Novus N5S
#57512 10/02/07 01:22 PM
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ISO 9000 does not say anything at all about the quality of a product - it merely says something about operational quality control and basically only requires you to document the process -- an ISO 9000 certified facility can produce highest quality or a heap of crap - as long as it is documented.

Markus


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#57513 10/02/07 01:42 PM
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You can dress it up anyway you like, but no manufacturer today goes to China to get better quality; they go to get lower costs at some acceptable level of quality. That is China's current role in the world economy. How and when that role evolves in the coming years is an interesting subject for discussion and speculation, but it doesn't change the current facts on the ground.


Paul Buchanan
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#57514 10/02/07 02:14 PM
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It is easy to look at the flood of cheap, poorly made consumer goods from China and generalize about all the country's products. As a tea lover, I am involved with some traditional Chinese products, such as tea and porcelain, that are beautifully made. I feel certain that if Mason & Hamlin are sourcing their parts with care and exercising quality control, then they will be fine.

What worries me most about Chinese business culture is, as we have all seen, a willingness to cut corners, corruption and dishonesty. In the tea world, there is intentional mislabeling and fakery, especially in the high-end Chinese teas. Importers have to be very hands-on.

#57515 10/02/07 03:05 PM
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Well, there is the reality and there is the perception. Right now with all the toy recalls, the toothpaste recall and other environmental issues, China does not have a stellar reputation.

I'd suspect that if M&H were making their decision today, they would not outsource some parts to China -- due to the perception.

Having played a 7 foot M&H a few years ago, found the action unplayable (for me), so making changes made sense. However when one pays many tens of thousands of dollars, image and perception are consciously or subconsciously factored into the purchase decision.


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#57516 10/02/07 03:13 PM
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MJS,

I agree with that. But consistancy is a big part of quality.

packa,
That is true to a degree. However if M&H wanted something different from what Renner offers, such as aluminum capstan screws, China might be the only place where contract manufacturing costs on a low volume product aren't prohibitive. The fact that items come from China doesn't mean they are lower quality. That is a generality based on how we currently utilize China's productivity.

You can also say that at what ever quality level a given Chinese product competes, it will likely be among the lowest priced options. Otherwise, why bother using it. The stigma attached is hard to overcome, but it may be they're competing at Renner on quality and are willing to make different parts.

Todd


Previously: M&H AA (2006)
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#57517 10/02/07 03:14 PM
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I love the Kawai Millenium action. I think it's one of the best advances in piano science in the last 100 years. In fact, although a Steinway sits in my living room, if I had to rate pianos by consistent quality of shipping packaging, I'd have to rate Kawai #1 with Mason & Hamlin and Estonia running a very close second.

Those three brands aside, as for the particleboard content, pianos are heavy enough as it is. There is at least one brand ranked way higher than it deserves to be ranked (IMHO) and most industry people know which one I'm talking about. When you add heavy polyester finishes and make large parts of the piano out of fiberboard (a polite term for pressboard), you end up with a piano that is excruciatingly and unnecessarily heavy. Usually, there is an inverse relationship between the weight and the price -- meaning that a cheap baby or parlor grand nowadays with high MDF content can weigh as much as a Steinway B or Mason A, not because of full-perimeter plates or overbuilt construction, but because the lid, music desk, fallboard, and many internal parts are constructed of pressed wood PRODUCTS and not real, solid wood.

As an ex-mover I think it's ridiculous to have to have three people to move a 6- or 7-footer simply because it's made of office-furniture raw materials and so I have a chip on my shoulder about that kind of construction.

I've moved enough M&H's in my day to know that their lids and parts are made of real wood. They vacuum up the sawdust and dispose of it. They don't turn around and use it in piano construction.


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#57518 10/02/07 03:14 PM
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Originally posted by USAPianoTrucker:
I'm still tempted to rate pianos according to their percent content of real wood -- as opposed to molded sawdust or splinterboard covered in veneer and slapped with a shimmering plastic clearcoat).

There are pianos ranked higher than M&H that are entombed in plastic. Now whether that is "music grade" plastic or not is not my area of expertise. But it should give people pause to take the ranking with a large grain of salt.
What piano is rated above M&H and entombed in plastic???


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#57519 10/02/07 03:18 PM
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I can tell all of you that this seems like a big deal only here on PW. It rarely if ever even comes up when people are considering a M&H. When it does come up, it is usually because a weak salesperson carrying alternate brands knew a client was going to look at M&H, and tried to sully the brand in the client's mind. For anyone with any experience selling pianos, this is a gift. It is very easily dealt with. Often, the client now has a bias towards M&H because they were insulted by the weak salesperson's approach. Also, in my experience, the better the person plays the piano, the less any of this means to them.


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#57520 10/02/07 03:24 PM
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Well put Keith.


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#57521 10/02/07 03:28 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Grane:

Having played a 7 foot M&H a few years ago, found the action unplayable (for me), so making changes made sense. However when one pays many tens of thousands of dollars, image and perception are consciously or subconsciously factored into the purchase decision.
But to the best of my knowledge lightening the action didn't mean they had to go to China.

#57522 10/02/07 03:54 PM
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Originally posted by Keith D Kerman:

I can tell all of you that this seems like a big deal only here on PW. It rarely if ever even comes up when people are considering a M&H. When it does come up, it is usually because a weak salesperson carrying alternate brands knew a client was going to look at M&H, and tried to sully the brand in the client's mind.
[Jumping to Conclusion]

Ergo, there are lots of weak salespeople on PW who carry alternate brands.

[/Jumping to Conclusion]

laugh

#57523 10/02/07 05:03 PM
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I would be surprised to hear that this is a concern to anyone who has been to the factory or has carried the Mason pianos on their sales floor. In 16 years in the piano industry, I have yet to come across another manufacturer that I feel is more highly concerned with its quality of product. There are a few out there that equal it, but not in the same price range.

This is being way overblown by dealers that carry competitive priced product and other manufacturers trying to bring Mason down.

#57524 10/02/07 05:38 PM
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Originally posted by Ryan Crossette:
I would be surprised to hear that this is a concern to anyone who has been to the factory or has carried the Mason pianos on their sales floor. In 16 years in the piano industry, I have yet to come across another manufacturer that I feel is more highly concerned with its quality of product. There are a few out there that equal it, but not in the same price range.

This is being way overblown by dealers that carry competitive priced product and other manufacturers trying to bring Mason down.
I DON'T carry M&H, and I agree with you 100%!!!


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#57525 10/02/07 07:27 PM
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A couple of points as I jump back in to this debate. First, I mentioned Yamahas specifically because I noted that Bruton (I am sorry, I do not know if you are Mr. or Ms) owns Yamahas. At least historically, Yamahas have not been in the category of pianos considered candidates for a complete rebuild when they wear out. Second, and much more importantly, a couple of the posts above seem to indicate that Mason's actions are from China. Unless my eyes deceived me on my recent factory tour of the Mason facility more seriously than my increasing age would otherwise indicate, Mason's actions are built in Massachusetts, entirely by hand, by people who clearly know what they are doing and masters of their craft. As an amateur pianist who has played the piano for some 45 years, at least on and off, in my opinion the new Mason actions are superior to the previous Renner models. But as I said earlier, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Third, as a child of the labor movement whose parents were both union organizers in the relatively impoverished clothing industry, would I prefer a piano entirely made under American labor laws, with American wages and worker protections, and with no imported component parts? Certainly--but the Mason, built from scratch except for a few component parts, is as close as anyone to meeting that standard. And I underline the component part piece--the pianos are ENTIRELY assembled by HAND in Massachusetts. Is there any piano brand out there at all that contains no imported parts of any kind anywhere in its makeup? I would be inclined to doubt it. And if there were, I would still need to love it before buying it at the price level we are discussing. When I was piano shopping 10 years ago, I tried every brand out there before settling on a Mason. And that includes Steinway, Baldwin, Bluthner, and Bechstein.

#57526 10/02/07 09:22 PM
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For the record, RPA, my students call me Mr.


I. Bruton
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#57527 10/02/07 09:44 PM
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Rank piano Amateur wrote:

Second, and much more importantly, a couple of the posts above seem to indicate that Mason's actions are from China. Unless my eyes deceived me on my recent factory tour of the Mason facility more seriously than my increasing age would otherwise indicate, Mason's actions are built in Massachusetts, entirely by hand, by people who clearly know what they are doing and masters of their craft.
What these folks really meant to say is: "Mason's action parts are from China."

Some posters can sometimes be quite loose with their terminology. So the next time you read "Mason's action is from China," just mentally substitute that clause with "Mason's action parts are from China," and discuss from that vantage point. OK? smile

(p.s. If the above seems confusing to you, also read THIS DISCUSSION and see if it helps. smile ]

#57528 10/02/07 10:30 PM
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You can dress it up anyway you like, but no manufacturer today goes to China to get better quality; they go to get lower costs at some acceptable level of quality. That is China's current role in the world economy.
This is, IMHO a somewhat outdated take on things, was perhaps more true several years ago.

When talking to business people and entrepeneurs in Germany these days, one gets a very different opinion on that.

Cheap wages are available in may places today, Eastern Europe for example.

Even previously East Germany is lagging some 20-30% in wages behind the West, the goverment is and has been spending millions in tax incentives there....

So *low wages*, don't and can't explain all that's goin going here.

The truth is that China is becoming much more interesting today because of its unbelievable, almost unlimited potential for cash paying consumers and future customers.

And the Chinese are not dumb.

In a recent billion $ sale of 180 airbuses to China, the condition was "80% has to be built in China"

Same with the German high speed train "Transrapid", presently in negotiation to run between Shangai and Beijing - a seven billion dollar project.

China for cheap labour?

Nah, we want their 100's of millions of future customers. shocked

Even high end stuff?

Wait and see.

Close to my own home town of Erlangen, somebody in Bavaria with the name Siemens, Audi and BMW was just recently whispering some unintellible stuff into my ears.....

I doubt the French, Americans, English, Canadians, Japanese and Koreans, will be far behind....

Norbert :rolleyes:


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#57529 10/02/07 10:51 PM
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Originally posted by Norbert:
Close to my own home town of Erlangen, somebody in Bavaria with the name Siemens, Audi and BMW was just recently whispering some unintellible stuff into my ears.....

Here is another example of you speaking in some secret code.

I'm not psychic.
Care to explain?

Why write stuff that everyone doesn't understand Norbert?

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