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Calling Kawai "cheap plastic" is ignorance #1248993
08/14/09 10:00 AM
08/14/09 10:00 AM
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Western/Central PA
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Brent B Offline OP
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This post is actualy in response to the thread "Help Buying a Boston GP-178." I didn't want to hijack that thread just to vent my frustration so I started a new one.

It's just unfortunate that so many Steinway/Boston dealers have to put down Kawai. Kawai manufactures the piano for cryin' out loud--have some respect.

I can't imagine that the Steinway/Boston company itself is telling dealers to say these things and I'm sure they would not condone such behavior. OR......maybe they do.......many of their dealers seem to be spewing the same anti-brand B propaganda.

Sure there are differences between Boston and Kawai, and maybe Boston is a slightly better piano (I really don't know--haven't spent much time with a Boston), but dealers need to explain the REAL differences between the products. Saying that Kawai is just cheap "plastic" is not only inaccurate, it's IGNORANT.

Sure, they'll draw in quite a few uneducated buyers with their nonsense, but they will also turn away many educated buyers. The first piano dealer I went to when I started my search several weeks ago was a Steinway/Boston/Essex dealer. I played the Boston and Essex (and Steinway for fun, of course), both very nice pianos, and then asked him if he carried Kawai. He then proceded to give me his Kawai is "cheap plastic" routine and that no serious pianist should ever consider a piano that uses such parts. That was the moment I knew I would not buy a piano from this man. If I know for a fact he is completely uninformed about competing brands, how can I trust that he is honest about the quality of the brands he carries?

I just think a piano dealer should have a little more class than a used car salesman.

Keep in mind, I'm not saying these things because I own a Kawai--I DON'T. Kawai is a front-runner in my search so far, but this is not just me trying to justify a purchase that I've already made


Estonia 190
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Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Brent B] #1249004
08/14/09 10:19 AM
08/14/09 10:19 AM
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Joanne Zhang Offline
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I actually met 2 dealers- one of them (which I have not talked about on PW) annoyed me very much. She lectured on and on about how Kawai is very cheap because it is made of plastic, which will not produce a warm and full sound. She then compared it to a Boston, which she said is made of wood and is thicker, which will produce a full sound. Then she moved on and talked about how Yamaha is very loud and annoying, even though I currently own a Yamaha U1.
However it is funny that after this Steinway, Boston, and Essex liquidation, they will move on to a Yamaha sale- and I wonder what she will have to say then.
So anyways, these dealers will definitely try to say horrible things about other pianos, such as Kawai, and I think it is very annoying.

Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Joanne Zhang] #1249012
08/14/09 10:26 AM
08/14/09 10:26 AM
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Hudson, FL
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Hop Offline
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Especially annoying since the "plastic" makes the millenium 3 action one of the nicest I have ever played on any instrument.

I get similarly annoyed when European piano bigots trash Asian products. While there are certainly some Asian products that I don't like, I can't understand why they don't just look at each individual piano and assess it for what it is worth. That's what I did, and I got a a great product at a much more reasonable price.

Hop

Hailun HG 178


HG178, Roland FP-5, Casio PX 130
Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Hop] #1249051
08/14/09 11:35 AM
08/14/09 11:35 AM
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JoeDaBassPlayer Offline
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I have a 30 year old Kawai with plastic parts in the action. The entire action is almost perfectly consistent and straight.

First, one needs to realize the plastic parts are structural components of the action. They are not parts that affect the tonality of the instrument.

Second, plastic is more stable than wood and stronger. It can also be made more precise.



Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: JoeDaBassPlayer] #1249086
08/14/09 12:18 PM
08/14/09 12:18 PM
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Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
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Lets face it. The OEM relationship that exists in manufacturing the Boston also places another layer of cost between the consumer and the instrument. This normally translates into a higher end cost. If a salesperson is feeling somewhat insecure about the value of their product or cannot say enough good things about it, the only thing left is to tear down the other choices.

It doesn't surprise me that these things are being said. It just wonder how many times it is actually effective.

Full Disclosure = I sell none of the brands discussed in this thread.


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
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Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Rich Galassini] #1249095
08/14/09 12:28 PM
08/14/09 12:28 PM
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SeilerFan Offline
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Thankfully, quite a few piano buyers are also discerning players and can thus judge for themselves. The M3 is an excellent action with great response.

Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: SeilerFan] #1249101
08/14/09 12:42 PM
08/14/09 12:42 PM
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Piano*Dad Offline
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Quote
That was the moment I knew I would not buy a piano from this man. If I know for a fact he is completely uninformed about competing brands, how can I trust that he is honest about the quality of the brands he carries?


dopiano,

Did you say this to the dealer? If not, perhaps you should have. First, it might have made you feel better! Secondly, dealers need to know that the trashing BS routine has made an enemy whose word of mouth will now work against them.

When I was looking for a minivan 15 years ago I tried a Toyota and then I tried a Ford. The Ford dealer spent most of his time trashing the Toyota. When he told me that the Toyota was smaller inside I just let him have it. I read the spec sheets back to him to show him just what an ignorant git I thought he was. Then I left. I felt really good after that. grin


Now, on the other hand, this quote from Hop bothers me a bit:

Quote
I get similarly annoyed when European piano bigots trash Asian products.


I can understand disliking a sneering snobbish attitude in anyone, but there are reasons why one might think that top shelf European brands might be better than their more mass produced Asian brethren from Yamaha and Kawai. I trust that you are not implying that anyone who thinks a Bosendorfer or a C. Bechstein is generally better made than an RX Kawai costing 1/6 as much is by definition a European piano bigot.

Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Rich Galassini] #1249115
08/14/09 01:01 PM
08/14/09 01:01 PM
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Vancouver
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
If a salesperson is feeling somewhat insecure about the value of their product or cannot say enough good things about it, the only thing left is to tear down the other choices.


It's like asking a girl to marry you by listing all the things that you find wrong with her friends...


Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Piano*Dad] #1249140
08/14/09 01:27 PM
08/14/09 01:27 PM
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Hudson, FL
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Hop Offline
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad



Now, on the other hand, this quote from Hop bothers me a bit:

Quote
I get similarly annoyed when European piano bigots trash Asian products.


I can understand disliking a sneering snobbish attitude in anyone, but there are reasons why one might think that top shelf European brands might be better than their more mass produced Asian brethren from Yamaha and Kawai. I trust that you are not implying that anyone who thinks a Bosendorfer or a C. Bechstein is generally better made than an RX Kawai costing 1/6 as much is by definition a European piano bigot. [/quote]

Piano Dad,


No question about it, these fined European instruments are just that. What I am suggesting is that there are other pianos in the world that are good or better also. I'm Ok with knocking any aspect of a piano's performance, if its factual. What I have problems with is knocking an entire line of pianos because of longitude or lattidtue.

Hop


HG178, Roland FP-5, Casio PX 130
Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Hop] #1249141
08/14/09 01:29 PM
08/14/09 01:29 PM
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Horowitzian Offline
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As far as these forums go, I think Steinway comes in for that far more than any other brand. Heck, I was attacked just yesterday for expressing my opinion that a good Steinway well prepped is unbeatable. smokin


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Horowitzian] #1249152
08/14/09 01:44 PM
08/14/09 01:44 PM
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England/Switzerland
AJB Offline
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Yes, but Horowitzian, you are a bit over sensitive about S&S. Brand loyalty does that to people ;-)

Boston gets knocked (allegedly over priced), Kawai gets knocked (ridiculous plastic argument), Yamaha gets knocked (too bright or maybe grey), Bosie gets knocked (too much bling), Schimmel gets knocked (in European equivalent of Chapter 11), anything Chinese gets knocked (for being made by people who have been civilized about 3000 years longer than Americans), M&H gets knocked (for having some of those awful Chinese parts), Grotrian for being a bit plucky sounding, Steingraeber and Sohn for being hard to spell, and so on......

It is all hot air and anyone who hangs around the piano biz for a while soon learns to ignore it.

Sleazy and rather stupid salesmen knock competitors as a matter of course. It is probably in the genes and for most people just marks them out as emanating from the shallow end of the gene pool.

But is all good entertainment I suppose!

Kind regards

Adrian

Last edited by AJB; 08/14/09 01:45 PM.

Currently playing 2017 C212 with carbon fibre soundboard, WNG action. Working on Bach, Beethoven, Grieg mainly.
Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Piano*Dad] #1249154
08/14/09 01:45 PM
08/14/09 01:45 PM
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Western/Central PA
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Brent B Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad

......Did you say this to the dealer? If not, perhaps you should have. First, it might have made you feel better!


No, I didn't call him out on it. It may have made me feel better at the moment, but ultimately I'm just as happy not buying a piano from him.

Perhaps when he calls me to follow up (which he will, for sure) I will tell him that I've decided to go with either PLASTIC or ASIAN (hmmmm, sounds like my bachelor party grin.......jk--didn't have that much fun!)



Estonia 190
Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: SeilerFan] #1249158
08/14/09 01:50 PM
08/14/09 01:50 PM
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Portland, OR
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Seneca Offline
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Salespeople using FUD tactics are tiresome. Whether they work for a Steinway dealer or for anybody else. I wonder if they have the nerve to call Steingraeber's experiment with a carbon fibre soundboard a 'plastic soundboard'?

OTOH, I had an interesting conversation with the piano technician who was out to tune our piano last week about the Millenium Three action. Innately conservative guy, he gave it very high 'objective' marks while expressing some 'subjective' reservations. Incredibly even, stable and consistent, was his verdict, but he said he still likes working with wood. That sounded reasonable and balanced, the opposite of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Seneca] #1249169
08/14/09 02:07 PM
08/14/09 02:07 PM
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I have found this kind of behavior to cross all brand lines and dealers-- it's endemic to the industry. Bosie dealers trashing Steinways, Estonia dealers trashing Yamaha, etc etc. It was major turn off in the piano shopping/testing experience and not confined to any one brand or dealer. I've since learned to take it all with a big grain of salt and look at as added entertainment value, a la AJB's comment.

Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: sophial] #1249188
08/14/09 02:38 PM
08/14/09 02:38 PM
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Carmel, Indiana
Larry Larson Offline
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You are so right, Dopiano. This kind of stuff drives me crazy. And I agree with what other in this thread said about dealers trashing other brands. Back when I was shopping, it was the Steinway dealer who did it the most. They told me that a certain other piano company had "gone out of business". Now I was no piano expert at the time, (or now, for that matter!) but I had done a lot of research about that certain other piano company, and I knew for sure that what they said was untrue. I don't know which is worse, that they knew the truth and decided to lie to promote Steinway, or that they were ignorant of something that could have so easily be researched. Either way, I wanted nothing to do with that dealer. As far as the "cheap plastic parts" issue; I'm old enough to remember when if something was made of plastic it was considered junk, just like "Made in Japan" meant junk. Now there are too many people like me who have driven their Hondas over 220,000 miles for that kind of ignorance to endure. How long will the Kawai actions will have to last, trouble-free, before this nonsense about plastic actions stops. Will JoeDaBassPlayer's 30 years be long enough to change the groundless ignorance? As my daddy used to say, "We shall see..." Larry


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Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: sophial] #1249200
08/14/09 02:49 PM
08/14/09 02:49 PM
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Robert 45 Offline
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These anecdotal accounts of Steinway and Boston dealers "dissing" Kawai pianos because of "cheap plastic" parts is ironic. Boston pianos are made by Kawai in the same factory and on the same assembly lines and to attack Kawai would seem like shooting yourself in the foot.

The ABS Styran compound is used in action parts where a strong, inert material works best as it is impervious to the effects of humidity and temperature swings. Hammer heads and hammer shanks are still made of wood as that is where the resilience of wood is required.

The material per se of the action, whether wood or ABS Styran has nothing to do with the tonal quality of the instrument. It is the efficiency and responsiveness of this mechanical system which is crucial to good sound and touch.

I have played a number of recent Kawai RX models and the sensitivity and responsiveness of the action made the piano like a dream to play.

Kind regards,
Robert.

Last edited by Robert 45; 08/14/09 03:00 PM.
Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Seneca] #1249204
08/14/09 02:53 PM
08/14/09 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Seneca
OTOH, I had an interesting conversation with the piano technician who was out to tune our piano last week about the Millenium Three action. Innately conservative guy, he gave it very high 'objective' marks while expressing some 'subjective' reservations. Incredibly even, stable and consistent, was his verdict, but he said he still likes working with wood. That sounded reasonable and balanced, the opposite of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.


But is it really reasonable and balanced? He mentions specific positives but "he still likes working with wood". What are we to take from that? Isn't a baseless statement like that the U, uncertainty? "Yeah the Millenium action is great, but ....". Now if he's talking purely from a tech's perspective that with wood you have a bit more leeway and it's easier to manipulate/generate parts on the fly if need be, then fine. But unless you're paraphrasing, his statement as is doesn't sound all that reasonable to me.

Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: AJB] #1249233
08/14/09 03:31 PM
08/14/09 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by AJB
Yes, but Horowitzian, you are a bit over sensitive about S&S. Brand loyalty does that to people ;-)

[...]


True dat. smile It didn't help that the individual who did it seems to just have a problem with me in general. However, the general perception I have seen is that anyone who really likes the Steinway piano like myself is all too often written off as ignorant. I have never seen anyone who really likes another top-tier brand come in for the same garbage. Just sayin'. smile

Really, though, I think a lot of the criticism of the Steinway brand is unfounded, as long as we are talking about new pianos. We all know about the QC issues of the CBS era and the teflon parts fiasco. The newer instruments seem carefully made to my eyes. Finish, not so much since rubbed lacquer is very susceptible to damage by rubs and scratches. But I love the look. cool


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Horowitzian] #1249263
08/14/09 04:29 PM
08/14/09 04:29 PM
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A couple of quick points: First, Steinway does not in any way encourage our retail salespeople to put down Kawai pianos - or any other brand. We simply do not do it. My question to you all is this: do you feel similarly indignant when someone puts down the Steinway brand? Or the Boston? Or Essex?

Second, compared to Kawai the Boston piano does NOT have an "additional layer" of price, as Rich claims. Kawai dealers purchase pianos from Kawai America - who represents a "layer" between the manufacturer, and the dealer. Our dealings are not with Kawai America. So while the "layer" may have a different name, it is not an additional one.

Lastly, and very much on the record: Steinway & Sons (and I know this is true of my friends and fellow industry colleagues at Yamaha, Kawai, Bosendorfer, Mason Hamlin, et all) is very anxious to do what we can to get more people interested in learning to make their own music on a piano. None of us have yet met the elderly person who proclaims "I am so glad that I never did learn to play the piano!" - - but almost every day we meet people who regret not taking advantage of the opportunity when they had it.

Our preference would be to use our energies to promote the joy of making music, rather than to defend attacks against us - or to damage a fellow piano manufacturer. We're simply too small of an industry to use our resources that way.

Thank you.


Bob Snyder
Senior District Manager
Steinway & Sons

rsnyder@steinway.com
www.steinway.com
Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Bob Snyder] #1249270
08/14/09 04:46 PM
08/14/09 04:46 PM
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Rich Galassini Offline
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Bob,

Thank you for that post. It was well said.


Rich Galassini
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Phila, Pa.
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