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Need advice: Kawai or Yamaha or Schimmel?
#1974954 10/17/12 11:43 PM
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Hello everyone!

I'm new here and looking for advice.

We're on the market for a grand piano for my 10yr old daughter. She's been taking piano lessons for over 5 years now, and our little, old Baldwin just doesn't suffice any more:)

My daughter has tried about half dozen pianos so far. She likes the first two below:

1. a 1980 Kawai KG-2D(6'1") for $8500 from a dealer. It has some cosmetic issues(including a crack in the soundboard). However, she really likes the touch and the sound;

2. a 2002 Yamaha C3 for $18,000 from a private owner. It has the beautiful "Tiger" Mahogany finish and in excellent condition. It also plays wells, however is a bit more than I wanted to spend;

3. then yesterday I just saw a 1992 Schimmel listed on CraigsList for $11,000. I was told that the model is Schimmel Classical SP 5’10” T. We haven't checked it out yet. Since it's a little far from where we live, I'm thinking to go and let my daughter try it this Saturday.

What do you think these 3 piano and their prices? Which one would be my best bet? I was hoping to spend around $10K. However, I love the mahogany finish on the Yamaha C3 and its being relatively newer(2002). Is $18K a fair price? Or, is the Schimmel one a better deal?

I'm looking forward to hearing your opinions and expertise.

Thank you in advance!

Joan

Re: Need advice: Kawai or Yamaha or Schimmel?
JoanC #1974996 10/18/12 02:19 AM
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Hi There!

Kawais are excellent pianos, but I would suggest avoiding one with a cracked soundboard. This might create problems later on (the Techs around will advise more knowingly than me!).

The Yamaha is a very solid piano and will serve your daugther very well. If the Schimmel is in good condition that is an excellent piano too. I definatley would let your daughter test this. They have a different kind of sound world to the Yamaha, and she may prefer it.

I hope the hunt goes well!

J.

Re: Need advice: Kawai or Yamaha or Schimmel?
JoanC #1974999 10/18/12 02:30 AM
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I think the best thing will be to check these options with an expert.

Nobody here can make a good evaluation of a piano we don't see/hear/play/etc...

Think about the following: if option #1 is good but eventually you will have to repair it, why don't you look for the luthier that will eventually repair it and have him go and check it before you buy it ?, if I were you I would rather pay him for an afternoon and visit those 3 options and have his expert opinion

Good luck

Re: Need advice: Kawai or Yamaha or Schimmel?
JoanC #1975281 10/18/12 03:12 PM
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The KG-2D is not 6'1"... probably more like 5'8" or 5'10".

I think among these the Schimmel is most appealing assuming it's in great condition.

Re: Need advice: Kawai or Yamaha or Schimmel?
JoanC #1975718 10/19/12 12:13 PM
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I agree with the suggestion you got from Jose Hidalgo, although I might have your daughter try the Schimmel to see if she likes the sound and the action before having a piano tech check it. Getting an independent expert's opinion is your best bet on deciding which used piano is best for your daughter and will fit in your budget long term.

Best of Luck!


J & J
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Re: Need advice: Kawai or Yamaha or Schimmel?
JoanC #1975889 10/19/12 06:01 PM
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C3, just negotiate it lower. Selling pianos privately is difficult. You are in the drivers seat.

Re: Need advice: Kawai or Yamaha or Schimmel?
JoanC #1976302 10/20/12 01:09 PM
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That Kawai is useless. It's a large price for a cracked soundboard and a Kawai of that length and that year. Forget it!

I have a C3 from circa 1985 and it's a solid piano. Nothing bad about, but very little to cheer about. It's not so bad. I think $18K is a large price, even for a 2002. Yamaha C-series are pretty darn reliable, but make sure you get that thing regulated right, maybe switch out hammers, and work it to be what is best for you. It's probably a brick house of a piano.

The Schimmel "sounds" good. Take a look at it. I am not sure about pre-2000 Schimmels, but like the more modern Schimmels. If the piano has great action and wonderful sound, I'd go for it. make sure it is in good shape and not needing $3K dumped in for strings or action work or anything.


Currently working on/memorizing...
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Re: Need advice: Kawai or Yamaha or Schimmel?
Rusty Fortysome #1976475 10/20/12 09:13 PM
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Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and feedback with me!

Here's the update:

I just took my daughter to check out the Schimmel this afternoon. Well, the sound is definitely softer than the Yamaha's and Kawai's. My daughter also said the touch is kinda "shallow" that she couldn't push the keys further. I hope you guys understand what she meant. Is this something that can be tuned and regulated? It was last tuned 4 years ago, and rarely being played. Also, I learned that the piano has been moved 4 times, including once from Southern California to Pacific Northwest in 1996. It looks in excellent condition though. Overall, my daughter thinks it's OK, but likes the Yamaha and the Kawai better. I really hoped this one would work for us, because I like the price tag and the Schimmel brand name:) But, I'm not the one who's going to play it!

So, I contacted the Yamaha owner and told him we'd like to take a look at his C3 again. We made an appt. for later tonight. What do you think is a fair price for a 2002 Yamaha C3?

Also, should I rule out the Schimmel at this point now?

Thanks again!

Re: Need advice: Kawai or Yamaha or Schimmel?
JoanC #1976814 10/21/12 04:39 PM
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She doesn't like the Schimmel.

Get an experienced piano tech to inspect your serious candidates for condition, and to advise you of the price range in your local market. Typically about $100; it can save you a lot of tears. Try http://ptg.org if you can't find a tech someone you trust knows and recommends.

When buying used, I would suggest getting something newer than 15 years old. Pianos wear out; get something with some life left in it.

On the whole, based on your descriptions I would suggest you keep on looking a bit longer. You do have the advantage of knowing what your daughter likes, and does not like--- that is a big help. What a great thing, that she's stuck with it long enough to graduate to a better instrument.


Clef

Re: Need advice: Kawai or Yamaha or Schimmel?
JoanC #1976869 10/21/12 07:24 PM
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I would encourage you to not get attached to the brand / model when looking at used pianos. Just keep looking until you come across the piano your daughter is excited about.

Re: Need advice: Kawai or Yamaha or Schimmel?
rlinkt #1977329 10/22/12 10:33 PM
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Here's another update on our piano search over the weekend:

Since my daughter was not thrilled about the Schimmel that I wished she would like(sigh!), we re-visited the Yamaha C3. She said she still likes it. It sounded a little bright to me, but she said she likes bright, sharp and clear tone. So I guess this should be a candidate for us. I'm planning to have a technician to check it out.

If the tech checks out OK, we'll probably make an offer. Right now, he's asking for $18K, which is over my budget. At what price should I offer? Does anyone know how much a C3 cost in 2002? The piano seems in great condition, and has been tuned yearly according to the seller.

Thanks again!

Re: Need advice: Kawai or Yamaha or Schimmel?
JoanC #1977330 10/22/12 10:39 PM
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A plain black one probably cost about that much in 2002, so add a few thousand more for the special finish. Keep in mind that prices of new C grands have gone up as well. Just offer what you want to spend on this purchase (er, $12k? $13k?) and see what they say.


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