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Pianos were never affordable... #3023003 01/10/20 07:56 PM
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Sam CA Online Content OP
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Not even if you lived in 1900 I guess! I took this pic from a book called 'Piano 300 - Celebrating Three Centuries of People and Pianos' . Not completely present in the pic, there's an interesting marketing reference at the bottom of the page as well.



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Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: Sam CA] #3023079 01/11/20 12:14 AM
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Average Wage Index was about $52k in 2018. Meaning this piano cost the equivalent of $10,400 of today's dollars.
I agree, even in the 70s - my dad was an engineer and my mum a home maker - I learned on an old nameless upright given to us by a family with kids grown up and out.
For the annual recital I got to play a baldwin baby grand owned by the church where my teacher was the pianist and organist.
In university I finally sat down on some serious business - bosendorfer, bechstein, steinway and yamaha grands. Unattainable by an "average workman".
Sub $1k digital pianos have really made piano keyboarding attainable by the masses in the US.
I'm curious to ask, 20 years from now, how many players got started on a cheap digital.


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Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: Sam CA] #3023080 01/11/20 12:17 AM
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Want to take bets on people spending a fifth of their year's income on a real CS-80? Or something similar, as CS-80s are pretty much hunted to death in the wild now. You can also bet that more than a few newbies have dented their rent a bit to nab a deal for two MiniBrutes or a Fantom from a generation back. I'm all for being able to buy through the mail. Its fun to trip through a few NY pawn shops for music gear, too. I love the wildly low prices I've paid for pieces like a MultiMoog that was 100% because the owner had received it for his birthday, plugged it in, went MEH and into storage it went. Serious NOS and $300 took it away. wacko keynana


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Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: Sam CA] #3023112 01/11/20 03:56 AM
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Acoustic pianos have always been an upper-middle class or more proposition when purchased new. They used to be the province of royalty and wealthy merchants only. Today, they are not hard to find used in magnificent condition since so many are purchased for decoration, or for children who barely use them and loose interest.

I can say that when people at work ask about a piano for their kids, they only mean digital. An acoustic is not even considered. I tell them to rent an acoustic upright and see how it goes, then they are not out for a purchase and can give the child a chance to bond with the real instrument. I'm pretty sure they just read online reviews and buy something as cheap as they think they can out of the home digital piano lines. Of course, these are often way better than any of the old uprights that are $200 on Craigslist, so there is that.

I suspect with a good Kawai CA98 or equivalent Yamaha that someone could get to the place of doing university prep on one. Just like people use student horns and then get a nice one right before college, and a nicer one when they graduate...

Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: Sam CA] #3023122 01/11/20 06:01 AM
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We bought my first Grand piano- a new Yamaha C7e in Sept. of 1988 from Fields & Sons in Orange County for $13,300 out the door. Before that, I practiced 4 to 5 hours a day, 6 days a week on a $1200 Kohler & Campbell studio console for close to 10 years. Today the C7X msrp is just under 85K, although there is wiggle room on Yamaha, Kawai and most other brands. The exception being Steinway.

I bought low and traded, or sold up. And found a once in a lifetime deal on the D at 9 months old. Sold a 10 yr. old Yamaha S6 to help fund the Steinway. Money out of pocket was less then what most people spend on an Accord or Camry.

I really don't spend money anymore on keyboards, other related gear, or anything pertaining to consumer electronics - phone, computer, tablet, tv, etc.

For a lot of people like myself, the piano at home is the only priority. That and spending the dough to keep it tuned, voiced and regulated by top notch people.

Yes buying lightly used, even if it's 10 years or older, is the way to go. Unless of course you have the dough and can buy new.

Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: Sam CA] #3023316 01/12/20 09:47 PM
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Can't agree, it highly depends on your place of residence. For example, it's not hard to get an older, used piano for 100-200$ in Ukraine, and repair it to a decent level for another 200-300.


if you can't tell the difference, does it matter?
Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: Sam CA] #3023318 01/12/20 10:07 PM
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There are tons of upright pianos built 1940 to 1970 sitting around in the US. Free to anyone who can move it. They just tend to be in varying states of needing a piano technician. The ones for $100 same deal. The number of them hitting the trash is astounding. The better brands in newer condition start at $1k and up up up.


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Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: ElmerJFudd] #3023319 01/12/20 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ElmerJFudd
There are tons of upright pianos built 1940 to 1970 sitting around in the US. Free to anyone who can move it. They just tend to be in varying states of needing TLC. The number of them hitting the trash is astounding.

Agree. My business partner collects pianos. (Advice: if you're going to collect something, make it small, like coins or stamps.) He haunts craigslist and other sources. There are many pianos available for free if you'll just move them. Confession: many years ago I had an acoustic upright that was is terrible condition. It had been in a group home for teenagers. I had to remove a big plate glass window on the 1st floor to get it into the house and up to the 2nd floor living area. Years later, when it came time to remodel and remove the piano, it was worth nothing and would have cost a lot just to get it out of the house and to the dump. Solution: the contractor chopped it up and took it out in pieces. I couldn't bring myself to be around when that happened. Even though it was a beater and beyond repair, it pained me deeply to think of that being done to a musical instrument. But my point is that there are pianos out there in good, playable condition that people just want to get out of the house and will part with it if you'll just take it away. They might ask a few hundred dollars if it's a really nice instrument, but it can be worth it. On the other hand, there are also people who have a nice baby grand and think it's worth the several thousand dollars it cost when it was new. But no one wants it even for a few hundred and the owner is butt hurt that no one will pay what s/he thinks it's worth.

Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: Sam CA] #3023324 01/12/20 10:32 PM
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As long as this is true confessions:

A band mom when I was in high school tasked our band to get her old upright out of the house any way we could. An axe was involved... facepalm


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Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: Sam CA] #3023325 01/12/20 10:36 PM
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Ha! not surprised. Tales of firewood.


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Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: Sam CA] #3023341 01/12/20 11:50 PM
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Last year I read about a new business model.
Piano removal.

In larger cities some people are starting a business where for a certain sum, they will take your piano away.
Since there are more people who want to get rid of pianos than want to own them, they would recycle everything possible.
There is quite a bit of metal in a piano. Some of them are made of really nice woods too, especially older ones.

There is a Steinway grand in the Student Union at UC Fresno that came around the southern tip of South America pre Panama Canal.
It is made of solid rosewood. The wood is worth a fortune. We used to shoot pool downstairs and once in a while somebody would be playing it.
Great sounding, especially in a large reverberant room like that.

Saw and heard a gorgeous vintage Singer upright yesterday at Goodwill. A young man was playing it, he wanted to buy it. $100.
I hope he got it, he played well and it was a fine sounding instrument.


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Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: Sam CA] #3023359 01/13/20 02:02 AM
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It's the sad state of affairs as people move to smaller apartments and the real tragedy is people aren't learning to play them.........smart phones and Netflix have captured the public's imagination.


"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"


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Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: Sam CA] #3023441 01/13/20 07:05 PM
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My first response upon seeing this thread title was "Really? Then how come they ended up in virtually every American household for the first half of the 20th century?"


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Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: Sam CA] #3023446 01/13/20 07:44 PM
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Such value was never known before!

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http://www.hotrodmotm.com
Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: Wastrel] #3023453 01/13/20 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Wastrel
My first response upon seeing this thread title was "Really? Then how come they ended up in virtually every American household for the first half of the 20th century?"


"For a century the piano was America’s radio, phonograph, and television set, as well as its finishing school and its supreme status symbol"

Article Here

“Almost every home included between the Delaware and the Schuylkill,” said the Philadelphia Mirror of Taste and Dramatic Censor in 1810, “has its piano or harpsichord. … Almost every young lady … can make a noise upon some instrument or other … we take it for granted that we are a very musical people.”

Sales of sheet music dwarfed record sales untill late 30's, I think.

From 1840, Pianos were everywhere in America, and many common people could plunk out a tune. Sure new prices were high, but there were lots of used ones.

They were still very expensive, unless you factor in that they were radio, TV, and every other post electrical revolution device, practically, rolled into one single thing. A great big Iphone.

The MPC1000 of it's day wink

Today, as noted, uprights are lying around. Most have a slow action. You want a U1 or clone for serious playing. U-121 from 1980's Young Chang is easy to find and equal to Yamaha. About 1500-2200 for professional studio quality upright in excellent condition.

Mine was selling for over 8K in the 80s. Then there was a crash in Korea. I bought it new in Boise Idaho for 3800 in late 80s.

But to the topic, quoting from the above article:

"By 1886, seven out of ten pupils in the public schools of the United States were being taught to read music. According to a professional estimate made the next year, there were half a million piano pupils in the country. This meant that about eight per cent of American youth was engaging in this compulsory accomplishment, allowing for those who had “taken” but stopped."

Last edited by uhoh7; 01/14/20 01:38 AM.

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Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: KuruPrionz] #3023499 01/14/20 02:24 AM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
In larger cities some people are starting a business where for a certain sum, they will take your piano away.

Saddest news in quite a while, with all its symbolic meaning.
The rest of your post was almost unbearable for me to read.

Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: Wastrel] #3023513 01/14/20 04:10 AM
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I'm sure the book refers to brand new and/or quality pianos and not some lucky deals. Otherwise it's VERY easy to find free or ridiculously cheap pianos.

Re: Pianos were never affordable... [Re: Sam CA] #3023552 01/14/20 02:27 PM
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I have a guy I know that gets 3 calls a month to remove pianos that are from a reputable moving company in the area. The whole things fuckin sad.


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