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Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
#1745066 09/02/11 12:24 PM
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So I'm in the market for a lower end baby grand player piano and I am finding a lot of different makes models across several dealers on the East Coast. Trying to make sense of it all and would appreciate some guidance.

First, I only have around $8k to spend. I've read 100 posts on here where folks poo poo these pianos because for $4k more you'd get something better, well, I don't have that other $4k. Having an OK piano is better than having no piano at all.

Most pianos I have found in this price point have QRS or PianoDisc (and I have to say the iPad module looks awesome). On the other hand I heard QRS will play all competitors music.

Here are some pianos I have found:

Schiller 5' w/ PianoDisc iPad - $8500
Bergmann 5' w/ QRS - $7000
Story & Clark 5' w/ QRS - $7500/$8000 (two different dealers)
Hobart Cable 4'8" w/ PianoDisc - $7500

And those are just the asking price, I assume there is a little more flexibility.

Lastly, my preference is to find one in Satin Black, but I wont hold my breath.

So am I better off having no piano?

Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
novaguy84 #1745075 09/02/11 12:32 PM
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You are NOT better off having no piano! I was in a similar situation as you a few years back - limited budget but wanting a piano. I ended up buying a low end Samick grand that I have had for approx 10 years. I (as well as my wife) have enjoyed having it. I am now looking at getting a larger / higher quality grand but would not change a thing about buying the one I could afford at the time. In my book, ANY PIANO IS BETTER THAN NO PIANO. (I do not know enough about the ones you listed, wish I could help out there.) Good luck.

Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
novaguy84 #1745162 09/02/11 03:39 PM
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When I looked at your post history, I noticed you bought a baby grand about 2 years ago. Is that one gone?

Anyway, if I have only 8k to spend, my primary contenders would be:

1. Kawai K3 or K5 upright; or
2. Ritmuller GH160R (5'3" small grand, but may have to go down to the 4'10" GH148R).


If you're bored, try my blog (mostly faith & family): http://mikeheel.wordpress.com.
Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
novaguy84 #1745164 09/02/11 03:42 PM
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I'd say you are better off with any decent piano than with none. As you say, these truly are entry level.

One decision to make is whether you'd rather have a better quality piano without the automatic player. If the player is a key requirement, then get it. But you can get a significantly better instrument (at this price) without it.

I haven't played any of these specific instruments, but I have played a 6 ft. Hobart Nelson, and thought it was pretty good. The touch was very light, and the tone sounded "thin" to me, but I didn't hear anything objectionable. Clearly, you should listen for yourself and get the one that you like, not what somebody else likes. And don't worry that they aren't Steinways; just get the one you like best and enjoy it.

Hop


HG178, Roland FP-5, Casio PX 130
Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
mikeheel #1745222 09/02/11 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mikeheel
When I looked at your post history, I noticed you bought a baby grand about 2 years ago. Is that one gone?


You are correct, Mr. Holmes! I would be replacing that with the new(er) one I buy. I paid under $1000 for it 2 years ago to learn how to play on, and it has served that purpose. My primary desire is to have a player piano.

So to be more correct, since I hardly play myself it is as if I don't currently have a piano! I work from home and would like to put the new player piano on autopilot during the day while I work.

The tech I was using at the time mentioned that if I ever wanted to sell the old piano that I should call him; apparently the ivory keys are in good shape...so just how valuable are ivory keys in good condition?

Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
novaguy84 #1745236 09/02/11 06:04 PM
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I agree totally with Hop, that you can get a much better instrument (at same price range) without the Player piano option.

Hope you find your dream piano soon.


Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
busypianobee #1745275 09/02/11 07:26 PM
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Thanks for pointing me towards Ritmuller. I have been reading up on that brand and they seem to be well reviewed. I found a dealer willing to put a PianoDisc w/ iPad in a 5'3" GH160R for a little over $8k.

Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
novaguy84 #1745372 09/02/11 11:09 PM
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Have you considering used grand piano? You might luck out, check on craiglist locallly. I just recently bought a 5'10 Kawai grand, it is old but mint condition. You might find people whom bought piano as furniture but not for playing. Just make sure you have a tech to check it out. You can find some nice Kawai grand with that budget
Good luck

Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
novaguy84 #1745397 09/02/11 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ljenkinson
Thanks for pointing me towards Ritmuller. I have been reading up on that brand and they seem to be well reviewed. I found a dealer willing to put a PianoDisc w/ iPad in a 5'3" GH160R for a little over $8k.

That sounds like a pretty decent option.


If you're bored, try my blog (mostly faith & family): http://mikeheel.wordpress.com.
Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
novaguy84 #1745554 09/03/11 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ljenkinson
Thanks for pointing me towards Ritmuller. I have been reading up on that brand and they seem to be well reviewed. I found a dealer willing to put a PianoDisc w/ iPad in a 5'3" GH160R for a little over $8k.


That's a surprisingly low price, so I don't think you're going to do any better price-wise in terms of what you're looking for, and that piano has a very pleasing tone to most people.

Make sure you understand the warranty terms on the player unti, from both the maker and the installer, and make sure that the after-market installation of the player does not affect the factory warranty from Pearl River/Ritmuller.

Putting an acoustic piano on auto pilot all day while you work takes a much greater toll on a piano than it would on a home stereo used all day for the same function. You'd be using a piano without a track record for durability for an application that it was not designed for. There is a good possibility that heavy use could lead to premature wear and tear on the piano.



Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier
Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
turandot #1745566 09/03/11 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by turandot
Originally Posted by ljenkinson
Thanks for pointing me towards Ritmuller. I have been reading up on that brand and they seem to be well reviewed. I found a dealer willing to put a PianoDisc w/ iPad in a 5'3" GH160R for a little over $8k.


That's a surprisingly low price, so I don't think you're going to do any better price-wise in terms of what you're looking for, and that piano has a very pleasing tone to most people.

Make sure you understand the warranty terms on the player unti, from both the maker and the installer, and make sure that the after-market installation of the player does not affect the factory warranty from Pearl River/Ritmuller.

Putting an acoustic piano on auto pilot all day while you work takes a much greater toll on a piano than it would on a home stereo used all day for the same function. You'd be using a piano without a track record for durability for an application that it was not designed for. There is a good possibility that heavy use could lead to premature wear and tear on the piano.


Thanks for that, those are some good questions I need to find answers for.

I called the local DC-area Ritmuller dealer and the manager tried extremely hard to talk me out of it. He also doesn't have any of the newer models (148, 160R, or 170R) on his floor for me to listen to anyway, so I found that disappointing. He was trying to talk me in to a Weber (aren't those just rebadged Young Chang's?) plus the player system putting me $5k over budget.

Does anybody have a player system in their Ritmuller currently? How has it been holding up?

I agree with the others on this thread that if I just spend $8k on the piano alone I would get a much better piano...my question is how much better? Right now I'm buying a $4k piano and a $4k player system, so for a $8k piano is it 2x better? Or is there some sort of diminishing return where that extra $4k only gets me a 20% better piano?

Last edited by ljenkinson; 09/03/11 11:42 AM.
Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
novaguy84 #1745624 09/03/11 01:01 PM
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I don't know why you'd want a piano without a player based on how you've said you would use the piano, but a GH160 piano alone would be a very strong contender among grand pianos at the 8k price point. That's the reason why the GH160 with new player unit installed at 8k is a surprisingly low price.

Weber is marketed by Young Chang, who markets identical piano under the YC name as well. There are three levels. Weber Legend is the entry level. Sovereign is the mid level. Allbert Weber is their top line.


Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier
Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
turandot #1745648 09/03/11 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by turandot
I don't know why you'd want a piano without a player based on how you've said you would use the piano, but a GH160 piano alone would be a very strong contender among grand pianos at the 8k price point. That's the reason why the GH160 with new player unit installed at 8k is a surprisingly low price.

Weber is marketed by Young Chang, who markets identical piano under the YC name as well. There are three levels. Weber Legend is the entry level. Sovereign is the mid level. Allbert Weber is their top line.


Correct, what has been suggested is that I buy a $8k piano w/o a player and then add a player later when I can afford another $5k. My question is am I really getting 2x the piano for 2x the price?

The other problem is that not being much of a player myself, I really don't know what a good feel, touch, or action really is. And then it seems the only place where I can find out what the differences are is from someone biased on selling me whatever piano they are trying to push.

When I press a key I just want a good sound to come out and that the piano not fall apart in 10 years. I'd like to tinker with the piano and learn to play better on my own time, but I also want to enjoy more complex music. If I'm only going to hear it when I play then 'marry had a little lamb' is about all I can do right now.

Is anybody reading this in the DC area? Let me take you out to lunch and give me a crash course in pianos at a local dealer? I want to be less piano-stupid!!!

Last edited by ljenkinson; 09/03/11 01:42 PM.
Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
novaguy84 #1745733 09/03/11 03:51 PM
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Quote
Correct, what has been suggested is that I buy a $8k piano w/o a player and then add a player later when I can afford another $5k. My question is am I really getting 2x the piano for 2x the price?


Even a simple price / markup / dealer margin consideration of the Weber's value vis a vis the Ritmuller's would depend on which of the three Weber lines that piano comes from. If you know that, you can check that piano vs. The Ritmuller GH160 in Pianobuyer's price listings -- link to the left.

Though the new Ritmuller pianos get plenty of ink here of PW, in this economy most retailers are hesitant to take on new lines. Some Pearl River (and Weber) dealers are probably more interested in selling off what they have.

My advice is to contact Pearl River and find out the near est dealer who has a Ritmuller GH160 in stock. You could also ask them whether their new piano warranty is affect by the installation of an after-market player system.


Tel. – 800.435.5086
Email: wmk@pearlriverpiano.com

If you can find a GH160, then you can at least find out if that sound is a sound you would like to hear through a player system.

I think that advice is definitely worth a free lunch, but I'm on the West Coast, not in the DC area. If you could paypal me $50, then we'd be square. (Lunch is expensive here)



Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier
Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
turandot #1745766 09/03/11 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by turandot
I think that advice is definitely worth a free lunch, but I'm on the West Coast, not in the DC area. If you could paypal me $50, then we'd be square. (Lunch is expensive here)


LOL. My intention is that I'd like to sit down with someone and be shown a piano with a "bright" sound vs. a piano that isn't and play something so I can hear the difference, etc. This piano x has a good action vs. this piano that isn't so I can understand/feel the difference. A "good" piano can mean so many different things it's hard for a n00b like me to fully understand.

Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
novaguy84 #1745957 09/03/11 10:24 PM
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I haven't played either models, but based on pricing of similar other brands, I do feel you do get 2x the piano from an $8k grand vs. a $4k grand. Diminishing returns apply much later.

Originally Posted by ljenkinson
When I press a key I just want a good sound to come out and that the piano not fall apart in 10 years. I'd like to tinker with the piano and learn to play better on my own time, but I also want to enjoy more complex music. If I'm only going to hear it when I play then 'marry had a little lamb' is about all I can do right now.


This is good information. A more advanced pianist might care more about the piano itself than the player system. You are a beginner and even a brand new piano would be more than satisfactory (most of us here grew up on dinky spinets and consoles).

In your case, the Weber + Player would make you happier than the Ritmuller alone.

Turandot has given great advice and pointed out the same above, more or less; but lunch can be had for less than $50. Send him over to my company cafeteria and he can eat ALL the entrees and desserts for $50...

Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
novaguy84 #1745960 09/03/11 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ljenkinson
Thanks for pointing me towards Ritmuller. I have been reading up on that brand and they seem to be well reviewed. I found a dealer willing to put a PianoDisc w/ iPad in a 5'3" GH160R for a little over $8k.


I don't know much about the pricing of the automatic players but I was surprised how much I liked the Ritmuller GH188 I tried and if the dealer is willing to put the player on the GH160 for that price I'd look pretty heavily at that because that to me seems like a pretty good deal.

Last edited by Sparky McBiff; 09/03/11 10:33 PM.
Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
Sparky McBiff #1751534 09/12/11 07:43 PM
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Thank you all...I just put a deposit on my GH160R w/ PianoDisc iQ iPad2 system. I am anticipating delivery in about 4-5 weeks. Will post pictures as soon as it arrives.

Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
novaguy84 #1751536 09/12/11 07:46 PM
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Very cool. Congratulations!

Re: Lower-end Baby Grand Pianos...advice
turandot #1751537 09/12/11 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by turandot
Originally Posted by ljenkinson
Thanks for pointing me towards Ritmuller. I have been reading up on that brand and they seem to be well reviewed. I found a dealer willing to put a PianoDisc w/ iPad in a 5'3" GH160R for a little over $8k.


That's a surprisingly low price, so I don't think you're going to do any better price-wise in terms of what you're looking for, and that piano has a very pleasing tone to most people.

Make sure you understand the warranty terms on the player unti, from both the maker and the installer, and make sure that the after-market installation of the player does not affect the factory warranty from Pearl River/Ritmuller.

Putting an acoustic piano on auto pilot all day while you work takes a much greater toll on a piano than it would on a home stereo used all day for the same function. You'd be using a piano without a track record for durability for an application that it was not designed for. There is a good possibility that heavy use could lead to premature wear and tear on the piano.



I called Ritmuller directly and the warranty is honored for the full 10 years even if there is a player system and/or DC installed.

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