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#1406751 - 03/29/10 10:30 PM Advice on Piano Purchase  
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 4
oneleghorse Offline
Junior Member
oneleghorse  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 4
We have been seriously shopping for a new piano for our 3 girls. Started off by looking at Yamaha U1 and U3's,both new and used, but during our journey our 9-year old and I fell in love with a 1979 Mason & Hamlin Model A. We had never heard of them until that day. No one in our family is an expert, but something about the piano was so captivating. I started the search for Mason and Hamlins and found a used '91 in another reputable piano store, and lastly a '66 in a home. All 3 were priced around $15K. However going into unknown territory with used pianos, we chickened out and then started going back to new Yamahas, this time focusing on medium grands. But after upping our budget to around $15K, we found that the choices were limited at least in terms of a new Yamaha grand. We tested the GC2 and the C1, but I personally did not like the GC2 at all and the C1 was too small at 5'3". The salesperson said that he would never consider the C2 if you can get something almost as good for a few thousand less with the GC2, but perhaps it was because he didn't have a C2 in his showroom? Next, we stopped by a Kawai dealer across the street and looked at some of their uprights (K3 & K5) , RX-2 Classic and the Rx-2 Blak. The salesperson was very patient, professional and informative, unlike the Yamaha dealer across the street who was cocky and extremely pushy and full of it--I just wanted to get the h*ll out of there. So...Kawai RX-2, used Mason & Hamlin or a Yamaha C2? What would be a fair price on the Kawais and Yamahas and would a used M&H be better for around the same investment? Also, does anyone have any info on offers they've gotten recently on these models in the SoCal area? Thanks!

Carl

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#1406781 - 03/29/10 11:41 PM Re: Advice on Piano Purchase [Re: oneleghorse]  
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,313
Norbert Offline
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Norbert  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,313
Surrey, B.C.
Carl:

Both Mason Hamlins and Kawais are great pianos, so they would definitely be good choices.

By same token, there are a number of other pianos offering astounding values out there, 15k actually buys a lot of piano [grand..] these days.

Perhaps look around a but more and tell us how your shopping trip is coming.

wishing you the very best,

Norbert smile


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642 www.eliteheritagepianos.ca Edmonton, Alta dealers for Estonia,
Brodmann 780-405-8908
#1407312 - 03/30/10 04:19 PM Re: Advice on Piano Purchase [Re: Norbert]  
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,604
Marty Flinn Offline
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Marty Flinn  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,604
A new Yamaha C2 or the new Kawai RX-2 are terrific pianos and somewhat the industry standards. Each has its design features and different touch and tone properties. They are similarly priced as a rule. Quality is excellent. Cannot make a bad decision on either. Get the one that sounds best to your ear, you will be listening to a lot of practice with the three girls.

The Mason & Hamlin is a very broad based sound. Somewhat dark and woody. Temendous power and a roaring bass. Again, the touch and tone will be significantly different from either the Yamaha or Kawai. Not better or worse, just very different. In the pantheon of domestic American pianos, M&H has rivaled for top position with Steinway & Sons for decades. It is nearly the only other brand that carries the intrinsic value that withstands the economics of rebuilding down the road. Faced with the choice of 1966, 1979, or 1991, the newer the better IMHO. I thrill to the tone of a good M&H. That would be my choice.


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.
#1407393 - 03/30/10 06:21 PM Re: Advice on Piano Purchase [Re: Marty Flinn]  
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 478
Roxy Offline
Full Member
Roxy  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 478
Whittier, Calif
The Mason and Hamlin pianos are wonderful to listen to and play, you couldn't go wrong with a good Mason and Hamlin it would satisfy everyone in your family.

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#1407410 - 03/30/10 06:45 PM Re: Advice on Piano Purchase [Re: Roxy]  
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 47
Biff Baxter Offline
Full Member
Biff Baxter  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 47
California
Just my opinion but...

Yamaha - High quality craftsmanship, low quality sound like a mother in-law complaining.

Kawai - High quality craftsmanship, good sound, maybe even very good sound. A good instrument.

Mason & Hamlin - It makes you feel good every time you play it, like music to your ears.

Biff


Bloviator of Platitudes
Casio CDP-100
#1407421 - 03/30/10 07:14 PM Re: Advice on Piano Purchase [Re: Biff Baxter]  
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 47
Biff Baxter Offline
Full Member
Biff Baxter  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 47
California
To clarify a bit, I was giving my opinion on these brands only in terms of their uprights, not grands.

Biff


Bloviator of Platitudes
Casio CDP-100
#1407428 - 03/30/10 07:44 PM Re: Advice on Piano Purchase [Re: Biff Baxter]  
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,604
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Marty Flinn  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,604
One man's gross is another's groovy, but common Biff. New Yamaha compared to a mother-in-law's complaining? An awful lot of musicians earn their living and do recording on Yamaha pianos and love them.


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.
#1408030 - 03/31/10 05:00 PM Re: Advice on Piano Purchase [Re: Marty Flinn]  
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 4
oneleghorse Offline
Junior Member
oneleghorse  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 4
Biff-

Although I am no expert and neither are our kids, but we felt that way about some Yamaha uprights as well as smaller GB models we tried out. One U3 we tested was definitely out of tune and sounded plain awful. It was even obvious to me and that's saying a lot. We were surprised that such a popular piano would be neglected. This was at a couple of showrooms we visited. Surprisingly, a new U1 sounded deeper than a Yamaha baby Gc2 (IMHO) for what it's worth. Our daughter said the Yamahas sounded "electronic," but she said less so with the med-large grand sizes.

Now I understand by what people mean by Yamahas being bright--not quite akin to a mother-in-law's voice, but just not my cup of tea. Oddly enough, though how a U1 seemed to sound pretty good. We looked at a 20 year old U1 and to me it sounded almost like a toy piano, very weak. Do Yamahas get worse with age? Are they prepped differently from store to store? Maybe a another forum topic?


Thanks to everyone for your input.
We're still deciding.

#1408056 - 03/31/10 05:47 PM Re: Advice on Piano Purchase [Re: oneleghorse]  
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 3,469
PianoWorksATL Offline
3000 Post Club Member
PianoWorksATL  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 3,469
Atlanta, GA
Condition, condition, condition. Give a piano a good life and it will thank you every time you play it. It's not the piano's fault if it was neglected/abused.

Most Mercedes are garage kept which makes them seem even more wonderful, but when you see one that is not, do you blame Mercedes?

Of course, don't buy the one that doesn't sound good. Most customers have only a few impressions of a brand. Keep that in mind so that your experiences don't lead to broad assumptions. 20 year old Yamaha U1 This is a piano we sold a while ago and I think it sounds pretty good. Some used pianos are good and some are not-so-good. Again, it is all about condition.

That said, since only a few left a good impression on you, don't beat your head against a wall. Yamaha may not be the brand for you. This would be a problem if there weren't 50 other brands smile.


Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta
#1408138 - 03/31/10 08:13 PM Re: Advice on Piano Purchase [Re: PianoWorksATL]  
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,604
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Marty Flinn  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,604
Pianos do not last forever.
Pianos do not improve with age.

20 year old U1s are not the same as new ones in materials, design, and construction. Products evolve.

Some dealerships pride themselves on new piano preparation. Others slide by with a quick and dirty tuning out of the box.

No dealership will ever have all the pianos in perfect tune all the time. Sold instruments get first priority, next comes new arrivals, then comes hit parade items that turn over quickly, etc. Snap changes in the weather mess with everything and often we find not a single instrument in the store at its best. It's a constant struggle.


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.

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