I am a retired Rutgers University professor of History. I’ve won major book awards, published leading scholarly books, won the biggest fellowships available in academia, been visiting professor at Dartmouth and Canada’s Queen’s University. Besides this, I play the piano. I’ve owned several pianos and shopped at numerous piano stores over the decades and across America. Nina (my wife) & I decided we were ready for a truly fine piano. I did lots of research. I contacted numerous piano retailers from coast to coast. We visited a dealer in Syracuse. We discovered Roger’s Piano by looking him up on the Internet.
I called on a whim. Roger answered. I told him what we wanted. He said, “Doc, I happen to be unloading a 6’3” Schimmel Konzert Grand Belle Epoque at the moment! Brand new.” It was precisely what we were after. “Um, Roger, will you hold it for us? We’re driving to your store this weekend!” “Sure, doc, I’ll be glad to hold it!” “Roger, do you need a deposit?” “Nope, doc, no deposit necessary. See you Saturday–or Sunday, if you prefer. I’ll make sure I’m open, whenever you come. Just let me know.” For us it was a long drive. (We live in Upstate New York.) We got there early Saturday afternoon, the piano was gorgeous and all prepared (tuned, adjusted)–and I was so excited, I didn’t play it. Instead I played every other instrument he had on his showroom floor. I was ecstatic! Fabulous instruments! Schimmel. Vogel. Perzina grands (outstanding instrument!). On and on. Best inventory I had ever witnessed! Then I played the Schimmel Belle Epoque. I was in love! The entire time, Roger never “bugged” us. Never pressured us. In fact, he left us alone. Basically he said, “the store is yours. Play away!” He tended to other customers while we did just that: played away! (I also played all his uprights, a whole room full! Best upright inventory I had ever seen!) We played right up to the minute of closing time. Then, I wrote him a check.
He had the Schimmel delivered to us within a week or two, delivered by a first-rate piano mover. And Roger has always been most helpful when I’ve had questions about the Schimmel, or our technician has had questions. (No, there were absolutely no problems with the Schimmel; it’s just that I considered tinkering with it in certain unauthorized ways. Roger gave me a well-deserved tongue-lashing for that stupid idea!) My wife, who could barely play a note, has been taking professional lessons on this Schimmel ever since–for 2 years. She’s now rather accomplished. She adores this instrument, as I do. Her piano teacher is a PhD in organ/music, on the faculty at the Crane School of Music (SUNY). Nina’s teacher adores this piano, as well. Our piano tuner/technician tunes all the Steinways at Crane (well over 100 of them), and he says this is the finest piano he’s ever played or tuned. He tells me I’m lucky he doesn’t live nearby, otherwise he would be over here, in my living room, playing Roger’s Schimmel every day. So, there you have the truth about Roger’s Piano. Roger Shaffer allowed Dr. Nina Pierpont and Dr. Calvin Luther Martin to realize a dream of a life-time: to own a German, handmade piano–a Schimmel, no less! We are forever in his debt.
This is a real review by a real customer who bought what is arguably the finest piano in the world from a man who knew his business inside & out and who was gracious, kind, funny, warm, professional, completely unpretentious, and generous. Do yourself a favor; go visit his shop. And play and play and play. You will be thrilled. Any questions about the authenticity of this review? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call me at (518) 651-2019 (Malone, NY).