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Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: Steve Cohen] #1384976
02/28/10 06:45 PM
02/28/10 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
Originally Posted by scepticalforumguy
Originally Posted by Louis H. Bousquet
GuruGeek, I don't think its fair to say that Shigeru is certnainly not at the same level as Bosendorfer and others unless you are implying SK is better. LOL


He said as far as market acceptability, and I'd agree. Japanese pianos don't have the same cache as Western European pianos, even though they may outperform some or many of them.


Slightly off topic, but does the "cache" discussed above add "value" to an instrument in the marketplace?


No offense, Steve, but is that a serious question? I'm sure we'll have a much easier time selling Knabe, Pramberger and Ritmuller once we call them Samick, Young Chang, and Pearl River again. Even in the short term, consumers have been more favorable to used Knabe & Pramberger than used Samick World Grands & Young Chang's PG models. I'd say that adds value.

This post is not directed to Steve, but is instead my own thoughts. Having spent a lot of time establishing brands locally, I enjoy this debate. I also know what longtime Kawai dealers were telling me about the first Shigerus as well as each local dealer's responsibility in marketing. Some Kawai dealers make it exceptional and some aren't sure what to do with it.

Toyota can produce Lexus to start competing with BMW however Lexus will never affect the buying practices of those shopping for Ferrari, Bentley or Rolls. I remember their briefly being a $90k VW. Like it our not, cachet has always mattered at all levels of consumerism.

If you want to tell time, you can buy a Rolex, a Seiko, a Casio, or a Rolex knockoff. There are customers for all four, but cachet affects the business practices of 3 of them. (Seiko makes styles similar to Rolex).

When it comes to precision time keeping, I'm willing to wager that Seiko is very capable.

Let's say Seiko decides to build a watch by hand and it is fabulous, gold & platinum, produces studies that prove their precision is every bit as good or better than the Swiss and the slap $5K price tag on it. Which is their message? "We're as good as (or better than) Rolex?" Or is it, "At least we're not $10k?"

I know from playing them, that Shigeru Kawai pianos are exceptional. I believe they will be better than many pianos including some who have the cachet. However if they want to compete with the majority of buyers who are considering among brands that have established cachet, they will have to wade around until they get it. The difference between Yamaha's experiment with the S series in North America versus Kawai's Shigeru models may simply come down to the dealer network.

Awards and kudos can be bestowed by those with credentials, but cachet can only be bestowed by those with cachet. It used to be royalty and now it is too often celebrity.

Julliard has cachet (they have credentials, reputation & exclusivity). Julliard gives Steinway cachet as an "All Steinway School" but they get snippy when other institutions talk about being "All Steinway" with a mix of Steinway, Boston & Essex. I guess they are protective of who they lend their cachet to. Other schools don't think "All Steinway" is even a good idea. (This is bait for another post, anyone? wink )

It is frustrating but fun making comparisons. Let's wait 5 years to see how the high end market landscape looks. Look how much it has changed in the last 5. whistle


Sam Bennett
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Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: PianoWorksATL] #1385088
02/28/10 09:26 PM
02/28/10 09:26 PM
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Very insightful. I like it. Also don't forget that part of Larry Fine's rating system is brand recognition and how long they have been in the market. If a Fazioli had only been around since 2009 I doubt it would have made it into tier 1. Just sayin.

Last edited by Louis H. Bousquet; 02/28/10 09:26 PM.

Louis Bousquet
Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: Louis H. Bousquet] #1385244
03/01/10 02:14 AM
03/01/10 02:14 AM
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There is an ongoing confusion here between comparing pianos as musical instruments and their "market acceptability" or "market success" as a commercial product.

Saab was VERY comparable to Volvo - I owned both - but the market spoke clearly in favour of Volvo.

Kawai Shigerus are wonderful pianos but in buying one of them I would hardly base my decision on its real or perceived proximity to another maker.

In fact, I would buy my piano based on the beauty and uniqueness as an instrument to me - the player.

I know people who marry because their partners 'remind' them on somebody before.

I couldn't think of a worse reason to do so.....

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 03/01/10 02:25 AM.

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Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: Norbert] #1385252
03/01/10 02:47 AM
03/01/10 02:47 AM
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Before Larry Fine promoted SK I played one alongside some hamburg Steinways. I prefered the SK! I said to myself, SK should belong to tier 1. Just wait and see.


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Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: Norbert] #1385280
03/01/10 04:30 AM
03/01/10 04:30 AM
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Hello Norbert,

I don't know think it is confusion but rather the meandering of this thread. Steve Cohen asked the question as "Slightly off topic...."

Quote
In fact, I would buy my piano based on the beauty and uniqueness as an instrument to me - the player.


I think this is great, but as you know piano buying is often a family decision or committee decision including people who do not play.

This is much easier to do after spending a lifetime with pianos, but we work at creating an environment where this will happen. smile


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Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: PianoWorksATL] #1385315
03/01/10 07:11 AM
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On an interesting side note....after the Gibson Co. bought the bankrupt Baldwin Co. and dismantled their Concert Division, Earl Wild endorsed Shigeru Kawai pianos. Is anyone here familiar with the recordings that he made playing that particular make of instrument? It might make for some interesting blindfold listening tests.


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Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: tuner2] #1385376
03/01/10 09:45 AM
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His site is pretty up front about instruments used:

http://www.ivoryclassics.com/releases/73005/

Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: theJourney] #1385659
03/01/10 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by theJourney
His site is pretty up front about instruments used:

http://www.ivoryclassics.com/releases/73005/


So....that's nice. But what does that have to do with comparing the Shigeru Kawai to other pianos?


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Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: tuner2] #1385670
03/01/10 04:00 PM
03/01/10 04:00 PM
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Sarasota and Naples, FL
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I thought that was a great link. If you check it out, you will find that there are samples of the Shigeru EX recordings.


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Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: Nick Mauel] #1385703
03/01/10 04:58 PM
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Okay.....So how does the Shigeru Kawai compare to those other pianos? This is like getting a tooth pulled.


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Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: tuner2] #1385716
03/01/10 05:06 PM
03/01/10 05:06 PM
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As a technician I can get a good idea of what the piano is like from the recordings - especially when I listen for certain things in certain registers of the piano. But I don't want to debate the subject of how the Shigeru compares in case you were asking me. Everyone should form their own opinions, and I think the recordings are somewhat useful for this purpose. It's obviously a world class piano.


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Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: Nick Mauel] #1385734
03/01/10 05:28 PM
03/01/10 05:28 PM
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Quote
I think this is great, but as you know piano buying is often a family decision or committee decision including people who do not play.

This is much easier to do after spending a lifetime with pianos, but we work at creating an environment where this will happen.


Very true.

As pointed out the *success of a line* as a commerical product is supposed to be the measuring stick for 'rating pianos', but I am not so sure of this myself.

During my travels I have seen some pretty incredible pianos such as Pfeiffers,Feurichs and Thuermers [Bochum], none of them were widely known manufacturers.

Yet these companies were hugely successful in that they were building first rate quality selling all they are/were making.

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 03/01/10 05:34 PM.

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Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: gurugeek] #1387034
03/03/10 04:50 AM
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[quote=gurugeek]Hello David,
You might be interested in a sound comparison (not ideal on you tube but)
Bösendorfer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaX1j4elJRU
Shigeru Kawai: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRdYnsJ8wkw

It really intrigues me, Here are two vastly different tone qualities...I wonder which of these two clips is the favourite among pianoworld posters.

Can we vote on it?



Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: rXd] #1387043
03/03/10 05:44 AM
03/03/10 05:44 AM
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rxd,

Apart from the fact that these are YouTube video recordings, I think the question cannot be answered as the pianists are not the same.

schwammerl.

Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: schwammerl] #1387051
03/03/10 06:40 AM
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Schwamerl, Thank you for helping me clarify my question. I am aware of the differences you point out , that's why I kept my question simple, They are vastly different tone qualities. I am not interested in manufacturer, age of piano, (the Bosendorfer looksand sounds to be quite old) although I am aware that there will be a lot read into any results.... come to think of it, Any results can and will be used as ammunition by those with an axe to grind. That possibility was farthest from my mind. Perhaps two different anonymous recordings might be better.

I heard Valentina play many times over the week of a competition some years ago when I was working on an international piano competition and she impressed me as having a most varied tonal pallette. This recording does not do her, nor Bosendorfer pianos in general, justice and the Kawai seems too closely miked
The recording techniques, if any technique was used, on both recordings are also vastly different.

Nevertheless, It still intrigues me what kind of tone quality is currently preferred here. I am aware intimately with the tastes of concert audiences and players, What are piano buyers prefering?

It seems we still have the basic difference that we had over a hundred years go, the lite 'n' brite Viennese based sound versus the heavier sound.



Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: DavidNYNY] #2561957
08/09/16 12:46 AM
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This thread is from 5 years ago.
So how about now?

How Shigeru Kawai compare with the top german pianos today?

Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: DavidNYNY] #2561969
08/09/16 01:58 AM
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I think that Shigeru today is among the best (technically speaking), differences from german pianos comes to personal preferences about touch and tone. For me, Shigeru sings from low end to half middle, but I dont like the sound from middle to top end. It is too sterile. I still prefer the sound of Steinway D in concert grands, but not in the smaller size grands. There is something in Grotrian 192 cabinet that put a smile on my face every time I hear it.

Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: DavidNYNY] #2562189
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Well, compared to five years ago, unfortunately, some of the top German piano vendors are no longer (fully) German. They have tried to lower cost/prices while maintaining quality. Or introduced middle tier versions of their instruments. Do you realte to any of that?

Or is the question if Shigeru Kawai have improved in the last 5 years?

I was at the local Kawai dealer recently, he had a new non-Shigeru Kawai baby grand with ABS Carbon action, the latest tech in the smallest grand (with the smallest price). Very nice instrument. The Shigeru are still a league above, though, I think.


Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)
Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: DavidNYNY] #2562260
08/10/16 06:21 PM
08/10/16 06:21 PM
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Quote
Well, compared to five years ago, unfortunately, some of the top German piano vendors are no longer (fully) German. They have tried to lower cost/prices while maintaining quality. Or introduced middle tier versions of their instruments.


Unfortunately this is true for about 70% of the makers.

In our own experience it was mostly Estonia that got compared to Shigeru.

If and when Estonia won out it was mostly for its romantic and highly resonant tone. The appeal of a European, handmade piano was another.
On the other hand, Shigeru has other qualities some people may prefer. Very nice piano, like it myself!
We always respected Shigeru and told our customers this.

Recently we sold a new Estonia to an Edmonton customer who had extensively shopped in all the city's stores. And of course one always hears back. Unfortunately some of them see fit to denigrate other dealers and their makes. One particular dealer of prominent make chose to do so as has done several times before..

This was not true for the city's largest, the Yamaha dealer.
Mutual respect is still best way to go: vive le choice!

"Thanks John"

Norbert thumb

Last edited by Norbert; 08/10/16 06:27 PM.

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Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: DavidNYNY] #2564398
08/19/16 09:30 PM
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I have played about a dozen Shigeru Kawais in piano showrooms over the last four years. I really liked them all. The Steinways I played were much more variable. I can only evaluate them as I found them on the dealer floors, and under those conditions, I preferred the Shigerus. I've played them side by side with Faziolis. They are certainly different than Faziolis, but I did not feel like one was clearly superior to the other.

Re: Does Shigeru Kawai compare with the top German pianos? [Re: Louis H. Bousquet] #2565135
08/22/16 08:34 PM
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Louis, Youtube has a lot of piano factory tours that show how each house approaches tone, construction and general design sensibilities. Kawai, Bechstein, Grotian, Fazioli and many others are represented. The most interesting difference is how much technology each company incorporates into their top end instruments. The German firms are incredibly organized, Fazioli is probably the most traditional, and listening to Kawai is an education in Japanese aesthetics.


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