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#2140446 - 08/28/13 09:45 PM Charles Walter 1520 or a Kawai K-3
jenniferb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/24/13
Posts: 4
Hi there,
I am new to the site, but I have been searching and reading posts for the last couple of weeks as I have been looking for a piano. I have read (parts of) The Piano Book also.
I am getting a piano for both me and my 6 year old daughter to learn on.
I found two pianos at different shops that I like and can get them both for about the same price (after my husband helped with some negotiations):
new K-3 with a 10 year warranty for $7100 (tax and delivery included) or a new (but probably sitting on the sales floor for YEARS) Charles Walter 1520 with Langer action and a 12 year warranty for $6995 (tax and delivery included).
I don't know what I'm doing - but they both felt and sounded good to me. From what I read I am gathering that the CW may be a better piano than the K-3, but I'm not sure? I really need to make a decision soon. I would love to get any opinions.

Thank you!

I edited the post to add the warranty information on the CW.

Edited by jenniferb (08/29/13 10:49 AM)

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#2140449 - 08/28/13 09:58 PM Re: Charles Walter 1520 or a Kawai K-3 [Re: jenniferb]
terminaldegree Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 3990
Loc: Georgia, USA
I don't believe there's a bad choice to be made between the two instruments. That CW must have been sitting around a long while...
Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer

#2140456 - 08/28/13 10:26 PM Re: Charles Walter 1520 or a Kawai K-3 [Re: jenniferb]
jenniferb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/24/13
Posts: 4
Thank you. Other than asking at the store tomorrow, do you know if there is there a way I can find out the age of the CW? The serial number is 528934. They came off the most on price, had been originally asking something in the $9,000s and it was on "sale" for $7715. They told me they could order me a new CW piano in the $8,000s - I didn't get an exact price, because it was a little more than I wanted to spend.

#2140466 - 08/28/13 10:59 PM Re: Charles Walter 1520 or a Kawai K-3 [Re: jenniferb]
RX2Bunny Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 119
Loc: Chicago
Hi Jenniferb - where are you located? K3 should be in the 6K neighborhood in my area. I don't know where you're located, but I haven't heard of $7100 so far. I think with that price, you should be able to get a K-5.

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#2140487 - 08/29/13 12:13 AM Re: Charles Walter 1520 or a Kawai K-3 [Re: jenniferb]
musicpassion Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1684
Loc: California, USA
I would go for the Charles Walter
Pianist and Piano Teacher

#2140495 - 08/29/13 12:43 AM Re: Charles Walter 1520 or a Kawai K-3 [Re: jenniferb]
KurtZ Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 1600
Loc: The Heart of Screenland

About the Charles Walter. You can call them in Indiana. It's a family operation and it's likely you'll wind up speaking to someone named Walter. I've chatted with them and they are friendly and non-intimidating. They take a real pride in what they do and will tell you everything they know about the piano.

One who does what the Friend wants done
will never need a friend.


#2140593 - 08/29/13 08:43 AM Re: Charles Walter 1520 or a Kawai K-3 [Re: jenniferb]
tdv Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/13
Posts: 69
Loc: MI
Both are great pianos. I have a Walter and love it. A friend has a top end Kawai that I love to work on. I would decide by touch and tone. FWIW.

P.S. If they are equal, I would go with the Walter. Quality made in the USA by a wonderful family run operation.

Edited by tdv (08/29/13 08:44 AM)
1978 Charles Walter piano
1915 5"1' Weber
Seeking truth in all areas of life

#2140602 - 08/29/13 09:17 AM Re: Charles Walter 1520 or a Kawai K-3 [Re: jenniferb]
Rich Galassini Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 10494
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Everything being equal, I would go for the Walter. Make sure the piano is well prepped and regulated before delivery.
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
Check out the Science Channel's "How Its Made" featuring our piano restoration:

#2140609 - 08/29/13 09:29 AM Re: Charles Walter 1520 or a Kawai K-3 [Re: jenniferb]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4756
Loc: San Jose, CA
The full-width music desk on the CW is nicer than the K-3's little fold-out rack. However, check out the action carefully on the Walter and compare it to the MIII action on the K-3. The Kawai's action is very fine, and the keycover material is better, and these things make an important difference. Touch is our main interface with the instrument, except for how it sounds.

The CW has a very nice sound, especially for its size... but then, the K-3 sounds good, especially considering its position in the K-series. The 1520 will have a fancier case than the K-3 or the plainer CW 1500 (it's the same piano as the 1500 inside). On the other hand, if you think you may sell eventually and move up the piano food chain, the K-3 will be easier to turn over or trade-up, and its remaining warranty (which is transferable to the subsequent owner) has a money value.

I don't see a terrible downside to either choice. So, relax, play them both as long as you want, examine them for fit-and-finish, try every key and every pedal to make sure they do what you expect and that they're in proper adjustment. The one you like best will become clear in your mind, in the process. Otherwise, flip a coin, and make up your mind to be happy, whichever side it lands on.

#2140631 - 08/29/13 10:20 AM Re: Charles Walter 1520 or a Kawai K-3 [Re: jenniferb]
jenniferb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/24/13
Posts: 4
Thank you for all of the responses.

Rileybunny, I live in Twin Cities Metro Area of Minnesota. After reading some other posts here, I believed that we would be able to get a K-3 for a little less than the price my husband was able to negotiate. They did come down another $100 to $7000 (which includes tax and the $225 delivery charge. So I guess it is about 6,250 before delivery and tax).

I think we are hoping this will be a piano that we keep and grow with. I honestly can't tell the difference between the sound or the way the keys feel on the two pianos. They aren't at the same stores, so it is hard to compare. I did look at other used pianos on the showroom floors and from craigslist that I didn't love - the keys felt too "loose and wobbly".

I don't think we would be looking to sell and trade up anytime soon. We might have room for a baby grand with some major editing and rearranging of furniture, but I don't know if it would be in the budget. Thank you for the information about the K-3 warranty being transferable (I hadn't thought of that) and your thoughts on the K-3 having better resale value (I had wondered about that).

I might like the style and look of the shiny black ebony K-3 a little better. The CW is the Queen Anne in cherry, and I think it is lovely also.

I think I like the idea of the "practice pedal" right now, but I don't know if down the road I will think it is better to have the bass sustain pedal. I like the duet bench better than the single chair that the Kawai comes with (although it may be better for my tiny almost 6 year old to reach the pedals with when she is ready for that). I like that the CW is a family owned American company. My husband is leaning towards the CW, because he feels that we are getting a better deal on it.

#2140644 - 08/29/13 11:00 AM Re: Charles Walter 1520 or a Kawai K-3 [Re: jenniferb]
jenniferb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/24/13
Posts: 4
I just called Charles Walter Company and they told me that the piano I am looking at was manufactured in 2002, but may have been in their warehouse up to 4 years before being sent to a dealer.

#2141474 - 08/30/13 05:26 PM Re: Charles Walter 1520 or a Kawai K-3 [Re: jenniferb]
mahermusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 356
Loc: U.S.A.

+1 for the Charles Walter.
Charles R. Walter 1520 QA Mahogany #531739 w/ High Polish, Renner and Quiet Pedal

#2141480 - 08/30/13 05:48 PM Re: Charles Walter 1520 or a Kawai K-3 [Re: jenniferb]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014

Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
That's a good price on the CW. They are very good pianos.
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.


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