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Tim F Offline OP
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Howdy all.

I want to purchase a decent vertical piano. I was originally thinking Yamaha U1 or U3, or the equivalent Kawai. Went to look at a local dealer that has a lot of used pianos as well as new, and found the following options:

- Several Yamaha U3's, most likely dating from late 70's or 80's (I didn't note the serial numbers at this point), all at around the $4500 mark. Dealer said pianos have been "completely gone over", all defects fixed, including new hammers, etc. He said they should play as new. Came with a 5 year parts/1 year labor warranty

- He also had me look at a couple Wm. Knabe's, a brand that frankly I was not familiar with until now (I've been doing some research all night and see that it's generally respected here and elsewhere). One was a WKV-121 in ebony for $5000. The second was a WKV-131 for $6000. He said the latter was a special edition in an exotic wood that I hadn't heard of and forgot to write down. Comes with a 10 year parts/labor warranty

Delivery would be $150 extra, and comes with 2 tunings. I did not attempt to deal any further than the sale prices marked on the piano at this point.

Just curious what people think of all of this. At this point I'm really leaning toward one of the Knabe's because it would be a brand new piano with a better warranty and frankly I loved the way they sound. I also like the fact they have a true sostenuto pedal.

Thanks!
-Tim

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Tim F Offline OP
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I'm in the Minneapolis area if it matters.

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For such difference in price I'd say new is better. Suppose you buy the U3 and 6 years later you need serious repairs... that could set you back $1000 (on the high side for regulation + replacement parts; unlikely for Yamaha but not impossible depending on labor costs where you are)... New hammers, what about new strings?

If you're increasing your budget to as much as $6k be sure to go shopping all over again wink

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Go with the Knabe.

At the price you are being quoted I would warrant that these are older stock Knabe pianos. That's OK because they aren't bananas and won't spoil. You just have to be sure that they are well prepped before they are delivered. This means that all the parts inside have been properly aligned and adjusted

If you do not feel you are experience enough to judge this, have an independent tech. Check it out for you - yes, even on a "new" piano.

Good luck - and keep us posted!


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If you are seriously considering a 25-35 year old piano, you should seriously consider having an independent tech inspect it carefully prior to purchase. The level of restoration varies and what is needed may extend beyond what you can see with the naked eye.

I have heard nice things about the Knabe but haven't tried one of their uprights yet. If you have a clear preference for one over the other in terms of sound and feel (not to mention the deal itself), then go for it!


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Between the two, Knabe.


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Tim F Offline OP
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Thanks everyone for the advice so far (keep it coming!)

Originally Posted by Kieran Wells
Between the two, Knabe.


I'm open to other options in this price range as well (as well as recommendations for piano stores in the Twin Cities area)

Thanks!
-Tim

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I think many new piano buyers are unaware of great deals even when they jump out to bite them. As Rich suggested, those are exceptionally low numbers for very nice pianos.

You would also do well to visit Kieran's store and see how you like the Hailun & Brodmann uprights.


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We were shopping for a Yamaha but ended up with the Knabe 121 after comparing it side by side with a new U1 and T118.


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Originally Posted by Tim F
Thanks everyone for the advice so far (keep it coming!)

Originally Posted by Kieran Wells
Between the two, Knabe.


I'm open to other options in this price range as well (as well as recommendations for piano stores in the Twin Cities area)

Thanks!
-Tim


Jimlaabs stresses low price and big selection over prep. but they'd probably be worth a visit. Kieren Wells, who posted here, has a shop in St. Paul: Wells Piano

Of the pianos mentioned the thing that catches my attention is that I can't think of two verticals more different in tone than a U3 and a Wm. Knabe. Surely you must have a preference.

If the preference is Knabe, go for it. The discounts offered are substantial. If the tone and touch preference is Yamaha, find something at least a little newer. If you have no preference, keep auditioning more pianos.


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Went back there today with my Yamaha-loving (and much more proficient piano player than myself) coworker. He was quite impressed, especially with the 131.

I still need to look at other dealers but I'm really liking this one, even if it is almost double my original budget...

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Originally Posted by Tim F
Went back there today with my Yamaha-loving (and much more proficient piano player than myself) coworker. He was quite impressed, especially with the 131.

I still need to look at other dealers but I'm really liking this one, even if it is almost double my original budget...

Of course I am biased but you really can't go wrong with the 131. It's such a rich piano with bass like a grand! thumb
- Steve


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Very true, Steve!

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Tim F:

When looking at different type of pianos and especially if one is a Yamaha lover, just imagine if all the different pianos you're looking at would also be called 'Yamaha'.

Would you not pick the one 'Yamaha' that suits you best?

Think about it....

Norbert wink

Last edited by Norbert; 04/18/11 08:44 PM.

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Tim F Offline OP
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Hi all, me again smile

I'm 99% sure I'm going with the Knabe 131. I currently have a free "hold" on it until this weekend. Again the 'sale' price is just shy of $6000 + $150 delivery. I asked if he could discount further, and he said not directly, but he would take an offer and could bounce it off the owner (he is the sales manager) to see if they would accept. He said it never hurts to try - worst case is they say no.

So... Since this seems to be a decent price to begin with based on what I've read, what would be a "fair" offer that I could come in with and not be immediately shot down on? I personally hate negotiations but if I can save a little money...

Thanks - appreciate all the help!
-Tim

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If this is the polished mahogany 131 the SMP is nearly $10k so at $6k that's already 40% off. You could go for the make-dealer-go-out-of-business-faster discount at 45% so see if they can do $500 off. Or you can make it in terms of sales tax and delivery included, etc. etc.

Looks like a nice piano indeed (http://www.knabepianos.com/wkv131.php), especially with the grand-style music desk.

If your dealer is reading this then they are 99% sure to reject your offer wink J/k hopefully they are nice people.


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Tim F Offline OP
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That's kind of what I was thinking - maybe asking for free delivery. But I wanted to make sure I'm getting the best deal possible (without causing the dealer to go out of business smile )

It's actually a bubinga-finished version. I don't see it on their website but I've seen them mentioned here before. We kind of like it because it's "different". They also have a satin black version for the same price.

-Tim

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Sorry you did not get the chance to shop around.


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Originally Posted by Kieran Wells
Sorry you did not get the chance to shop around.


Not sure what you mean. We've visited 4 different piano outlets. Admittedly we didn't make it to yours (we're clear on the west side of the metro). Are you prepared to make me a deal that I can't refuse which would make it worth my while to stop by? wink (We did make it out to Jim Laabs which is about as far, but due to timing couldn't hit your store in the same evening)

Seriously if you folks think I'm rushing this let me know. We've seen dozens of models and keep coming back to this one as our favorite. I just want to make the right decision here...

-Tim

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If you don't want to squeeze the dealer like a pimple until the blood runs out, I'd refer you back to Rich Galassini's post.

From all the info you've provided, I'd guess it's old stock. Whether it's been in the store, a warehouse, or even out on rental, it may not be in absolutely optimum condition. I'd take the $ terms offered and ask for a complete regulation on the house three to six months after delivery.


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