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  • thoughts on the used value of anything and everything

    I'm picking up from a conversation Jbird and I were having in the what's it worth forum...cause I know I seldom visit there and I don't see as many posters there as elsewhere.

    Jbird said:
    So, as a tech who occasionally picks up a free or nearly free organ and re-sells it for a profit, I think an honest person who does what I do earns his money. I am often able to get a small church an excellent Allen MOS or ADC organ or Rodgers analog from the 80's for between $3500 and $10K, depending on the age and size, how many speaker cabinets go with it, how involved the installation is, how far away, and so on. That is perhaps 1/4 or 1/5 the cost of a comparable new organ, and I give them "added value" equal to what they'd get if they bought a new one from a typical dealer -- professional delivery, complete installation, voicing and setup in the church, training session for the organist, after-sale support, and some kind of warranty (between 90 days and a year, depending on the amount of the sale).

    This is all very well. I certainly don't begrudge you doing what you do...of course you have the right to make money any way you see fit. Unlike "RobahWarner" or whatever his name is, you haven't bit off more than you can chew and been force to sell organs for much less than you used to. But I think, as this part of my post points out:
    Originally posted by circa1949
    I have been a little surprised to see MADC models, such as the 3160 (widely used in LDS chapels) selling for pretty low prices lately.
    But, again, I'm not. I was reading about Allen installations a couple days ago, and saw something about a Catholic church having a "custom" Allen. I found a livestream of their services and apparently none of their services have traditional music anymore. After skipping through videos for 20 minutes of about 5 difference services including Christmas ones, I couldn't find a single hymn sung with whatever this custom organ is. There were moments that sounded like Kenny G, and moments that sounded like hiphop, and moments that sounded like Carly Rae Jepsen...but not a single chord from an organ. I personally find contemporary worship ridiculous, do not attend a church, and I would not call myself a Christian (nor are a majority of the people who do call themselves that actually deserving of the classification, but that's a digression we needn't take further) But apparently the vast majority of Americans do not find it ridiculous. According to this, the % of congregations with contemporary worship has grown from 29% to 43% from 2000 to 2010. That's almost a 50% increase in 10 years.
    The mathematics are pretty inescapable. There has to be a huge pool of organs out there from these thousands of congregations that have gone contempo. Maybe they aren't selling them yet. But they will one day. I'd like to propose that a bunch of economic agents buying these organs up to resell them at a cost comparable with initial value is actually a really bad thing. Look at Steinway pianos on ebay: http://www.ebay.com/sch/Piano-/43393...&_skc=50&rt=nc
    Almost no one actually auctions them - on an auction site(!) - because they believe the value they would fetch is an affront to their "true" value. Compare with a real market:
    http://motors.shop.ebay.com/sch/Cars...m=R40&_nkw=BMW
    (of course I deliberately chose a prestigious, "independent" car brand to contrast with a prestigious piano brand...and BMW wasn't once owned by CBS!)

    We find that almost all BMWs on ebay get bids. The conclusion we come to is that the price of pianos - necessarily used and new since you can't ever fully separate the markets - is controlled by a cartel. Even though some members of this cartel are unwittingly a part of it, because they refuse to sell their pianos for their real price. So, let's consider someone who has $5000 to buy a piano. We know that, in the real world, people are constrained in what they can spend for anything. The 1%ers with $150K to buy a new piano will just buy a new one. That person looks for a good used grand piano on ebay - Yamaha, Steinway, etc. - and what do they find? Nothing actually being sold in a real auction. They go look at digital pianos. Oh, whadda you know? Even top of the line digital pianos are actually auctioned. They are a commodity unfettered by a cartel. They decide to get a digital piano and find out...jeez...this does everything I wanted it do and I can move it myself. I never needed a Steinway after all. One less person who will ever save up to buy a "real" piano.
    Likewise with used organs: consider a church with a limited budget. They only plan to use an organ a few times a year. If an Allen ADC-4300 is available on ebay for $3500, about what we can expect it to sell for, they can afford it. If RobahWarner is trying to sell it for $10000, they cannot. Simple as that. Or consider a student. Again, in the world of resellers, they can't afford the organ, and decide to learn the trumpet instead. My point in all this is logic would dictate that a cartel might be self-defeating in the long run. (Communism could be argued as just a government-run cartel for everything) Sure, you short term profit, but you destroy the long term viability of the market. Back when I was into video stuff in the early 2000s, I longed for a Snell & Wilcox standards converter because I thought of starting a business doing format conversions. At that time on ebay, anything made my Snell and Wilcox carried a ridiculously high price tag because it was considered the best. Even though HD was taking over so everyone was junking their SD equipment. Every now and then a "rogue" agent would do a real auction, and something with an "asking" price of $2000 would sell for $300-400. Well, again, people who waited 5 years to sell something because they thought ebay's prices were an insult really got screwed. Look at how much Snell & Wilcox stuff is available now: www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=snell+wilcox&_sacat=0 It used to be just 2 or 3 items! Now that so much post production is virtual computer based and HD, the stuff is rapidly becoming worthless. I would be able to do standards conversion in software on a PC now.

    So...anyone's individual actions to make a profit are what they are...I see no point to judging it particularly if the person in question around here could not seem like more of an honest guy. My point is that overall - to try to "cartelize" the prices in almost any area of commerce eventually backfires. One needs to ask one's self: is this person really adding $2000 in value? $5000? $10000? Here are the few parties who get away with it: diamonds, healthcare especially allied and technological**, and apparently pianos and organs - but much less successfully, particularly for organs.* Maybe there are a few other niches, like collectibles and art. But even there...well...auctions really are auctions. If Christies and Sotheby's had shills, the cat would have come out of the bag by now, and it would have been a massive scandal. They behave as real markets should: China has been economically ascendant in the past 20 years, they naturally have an interest in their own history, so little doodads that you could have bought for a pittance in the 1940s are now worth a fortune because there are MILLIONS of Chinese interested in buying them. As ebay proves again and again, there are not millions of anything interested in buying used Allen organs. Not even hundreds. Not even scores! Even "RobahWarran" seems to have relented and sells organs now under a different ID at slightly less ridiculous prices. The pool of truly sucker buyers is exhausted for him at least.

    * though, these are so specialized that I don't really begrudge them their new prices. I have no doubt a Steinway really does cost a fortune to make in NYC or Germany. Allen as I pointed out have climbed just a little more than inflation since the 80s. However, would it surprise to find that Steinway has a secret warehouse in upstate NY filled with thousands of old Steinway pianos to keep prices up? It would not. There has to be some way they are keeping the used market from competing with the new; beyond mere conspicuous consumption. Which btw is about 100X as effective in the world of pianos that in organs. I'd wager 80% of Americans have heard of Steinway pianos, and no more than 2% of them have heard of Allen organ. But in 50 years? I bet fewer than 1/2 of people will know what a Steinway is. (unless Apple buys them, and they start calling them iPianos)

    Take home point: of course, the price of anything on ebay IS its real price. It's the truest, most efficient market in the world. Sotheby's might not auction much there because their clientele is so limited, really, anyhow, but they know if they did they would get the same prices they do in their boutiques. If the real price "goes into hiding", that doesn't mean it isn't the real price. It just means there is market inefficiency until a seller becomes motivated enough to match the motivation of the buyers.

    ** my brother was telling me that to have some kidney stones dissolved with a GE made machine using ultrasound was a $14,000 hospital fee. For a brief, outpatient procedure!
    Last edited by circa1949; 02-16-2013, 01:53 PM.

  • #2
    Again, it's not the idea that fixing something up to resell it is wrong. People do that all the time with houses. It doing it when there isn't a market for those services that's the problem...and not necessarily a problem for the rest of us. One has the impression that most people, if they wait long enough, end up with pretty close to the used organ they wanted at the price they wanted. There are so few of us, the pittance of organs that fall through the "listed at the Allen dealer for 5X the ebay price" gates are sufficient. Diamonds are "forever", acoustic pianos are for a very long time at least until they are thrown onto a funeral pyre, but digital organs are until their electrolytic caps fail or worse their PCBs form tin whiskers because they were "ROHS compliant".

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    • #3
      I bought a 1941 Steinway for 3 weeks expenses. Mr "Johnny on the Spot" reseller passed it up because of the veneer damage. Sounds great. Holds tune better than my two months pay 1982 Sohmer purchased new. I found the Steinway on Craigslist. E-bay is for elitists with a Pay-pal account, a big computer with special "last minute bid" software, and who don't care about the shipping price. (ie rich people). I suspect some UPS stores will kick back to the vendor, that is how much shipping charge varies between vendors. Even better than craigslist are Goodwill and Salvation Army, although SA will put a Hamilton organ in the dumpster rather than sell it for less than $150.
      As far as kidney/gall stones go, I've found a 2 kw amp that is not much good for anything but ultrasonic baths and disco/techo bars. I don't even own PA speakers rated high enough in power to use it. $55 on craigslist blown up, $100 in parts, a year of self education in amp repair. Found a 140 db 40 khz transducer for change. Remove a few high cut filters, make a schmitt trigger oscillator at the right frequency, put the transducer right place- a solution waiting for a problem. I had it oscillating at 100khz until I found the broken PWB land. I'm not in the body repair business, your relative could be prepared, too.
      Now my (erroneous body part deleted)- the estimate is also 3 weeks expenses. The service will be great, I called today the appointment is tomorrow. Involves a part of the body I can't reach or even see past my fingers. Any more money than that, I'm catching the Greyhound to Monterrey, (MX, not CA). Whose paying me to stay in Indiana? noone! The prosthetic replacement parts start at four months expenses, that for sure will be done in MX or not at all.
      Last edited by indianajo; 02-18-2013, 08:24 PM.
      city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

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      • #4
        circa,

        You spent a lot of time writing that up, so I owe you a comment, I think! Thanks for the free advertising and the kind words. I hope I am as honest as you think I am! My goal is to be honest and fair, though I have to make a living like everyone else does. IF there is ever a repudiation of the rock-and-roll worship movement and a return to the King of Instruments, I'll have some organs in stock to sell to the folks who will stampede to my doors!

        You are surely correct about the market shooting itself in the foot with unreasonable prices, especially in this day with the organ being considered non-essential by so many churches, and falling by the wayside as an instrument for students to learn. I am still finding a decent market, though, for my low-cost used organs. I have tried but failed to crack into the market above about $10K, but don't have too much trouble finding both individuals and smaller churches who are looking for a decent and warrantable organ in the $5K to $10K range, a range in which I can make decent money but not get rich!

        This falling away from the organ represents a huge shift, considering that the organ has been the primary instrument of the church for centuries, that no church of any size would have been without an organ 50 years ago, that the entire basis of Western music goes back to J.S. Bach and his organ and choral works. (Choirs are disappearing almost as rapidly as organs, BTW.)

        I can think of several factors bringing about this seismic shift. First thought is the incredible secularization and de-moralization of our culture that has accelerated since the 1950's, perhaps due in part to the proliferation of TV and it's influence on public morality and attitudes, mostly for the worse. The church has not escaped this vulgarization. Music that would have been scandalous in church 50 years ago (drums, guitars, rock and roll rhythms and licks, vocalists nearly swallowing their microphones, bands in ragged bluejeans and t-shirts, sexually-suggestive hip movements by the "worship leaders") is now the de facto standard in many places. We have become so inured to this that we are no longer shocked and many people in fact EXPECT this kind of "worship" when they go to church.

        Another phenomenon that has damaged the culture in recent decades is the rise of right-wing politics and "moral majority" religionists who, in their supposed zeal for righteousness, have actually turned great numbers of people away from religion and morality. The TV evangelist has probably been as bad for religion as the near-porn we call situation comedy that floods the airwaves nightly.

        The increasing right-wingism in the American church has also contributed to the organ's downfall by intentionally turning people away from traditional worship, offering a church model based on evangelism and outreach to the detriment of worship. I can remember as a kid growing up Baptist in the 60's hearing preachers and church leaders openly question the validity of just about all the other denominations, primarily because many of them emphasized worship over evangelism. We were led to proudly believe that WE had the true Gospel message and that our tawdry plunking on the piano to accompany our cheap gospel music was what God wanted to hear, not all that Handel and Bach and high-churchy nonsense they were putting on in the Methodist and Episcopal churches. We Baptists basically led the mobs that eventually demolished the great traditional worship culture in America as surely as if we'd picked up rocks and broken out their stained glass and pounded their pipe organs into dust.

        When we got the ascendancy and became the majority and the keepers of the status quo, we set out to adorn our churches with some of the trinkets we had condemned in other denominations. Baptist churches started having bigger and bigger organs, some worthy pipe organs, many large and overdone electronics, a lot of Hammonds, and a lot of garden variety Allen and Rodgers organs. Unfortunately, we didn't change our musical style much, but continued to play our cheap and tawdry gospel music on these organs, pairing them up with our Baldwin 5'2" grand pianos. For the electronic organ companies, this was the heyday. Baptist churches generally had some money or at least they could raise some, and were trying to outdo the Methodists and each other in having the biggest organ in town even if their organ player didn't know the swell from the great or a diapason from a vox humana.

        This musical style really rang the chimes of folks in the 50's and 60's, even to some extent into the 70's and 80's, but began to sound weak and dated as the organ players who were in their 20's or 30's when they first took up the Hammond in 1956 turned 40, then 50, then 90, still keeping the keys to the organ safely tucked in their pockets.

        Our "traditional" music ruined itself partly because it wasn't actually "traditional" but was in fact based on the gospel styles of the 1930's, 40's, and 50's, hardly a nod to the better hymns and other music of earlier centuries. So Baptist churches were easy targets for the "new" music that began to be offered by the big publishing houses -- I won't call any by name because I don't want to antagonize anybody. Suffice it to say that you can "subscribe" to the "worship" services of any number of these houses and they will happily ship you each month a full set of DVDs with powerpoint slides ready to use, accompaniment tracks, lead sheets, guitar tabs, and anything else you might need to keep your church hip.

        So we find ourselves, let us hope, at the bottom of a curve. Worship has become as tacky as it can be, or has it? It may get worse, but it seems to be losing traction, at least in some quarters. Attendance may have peaked in the mega-church pop-culture venues, though it continues to decline in just about all the non-pop churches, with a few notable exceptions.

        The next step will be a collapse of the contemporary worship movement as people find they can no longer tell the difference between church and the rock concert or night club scene and decide to sleep in on Sundays for good. I trust that the heart hunger that drives folks to worship will endure, and there may be a realization, small at first but growing, that something of great value was lost about 80 years ago. Will it be too late to revive the kind of worship that once dominated the American religious scene? Will there be anybody out there who can play the organ and lead a choir?

        We can only hope!
        John
        ----------
        *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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        • #5
          Wow John, great posting there ! You have pretty much summed it up the same way I see things. As an aside, did you ever stop to realize that most every "Non Denominational " church IS actually Baptist of some form or another, when you dig deep enough ? I still shake my head in wonder about the whole " Non Denominational " concept though. What exactly is that supposed to mean ? Just believe whatever You think is correct ?
          Regards, Larry

          At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2, 1 chopped, 1 not ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Baldwin 626. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755.

          Comment


          • #6
            The non-denominational churches have various reasons for not associating themselves with a denomination. In some cases that I know of personally, a pastor or group of people in an established church wanted to be rid of the oversight and accountability that come with being in a denomination. Historically, it has been mostly a good thing for local congregations to be in some way accountable to a larger organization, preventing an individual or small group within the congregation from leading the church astray from established doctrine and practices. But denominations are of course a modern construct, unknown before the Reformation, and the original churches of the first century were "non-denominational" though Roman Catholicism is certainly an ancient organization that created a hierarchy within the first few centuries after Christ.

            Some founders of non-denominational churches have believed that being responsible to some person or organization was holding them back, stifling their ability to reach and evangelize a particular group. So they wanted to shake off all controls and direct their efforts to reaching their prospects and creating a church to meet their particular needs. Others no doubt did not want to be expected to send any part of their offerings up the chain to an organization supporting larger ministries such as missions, publishing, education, hunger relief, or other work not directly related to the local work. Ironically, many such churches depend heavily upon the publishing houses or educational institutions supported by denominational organizations, sort of like parasites.

            I think some of these churches are in effect just the earthly empires of a charismatic leader who thought he was too good, too spiritual, too smart, too close to God to pastor an already established church (or maybe he or she had in fact tried that and got kicked out for arrogance and lack of respect for the church's chains of authority and procedures for, for example, spending money). So he decides to rent a building and start his own church with a handful of devoted followers who are certain this person is the herald of the new age, almost a Messianic figure, who is certainly right in his fight against the authorities, the denomination, the people in that other church who tried to hold him back. A small devoted group like that can become a powerful force, and they evangelize like crazy. Before you know it, they rent a bigger space, then bigger still, and eventually they occupy a huge arena of some kind.

            In a church like this, little is expected of the attendees other than generous offerings in the plate. There are few committees or organizations within the church, little or no interest in cooperating with other churches in missions or educational ventures or publishing (they have their own print shop cranking out their own guides to spiritual growth and true Biblical doctrine). So the crowds can grow exponentially and the next step is of course TV. Millions of folks are tuning in for the wisdom of this leader, buying books, sending their offerings, laying hands on the TV set as they pray.

            Then, the great leader takes a fall of some kind -- suffers an illness, gets old and feeble, or dies, or sometimes has a moral lapse that gets found out. It's usually impossible to hand off leadership to anyone else because the church is built not on historical doctrine and practices, not as part of a network or churches and ministries, but upon that one preacher. Inevitable decline and collapse will quickly follow.

            The most successful non-denominationals will probably be the ones that manage to franchise the concept. We have a few around here that started out as a single congregation then set up satellites (via TV links at first, but eventually with live preachers and musicians in the remote locations), even starting branches in other states or even other countries. These have in effect become new denominations, though they may still be very dependent upon the leadership of a single person or very small group, and subject to many of the weaknesses of the single mega-church.

            Wow, when I get to writing I just can't stop! Anyway, I might as well post all this since I did it. Hope it doesn't offend anyone out there.
            John
            ----------
            *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

            https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
              Then, the great leader takes a fall of some kind -- suffers an illness, gets old and feeble, or dies, or sometimes has a moral lapse that gets found out. It's usually impossible to hand off leadership to anyone else because the church is built not on historical doctrine and practices, not as part of a network or churches and ministries, but upon that one preacher. Inevitable decline and collapse will quickly follow.
              One that comes to mind that I've been following is the antics at the Crystal Cathedral. Look what has happened since Schuller Snr retired and Schuller Jnrs stepped in. The in-fighting, politics, sackings/replacements, court cases, "he-said, she-said" gossip etc. All rather nasty stuff. Can't help but think that many of his congregation must be feeling a little disillusioned to say the least.

              I see the RC Diocese have begun their building work there. Sheila Schuller Coleman now has a breakaway fledgling Church under the name "Hope Centre of Christ."
              1971 Allen Organ TC-3S (#42904) w/sequential capture system.
              Speakers: x1 Model 100 Gyro, x1 Model 105 & x3 Model 108.

              Comment


              • #8
                Very typical case in point. Even enormous para-church organizations such as Billy Graham's are unlikely to make the generational transition. Such is the way of any organization built around a human personality, and that is why we are so dependent upon and owe such a debt to the ancient or at least long-standing denominations. Say what you will about issues with the long-established branches of Christianity -- Catholicism, Lutherans, Orthodox, Anglicans, Presbyterians, perhaps Baptists too -- am I leaving anyone out that's more than 300 years old? But these are the bedrock of Christian faith, and today's neo-evangelical independent churches rarely succeed for more than a couple of decades without any connection to a historical denomination.

                I realize that those who have started some of these ministries, like the esteemed Billy Graham, like Schuller, Osteen, and others, were in some ways spiritual giants, men and women of great spiritual insight, people with evangelical fervor and a deep devotional and prayer life, and I don't want to put any of them down.

                The ministries started by these folks have no doubt reached and blessed a great many people, but in the long run their influence will fade and the lasting work of the Gospel will be done by the historic keepers of the faith.

                Of course, I'm being somewhat hypocritical in even this little analysis, because my own denomination, Disciples of Christ, exists mainly because of the breakaway organizations built by the Campbell and Stone movements barely 200 years ago. The endurance of the Disciples and other home-grown American denominations is a testimony to the fact that churches and even denominations built around the work of one or a few strong personalities can in fact endure.

                But today I'd not count on many of the new mega-churches lasting past the expiration of the big man in the pulpit.
                John
                ----------
                *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

                https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

                Comment


                • #9
                  First of all, let me comment on-topic. No matter what the price of a used organ, there's a market for everything--if you just wait long enough. I'm sure that fellow in Florida does eventually sell his instruments to someone with the wherewithal to fund such a purchase, whether it be an organization or individual. It is often said, "A fool is born every minute."

                  Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
                  The non-denominational churches have various reasons for not associating themselves with a denomination.
                  [snip]
                  Wow, when I get to writing I just can't stop! Anyway, I might as well post all this since I did it. Hope it doesn't offend anyone out there.
                  Too late!;-)

                  Originally posted by Larrytow View Post
                  As an aside, did you ever stop to realize that most every "Non Denominational " church IS actually Baptist of some form or another, when you dig deep enough ? I still shake my head in wonder about the whole " Non Denominational " concept though. What exactly is that supposed to mean ? Just believe whatever You think is correct ?
                  As a firm believer in non-denominational churches, I believe there are several reasons for their existence.

                  In the 1960s or 1970s, if I said Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian, or Episcopal, a picture of that church, its membership, its worship, and beliefs system would have immediately appeared in one's mind (as John intimated in his first post). During the Vietnam War, "Contemporary" music and choruses were tolerated in some denominations, eschewed by some, and embraced by others. Children who grew up during that time became the church leaders of the 1990s, and attempted to emulate the music they heard of the time, but with a modern twist. It probably won't be more than a decade or two before rap/hip hop will be included in churches of the future.

                  Because of the stereotypes of various denominations of the past, and the desire to separate from those stereotypes, churches either became non-denominational or were created non-denominational for several reasons:
                  • To separate themselves from the stereotype of a particular denomination.
                  • To obtain the freedom from denominational boundaries and be as true to the Bible as they could be (either fundamental in beliefs or liberal in beliefs).
                  • To not be held back by denominational ideas of worship (i.e. music styles, sacraments, etc.).
                  • To rebel against the "father knows best" generation.
                  • To free themselves of denominational obligations (i.e. reversionary clauses on church property, convention dues, etc.).
                  • To free themselves of a particular Biblical teaching or interpretation. The advent of the Metropolitan Church would be an example of the liberal side of this equation. I dare say they probably aren't Baptistic in nature! ;-)
                  I'm sure there are many other reasons, but these are just a few.

                  Therefore, I disagree with your notion of all non-denominational churches being Baptist when you check into their teachings.

                  The true test of the true nature of a non-denominational church is, indeed, what happens to it when the founder, patriarch, or matriarch, or oligarchy (i.e. original leadership) is decased or disbanded. If the church continues relatively unaltered, then it is evident the membership were part of that organization because they truly believed in the mission, doctrine, and direction of the church. If the church dissipates or dwindles to almost nothing, then it becomes evident the membership was following people rather than God (or the doctrines of the church). Again, an example of this would be the Metropolitan Church, which has dwindled greatly except in a very few larger metropolitan areas.

                  I'm sure y'all disagree with me on something or everything, but that's my 2 cents worth.

                  Michael
                  Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                  • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                  • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                  • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Interesting points, Michael. (Both on-topic and off!) ....

                    My view of non-denominational churches may be a little slanted, having come from a Baptist background. In my youth, I was somewhat influenced by the theory (held in highest regard in some Baptist circles even today) that Baptists trace their history all the way back to John the BAPTIST at the Jordan River. And that it is impossible to start a genuine "church" without said church being a mission or at least a recognized outgrowth (i.e. "split") from an existing church. Any such groups organized without the authority of an existing duly-organized church (and preferably a Baptist one) are simply religious societies and not real churches.

                    Our baptism was also said to be the only valid baptism because I was baptized by someone who was baptized by someone who was baptized by someone .... who was baptized by John at the Jordan!

                    I don't subscribe to that any longer, of course, but I do see the long-standing denominational structures as having a certain stability and guidance that we might do well to respect.

                    Many churches that claim to be non-denominational may in fact be flavored by the former denominational attachments of the founder or founding group. We had a little church spring up in my previous city that claimed no denomination but was in fact a split off the local Assembly of God, and indeed the preaching, the music, and the general tone of the service is much like the A of G church, at least to an outside observer.

                    So the observation that a lot of these churches are somewhat "Baptist" might be due to the fact that a lot of them have been started up by disgruntled Baptists! Now that we've ditched the "John the Baptist" theory we've become about as contentious and splinter-oriented as any denomination in history!

                    That being said, I understand your point completely. There is a strong tradition of independence and freedom in this country, and that extends to our spiritual life. Folks obviously have every right to establish churches outside existing denominational boundaries and to worship and evangelize and minister as they see fit. And much wonderful work has been done by churches like that. The non-denominational churches that have given the concept a bad name are the ones that exist almost solely for the satisfaction of a preacher who wants his own little empire, but we probably shouldn't spend much time judging or trying to figure out which churches fall into that category!

                    OK, now I really should shut up before I dig myself into a very deep hole!
                    John
                    ----------
                    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

                    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      To come back to the value of physical items before this is going down into the umpteenth thread about religion...

                      I see there are a few problems with second hand items and their price. But putting them down to cartels and conspiracy is a step too much. For me there are the following issues:
                      - people have an overvalued view of brands
                      - some people buy an item that is really out of their reach but they perceive it as essential
                      - when they want to get rid of said item they have an overly optimistic value of it
                      - because of the internet this idea is propagated
                      - those looking for second-hand items have sometimes a too low estimation of value

                      Problem with brands like Steinway is that they are expensive but seen by most as something the succesfull artists use. So they need one to become just such an artist. They pay through their nose to get one and when the dream has turned into a nightmare they want to get rid of it. Only problem is that those that really want one because it is a usefull tool to them are 1) prepared to buy a new one because it is a business expense 2) aware of their real value.

                      So only those that are aware of the real value (not that much) are looking at second hand sales. But the ones proposed as "for sale" are sold by people that don't have a good estimation of the value. They want to sell it too expensive. Result: nobody buys it.

                      I see the same thing with Hasselblad camera's and Myford lathes. In both cases those items are seen by a budding mass of wannabee photographers and model engineers as the thing to have to be successfull. So the prices asked for them second-hand are out of proportion for their real value. Those that do know about the things won't buy them unless the value is correct. Why, because they know that they can buy a tool that is as good for less.

                      But Steinways aren't rare and are still being build. So the second-hand prices are too high.

                      This doesn't happen with cars because everybody does know how they depreciate. There are even magazines devoted to that. Same with digital stuff. People know how its value changes so they are prepared to handle accordingly.

                      Just plain market forces and common sense (or just no common sense). No reason to invent cartels and blame it on contemporary services...

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                      • #12
                        Havoc, thanks for your reasonable reply...and for getting us back on subject. With all due respect, you misinterpreted my semantic license. Of course, there's no secret meeting every quarter of the "used piano pricing cartel" at a hotel in Newark, NJ. My point was, this group of buyers and deluded sellers, which you yourself characterized rather well, form a kind of de facto cartel due to their shared, unrealistic expectations. No one's piano can possible be worth so much less than they bought it for; and "we can't give away" perfectly good used pianos. I even have an elderly family member in this situation, who refuses to accept a grand piano she bought about 15 years ago shouldn't be worth almost what she paid for it. That being said, of course the market for pianos is much more viable than for organs. At least there's still a somewhat substantial pool of people who want to buy them used...maybe 10% of what it used to be, but that's still better than 1%. For example, I think Rick Jones Piano's prices are high for what they are really doing...but they are in a part of the country with a guaranteed pool of economically comfortable buyers so they can get away with it.** A guaranteed pool means some in that pool will be willing to pay your price.

                        Contrast with organs...the recent situation on ebay totally proves my hypothesis. There are more desirable organs listed there recently than in the past 5 years, maybe for all time. (I started looking around 2002, when ebay really started to take off in popularity) Are they finding buyers? Is this sudden flash of optimism warranted? Even institutional buyers like churches that could save a bundle versus a new organ by buying, for example, Jbird's MDS-45 on ebay? Should at least one of these dealer-priced organs be able to generate at least one bid on ebay? Well, obviously not. I'd bet there's at least 5:1 ratio of unwanted used digital organs to potential buyers. Maybe it's 10:1. Remember, what's being shown on ebay is just the tip of the iceberg. As I said before, part of this is simply the way this market works. Churches that can afford it want to buy new. In fact a church would probably be more willing to buy a used piano. The more I think about it I actually like this situation: it helps the digital organ manufacturers stay viable. If I were a church on a budget there's really no reason not to buy a 15 year old used Allen; but apparently very few of them decide to.

                        The Walter Reed auction of used small pipe organ for 11K might seem "encouraging" However, it wouldn't surprise me at all if a couple collectors of military memorabilia got carried away and caused the price to race up.* Those people have deep pockets and perhaps a fortuitous (for gov liquidation) lack of common sense. So, it might not have even reflected the musical instrument market. OTOH, a musically purist but on-a-budget congregation in DC might have purchased it, well knowing that even at 11K and the cost of removal it was a bargain compared to any comparable new pipe organ. So, my point is, that somewhat high price (IMHO) was for such an anomalous item that it's neither here nor there w/respect to the used organ marketplace. What's more indicative of things is the 3 manual Renaissance organ, missing a bench IIRC, that sold for $3000 on gov liquidation a few years ago. It was hilarious to see the Allen owners at the yahoo group try to characterize it as an old MOS organ....it blew their mind someone might pay 5% of what they'd paid for a similar organ.

                        * - also, a former friend of the family who I ran into in NoVA a few years ago was discussing various auction sites. He runs a liquidation company in DC that competes with more well known ones. He didn't single out gov liquidation but he said it was industry common knowledge that on all online auction sites other than ebay, shilling is rampant. Even "house" shilling. He explained this is why there are still live auctions for high value antiques, buyers rightly refuse to believe what happens at an online auction. With ebay going down to the tubes, it wouldn't surprise me to start seeing this problem start popping up there, too.\

                        ** - not that they are any worse than what your typical struggling independent piano shop would try to charge; but my point is by buying from such a huge outfit, you certainly aren't getting any benefit from economies of scale. Maybe their warranty is more likely to be honored because they will still be around in ten years? They are still probably marking the pianos up 2.5X over what they are getting them for, after doing a pittance of work on most of them. Kind of like real estate at the height of the bubble, where people would buy a property for X, put in a water heater and do a slap dash paint job, and try to sell it 4 months later for 1.7X.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Havoc View Post
                          Problem with brands like Steinway is that they are expensive but seen by most as something the succesfull artists use. So they need one to become just such an artist. They pay through their nose to get one and when the dream has turned into a nightmare they want to get rid of it. Only problem is that those that really want one because it is a usefull tool to them are 1) prepared to buy a new one because it is a business expense 2) aware of their real value.
                          I found there is a reason for the Steinway brand cachet, after I bought one. My 1982 Sohmer console sounded slightly better than the 1982 Steinway at the store and had much easier touch. So I bought the Sohmer. 6 months later two notes needed tuning. After tuning, 2 months later they needed tuning, etc, etc. I had to learn to tune it myself, even with lots of money in the Army I couldn't take off enough time to meet the piano tuner. The Sohmer has a 5 layer pinboard.
                          The 1941 Steinway I bought, sounds pretty good on only one note, the rest were way out of tune. I had to tune it 7 times to get it right, After that, 2 1/2 years later it needs tuning again. The Steinway console has a one layer pinboard. It makes it worth more (to me) than a piano with layers. 15 potential tunings I've missed.
                          The grands, they cost 12x what my 1941 console cost. You would have to pay me to take a grand, I don't have room in my house and the touch is too heavy for my light bones. But that doesn't keep the Lexington, KY rebuilder from relisting the Steinway M over and over ( on free craigslist) for $12000.
                          Handyczech pointed out the same 1941 console Steinway model, with better condition veneer, on a Hudson River NY e-bay listing for $5500. 5x what I paid including the truck and helper. Just another reason I live in Indiana, not New York. The housing price discrepancy is really why I located here, in a town whose job market was affected by national companies Ford GE and the liquor and tobacco companies. I could be living in Newport Beach CA, retired from Ford Aerospace (my previous to Army recall employer)- and still have only 39 more years to pay on my mortgage.
                          city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112

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                          • #14
                            I was never under the impression that you meant the cartel was an actual group with an agenda. :) But I wouldn't think individual dealers that have a reasonable area as a natural monopoly above some manipulation. The used intrument market isn't as large as vegetables. Mind you I don't think it goes further than smooth talk, offering "good deals" and some ebay bidding.

                            Contrast with organs...the recent situation on ebay totally proves my hypothesis. There are more desirable organs listed there recently than in the past 5 years, maybe for all time. (I started looking around 2002, when ebay really started to take off in popularity) Are they finding buyers? Is this sudden flash of optimism warranted? Even institutional buyers like churches that could save a bundle versus a new organ by buying, for example, Jbird's MDS-45 on ebay? Should at least one of these dealer-priced organs be able to generate at least one bid on ebay? Well, obviously not. I'd bet there's at least 5:1 ratio of unwanted used digital organs to potential buyers. Maybe it's 10:1. Remember, what's being shown on ebay is just the tip of the iceberg. As I said before, part of this is simply the way this market works. Churches that can afford it want to buy new. In fact a church would probably be more willing to buy a used piano. The more I think about it I actually like this situation: it helps the digital organ manufacturers stay viable. If I were a church on a budget there's really no reason not to buy a 15 year old used Allen; but apparently very few of them decide to.
                            Well institutional buyers have a very different agenda then private persons. They have to look further than the buying price. If new it can be an investment that can be written off, service contract can play a role, reliability (as perceived by people less knowledgable in the field) etc.

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                            • #15
                              I think it a mistake to generalize the state of the organ market based on Ebay. Organs are relatively high ticket items and expensive to move. You have to have a trusting nature and a bit of naiviete to be willing to spend thousands purchasing an organ sight unseen and unplayed, from a stranger, hundreds or thousands of miles away.
                              -Admin

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