7:48 AM, Wednesday, March 16th 2005:
We can say all we want that we only need “this much a year” to live. But something happens when you make that much in two months. You all of the sudden start to need other shit.
So I’m driving up Topanga and I see a piano store going out of business. I’m immediately buzzin’ in my mind. Oooh – I could get a baby grand and record “Sleep Baby Sleep” Something I’ve always wanted to do right. If there’s ever been a song that I thought would be amazing with a grand piano and a string quartet – it’s that song.
As I’ve mentioned quite a bit, my “guesthouse” idea is all but defunct since I am no longer renting out the house – so I need to move everything back into the house and make that space something. It was going to be a home theater, but I’ve recently felt that was just a bit too irresponsible. I want something that will force more creativity – not reward passiveness. So a recording studio it shall be. My TV is big enough already. ;-)
Of course, although I do own a piano, it is for sentimental purposes only. It is a wretched sounding piano that has been abused for just too long. It’s the piano I learned to play on as a baby, and was signed by dozens of artists at CD101 from 1998-1999 – and will always be a great conversation piece, but you cannot record a song with it. You just can’t. So when I passed this store, I figured “you know, if I can get a good piano for a couple grand – I’m gonna do it.”
“That one’s 32…Uhm the Steinway is 25…” said the weasly salesman.
I looked at the guy as if I was getting punk’d. These pianos were $32,000.00. The absolute best I could find was the tiniest baby grand kawai that was pretty beat up for $12,000.00. I was absolutely floored. It immediately became time to go to the internet and do some research. I was in a different league.
Well the internet confirmed my fears, these pianos (all USED btw) are stupid expensive, but absolutely the going rate. In talking with my dad he told me to check out the Yamahas. He says there’s nothing like ‘em. Looking online I saw that the regular Yamaha grand is pretty much the studio standard, so I was pretty sure the baby grands would be alright. So I found a place that had some and checked them out.
They were pretty decent actually. Found a place in the range of $8-9000 for them. Still insanely expensive, but now we’re in a bit of breathable room. I actually had it narrowed down to a couple when I noticed there was a full size grand Yamaha C7 sitting in the middle of this warehouse. I really, really, really should have broken both of my kneecaps right then and had them wheel me out of there.
To explain the look on my face when I hit the two lower F sharps and rolled out an F sharp 2nd chord is a slightly difficult thing to produce in words. It wasn’t really even a happy feeling. It was a feeling of utter amazement and the thought of “Oh Jesus that was the most expensive chord I’ve ever played in my life” swept over me. Because there was no way I could buy a baby grand after playing this. Now, from the internet I knew this would be $18,000+, so I obviously couldn’t afford it, but now I knew I wasn't throwing away $9000 now on something that was such a degradation. I could not believe the power and the difference 2 ½ feet can make on the sound of a piano. When you go from 5’ 2” to 7’ 6” it is a sound, I’ve just really never heard. So I started to play a few more chords and within a few minutes I completely wrote a song. I was just in amazement. I really had no idea what these puppies felt like.
The guy that was there was just one of the technicians and he called the owner and let me talk to him. The C7 was $14,000. (sigh). Part of me wanted him to say $20,000 so I could just go about my day. The other part of me wanted him to say $10,000 so I could maybe justify it. I mean the tax write-off alone on $10,000 will save me $4300. It’s a pretty big incentive. $14,000 on the other hand is just right in the middle, and the price of a FUCKING CAR. GOOD GOD. So I left.
Back online. Searching high and low for more information. Every forum, every website. Just everything I could possibly find on the subject. The only better deals I could find on this piano were blindly ordering online with zero warranty. Even then you’re saving only about $1500 - $2000 after shipping. I was really stuck. Because now I just couldn’t justify buying the lesser piano. THAT seemed like throwing away $10,000.
So back I went to this store at every lunch break, after work everyday – and just played and played. I weighed every option. Emotionally it was no contest, I wanted it. But I’m Mr. Logical to the core and I have to have good financial backing on this. The way I looked at it there were 2 really good financial reasons to buy it and one really BIG reason not to.
-The tax write-off is HUGE. I finally understand write-offs. It’s simple, I’ve already paid the government 43% of my pay. The only way to possibly get any of that shit back, is to write off business expenses. This studio will obviously be a business with this type of equipment and 43% of $14,000 is over $6000. That’s money I will get back if I buy this, and would simply hand over to Mr. Bush if I don’t. That’s a huge factor. Gigantic.
-The depreciation on this piano has already occurred. On this model new you’re at $45,000. It depreciates for about 20 years and then flatlines. So this 1983 Yamaha C7 will retain its value assuming I don’t abuse it. Meaning I could turn around and sell this for the same price or more at anytime down the road. It’s a highly sought after piano and this is a very reasonable price.
The reason not to of course – it’s FOURTEEN FUCKING THOUSAND GODDAMN DOLLARS. LOL. I mean let’s be real here people. This is insane. I am in no position to blow all of my money on this no matter how much I’m making right now. I should know better than anyone that EVERYTHING can change at any second. I’ve also enjoyed my recent nest egg and the stress that it alleviates. I have soared the past few months and have found a new me that I never knew existed. I don’t FREAK OUT over every penny now and am for the first time enjoying life. This immediately puts me back into “survival mode” again. And this purchase only starts the ball rolling. You think I’m not gonna buy good recording mics? A nice mixer? (sigh). It also means I can never live in an apartment again. I will now have to be a homeowner from this point on. Shit I guess there’s more than one reason not to buy it.
Now for the past week or so I had been emailing him back and forth haggling with the price. To put it simply I haggled he didn't budge. Bottom line is, this piano will be sold whether to me or someone else because his price is fair - he doesn't need to haggle. I had a deposit on it which at least gives me a little time to mull it all over. Yesterday however, everything changed...
The owner calls me and let’s me know he looked over the piano with a fine toothed comb and saw a slight separation in the soundboard. He says he wants to fix it and it will take a week. So when I went in I asked him to point it out to me and I couldn’t see a thing. I finally caught the problem. It’s basically in the grooves of the wood, this slight opening. He says they have to take the entire piano apart and fill in the gaps and sand it all down and whatnot. A $2000 fix that he said he’ll do for free. I asked him if it would ever affect the sound and he said absolutely not, that it was just cosmetic. I looked at him like he was an alien. Why the hell was he even telling me this? In fact I can barely see it at all – and it doesn’t affect the sound? He also said that if I didn’t want him to fix it he would write into the warranty that if the sound ever changes (a ratte, hum or buzz) he would do the fix for free. He’s that certain that this is just cosmetic. That’s absolutely extraordinary. I actually did ask him why he even brought this up and he just said his reputation is on the line with every single piano he sells. It isn't worth it to not be perfect. And that folks, is the moment Adam bought a Yamaha C7 for $12,000.
I have to say though, the tax write-off pretty much nailed it for me. The thought of handing over SOOOOO much money to the government every paycheck when I can get some of it back kills me. I mean getting (now $5000) back makes this a $7000 purchase which for a full size grand piano is a friggin’ steal. And you know what – what the hell do you save all of this money for if not for an instrument to create? I mean it’s not like I’m buying a $12,000 projector for a home theater to impress my friends and watch “The Incredibles” (which is a goddamn masterpiece, buy it NOW). This is who I am. The past 60 Journey songs should prove that. And just waaaaaaait until you see and hear this thing. I’m damn close to getting several GIGS of webspace just so I can start uploading video/audio that actually SOUNDS good. This thing is just that gorgeous.
As well I have a 0.0% credit card until 2006 that will allow me to save all my money in my ING account, make about $500-$600 off of it – and then pay off the card. Oh and Monday night I finished moving everything out of the guesthouse (yeah I guess was sold pretty early on this thing - LOL) and prepared the room for the arrival of the beast that is a ONE TON instrument. Yeah, 1,000 pounds. Believe me, I’ve started thinking quite hard about just how well I did that subflooring last summer. LOL. I never imagined something this heavy. You’re looking at about 300 some pounds on each leg…whew. We’ll see. I know all the strong/weak areas in the floor by heart and have arranged the room accordingly, but I am well aware that that’s pretty damn heavy. I’ll watch it pretty closely over time. Good thing I went with the 5/8 inch plywood instead of the ¼ inch eh? <nervous>
Anyway, expect an entry in about a week with a new song. I have actually written 3 songs sitting at that piano during my lunch hours. I mean how pathetic a negotiator can you be? LOL. They have seen me everyday, sometimes twice a day. (sigh). Following your heart can be costly. Wow – if that's not the understatement of the year for me...
PS - sorry about the video being all shaky. It's what you get for doing a video at 500k because you've done 400 of these bitches and have no more space. LOL.