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#146334 - 06/17/08 01:52 PM Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
PianoDad27 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/16/08
Posts: 7
Loc: USA
I'm brand new to this forum, but have an important question for those of you who know the inner workings of the Kawai and Yamaha pianos.

I'm looking to purchase either an Kawai RX-3 or a Yamaha C-3. Both brands appear to offer tremendous value for the price. I've been to both Kawai and Yamaha dealers and have sat and played both pianos. Both sound absolutey amazing! I honestly could not tell much of a difference other than the Yamaha having a slightly lighter action and slightly brighter tone.

What I don't know or understand is the build quality between the two. The Yamaha dealer slammed the Kawai RX-3 as being made in Indonesia (this faulty construction and tons of warranty issues), and being made of "plastic." Having read some threads on this forum, I largely dismissed the "plastic" argument. The Kawai dealer, while not antagonistic towards the Yamaha, did tout the benefits of the RX.

This all makes for a very confused customer. So, which piano do members of this forum prefer? Which piano is going to be the most reliable and least maintenance? Which is considered to be of better sound? Quality?

Thank you.

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#146335 - 06/17/08 02:43 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
Deerwood Dad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/07
Posts: 478
Loc: Minneapolis
If you consult Larry Fine's much touted (and frequently debated) book, he puts the two models on a par -- both Tier 3A instruments. This is more than I can say for the two dealers you consulted. The Kawai dealer has distinguished himself as the dealer with some integrity. Apart from the dealers, these are both very good instruments, and you will be well-advised to go with the model you like best from a touch and tone perspective. Good luck to you!
Mason & Hamlin A (2006); Yamaha P140

#146336 - 06/17/08 02:44 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
Steve Chandler Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 3204
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Wow, that's quite a load of whoohaa the Yamaha dealer has handed you. The RX-3 is actually made in Japan. The plastic argument is total garbage. The carbon composite used in the RX series has much in common with the carbon composite used in race cars and fighter jets. Given the level of discourse offered by these two dealers who do you think you could trust more? If you have a problem that requires service or dealer support which dealer will actually step up and help you? The only reason you're confused is because what the Yammie dealer is telling you doesn't square with what you read here and what makes sense based on all the other information available to you.

There are four factors to weigh in choosing a piano; sound, touch, price and the dealer (OK we can also throw appearance in there too). I would be very leery of any dealer that told such bald lies. The plastic argument may have made sense 15 years ago, I've never heard of a failure of any of Kawai's plastic parts on this forum. The Indonesia thing is just an obvious untruth.

#146337 - 06/17/08 02:46 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1642
Loc: Danville, California
I will let others comment with regard to the relative merits of the instruments, but I believe you will find that Kawai is quite a bit more aggressive with their pricing. Thus, I think you will find that Kawai is a better value.

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#146338 - 06/17/08 02:56 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
B-Sharp Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 14
Loc: South East
I am in the market for both of these lines. I found the Kawai dealer to be much more fair than the Yamaha dealer. It seems the dealerships that represent Kawai are given more freedom to accomodate pricing to the individual than are the Yamaha dealerships. THat is only anecdotal mind you not a fact that I know, just something I sensed. Yamaha in our area just had a 25% sale. But the better prices ended on a certain day. THe Kawai dealer on the other hand gave me no pressure sales and I prefer that and his price is gauranteed the price he quoted to me with no dead line... I like that approach much better, that is just personal taste.

#146339 - 06/17/08 02:57 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1642
Loc: Danville, California
Oh - one more thing. I have been a member here for over a year now and have been shopping for a piano all that time. I will say this - boy is there a lot of BS thrown around in this industry!

I had a conversation with a friend of mine last Saturday - he owns 2 Boston 193's. He told me in no uncertain terms how Yamahas and Kawais "were made of plastic". He actually believes that the soundboards on Yamaha grands are plastic! I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing in his face. I am fairly certain that he has no idea that his Bostons were made by Kawai.

I am sure he heard this stuff somewhere - you can guess where.

I have met a lot of dealers who I really like and are very honest and straightforward. I just wish they all were.

#146340 - 06/17/08 03:06 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
B-Sharp Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 14
Loc: South East
Addition: Sorry I excluded this above

I like the sound and touch of both of them...however, I would rather start out with a less brighter sound like the Kawai has, as with age, all pianos become brighter with time...I think this is also a matter of preference. Whats good about both of them is excellent integrity of parts, company and warranty.
I was told, and this may not be correct, but the Yamaha warranty is not transferable and the Kawai is ... let me know out there if I am mistaken on that one.

You are getting a consumer/player here, I am not in sales, tuning, construction nor am I a broker. I am in the same indecision, just have a few more than 2 that I am debating with. Good Luck, I am having a tough time with digesting all the information I have heard and read and I will count the days until the new Larry FIne book is released.

Stay close to PianoWorld, they will steer you right and seem to be a fun bunch of very intelligent and gifted folks to read and chat with. \:\)

#146341 - 06/17/08 03:27 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
Glenn Grafton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/05
Posts: 194
Loc: Souderton PA
Both the C3 & RC-3 are excellent pianos.

We carried Yamaha for 37 years before changing to Kawai.

The reason that you find some pricing disparity with Yamaha dealers is from what I understand Yamaha bowed to the wishes of some of the larger chain dealers to give exclusive territories. The logic I suppose is that if there are no other Yamaha dealers in a territory the dealer can charge more.

My personal feelings are that while both are great pianos the Kawai however has some advantages: 5 action brackets vs. 4 on the Yamaha, machine screws holding the action parts vs. sheet metal screws on the Yamaha. The big advantage however the Kawai has is the Millenium III action which reapeats 25% faster than the Yamaha and has better control on soft passages.

Dealership wise, the Yamaha dealer was telling tales (the RX grands are made in Japan and re: the Millenium III action) so if it were me that would be a strike against them.

One final observation. Bear in mind that a Kawai out of the box is usually mellower than a Yamaha grand out of the box. Both can be voiced brighter or mellower to suite your tastes.
Glenn Grafton
Grafton Piano & Organ Co.
Souderton PA
877-GRAFTON (877-472-3866)
Remove "nospam" in email address.

Grafton Piano Home Page

#146342 - 06/17/08 03:40 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
Mr. Kia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/06
Posts: 179
Loc: Northeast, USA
Thanks for mentioning voicing. It amazes me how many times I read "too bright, too mellow" on this forum and even from posters who should know better. All pianos can be voiced up and down. Ask the dealer to do it and then decide.
Piano Technician

#146343 - 06/17/08 03:56 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
jerryho Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 101
Loc: San Francisco, California
Both Yamaha and Kawai are excellent pianos. I've owned both.

The Yamaha dealer's comment about "Kawai Plastics" is disingenuous. The use of ABS Styran is considered marvelous technology. Also, the RX-3 is made in Japan, not Indonesia. Based on what you've described, I would probably try to shop at another Yamaha dealer. It alarms me that this particular salesperson blanently lied to you to make a sale. I would question the type of "service" you'll get from this dealer should you need assistance from them post-sale.

As for quality, I've heard and read from many users that Yamaha and Kawai is tied neck to neck. You really can't go wrong with each of them.

That said, I must however mention that my new RX3 came out of the box with cosmetic issues. The issues are somewhat small, but it does raise a question as to why and how Kawai was able to let this particular piano leave the factory. I thought the technican who went as far as "signing off" my piano on the attached certificate was a complete joke. My dealer has addressed the issue with Kawai and we are waiting for a fix. Kawai's solution, which I wont describe until the issue is fixed, also raises questions because I think their solution is going to do more harm to my piano than good. Additionally, now 3-months into ownership, some of the keys in the middle octative is beginning to rattle.

My promotional Yamaha grand, which was 1/3 the price of the Kawai mind you, never had a problem other than a sticky key, which was corrected with regulation. I attributed this to more wear and tear than workmanship issue.

So there you have it. My experience with Kawai isn't as great as Yamaha. However, I love the Millinum-3 action and would choose Kawai over yamaha because of this. If Yamaha had a similar action in the future, I would probably go Yamaha in a heartbeat.

Hope this helps.

#146344 - 06/17/08 04:58 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
well-tempered Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/13/08
Posts: 58
Loc: Detroit
I would not put too much into the dealer. Both manufacturers have US corporate middlemen, Yamaha US, and Kawai US, that will got to bat for you if you have issues with the instrument. I wouldn't choose one piano over the other becuase of the salesman. These salesmen are usually doing what ever it takes to sell a piano. I am also sure you can find a better technician from the PTG that specializes in which ever instrument you purchase. If you like a piano on the floor, get the best deal by sitting down with the owner. Promise a bunch of referrals, or do what ever it takes on your end to get the piano you like for the best price. IMO, your Yamaha salesman has lost his right to earn money off of you at this point. Go above his head, and don't stop at the manager.

Both of these instruments are built in Hamamatsu, Japan. Every instrument is different, but if you like them the same, and can get a close price on them, I prefer the Yamaha. I feel they come with a better rep, especially dealing with a conservatory type of instrument.
I also think for resale, if ever needed, they tend to out perform the Kawais. I have been to the Yamaha factory in Japan and can say it is impressive. I can't vouch for Kawai.
"If you have food on your shirt you're not paying attention."

#146345 - 06/17/08 09:03 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
swampwiz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/07
Posts: 636
Loc: Louisiana, USA
I think the Kawai RX has a more open sound than the Yamaha.

I also think that the Yahama dealer is a jerk.

#146346 - 06/18/08 02:35 AM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6195
If you like both pianos equally as much, buy the cheaper one.
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

#146347 - 06/18/08 08:36 AM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
leonardng Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/30/07
Posts: 9
Loc: London, England
I went through the same process (in my case C1 vs RX1). Kawai in the UK however tends to be more expensive than Yamaha. But in the end I went for Kawai. The reality is that the differences are so small between them that it really comes down to the kind of tone and feel that you prefer. In the end, the more "European" tone, plus the smooth action, of the Kawai, made me get that piano.

But that Yamaha salesman ought to be given a good talking to!

#146348 - 06/18/08 08:55 AM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
I don't agree with well-tempered about the choice of a dealer.

If I bought a Fordrolet Benz, and if there were a problem, I would expect the dealer to respond to my problem. I should not have to go to the district or regional manager for resolution. It is the same with piano dealerships.

I am not so sure about this bargaining tactic either: "Promise a bunch of referrals, or do what ever it takes on your end to get the piano you like for the best price." Does that mean that if a salesman was spouting a bunch of lies that we have the right to do the same?

If a piano is in warranty, should one need to open their checkbook for an outside technician? Not all dealerships will pay for warranty work for an outside tech. That is another question for the dealer before you buy.
Marty in Minnesota

#146349 - 06/18/08 10:23 AM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
Steve Chandler Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 3204
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
So PianoDad27,

What's up. What do think of all this or were you just trolling?

#146350 - 06/18/08 03:09 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
PianoDad27 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/16/08
Posts: 7
Loc: USA
Thanks to those of you who have replied. It looks like the consensus is that the two models compete toe to toe with each other, with some preferring the Kawai and some the Yamaha.

While I knew the "plastic" rhetoric was misleading, I was shocked to learn that the Kawai was actually made in Japan. (not Indonesia as the Yamaha dealer had told me.) I'm pretty gulible...I just believed what he said, and I do remember thinking: "Well if the Yamaha is made in Japan and the Kawai made in Indonesia, I can see how there could be quality differences."

I've read several other threads on the forum re: Kawai vs. Yamaha and I think I have a much better understanding now. I've also ordered the Piano Book and should be getting it today with the 07-08 supplement.

This morning I visited the Yamaha dealer to play the Yamaha one last time. I had a moment to speak to the salesman regarding the Indonesia claim. He was very dismissive and still insisted that the Kawai was made there. I said, "no." He said, "trust me, I've been in the business a long time."

I also informed him that the parts were not merely "plastic" but rather composite materials that are very highly regarded. His answer: "Well, everyone else in the industry does it differently. That should tell you something..."

I think I'll be taking my business to Kawai. Thanks again to those of you who have replied.

#146351 - 06/18/08 04:05 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10776
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Hi PianoDad,

Saying that sounds funny, actually. \:D

Yes, you seem to have run into a real floor lizard at the Yammie dealership. That's too bad, because the C3 is a fine piano.

Ultimately, this should come down to a comparison of how you feel about the different attributes of each piano, and the bottom line price you can negotiate on each. As Axtremus has said, if you are indifferent between them, then price becomes the big issue.

Yes, there are servicing issues, but I think they are relatively minor. Even a dealership you don't much like has an incentive to stand behind their product, and you are not dependent on their technicians for most repair work. If they give you a hard time, the next level up the corporate ladder will usually work to resolve the problem. Don Mannino has done that here (at PW) on occasion for a Kawai purchaser who has had a problem and who has had some difficulty getting a local dealer to respond properly.

In fact, if you don't want to deal with the nearest Yammie dealership because of unhappy contacts with their staff you can find another one. Once you walk in the door you are that dealership's customer, and they will ship just about anywhere. Dealers naturally don't want people to do this, but that is how you can shop around and how you can find people who you are comfortable working with.

#146352 - 06/18/08 10:44 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
Jackson123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/08
Posts: 20
Sweet pianos!!

#146353 - 06/19/08 10:19 AM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
Johnny J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/07
Posts: 55
Loc: Idaho
Piano Dad,

I'm just curious, is the location with the salesman that keeps insisting Kawaii is built in Indonesia located right off I-15 a little north of the prison? Hopefully that isn't too obvious for those not familiar with the area. I visited the SLC area last year several times on our piano search and the story sounds oh too familiar-- if so, I can't believe they haven't reigned in that rogue salesman. It was quite a fiasco dealing with him. I will say, the owner is very nice and a salesman at another location (a little further north off the freeway) are great. If you're interested in the Yamaha, as they are the only dealer in the area, P.M. me and I can get you the info. on who to talk to about this salesman's sleazy tactics and it may even help you negotiate a better deal. The owner made me a great deal to "make things right". He sees the bigger picture of doing good, honest, fair business, whereas often the salesman (at least the one I dealt with, and he sounds like he could be the same) is just doing anything to make the sale. It's funny, I visited many stores and dealt with many people, but your descriptions of the conversation make me think it's probably one and the same, as only one piano salesman in all of the Utah stores I visited was like that. You ought to try Baldassin music before you settle on the Kawaii or the Yamaha. They're not quite as agressive on price, but fair, and they have some nice pianos in that same price range that you owe it to yourself to test drive (i.e. Estonia, Vogel, JP Pramberger, smaller Schimmel). Those pianos were better prepped than any other shop I visited. Anyway, if you want the details of prices, places, people, etc. I just went through all that last year and finally found a great deal on a piano we love, but found some other really great ones along the way. You can P.M. me. In fairness, I never got to the M and H dealership.

#146354 - 06/19/08 12:08 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
suzanneclarke23 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/29/07
Posts: 11
Both pianos are excellent and a complete toss up. If you want to buy one of these at a very reasonable price I would check out BHA at www.pianocenter.com.

#146355 - 06/19/08 02:01 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
Craigen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/05
Posts: 1815
Loc: West Coast
IMO the C3 is more musically expressive. Both are fine pianos. You have received good advice and the truth on the issues you presented on the forum.

It always amazes me when salesmen take the weakest approach and lie rather than study their craft and products. When I hear of Yamaha salesmen dissing Kawai for plastic I grin. Yamaha pioneered styran plastic jacks in their verticals and have had them since 1960.
Piano Technician, member Piano Technicians Guild.

#146356 - 06/20/08 03:30 AM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
cah77388 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/07
Posts: 85
Loc: Spring, Texas
If you like them both equally, just buy both... \:\)
1976 Kawai KG-2C
1949 B. Shoninger Spinet
2003 Casio Privia PX100

#146357 - 06/20/08 12:04 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
jerryho Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 101
Loc: San Francisco, California
Anyone have more than 1 piano under their roof? If so, how did it happen ?

#146358 - 06/20/08 01:20 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
playerpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/08
Posts: 83
Loc: New Jersey

#146359 - 06/22/08 12:24 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
Glenn Treibitz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 646
Loc: Los Angeles/Burbank
Originally posted by Craigen:
IMO the C3 is more musically expressive. Both are fine pianos. [/b]
Wow, it's interesting you would say that about Yamaha being more musically expressive. I found exactly the opposite to be true. I find the decay on the Kawai to be longer than the Yamaha buy a fair margin and I also find as a pianist I can create a much wider palette of color with the Kawai, most notably when playing very light pianissimo. In general I could listen to and or play the Kawai for a longer time than the Yamaha.
Glenn Treibitz

Hollywood Piano Co. - Est.1928


Grotrian, Mason&Hamlin, Estonia,Schulze Pollmann,Albert Weber,Baldwin,Brodmann,
Ritmuller,Weber,Hardman,Roland,Casio,Used Steinway,Yamaha,Kawai

#146360 - 06/22/08 02:59 PM Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Yamaha C-3
doremi Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 1816
Another vote for the musicality of the RX-3, this time from a long-time owner. At the time, I asked about the 'malleability' of the RX sound and the answer I got was that the hammers in the RX are just about the softest in any Japanese piano.

The 'malleability' of the RX sound does not approach that of the Steinway, however, in that coloring of the RX sound is limited to low volumes, whereas coloring of the Steinway sound extends to higher volumes.

I am quite happy with my piano as is, but I wonder why the RX pianos do not use even softer hammers for coloring at higher sound volumes? Or whatever it is that makes coloring of the sound at higher volumes possible?
I am 'doremi' because I play scales smile
Had I progressed to playing chords,
I would be 'domisol' shocked


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