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The Piano Book: Buying & Owning a New or Used Piano Paperback – February, 1995

4.6 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This comprehensive volume contains valuable information for the consumer; following a technical but lucid description of the mechanics of a piano's action, it discusses all aspects of purchasing and maintaining an instrument. Numerous illustrations and charts enhance the text, which is clearly and directly written, and buying tips accompany the guides to purchasing both new and used instruments. But most valuable for a prospective buyer are the numerical ratings of virtually all models of pianos currently available, both foreign and domestic, based on the experiences of technicians around the country. An excellent source book. Susan Kagan, Hunter Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“If there is to be a piano in your future, the single indispensable reference is The Piano Book by Larry Fine.”  —Noah Adams, host of NPR's All Things Considered

The Piano Book is a must-have resource, no matter what kind of music you play, or what kind of piano you own or intend to buy.”  —Robert Moog, inventor of the Moog Synthesizer

“It is a book that I never thought I would see in print and a book that will be of great service to the piano world.”  —Robert Silverman, former editor of The Piano Quarterly

“Clearly and directly written. . . . An excellent source book.”  —Library Journal --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Brookside Press; 3rd Revised & Updated edition (February 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 096175124X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0961751241
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,878,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
The Piano Book by Larry Fine (not the same of 3-Stooges fame, I take it), is a must-read if you are thinking of buying a piano. Fine names names--the skinny on all available modern pianos you are apt to find in a dealers' showroom, new and used. Reviewed are servicability, construction quality,tone, and street prices. Armed with this book, a consumer takes a big step towards getting the most piano for his or her money and, most important, reduces the likelyhood of being stuck with an overpriced dog.
To put it another way, I have not met a piano salesperson or dealer who had anything really bad to say about any piece in his or her inventory. Tone quality is something you can distinguish after hearing a few good pianos, but the actual quality of the instrument and how it will hold up over time is known only by those who regulary service them in the field. This is good to know, especially with so many asian-made pianos of questionable quality floating around on the used market.
If you're looking for an entry-level practice piano or a full 9' concert grand, this book will help you cut through all the manufacturers' and dealer hype.
Fine's knowledge of the instrument is great.
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Format: Paperback
Larry Fine does an outstanding job with explaining how to recognize quality in pianos and how to get the trade-off you are looking for. As I read the book, particularly the first edition, it came more obvious which choices for a piano I would like to consider or weed out. It told me many of the aspects of the various piano manufacturers as well as what kind of sales gimmicks to be alert for when I am shopping for anything. Since this book will do all of this explaining, it would definitely be useful to any piano shopper, whether you are looking for one to use or rebuild. It could be also useful for anyone who is studying the economics because it even shows examples of all the different trade-off combinations that a purchaser can run into while shopping for a piano. The Piano Book is also useful because it has information that would be essential to piano owners as well as piano technicians. It tells them everything one needs to know while moving, maintaining, cleaning, or whatever the case may be. Since this is the case, it could help just about anyone involved with the piano decide wisely what they want to do as far as their instruments are concerned. Since Larry Fine gives information on roughly what the piano market is like in his "Piano Book", he helps many purchasers come to a successful conclusion with their piano purchase or maintence, so definitely before you come to a decision about what you want to do about a piano, STOP! Read Larry Fine's book before making an expensive piano decision.
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By A Customer on August 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
Don't do it!(until you have read this book). As the webmaster for PianoWorld.com, I have a large collection of piano books. This one is the Best! If you are thinking about purchasing a piano, want unbiased information about different major manufacturers or are just curious about what makes them tick, buy this book. Our Web site is dedicated to providing information about pianos, and Mr. Fine's book is the one we often turn to. Well written and easy to follow, it contains an amazing amount of valueable information.
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Format: Paperback
The new fourth edition of Larry Fine's Piano Book is the most informative one yet. I have enjoyed the three preceding editions immensely, but the fourth surpasses them all.
To me, the most valuable part of Larry Fine's book is the information on new pianos (although he supplies lavish information on piano mechanics,used pianos, piano care, and piano shopping as well as the information on new pianos). His book is unique in its effort to describe and explain the different brands and what sets them apart from each other. While the first three editions were all packed with useful information, the fourth edition adds an informal (but enlightening) rating system that ranks the new piano brands. This new rating system represents an extraordinary effort at an unbiased review of the different new brands, and it provides an extremely useful comparison among brands.
The rating system breaks new pianos down into general categories, providing a basis for the reader to use in comparing pianos within categories as well as between categories. Within each broad category, the rating system ranks the various brands. While many of the brands end up with similar ratings, this highly useful fact in itself provides the reader with enough knowledge for an educated evaluation of claims made by dealers in rival brands. The dealers should note: as Larry Fine points out, it is poor selling technique to try to sell pianos by criticizing the competition! Larry Fine's rating system highlights the unwisdom of this critical approach.
Educated by Larry Fine, a piano shopper will have a much more enjoyable experience than he or she might otherwise have had. You may agree with what he says, or disagree with it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's not much to add to the superlatives written about this book except to note that simply having it in your possession can influence salespeople!
I took this book with me in Sept. 2003 to buy a "nearly new" piano at the annual sale of the prestigious Peabody Institute in Baltimore. The salewoman noticed it and said, "I see you have Larry Fine's book. I bet you'll leave here with a good piano at a great price."
Throughout our tour of the many pianos on sale, I felt as though she was being more factual because I had the book! And, because I had read parts of it, I was able to ask more questions about the types of materials used in construction of the various parts.
I bought a 2 month old Kawai GM-10 for about 2/3 list price! Not only did the book give me independent in-depth information on the Kawai, but several paragraphs (p.118) to read comparing it to other brands in terms of sound, feel, durability, warranty, etc.
Now, every time I sit at my piano, I feel an added confidence that I'm playing the finest instrument I could afford.
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