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Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251481
03/24/04 01:47 PM
03/24/04 01:47 PM
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Nat88 Offline OP
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I am looking to get a grand piano. I have narrow it down to Kawai RX-3 and Estonia 190. Both are roughly around the same asking price. Which grand give me a better bang for my buck?

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251482
03/24/04 02:11 PM
03/24/04 02:11 PM
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Okemos, MI
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Assuming you've played them both, which sound do you prefer?


"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
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Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251483
03/24/04 02:35 PM
03/24/04 02:35 PM
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Anaheim Hills, CA
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I have just gone thru the exact same situation with the same two pianos. I think there is actually about a $2,500-$3,000 price difference, at least with the dealer that I worked with. Not really much when you amortize it over many years. Search thru this forum, lots of discussion about both of these pianos especially the Estonia as of late.

Good luck,

FrankR


Keep a song in your heart!

Frank
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Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251484
03/24/04 05:43 PM
03/24/04 05:43 PM
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I would lean towards the Kawai, but that's just me. If you don't care then get which ever is less expensive. Both will give you about the same quality over the life of the piano. Good Luck

Brandon


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Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251485
03/24/04 10:06 PM
03/24/04 10:06 PM
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Interesting question. Bang for the buck. There are so many variables. In spite of Norb's continuous bragging about how many great components are in the Estonia, when it comes down to it, the Kawai probably has a better resale value over time. That doesn't mean I'd buy one over the Estonia. If both were the same price I'd probably pick the Estonia, but I've not heard both head to head.

Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251486
03/24/04 11:26 PM
03/24/04 11:26 PM
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There is no point in *bragging* about any the components of any piano because they don't matter.

This has been established beyond discussion here.

And 'resale value' should also be no factor.

[Even though the prices for Estonia grands have almost doubled over the last seven years and we just sold one for a customer who trade up to a 6'3 for about $ 3000 more than he paid 3 years ago...]

Buy the piano you like better,or - if it matters to you - is simply cheaper!

Norbert smile


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251487
03/24/04 11:31 PM
03/24/04 11:31 PM
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Bri,

Forbes magazine did an article on the Estonia calling it "Today's best value in grand pianos", Sept. 15, 2003. This is a financial magazine and the comment was intended to portray investment value.

Now if you are looking for a good investment, buy American stocks (i hope) - but their point is in todays market, they are probably going to do well in resale. I happen to agree.

My devalued 2 cents,


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
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Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251488
03/24/04 11:44 PM
03/24/04 11:44 PM
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I have owned my Estonia 190 for three years. It is a wonderful instrument and has given me much enjoyment, especially when I'm winding down at the end of a busy day.

I regularily play a Kawai at church. It is a fine piano too, but to me the warmth and color of the Estonia sound is much more satisfying than the predictable and "hard" sound of the Kawai.

I also played four Estonia 190 models before selecting the one I purchased - two were in another state and two were from the local dealer. Each had a distinct sound and I selected the one that spoke to me. You will notice that most of the folks who post here finally say buy the one that speaks to you.

Let us know what you decide to do.

Terry


1904 Henry F. Miller Concert Grand * 2002 Estonia 190 Satin Bubinga * 2008 Schulze-Pohlman vertical 125 polished cherrywood peacock design * 2008 Schoenhut minature grand (49 keys) * 2008 Roland Digital Harpsichord, 2010 Roland FP-4 (88 key slab).
Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251489
03/25/04 08:57 AM
03/25/04 08:57 AM
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New York
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I've compared them, and I like the Estonia better, but you need to buy what sounds best to you. They are both fine pianos. Each is well constructed, neither currently carry the prestige (aka resale value) of a top-tier piano...but Estonia might someday. Are they really the same price? I would have thought that the value of the dollar and the EU status of Estonia (the country) would have pushed the price of the Estonia (piano) upward.


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Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251490
03/25/04 10:01 AM
03/25/04 10:01 AM
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Since the dealer here carries Kawai and Estonia it was easy to compare the Estonia 190, Kawai RX 3, and Shigeru SK 3 without stepping outside.

Disclosure: I own an Estonia.

Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251491
03/25/04 11:43 AM
03/25/04 11:43 AM
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I personally would not put emphasis on the "resale value" argument at all. Buy the piano you like most within your budget and leave some money to take good care of the piano after you buy (good maintenance is key to resale value). Then enjoy the piano for what it is, and let the "resale" factor take care of itself.

On pricing, it would appear to me that if indeed you were quoted the same price for a black Estonia 190 and a black RX-3, you might find it benefitial to bargain harder for the RX-3 if that is what you like better.

MarkS' suggestion to find a dealer who carries both and compare them head-to-head is certainly a good one.

Good luck.

Disclosure: I own a Kawai.

Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251492
03/26/04 12:36 AM
03/26/04 12:36 AM
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Good call Axtremus. You need to try them side by side if at all possible. I have to admit that historically *for me*, Estonia's weren't my bag (I'd played about 4). They were OK, but always just OK. But I recently played a 190 that was brand new out of the box, and it had some serious kick in it, which is what I thought the others lacked. So, my opinion has changed with Estonia as I now know what they are capable of.

Same with Kawais... I've played some that were OK, and others that were pretty damn good (including an S. Kawai that was to die for). It just goes to show you that it depends on what particular piano you happen to be playing at that particular time/day.

Never underestimate the piano showroom acoustics either. You never really know how the thing's going to sound until it's in your house!

Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251493
03/28/04 11:00 AM
03/28/04 11:00 AM
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Ooh, Mark S. Please tell us more about your assessment of playing the Kawai RX3, Estonia 190 and Shigeru SK3 all at one dealer. These are 3 of the pianos I'm considering. I don't know of a dealer in my area that has all 3 of these pianos side by side (that'd be great.)

I have played the Kawai RX3, and Shigeru SK3. The Estonia 190 I intend to get to on my piano quest soon. All of the buzz on this website about the Estonia makes me hopeful it may be the one. (Still don't like the idea of the fake wood lid)

Mark: How do you compare these 3 pianos to one another?

How was the sustain in the treble area? (Important to me.) Which piano do you think had the most sustain?

Did you find any of these 3 to open up more tonally - to change in tonal color - when you played them more loudly? Did you find the Kawai's Shigeru "opened up" when playing more loudly? My initial impression is the Shigeru's tone remains more or less the same, it's almost as though a volume knob is simply being turned up to make it louder-that it lacked tonal color, if you will. But I have to say I loved playing this piano and found myself playing very expressively, I love its big voice!

Can you comment on how much power, the range of dynamics, the Estonia posseses compared to the Shigeru and RX3? I really like the big voice of the Shigeru (and the Mason and Hamlin.) I've heard some comments regarding Estonias lacking "power", but perhaps the newer ones are better. What did you think?

How would you compare the Estonia's tone to Steinway? I love a good sounding Steinway. It's probably my favorite. I had no preconceived inclinations when starting to look for pianos, in fact, I wanted to like a different piano but find just one note on a good sounding Steinway is magical. That being said, I've also played many less than stellar sounding Steinways:

A number of rebuilt vintage Steinways all at one dealer that sound somewhat metallic. Was it the way they were rebuilt? Is this the sound of a vintage rebuilt Steinway? Was it the acoustics of the room they were in? Was it the voicing?

A rebuilt Steinway that sounded "unbalanced". Nice strong voice and the notes sound great individually, but when you play a piece of music the bass overpowers the treble and that magical Steinway sound I'm looking for wasn't there, either. This was a private sale. Woulda been a bargain, but I passed.

New Steinways not well prepped with weak treble...

A few great sounding rebuilt Steinways with that magical tonal quality but also with action quirks

A rebuilt Steinway with great tone but tons of ringing (cyphers?)going on (not "after ring" - this happend while notes were depressed). This one was already voice about as mellow as you could get.

And then, of course, the magical sounding new Steinways that were WELL PREPPED. Actually, the one I really loved was used - 4 years old!

Uh, oh! I'm running on! I'll stop now.

I hope to hear a little more about these pianos on this thread.

Jeanne


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Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251494
03/28/04 06:28 PM
03/28/04 06:28 PM
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Irvington, NY
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Quote
Originally posted by Jeanne W:
The Kawai RX3, Estonia 190 and Shigeru SK3...are 3 of the pianos I'm considering. I don't know of a dealer in my area that has all 3 of these pianos side by side (that'd be great.)
Jeanne
Jeanne,

If you want to be able to see Kawais and Estonias as well as an ample number of rebuilt Steinways - all in one location, it would be worth your while to visit Piano Row in NYC (which runs between Seventh Avenue and Broadway on West 58th Street). The rebuilt Steinways (in three of the shops) aren't likley to have the types of problems that you mentioned. The Estonias and Kawais should be fairly easy to compare since the Estonia and Kawai dealers are side-by-side.

Note: The Kawai dealer is just in the process of opening so you might have to wait a few weeks before you can actually try some Kawais Ė so be sure to call ahead. And yes, Iím associated with one of the piano shops so you might consider this to be a bit of a promotion. That is not my intention at all. You are more than welcome to visit our showroom even if it's just to try out the Estonias before perhaps buying one somewhere else.

Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new and rebuilt Mason & Hamlins, new Estonias and rebuilt Steinways


Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com
Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251495
03/28/04 07:00 PM
03/28/04 07:00 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by irving:

Note: The Kawai dealer is just in the process of opening so you might have to wait a few weeks before you can actually try some Kawais
Hello Irving. Who is the Kawai dealer? Is Beethoven taking the line, I know they have lots of used Kawai verticals.

Thanks

Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251496
03/28/04 07:43 PM
03/28/04 07:43 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Christopher James Quinn:
Who is the Kawai dealer? Is Beethoven taking the line, I know they have lots of used Kawai verticals.
Hello Chris,

No, Beethoven is not the new Kawai dealer. A new piano store is opening on the block - right next door to us. I don't know for certain any of the particulars, but I've been told (by reliable sources) that Kawai will be featured. As far as I know, no dealer presently on the block is involved in the new store. Faust Harrison is certainly not involved.

Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new and rebuilt Mason & Hamlins, new Estonias and rebuilt Steinways


Irving
Faust Harrison Pianos
We sell new Bechsteins, Yamahas, Mason & Hamlins, Brodmanns and W. Hoffmanns, and rebuilt vintage Steinways. All rebuilding is done in our own factory. www.faustharrisonpianos.com
Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251497
03/29/04 12:19 AM
03/29/04 12:19 AM
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Cool! I have always wondered why there was no Kawai dealer in NYC. It's such a big piano market that any piano maker who is somebody has to have a presence in NYC. Thanks, Irving, for sharing the news of a new piano store opening on the Piano Row.

Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251498
03/29/04 09:28 PM
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Cool! I have always wondered why there was no Kawai dealer in NYC. It's such a big piano market that any piano maker who is somebody has to have a presence in NYC
There are Boston dealers.

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Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251499
03/29/04 09:57 PM
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Jeanne W,

It's been twelve months since I compared Kawais and Estonia so the recollections are quite vaque.

I had gone to the Kawai dealer to check out the Kawais. (Earlier that day I had visited a dealer with Petrof, Foerster, Bechstein, and Baldwin, plus a dealer with Kohler & Campbell Millenium.)

First my opinion of the Kawais: The RX 1 (I've had prior experience with one) played decently, but the RX 2 was better. The RX 3 didn't strike me as being any better than the RX 2. Even the RX 6 wasn't that much more impressive than the RX 2. (I had the same experience at another dealer with an RX 2 and an RX 6.)

At that dealer I preferred the Estonia 190 to the Kawais, a rebuilt Mason and Hamlin A, and the Estonia 168.

When I returned to the dealer a few weeks late hoping to buy the Estonia 190 I spent time with it and the Shigeru Kawai SK 3. I thought that the SK 3 was a bit louder, but the basic tone quality of the Estonia 190 was more beautiful. I can't say that I recall any difference in the sustain, though. The action on the SK 3 felt a bit springy (not as much as a Weber WSG 57) whereas the Estonia's action felt as if it were all weight. That's about all I remember.

I compare my Estonia 190 with Steinway B regularly. I have a Steinway B (1972) in my office, plus there is one in our rehearsal room (also 1972). The Steinways got new hammers, shanks, strings, tuning pins, and agraffes from the Steinway dealer three years ago. The technician who worked for the dealer then is my technician as well. From time to time I play a Steinway B at a church which bought it new about two years ago. That was prepped by my technician. All of the Steinways are still serviced by my technician.

The action in the old Steinways seems rather crude. The action in the new one is lighter and more responsive. It does occasionally feel as if there is a glitch here and there, something I don't feel on my Estonia, or a 1989 Yamaha C3 at work.

The tone of the Steinways, old and new, seems less refined. Also, the sustain is a little shorter in the treble.

We also have a 1965 Steinway B in another rehearsal room. To my ear, this really has the classic "boxy" (my term) Steinway sound. It has always been a favorite.

If it is an issue, I find no problem with getting volume out of the Estonia.

I'll be curious to hear your comparisons.

Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251500
03/30/04 12:47 AM
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MarkS,

I personally like Estonia pianos. But your comparisons in regard to the Kawai are biased or intentionally wrong, more than objective.

If you canít tell the difference in tonal quality between a RX-2 and RX-6, Iíll be hesitant to take any of your opinions seriously. The difference in between the two pianos is extremely noticeable.

Again, your action comparison is also more than just an opinion, Kawai actions are very responsive and they donít feel springy especially on a Shigeru Kawai. If there is a complaint about Kawaiís actions, is that they are a bit heavy for certain people.

People come here for advice and not for bunch of BS. They get enough of that at the dealer.
That by the way you sound like a Estonia dealer

(good pianos deserve quality salespeople)

Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251501
03/30/04 10:24 AM
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OK, MarkS picked his Estonia and I picked my Kawai, but I respect what MarkS has to say nonetheless, and he is NOT a salesman.

The following is my opinion on the RX's and the Shigerus:

1. RX-2 and RX-3 play and sound rather similar among those I played in showrooms. No appreciable difference in tone until perhaps the very last octave in the bass.

2. RX-6 is tonally a very big step up to my ears, especially the bass, not that much difference in the top 2~3 octaves or so, but overall much better balance across the whole scale.

3. The RX's, out of the box, have weak tones that need to be developed/voiced/played-in to achieve their full potential (no worse than most other out-of-the-box pianos). Once played a prep'ed-for-concert RX-5 and some other new RX's in the same showroom -- big difference!

4. Shigeru's tone has added dimensions of refinement/nuances over the RX's. All new ones I've seen were very nicely prepared in the showrooms, so #3 above might not be an issue.

5. Touch -- "springy" is not a bad word, I personally used "rebound" before to describe that special Kawai touch. Both the RX's and the Shigerus' keys, once released, seem to bounce back so much quicker that the other pianos' that it feels like the key is gently hitting back at your finger tips. To me, it felt weird at fist, but it took me only half a minute to adjust and after that first 30 seconds, I like that rebound feel a lot -- I lose no control over it and it makes me feel more connected to the piano. Shigeru's keys might be a slightly less bouncy than the RX's, but still bouncier than most other brands.

5b. And yes, they are all very responsive. (The "rebound/springy" aspect does NOT, however, make them any more responsive than a Yamaha or a well-prepared Mason and Hamlin or other "high-end" European pianos that do not have that special "rebound" feel.)

5c. The new RX's touch is heavier than the Yamaha's for sure, but not all that heavy. The Shigerus are noticeably much heavier in touch, more so than the typical Steinway, if there is such a thing. The only new pianos that have even heavier touches than the new Shigerus, in my experience, would be the Mason and Hamlins.

6. Something the Kawais are not being given enough credit for: its big booming bass (and I'll add "glorious" if it comes from a big Shigeru, though to my ears, a bit of power has been sacrificed and traded-off for an added bit of refinement/roundness, but still packs a very big wallup).

cscorock and Jeanne W, I hope you're not confused or discouraged by all these diverging opinions.

Good luck. smile

Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251502
03/30/04 10:29 AM
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I come here for a bunch of BS.

Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251503
03/30/04 10:59 AM
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Sorry. I don't work for a dealer. I don't sell pianos. (If I were any good at that I wouldn't have nearly given away a 6' 1915 Sohmer in 1997!) I work for a university.

The RX 6 really doesn't seem that much more impressive given that it is fourteen inches longer. I have no problem noticing the difference between a Steinway B or L and that is just twelve inches. (If I had wanted a bit smaller piano for a little less money I'd go with the Kawai RX 2 over just about anything else.)

I think Axtremus described the action differences very well. When Axtremus and I describe pianos we are relating what a respectable pianist hears and feels. Yep, we're biased, but we have nothing to sell.

If I were selling a piano in this size range it would be the Foerster 190--still a favorite!

I need to get back to the Steinway B here in the studio. We have a recital in two hours.

Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251504
03/30/04 07:31 PM
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Mark S:

You asked if I could add more about my thoughts on the Estonia, Kawai RX's, Shigerus, Steinways.

I have not yet played Estonia, so I can't comment on those. I'm looking forward to playing the Estonia.

The piano tone I prefer is Steinway. Very expensive, though.

The best Steinway I've played is one particular Steinway B that is 4 years old. Terrific tone; action; volume. (I find the 5'7 and 5'11 lacks the dynamic range - it's when I get to the B that the volume I want is there.) I was a little surprised; however, this piano had decent sustain qualities in its treble, but could have been better.

The Shigeru SK3 volume wise pretty much equals the volume a Steinway B is capable of (just my impression).

I'm surprised about your comment about there not being much difference between the Kawai RX2 and RX3. Both my husband and I thought there was a distinct improvement in tone and volume of the RX3 over the RX2. Enough to warrant buying the RX3!

I do agree with Axtremus and many others that the tonal qualities of the Shigeru is a step up from the Kawai RX series. I find most Kawai pianos to be VERY mellow, although, interestingly enough, I just played 2 brand new RX's that were so BRIGHT I immediately went into shock! After playing about 10 Kawais, all of which were VERY VERY MELLOW, consistently the most mellow of all pianos I've played, I just figured Kawai=mellow (typical mellow piano) - THEN I play 2 that are pretty darn bright! Always a zinger to be thrown into the works!

Larry Fine suggests erring on the side of buying a piano that is too mellow rather than too bright since all pianos will brighten in tone after a while. So I'll just add, I was interested in hearing how the typical mellow Kawais might change in tone after several years. I was able to play 2 Kawai RX2's that are several years old and were used at a piano conservatory of some kind, and are now for sale. They sounded and played quite nice, thank you - yes, the tone is a bit brighter than the typical brand new Kawai RX's, a pleasant brightness (not TOO bright). I thought they sounded better than the brand new RX the dealer had on the floor! And the treble was even SOMEWHAT BELL LIKE in tone! Yes, bell like! (I've found few pianos to have a bell like tone, among them, the Mason and Hamlin, certain Steinways, a certain Charles Walter.) Very nice! Makes me want to reconsider buying an RX!

Axtremus: Regarding your comments about the difficulty of playing the Mason and Hamlins. My husband asks me: "Wouldn't I like the challenge of playing a Mason and Hamlin if it'll make me a better pianist?" I actually find the keyboard action pretty ok. The tone is just a bit too brilliant for my liking. I like a gentler sound on my ear. My impression of the Mason and Hamlin:

Each individual note shouts:

LISTEN TO ME! LISTEN TO ME!

(If you play a wrong note, your mistake really stands out.) Not all pianos are this way. For comparison:

Kawai:

Each notes says: WE'RE PART OF THE TEAM! WE'RE ALL PLAYING TOGETHER.

(If you play a wrong note, it blends in more easily with the rest of what you're playing, it's not as hard to listen to.)

I also can't get over how stiff and short in range of motion the Mason & Hamlin pedal. I agree with Dan M who says this is a very masculine piano. I'll go one better: I think it has an ornery personality: If it could talk it would say: NYAH! NYAH! JUST TRY TO GET ME TO DO WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO! (Here I am wrestling with the sustain pedal and - GAK! - it's cutting notes off I wanted to sustain.)

DON'T GET ME WRONG! I think the Mason and Hamlin IS A TERRIFIC PIANO. It happen to prefer a more mellow tone however. I'm also not a brilliant pianist (I make mistakes) and I'm also not a highly competitive person looking for a challenge. I think the Mason and Hamlin is possibly THE INSTRUMENT for high caliber pianist who prefer a brighter more brilliant tone. The pedals can be adjusted if one prefers them to be less stiff (I find it's possible to get used to them before too long also.) My husband likes the Masons a lot. He believes it is capable of a higher level of performance (and so do I) than many other pianos.

I think Mason and Hamlin could benefit from a well thought out marketing campaign. OK, I gotta say it - it's one helluva piano!

But I digress and runneth on-neth.

So I'll signeth offeth for now!

Jeanne


Music is about the heart and so should a piano be about the heart. - Pique

1920 Steinway A3
My Piano Delivery Thread:
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Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251505
03/30/04 08:47 PM
03/30/04 08:47 PM
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Axtremus  Offline
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Actually, I didn't find the M&H "difficult" to play, I just happen to prefer a lighter touch. Also, good call on the M&H's sustain pedal, it echoes my own experience with M&H's sustain pedal. wink

Re: Kawai RX-3 vs. Estonia 190 #251506
03/30/04 08:57 PM
03/30/04 08:57 PM
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Jeanne,

Thanks for the observations.

As for Mason and Hamlin pedal stiffness, read what Larry Fine says. In my opinion the pedal on the late model Steinway B at the church is stiff and has a short travel. The technician removed the spring from the B in my studio to eliminate a noise. Taking the spring off the Mason and Hamlin pedal might make it more manageable for you. [My technician shortened the travel on the damper pedal on my Estonia without my asking. Since he prepped the Steinway B I suspect that he just prefers a shorter travel.]

The Steinway B and D don't always have a lot of sustain or projection in the treble. I prefer the B because it strikes me as possessing a better balance.

If you want the power of a Steinway B, an Estonia will probably be too timid, although I don't recall the SK 3 to be as powerful as a Steinway.

Have you tried a Yamaha S4? It sounded rather "European" to my ears, but also powerful. I liked the tone better than any other Yahama, including the concert grand. OK, it was the most interesting Asian piano I've ever played.

For those accused me of being an Estonia salesperson: They are only available at a Kawai dealer in Chicago so promoting them at the expense of Kawai wouldn't make much sense, would it? I'll bet the dealer could survive without the Estonia franchise (can I have it?) but I'll bet it would fold without Kawai.

For those who think I'm unfair to Steinway read my previous posts about Steinway durability in tough institutional use; some of you jumped on me for defending Steinway in those. I play on a daily basis an Estonia and a Steinway which are maintained by the same technician. That is an uncommon situation.


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