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Estonia Pianos
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[font:Arial][/font][size:14pt]

Hello everyone,

I'm getting back to piano after a long hiatus. I want to spend about $25K for a nice grand. I would like something in the 6'7" to 7'6" size, such as a Yamaha C5,6, or 7. I could go as low as a 6'1" (C3 size) if the piano was extraordinary in appeal and price.

I am such a novice with pianos anymore, I need advice and opinions. Do I have blinders on with regards to Yamaha? I know there are other great pianos out there, but in this newbie's shallow opinion, the Yamaha's offer considerable consistency, stability, and quality, for a reasonable price. But I could be way off base... so educate me.

Anyone and everyone please chime in with any input on some key words like:

Yamaha
Steinway
Kawai
Bluthner
Seiler
August Forster
Mason & Hamlin
Walter
Haessler
Petrof
Nordiska
Weinbach
Baldwin
Zimmerman

and I know I've left someone out.

The piano will be in a loft that opens onto large rooms with ceiling heights of 20, 13, 11, and 9 feet. The small loft where the piano will reside only has an 8' ceiling but the rooms fall away from it, 20' down. Opinions on acoustics? i.e., the piano being on the virtual ceiling of all of these rooms.

I'm hungry for opinions. I would like the best bang for the buck but insist on the best piano in the $25K range.

Thanks for any input you might have.


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Hi Eric, welcome to the forums!

Personally, I don't own an acoustic piano (let alone a grand!) so I have not gone through the buying process. However, I have done a fair bit of reading on the forums here on stories similar to yours...

Essentially the key thing is you try as many of the brands you listed as you can. Work out the differences in sound quality and touch between the brands. Its a very personal decision here, there are no right or wrong answers.

Are you buying second hand (or are you willing to buy second hand) or new? Like cars, you will get more piano for your money if you go second hand, but some people prefer new.

Your money will go further with some brands than others. For example you will get a larger Petrof for the same price as a Bosendorfer.

Another recommended source is Larry Fine's book. There is a advert for it further up this page on the right.

And always haggle for price. Don't state your budget when you enter the store - in the current economic times you can probably get a piano worth more than $25 knocked down to that price.

And the last point to remember is that when you do finally make your piano purchase, you have to post pictures of it up here wink

Good luck smile cool

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Welcome to the forums on PW, Eric. I'd suggest reposting this over in the Piano Forum specifically for questions on pianos.

Regarding the price range. I'm not sure what you'd find in the 6'3 and above particularly with these brands. I have a 5'10" Vogel by Schimmel at costs, at list, in this price range, but retail is much less.

The thing is to go out and try many different pianos all within a grand price range. You'll find the one that touches your heart and that will be your piano. This instrument could be at the very high end or even in the lower end. When I was piano hunting 5 years ago, I tried over 25 pianos before I found mine, or as I should say it picked me.

John


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Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.
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Eric,

I have just finished my adventure of buying a grand. I am also a newbie as well. I also heard good things about the Yamaha's. New in a C3, you might be able to get one around that. You can get a Schimmel Classic and a Vogel 177 for that In fact below that. I also seen Kawia RX 2 and 3 within the 25K ballpark, at least where I shopped (Wisconsin) I ended up buying an Estonia 190 (6'3") for a bit more then the 25K but I felt it was worth it. As was said, play as many as you can, next to each other if possible. And by all means, negotiate hard. That is how I got my Estonia for well below the "market rate" which is usually 30% below list. Check out the Piano Buyers guide, which is available on line http://www.pianobuyer.com/ . There is a great deal of info in there. And you have also come to the right place by asking in this site. YOu may want to go up to the Piano forum where there is a great deal of discussion about the different piano's, and don't be afraid to just ask what others think. They will give you their honest opinions about their experiences. Happy hunting.

Last edited by misha4282; 01/21/10 07:38 PM.

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A Steinway Rebuild...that's my recommendation (like an L or O).



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Welcome to the forums Eric:

In addition to the reading of the "Piano Buyer's guide", I would make a list of what you are looking for in your desired instrument and set a budget. Then play as many pianos as you can. You may have to adjust your budget if you find an instrument you really like. Hope this helps.

- Mark


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Thanks John, I should have mentioned that a pre-owned piano is just fine. $25K would be my target, but I will sacrifice more for more bass. I'm so far removed from playing, after so many years, it's almost like I'm a virgin trying to find the right lady. So I'm trying to get the lady to pick the virgin. I will edit this and repost on the Piano forum - my mistake. Thanks again.


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Thanks Euan for the tip on Larry Fine's book. I do plan on buying used so hope to get something decent for $25K. You mentioned Petrof - what is your opinion of that line? I'm not familiar with Bosendorfer at all. And, yes, I will post a glamor shot of my purchase when done. thumb


Mason & Hamlin AA -- 93225
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Misha, thanks for the directions and I will follow through. I plan on buying used so hope to get a 6'9" (or better) for a 6'3" price. smile


Mason & Hamlin AA -- 93225
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Mark, thanks for the welcome and I'll check the guide.


Mason & Hamlin AA -- 93225
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Thanks jazzwee, a Steinway rebuild is definitely in the picture.


Mason & Hamlin AA -- 93225
Casio XW-P1 Synth
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Originally Posted by EricGray
Thanks Euan for the tip on Larry Fine's book. I do plan on buying used so hope to get something decent for $25K. You mentioned Petrof - what is your opinion of that line? I'm not familiar with Bosendorfer at all. And, yes, I will post a glamor shot of my purchase when done. thumb


Hi Eric,

As I mentioned in my original post, I don't own an acoustic and have never done the piano shopping adventure. Its one thing which I am looking forward to in life - I love reading the stories on these forums. If you search around, Monica Kern gave a detailed description of her shopping experiences. And the 'daddy' of the shopping posts has to be a member here called AJB and 'The Hunt', although he was buying a top-of-the-range concert grand.(you need to search for these threads).

My only mention of Petrof was because I know they are less expensive than Bosendorfer. I could have picked most of the brands you mentioned as my example - I was just inferring that you would get a smaller Bosendorfer for the same price as a larger Petrof. I don't have any experience of the brand (aside from knowing they are made in the Czech Republic).

I'm trying to avoid recommending brands I have never experienced, but Bosendorfer can be considered very good quality on the whole. But it comes with a price...

All the best and keep us updated with your progress smile

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I don't have comprehensive experience with all those brands. But, my professional opinion is that the August Forster pianos are miraculously wonderful for what they cost. I've played many of them at a local dealer, and was just blown away. It's hard to justify paying more for a more famous name when you feel and hear the Forster.


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Originally Posted by Rachel J
I don't have comprehensive experience with all those brands. But, my professional opinion is that the August Forster pianos are miraculously wonderful for what they cost. I've played many of them at a local dealer, and was just blown away. It's hard to justify paying more for a more famous name when you feel and hear the Forster.


Not very relevant to the topic, but just to say the August Forster brand got a little spot in the film The Pianist. Near the end, when Szpilman plays the Nocturne at the radio station again, they used a Forster on set.

I'm not sure if the audio track in the film was recorded from the same piano, but it did have a wonderful tone smile Nice to see a less well-known piano in a major film role. (Bechstein also got a plug, as did Steinway of course).


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Hi Eric,
All the pianos you have listed are fine.

Last weekend I tuned a number of pianos at Rockley Music, including a very well cared for, used, Yamaha C7 exactly in your price-range. I've been providing for them floor tunings for awhile now.

That C7 is very well-prepped, ie., voiced and regulated.

I own and play a remarkably well-preserved, original, 1917 O Steinway, my preferred brand, but that is somewhat irrelevant - you should play as many pianos as you can.

PM me if I can be of further assistance personally (I am happy to meet you there), or let Paul know I referred you - he can certainly show you around, and there are many pianos in your price-range there you can test-drive.

As you know, pianists hear with their hands, so opinions (as valuable as they are) will only take you so far - it is your hands and ears that will guide you along.

Glen


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I really need to pay more attention - I glanced at your thread topic and thought it was about buying a piano for 25K at Targets.

hahahaha!

Its back to learning how to read for me.

"See Spot run". . . . .

Best of luck with your piano purchase.


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I would say the choice is between a rebuilt Steinway or an August Forster. I owned an AF -- eventually I traded it in for a new Steinway B. The Forster has the most beautiful, rich voice. Its the best bang for the cheapest price. I LOVED that piano. It was a real joy to play. The voice is magical, rich, resonant ... it sings! And it has a wide range of color from mellow to sparkling.

If you find a wonderful rebuilt Steinway, on the other hand... it would be a tough choice...

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Hello Tim -

Just curious - if you loved the AF so much, what motivated you to trade it in for the Steinway B? What about the S did you find superior over the AF?

I never heard of an AF - will have to check that one out.


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Originally Posted by EricGray
Misha, thanks for the directions and I will follow through. I plan on buying used so hope to get a 6'9" (or better) for a 6'3" price. smile


Eric, Estonia does not have a 6' 9" but they are working on a 7'4". I think you will find thier 6'3" sounds bigger, but you may have a problem finding many uses ones'. New you could get one for a little more then your budget.

As for the Virgin looking for a lady... I recall my Virgin days..... I tried a lot of ladies (and some that weren't) to find that right lady.... grin .... and don't tell my wife. lol
wink

Last edited by misha4282; 01/22/10 02:49 PM.

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Hi DancinDigits. Good question. I suppose it was a little bit crazy to trade that wonderful AF piano in, when those pianos really are wonderful.


Mine was hypersensitive to the environment. Slight changes in humidity and temperature would affect it in subtle ways. It requires very constant strict environmental control to keep it sounding its best.


I'm a total piano nutcase, and for me a really good American Steinway represents the "ideal." What my Forster had in richness of tone and singing qualities, magnicent base and treble and midrange, and wonderful range of color... Steinway has more of all of the above.

I don't have kids so I spent a huge amount of money on myself to buy a piano that really was beyond my financial means, but at the time I lived in Chicago and I sold my car and had a piano payment for 6 years instead. It was crazy, I don't recommend doing that unless the piano is really extremely important to you. I was heck bent on getting a Steinway; what can I say?

I did love that Forster, but I can't imagine ever wanting a piano other than the one I have now, so for me it was a decision I don't regret. There is nothing like a fine Steinway to wake up to every morning.

If I couldn't have my Steinway though, I would definitely want an August Forster.

My Steinway is much more stable with respect to the environment, incidentally, by comparison.

I have played or heard many of the pianos on your list, and I just think that the Forster jumps to the top of the list with a used or rebuilt Steinway, and there isn't much contest with the other runners up... But this is ultimately a matter of taste and you definitely should spend as much time as you can with any piano you are thinking about buying before you buy it, then go with your gut instinct. Which do you like best? Which feels best, which sounds best to you?

It is the piano that most people would think should be in a much higher price bracket. The first time I played an August Forster at the dealer, I was astonished by its golden tone. I could not believe the price of that magnificent piano. I thought it had to be a mistake.

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