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Bosendorfer buying opportunity dilemma (Read 2883 times)

Offline irrational

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Bosendorfer buying opportunity dilemma
« on: March 23, 2015, 08:03:32 AM »
Hi All.

I have an opportunity to buy a 1983 Bosendorfer 130CL upright.
It is basically unplayed. It looks like it has lliterally seen a few hours play at most. Some of the original packing planks are still attached. The owner bought it new for his daughter and she preferred the Steinway M.....

It has ivory keys (a little discoloured) and a 3rd silent practise pedal. It really looks like it can be in the showroom still. Consequently, it plays beautifully, even though the action is a touch tight. It is in tune and seems to have been maintained well. I played on the Steinway M as well and the Bosendorfer sounds better to my ears. I prefer its warm tone and I find the action very accurate.

The problem is, at about $12000, it is pretty expensive and I would have to borrow money to buy it. Which will tak me about 18 months to recover from.
The owner won't drop in price, as he has no real need to sell the piano. It is a space issue, but he would just as well hold on to both pianos.
Since Bosendorfers are so rare, I am unsure if I should let the opportunity slip by, as a new one is $30000 and up.

I currently practise on a friend's old Steinway K, which has a wonderful touch and my own piano is a fully restored 1913 R. Gors and Kalmann that has a deep, rich warm tone, but a mediocre action.

So I don't NEED a piano, but a Bosendorfer....I haven't slept much in 2 days. 8/

I know its so subjective, but any advice to offered?
My own playing is not top notch as I am learning still at about grade 8 Royal Schools level. I am currently learning a Bach 3-part invention for instance. I just finished an exam on Mendelssohn's Op.19 No.1. So I can't project if the Bosey would still be as amazing or even more so when I can play properly.

Offline visitor

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Re: Bosendorfer buying opportunity dilemma
«Reply #1 on: March 23, 2015, 09:46:21 AM »
I wouldn't do it. I mean unless you are in a real hot market it may still be available in the future. And it's only an upright.  
I'd speak to the seller. See if you can do a layaway type deal, I.e. make installment installments to them while It remains in their home and  then when you have paid the full 12k it is releasd to you.  

Or you can go bananas and sell a bunch if stuff. Put ads in paper and online.  Have yard garage sales and eBay like crazy.  Pick up a part time extra job on evenings and weekends and pile up cash in a hurry.  If you can raise 12k in a year and a half from normal cash flow you should be able to cut that in half or less if you work hard and get creative.


Borrowing money to buy a depreciating asset and in this case a non necessity Is a  bad idea idea...

*again it is only an upright a nice one bit still it is not like you are stealing a top end used grand and at only about 50 percent off the new retail. It is not exactly a bargain.  Now if it was going for like 5k or something or you had the opp to have it paid off in 90 days the argument becomes more compelling ( I still would t borrow though and would raise funds ASAP to buy cash outright).

Offline irrational

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Re: Bosendorfer buying opportunity dilemma
«Reply #2 on: March 23, 2015, 10:10:33 AM »
I see what you say. And I agree with borrowing money.
Thanks for the insight.
It seems like you are suggesting the money borrowing is more the issue than the value and instrument itself.
By Borrowing I mean using all of my credit card. 8).

To be honest I can probably drum up around half the price without too much trouble by selling my other piano and perhaps a painting or motorcycle.

As for depreciating. I am not so sure. Of course the market here is very tiny, but this is only the 3rd Bosendorfer I have ever seen. I have played on a new Imperial (I was lucky at 1 exam when the university just received a new one and it happened to be in the exam hall!). The other was so long ago when someone I knew was practising for a post graduate on his really old upright. The Bach-Busoni Chaconne I remember. I knew nothing about pianos then, so can't remember if the piano was good or not.

In any case. Around here you'd be hard pressed to find a good Steinway K for under $9 000 as a value comparison. A used Steinway M is around $12k-$20k, O about $25k - $30k, A about $15k.  For me the largest dilemma is not so much the cost, as the musical value of the piano. Would I ever be able to get a Bosendorfer again? I would love a grand in the future, but I also do not know if I would get what I want. I have played on a Steinway M, O, A and B, but they did not speak to me. A grand is also rather large and I am unlikely to have that space for a long time.

Offline susanball48

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Re: Bosendorfer buying opportunity dilemma
«Reply #3 on: March 27, 2015, 05:37:09 AM »
My perspective is a little different as I own a Bosendorfer CL130 upright in addition to a Steinway A Grand.  I bought the Bosendorfer because the sound and touch were very different from the Steinway and I wanted the experience of both worlds.  The Bosendorfer upright is a remarkable, glorious piano, and one rarely encountered in the US.  It was pricey - I paid about $35,000 about 5 years ago for a new instrument.  My technician has commented that it is the best upright he has worked on.  A number of professional pianists have played it, some preferring it over the Steinway.  Bosendorfer advertises the Cl130 as an upright that plays like a grand and in the depth and warmth of tone it is.  All I can say is that this is one piano that should not be dismissed because it is an upright.  It is truly, much, much more.

Offline irrational

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Re: Bosendorfer buying opportunity dilemma
«Reply #4 on: March 30, 2015, 07:15:42 PM »
Flash photography isn't great, but this should give an idea of the condition.
The exterior has no mark on it whatsoever. Nothing around the bottom edge (no vacuum cleaners allowed close). The only marks are little scuff marks on the inside by removing the front panel.
The piano was last tuned in 1983, when it was new. Its surprisingly in tune now, but will need a tuning and regulation for sure.

I believe this is a good opportunity obtain a basically new Bosendorfer at a 1/3 of its new price.
My only thing is that its still a lot of money.


Offline susanball48

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Re: Bosendorfer buying opportunity dilemma
«Reply #5 on: April 02, 2015, 04:08:48 AM »
Not playing a piano for over 30 years is not especially good for the piano.  If you are seriously interested, you should have a qualified piano technician take a look and see what sort of work needs to be done to bring it back to top playing order. 

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Bosendorfer buying opportunity dilemma
«Reply #6 on: April 02, 2015, 04:33:35 AM »
If you are a serious buyer you should hire a technician to inspect it for you and give a written report on the instrument. It's just like how you would get a mechanic to inspect a 2nd hand car you want to buy. If you are putting thousands of dollars up a little over 100$ for peace of mind is little to pay.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Offline irrational

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Re: Bosendorfer buying opportunity dilemma
«Reply #7 on: April 02, 2015, 08:04:07 AM »
I was also worried about it not being played. Any machine is made to be used and not doing so can be detrimental.
As it happens I had a technician out there last night. (This is one of the best in the country I am lead to believe. Unlike the US, some things are cheaper here. His assessment is about $30. Going rate.)
And he couldn't stop talking and be amazed. In fact. I feel he was so enthused I won't have much negotiating room.

His judgement is that tuning, regulation and a basic service is all that is needed, as the action has "settled" since the piano was new. The hammer felts are a little dry too.His opinion was that the piano is better than the refurbished Steinway M that is also there and he basically said "buy it now".
He can't wait to get his hand on the Bosendorfer.

So I will be making an offer today and see if it is accepted.

Offline irrational

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Re: Bosendorfer buying opportunity dilemma
«Reply #8 on: April 02, 2015, 09:10:41 AM »
Another image or 2...

Offline pristinepiano

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Re: Bosendorfer buying opportunity dilemma
«Reply #9 on: April 03, 2015, 03:26:51 AM »
I love Bosey's , but give your head a shake...its an upright.  Although it would sound very nice, they really didn't do much with their actions back then and a ten year newer Yamaha U series would out play it on the touch.  Thats the reality.  Now if your big on names or something, by all means get it, but i think it would be a poor choice to go in debt over it.

Offline chrisbutch

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Re: Bosendorfer buying opportunity dilemma
«Reply #10 on: April 03, 2015, 11:04:27 AM »

As it happens I had a technician out there last night. (This is one of the best in the country I am lead to believe. )
Initials GS by any chance?  If so, you made the right choice.


Offline irrational

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Re: Bosendorfer buying opportunity dilemma
«Reply #11 on: April 04, 2015, 10:43:48 AM »
Initials GS by any chance?  If so, you made the right choice.



It is not GS, but I am very curious about who that may be as I am now looking for someone to properly maintain the piano. Please send me a message if you don't mind.

I have decided to go ahead and buy the piano.
There are many reasons. One of which is that I could perhaps in future use the piano as trade on a grand if I ever have enough space. The rarity of the Bosendorfer makes this much more viable too.

Also I really love the sound of the Bosendorfer. This one has a wonderful full, rich and warm tone. It is evident, even in untuned and unregulated shape. The ability of this piano to fill a space with sound is most impressive as evidenced by the first few bars of Rachmaninov 2 played by a friend. I would certainly not lump it with "uprights".
Its very beautiful to hear its pure tone fading away perfectly evenly when holding a key or pedal. The action may not be as light as the old steinway I practice on now, but it is very, very precise and will lighten up a little with maintenance and playing and I don't like too light an action.

I have tested new Kawaii and Yamaha, which seem to be the common brands to get new. I have also tested used Steinway, Grotrian, Bechstein, Seiler and some lesser known brands, all are cheaper by a fair amount and none even remotely as new as this piano. None of the ones I played on have the sound I am looking for (The Grotrian came close though and the Yamaha is also very good). I would have loved to try a Bluthner, which by research also has a very wonderful tone. As I mentioned before I quite enjoy my restored R. Gors and Kallmann. Not a great brand even though mine has a tone like a winter fireplace fire - warm and cosey, but as I learn to play better and hear better, I can already feel limitations in its action for my style of play and start to hear some tinny-ness in the trebles that I couldn't hear before.

But in any case.
As many would say, in the end it matters how I feel about it and in the end this piano speaks to me, telling me that I should learn to play it properly and explore all the sounds it can make.
Playing it makes me feel that it will be a mentally and emotionally rewarding experience. Enough so that it already made me increase my practice times to be better so that I can make the piano sing. 8).
What is a little more expense compared to that?

Offline irrational

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Re: Bosendorfer buying opportunity dilemma
«Reply #12 on: April 16, 2015, 07:46:24 AM »
Just an update.
The Bosendorfer was delivered yesterday!
Crated and bubblewrapped. I love professional people that are great at their work.
Now I have to wait a few weeks before tuning and regulation. Its a terrible wait.

What was interesting is that I could now compare it to the Steinway sound wise directly.
I definitely prefer the Bosendorfer sound. It is very rounded and warm!
It plays like a new piano, so the touch is not as light as the well played 1917 Steinway, but it is very accurate. I can get the exact volume and sound I want and this will be even better after regulation.