2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
Who's Online Now
68 members (Calavera, Amusingprofessor, BrokenSymmetry, anotherscott, 8ude, Abdol, AWilley, AndyP, 16 invisible), 637 guests, and 514 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 2 1 2
Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
#2441097 07/13/15 01:54 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
J
3000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
3000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
Hello everyone,

Today I followed up an invite by a local piano store to try a Kawai GX2 that they'd recently taken into stock. I also tried a Yamaha YUS1, and a W.Hoffman V120.

To the GX2.

First impressions, when playing Mozart sonatas. It has a very clean and clear treble - this area has really improved on the piano. Before, Kawai trebles were notoriously clunky, and even in the more recent RX2s, this was still leaving a lot to be desired on some examples, but the GX2 really sang very well in this area.

The action is very good. This particular example wasn't what I'd call stellar in the action department - I still feel that a properly set up Steinway is one of the best pianos available, but perhaps the Kawai just wanted some tweaking. It was comfortable and it did most things I asked of it.

The pedals are easy to operate, but sometimes I feel the cut off when I take the pedal off was a little too pronounced. This is a feature of Japanese pianos though, and I'm sure I could get around it given a few more hours with it.

Now, onto some more challenging repertoire - I played the Chopin G minor Ballade and the Liszt Sonata in B minor.

Here I started to notice the piano struggle a little. It was good, for practising on, but there was a kind of confusion in the sound if I played the piano at a full concert fortissimo (I don't mean banging) in the chordal sections of the Liszt. Fingerwork was easy and flowed well, but the piano lacked a little clarity in this repertoire. Then, my own piano is super-clear and you can really hear all the faults on it, so I'm comparing this Kawai directly to what I own which is perhaps unfair.

One area of the piano that did not impress me - and in fact it disappointed me, was the area starting on the wound strings over the tenor/treble break. It wasn't so much that the break was pronounced, as like I was playing a completely different piano. That whole double-stringed section was very murky and muddy. It wasn't a question of voicing, it was just plain weak. I don't know if it was just this particular example or if this is a feature of the GX-2, but I suspect that there was something lacking in the set up somewhere - so if anybody from Kawai is reading, take heed to this please because it does let the piano down. The single strings in the bass end sounded fine, and I didn't feel that the 5'10 size of the piano meant it lacked in the lowest octave.

The voicing of the piano was nicely done, although there could have been more of a contrast with the una corda - there was no discernible difference in sound.

So all in all, I'd say it is a good piano, with a couple of areas that have room for improvement and some areas that are pretty much perfected. However, with a £20,000 price tag I'd have to really love the piano before I parted with that amount of cash, and in that price range I'd probably want to go for a Yamaha C3X.

The other pianos I tried-

The Yamaha YUS1. It seems to hold its own as the quintessential practice room upright. There is nothing wrong with it. This example was a little uneven in the treble section, and it could have sang a little more, but it was still quite good. The action was comfortable, nice touch depth, workable sound. It would be quite possible for any pianist to use this piano as their workhorse and not feel short-changed or let down by it.

If I'm being perfectly honest, I'm not sure exactly how different the YUS1 is to the U1 of the late 1990s - the ubiquitous U1s that we had everywhere in conservatoire. The playing experience is very similar. This isn't a criticism at all - they were good pianos then and they're still good pianos now. Perhaps everything was a little more even across the breaks, but it wasn't radically different.

The W.Hoffman V120 was a disappointment to be honest. It had a very weak and uneven tone, the action felt cheap, and it lacked an ability to sing. Between the Yamaha and the Hoffman (Yamaha at £7600, Hoffman at £7200), the Yamaha won hands down.

So the selection of pianos in the showroom wasn't bad, but for me personally, I think they could do better. Pianos seem to be really quite expensive, and the preparation of the instruments has to be right. Most customers in the UK don't know a well-prepared piano and that's because they rarely get to play one in a shop, and well, frankly, this shop does lack in that department too (so I won't name the showroom), but I thought you'd all be interested to know my thoughts on these pianos.



Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Joseph Fleetwood #2441132 07/13/15 04:11 PM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 636
G
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
G
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 636
Thank you for sharing, Joe. Very interesting and detailed analysis. In favoring the C3X, is this because you favor the Yamaha tone palette over Kawai's?


Shigeru Kawai SK-7
Mason and Hamlin BB
Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Joseph Fleetwood #2441145 07/13/15 04:41 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
J
3000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
3000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
not necessarily, I think it's just a better balanced instrument for the same money.

Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Joseph Fleetwood #2441156 07/13/15 04:56 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,823
F
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
F
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,823
Joe

Interesting post.

With regard to pricing only - per the Acoustic Piano Buyer Spring 2015 edition SMP prices are:

Kawai GX2 $33,190

Yamaha C3X $48,998



Amateur Pianist and raconteur.
Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Joseph Fleetwood #2441280 07/14/15 02:46 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
J
3000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
3000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
Hi Furtwangler,

Yes you're right about the prices in Acoustic Piano Buyer, but these prices are for the USA. In the UK the pricing structures are very different. You can go to one dealer to buy a GX2 and pay £15,000 if they have a special offer on, or you could go to another and only be able to pay the full price of £20,000. You can sometimes buy a Yamaha C3X for £19,500 or thereabouts, and at other dealers have to pay £23,000.

It does seem that the price gap between the two pianos (GX2 and C3X) is much larger in the USA than in the UK, and I've no idea why that would be the case. It seems that the Yamaha in particular is far more expensive over there than it ever could be here. The US price of the Yamaha C3X puts it almost in the same price range as the less-famous German pianos like the Haessler 186

Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Joseph Fleetwood #2441284 07/14/15 03:46 AM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,365
B
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,365
Thanks for the write-up Joe. Very interesting.

Re the pricing between Yamaha and Kawai, at least in my market, Usually the selling price of say a C1x vs a GX1, or a C2x vs a GX2, and so on, is pretty close, but usually the Kawai is a bit less. I think on a typical day the comparable Kawai would be about 10% less, give or take. So at least here, for the price of a C3x you could definitely get a GX3, and maybe even a GX5 for a tiny bit more.

Re: prep. I was talking to a tech/rebuilder recently, asking what dealers do for "prep." His experience has been they basically just tune the piano one or two times, but he says most wouldn't hire a tech to spend 4-8 hours on it, optimizing the action, voicing, etc... And he says this isn't limited to the Tier 2 pianos and below, even the Steinway dealers hardly do anything beyond tuning. According to him, the profit margins are pretty skinny when you factor everything in that spending $500-$1500 on "prep" would seriously hurt their margins.

It seems to make sense. If getting a piano into a "well-prepped" state requires an expert-level tech to spend a day or two on it, it would seem impossible for standard Yamaha & Kawai's to get that treatment with their volume, the dealer can't take it on, so it's basically up to the buyer to get it there. ...If they can even notice the difference, or be able to describe to the tech what they want done. Like you said, most buyers are just comparing one not-so-well-prepped piano against another.

Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
BornInTheUSA #2441287 07/14/15 04:17 AM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 636
G
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
G
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 636
I thought yamaha and kawai receive extensive prep at the factory in japan and are in very good playing shape upon arrival. Moreover, i always thought Steinway makes it a point to have the dealers prep the piano extensively rather than prepping at the factory. Thus, they arrive very rough.


Shigeru Kawai SK-7
Mason and Hamlin BB
Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Joseph Fleetwood #2441291 07/14/15 04:43 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
J
3000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
3000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
Hamburg Steinways are prepared differently from New York Steinways - in fact that's probably why many pianists prefer the Hamburg models on first playing at least. Personally I love a well-prepared and played in NYC Steinway.

Yamaha and Kawai do receive good factory prep, but then after a piano has been shipped half way around the world, kept in a warehouse, and then set up again, it invariably needs at least some more preparation.

To be fair to the Kawai it really does need to be played in. I prefer a piano that has been played for a couple of years to one that is just out of the box. Believe me I'm not slating the piano, I'm just giving an honest account of how I found this particular example of a GX2 at that particular time when I played it. I'm of the view that it takes a couple of years of playing (at least) for the voice of the piano to develop fully, and then hopefully it can be maintained at that level without too much deterioration for 10 to 15 years before the hammers need replaced, and if it's a well-maintained domestic piano, another 10 to 20 years before the strings start to noticeably fail, by which time the piano is cracking on for 40 years old and you can make a decision about what to do. When I've had my piano for 40 years, I think i'll have other issues on my mind than string replacement. I'll be on my third set of hips and second set of heart valves or something. Or dead.

Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Joseph Fleetwood #2441317 07/14/15 08:13 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,097
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Online Content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,097
One rightfully should compare the C3X at 6'1" to the GX-3 at 6'2". The GX-2 is only 5'11".


Piano Industry Consultant

Contributing Editor & Consultant - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Family Owned and Operated Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Joseph Fleetwood #2441321 07/14/15 08:34 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
J
3000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
3000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
I know. I was comparing them by price. I'm aware of the size differences. At this particular dealership, model for model, the Kawai is more expensive than the Yamaha.

Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Joseph Fleetwood #2441322 07/14/15 08:35 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
J
3000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
3000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
- except for the uprights.

Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Grandman #2441384 07/14/15 12:53 PM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,365
B
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,365
Originally Posted by Grandman
I thought yamaha and kawai receive extensive prep at the factory in japan and are in very good playing shape upon arrival.


I think they do come in a much better state than many other makes and their consistency/quality control is very high, but it doesn't mean if you hired a good tech to spend a day or two on it they couldn't make it much better. For example, you could pay a tech to Stanwood'ize the action - but that takes several days and it's $$$$. There are also less time consuming things they could do that take a day or two, but keep in mind tech's in the free world charge $80~$120/hr.


Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Joseph Fleetwood #2441394 07/14/15 01:23 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
J
3000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
3000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
Some shops have tuners and techs on a salary, but the time that they would take to prepare a piano in-store is time that they would not be on their tuning round earning money for the store.

Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Joseph Fleetwood #2441421 07/14/15 03:53 PM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,768
R
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,768
Hi Joe,
In the on-line "Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer" of Spring 2014, Dr Owen Lovell does a succinct and very positive review of both the new Kawai and Yamaha grands entitled, "Review: Kawai GX and Yamaha CX: Evolutionary or Revolutionary?" This is well worth reading.
I do not wish to impugn your assessment of the Kawai GX-2, but as we know, individual pianos can vary a lot.

Kind regards,

Robert.

Last edited by Robert 45; 07/14/15 03:56 PM.
Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Joseph Fleetwood #2441472 07/14/15 09:11 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 172
I
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
I
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 172
Originally Posted by joe80
So the selection of pianos in the showroom wasn't bad, but for me personally, I think they could do better. Pianos seem to be really quite expensive, and the preparation of the instruments has to be right. Most customers in the UK don't know a well-prepared piano and that's because they rarely get to play one in a shop...


We have it good in Singapore then. Almost every piano shop that I visit, esp. Yamaha outlets, has their pianos well-tuned. It's like in a paradise when you float from one piano to the next ; though it makes me guilty to ask to play their grands because the grands (for bigger Yamaha outlets at least) are stored inside glass rooms and their doors are closed; you need a sales rep to accompany you into those rooms.




Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Joseph Fleetwood #2441475 07/14/15 09:21 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,614
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,614
Contrary to public opinion, the best way to compare pianos is not necessarily when brand new.

It seems that only after a few years of playing and continued expert service the true nature of the beast is being revealed.

This is where one can see which piano seems to slowly decline while others seem to appreciate in tone quality and musicality.

An interesting observation after 30 years in business...

Norbert


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Norbert #2441497 07/14/15 11:12 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,375
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,375
Originally Posted by Norbert
Contrary to public opinion, the best way to compare pianos is not necessarily when brand new.

It seems that only after a few years of playing and continued expert service the true nature of the beast is being revealed.

This is where one can see which piano seems to slowly decline while others seem to appreciate in tone quality and musicality.

An interesting observation after 30 years in business...

Norbert


I found that the larger (eg C7, RX7) models were generally better prepared. Eventually, I worked out that in a lot of cases, the larger pianos had been in stock for, in some cases, several years, and been touched up continually. In contrast, the smaller pianos (up to C3 size) sold much quicker (understandably, a much larger part of the market).


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Norbert #2441537 07/15/15 05:04 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
J
3000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
3000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
Originally Posted by Norbert
Contrary to public opinion, the best way to compare pianos is not necessarily when brand new.

It seems that only after a few years of playing and continued expert service the true nature of the beast is being revealed.

This is where one can see which piano seems to slowly decline while others seem to appreciate in tone quality and musicality.

An interesting observation after 30 years in business...

Norbert



I agree, and I said as much in an earlier post - I'd love to hear the piano after it has been played in for two years.

I'm aware of the rave reviews that the GX series get, and I'm aware of Kawai's generally consistent quality. I could tell from the piano that it's a decent model, and that the action is very good, and that the over all tone is very good. It's a good mid-range piano - which might sound like a put-down (using the term mid-range), but then, there is the Shigeru Kawai for those that have the budged and need for something more refined.

I'm also very aware of the differences between two pianos of the same make, model and year, and that sometimes there can be vast differences although the Japanese instruments tend to be more consistent than others.

There was just something about this particular GX2 that, for me, didn't quite cut the mustard. Don't get me wrong, I love Kawai pianos, and I owned one for a time (a KG-2), but this piano needed something, and I'm not quite sure what that something is.

Perhaps Norbert is right - it needs played in and opened out?


Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Joseph Fleetwood #2441558 07/15/15 07:49 AM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 2,182
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 2,182
Perhaps Norbert is right? Can't really know that for sure.

However I had the exact same experience when comparing the GX2 to the CX2. Both pianos were beautifully made, just what you would expect.

However, in terms of action feel, overall sound, and other intangibles I just didn't love the GX2 anywhere near the Yamaha.

Maybe that was just my personal preference, or maybe the Yamaha was prepared better than the Kawai? Either way, a potential buyer really must audition the exact piano they will purchase ahead of time. Otherwise you are taking a risk...


Yamaha C2X | Yamaha M500-F
Groucho Marx: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."
Curriculum: Faber Developing Artist (Book 3)
Current: German Dance in D Major (Haydn) (OF); Melody (Schumann) (OF)
Re: Tried a new Kawai GX2 today and others
Joseph Fleetwood #2441565 07/15/15 08:17 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
J
3000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
3000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,701
It's true - you have to audition the exact piano you want to buy, and there is even a risk there, as you don't know how it will sound or hold up in 5, 10, 15 years time - although with Yamaha and Kawai, to be fair, it's a pretty safe bet that they'll still be good if looked after.

I might try another GX2 and love it, but for me, I prefer larger Kawais, and when I was shopping for a piano, it wasn't until I got to the RX6/RX7 that I felt I would have something that met my needs. The RX7 was of course too big, and anyway I went for something different altogether as you know. For my taste (and I grant taste plays a large part), it has been my experience that in instruments of 6'3 and smaller, the tier one pianos are generally streets ahead of Kawai and to a lesser extent Yamaha. I say to a lesser extent because I feel that Yamaha's brighter tone helps with the limitations of size on some of their smaller models. On the larger pianos, I have quite often preferred Kawai over Yamaha - I feel the RX6 and RX7 were more refined than the C6 and C7, and I haven't played either the GX6/7 or the Yamaha C6/7X - although I hear they are very good in their class.

Of course, when you start to get pianos of 5'4 and under, you probably don't gain all that much by going for tier one, and I'll quite openly say that I believe Yamaha have absolutely mastered the art of building the smaller grand pianos - and I'm talking about the C1 and C2 (I know the C2 is 5'8). I have tried their GB1 and I think it's basically a piece of furniture.






Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Ken Knapp, Piano World 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
(ad) SWEETWATER Cyber Sale
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Pianoteq presets
by Eli26 - 12/04/20 03:47 PM
A hauntingly beutiful piece you probably never heard
by pianoloverus - 12/04/20 02:29 PM
Them Donners and Lagrimas
by jeffcat - 12/04/20 02:21 PM
Ave Maria by Schubert
by ContentPiano - 12/04/20 02:17 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics203,259
Posts3,030,504
Members99,480
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2020 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4