On Saturday, I may have lost my mind, folks. Temporarily. So, remember how I was blah-blah-blah-ing about a piano? Well, I have been bird-dogging Craigslist for weeks for a Yamaha or Kawai (or any other good piano brand for that matter) baby grand. Because, really. I have been playing for 24 years, and if I'm going to get a piano, it's going to be a baby grand because it's what I've always wanted. I grew up with a small upright and dreamed of having a baby grand. I think my wanton for a grand piano dates back to 1994 when I used to play a friend's baby grand (some very good brand I don't remember anymore) and wished I had one, too.
Friday I hit up my first piano store to check out a used Kawai - a 20-year-old GE-1 for 6K. I was not impressed - he had me try a Weber which is now made in China and it was not good. The Brodmann, assembled in China parts from Europe, was pretty nice, but at 4'11" for $7500, it's not really a great deal. I'm sure I could have talked him down but why bother. I didn't love it. 4 or 5K for something I don't love is just dumb. I thought I had hit the Craigslist jackpot when I saw a post for a 4-year-old, still under warranty Kawai GM-10 baby grand for 6K (which I'm sure I could have talked her down to 5k-ish) - made an appointment to see it for Sunday. Knowing that I could very well buy this piano as it was the best deal I had seen, I wanted to go play some others at piano stores just so I had a feel for what I liked and didn't like. I haven't yet decided if this was a good move or not because I was offered a deal I could not refuse and am now that much poorer. I'm telling you, tiny elves took my brain this weekend.
The first place we go to was owned by this sort of slick character who played very well, but was intent on selling me a Chinese piano. Now, there may be some good Chinese pianos out there but the vast majority I have tried have been sub par. He was intent on selling us a 5'8" (big-ass piano) George Steck for $6500, which, for a 5'8" is an excellent price. If it sounded good. Brand new, it sounded worse than the 5' used Yamahas and Kawais. He also tried to sell us on a new 5'5" Baldwin, but those are also now made in China and while it sounded very nice, it felt just OK. So we walk out, noting the Baldwin as an option, and went to buy the fireplace stone (I had a coupon for 10% that was about to expire) and on the way there, we drove by another piano store and said "let's check that place out on the way back."
Two hours later we were 10K poorer. I shit you not. We walked in and I tried an older Kawai, but it had a player on it which I didn't need. I played 4 new Kawais, one that was way out of my price range (but sounded fabulous, so I immediately got up stopped playing it so I didn't get pulled into an alternate reality that included a 20K+ piano), one that I knew could be at the high end splurgy part of my range (or just outside my range), and two others closer to my target. The cheaper two included the GM-10 that I was supposed to see the next day. Overall, I liked the GM-10. But not like I liked the splurgy one. The sales manager knew that he couldn't compete with the used deal I could get and the only piano I really liked more than the GM-10 was the GE-20 (the GE line is a step above the GM line). I mean, when I played it, it just felt and sounded perfect. He asked me, honestly, what number would make me forget about the used piano lady. I told him, if we're being perfectly honest, 8K. Of course he couldn't do that and apparently they rarely sell it under 12K (which I think that number might be more like 10-11K, with tough haggling, based on my googling). But I guess he wanted to make a deal (seeing as we're in the biggest economic slump of our lifetimes), didn't beat around the bush and said, 10K (cash) for everything. Tax (which is is 8.75%), delivery, take the old decrepit piano off my hands, one free tuning, and of course, the piano. Essentially, I got the piano for less than 9K. It has a sticker of about 19K. I mean, 6K is painful. 10K is a bit more painful, but once you pass the 5K mark, the pain for me is pretty similar. I think he correctly gauged that my subconscious threshold was 10K. So I took the deal.
But it's my "forever piano". Really. I will never buy another piano again. And you can blame my husband, indirectly. He always says I should get what I want not get the cheaper thing because "it's a good deal." And so I followed that advice. I got the one I really wanted which happened to be a good deal, but was not the cheap route.
Seriously. I must be crazy.