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Shopping For Baby Grand #2531339
04/16/16 08:31 PM
04/16/16 08:31 PM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 3
Los Angeles, CA
J
JayTeaThree Offline OP
Junior Member
JayTeaThree  Offline OP
Junior Member
J
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 3
Los Angeles, CA
Hi everyone. New to the list -- I've been spending hours reading up on everything but have come to the conclusion that I just need to ask the question (apologies in advance if it's already been asked to varying degrees already).

Anyway, I am in the market for a new or used baby grand piano. At this point, it will have three primary functions (in, frankly, differing priorities depending on who you ask in our household):

1. An instrument on which my 8 yr old daughter and 4 yr old son can learn to play.

2. An instrument on which I can re-learn to play (and generally tinker). I played for about 8 years as a child, but haven't regularly played in almost 25 yrs now.

3. A piece of furniture to serve as the focal point for our living room.

Budget is under $5k (preferably) -- which, I presume, means we're looking exclusively at used instruments.

Finally, because I've already done my homework on this board, I understand that if I'm looking at used instruments I should have a professional tech look at it first. So if there are any LA-based techs on this board, please PM me.

Thanks in advance. You have already been a huge help (and have already saved me from overpaying for a sub-par piano!).

Last edited by JayTeaThree; 04/16/16 09:03 PM.
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Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: JayTeaThree] #2531358
04/16/16 10:31 PM
04/16/16 10:31 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,713
Seattle, WA USA
E
Ed McMorrow, RPT Online content
4000 Post Club Member
Ed McMorrow, RPT  Online Content
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,713
Seattle, WA USA
Frankly, I don't see how with that budget you will be able to get anything that won't require spending much more for additional work to get any level of decent performance. Unless you get very lucky at an estate sale. I only get that lucky every few years and I am always looking for grands at a cost to me that allows me to rebuild/restore them into fine performing pianos.

You can contact technicians in your area and see of they have any clients who are aging out of piano ownership.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: JayTeaThree] #2531360
04/16/16 10:39 PM
04/16/16 10:39 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 11,967
Georgia, USA
Rickster Online content
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Rickster  Online Content
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Georgia, USA
Originally Posted by JayTeaThree
Budget is under $5k (preferably) -- which, I presume, means we're looking exclusively at used instruments.

Hello and welcome to Piano World!

Some here will say that <$5K for a decent pre-owned grand piano is impossible. But I am not one of them. smile

However, with that said, it will take a lot of work and patience on your part to find a decent instrument for that price; and, you will likely have to look mostly at private sellers. However, it is possible you might find something in this price range at a dealer.

I would start thinking about your expectations and realize that you won't likely find a brand-name, late model piano at that price, unless you come across a real bargain at just the right time. But you might find something that would meet your expectations and serve your family for several years to come.

I'd still keep an eye out for a reliable brand like Yamaha, Kawai, Baldwin, Chickering, Howard, Story & Clark, and maybe some of the Korean made brands. And, there are also some pretty decent obscure and little known brand pianos out there.

I've been fortunate enough to come across a few real bargains on used pianos, but I had to look for a while and then act quickly when the opportunity presented itself.

And, one more thing, I've learned that the newer the better, as a general rule; although some older pianos still have a lot of life left in them.

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: JayTeaThree] #2531371
04/16/16 11:31 PM
04/16/16 11:31 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,713
Seattle, WA USA
E
Ed McMorrow, RPT Online content
4000 Post Club Member
Ed McMorrow, RPT  Online Content
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,713
Seattle, WA USA
I think the fact the OP is in LA makes the budget more challenging than yours is in the state of Georgia, Rick.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
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Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: JayTeaThree] #2531374
04/17/16 12:05 AM
04/17/16 12:05 AM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 2,895
SoCal
Plowboy Offline

2000 Post Club Member
Plowboy  Offline

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SoCal
Maybe not, Ed. LA is a highly competitive market.




Gary
Essex EUP-111 at the mountains
W. Hoffmann T-122 at the beach
Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: JayTeaThree] #2531379
04/17/16 12:21 AM
04/17/16 12:21 AM
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 221
New Jersey
S
scgrant Offline
Full Member
scgrant  Offline
Full Member
S
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 221
New Jersey
Originally Posted by JayTeaThree
Budget is under $5k (preferably) -- which, I presume, means we're looking exclusively at used instruments.

Finally, because I've already done my homework on this board, I understand that if I'm looking at used instruments I should have a professional tech look at it first. So if there are any LA-based techs on this board, please PM me.


Welcome, and good luck.

I also started with a $5K budget, spent a little less, and ended up very happy, but with a very old instrument from a private seller.

It probably goes without saying, but try the pianos out yourself before bringing in the technician. I drove around a fair bit and tried out a number of pianos, which were uniformly horrible. Sellers are often selling after the pianist has left the home and they are unaware the instrument is unplayable. I ended up vowing never again to look at a 2nd tier piano that hadn't been tuned within the last 6 months. For the 1st tier pianos one can always make an exception as the name alone often makes the piano worth a look.



Adult Beginner/Early Intermediate
Knabe 1902 Grand
Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: JayTeaThree] #2531437
04/17/16 09:31 AM
04/17/16 09:31 AM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 24
T
toomanychoices Offline
Full Member
toomanychoices  Offline
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T
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 24
Jay, your search and reasons for buying are similar to mine. I played for about the same number of years but far longer ago.

I started looking over a year ago, found a restored Knabe from the 20s I liked a lot but they had unrealistic price expectations and weren't yet at a spot where they were ready to get realistic, plus the case was a mess. I am not certain why I like the Knabe sound above others. I wanted a piano for my young granddaughter to use for voice lessons but perhaps my piano teacher had a Knabe. To me it sounds like a piano
should" sound.

I would like to respond to the budget question. People get really hung up on budget: both buyers and sellers. If I went to a dealer and said I could spend up to $10K, they might rightly show me pianos in that range but not far below and only a little above unless they had something they wanted to unload. I looked far above and below that range to hear what I needed to buy as a start.

I thought I found "my" piano a couple of months ago but after hiring a tech to screen it first (due to distance), I went to see it and honestly - as I sat at the keyboard, I was thinking "Would I pay to move this even if it were free?". So, sometimes what you think you want changes.

Next round of shopping, I went to a small local restorer. He had an inventory of pianos- including 2 baby grands from former clients who passed away. Either was $1800, delivered with a one year guarantee and additional tuning whenever I wanted. I committed to one of those, then had a family glitch and then proceeded a few weeks ago. It is a 1947 Knabe with partial restoration 6 years ago: new pins, pin box, strings, shanks and flanges. I couldn't be happier with the piano. It is bringing out the latent piano player I didn't think I could be with no music or lessons (for now). Even my husband sneaks and plays it when no one is home - he has never played piano, only guitar.

I have a cute video of the 4 YO teaching the 2 YO to only play one key at a time but the upload feature appears to only be for photos and I don't have an account to share videos.

In my last round of shopping, I contacted a number of technicians from the Guild and found a great range of pianos with documented "history". I believe one of the reasons I like my budget piano so much is that the same tech maintained it for a piano teacher for decades.

So, my suggestion is to try contacting all the nearby techs- better if you can speak with them. What they represent will be clients' pianos they know intimately or ones they have restored (which would not be my first choice). It goes without saying that you need to play many, many pianos (even if your skills are rusty to the point of embarrassment - like mine. You can learn a lot from playing scales on each piano. Who cares if the seller knows you can't really play?

Good luck -



Last edited by toomanychoices; 04/17/16 09:45 AM.
Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: JayTeaThree] #2531439
04/17/16 09:47 AM
04/17/16 09:47 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 11,967
Georgia, USA
Rickster Online content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Rickster  Online Content
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Georgia, USA
Originally Posted by toomanychoices
I have a cute video of the 4 YO teaching the 2 YO to only play one key at a time but the upload feature appears to only be for photos and I don't have an account to share videos.

Yes, that would be cute! smile

You can post the video on YouTube and share it with us.

I have a YT video of my two grandchildren plinking away at twinkle twinkle little star, (both at the same time on two pianos) and doing a pretty decent job of it. smile

Congratulations on your piano!

Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow RPT
I think the fact the OP is in LA makes the budget more challenging than yours is in the state of Georgia, Rick.

You may be right Ed. I've hardly been out of the state of Ga. I did travel to Texas with my parents when I was about 13 years old. The best part of the trip was seeing the Mississippi river for the first time. It was as wide and muddy as I had always heard/read. smile

I just turned down an early 1900's Baldwin grand (that needed a new pin-block) for free, and I don't surf the online piano ads as much as I used to. So, I may be out of touch with reality on current used piano prices. Besides, I honestly don't need another piano at the moment. smile

But I still think a decent enough baby grand with some life left in it can be had for shy of $5k if one looks hard enough and long enough.

Rick



Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: toomanychoices] #2531455
04/17/16 10:57 AM
04/17/16 10:57 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,713
Seattle, WA USA
E
Ed McMorrow, RPT Online content
4000 Post Club Member
Ed McMorrow, RPT  Online Content
4000 Post Club Member
E
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,713
Seattle, WA USA
Am I to believe you paid $1800 for an old Knabe grand with new pin block, strings, shanks, flanges and hammers? The parts cost way more than that alone.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: JayTeaThree] #2531457
04/17/16 11:23 AM
04/17/16 11:23 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 132
Alsea Oregon, USA
jshelton Offline
Silver Subscriber
jshelton  Offline
Silver Subscriber
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 132
Alsea Oregon, USA
Our tech found our 6 year old Yamaha gc1 for $5000. He had serviced it since new and stated it was only played at parties. The hammers showed no wear at all. A tech can be an excellent source to help you find a bargain.


John Shelton
Shelton-Farretta Guitars
www.sheltonfarrettaguitars.com
Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: JayTeaThree] #2531466
04/17/16 11:42 AM
04/17/16 11:42 AM
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 325
Seminole, Florida, USA
Kenan Offline
Full Member
Kenan  Offline
Full Member
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 325
Seminole, Florida, USA
I can say the EU122 by Pearl River that I currently own is wonderful, beautiful sound and touch.
You might prefer Yamaha action over Steinway because Yamaha is lighter, but the Pearl River is just like the Steinway's touch weight.

If you really do not want an upright, please do look at Brodmann.


Goodluck!
Sincerely,

Last edited by Kenan; 04/17/16 02:47 PM.

-Kenan
Pearl River EU122 48"
I've been playing piano with a teacher
since January '15
Studying under Eunmi Ko of USF as of June '16

My Youtube Channel

My Soundcloud

I also love Astronomy
Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: JayTeaThree] #2531475
04/17/16 12:09 PM
04/17/16 12:09 PM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 430
AZ, USA
Tuneless Offline
Full Member
Tuneless  Offline
Full Member
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 430
AZ, USA
I'm curious Jay, when you say 'baby' grand, do you really mean a piano under about 5&1/2 feet? I ask, because a lot of people instinctively call all grand pianos 'baby grands', when they don't even know WHAT a 'baby' grand is.


Cynthia

Roland FP-50
Conover Upright, 1888/9, but a very low mileage piano. http://www.pbase.com/schnitz/conover_upright_piano__1888_or_9 .
Tuneless = Don't play piano yet but getting there.
I'm technically very capable. I love my piano and love tinkering with it.
Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2531503
04/17/16 03:47 PM
04/17/16 03:47 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 24
T
toomanychoices Offline
Full Member
toomanychoices  Offline
Full Member
T
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 24
Yes- but it's not from the "Golden Age" as people profess is best. The client paid for all that work in 2010. He said he paid her estate a good price, so I assume he means about $1K, maybe, and then asked $1800. When others on this board asked if I negotiated, I said "No" - I thought it was a very good price. It sounds WAY better to me than a 1917 that was rebuilt 8 years ago - that one is still for sale and price keeps getting lower - and does not have a new pin block.

Also important is that this included delivery which generally runs several hundred in my area. And he'll tune it free in 6 months or a year. Parts and labor guaranteed for one year. He documented the work done in case I decide to sell it.

So I go back to a post in another string that the maintenance is critical. The tech will stand behind his/her piano if they are ethical and I found it to be a great way to buy with my current needs.

Last edited by toomanychoices; 04/17/16 03:50 PM.
Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: Rickster] #2531510
04/17/16 04:01 PM
04/17/16 04:01 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 24
T
toomanychoices Offline
Full Member
toomanychoices  Offline
Full Member
T
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 24
Rickster: Always enjoy your posts. I uploaded the video to YouTube as you suggested. Thanks so much - you don't even need to create an account. I made this unlisted.
https://youtu.be/6MYqGb6IfP8

I should have copied Rickster's post - the video is of the 4 YO teaching the 2 YO to play the "new" piano. Both love it.

Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: Tuneless] #2531544
04/17/16 06:59 PM
04/17/16 06:59 PM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 3
Los Angeles, CA
J
JayTeaThree Offline OP
Junior Member
JayTeaThree  Offline OP
Junior Member
J
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 3
Los Angeles, CA
Originally Posted by Tuneless
I'm curious Jay, when you say 'baby' grand, do you really mean a piano under about 5&1/2 feet? I ask, because a lot of people instinctively call all grand pianos 'baby grands', when they don't even know WHAT a 'baby' grand is.


Yes, in a perfect world it would be a baby grand size-wise since we will be tucking it into a corner in our living room. If necessary we could probably accommodate a "standard" sized grand, but we'd prefer something a tad bit smaller.

Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: JayTeaThree] #2531562
04/17/16 09:02 PM
04/17/16 09:02 PM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 3
Los Angeles, CA
J
JayTeaThree Offline OP
Junior Member
JayTeaThree  Offline OP
Junior Member
J
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 3
Los Angeles, CA
Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful posts. I really appreciate them all.

Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: JayTeaThree] #2531582
04/17/16 10:48 PM
04/17/16 10:48 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 11,967
Georgia, USA
Rickster Online content
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Rickster  Online Content
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Posts: 11,967
Georgia, USA
Originally Posted by toomanychoices
Rickster: Always enjoy your posts. I uploaded the video to YouTube as you suggested. Thanks so much - you don't even need to create an account. I made this unlisted.
https://youtu.be/6MYqGb6IfP8

I should have copied Rickster's post - the video is of the 4 YO teaching the 2 YO to play the "new" piano. Both love it.

I loved the video, TMC! smile

That little spark of curiosity and interest may help inspire them toward a lifetime of piano/music enjoyment! Plus, music is good for both the brain and the heart!

I got to see all three of my grandchildren today, including my 3 month old baby grandson, Luke.

Jay, keep looking... you will find something that suits your needs eventually.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: JayTeaThree] #2531626
04/18/16 05:06 AM
04/18/16 05:06 AM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 3,571
Bulgaria
PhilipInChina Offline
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PhilipInChina  Offline
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Posts: 3,571
Bulgaria
Take your time. There are some amazing deals out there.


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: Shopping For Baby Grand [Re: JayTeaThree] #2532143
04/19/16 04:39 PM
04/19/16 04:39 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,705
USA
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gnuboi Offline
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Joined: Apr 2010
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USA
This was many years ago but the smallest Weber grand, NEW, designed by PW friend Del Fandrich not only sounds great and isn't (relatively?) much more than your budget max. Maybe you would decide to go that route or maybe you could find a used one?

Way better than any ol' consumer-level baby grand new or old.


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