Welcome to the latest update.

The trees around Ash park have been an array of glorious colours beautifully enhanced by the warm sunshine of a memorable autumn! After an incredibly busy year at the showrooms we have seen a quieter time since the last update, partly I am sure due to the wonderful weather we have been experiencing. Now the clocks have gone back and the temperature has dropped curtains will draw, fires will go on and music making will once again become more predominant in our homes. Over the years I have noticed that the pattern of piano purchasing has changed and become less predictable, however, the cold and darker months do still tend to turn thoughts into the home and to music making. After an enjoyable quieter spell we are now ready to ramp things back up again and welcome many more customers to our showrooms.

Although things have been quieter we have still delivered many fine pianos in the last few weeks. We just cannot seem to keep hold of our GX-1 Kawai grands, another couple have gone out in quick succession and our next showroom model has just arrived. The GX1 is the smallest in the GX range but produces a fine warm, resonant tone which along with the responsive Kawai action makes for a very impressive performance. The last two GX1’s selected have gone to piano teachers who play to an advanced level, say no more!! Another Grotrian-Steinweg Carat has also recently been delivered, always a joy to supply such a supreme quality instrument. The replacement is due very soon, it is worth mentioning that due to the weakening of sterling these fine pianos are costing quite a bit more to buy direct from Germany, at present we are not raising our prices but absorbing this extra cost ourselves to keep the prices stable. We have a model Friedrich on order too which will give us a total of six new Grotrian-Steinweg uprights on display at the Ash Park showroom. With Kawai pianos going from strength to strength the K200, K300 and K500 upright have remained popular choices recently. I have a very exciting announcement due soon relating to us and Kawai, I can’t say now but look out on Facebook and the next update!

Of course, when things are a little quiet thoughts turn to ways of getting things moving again. We have taken the opportunity to buy some excellent used upright pianos including a five year old Grotrian-Steinweg Studio and have reduced prices on our used and restored pianos for a limited time. We are planning a couple of open days soon where there will be the opportunity to take advantage of some special offers on new pianos, we are in discussion with our main suppliers to support us with this. We will also be busy contacting piano teachers and piano tuners over the coming weeks to tell them of our current stock to bear in mind if they know anyone interested in upgrading their current instrument. Many customers come to us to upgrade from a poor acoustic piano or equally poor electric version! We are working hard to promote ourselves and to encourage many visitors to the showroom, a visit seems to leave a great impression on people who then tell their friends.. referral remains our most successful source of new customers.

I am always looking at other pianos in the market to see if there is anything that would could further enhance our new selection of pianos. I mentioned in the last update the arrival of the Haessler upright which has been very well received in the showroom and offers something different from our other ranges at a very good price. I have recently arranged to look again at the Feurich uprights. We used to supply Feurich until a few disappointments which have now hopefully been resolved after improvements made to the instruments in 2014. I always enjoyed working with Feurich and will be taking the 122cm upright model apart and putting it through its paces when it arrives to decide if it is a suitable addition to our stock. Amidst the quality pianos that we regularly house every piano has to perform to a high standard or it will be lost against the others in comparison, I am optimistic that Feurich may sit well amongst good company. This week I have a couple of meetings with other suppliers to see if there is an entry level piano of suitable quality to offer as an alternative to used uprights. I am finding that I am purchasing very few of the used upright pianos that I go out to see that should offer good value for the £1500-£2000 price bracket. The problem seems to be that the pianos in this category that are now 10-20 years old have not stood the test of time so well as similar pianos from an earlier time which are now compromised by being that much older. The well made pianos such as Welmar and Knight are now getting too old to consider and the more modern alternatives are of a lesser build quality and often not in good enough condition for me to recommend as a good purchase. So, I am on the hunt for a new entry level piano that may offer good quality/value, I have a few ideas that I am exploring.

Michelle and I paid a visit to our friends at the Winchester Piano studios on Friday. After an enjoyable lunch we went to see their new premises ‘The Loft’ just off the high street in Winchester. Our small 56 note piano provides part of a display in the entrance area with one of four teaching rooms alongside. Upstairs there are three more teaching rooms and the live music lounge, a fantastic space to relax and take advantage of the cafe which offers great quality coffee. The relaxed set up with sofas, bean bags and high tables makes it a great place to visit and WPS are putting on regular live music events that are advertised on their web site. The space is also available to hire, something Michelle and I are thinking about for our own events in the future. We wish Jason and his team every success with their new venture and would recommend anyone visiting Winchester to call in and sample the coffee and atmosphere of The Loft.

Finally, piano tuning is as busy as ever. We generally all remain fully booked during the week, John is helping to keep the showroom pianos in good shape and visiting customers for us on a Wednesday. Vicky is still tuning four days a week and Richard three days. I tune most days with time between calls to attend to showroom activities with most Fridays spent working on pianos at the showrooms preparing them for delivery. Michelle is busy meeting customers at the showrooms too and assisting in admin and marketing around her piano teaching. Neil has been enjoying the quieter spell with the van but is now looking forward to a busier spell, it is really rewarding to deliver something as exciting as a piano to a home! Thankfully, we make a happy team and all work hard to make sure the quality of our service remains consistent with our reputation. As winter descends on us what better thing to do than play the piano, come and see us, we’ll be pleased to show off our pianos to you.

All the best

Ben

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