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Advice on <$15K piano? #2548267 06/10/16 01:41 PM
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bluedane Offline OP
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Hi all,

I have been a lurker here for a while, but I could use some advice so I finally jumped in.

I just got a new house with a living room big enough for a small-ish grand. I am a lifelong brass player and composer (mostly writing kids music for cartoons like Ranger Rick and Reading Rainbow) and I play the piano enough to compose, but I am not a trained pianist. I just started taking real lessons to fill in the gaping holes in my fundamentals and it has been... humbling. But I want a nice piano because I can hear the difference and my own stuff sounds good - I just can't sit down and sight read Chopin (yet). smile I also want a piano that my son can learn (and undoubtedly surpass me) on. I tend to like/write film score-style music rather than more classical music.

I am trying to come in < 15K, which is a range with some good pianos in it. I am currently looking at
1. Essex EGP 155
2. Boston GP 156 (stretching the budget)
3. Yamaha GC1
4. Yamaha GC1M
5. Kawai GL20
6. Baldwin Model L (one from 1969, one from ~1980, I think). Haven't played those yet, but would travel to see them.

I read the pianobuyer web site and nothing seems to leap out as being either horrible or fantastic.

Here is my thinking, all advice is very appreciated.
1. I like the Yamaha an Kawai action the best

2. I like the Yamaha and Kawai sound the best

3. I like dark, rich sounds and am confused when I read that the japanese brands are lighter and thinner. That isn't what I heard, but I don't want to just have piano-desire-induced deafness.

4. The baldwin L is a big step up size-wise and people say it is ~comparable to a steinway. But it is also 30-50 years old, versus one of these new ones. And here was a period of dodgy quality for Baldwin, correct? When was that?

5. Since Boston is made by Kawai, is there an advantage to getting the Boston?

5. How is resale/tradeup on these? I would rather spend a bit more and keep the investment than take a 70% hit the day I bring it home.

6. Are any of these no-brainers, one way or the other? Or are they all fine and I am splitting hairs and should just get on with life and choose based on preference?

Thanks! I really appreciate all comments. I know that many of these questions have been asked before (I think I've read all of them), but there always seem to be bits that remain unanswered until you ask your own question. smile





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Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: bluedane] #2548301 06/10/16 03:46 PM
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Retsacnal Offline

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I like older Baldwins myself, but I'm biased. wink

It all boils down to touch and tone, and what you like. In fact, it sounds like you like Kawai and Yamaha. The "brightness" reputation I think comes from the past, and may not be quite as true any more (trust your ears). But, again, try everything in your budget and see what you like. Older Baldwins can be quite nice if they've been taken care of. If you buy something second-hand, be sure to have it inspected.



And still I dream she'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: bluedane] #2548304 06/10/16 04:05 PM
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Rickster Offline
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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
I like older Baldwins myself, but I'm biased. smile

It all boils down to touch and tone, and what you like. In fact, it sounds like you like Kawai and Yamaha. The "brightness" reputation I think comes from the past, and may not be quite as true any more (trust your ears). But, again, try everything in your budget and see what you like. Older Baldwins can be quite nice if they've been taken care of. If you buy something second-hand, be sure to have it inspected.

Old habits are hard to break... I still keep my eye on the local Craigslist for pianos for sale, and there is a 1995 Baldwin L for sale not too far away for an asking price of $5400. That is actually a great price for that piano if in good condition.

Lord knows I don't need another piano, but when a bargain comes along close to home, it is tempting. smile

I actually sent the guy an email asking for more info and never heard back from him. Guess it wasn't meant to be.

Any of the pianos on the OP's list would be good prospects in my view.

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: Rickster] #2548305 06/10/16 04:09 PM
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ebonykawai Online Content
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Originally Posted by Rickster
I still keep my eye on the local Craigslist for pianos for sale, and there is a 1995 Baldwin L for sale not too far away for an asking price of $5400.


Holy cow!! shocked


Lisa

Currently working on RCM 7 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP, Kawai KDP110

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: bluedane] #2548308 06/10/16 04:27 PM
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Welcome to the forum, bluedane. smile While the Baldwin L is a terrific piano, I would be cautious about the two used ones. Pianos generally start needing substantial reconditioning or rebuilding work at 25-30 years of age, so unless those pianos have been worked on, you could find yourself needing to make further investment. You'd want to make sure to have those (and any other used piano on your short list) inspected by a piano technician before agreeing to purchase them.

As for the others on your list, I'm partial to the Kawais; their action is generally superb.

Your profile doesn't show your location. If you are anywhere close to Philly, I'd give the Cunningham Grand at Cunningham Piano in Philadelphia a very close look as an excellent choice for a new piano in your price range.

Piano shopping is fun. smile Take your time, check out what's available on the used market, and drive to every piano store in reasonable commuting distance. I discovered in my own search that it took a fair amount of sampling to gain a good sense of what I liked and didn't like in a piano's tone and action.

Keep us posted, and good luck! smile



Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: bluedane] #2548309 06/10/16 04:32 PM
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Rickster Offline
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Holy cow!! shocked

Well, here is the ad, just in case anyone thinks I'm making this up... (which is not my nature smile )

CL ad for Baldwin L, from 1995

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: Rickster] #2548331 06/10/16 05:37 PM
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Retsacnal Offline

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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Holy cow!! shocked

Well, here is the ad, just in case anyone thinks I'm making this up... (which is not my nature smile )

CL ad for Baldwin L, from 1995

Rick


Wow, for the price I'd almost go for it (but I don't want ebony)!



And still I dream she'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: bluedane] #2548340 06/10/16 06:15 PM
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pianoloverus Online Content
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I think you should also consider the best Chinese pianos.i.e. Hailun, Ritmuller, and Brodmann. Also, the Cunningham piano and any others listed as staff picks in the Piano Buyer.

Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: bluedane] #2548341 06/10/16 06:19 PM
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gnuboi Offline
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The Baldwin L is a superb piano but you would want it serviced for something that old before comparing it to a new piano. If the technician says new strings needed then you need to factor that into your budget.

Just like on a guitar or violin, new strings rule.

Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: bluedane] #2548343 06/10/16 06:22 PM
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Ritmuller & Brodmann are two pianos worth to look at, I wouldn't pass up Pearl River if you had the chance to look at them as well.


-Kenan
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Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: bluedane] #2548348 06/10/16 06:41 PM
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bluedane Offline OP
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Thank you, folks! I really appreciate it.

There is also a possibility of a ~10 yr old C3, ~10 year old G3, and a 12 year old Boston 163.

Do any of these change the calculus, or just add to the general mishmash? 5 year warranty on all three.


Yamaha GC1M, Kurzweil K2500, Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol
Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: bluedane] #2548352 06/10/16 06:57 PM
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vancamp Offline
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Definitely look at the C3. Also, since you like Kawais, keep your eyes out for used RX3s. They're not uncommon and might provide more value than a new one.

Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: bluedane] #2548353 06/10/16 07:04 PM
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Rickster Offline
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Originally Posted by bluedane
Thank you, folks! I really appreciate it.

There is also a possibility of a ~10 yr old C3, ~10 year old G3, and a 12 year old Boston 163.

Do any of these change the calculus, or just add to the general mishmash? 5 year warranty on all three.

All good prospects as well. I've heard/read that the primary difference between the G3 and C3 is that the C3 has a slightly heavier plate and geared more toward artist/professional used; where the G3 is more of a consumer grade piano, but still a good quality piano.

It sounds like you have some great prospects to choose from. Now, the ball is in your court to play them all and choose the one you like best! smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: bluedane] #2548355 06/10/16 07:17 PM
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Just down I5 a piece is this beauty. I showed it to my tuner & he had only good things to say about both the instrument & the tuners who have taken care of it. Wish I had place for it!


http://seattle.craigslist.org/oly/msg/5616942997.html

Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: Rickster] #2548358 06/10/16 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Holy cow!! shocked

Well, here is the ad, just in case anyone thinks I'm making this up... (which is not my nature smile )

CL ad for Baldwin L, from 1995

Rick


the only thing I ever think with you is that you always find the best deals imaginable!!! I'm moving there, lol.


Lisa

Currently working on RCM 7 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP, Kawai KDP110

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: bluedane] #2548362 06/10/16 08:31 PM
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My advise is to play an obscene amount of pianos, and take your time; you'll really start to develop a taste for tone and touch. And by all means, take your time, as pianos can potentially be with you longer than a house!


JAYBEE
Central Florida
Kawai RX-3
Roland Juno 106, Roland XP-80, Roland FA-06, Roland Jupiter Boutique, Korg DW-8000, Korg R3, Novation K4, Akai Miniak, Yamaha MOX6
Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: bluedane] #2548369 06/10/16 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
the only thing I ever think with you is that you always find the best deals imaginable!!! I'm moving there, lol.

The thing about the really good piano deals on Craigslist is, like I've said before, they are either real or scam bait.

The really good (legitimate) deals don't usually last long; either a savvy buyer or dealer will snap them up. If you see the ad up for a long period of time, something is usually amiss.

Of course, with 3 grands and an upright already, I don't know where I'd put another piano. But if a bargain came my way, I'd make room. smile

And, for the record, I play all of my pianos throughout the week, depending on what mood I'm in. I love em' all!

To bluedane, if you like more than one, buy two, or three. smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: bluedane] #2548396 06/10/16 11:53 PM
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The link by "leel" is through a well respected technician who either is or was a member of the forum here. There's no such thing as a ~10 year old Yamaha G3. I think they stopped producing the model at least 20 years ago, maybe even 25. Best to double check the ages via serial numbers, instead of what the seller says.


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
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Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: bluedane] #2548433 06/11/16 04:11 AM
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There's a 2008 Kawai RX-5 in Santa Rosa, CA with an asking of $12,500!
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/msg/5626577437.html

That seems like an awesome deal. But our local Craigslist is filled with fake Kawai ads by a certain dealer. But this piano is way up north and usually his ads target victims closer to his store in Berkeley.


Last edited by michaelha; 06/11/16 04:14 AM.
Re: Advice on <$15K piano? [Re: terminaldegree] #2548484 06/11/16 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
The link by "leel" is through a well respected technician who either is or was a member of the forum here.

He still posts pretty regularly in the Technicians Forum. Could probably send him a Private Message .



And still I dream she'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
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