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#1385553 - 03/01/10 12:41 PM Essex Grand vs MayBerlin grand vs Kawai? Seek advice!
Clarus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 21
Loc: Moscow, Russia
Hello everyone!
I am a new user of this forum, but I already see that here there many people who know a lot about pianos!
I seek your advice, and I'll appreciate all answers!
I am planning to buy a baby grand piano for home practice, I am a Conservatory graduate. My option is: May Berlin baby grand or Essex baby grand or Kawai baby grand, the budjet is apprx.the same.
I know that by rating Essex is approximately equal to May Berlin, both being "selected" by major piano manufacturers, but both indtuments are made in China. I also know that Kawai is consireded a good instrument for practice too.
Anyone who has experience playing on the pianos, working on them, or anyone who knows some feature of these instruments. please, share!
For me it is going to be a very serious purchase, so I'd like to know advantages and disadvantages og these instruments!

P.s. Please, excuse my misprints if any, I am Russian. But I understand English perfectly.


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#1385622 - 03/01/10 01:59 PM Re: Essex Grand vs MayBerlin grand vs Kawai? Seek advice! [Re: Clarus]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 18120
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Welcome to the forum, Clarus. smile It would probably help if you told us the model numbers of the different pianos you are considering. I'm guessing if the prices are about the same, the size of the pianos would differ, perhaps substantially, and perhaps enough to matter.

I've never played a May Berlin so can't comment on it. I've played several Kawais and liked them a lot. I'm a big fan of the new Kawai actions. thumb
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

#1386540 - 03/02/10 02:25 PM Re: Essex Grand vs MayBerlin grand vs Kawai? Seek advice! [Re: Monica K.]
Clarus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 21
Loc: Moscow, Russia
Thank you, Monica! smile
And thank you for respond!

The models I am considering are MayBerlin 162 cm, Essex 155C (or 161c) cm and Kawai (either GE30 - 164cm or RX1EP - 164cm. The latter is more expensive, however, I do not know what is the main difference between these two series - GE and RX). Maybe you can tell.

I have not played Kawai myself, but I have heard favourable responces from those who have. However, people who played MayBerlin say also it is pretty well. as for Essex - I do not know.
Both Essex and MayBerlin are made in China. Kawai - in Japan, if i am not mistaken.

My concern is the following:
When you touch the new grand (and I'm buying the new one), all instriments feel pretty good generally, good touch, responce, this feeling of air in double repetition, and the sound. MayBerlin feels very nice (I played it the Shimmel salon), but I am not sure if it will last long. I mean, it may get easy (the feeling of the double repetition and the keys) and light, thus, loud , veru quikly. I cannot say.

At the same time I would not like a too hard ("heavy") keyboard for overtensing fingers.

Another issue is of local features of instruments selling, I guess. In Russia they make very strange marketing stragedies! For example, in Russsian cataloges for Steinway's "family" - Bostons and Essexes - they state that Essex pianos and grands are for school lever, Boston is for intermediate level, and Steinways are for professionals. I did not see anything like that on Steinway.com. Nothing of the kind.

However, on Schimmel wabsite they position MayBarlin as "educational level". For me such statements sound very strange.

I am also wondering about YAMAHA (C1-161cm) and KAWAI comparing. In Russia they often come close to one anothr, since both are Japanese. Most people favour Kawai more. for Yamaha the reputation is "lifting-weight-instrument"..

Since you played different Kawais, perhaps you can help to get more practical, pianistic information about these instrumens.

And one more thing - does the difference in size matter just as mch as the prices differ? For example , the price betwwen Essex 155cm and Essex 161 cm is almost 4000$ (at lease in Russia).

Sorry for so many questions! But, really, here you can't trust the information you get from the sellers.
I will highly appreciate all information!

#1386769 - 03/02/10 06:42 PM Re: Essex Grand vs MayBerlin grand vs Kawai? Seek advice! [Re: Clarus]
PianoWorksATL Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 3306
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Hello Clarus,

Marketing distinctions you mention are about budget, plain and simple. If you intend to spend enough, you can skip straight to Professional from either Schimmel or Steinway. However Schimmel's smallest grand is 169 cm.

You mentioned that you liked the feel of the May Berlin. To try and answer your question, select the piano because you like how it is, not how you think it will change. A good technician can readily maintain the piano like it is in the showroom for many years. We were either the first or second US dealer to carry the May grands. It is not a long history, but the only issues we've had to address were small ones in the pedals.

We've also sold many used Kawai RX-1 and Yamaha C1 in the past few years. They are excellent pianos and worth the money over the GE-30 or GC1 if you can fit in your budget. Boston pianos are built by Kawai and I believe are a quality equivalent of the RX-series. The RX-action is not "heavy" but the most recent models have felt heavier to me than those from just a few years ago.

My playing level is not much more than adult beginner. My personal piano is a May upright and I am very happy with it. The sound and feel won me over from my first piano, a Yamaha.
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
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#1387825 - 03/04/10 05:08 AM Re: Essex Grand vs MayBerlin grand vs Kawai? Seek advice! [Re: Clarus]
Clarus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 21
Loc: Moscow, Russia
Hello PianoWorks!

thank you for your advice. I am thinking now about Kawai grands. Yesterday I contacted with Kawai representative in Russia, and they told me that RX series is the newes, so the only instrument they ordered so far is RX-3 which a bit too big for my practice room. and anyways, why get a 186cm instriment if it cannot open up its sound potential in the room it will be standing. Unfortunately, they do not have RX-1 or even RX-2.
However, they do have GE series.
On Saturday I am going there to try all the instrument they sell.
As for now, theoretically, I am more inclined to Kawai. I also like the story of this factory - the three generations makeing pianos worth my trust. So, let's see how these instuments feel@

Thank you very much!

#1387838 - 03/04/10 05:38 AM Re: Essex Grand vs MayBerlin grand vs Kawai? Seek advice! [Re: Clarus]
sandalholme Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 827
Loc: Dorset, UK
Choosing a piano is a very personal experience and I cannot comment on any other than Kawai. 5 years' ago I replaced my small grand. The maximum length I could fit into my room is 6'. For my final choice I compared Kawai RX1, 2 and 3 alongside the equivalent Yamaha range. I preferred Kawai - lighter action, more mellow sound - but this is a personal choice. The RX2 was significantly better than the RX1 - especially in the bass. The RX3 was too big, but I'm not sure it was worth the extra - more sonorous certainly - but the RX2 produces a lovely sound. I bought the RX2, of course.
Although the RX2 is only 5' 8", it makes a big sound. You are right to be concerned about needing the space to allow the piano to speak. I had my RX2 revoiced a year or so ago because of this: my room has a suspended wooden floor with nearly a metre of empty space below it, plus solid walls, so it's a very resonant acoustic.

#1387894 - 03/04/10 08:35 AM Re: Essex Grand vs MayBerlin grand vs Kawai? Seek advice! [Re: sandalholme]
plobotta Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/09
Posts: 100
Loc: Padova, Italy
I can confirm that the Kawai RX 2 has a beautiful and balanced sound and an extremely sharp and controllable action.
I wouldn't say, on the contrary, that it has a lighter action then yamahas: the RX 2 I played, and the other Kawais i played (among which also the RX 5 I bought) had, on average, a bit heavier keyboards then the yamahas (C2, C3 and C5) I tried. I must say that I prefer Kawais' actions also because of this weight: I find it easier to control then lighter ones.
Kawai RX 5
Yamaha Clavinova PF P100
Roland FP4-f

#1387925 - 03/04/10 09:21 AM Re: Essex Grand vs MayBerlin grand vs Kawai? Seek advice! [Re: plobotta]
newgeneration Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 446
Loc: Richmond Hill, Ontario
Hi Clarus
the Kawai RX's is quite a difference from the May Berlin's and Bostons. For your interest, try a Hailun. I do represent Hailun for my geographical area (Toronto Hailun Centre) but I am not soliciting you to buy one by making the suggestion. Merely encouraging you to include it as one of your options. The price will definitely save you considerable dollars and the value for your dollar is argueably the best with Hailun over all others.

Happy shopping!
J.D. Grandt Piano Supply Company (formerly Grand Piano House Inc.)
Steingraeber & Söhne (Canada)
Lomence Modern Crystal Piano (North America)
Piano Bass String Manufacturing Specialist (Worldwide)

#1388585 - 03/05/10 03:01 AM Re: Essex Grand vs MayBerlin grand vs Kawai? Seek advice! [Re: sandalholme]
Clarus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 21
Loc: Moscow, Russia
Hello, Sandalholme and Plobotta!

Yes, I wish too I could have RX-2 now. However, these instruments have not been yet inmopted to my country, only RX3, which is definitely a bit too big for my practice room.

I wonder about the differences between RX-1 and GE30 though. As for technical stuff, in RX they use Mahagony in Hammer Moulding Material, while GE's one is made of Maple. Which is believed to bee the reason for more coulor variations and resonance. But what about touch and suitability for practicing?

Thank you for all answers!

Edited by Clarus (03/05/10 03:07 AM)

#1388587 - 03/05/10 03:06 AM Re: Essex Grand vs MayBerlin grand vs Kawai? Seek advice! [Re: newgeneration]
Clarus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 21
Loc: Moscow, Russia
Hi, Newgeneration,

yes, the pianos you are talking about are represented here with the mark Wendle&Lung, however in my region the price is rather high, yes, equivalent to Kawais. you may be surprised, but, yes. This is most likely because there is no official representative of this instrument here, only distributors, and they want their benefits fast. So, unfortunately, this option is no in my interests. But I thank you for your respond!

#1388620 - 03/05/10 04:31 AM Re: Essex Grand vs MayBerlin grand vs Kawai? Seek advice! [Re: Clarus]
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4683
Loc: San Francisco
Clarus, if you don't get an answer to your question about the differences between the GE's and the RX's, send a PM (Private Message) to KawaiDon. He's the former head tech for Kawai in the U.S. and is currently their director of technical education. I've followed his posts here and, previously, on the Piano Technicians Guild forum. He's knowledgeable and forthright.

I think that he does not visit this forum every day, so it may take a while before he responds. When he does respond, you will know the differences.

To locate him, click "User List" above. In the blank window, type "KawaiDon". In the window which opens, click on his name. Then on his Profile page, scroll down to "Send A Private Message" and click on it.

By the way, RX-2's have many fans here. If you like the RX-3, the distributor should be able to get an RX-2 for you. You might want to ask KawaiDon about that. (Don has worked for Kawai for decades.)

Patience and persistence.

Приятно познакомиться. Nice to meet you.

#1388787 - 03/05/10 10:10 AM Re: Essex Grand vs MayBerlin grand vs Kawai? Seek advice! [Re: FogVilleLad]
Clarus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 21
Loc: Moscow, Russia
Nice to meet you too, FogVilleLad!

Thank you for valuable information about KawaiDon! Of course I shall write to him, and hope I'll get he answer soon.

You are right absolutely, patience and persistance!




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