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#253314 - 12/17/05 03:30 PM Kawaiibrx-1 vs. Kohler and Campbell vs. Knabe
sound of music Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/07/05
Posts: 2
Loc: IL
Please advise on the three above regarding quality, sound, price, etc. All in, I can get the Kawai for around $14K, the Kohler for $11K, and the Knabe $12.5. The Knabe dealer is local and has an excellent reputation. The Kawai and Kohler and Campbell dealer is over an hour away and I am not familiar with their reputation, although they've been around for a long time.

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#253315 - 12/17/05 04:11 PM Re: Kawaiibrx-1 vs. Kohler and Campbell vs. Knabe
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10825
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Try to compare pianos that are of similar costs. See what size piano the Kohler and the Knabe dealer will give you for $14K. Then pick the one that performs the best. From a construction standpoint the Kawai is marginally better than the Knabe and the Knabe is better than the Kohler.

However you might well do better with a larger Kohler than the smaller Kawai.
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

#253316 - 12/17/05 07:03 PM Re: Kawaiibrx-1 vs. Kohler and Campbell vs. Knabe
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
You know.. I played a 5'3" Knabe a few weeks ago, and I was quite impressed. Nice action, BIG sound for a piano that size. I thinhk I preferred it to the same sized Petrof simply because although it might not be quite as warm a tone, it had more oomph.

How big is the RX-1?


He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

#253317 - 12/17/05 07:11 PM Re: Kawaiibrx-1 vs. Kohler and Campbell vs. Knabe
MartinJ. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 316
Loc: Iowa
Check out Larry Fine's book from your library or purchase on line. He'll summarize some opinions on the differences between the pianos quality-wise.

I think the Knabes are made by Samick in Korea and may have replaced the Samick World line. Others in this forum would be more authoritative that I can be, but you might find out if the Kohler and Campbell grands are all Korean built, or if some of the grands are Indonesian built. The Millenium line will be Korean built, and these have reputations as being more carefully assembled.

The Millenium K & C sure look like the same piano as the Knabe, but there may be subtle differences. Again, I don't know but the bluebookofpiano lumps Knabe and Kohler and Campbell together in reporting out prices.

As I was researching vertical pianos, my take was that Yamaha and Kawai were typically rated a tad higher than the Samicks/Kohler and Campbells. I don't know about Knabe. You have to look at (a) which sound and feel do you like best after you play all 3, (b) which piano gives you what you feel is your best value, and (c) which dealer will give you good follow-up.

If you choose to go with one of the Samick-made pianos, the money you save you can apply to a Dampp-chaser system and to tunings.

Another thing to consider is that the Kawai, being better known and more highly rated, may have better re-sale value.

You can search in this forum and on the internet, for opinions on all 3 pianos, as well as general impressions about Korean made versus Japanese made pianos. It may be "tradition" or it may be true, but it seems like most of the research I've done indicates that, across similar price points, Japanese pianos are viewed more favorably than Korean pianos. My research also indicated that one problem of the Korean pianos was simply needing more preparation, that Japanese pianos arrive "ready to play." You'd have to ask your local techs about that.

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#253318 - 12/17/05 09:41 PM Re: Kawaiibrx-1 vs. Kohler and Campbell vs. Knabe
SCCDoug Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 663
Loc: Canada
There is a significant difference between the K&C and Knabe. Of course a piano is much more than the sum of its parts - but the Knabe does have an impressive list and is a much different instrument than the Kohler and Campbell. We looked at K&C KCG 600, Kawai RX2/3, Yamaha C2/3 and Knabe WKG61 and WKG64 - somwhat larger than what you are looking for. The Kohler and Campbell was by far the cheapest, but unfortunately we felt it also played that way. We preferred the Knabe to the Japanese pianos. Our Knabe dealer (who is also the local Yamaha retailer) is a technician who has played a consulting role with Samick in the scale redesign, so is not surprisingly a big fan of these new Knabes. Of course the most important thing is which of these appeals to you musically. We ended up with a Knabe WKG61 and have not regretted the decision for a minute.

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

#253319 - 12/17/05 10:05 PM Re: Kawaiibrx-1 vs. Kohler and Campbell vs. Knabe
MartinJ. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 316
Loc: Iowa
I was comparing the Millenium K & C (the KFM models) to the Knabe, not the "New York" series (the KCG models).

However, as I look at the scant information on the Samick website, the Millenium pianos have a Bolduc soundboard (Canada/North American spruce) while the Knabe has an Italian soundboard. Sounds like the pins might be different, too, although the actions are both described as Renner and both have the Pratt-Reed keys. Both have Fenner designed scales, Roslau wires, 16 ply maple pin blocks.

I would agree that you'd see a big difference between a New York K & C and the Knabe, but I'm not sure the Millenium and the Knabe are all that different as to quality and price point.

The reason I think the K & C Millenium and the Knabe are "the same" piano is because, on the vertical side, the WKV121 looks to be a twin piano to the KMV48SD except for slight finish differences, of course the name on the fallboard, and the KMV48 listed as weighing 20kg more than the WKV121. On the grand side, the specs for the WKG61L and the KFM650L are identical (as to size and weight, I mentioned the Italian v. Canadian soundboard already, although the Bolduc website lists both K&C and Knabe as using its soundboard).

#253320 - 12/17/05 10:21 PM Re: Kawaiibrx-1 vs. Kohler and Campbell vs. Knabe
SCCDoug Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 663
Loc: Canada

You're right of course, I should have read more carefully - our dealer only stocked the KCG's - and we never had a chance to play the Millenium models and they were 1/2 the price of the Knabe's. I believe the WKG61 and 70 are Fenner scales - whereas the WKG58 and and WKG64 are modernized versions of the American Knabe 'Baltimore' scale design. It was these two pianos that our dealer was involved with redesigning - although to my ears I couldn't hear a big tonal or voicing difference between the Fenner and 'Baltimore'. I believe there is a fair bit of the old Samick 'World' pianos in the WKG61. I know the Knabe's also get the full Renner action (i.e. shipped as a completed unit), not so sure about the K&C.

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

#253321 - 12/18/05 10:47 AM Re: Kawaiibrx-1 vs. Kohler and Campbell vs. Knabe
sound of music Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/07/05
Posts: 2
Loc: IL
Everyone has been so kind with their responses. Here are a few clarifications: The K&C is a millenium 5'3", the Knabe is also 5'3", and the Kawai is 5'5". It's so difficult for me to evaluate the sound between the Knabe and Kawai as they are not in the same place. I'm pleased with both which is how they are a part of my final selection. While I am intending to keep the piano for forever, I guess I am slightly influenced by the "brand recognition" of Kawai. When I was looking for used pianos I noticed that I rarely see Kawai's (an indication that people hold them because they are so good?) and see a lots of other brands (which you then need to investigate the year and place of manufacture).

#253322 - 12/18/05 03:32 PM Re: Kawaiibrx-1 vs. Kohler and Campbell vs. Knabe
MartinJ. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 316
Loc: Iowa
You might want to double check on the K&C, I don't see a 5'3" millenium on the website, only a 5'2" New York series. The K&C price list that I have does list a SKG-530 at 5'2"-I'm not sure if the SKG is the predecessor to the KFM models but I think so given that the KCG series are still listed at retail at 13700 in ebony high polish traditional.

If the K&C is a Millenium, then I think the Knabe is basically the same piano. Maybe you could use that to leverage. Offer 11K for the Knabe and see if you get it, or ask the K&C dealer if he'd buy the Knabe from the other dealer and sell to you for 11K. Both of these are buying strategies mentioned in Larry Fine's Piano Book.

I think you're right about Kawai's not going on the market often, and also consider that the Kawai is a bit bigger and for that reason alone might sound better.

One last thing. The bluebookofpianos lists the Kawai GE-30 (ebony)at 19345 (2004 prices), and the K&C/Knabe lists at 16,500 (what I can't tell is if this is for the Millenium/World piano, the model numbers on the price list don't mesh with the website).

The prices you quote indicate about a 28% discount on the Kawai, 24% discount on the Knabe, 33% discount on the K&C. If you're dealing with different models or if the sticker price for these brands is different from the MSRP, then your discount will vary. At this price point, the Korean pianos may actually be considered higher tiered than the Kawai. If it's an RX-1, listing at 22,745, you're getting a deal.

#253323 - 12/18/05 07:09 PM Re: Kawaiibrx-1 vs. Kohler and Campbell vs. Knabe
Greenlee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/05
Posts: 89
Loc: Virginia
I have a Kohler & Campbell New York Series, 5'2. Just purchased it in October. I really like it-- it plays well, sounds beautiful, the keys are very responsive. It fit within my budget and I've been very happy with it so far. It has a versatile sound-- I can play rock, broadway, classical, Christmas carols, and they all sound good.

#253324 - 12/18/05 08:14 PM Re: Kawaiibrx-1 vs. Kohler and Campbell vs. Knabe
Norbert Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 15217
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
It's hard to give advice these days knowing full well the piano market is changing at lightning speed.

Any answer given today is virtually outdated tomorrow - the market is moving way too fast.

Yesterday people laughed when I said the Chinese are coming - today I say - their new high end[/b] is only around the corner.

I've seen the first samples and it sent shockwaves up my spine.

Now its not just "the Chinese are coming" - but 235[/b] of them - many of them co-owned by Japanese, German, American and Korean manufacturers and companies.

In your above stated price ranges you will no longer be buying mediocre-middle-of-the-road type pianos, but new 5'6 and 6'1 models with complete Renner actions, Able hammers, Strunz or Bolduc soundboards, pinblocks and lots of other goodies.

So buy any of the pianos you mentioned today.

But don't quote ol'Norbert he told you so.

When you'll see the stuff that's virtually around the corner to come next.


norbert \:o
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


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