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#57570 10/04/07 08:54 AM
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If we assume, for the sake of arguemnt, that:

<dd>Chinese action parts are "better than" German Renner action parts</dd>

Then does it not follow that:

<dd>Boutique piano manufacturers like Bösendorfer, Fazioli, Blüsthner, etc. who continue to use German Renner parts are just shallow stuck-ups who either (1) are so far behind in keeping up with industry development that the fail to recognize and take advantage of the availability of superior action parts, or (2) just want to use lower quality brand name parts for the sake of using brand name parts -- all with a sustained cost disadvantage?</dd>

Furthermore,

<dd>Why aren't Renner themselves start making parts in China, or at least source sub-components from China?</dd>

There is simply no intellectual consistency in all these.

(A) You can't argue for "Chinese parts are better than Renner parts" without implicating those who use Renner parts compromising on component quality.

(B) You can't argue for "Renner parts are better than Chinese parts" without implicating those who switched from Renner parts to Chinese parts compromising on component quality.

So which is it?

If you aren't willing to accept the consequences of choosing either (A) or (B), then the best you can do is:

EITHER
(C) admit you don't know which is better and stop participating in this ****ing contest;

OR
(D) argue that "Chinese parts and German Renner parts are equally good", which implicates that Renner is charging a premium for no good product-based reason. [A variant of this is to argue that Renner pays more because they're adhering to stricter environmental protection guidelines and give their employees better benefits... so it's morally justified to pay Renner a premium for all the social and environment good Renner is doing, vis a vis the stereotypical "evil, irresponsible" Chinese manufacturers (which kind of jive with this other discussion wink ) ]

OR, if you really, really want to...
(E) argue that somehow certain piano designs have certain magical properties that makes them work better with parts sourced from German Renner versus parts sourced from China (and vice versa). Then you have to explain those magical properties and why either German Renner or the Chinese cannot make "equally good" parts that can work "equally well" with piano designs with such magical properties. Personally, I look forward to reading lots of BS from this angle. So good luck with that, and have fun! smile

#57571 10/04/07 09:14 AM
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Good points there, Axtremus - but it does imply that only two factors - cost and quality - are decisive for a company where to source parts from.

Maybe it all boils down to which parts manufacturer can best meet the needs of which piano builder? With the needs being any combination of cost, quality, readiness to make desired changes (flexibility), delivery times and whatever you can think of? The beauty of that (if I may say so) is that we now have so many factors that no answer is possible, so everybody is wrong (and right in some respect). wink


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#57572 10/04/07 09:25 AM
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Why aren't Renner themselves start making parts in China, or at least source sub-components from China?
Is it proven that they are not, or is it assumed that they are not?


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#57573 10/04/07 09:34 AM
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Originally posted by Axtremus:

(D) argue that "Chinese parts and German Renner parts are equally good", which implicates that Renner is charging a premium for no good product-based reason.
I'm not choosing any of your options, Ax (just call me an action agnostic wink ), but I did want to point out that *EVEN IF* Chinese and Renner parts are equally good, it could still make sense for Renner to continue charging a premium on the grounds of long-term reputation and brand identity.

Anybody remember the New Coke fiasco? Coke did a gazillion focus groups and market research studies, showing that, in blind taste tests, people overwhelming preferred the taste of New Coke to regular Coke. But they sadly underestimated the nature of their customer's brand loyalty and the vehemence of the backlash when New Coke was introduced.

M&H's decision to use Chinese parts reminds me very very strongly of this saga...

#57574 10/04/07 09:35 AM
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The last time I checked, their products say "Made in Germany" which means that at least a very high proportion (but not everything) of it has to be made here.
Whether all the screws and similar things come from Germany isn't quite clear, but very likely (there are major manufacturers in the area). I would also think that some of their customers might have a say in where they source parts from.


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#57575 10/04/07 10:03 AM
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The last time I checked, their products say "Made in Germany" which means that at least a very high proportion (but not everything) of it has to be made here.
Is that a government standard that applies to a variety of products or an industry standard self-enforced by piano makers?

What is the minimum standard for domestic product content? Is it based on the estimated value of the different parts, their bulk, their weight, or simply the number of imported parts proportional to the domestic?

I only ask because "made in USA" can mean many different things and many games are played with this phrase.


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#57576 10/04/07 10:34 AM
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Originally posted by gutenberg:

now, to return to this thread. Larry Fine was NOT demoting M&H because they did business with china. he ranked them lower because they have taken steps to cut costs. they could be dealing with pakistan, for all Larry cares. they are not taking a cost is no object approach which other first category piano manufacturers do take.
On what do you base your statement of Larry's reasoning?


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#57577 10/04/07 10:35 AM
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As far as I know there is some minimum standard based on the estimated value of components (in the sense of raw materials + value added). There is no central authority governing, apart from case law that a significant majority has to be domestic (otherwise it would be in violation of fair trade laws). The emphasis is on what is "significant".
The case-law is somewhat complicated, as it always depends on the individual case, but those components and the labour which essentially define the final product have to be domestic for it to carry the label.
Translating to piano actions: screws? probably irrelevant where they come from, unless they would in particular define a special aspect, say: are essential for regulation; where the wood comes from is probably irrelevant, but the labour done in it needs to be domestic because that is what essentially makes the product distinctive.

Basically you can't buy components elsewhere and assemble them in Germany and label it "Made in Germany" unless it is the assembly ALONE which makes the product distinctive (which wouldn't be the case for a piano action).

And that is, by the way not limited to "Made in Germany" but applies to all suggestions of the same.

Somewhat unsatisfactory, but I don't think there is a better answer.

Markus


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#57578 10/04/07 10:39 AM
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It just occurred to me: it would be interesting to know if the plate would already constitute an essential part of the piano in the sense that it needs to be domestic for the labeling. My gut feeling is no, because the plate alone doesn't make a good instrument, but rather how the instrument is built around it. On the other hand a bad plate can ruin it despite all other efforts.


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#57579 10/04/07 10:53 AM
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As far as I know there is some minimum standard based on the estimated value of components (in the sense of raw materials + value added). There is no central authority governing, apart from case law that a significant majority has to be domestic (otherwise it would be in violation of fair trade laws). The emphasis is on what is "significant".
The case-law is somewhat complicated, as it always depends on the individual case, but those components and the labour which essentially define the final product have to be domestic for it to carry the label.
Translating to piano actions: screws? probably irrelevant where they come from, unless they would in particular define a special aspect, say: are essential for regulation; where the wood comes from is probably irrelevant, but the labour done in it needs to be domestic because that is what essentially makes the product distinctive.
There seems to be some wiggle room in this, especially if it takes into account labor. I believe that M & H puts together its actions in the US. I'm no expert, but I would assume labor is a very large part of the cost of a completed action.

Quote
It just occurred to me: it would be interesting to know if the plate would already constitute an essential part of the piano in the sense that it needs to be domestic for the labeling. My gut feeling is no, because the plate alone doesn't make a good instrument, but rather how the instrument is built around it. On the other hand a bad plate can ruin it despite all other efforts.
Where are the German makers buying their plates? Are they all going to Pilnikov?


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The fate of the modern wartime soldier
#57580 10/04/07 11:00 AM
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Plates? I don't know, but there are many small and medium sized foundries in Germany that do wet sand casting. Steingräber used to have theirs cast in Bayreuth, but that foundry doesn't have the capacity anymore at the moment, so now they have them cast somewhere else nearby (still in Bavaria) - that was what I was told in June. No idea about the other manufacturers.


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#57581 10/04/07 11:38 AM
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What's so magic about having everything come from one country?

That seems rather limiting, if not narrow-minded, and it may prevent using "better" parts made elsewhere.

Better to have a "Quality wherever you find it" philosophy.

#57582 10/04/07 11:41 AM
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Just a thought

Mason and Hamlin's decision to source parts in China has definitely polarized their customers and fans. This is the second long thread to show that effect, the first being the one that began with Cecil Ramirez' opening post, and ended with the thread being locked. http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/18686.html#000000

To make everyone happy, Mason and Hamlin should offer its own action and a Renner action as options. There would be nothing strange about that. Charles Walter is doing that in the US and Bohemia in Europe. There are probably others as well.

Since Mason and Hamlin believes that its new action is superior and improves its product, they should obviously price it slightly higher. The resulting collision of the ' you get what you pay for ' thought process with the ' sourcing in China is invariably a matter of cutting costs ' thought process would certainly be amusing, to say the least.


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#57583 10/04/07 12:06 PM
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To offer choices in the manufacturing process does nothing but drive the COST up, makes the process that much more complex. It would not be in M&H's best interest to do that and try to keep cost under control. Being an ex DCX now Chrysler LLC employee, Germans have a completely different mind set then the REST of the world ..imo The world has a perception of what German technology is and it may not be accurate.

I have attended the last 2 M&H factory tours (thanks FB) and I feel they are doing a <b>Exceptional job :t:


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#57584 10/04/07 12:07 PM
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turandot,

Just to clarify the Walter grands only come with Renner actions and Kluge keys.
The uprights are offered with two choices, both come with Abel hammers. In which the alternative to the Renner is $1,000.00 less. For an upright that is a huge difference. Especially if most here are saying there is no difference in quality.


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#57585 10/04/07 01:35 PM
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Rod,

I was only citing examples of piano makers who offer a Renner option, not equating Walter pianos with M & H pianos.

Monster,

It may not make sense to offer options on automobile assembly lines, and it may not make sense for small production piano makers either. But the fact is, some limited production makers seems to feel it is a worthwhile option. In addition to Walter and Bohemia I believe that Steigerman premium and Perzina are Asian makers that offer Renner upgrades.

from Monster M & H
Quote
I have been tracking this thread and trying to keep out, but it finally got me…
I hope it wasn't my post that 'got you'. I actually agree with everything you say about M & H's commitment to quality. My comment about offering a Renner downgrade was partly tongue in cheek. To me, M & H is taking a hit for being forthright, while others are working silently in the shadows.


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The fate of the modern wartime soldier
#57586 10/04/07 01:41 PM
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Steve,

that is my interpretation of what Larry says in the latest supplement. i don't have it with me now, but i believe his description of category one pianos emphasizes the cost is no object distinction of these pianos. these makers put in parts that are the best available, i.e. renner action parts, regardless of cost. at least these parts are recognized by most of us as the best available. china's parts cost less and don't have a track record. parts made in korea or indonesia would be viewed basically the same (pakistan was a bad comparison).

#57587 10/04/07 01:48 PM
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turandot,

I did not get the tongue in cheek. Did not think you meant a Renner would be a downgrade.

My comment was simply stating that the Walters do not offer other options on the grands as you alluded to. They are Renner actions. Renner is not an option it is standard.


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#57588 10/04/07 01:56 PM
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I also believe that Larry's supplement stated that S&S NY quality is DOWN but that they remained in the Class 1c category only because of their overall sound and not the build quality of the product... that just doesn't make sense to me...

Further more, reading posts in the tuner-tech forum, Renner is not the most desirable end product, so what does that say? Is Renner just the Cadillac of actions?


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#57589 10/04/07 02:22 PM
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Originally posted by gutenberg:
Steve,

that is my interpretation of what Larry says in the latest supplement. i don't have it with me now, but i believe his description of category one pianos emphasizes the cost is no object distinction of these pianos. these makers put in parts that are the best available, i.e. renner action parts, regardless of cost. at least these parts are recognized by most of us as the best available. china's parts cost less and don't have a track record. parts made in korea or indonesia would be viewed basically the same (pakistan was a bad comparison).
On another brand, I made the same assuption. After communicating with Larry directly, I found that his basis was NOT what he seemed to imply in the Suppliment.

Based on that experience, I would advise everyone NOT to make that kind of assumption.


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