A Message from the Publisher

A Message from the Publisher

Larry Fine

Welcome to the Spring 2011 issue of Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer, a semiannual publication devoted to the purchase of new, used, and restored acoustic pianos and digital pianos. Piano Buyer is the supplement and successor to the well-known reference The Piano Book, which, since 1987, has been the principal consumer guide to buying a piano in the U.S. and Canada. Partially supported by advertising, Piano Buyer is available free online at www.pianobuyer.com It can also be purchased in print from the website and in bookstores.

Piano Buyer is a hybrid book/magazine. The "book" part consists of a collection of how-to articles on the many aspects of buying a piano. These basic articles are repeated in every issue to serve the many new buyers continually entering the piano market. The "magazine" part consists of features that change with each issue to cover topics of more temporary or niche interest, and to provide variety. The brand, model, and price reference material in the second half of the publication is updated, as needed, with each issue.

In this issue, we offer several new articles for your reading pleasure. Long a lightning rod for controversy and criticism, Steinway & Sons has made substantial improvements to the "fit and finish" of its instruments in order to retain its competitiveness in the changing market for high-end pianos. In a photo essay, we describe a number of these improvements (p. 81). In the early part of the 20th century, there were hundreds of small piano manufacturers in the United States. Although most disappeared during the Depression or World War II, a few remained in business as dealers or rebuilders. In this issue, we feature one of them — Philadelphia's Cunningham Piano Company — that not only survived, but continues to innovate (p. 71). If you're buying a piano for a beginner, you may not want to invest a lot of money until you're sure the interest in learning to play is genuine. Often that means buying used. If, however, you desire the ease and security of buying a new instrument, you may want to check out what Piano Buyer's three volunteer reviewers found when they examined seven of the least expensive, entry-level console models currently available (p. 48).

One difficulty piano buyers sometimes have is making the transition from armchair shopping to getting up and actually trying out real pianos. At the same time, local dealers and technicians are anxious to meet you and help you purchase a new, used, or restored piano. The Local Market Offers Program matches our readers, by U.S. zip code or Canadian postal code, with their local piano-related resources, and makes available to them discounts, rebates, and other special offers as incentives to move their shopping into the real world. To take advantage of these incentives, look for ads like the one shown on this page.

Don't forget to explore the rest of our website. If you're shopping for a new piano, the searchable online database of 3,000 models will help you home in quickly on the instruments that match your requirements for size, furniture style, and budget. If you missed previous issues of Piano Buyer, you'll find them under the Archive tab. Finally, if you're reading this online, consider buying a print copy of Piano Buyer. It's a handsome volume, printed in color on glossy paper, and will make a great reference, coffee-table book, or gift. You can purchase it through the website or in bookstores.

Piano Buyer exists to make shopping for a piano easier and more enjoyable. If you have a suggestion as to how we can do that better, please e-mail me at larry@pianobuyer.com

Larry Fine, Publisher