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Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: John Pels] #1249745
08/15/09 11:32 AM
08/15/09 11:32 AM
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Kansas
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a trash talking salesman is the worst


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
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Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: apple*] #1249817
08/15/09 01:45 PM
08/15/09 01:45 PM
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Marty Flinn Offline
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Jennifer and I have toured factories and been product trained by factory personel by: Steinway, Yamaha, Kawai, Mason & Hamlin, Estonia, Petrof, Kimball, Baldwin, Bosendorfer, Samick (under several brand names), Wurlitzer, Aeolian (under several brand names), and more. Not once in any factory training was it ever suggested to present competitive product in a negative light; let alone bash it. Every generic sales training program I have attended (dozens) has stressed not to engage in negative selling.

Some have asked why manufacturers encourage it? Often the manfacturers/distributors only contact with the retail sales force is through a Rep visit. During those visits it is rare for them to listen in a witness a sales presentation. They are typically in a training or business detail mode. It is up to the dealer principal and/or their manager designate to monitor and control what is said to customers on the sales floor. It is true that in some rare sales organizations unprofessional behavior is institutionalized from the top down.

Negative selling and competitive product bashing comes from weak, lazy, and untrained salespeople and sometimes from their leadership. It also can be sustained by shoppers who ask, "How does Yamaha compare to Kawai?", "How does Petrof stack up against Schimmel?", "What do you think about plastic parts?", etc.


Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.
Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Horowitzian] #1250222
08/16/09 09:33 AM
08/16/09 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Horowitzian
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


But you left out the key part about saying there was "no debate in your opinion" that Steinway is unbeaable. That's the specific part I objected to. How can a reasonable person say there is no debate when obviously there is both for PW members in the Fine Supplement?

Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: pianoloverus] #1250521
08/16/09 11:13 PM
08/16/09 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Horowitzian
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


But you left out the key part about saying there was "no debate in your opinion" that Steinway is unbeaable. That's the specific part I objected to. How can a reasonable person say there is no debate when obviously there is both for PW members in the Fine Supplement?


Because, Mr. PLU, it was an opinion.

An opinion can be discussed, but, an opinion is the judgement of any given individual. I find Horowitzian to be a very "reasonable person." He has his opinions, as does Fine, and so do all the readers of PW.

To counter any given opinion as unreasonable is truly absurd.


Marty in Minnesota
Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Marty in Minnesota] #1250645
08/17/09 07:51 AM
08/17/09 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Marty in Minnesota

An opinion can be discussed, but, an opinion is the judgement of any given individual. I find Horowitzian to be a very "reasonable person." He has his opinions, as does Fine, and so do all the readers of PW.

To counter any given opinion as unreasonable is truly absurd. [/b]


Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin were completel hacks. Steinway, Steingraeber, Fazioli, Bluthner, and Boesendorfer grands will disintegrate within three years and only have 87 notes to save money. The Mason spider is a real spider from South America. This is my opinion and IMO it's not debatable. wink

Last edited by pianoloverus; 08/17/09 07:53 AM.
Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: pianoloverus] #1250649
08/17/09 08:08 AM
08/17/09 08:08 AM
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Williamsburg, VA
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Quote
To counter any given opinion as unreasonable is truly absurd.


Really? Besides PL's sample 'opinions,' which are absurd by construction, there is a big difference between, say, the assertion "I think chocolate tastes better than vanilla," and a statement like "I think Steinway's build quality is lower than Boesendorfer's."

The first is a pure matter of taste (literally). We may push and probe to understand the judgment but we cannot dispute it rationally. The second is a complex assertion that is potentially built on a series of implicit assumptions about facts coupled with judgments about how those facts fit together. How can you say that after pushing and probing an opinion one could never conclude that it was unreasonable. If a person sticks to their opinion after others have uncovered contrary facts that even the original opinion-holder cannot dispute, then that person has departed the world of reason for something else resembling faith in the blue fairy.

Having said that, I think Horowitzian (who is reasonable, of course!) was expressing something akin to the vanilla-chocolate example and not the Steinway-Boesendorfer example. But if posters simply want to exchange taste preferences that are not debatable we've entered the world of stultifying boredom, not to mention correctness. And don't you dare challenge MY tastes to find out what (if anything) is informing them. :-)

Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Piano*Dad] #1250717
08/17/09 10:48 AM
08/17/09 10:48 AM
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I am glad there are a variety of good instruments to satisfy our different tastes. For me, Steinway is my standard, not because it is the best but what I am used to hearing. It is sort of like the Stratocaster in between sounds we hear all the time in rock music. or the Telecaster bridge pickup sound used in Country and pop.

However, it is silly to criticize a piano or other instrument due to the use of more stable structural parts. The parts may be plastic but how many pianos have plastic (urethane) finishes on them? For me, it is just used car salesmen tactics to get the commission.

Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: JoeDaBassPlayer] #1250745
08/17/09 11:33 AM
08/17/09 11:33 AM
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Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
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I'm not sure about pianos made by the Flintstones, but the ones they played don't look so bad:

[Linked Image]

Okay, the upright gets some points off for the lack of pedals—clearly not a Tier One instrument. But this Stoneway grand that Fred is playing has a technical innovation: hammers that strike from above the strings!

[Linked Image]

Even Hoagy Carmichael had a Stoneway at his disposal for his guest appearance:

[Linked Image]

I am surprised at the modern notation on Fred's music stand. Weren't they still using neumes back then? It's all on one staff, too, but piano must have been a lot harder back when we had only four fingers on each hand!

Steven

Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: JoeDaBassPlayer] #1250752
08/17/09 11:43 AM
08/17/09 11:43 AM
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Posts: 117
Fort Walton Beach, FL
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My aunt gave me the 1900 Steinway Model A-II on which she taught me. I had it rebuilt by a quality RPT and enjoyed playing it for 26 years. It had a beautiful, rich singing tone. Playing it was like invoking a living presence. Unfortunately, I had to sell it this summer during difficult financial times. With a portion of the proceeds, I am buying a replacement piano. I knew, going in, that I would never own so magnificent an instrument. That said, I was tremendously impressed with the M3 action on the Kawai. On my Steinway, I'd never been able to produce such a delicate pianissimo. If "plastic" parts deliver this kind of control, bring them on! I'll miss my big beauty, but I find that I'm positively giddy as I await the delivery of my Kawai upright.


Proud Owner of a Kawai Rosina (SI-16)
Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: sotto voce] #1250774
08/17/09 12:17 PM
08/17/09 12:17 PM
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Western/Central PA
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Brent B Offline OP
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Originally Posted by sotto voce

Even Hoagy Carmichael had a Stoneway at his disposal for his guest appearance:

[Linked Image]



Hoagy Carmichael must have been very talented given his ability to play a backwards piano


Estonia 190
Re: Calling Kawai "cheap plastic" is ignorance [Re: Brent B] #1251490
08/18/09 04:45 PM
08/18/09 04:45 PM
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Padova, Italy
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Originally Posted by Brent B

It's just unfortunate that so many Steinway/Boston dealers have to put down Kawai.

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.


I find this interesting: during my visit to the local importer of Steinway, Boston and Essex, the dealer let me try a lot of different pianos and explained the differences I felt in terms of how the pianos were made and "regulated"; then he showed me the "mechanics" of 5 different pianos, from 5 different makes (Steinway, Boston, Yamaha, Essex and Kawai), and kept as last one the Kawai, showing me the "plastic" parts as an absurdity.
At that moment I actually had a bad impression of that Kawai, probably because I am a bit distorted towards classic materials and surely because that dealer seemed to know what he was saying, had spent the morning explaining me many things about the pianos I played and looked really disgusted by the choice of Kawai. In his opinion that was a way to reduce costs, but in a way that deteriorates the sound.

I had the impression he was honest, probably he said so for lack of culture. Maybe Kawai should explain his dealers the real effectiveness of its actions? It sounds absurd, but...maybe they didn't make it.


Kawai RX 5
Yamaha Clavinova PF P100
Roland FP4-f
Re: Calling Kawai "cheap plastic" is ignorance [Re: plobotta] #1251499
08/18/09 05:00 PM
08/18/09 05:00 PM
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Western/Central PA
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So after playing the Kawai........do you agree with the dealer that the "plastic" parts "deteriorate" the sound? Or did you find yourself secretely liking the Kawai and wondering exactly what he was talking about?


Estonia 190
Re: Calling Kawai "cheap plastic" is ignorance [Re: Brent B] #1251521
08/18/09 05:45 PM
08/18/09 05:45 PM
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Toronto
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I find it absurd when people say that Kawai's use of 'plastic' is a cost cutting measure considering that they spent millions and millions of dollars testing and developing this technology. All I know (being a professional pianist who owns a Shigeru Kawai) is that Kawai's Millenium III action for my tastes is the very best action I have ever played on. So whether or not it's a cost cutting measure doesn't matter. What matters is how fantastically this action plays.



Pianist, Composer
Disclaimer: Shigeru Kawai Artist
Re: Calling Kawai "cheap plastic" is ignorance [Re: Brent B] #1251523
08/18/09 05:48 PM
08/18/09 05:48 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 593
Rockville, MD
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Regarding the "cheap plastic", actually, it's an expensive and proprietary "plastic" called ABS-Carbon. Can't comment on the ignorance claim.

According to the Kawai website, "a new composite material created by the infusion of carbon into our existing ABS Styran. ABS-Carbon is incredibly sturdy and rigid, which allowed Kawai to make the action parts lighter without sacrificing strength. The lighter design makes the Millennium III Action tremendously fast and effortless for the player. The repetition and responsiveness are superb..".

Further, "Every detail of the action was exhaustively analyzed to meet the stringent demands of the skilled pianist. One prime example of this effort was the addition of microscopic surface texture on the jack at the point where it meets the hammer. The result of this subtle but important change is a dramatic increase in control during pianissimo playing".

I cannot tell you if the Millenium III actions in the Kawai are exactly the same as the ones in the Shigeru-Kawai, but what I can tell you is that playing an SK-7 on stage in Shanghai, China was not only musically satisfying, it was a sensually satisfying experience as well. I could, as the advertising copy says, play extremely softly in a controlled way on that piano. The action could also play as quickly as I could whether the passage work was scalar, arpeggiated, or single note repetitions.

And I had absolutely no idea when I was playing that there was any plastic in the action at all. There was no perceptible difference in feel. Rather, what I felt was a perfectly regulated, fast repeating, action.

To the person who suggested that the (Kawai?) dealers be able to state the benefits of the Millenium-III, all they have to do is go to this link: http://www.kawaius.com/main_links/abs/abs_1.html

There can be found 4 hyperlinks: one to the Millenium-III grand action, one to the Millenium-III upright action, one to "The Truth About ABS", and finally one called "brochure" which links to a 4 page glossy color brochure in PDF format.

Bottom line: if you like the sound and feel of the Kawai, if the action is at least equal to your ability to play it, I would not be put off by the use of ABS-Carbon in the action. Over time we may find that actions built using that material last longer and ultimately out-perform wooden ones. Heck - they used to make airplanes out of wood and cloth, then metal. Now we've got stealth fighter planes built primarily out of carbon fiber materials.

Just some thoughts...


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: Calling Kawai "cheap plastic" is ignorance [Re: sotto voce] #1251525
08/18/09 05:50 PM
08/18/09 05:50 PM
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Horowitzian Offline
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Originally Posted by sotto voce
I'm not sure about pianos made by the Flintstones, but the ones they played don't look so bad:

[Linked Image]

Okay, the upright gets some points off for the lack of pedals—clearly not a Tier One instrument. But this Stoneway grand that Fred is playing has a technical innovation: hammers that strike from above the strings!

[Linked Image]

[...]


Of course, the chromatic scale had obviously not been invented yet! grin


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
Re: Calling Kawai "cheap plastic" is ignorance [Re: Brent B] #1251531
08/18/09 05:55 PM
08/18/09 05:55 PM
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Ocala, Florida
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I can't speak for what Kawai does in other countries, but here in the United States, they do have an intensive course generally held on an annual basis that is open to Kawai dealers and their sales personnel. It is 3 days of total immersion in Kawai from the philosophy and history of the company to learning (hands on) the mechanical/technical side of the acoustic pianos, as well as all about the digitals. Yes, there is testing - both written and verbal - and its not easy. Any Kawai dealer/sales person who attends the course comes away with a thorough understanding of the product line and the company, and is more than able to present any of the instruments to a potential customer in a positive fashion. It sounds from your post that the sales person wasn't interested in selling you the Kawai, and he obviously doesn't have the facts of their construction. Did you play the Kawai?



Nancy Fanzlaw
Seamstress for the Band

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"The piano was God's gift to music." Lou Mason

Re: Calling Kawai "cheap plastic" is ignorance [Re: M.O.P.] #1251571
08/18/09 07:23 PM
08/18/09 07:23 PM
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Posts: 357
Los Angeles, CA
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J Cortese Offline
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What a pity that some manufacturers say things like that. If guitars had been treated the same way as pianos are, Les Paul would have been tarred and feathered, and would the world ever have missed out.

I have no idea whether any of these innovations and tweaks are any good, but I sure hope people continue to try. I'd LOVE to sit down at a good grand with a proper spruce soundboard, and then compare it with a soundboard made of carbon fiber. How wonderful that people are trying these new things. If innovation hadn't been important to musicians and instrument manufacturers, the piano itself wouldn't even exist!

Last edited by J Cortese; 08/18/09 07:23 PM.

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Re: Kawai is "cheap plastic" ignorance [Re: Bob Snyder] #1255270
08/24/09 03:49 PM
08/24/09 03:49 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 654
Hudson, FL
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Hop Offline
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Hudson, FL
Originally Posted by Bob Snyder
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.


In this regard, allow me to present kudos for the Steinway Library of Piano Music, particularly the Piano Stylings of the Great Standards. This truly does expand the joy of making music.

Hop


HG178, Roland FP-5, Casio PX 130
Re: Calling Kawai "cheap plastic" is ignorance [Re: J Cortese] #1255322
08/24/09 04:58 PM
08/24/09 04:58 PM
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Colorado
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Inlanding Offline
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Originally Posted by J Cortese
What a pity that some manufacturers say things like that. If guitars had been treated the same way as pianos are, Les Paul would have been tarred and feathered, and would the world ever have missed out.

I have no idea whether any of these innovations and tweaks are any good, but I sure hope people continue to try. I'd LOVE to sit down at a good grand with a proper spruce soundboard, and then compare it with a soundboard made of carbon fiber. How wonderful that people are trying these new things. If innovation hadn't been important to musicians and instrument manufacturers, the piano itself wouldn't even exist!


Too bad a poorly trained salesperson without regard to their industry made such a statement about another manufacturer.

This is true...There is a clear difference in sound from my brothers Martin D-28 he purchased in 1971 and a carbon-fibre backed Ovation at nearly the same price-point. Some folks like the sound of carbon. I like the sound of his Martin. With a blind fold on, I can clearly hear the difference.

Same can be said of my 1917 O. When the humidity starts to drop a bit, this piano takes on this incredible tonality. Whether it is the most excellent sound board, the well-voiced hammers, or the superbly regulated action, it is truly mesmerizing to play. In fact, it sounds so good to me that I get distracted by it when practicing/playing, whether it is to obtain the softest pianissimo or most percussive fortissimo, it is a joy to play. It's dynamics, tone, tactile responsiveness are simply incredible!

Carbon fibre action parts on newer pianos I am sure will have their place, and I will go play a Kawai configured that way just to see/feel what it's like.

One could say with some conviction and that it'd be a mild understatement that I am slightly biased towards this vintage beauty, but I am not adverse to the possibilily a carbon-fibre sound board and carbon-fibre action parts have their place.

I look forward to playing a modern Kawai.

Glen

Last edited by Inlanding; 08/24/09 05:01 PM.

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Re: Calling Kawai "cheap plastic" is ignorance [Re: Inlanding] #1255400
08/24/09 07:06 PM
08/24/09 07:06 PM
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Posts: 357
Los Angeles, CA
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J Cortese Offline
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Originally Posted by Inlanding
Too bad a poorly trained salesperson without regard to their industry made such a statement about another manufacturer.


Important distinction, thanks.


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