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Author Topic: The Price of a New Steinway: Can It Be Haggled?  (Read 10988 times)
giff
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« on: March 08, 2012, 10:04:33 PM »

Very excited about buying a new Steinway M or O.

I realize that they are hand-crafted pianos and very costly to construct, but: is there wiggle-room to bargain with a dealer? If so, at what point does one quit? Are there reasonable ways to downprice a new Steinway?

p.s. I live in a sales tax county where the rate is 8.75%. This is a killer, pushing me from my preferred O to an M. (Some hardship, I admit:)
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keys60
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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2012, 10:14:22 PM »

Steinways are pretty much a fixed priced instrument. I live in NY and see O selling for around 63K. Since you've been quoted 61K with the trade in, they either wiggled or actually gave you something for your Hamilton. These wise guys are usually pretty much moving your piano out for free and giving you zip. Tell ya what.......most piano places, including Steinway owned shops are lucky to sell one Steinway grand per month. State your piece, off them 55 and walk away. See what happens. Its roughly the tax. If you have the nerve to wait it out, maybe they will counter offer. If you don't try, its a definite no.
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49410enrique
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2012, 11:31:22 PM »

i like the advice you were given above on being patient and standing your ground, but your post did start a few thoughts in me i hope you'll consider reading and considering:

why does it have to be new? and a steinway? if you're worred about negotiating price  and 8% is a deal breaker you can get the same amount of piano/comparable build quality, etc at a much  better price point going used or used with rebuild or non steinway ( i love Shigeru myself and second to that Estonia for top choice instruments if i were buying first tier instrument). i only bring up the point since usually when people have the money to spend on a new ss product  price is less of a concern, at least when we're talking less than 10% of the total purchase/out the door price.

at the reseller market it is much more a 'buyers' market especially in the recent years economy, you can usually have a lot more productive conversation on negotiations especially if you're dealing with a smaller business.

i mean consider that they are selling a great product. a fantastic product, i don't argue that at all, they are wonderul in struments and I frequently perform on a very nice B and D  that our school recently had refinished,that I love to play.  But I began to think about what our school would pay for if they'd bought new (vs used/refinished), i mean a very inefficiently made (a good thing) product in manuctured in one of the most expensive places in the country to operate and in one of the most expensive countries to do business in (based on corporate tax rates wages, etc), also with a publically traded company you're supporting a big 'up stairs' and the hefty salaries that accompany that, and the stock price is always a priority.

again if i had lots of money i wouldn't care and just buy what i want but if i'm watching my dollars and less than 10K will drastcially affect the deal these are things i would consider.

here's some basic salary info of their executives from an 2010 sec filing excerpt (more up to date data can most likely be found on their investor relations pages, a great place to visit with any big company you plan on doing business with ). they have to file and make this information public by law since they're publicly traded.

http://www.companypay.com/executive/compensation/steinway-musical-instruments-inc.asp?yr=2010

edit-i forgot to say that for the part i'm talking about american ss, i pretty much consider the german ss a different brand altogether and hold those in higher esteem right up alongside the shigeru (or just slightly behind).  but the new york ones are still a top five over all, just not at the top of that group.
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ajspiano
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2012, 11:46:41 PM »

..mm.. if I could afford to spend 50K on a piano, there is no way that I'd be against 10K extra for the right instrument.

Additionally, I would not be so presumptive as to think that new is necessarily better than used.

Choosing an instrument is very personal - you may fall in love with a lower priced used instrument (because it actually is better than the newer ones you've seen)

http://www.countrypiano.com/showroom.html - I'd at least consider looking at a place similar to this before making any decisions.
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Bob
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2012, 12:03:58 AM »

I've heard slightly used is better since it's broken in a bit.  Brand new will take some time for the piano to adjust.

And I've heard the price can always be haggled.
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giff
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2012, 12:26:05 AM »

Thanks for the replies to my post!

Yes I am hearing that there are prejudices pro and con about a new Steinway. I have loved several display models I've played--an M and an O in particular. The M is a 2010 display model, very luscious sound (especially the bass, which I admit is stellar considering I always thought playing in the bass produced muddy music--but that is my current Baldwin Hamilton talking)--price is $53K plus tax (now that I think of it, no allowance for trade-in was made with this quote). The O was just unbelievable to me--rich sound, easy-feel keyboard, kept wanting to play there in the store for hours if they'd let me. That one is offered at $61K with trade-in, plus tax.

The Country Music store is tempting, to be sure. I am guessing their restorations are trustworthy and generous?  I guess I am naive when I admit a certain fear about assessing the trustworthiness of rebuilt pianos. Nonetheless I do lean toward a new one...and if I start defending Steinway as a brand of choice I am sure I am up against worthies who will fight me (I have scoured this site and read all I could). Yes, there is some prejudice in favor of the Steinway name and presence, but I am surely enjoying those I play. In the end, I notice that almost all posters say, buy the best you can afford and the one you most enjoy playing at that bracket.

If I sound cheap at the thought of the 8.75% tax, I can only say I put myself at a max of $60K and even at that seem to be bypassing a mahogany or walnut finish which would be nice; but in the end it's the insides of the piano I care about, not its case.

I have to admit that the name Steinway seems to bring out all kinds of feelings! And I am grateful to hear any advice about getting one.  
Thanks
Jim
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ajspiano
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2012, 01:16:30 AM »

I am guessing their restorations are trustworthy and generous?  I guess I am naive when I admit a certain fear about assessing the trustworthiness of rebuilt pianos.

I'm not familiar with them, just googled.

If you are worried, go to the store with a "friend" - only make that friend a piano tuner/technician that is in no way affiliated with the store. I'm sure you could find one that would provide independent advice for $100 or so. No different to a tuning fee really? - and if you pay $100 to find a great 2nd hand instrument for $30,000, over a new one for 60 then really you're WAY ahead (obviously).
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Steinway Update: Code Name “Edelweiss” Outbid by a True Piano Lover

The calculation was apparently rather simple for the new owner - he loves Steinway's pianos, so why not buy the whole company? We suggest that next step for the new owner, John Paulson, would be to learn to play his pianos. Read more >>

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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2012, 01:44:33 AM »

Hmmm... all of the above posts have good points, and choosing a piano can be horribly difficult.  Fortunately, I suppose, I've never had to...

That said, I would like to pass along a few thoughts.

First of all, I have a Steinway M built in 1924.  It is in an unheated (gasp) cottage (I live in a climate where winter temperatures go down to 0 degress Fahrenheit -- about -17 Celsius).  Today was the first day this year that it was warm enough in there to play.  It was a little stiff... but almost perfectly in tune.  A couple of Nocturnes and an Impromptu and it was pretty well warmed up.

That, my friend, is quality.  It is priceless.

Second, I have a Steinway A, built in 1898.  I play it daily, about 2 to 3 hours a day.  Besides being tuned quarterly, it has never been touched -- original action, original strings, original pin block, original sounding board (the action has been regulated from time to time -- last time about 20 years ago -- but any piano might need that).  And the wonderful A tone and power and flexibiity.

That is also quality.

And third, my view is that a piano of the calibre you are looking at is an investment for a lifetime, not something like a car which you purchase and sell when you are tired of it.

I love a good deal as much as any man, but don't cheat yourself in the process.

Think about it.
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Ian
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2012, 12:54:07 PM »

Mr Sinclair: thank you for your post. It was great: told me about your attitude toward Steinways, toward music, toward life--and that wonderful advice about not cheating myself. You are well spoken.

We too have a camp where temperatures drop (it's in the Adirondacks) and I toy with the idea of not trading in my Hamilton but instead taking it up there. Very rough hunter's camp, off the grid, but I have heard stories of pianos left to chill in the winter and which survive. What a major treat, to be up there in the woods and play some Mozart. That image got me thinking.

I've appreciated all the advice I've heard from my posting as it's been excellent, but yours speaks to me especially.  Thanks.
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quantum
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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2012, 09:48:52 PM »

If you aren't being offered a reasonable amount of trade-in for your Hamilton, you may wish to consider a private sale or even keeping the instrument as a second piano.  A second piano is probably worth much more to you as a pianist than it is as a low monetary value sale. 

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gvans
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2012, 01:41:50 AM »

I have had a Steinway M for 30 years, 1925 vintage. A fine, very playable instrument still, it could use new strings and hammers--a few scratches on the case, etc...a competent specialist wants to re-build it for $17,000, case, new Steinway parts everywhere, new strings, polish soundboard, eleven tunings, etc...I would get essentially a new M, with old-growth spruce soundboard, and original ivories and ebonies to boot.

I might do it. Trouble is, with a rebuild, you never know exactly what it will sound like, until you commit, pay the money, wait for the work to be done, and try it. And there are limits to a 5'7" piano, limits imposed by the physics of overtones.

I see the attraction of a new instrument...I played a new B at Steinway hall in NYC a few years back, gorgeous instrument, every nuance there, did exactly what I asked and more. Only 81K!
$=work=time-spent-not-playing-the-piano/less $=less piano=less nuance=less bliss

A difficult equation to master.

Good luck!
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Enter a World of Musical Sculptures

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giff
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2012, 04:19:08 PM »

I enjoyed your post. I am still laughing at that incredible fraction you closed with.

But I know what you mean about the rebuild. I was hopping between an M and an O yesterday at the dealer's. M is a mellower, sweeter sound; the O was brighter, more touch-responsive. Hard to choose. Nearby there was a rebuilt M that the owner had not yet come into the shop for, or to even see (and it had been ready after 4 months of work, and another month of sitting waiting). It looked as though it'd been done beautifully but it was a very different sound from the newer M...even a bit tinnier to my untrained ear.

Anyway: off to another dealer in Clifton Park today to re-try the gorgeous O there. I have got to make up my mind.
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thalberg
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2012, 07:26:01 AM »

A student of mine has an O.  Gorgeous!
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lostinidlewonder
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« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2012, 08:49:08 AM »

Don't be afraid to haggle, the worst that can happen is they say no, if they are professional and worth your business they will not abuse you. Give them a price that you are satisfied to pay. If they have a lot of potential buyers they may simply ignore your offer and wait for someone to pay what they want. In that case just leave them with your contact details and your offer and they may contact you in the future. The internet is a wonderful place to research prices so spend time being as informed as you can (after all you are spending quite a sum of money and you need to know as much as you possibly can!).

Buying a 2nd hand one will get you the most bang out of your buck but I know it isn't the same as owning a brand new piano. It does take time and some investment in a technician to give you a report on instruments you are interested in, but I think you might be more satisfied with what you pay for (you may even get lucky and find better/larger models for cheap). Sometimes people selling a 5-10 year old piano hardly play the instrument. I remember viewing a 20 year old Model D and an elderly lady was the only owner, the piano was hardly worn in! So you can get lucky if you look around, if you are in no rush to get a new piano this would be a rewarding path to take.
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"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
giff
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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2012, 09:24:19 PM »

My drama is not so big on this board but thought I'd post to say that I think I am settled on a new Steinway O.  Went back and forth between two (in two cities 3 hours apart:) and trying to keep my memory intact of what they both sounded like, am settling on one. Thanks to some encouragement from several posters here, I did get "thrown in" a duet-length bench and a piano lamp. After a certain point the price "stuck," so though I know Steinway is hurting for sales, I think I've probably gone about as far as they will go.

Two differences between the 2010 and the 2011 that I saw: the music stand has changed, and the backboard behind the keys is a glossy black, unlike the rest of the piano's matte.  I think the changes are sharp.

Thanks again for everyone's help.
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iansinclair
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« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2012, 12:31:47 AM »

Bravo!  Now enjoy!
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Ian
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« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2012, 04:54:36 AM »

Congrats! I think you'll be happier with the O in the long run...that extra few inches makes a big difference overtone wise in the bass. Cheers!
 
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Happy Holidays! Musical Greetings from Piano Street

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« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2012, 09:54:52 PM »

Giff.
Congratulations on purchasing the new O. I'm sure it will bring you AND your grandchildren years of happiness. You're in the Adirondacks, huh? I love the dacks. That being said, Country Piano is in Watkins Glen. It might be worth your while anyway just to check their inventory for comparison. I have my eye on a Mason Hamlin A they have there. I just need to get rid of the 2 verticals I have in the house now. One of the biggest competitors to Steinway is a shop or techs that really know how to rebuild them. Country piano as well as a host of others that I know of do.
Enjoy your new O. Hate to be envious.....but I am. = )
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keyofc
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« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2012, 07:51:41 AM »

Aj,

Thanks for the link to Country Piano - do you know anyone who has purchased from them?
I was surprised that they have free delivery anywhere in US.
Steinways are my favorite - although I have recently heard of a Ravenscroft piano -
that is supposed to even be much better than a Steinway.
and about another 100.000...!
 -keyofc
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ajspiano
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« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2012, 10:24:47 PM »

Aj,

Thanks for the link to Country Piano - do you know anyone who has purchased from them?


Unfortunately no - I, nor anyone I know directly has purchased a steinway before and country piano is well outside my immediate potential dealers given my location in australia..  I just google searched, and none of my advice was founded in first hand experience..
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giff
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« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2012, 12:14:28 AM »

Just a modest update. I bought a new Steinway O in March and it fits the room perfectly. Man but I do love it! Each time I play, the bass sound alone is rich with a deep though clear timbre.

I never did get the price much down from the original. But to sweeten the deal, they did give me a duet artists bench and a neat brass light that fits on the music cabinet, so I was pleased.  Still am.

It's been 3 months and I have to call about the free tuning/adjustment. How long dare I wait?
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keyofc
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« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2012, 09:05:14 PM »

Congratulations Giff!

How exciting -!

I don't have one - but have played on a few - they are really wonderful!

Did you buy it and not have it tuned at all yet and still sounds good?
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keys60
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« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2012, 09:15:55 PM »

First of all, congratulations on buying a superior piano. I don't know how often since manufactured your new piano has been tuned until you purchased it, but since being moved, it may have lost some of its stability. I would get that freebie now and a paid for tuning within a month after. Maybe a third tuning before the next season arrives. It takes a while for stability to be achieved and for a piano to get acclimated to its new environment. I like tuning my pianos every season, but easy for me to say, I tune them myself so that kind of keeps the cost low. Wink
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« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2013, 11:12:18 AM »

This magnificent Steinway O has been completely rebuilt. It has a new Soundboard, pinblock, strings, bridges, etc. It has all new action parts, new keybushings and keyfelts as well as a completely refinished case from only a few years ago. The sound of this piano and the quality of the work completely on this completely rebuilt piano are superior.

Steinway O 1917 Figured Mahogany
Serial #186192
Year: 1917
Model: O
Size: 5′ 10-3/4″
Style: Traditional
Finish: Satin
Color/Wood: Figured Mahogany
Condition: Completely Rebuilt
New Cost From Steinway: over US $68,000
Retail Value: US $41,000
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« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2014, 05:36:16 PM »

I recently purchased a Steinway model O in the ebony about 2 years ago at the Pittsburgh Steinway gallery.  The price could not really be haggled.  I found the O to be superior than all the M's I tried.  The sound was much richer and colorful throughout the range.  Though I am sure there is some variability within the models.  I may be moving soon so may have some size concerns about placement.  I may actually decide to sell it as well, so if anyone that may be interested, feel free to let me know. 
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The New Concept: Scores for All Stages of Learning

On the recent Music Education Expo in London, Piano Street presented a new concept for sheet music publication. Depending on your own level of experience and where you are in the learning process of a particular piece, you may need fingering, pedal markings, practice and performance tips, or perhaps the right opposite - a clean Urtext score. Read more >>

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