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#2177530 - 11/05/13 01:41 PM Starting the Research Process - Have a spinet, want a grand  
Joined: Nov 2013
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mgmoore7 Offline
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A bit of background that will help.

Have 7 children, 4 currently play. My oldest is 13 and has played for 5 years. Next year, the 5th child will start.

Our current piano was a family spinet piano build in the 50's. It sat unused in the same home for all of its life until it came to our home. Amazingly, it holds a tune pretty well but you can imagine, it is showing signs of its age and its sound on a different playing field when compared to anything newer, especially a grand.

At this point, we are dedicated to piano and music in general. Currently, the piano gets 1-3 hours of use a day with 4 kids. They are "required" to play at least 15 minutes a day. We never have to twist their arm to play. A few of them love it and at times spend much time playing.

The room is 20 x 20 with 9 foot ceilings.

Preferred budget would be $8,000 or less. This puts us in the used market.

From what we have read... we want to stay away from baby grands for the most part but they are in our price range. We have started looking in the used market for piano's in the 6' range but are finding that this puts us into ones that are 20-40 years old and that gets worrysome considering how much use the piano had and the amount of use ours will get.

We definitely value shoppers but not cheap. Brand does not mean much but we are not going to be ignorant of resell.

We like a Balwin 6' that probably would go for about 6,500 that was built in the 70's I believe but had little use. We also like a new Ritmuller that was a 5'3" but a little over our budget but it sounded great. Prefer the more mellow tones vs something like Yamaha that is often quite bright.

At this point just looking for some help on general thoughts that might help point us to the right choice and any specifics that might fit the bill in our scenario.

Thank You!



Matt
Tampa, FL
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#2177562 - 11/05/13 02:33 PM Re: Starting the Research Process - Have a spinet, want a grand [Re: mgmoore7]  
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Caowner2013 Offline
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Hi mgmoore7,

We just went through similar process, so this is parent to parent. While price range is important, it may be just as informative and important to come from a totally different angle before considering price. Please allow me to explain.

Our kids have about 4 years (RCM Level 7+) under their belt, and also interested in progressing to higher levels in RCM. Their teacher assessed that they do have the ability to reach higher levels. With all that in mind, we decided to let them have a significant role in the selection process.

They had to play every grand in stores within driving distance (100-mi) regardless of age, size, brand and price. We even played multiple large concert-grands (8' & 9') from different makers. This was to help all of us learn what is currently available. They had to log their observations of touch and tone and all other meaningful characteristics "objectively". Their observations must match or better mine. From there, we determined the characteristics most important to help them progress and used that to pare the list and rank the rest. Then we repeated the "playing" process again and again until a ranked list of candidates was finalized. These all met our requirements with varying acceptable weaknesses in less important areas. From there, we looked up pricing and organized another list based on price. From that, we worked from the top choice down towards whichever fell into our price range.

This approach opened our eyes, ears and "hearts" (dangerous to wallet) to what is available out there today. Exposure to multiple brands and sizes also let our children identified and crystalized, for themselves, what they really appreciate and prefer in a piano.

We want the final choice to help them progress to their intended goals at the right cost. Most importantly, it would reveal if we could/should stretch to acquire a better candidate. This process also determined if my children truly were able to hear, feel and express the key observations in each piano. Failure to do so meant continuing practice with our very nice upright and no grand piano.

If you had done this already, please forgive this repetitious description.

Take your time, listen to them all, play them all and enjoy the hunt! We played and heard many fine grands and thoroughly enjoyed the process.

Last edited by Caowner2013; 11/05/13 02:51 PM.
#2177595 - 11/05/13 03:48 PM Re: Starting the Research Process - Have a spinet, want a grand [Re: mgmoore7]  
Joined: Nov 2013
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mgmoore7 Offline
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Caowner2013
Thanks for the ideas. We had not thought of it from this perspective. Something to consider for sure. We tend to want to use everything as a learning experience for our kids.


Matt
Tampa, FL
#2177693 - 11/05/13 07:28 PM Re: Starting the Research Process - Have a spinet, want a grand [Re: mgmoore7]  
Joined: Dec 2012
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musicpassion Offline
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It is best to enjoy the process and spend time.

The thought I wanted to share: I'd strongly suggest don't rule out pianos in the 5'6"-5'8" range. There are some stunning pianos in this size range that can satisfy the most discerning of pianists. It might also be easier on the pocket book.

You used the term "baby grand". Of course manufactures and pianists have been using the term for ages. But it's a rather vague term and has been used to refer to even fairly large pianos.

Have fun shopping!


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#2177699 - 11/05/13 07:40 PM Re: Starting the Research Process - Have a spinet, want a grand [Re: mgmoore7]  
Joined: Dec 2012
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musicpassion Offline
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You mention you don't like the bright Yamaha sound.

In that case Baldwin is a good brand to consider. Another which might interest you is the Knabe. I'm mainly familiar with the vintage American pianos. Some of them are great (of course have a technician evaluate anything before you buy), and lots of people love their Knabe. I especially mention this because their value - like Baldwin - is fairly depressed so there are sometimes some real bargains available.


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#2177818 - 11/06/13 03:09 AM Re: Starting the Research Process - Have a spinet, want a grand [Re: mgmoore7]  
Joined: Jun 2013
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BornInTheUSA Offline
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Great notes Caowner. I have a similar routine when I visit wineries. smile

MGMoore, I don't want to assume you have tons of cash sitting around, but just in case you have a little flexibility. If you're thinking of getting the last piano they'll ever need in their childhood or something to hold you over for another 3-4- years. If it's your final destination, it might require a bit of luck. We couldn't find much in that range and I didn't want to upgrade every 3-4 years. For us, there's virtually no risk the piano is going to go unplayed and I'm convinced my kids will play throughout their childhood. So I wanted to get the best piano we could afford so they could maximize their time with it. However, I'm not suggesting taking a loan out for it.




#2177820 - 11/06/13 03:19 AM Re: Starting the Research Process - Have a spinet, want a grand [Re: mgmoore7]  
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Norbert Offline
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Quote
We also like a new Ritmuller that was a 5'3" but a little over our budget


Not knowing where you are, perhaps would be worth to ask Ritmueller dealer again. There's dealers who make exceptions and are sincere helping someone to a good grand best they can.

Keep trying.

5'3 Ritmuller grand:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkNGRbEWT4o

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 11/06/13 03:22 AM.

www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642 www.eliteheritagepianos.ca Edmonton, Alta dealers for Estonia,
Brodmann 780-405-8908
#2177821 - 11/06/13 03:55 AM Re: Starting the Research Process - Have a spinet, want a grand [Re: mgmoore7]  
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BornInTheUSA Offline
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He's in Tampa, FL.

#2177824 - 11/06/13 04:05 AM Re: Starting the Research Process - Have a spinet, want a grand [Re: mgmoore7]  
Joined: Jun 2013
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BornInTheUSA Offline
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Originally Posted by mgmoore7
We also like a new Ritmuller that was a 5'3" but a little over our budget but it sounded great.


The Ritmuller has an SMP of 12,390. PianoBuyer suggests a 10-30% discount from that and I've found that it's usually 30% or more in reality. So at 30% off of SMP that's $8673.

I'm not sure how SMP is calculated, maybe it's wholesale x2. If so, you could probably do better.

Ritmullers on PianoBuyer

#2177860 - 11/06/13 07:56 AM Re: Starting the Research Process - Have a spinet, want a grand [Re: mgmoore7]  
Joined: Nov 2013
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mgmoore7 Offline
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Thanks everyone. We are cash buyers so it keeps us from swinging too much and it just adds more time to the saving process. It is not that we could not spend 10 or 12k, its more about overall priorities with a household of 9 on a single income. I make a good living but also have to consider other things as we all do such as saving "something" for college, vehical replacements (already drive 2 vehicles over 10 years old) and the mass amounts of food that 3 boys eat...

The dealer in Tampa had the Ritmuller 5'3" I believe for somewhere between $8-9k "on special". The more I think about it, the upside could be worth it if I can stretch the budget a little more and go new on this piano. Other new pianos in this price range so far do not interest me. Guarantee, new.., lots and lots of life, very little risk.

To be honest, we would love to spend less than $5,000 but it seems luck would play a big part and will likely be a craigslist find but the risk goes up alot for sure. I definately cannot afford to risk losing much of a 4-5k price in a piano that is not all it needs to be.

So one thing I have been hearing is that a Baldwin from the 70's or 80's that has had light use could be a good option. I have seen a few of these locally and researching hear at the upper end of our price range. Another would be the Ritmuller 5'3'. Smaller than what we thought we wanted but what we heard was great and others seem to concur.

Anything else that might fit the bill in the upper end of the range? Other thoughts. Or any ideas on what might be good at the low end of the price range.

Thanks.


Matt
Tampa, FL
#2177869 - 11/06/13 08:33 AM Re: Starting the Research Process - Have a spinet, want a grand [Re: mgmoore7]  
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Jolly Offline
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Another alternative...

I'm seeing some used 6-footish (+/-) Koreans within your budget. The brands will be Samick, Pramberger, Young Chang, Weber, Kohler & Campbell. Most of these pianos will be about ten years old.

And, if you bump up to $10K, that can buy you several different new 5'3" pianos, but also allows you to purchase a new Brodmann CE-175 or a Knabe WG59.


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#2177888 - 11/06/13 09:14 AM Re: Starting the Research Process - Have a spinet, want a grand [Re: mgmoore7]  
Joined: May 2012
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Rochester MN
Hi Matt - Welcome to Piano World!

I keep thinking about that Baldwin on which you have a lead. It could be either an 'R' (5'8") or an 'L' (6'3"). Out of that time period, it could be a very good instrument and would probably be much better than newer imports in the 'budget' range.

What would be absolutely essential, if you are considering that piano, is to have a very detailed inspection performed by a qualified technician. As has been mentioned in other threads, special attention should be paid to the bridge pins.

In the 90's, Baldwin went through a rather un-glorious period and the phoenix has yet to fully emerge from the ashes. But, they built some very fine pianos in the years of the piano you are contemplating.

Best wishes to you and your family and enjoy your search.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2177904 - 11/06/13 10:01 AM Re: Starting the Research Process - Have a spinet, want a grand [Re: mgmoore7]  
Joined: Nov 2013
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mgmoore7 Offline
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Here is a 1975 Kawai KG-2C that we liked. It is listed at $7,500.
http://randyswholesalepianos.com/product/grand-pianos/piano-for-sale-1975-kawai-kg-2c-grand-piano/

I believe this is the Baldwin that we saw. It claims it was lightly used. 1976 Baldwin R226. 5'8" Listed at $8,500
http://randyswholesalepianos.com/product/grand-pianos/piano-for-sale-1976-baldwin-r226-grand-piano/

I really appreciate the discussion. It is very helpful!

The search is all the fun for me since I don't play. I wish I had a musical bone in my body.

Last edited by mgmoore7; 11/06/13 10:25 AM.

Matt
Tampa, FL
#2177919 - 11/06/13 10:36 AM Re: Starting the Research Process - Have a spinet, want a grand [Re: mgmoore7]  
Joined: May 2012
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Da music bone connected to da, ear bone. Da ear bone con ....


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2177955 - 11/06/13 12:51 PM Re: Starting the Research Process - Have a spinet, want a grand [Re: mgmoore7]  
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My only advice is to make sure you sample enough pianos in your price range before making a decision. Since your main piano at this point is an older spinet, unless you have extensive experience playing other pianos almost any grand is likely to sound quite glorious by comparison.

#2178151 - 11/06/13 08:09 PM Re: Starting the Research Process - Have a spinet, want a grand [Re: mgmoore7]  
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Hi mgmoore7,

The Ritmuller you mention is a very good choice in your budget if you like a mellow "classical" tone. Make sure to test also Knabe, Pramberger, Weber, Brodmann, Steigerman, Heintzman and Hailun grands if available around. Keep in touch to tell what you think. smile


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