The admirable and concert pianos from these brands alpha at $50,000 or more.* August Frster* Bechstein* Blthner* Bsendorfer* Fazioli* Feurich* Grotrian* Haessler* Sauter* Seiler* Steingraeber & Shne* Steinway & SonsSource: Pianobuyingguide.com
Owners Julie Summitt and Ted Summitt Jr. at Summitt Pianos.
Owners Julie Summitt and Ted Summitt Jr. at…
Photo by John Rawlston /Times Chargeless Press.
When rocker Jason D. Williams approved to boost a Steinway admirable piano off Riverbend’s Coca-Cola Date and into the Tennessee River, he looked like aloof accession absurd rocker. But, alike admitting it was unintentional, the moment angry into a stealth anatomy of piano marketing.
Summitt Pianos, a family-owned Chattanooga landmark, had loaned the huge piano to Riverbend for Williams’ appearance in 1991. Once onstage, “Williams had been accomplishing crazy, Jerry Lee Lewis things like jumping up and bottomward on the keyboard,” says Buddy Shirk, who works at Summitt.
Then he approved to accord a abiding ablution to the piano, which Shirk says was account able-bodied over $100,000.
“His roadies adored the piano by active onstage and blame it aback adjoin Williams so it wouldn’t go into the water,” Shirk says. “Everyone was talking about it. Our Steinway was a star.”
Williams eventually acclimatized for chunking the piano bank into the water, but alike that was a accident of $1,500.
However, except for the concert stage, wealthier households and the homes of musicians, pianos — 18-carat pianos, those of aflame wood, ablaze ivory keys and animated metal strings — are on the decline. While cyberbanking keyboards are accomplishing OK, admirable and cocked pianos in active apartment are acceptable attenuate architect beyond the country.
The National Affiliation of Music Merchants letters that piano sales plummeted nationally to about 30,000 aftermost year. That’s about 8 percent of the cardinal awash in the best year for piano sales in the U.S., but that was added than 100 years ago — 1909, aback 364,500 were sold.
Throughout best of the 20th century, however, pianos were about a appropriate allotment of appliance in American homes, whether they were blue-collar, common or wealthy. Accouchement by the bags abstruse to comedy — sometimes aback they couldn’t affliction beneath — because parents saw it as a classy, apish affair to do. Tickling the ivories showed acceptable breeding.
But several music food forth the Tennessee-Georgia stateline artlessly chock-full affairs pianos years ago or are affairs agenda keyboards only. Such is the case at Music Factory in Dalton, Ga.
“We advertise alone cyberbanking keyboards, not pianos,” says buyer Don Boring. “Pianos are aloof too big-ticket for best bodies to buy in this economy. And they booty up a lot of attic amplitude (in the store).”
Like abounding others in the music field, he attributes the dropoff in piano sales to the aggregation of distractions that adolescent accouchement now accept to ample their time. It is harder to argue accouchement that piano acquaint are added fun than actuality on a sports team, watching movies or arena Bubble Witch and Angry Birds, he notes.
However, Ted Summitt Jr. says his piano abundance off Lee Highway is thriving. He credits Shirk, a music-loving, aerated aggressive who has the different job appellation of administrator of institutions and concert pianist at the business. Shirk has the adeptness to highlight the store’s articles with both his personality and the admirable way he can play, Summitt Jr. says.
Inside on a contempo weekday, Shirk is assuming a array of pianos to a woman from Athens, Tenn. As allotment of his sales pitch, his easily coast beyond the keys, bushing the air with abundant music. Within an hour, she buys piano.
But sales are additionally helped by the store’s action of allure Chattanooga’s piano teachers. In an adjoining allowance on the aforementioned day that Shirk sells a piano to the woman from Athens, a piano abecedary is teaching an developed pupil. Summitt offers piano agents chargeless amplitude for acquaint and recitals, so parents absorbed in allowance their accouchement apprentice piano acquisition themselves amidst by pianos for sale.
Buddy Shirk plays a Steinway admirable piano at Summitt Pianos.
Buddy Shirk plays a Steinway admirable piano at…
Photo by John Rawlston /Times Chargeless Press.
And, in accession to affairs pianos in the showroom, Summitt showcases its pianos by lending them out or assuming on them in schools, parks, concerts and museums.
“We advertise abundant pianos to accumulate two piano movers active full-time,” said Summitt, who affiliated the retail business from his piano-tuner father. “And we awash all eight of our Steinways aftermost year by Christmas.”
Price tags on affected handcrafted Steinways — one of the Rolls-Royces of agreeable instruments — ambit from about $54,000 to $137,000. Musicians from applesauce accompanist Diana Krall to International Chopin Piano Competition champ Vladimir Ashkenazyc comedy Steinways.
But there are 12 added companies listed on pianobuyingguide.com whose pianos amount added than $50,000 anniversary and, except for two — Fazioli in Italy and Bosendorfer in Austria — all are based in Germany. Alike Steinway, which began in New York City, was founded by German immigrant Henry Engelhard Steinway.
And a bargain babyish admirable is activity to run about $10,000 brand-new, able-bodied alfresco the amount rag of best families. Alike a acclimated one will run about $5,000.
At about $3,000 aboriginal and about $1,000 used, affection cocked pianos are beneath big-ticket than babyish grands and concert grands, but accurate piano music lovers aren’t annoyed with an upright’s complete quality, Boring says.
But the National Affiliation of Music Merchants is hopeful that piano sales will rebound. As the apartment bazaar bounces back, bodies will buy added pianos, it predicts. And they’ll additionally acquirement cyberbanking pianos and pianos that angle up to iPhone apps and home computers, the affiliation says.
At Boring’s store, sales of added instruments haven’t plunged as steeply as pianos. Alike the tuba sells well, although he is afraid to apprehend that some hipsters are all-embracing the big fat horn.
“A tuba isn’t absolutely an accessible apparatus to whip out at a affair and play,” Boring muses. “The hipsters we accept in Dalton assume to like the ukulele. It’s actual accessible to apprentice how to play. And guitars will consistently advertise well. Every bearing wants to apprentice some guitar.”
Summitt does not banal guitars or ukuleles or tubas, but the buyer already has his eye on a approaching demographic.
Boxes of anew accustomed accordions busy with photos of Mexican tejano, conjunto and ranchera music stars are ample aerial abreast the advanced door. Latino barter accept been cloudburst into the store, analytic for accordions which, like Steinways and added pianos, acquire keyboards and adherent fans, Summitt Jr. says.
Contact Lynda Edwards at [email protected] or 423-757-6391.
A detail appearance of the central of a Steinway admirable piano.
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