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Joined: Jul 2015
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Jon2881 Offline OP
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Hey all! First and foremost, thanks for clicking. I hope I haven't broken any rules. It's great to finally post something, even if redundant...

I've been playing religiously for a little over a year and 3-6 hours a day and attending music courses at my college, and the piano really lit up my life... However, I'm about fed up with my keyboard at home. I have a noticeable performance difference between playing on a grand vs digital keyboard to the point where I feel guilty for practicing at home.

I don't have a lot of room, though, so I searched for a baby grand. After digging around, people seem to agree that baby grands don't sound as good as regular grands due to a correlation with size, but unfortunately I don't have a ton of space to work with here.

I've been told that I should consider an Upright piano due to their vastly cheaper price tags, but there are a surplus of Upright pianos available on campus where I go to school, whereas Grand pianos are very few and far between. They also seem to feel very different, but I can't explain it...

Upon visiting a few stores, the majority seemed to push KAWAI's GM-10K at me. Unfortunately for my slim budget and being a college kid, it costs $8,800 here, new, and my father vigorously disproves against big purchases on used things. Regardless, the salespeople asserted that it's the best baby grand in its price range.

So the big question: Is it worth it? I tried the GM-10K myself, among a few others. Since I'm still an amateur I guess I can't tell the major differences between pianos in their similar price range... other than this piano being slightly heavier than the ones at school and having very muffled, mellow sounds compared to some other stuff I tried.

I have an audition for my college music program soon, and I'm almost 100% sure the audition is on a grand. I'm scared stiff that I'll break down while I play due to my practicing on a cheap keyboard all summer with no real piano available to practice on.

I know there's a few topics on it already, but I would be forever grateful to get just a few second opinions on the matter... I deeply apologize for the wall of text. Any and all wisdom is appreciated!!

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Can you get something a little larger, like 5'6"?

I was going to suggest getting a lightly used, higher quality piano that's a bit larger, but if that's a non-starter for your dad then it's a non-starter.

The Gm-10K is Kawai's lowest end grand piano. I would much rather get the GE-30 but I think it's significantly more.

You may want to check out the Chinese pianos if they're in your area. The ones I've tried I didn't care for, but you might have better luck.

Not sure if the Kawai K-800 upright is in that price range (doesn't look like it), but I'd take that over the GM-10K easily.

Last edited by michaelha; 07/18/15 04:18 AM.
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Welcome Jon on these forums.

I would strongly advise to wait with the purchase of a grand piano until you can afford to buy something beyond the entry lines of manufacturers such as Yamaha, Kawai, or other brands. In all probability, these entry line models won't satisfy you for long and you will soon feel the urge to get a better (and more durable) piano.

If you are limited in funds, three other options come to mind:

1) Buy used. That requires some experience and effort, and in any case a piano technician should inspect any piano you consider seriously - but perhaps it's worth to make the effort.

2) In the same range, look for an upright piano. For the same amount of money you will get new or slightly used uprights of much better quality than the entry line grand you mention. Kawai, for instance, is a very decent brand and you might get a quality Kawai upright for about the same amount. In addition, the soundboard of a mid-range upright may give a fuller sound than that of a very short grand such as the GM10.

3) Rent a piano for the next few years from a respectable dealer in your vicinity. This will give you a range of possibilities, and might even - eventually - lead to a more satisfactory deal than the GM10.

I played several GM10's by the way when doing my own grand piano search a few years back and did not like them at all. With Kawai, things get more interesting with the GE30, I would say. With other brands, it is similar. So, if budget is rigidly limited and if option 1) is indeed out, that leaves you - in my opinion - with 2) or 3).




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Let's hope your father is not immune to a well-researched effort at persuasion--- in other words, too pigheaded to even listen.

And, my suggestion is that you look for a lightly-used Kawai RX-2, especially from its more recent years of production, when incremental improvement of Kawai's best-selling grand reached its highest development.

And then, they discontinued it. Bad news for owners of RX's who may be wishing to move up the piano food chain, because it took a resale price hit through no fault of its own. Good news for devoted students who want a good instrument which will fit in their home, and whose budget is modest. For one thing, there are a lot of them out there, so your chances of finding one are good. For another, it is quite a nice piano in touch and tone, fit and finish, and service and follow-through.

Pops may wish to consider that a good grand, properly cared-for, will enjoy in the neighborhood of 50 years of useful musical life. So, in buying one which is 5 to 10 years old, one does not give up much value--- but, the difference in price between a showroom-new piano and a used one gives the buyer a very significant saving.

As mentioned above, hiring a qualified piano tech to inspect it for condition is essential. You could try http://ptg.org to find one in your area. It's a hundred (or so) bucks well spent.

Your dad may also find that an appeal to tradition carries some weight: very few students of piano start out with a top-of-the-line new instrument. Most work their way up. If and when the time comes for you to move up, these pianos are still in demand and you will not have much trouble selling or trading it in.

You could pay a similar amount for a new, but lesser instrument, as for a used, but superior model. That represents value for the money spent. Besides, if the piano is less than 10 years old, you may inherit Kawai's transferable warranty (somewhat unusual in the industry), which protects you against catastrophic failures of materials and workmanship. These are rare, but the extra measure of security is nice to have, and the exposure may be one thing your dad is uncomfortable with.

I wish you the very best of luck in your piano search. Your enthusiasm is bright enough that it may even thaw out your dad--- which is, no doubt, just trying to protect you.


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Jon2881 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by michaelha
I would much rather get the GE-30 but I think it's significantly more.

I'll definitely look into the GE-30, Michael, and I appreciate the input.. I've read a few threads about the GM-10K where players who have tried it redirect prospective buyers at the GE-30, and I see this is still the case.

Originally Posted by maurus
I played several GM10's by the way when doing my own grand piano search a few years back and did not like them at all. With Kawai, things get more interesting with the GE30, I would say. With other brands, it is similar. So, if budget is rigidly limited and if option 1) is indeed out, that leaves you - in my opinion - with 2) or 3).

Maurus, thanks for the hands on experience and fleshed out alternatives. I'll definitely give these great consideration. People seem to agree on the GE-30. I haven't considered renting a piano yet either so that's a great little something to dwell on.

Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
Your dad may also find that an appeal to tradition carries some weight: very few students of piano start out with a top-of-the-line new instrument. Most work their way up. If and when the time comes for you to move up, these pianos are still in demand and you will not have much trouble selling or trading it in.

Jeff, thanks for your elaboration of the RX-2 and your empathetic, thoughtful post. With the help of an expert and a great amount of research, I might persuade my dad.

You guys have offered me far more information than I really expected coming here and I'm very grateful. I realize now that there are many options available to me. Thanks a lot to all!

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Welcome to the forum!

It doesn't sound like the Kawai GM-10K is the piano for you. It seems to me you are trying to maximize musical potential on a limited budget.

Which leads to a used piano. The only thing standing in the way of that seems to be your dad. Hopefully with some education this can be helped. I've even seen people walk in to a violin shop and shake their heads "no we don't want used violin we want new." Wow. The most valuable violins are used. Strads are a used violin.

Of course pianos are not violins. Don't read too into my little analogy. But when you are buying a musical instrument what matters is the musical condition of the instrument. A piano can be 10 years old and in fantastic musical condition. Or a piano can be 90 years old and in fantastic musical condition *if* is has been restored / rebuilt. (It would be very rare for a 90 year old piano to be in great shape without work, but even that can happen)

Start looking at the used market, and you can find some exciting options. Baldwin is often an excellent value on the used market. Check Craigslist for a Baldwin R.


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Originally Posted by musicpassion
Start looking at the used market, and you can find some exciting options. Baldwin is often an excellent value on the used market. Check Craigslist for a Baldwin R.


Thank you. I'm not sure how the process works or how much it usually cost, but I will definitely investigate used pianos.

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You're in Southern CA so there are a lot of potential pianos.

Just start surfing Craigslist and explore pianos that appeal to you and fit your budget. When you find one you might like, call the seller and schedule some time to audition the instrument. Some sellers might not understand this (that a musician needs to play an instrument before they really know anything about it) but most will. If, after playing it, you don't like it, just move on.

If you do like it enough to consider purchase then.... *important* hire a technician to evaluate it. The skill of the technician is very important. If you would like a recommendation, PM me. I have hired work in LA area before.

There are some interesting pianos on LA craigslist right now. I'll do a separate post listing some I think look interesting.


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This Kawai should outperform the one you were looking at new
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac/msg/5130500741.html

It might be too large, but some of these sound very nice.
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv/msg/5124892453.html

Another Kawai... they don't list the size or model
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/msg/5111236545.html

A Baldwin - might be a little battered or old. Hard to tell from photo.
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst/msg/5128096265.html

This Estonia is from before the redesign, I think. But worth checking out
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst/msg/5091025595.html

See if you like some of the Korean instruments. The price is certainly agreeable.
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/msg/5121969137.html

You'd have check condition carefully but Mason and Hamlins have a lot of potential
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst/msg/5124093444.html

Whatever direction you wind up going, have fun and try a lot of pianos!




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hey Jon,

music passion is right, LA is a goldmine in terms of used pianos and great deals. I started out with CL looking somewhere between $8-12K but that's another story. Point is, jump on the ones in your budget and have a tech handy who can evaluate for you. This being my first acoustic, I "borrowed" a tech from our friends.

My search went like this; I would do all the legwork, take pix, get history (for what it's worth) and run down my "used piano" inspection list (from the buyer guide, which you can buy right here). It took a little time to inspect and always got a reaction from the sellers. Guess I was the only buyer to inspect first and then play!

If I thought it was worthwhile, he would evaluate by email or phone. I wanted you to know, this arrangement served me well. In the spirit of fair play, I paid him for all the times I called on him. He never asked for payment but your tech may see it another way. So, LA county is 465 sq miles, in which area are you located? I'm on the west side and found most techs will not travel out of their area. PM me if you want, I have a couple names depending on your location. Perhaps between music passion and myself, we'll come up with some names for you. There's a lot of qualified techs, many of whom have sources for buyers and sellers. Btw, my brother bought a new K3 the same time I bought my piano. I feel the K3 and Yamaha's U3 are outstanding instruments. They both rake in awards time after time.

I would close saying; enjoy the process but your enthusiasm shows you already are. Have fun.......blob


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YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1

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