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We are at a crossroads of desperately needing a second grand. My kids 17, 15, 13 have been with an advanced teacher for two years and I don't think we can limp by sharing one piano any longer. My oldest is a rising high school senior plans to major in piano performance in college. I posted here about a piano we were considering about 18 months ago and several people shared very helpful information. We currently have a Kawai KG- 2D grand and we had the action rebuilt on it a little over a year ago.

With the oldest starting college a year from now, I don't think my husband will agree to put much into a second piano budget. We looked at a 1950s George Steck baby grand today that I mistakingly thought an acquaintance was trying to give away but she wants $1500 for it. The kids weren't all that impressed with it so we will keep looking, but where is the best place to look? Are there resources besides Craigslist for private sale used pianos? What would be a reasonable budget to discuss with my husband? Are there places that will rent a decent grand without breaking the bank? Our house is not large, so my son and the second piano will be roommates in his oversized bedroom.

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I'd look at the high end Kawai digitals, with the real grand action. That way one kid can be on the acoustic and another on the digital with headphones at the same time. Find a Guitar Center or Sam Ash store and check them out.


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You will have a hard time finding a professional quality grand piano for less than $5000. It's possible, but not likely. A $1500 piano such as the Steck will be in poor condition, and won't stand up to heavy practice without rebuilding. The $3000 Korean and Chinese pianos are better, but still not professional quality. A used Yamaha or Kawai is $5000 and up. Have you considered a better upright such as a Yamaha U 1 or U3 or the comparable Kawai uprights? Since Space is an issue, that might be a better option.



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I agree with the suggestion of a digital piano.

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Most college practice rooms do not have grands. Buy a good used vertical, if you want acoustic.

I bought a very nice K30 Kawai a few months ago in the low two's.


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Originally Posted by JohnSprung

I'd look at the high end Kawai digitals, with the real grand action. That way one kid can be on the acoustic and another on the digital with headphones at the same time. Find a Guitar Center or Sam Ash store and check them out.


We should give that consideration. I did not mention that we have a Yamaha portable grand that they do not like playing. Will a high end digital be adequate for repertoire such as Rachmaninoff Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, which is what my youngest is currently working on?

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If you put together a mixed practice schedule that includes the grand, then a better digital or upright would give you more bang for your buck. I'd look at getting a slab or console and good headphones. There are good choices from Casio, Kawai, Roland & Yamaha in the $1500 range and better if you get into the low $2k's. For uprights, you're primarily looking at private market unless you up the budget. Private market is riskier but hopefully your tech can help you if you get it down to 1 or 2 promising choices. The more you up your budget, the better your choices get and fast. For every $1k you increase, you probably will find 5x as many potential choices that also tend to be better.


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Originally Posted by Bob
You will have a hard time finding a professional quality grand piano for less than $5000. It's possible, but not likely. A $1500 piano such as the Steck will be in poor condition, and won't stand up to heavy practice without rebuilding. The $3000 Korean and Chinese pianos are better, but still not professional quality. A used Yamaha or Kawai is $5000 and up. Have you considered a better upright such as a Yamaha U 1 or U3 or the comparable Kawai uprights? Since Space is an issue, that might be a better option.


Thanks for this insight! My preference would be a quality upright and I have still not ruled it out. However, the piano teacher was not a fan when I mentioned that is what I was considering. She is an excellent teacher and I value her insight, however, we aren't fans of debt. The kids have been very blessed to be able to start their very first lesson on the Kawai that was a gift from my father in law.

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I would vote for renting with the rent being applied to the piano if you want to purchase it in a year or so. Will the college student be living at home? If not, the college / university would have practice pianos available. Depending on the school, they may be very nice!

All the best at this very exciting time for you!

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Unless you have compartments in your house that have absolute sound segregation from each other, having two acoustic pianos won't really allow your kids to practice at the same time that, I assumed, was one of the scenario you tried to achieve.

I would go for a good digital with headphone, and place the much more mobile digital somewhere away from the grand that whoever is using the digital would not be affected too much by the other kid playing the grand.

Rachmaninoff Op3-2 prelude is definitely doable on a good digital; this is the piece I used to play, when younger, and recently was "brought back" after I got time to practice on the digital. My only reasonable time for practice is after everyone else is asleep so digital (or a silent acoustic) is the only viable option.

Action wise, from what I gather my Kawai MP11 is presumably only lesser than a few much more expensive models such as Yamaha's Avantgrand or Silent Grands. It is certainly not comparable to either of my grands, in terms of tone control, but it gets the job done regarding exercising fingers, getting the motor memory in place, and it is quite realistic (to a grand action). I do need to use our grands to hone the tonal control.

However if using $1500 as a gauge (from your post), MP11 (new) is still above this price range.

Last edited by Davdoc; 07/08/17 08:28 AM.

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Originally Posted by Davdoc
Unless you have compartments in your house that have absolute sound segregation from each other, having two acoustic pianos won't really allow your kids to practice at the same time that, I assumed, was one of the scenario you tried to achieve.

However if using $1500 as a gauge (from your post), MP11 (new) is still above this price range.


Thanks for sharing more detail about your experience with a digital. I am really glad I posted as this is giving me much more to consider and look into.

As far as two acoustics, one thing that has amazed me about our house is that it is impressively sound proof. Since getting rid of all carpet, it is slightly less so, but I went into his room yesterday while my daughter was practicing and what you can hear of the piano is very muffled. I *really* like the thought of a silent option but I know the teacher is going to hate the lack of tone control which is the main reason she was not a fan when I mentioned wanting to get a quality upright. Honestly, getting the notes under their fingers is usually not the problem (I believe it likely comes much easier to them than most), they spend *much* more time getting the tone and technique worked out.

As far as budget, we do not have one set and I am looking for input on what a reasonable expectation should be. I would have considered the Steck if it were free, but was not going to spend $1500 on it.

My kids have a tremendous amount of natural talent. My youngest has prodigious ability that we have worked hard not to exploit. It has to be their dream, not ours for them. I never set our to raise musicians but when my father in law sent his piano to live with us (was supposed to be temporary) they just took off. Adding that detail to clarify that they are not exactly your average piano students. If we were to invest a little more for a second grand, it will certainly have a home one day when they are out on their own....which is coming entirely too soon. But since money doesn't grow on trees and we are pretty against financing such a purchase, I am trying to find the best solution that will keep everyone happy!

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3times2, if you are ever in the vicinity of west central Georgia, about 50 miles south of Atlanta, please feel free to stop by my place and bring your piano-playing kids! I have 4 acoustic pianos, 3 grands and an upright, and a fairly nice digital. Your kids can play any of them, and they are all in tune and ready to roll!

My relatives who visit know I'm a piano fanatic, but when a guests visits for the first time, them seem amazed that I have more than one piano. Heck, I think everyone should have a piano in every room of the home! smile

That said, it has been my experience that you can find a very nice used grand piano for a very modest price, but it is the exception rather than the rule. You will have to broaden your search, be prepared to travel, or buy-sight unseen (which I've done before but do not recommend; it's a big gamble), have a piano mover on speed-dial, and have cash in hand. The really good deals don't last long, because used piano dealers, piano techs, or other shoppers snap them up rather quickly.

Also, you need to educate yourself on what to look for, and how to judge whether a piano is in reasonably good condition yourself, to an extent, although I always recommend a tech inspection of a used piano. That said, when a really good buy comes up for sale, there may not be time for a tech inspection before the piano is sold already. Of course, you want a playable musical instrument and not a 600 lb hulk sitting in your living room taking up valuable space. Know what you are buying, as much as possible.

These are just some of the factors you may want to consider. Otherwise, you have gotten some very good suggestions here.

All the best!

Rick


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I have a little one (6yo) who is rather musically inclined. After paying for her tuition and lessons, we don't have much left but I know eventually, we need to get her a grand piano. We don't want to get a loan for a piano either so we have been stalking craigslist. The second best deal I have seen so far is a recently rebuilt German concert grand (work done by a respected tech) for $3,000!!! I thought it was a typo at first but they just wanted to clear the house they inherited as soon as possible.

The best deal was a free golden era M & H that has been recently restrung and regulated, etc. They needed to start renovating the following week and just wanted the piano gone as their children no longer took lessons.

Both pianos were gone by the time I contacted the sellers.

Since your children are old enough to do the research for you, you can let them do all the leg work.

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Originally Posted by Rickster
3times2, if you are ever in the vicinity of west central Georgia, about 50 miles south of Atlanta, please feel free to stop by my place and bring your piano-playing kids! I have 4 acoustic pianos, 3 grands and an upright, and a fairly nice digital. Your kids can play any of them, and they are all in tune and ready to roll!

My relatives who visit know I'm a piano fanatic, but when a guests visits for the first time, them seem amazed that I have more than one piano. Heck, I think everyone should have a piano in every room of the home! smile

That said, it has been my experience that you can find a very nice used grand piano for a very modest price, but it is the exception rather than the rule. You will have to broaden your search, be prepared to travel, or buy-sight unseen (which I've done before but do not recommend; it's a big gamble), have a piano mover on speed-dial, and have cash in hand. The really good deals don't last long, because used piano dealers, piano techs, or other shoppers snap them up rather quickly.

Also, you need to educate yourself on what to look for, and how to judge whether a piano is in reasonably good condition yourself, to an extent, although I always recommend a tech inspection of a used piano. That said, when a really good buy comes up for sale, there may not be time for a tech inspection before the piano is sold already. Of course, you want a playable musical instrument and not a 600 lb hulk sitting in your living room taking up valuable space. Know what you are buying, as much as possible.

These are just some of the factors you may want to consider. Otherwise, you have gotten some very good suggestions here.

All the best!

Rick


Thanks for the insight Rick! Good to know that with some time and effort, a decent used piano can be found. We do have relatives in your neck of the woods, so watch out, I might just take you up on that offer to stop by!

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The chances of your getting a good piano that really functions as well as you expect are slim. Go out and buy a good digital that has a nice action. I sell the Kawai CA67 to a lot of pianists who need a piano at home. The advantages to this purchase way outweigh the chances of getting something that is dysfunctional.

I do have to disagree with Jolly though on the verticals in practice rooms. Most colleges with piano performance programs will have grands in the practice rooms. In fact if I were a parent looking for a school for my budding pianist child I would not consider schools that don't provide grands in the practice rooms. Also, if you get a digital, you can send it off with your student to university. Most of our performance majors love having a digital in the dorm room or apartment. Headphones are a blessing.


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I'm with Sally - who knows much more than I do!!! - on this topic.

I purchased a top of the line Roland digital piano about 18 years ago. I got a very good price, because the new model was coming in, and a big piano store wanted the last one gone from the floor. (That type of price does not happen often with Rolands.)

I purchased a newer model about 4 years ago. I passed the older one on to a friend who teaches piano. It has needed exactly one minor repair to one key in all that time. It is still going strong as a piano, although missing new features.

I realize that digitals do not retain their monetary value, but I find both of mine most useful, certainly better to play than some practice pianos in university rooms. I think good digitals are nicer than most uprights.

Good headphones do make a large difference to the sound, for both that Kawai Sally names - which is my second choice when used with a headphone - and the Rolands. The speaker sounds of both do not compare with the reproduction on headphones.

And a couple of husky kids - or boyfriends? - could move the digital into the room with the grand, if they ever wanted to do two piano stuff.

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Originally Posted by 3times2

Thanks for sharing more detail about your experience with a digital. I am really glad I posted as this is giving me much more to consider and look into.

As far as two acoustics, one thing that has amazed me about our house is that it is impressively sound proof. Since getting rid of all carpet, it is slightly less so, but I went into his room yesterday while my daughter was practicing and what you can hear of the piano is very muffled. I *really* like the thought of a silent option but I know the teacher is going to hate the lack of tone control which is the main reason she was not a fan when I mentioned wanting to get a quality upright. Honestly, getting the notes under their fingers is usually not the problem (I believe it likely comes much easier to them than most), they spend *much* more time getting the tone and technique worked out.

As far as budget, we do not have one set and I am looking for input on what a reasonable expectation should be. I would have considered the Steck if it were free, but was not going to spend $1500 on it.

My kids have a tremendous amount of natural talent. My youngest has prodigious ability that we have worked hard not to exploit. It has to be their dream, not ours for them. I never set our to raise musicians but when my father in law sent his piano to live with us (was supposed to be temporary) they just took off. Adding that detail to clarify that they are not exactly your average piano students. If we were to invest a little more for a second grand, it will certainly have a home one day when they are out on their own....which is coming entirely too soon. But since money doesn't grow on trees and we are pretty against financing such a purchase, I am trying to find the best solution that will keep everyone happy!


If you have good sound segregation and enough space, I would go for a grand piano of decent condition, budget allowed. I still maintain that a good digital is a viable option. I haven't played a vertical acoustic piano in a very long time, and on this forum there are enthusiastic proponents of high-end verticals. But my lowly GB1's action probably still beats most average verticals. With your kids' talent, they will need actions that give them the widest control possible.

Now I wish my kids were like yours; they are musically talented but not pianistically inclined smile

Last edited by Davdoc; 07/08/17 06:00 PM.

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Originally Posted by S. Phillips
The chances of your getting a good piano that really functions as well as you expect are slim. Go out and buy a good digital that has a nice action. I sell the Kawai CA67 to a lot of pianists who need a piano at home. The advantages to this purchase way outweigh the chances of getting something that is dysfunctional.

I do have to disagree with Jolly though on the verticals in practice rooms. Most colleges with piano performance programs will have grands in the practice rooms. In fact if I were a parent looking for a school for my budding pianist child I would not consider schools that don't provide grands in the practice rooms. Also, if you get a digital, you can send it off with your student to university. Most of our performance majors love having a digital in the dorm room or apartment. Headphones are a blessing.



Thank you Sally, we will look at that Kawai along with any others that are recommended here. I mentioned a digital to the kids and they were quite less than enthused at the prospect. The chances are slim of finding something that functions well at what price point? I have not set a budget yet and may have confused people by mentioning the cost of the piano we looked at. If I recall correctly from two years ago, I found a new Ritmuller for around $10K. I believe that it was recommended in the thread I linked when we were looking at a Yamaha that was going for $5K.

Practice room pianos are high on the list of priorities in choosing a college for my daughter!!

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3times2, what Sr.Bennett hypothesized about a modest budget, that every increase of $1 k. multiplied the good options exponentially, was pretty much our experience when we shopped for a second piano. we went about $2 k. over the original budget, replacing a digital piano for after 10 p.m. practice. space limitations restricted our choice to verticals, but have no regrets. your children's technique is probably far beyond mine, but should you end up with a vertical, they would still have the grand for virtuosic pieces at fast tempo practice, which is where the mechanical differences in the action would be noticed the most. if you find a quality upright with great musicality and responsiveness your children will probably enjoy it very much, if they can get beyond 'grand envy.' for me, very much appreciate having the sound right in my face at pp or p. what you might find in the digital pianos, the ones with the best touch and action and sound the best will tend to go up in price. taking the digital to college is definitely a plus option, but a quality vertical can also be resold or traded for one, possibly even two, if you have more than one undergrad to please. your children are very lucky. enjoy the search and be patient.

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Originally Posted by 3times2
Will a high end digital be adequate for repertoire such as Rachmaninoff Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, ...?


Yes, but if you get the convenient slab or stage type digital, be sure to get a solid stand under it, not one of those wobbly "X" shaped ironing board type things.


-- J.S.

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