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Hacking low-cost Chinese pianos into something special (nwsource.com)
42 points by rms on Jan 7, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 7 comments

Ninety-five percent of pianos are sold to people who don't play

Sad but very believable, and I find it interesting to hear from a piano maker. I've seen several (fairly rich) people buy a piano to learn it but then drop out after a month, or outright buy it just for the chic aspect. I can't help but feel a little tinge when I see a beautiful grand sitting unused in a living room, when the kids at school have to do with a decaying, out of tune upright.

Okay, that goes on the list of fun things I might do if I had a spare million dollars: Donate a top-notch grand piano to a local school in exchange for the right to play it occasionally.

or buy 5 of this guy's pianos for the same money and donate to 5 schools ;)

Who says this guy isn't top-notch? I bookmarked him. I intend for my future-millionaire fantasy self to be very frugal!

don't count your generosity until its hatched ;). Its good to dream. Its better to actualize.

The decent Chinese pianos already import the strings and soundboards from abroad (or purchase them from manufacturers in-country). A lot of the equipment has an undeservedly poor reputation: the low end of the market is about $2000 USD not $10,000 USD. Perhaps shipping internationally is really driving those costs up.

Regardless, it's great news if people who don't play keep purchasing instruments - it increases the size of the market and drives down the costs for people who do play but don't have money, like me.

You can refactor pianos. Nice.

I think the most important thing he brings is the personal attention. Something like a piano is going to have a lot of variance in mass production, especially with cheap parts. Just having an expert look it over and set it up is worth his price. Adding higher quality parts is just a nice bonus.

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