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What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267275
12/13/08 05:50 PM
12/13/08 05:50 PM
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Cleveland Ohio
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Jason G Offline OP
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With a budget between 2-$3000.00 (prefer 2k), what piano should I be shopping for. We need to get an upright as I have no room for a grand. I am looking for the best value that my money can buy in terms of overall build, aesthetics and most importantly sound quality and playability. I am looking for my wife who used to play a 48-52' Petrov when she lived in Azerbaijan. I live in OH, if that makes any difference.

Thanks,
Jason

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Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267276
12/13/08 06:27 PM
12/13/08 06:27 PM
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I am a piano teacher in the Tampa area, the Steinway dealership sells the Kohler & Campbell piano for there more entry level price point.

I feel it is an excellent piano given its price. They have Maple action parts (not plastic, very important) solid spruce sound board (not laminated like most other pianos in this price point) and they are built on a low tension scale like Steinway and Boston pianos.

For the money, it is the very best piano available.

just my 2cents

J


On the mountain of the lord it will be provided.
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267277
12/13/08 07:20 PM
12/13/08 07:20 PM
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You might consider a used Yamaha U1 which you may be able to find in the upper limit of your price range.

Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267278
12/13/08 08:41 PM
12/13/08 08:41 PM
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terminaldegree Offline
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If you're trying to stay at $2000, I would be inclined to be very, very patient and shop the used market (dealers and private sellers). Once I found a potential instrument to buy, I'd pay a technician to check it out before purchase. It would also be a good idea to see how the new entry-level pianos sound and feel at a dealer, of course.


Quote
Originally posted by jman37:
I am a piano teacher in the Tampa area, the Steinway dealership sells the Kohler & Campbell piano for there more entry level price point.

I feel it is an excellent piano given its price. They have Maple action parts (not plastic, very important) solid spruce sound board (not laminated like most other pianos in this price point) and they are built on a low tension scale like Steinway and Boston pianos.

For the money, it is the very best piano available.
J
jman37,
How are plastic or composite materials a problem in a modern action (it isn't 1965 anymore...)? High-end Kawais use them, and I've read that Mason & Hamlin may soon release a concert grand with carbon-fiber action parts.

Also, could you explain how the low tension scale makes a difference? That sounds like sales-speak, and I doubt the statement holds true for all Steinway models (and likely not for the Kawai-built Bostons, if I were to guess).

In my experience, the suitability of any entry-level piano is largely influenced by the dealer's willingness to prep and tune it to some degree of suitability, and not so much the name on the front.


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
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Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267279
12/13/08 08:52 PM
12/13/08 08:52 PM
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turandot Offline
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I would second terminaldegree's advice. If your wife liked her Petrof, I would shop craigslist for a used Petrof. It will probably take some time. Finding Yamahas and Kawais is easier, but they are both quite different from Petrof pianos.

If you prefer new, you are really at the low low end of the price spectrum. There are some good values, but IMO they don't quite equal a nice Petrof.

The low-priced pianos are coming from Indonesia and China. You should compare for yourself. Nothing wrong with Jman's suggestion to check out a K&C for the Indonesian entrant. For the Chinese I would recommend a Hailun to maximimize your purchase power. If you can't find a dealer in Cleveland, try BHA pianos in Dayton. Wherever you go, bring your wife with you. The player should make the decision. Good luck!


Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267280
12/13/08 10:03 PM
12/13/08 10:03 PM
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Jason G Offline OP
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I took her to the two largest stores in our area today to look at used pianos. She seems to really like the Yamaha U1 and U3 and felt comfortable with a few of the larger Kawai's. These were all falling in around $3500.00 shipped. The yamaha's were "Reconditioned or Remanufactured", which I don't quite understand. Regardless my wife seemed to like the sound and playability of the Yamaha U1 the best.

That being stated, she has not gotten to see many other brands and we did not look at the new inventory. Thoughts??

Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267281
12/13/08 11:22 PM
12/13/08 11:22 PM
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Georgia, USA
terminaldegree Offline
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"Reconditioned" or "remanufactured" are terms that are tossed around without clear definitions in the piano industry. They suggest that existing parts were adjusted or fixed, or that new parts were installed to replace worn-out ones. It is not financially smart for a seller to totally rebuild an upright piano (you can't make your money back on a competent full rebuild) like this, so don't believe for a second that all the parts were replaced or refinished.

If you look at the serial number of the piano, I'm pretty sure you can determine the year of manufacture on the yamaha or kawai website. I would still recommend a technician inspect the piano pre-purchase so you have an idea as to what may have been replaced, or how well the work was done.

Of course, there are many new entry-level uprights to choose from at the $3500 pricepoint-- different sizes and finishes, too.


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Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267282
12/14/08 12:07 AM
12/14/08 12:07 AM
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Tampa, fl
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jman37 Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by terminaldegree:
If you're trying to stay at $2000, I would be inclined to be very, very patient and shop the used market (dealers and private sellers). Once I found a potential instrument to buy, I'd pay a technician to check it out before purchase. It would also be a good idea to see how the new entry-level pianos sound and feel at a dealer, of course.


Quote
Originally posted by jman37:
[b] I am a piano teacher in the Tampa area, the Steinway dealership sells the Kohler & Campbell piano for there more entry level price point.

I feel it is an excellent piano given its price. They have Maple action parts (not plastic, very important) solid spruce sound board (not laminated like most other pianos in this price point) and they are built on a low tension scale like Steinway and Boston pianos.

For the money, it is the very best piano available.
J
jman37,
How are plastic or composite materials a problem in a modern action (it isn't 1965 anymore...)? High-end Kawais use them, and I've read that Mason & Hamlin may soon release a concert grand with carbon-fiber action parts.

Also, could you explain how the low tension scale makes a difference? That sounds like sales-speak, and I doubt the statement holds true for all Steinway models (and likely not for the Kawai-built Bostons, if I were to guess).

In my experience, the suitability of any entry-level piano is largely influenced by the dealer's willingness to prep and tune it to some degree of suitability, and not so much the name on the front. [/b]
Low tension scaling provides a warmer tone where high tension tends to be brighter like yamaha and kawai's tend to be. It's personal choice.

and lets be clear.. the ONLY reason a manufacturer uses plastic parts is because of costs. Whether or not they are as good or as durable as shaped wooden parts is opion I suppose. I just look at all the top pianos in the world, they all have wooden action parts.


On the mountain of the lord it will be provided.
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267283
12/14/08 12:32 AM
12/14/08 12:32 AM
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Georgia, USA
terminaldegree Offline
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jman37,

In the interest of disseminating good information here, a few follow-up questions:

Are all Steinway and Boston models "low tension" scales?
At what point does a piano have a high tension scale?
The Kawai has a high tension scale but the Kawai-built Boston doesn't?
The tension of the scale is the primary determinant of "warmth" of sound?

You should search the tech forum here for an active discussion of the new WNG action parts. I think they're produced by the M&H people, and judging by the nature of the discussion, they're not cheaper than the wood parts. (techs, correct me if I'm wrong) Do you think Steinway was trying to save money when they used teflon bushings in the 1960's-1980's models? It was my perception that they tried this as a more durable alternative to traditional bushing cloth. Of course, that experiment was not a success. I am unaware of any entry-level piano that makes extensive use of plastic at this time, though it's not the part of the market I'm that interested in.

Of course, these matters of scaling and cost of composite materials vs. wood have been discussed at length here by industry professionals, techs, rebuilders, and even piano designers. They were very interesting and long-winded threads that came to a very different conclusion, if I recall correctly...


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267284
12/14/08 01:52 AM
12/14/08 01:52 AM
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jman37 Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by terminaldegree:
jman37,

In the interest of disseminating good information here, a few follow-up questions:

Are all Steinway and Boston models "low tension" scales?
At what point does a piano have a high tension scale?
The Kawai has a high tension scale but the Kawai-built Boston doesn't?
The tension of the scale is the primary determinant of "warmth" of sound?

You should search the tech forum here for an active discussion of the new WNG action parts. I think they're produced by the M&H people, and judging by the nature of the discussion, they're not cheaper than the wood parts. (techs, correct me if I'm wrong) Do you think Steinway was trying to save money when they used teflon bushings in the 1960's-1980's models? It was my perception that they tried this as a more durable alternative to traditional bushing cloth. Of course, that experiment was not a success. I am unaware of any entry-level piano that makes extensive use of plastic at this time, though it's not the part of the market I'm that interested in.

Of course, these matters of scaling and cost of composite materials vs. wood have been discussed at length here by industry professionals, techs, rebuilders, and even piano designers. They were very interesting and long-winded threads that came to a very different conclusion, if I recall correctly...
yes my understanding is all steinways & Bostons are build on a low tension scale which means that each string is pulled to a lower tension relative to "high tension" pianos.

ex. Steinways generally are pulled to about 155 lbs per string where some other japanese pianos are pulled to over 200 lbs per string.

These different types of scaling result in differet types of spheres of sound and oddly enough, longevity..

The higher the tension a string is pulled too equalls a higher weight that is pushed down onto the soundboard. This inhibits the soundboard from vibrating as freely thus reducing the sustain time amongst other adverse effects that I will try to explain.

a higher tensioned piano sound tends to be brighter with a much faster, sharper attack, and as stated before, followed by a shorter sustain

also, the increased string tension adds more physical strain on the piano from a day to day basis which causes them to ware more quickly. The larger the piano, generally, the higher the tensions

the next logical question is Why would a company choose to build a high tension scaled piano?

The answer is simple, it is easier to design and manufacture a high tensioned piano than a low one.

RE: you are able to use an inferior design, which happens to be cheaper to manufacture, and less expensive materials with a high tension scale and still achieve a full sounding piano. this is because the higher tension can compensates for the other lacking materials or scale designs.

Its late and I hope this makes some sort of sense.


Yes, Boston pianos are made in Kawai factories. They have completely different scales and designs, and are made with completely different materials. case and point.. Kawais have all plastic action parts whereas boston are all wood, this is just one example of many differences. If you look at the shape of the rims they are TOTALLY different, bridges are placed on different areas of the soundboard, action geometry are totally different.

I have done much research as I shopped extensivly for my piano studio (have purchased a Boston GP-178 and Steinway B) and my finding are that about 15 years ago when Steinway set out to find a manufacturer for there limited production Boston piano they choose kawai because the pianos they built were built well, and they had idle manufacturing facilitates they could use immediatly in japan.


and the final part of your question..

I believe there are many variables to a pianos warmth of sound. The scale of the piano is deffinetly a big part of it. Quality of materials, manufacturing methods voicing and well, personal opinion as well.


Tephlon bushings is a whole other subject..if you want me to give me 2cents on that i will, but the problem didnt lie with the bushings themselves, it lied with the way Technicians out in the field were treating the new tephlon bushings. Tephlon at the time was no cheap substitue either, it was state of the art back at that time period.

sorry for grammar and other, its late wink


On the mountain of the lord it will be provided.
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267285
12/14/08 03:16 AM
12/14/08 03:16 AM
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torrance, CA
turandot Offline
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Quote
sorry for grammar and other, its late
You should get some rest jman. If you decide to drop in here tomorrow, I suspect you'll have a busy day. laugh


Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267286
12/14/08 03:39 AM
12/14/08 03:39 AM
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terminaldegree Offline
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jman37,

I found a couple of those older links; it starts here:
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/1/18966.html

and then heads into the very substantive discussion here:
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/1/6601.html

It's a very interesting, albeit technical and long-winded read.

My skepticism regarding the topic is driven by past experiences with oddly-coached salespeople who get hung up on one marketing catch-phrase at the expense of everything else: "high tension", "sand-cast plate", "roslau strings", "hand-crafted", "renner action", "cold-pressed hammers", etc. One of these elements alone doesn't a great piano make, and there are a lot of lousy pianos with a many of the "desired" characteristics and parts, too.

I've never heard anything like what you've said regarding the teflon bushings and the technicians being at fault (and I talk to a lot of technicians who service dozens upon dozens of teflon-era Steinways, and trained in NY). I seem to remember that the great and oft-mentioned Franz Mohr even went on-record as not liking the design. If the design was clearly not at fault, then why did they stop using it? How do you screw up a bushing, anyway?

In my brief experience working as a student for an institutional tech, servicing the teflon bushings was a snap: pop it out, put in the new one, use the special reaming tool, and done! As a total novice, it took me far less time to install and calibrate than the traditional cloth type...

Apologies to the original poster for completely derailing your thread... sorry! My motivation here is ONLY the dissemination of good and correct information as an alternative to the typical sales-spiel. I am not trying to turn this into an anti-"Steinway family of pianos" thread-- seriously.


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267287
12/14/08 04:02 AM
12/14/08 04:02 AM
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the infamous teflon bushings that steinways used were not a problem until technicians who worked on them went to adjust the bushing size by enlarging it, just as they had for the last 100 years. These new teflon bushings were very precise fittings that could not be adjusted in the fashion technicians had been use to.

when they widend the bushing for the flange pin they damaged the bushing and caused it to squeak.
It was a mistake by Steinway to not properly train or educate the technicians on how to regulate the actions appropriately . But was not a manufacturing problem from the factory.

the reason technicians do this is after long periods the flange pin will wear the flange which will cause the shank to not rise and fall as quickly. This is why Technicians need to adjust them periodically.

at least this is my understanding.

I understand that today Steinway uses teflon coated bushings which can be adjusted more easily out on the field.

Perhaps I may have this wrong, anyone elses opion about this infamous time in Steinways era would be great to see!


On the mountain of the lord it will be provided.
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267288
12/14/08 08:31 AM
12/14/08 08:31 AM
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JasonG, Have you looked at the Piano Book by Larry Fine and the latest annual supplement on prices? Do the used U1s from the larger piano stores come with warranty or tunings from the seller?

This person might also suggest places to check:
Another OH shopper

Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267289
12/14/08 12:34 PM
12/14/08 12:34 PM
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from JasonG
Quote
I took her to the two largest stores in our area today to look at used pianos. She seems to really like the Yamaha U1 and U3 and felt comfortable with a few of the larger Kawai's. These were all falling in around $3500.00 shipped. The yamaha's were "Reconditioned or Remanufactured", which I don't quite understand. Regardless my wife seemed to like the sound and playability of the Yamaha U1 the best.

That being stated, she has not gotten to see many other brands and we did not look at the new inventory. Thoughts??
It seems that your wife is not stuck on the Petrof's tone. That's good because I can't think of another piano that has the Petrof tone.

I think the most important thing is not to rush. U1 is a fine piano, a standard for pro level verticals. If the Yamahas and Kawais that you saw are grey-market, and I'd guess they are, you do want to factor in the age. Even if they are in good working condition and low-mileage, you can do better than a 20-30 year old piano for 3.5k. You will find that to be true if you exercise caution and patience.

Here are links to charts that provide age info for Yamaha and Kawai. Serial numbers are usually easy to spot when you lift the lid of the piano.


[edit: can't seem to split the Yamaha age link web address this morning. Sorry. Google Yamaha piano age and click on the link with the official Yamaha name. Maybe someone who is less of a computer dufus than me could post it correctly.]

http://www.kawaiustsd.com/pages/serial_manudate.html

Remember too that the selling price of any piano at any dealer is not etched in stone. You can certainly bargain the price down. Sales staff expect that and posted prices are reckoned to take that into account.

Finally, there are many grey-market Yamahas and Kawais in superb condition. There are others that are very tired. Opinions here about grey-market pianos are often all-or-nothing black and white . That's not the reality. It's really different shades of grey smile .


Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267290
12/14/08 03:34 PM
12/14/08 03:34 PM
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Cleveland Ohio
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Jason G Offline OP
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Quote
Originally posted by guest1013:
JasonG, Have you looked at the Piano Book by Larry Fine and the latest annual supplement on prices? Do the used U1s from the larger piano stores come with warranty or tunings from the seller?

This person might also suggest places to check:
Another OH shopper
I am planning on running to borders tomorrow and at least perusing this book for insight. Another had also recommend this book to me. The Yamaha's and Kawai's would come with a 1-3 year warranty and or a full 5 yr full trade in allowance towards something else. I would negotiate a few tunes in. Note, all these warranty's are from the respective dealers and not the manufacturer.

Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267291
12/14/08 03:41 PM
12/14/08 03:41 PM
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Jason G Offline OP
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Turandot and all, what are your thoughts on these Grey Market Items. A good value for the money if in good condition and warrantied, or should they be avoided like the plague? If they are worthwhile, what price should I be negotiating towards do you think.

Just getting into the market, this is all very confusing. Especially when you start to think about the quality of the Teflon used in the bushings and how much tension is on the Scale. smile Seriously thought, thank you all for helping me get on the path of making an educated decision.

Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267292
12/14/08 03:47 PM
12/14/08 03:47 PM
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I would look at new Asian pianos in this price range. Many of them are quite nice. I do not feel the Yamahas and Kawais are enough better to overcome the risk of buying used. I would not rely on a dealer's warranty these days. Dealerships are closing all over.


Semipro Tech
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267293
12/14/08 03:53 PM
12/14/08 03:53 PM
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Quote
yes my understanding is all steinways & Bostons are build on a low tension scale which means that each string is pulled to a lower tension relative to "high tension" pianos.

ex. Steinways generally are pulled to about 155 lbs per string where some other japanese pianos are pulled to over 200 lbs per string.

These different types of scaling result in differet types of spheres of sound and oddly enough, longevity..

The higher the tension a string is pulled too equalls a higher weight that is pushed down onto the soundboard. This inhibits the soundboard from vibrating as freely thus reducing the sustain time amongst other adverse effects that I will try to explain.

a higher tensioned piano sound tends to be brighter with a much faster, sharper attack, and as stated before, followed by a shorter sustain

also, the increased string tension adds more physical strain on the piano from a day to day basis which causes them to ware more quickly. The larger the piano, generally, the higher the tensions

the next logical question is Why would a company choose to build a high tension scaled piano?

The answer is simple, it is easier to design and manufacture a high tensioned piano than a low one.
This is all incorrect. There is only one difference in pianos that results in a significant difference in the tension of the strings. That is the size. Larger pianos have higher tensions, as the longer the strings, the higher the tension needs to be to overcome the extra length.

I do not know where the discussion of teflon came into this topic. Steinway never used teflon bushings in upright pianos.


Semipro Tech
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267294
12/14/08 05:43 PM
12/14/08 05:43 PM
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No you you are wrong. a 5'8Yamaha or similar sized kawai tension is far higher than a 5'10 boston.

and If you read my post I stated that the larger the piano the higher the tension needed.

Low tension pianos, to me, sound sweeter have a longer sustain and produce a warmer tone.

My experience says Kawai's and especially Yamaha's tend to be brighter more percussive piano's, please do not flame.. I don't believe its inherently good or bad.. purely opinion


On the mountain of the lord it will be provided.
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267295
12/14/08 07:24 PM
12/14/08 07:24 PM
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torrance, CA
Jason,

Like I said before, there are good ones and bad ones. Responsible dealers are more likely to have good ones. Newer is better than older. A short-term dealer warranty could be useless, so you would be well-advised to pay for an independent inspection before any money changes hands. The pianos always look new and pretty. making it easy for unscrupulous sellers to lie about their age (the pianos', not the sellers' laugh ). Many sellers avail themselves of that opportunity. I would not pay more than 3k for any U1 (grey-market or domestic) for myself unless it was less than 15 years old.

Go slow. Keep your own string tension low!


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The fate of the modern wartime soldier
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267296
12/14/08 07:34 PM
12/14/08 07:34 PM
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yeah.. my advice get a NEW more entry level piano for your 3.5k, you can wheel and deal with many could possibly get up to a 52" piano if you work hard enough at it.

Like stated before, a factory warranty is far more desired than a dealers.

just think if you purchase a 20 year old "something" in 20 years from now you have a 40 year old upright that is pretty much wore out..

Spend a little more today, get a new one and in 20 years you still only have a 20 year old piano that has a lot of life left in it!

Ive given this advice to some of my students in the same position as yourself..

on a side not, very sorry to have hijacked your thread in the way it happened. sometimes these things happen on open forums.


On the mountain of the lord it will be provided.
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267297
12/14/08 11:21 PM
12/14/08 11:21 PM
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No you you are wrong. a 5'8Yamaha or similar sized kawai tension is far higher than a 5'10 boston.
Instead of just making claims, you should tell us exactly what the tensions are. What do you mean by the tension being "far higher"? How do you know that is the case with these pianos?

My experience is that the biggest difference between scales on pianos is that some are good, and some are bad. There are good scales with high tension and good scales with low tension. If the tension is changed on the same piano, how much it is makes less of a difference than how uniform it is


Semipro Tech
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267298
12/14/08 11:51 PM
12/14/08 11:51 PM
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Cleveland Ohio
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Jason G Offline OP
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Quote
Originally posted by jman37:
yeah.. my advice get a NEW more entry level piano for your 3.5k, you can wheel and deal with many could possibly get up to a 52" piano if you work hard enough at it.

Like stated before, a factory warranty is far more desired than a dealers.
What New pianos should I be looking at for the money I have to spend. What models are available and what are the best values of the bunch. I have not seen new piano price listings or reviews anywhere.

Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267299
12/15/08 12:21 AM
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Go to the stores and look. There are a number of identical pianos with different names. Find the pianos you like, and if you have questions, come back and ask them.

Even if you cannot play at all, play all the notes as evenly as you can from top to bottom. If nearby notes feel or play noticeably differently, that is a problem. But your wife should be able to find something she likes, if you go out and look.


Semipro Tech
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267300
12/15/08 12:30 AM
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I would stay away from the "identical pianos with different names" as these are usually VERY low quality "stencil" pianos, usually made in china.

Ive found the Kohler, 131 I believe. its a 52" and a GREAT piano for the $$$

A student of mine wheeled and dealed and got one for 3500 bucks (at least thats what he said)

But I think for 4k you should deff be able to find them.

maple action parts, solid spruce soundboard some other nice features.. Im pretty familiar with the kohler I play them every time I have my recitals at the Steinway dealer locally.

I think they even come with a 12 year warranty, possibly 10 though.

just my 2c


On the mountain of the lord it will be provided.
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267301
12/15/08 12:34 AM
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JasonG, you ask what to look for new, The Piano Book 4th Edition and the 2008-2009 annual supplement can help you. You can purchase the supplement online at the bottom right of this web page. When I bought a piano a year ago, these were very helpful. I liked new Young Chang pianos in the $3-$4,000 price range. (I found a used piano on craigslist.)
library catalogue

Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267302
12/15/08 02:32 AM
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I would stay away from the "identical pianos with different names" as these are usually VERY low quality "stencil" pianos, usually made in china.
For $2=3K you are not going to get the best quality piano. However, many of them are quite good. In fact, poor quality pianos are a distinct minority these days, even among pianos made in China.

Just get out there and look! The less money you want to spend, the more it pays to spend looking.


Semipro Tech
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267303
12/15/08 01:16 PM
12/15/08 01:16 PM
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Orange County, CA
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Quote
Originally posted by jman37:
No you you are wrong. a 5'8Yamaha or similar sized kawai tension is far higher than a 5'10

boston.
jman,

I am sure that you mean well in giving your advice, but it seems that you are repeating sales stories from someone who is rather ill-informed. I would appreciate it if you would read this information, and pass it along to whoever told you these things. Your information regarding scale tensions and composites in piano actions are both very seriously misinformed, and by repeating these things here in a public forum you are doing a disservice to the readers, and to yourself.

Expressing personal opinions about your piano preferences is always welcome, and if you prefer a particular brand and feel it's a good value for the money there's certainly nothing wrong with that. Trying to back that up with this kind of factually based argument with scale tensions and such is where the line was crossed. That is why this thread has gotten off track. The purpose of my message is to clear up the incorrect information.

You chose a good example with the Boston GP-178. The scale tension in this piano is 17.7 metric tons, total. The scale tension in the Kawai RX-2 is 16.9 metric tons. This information is supplied by the engineering department at Kawai.

The scale tensions of Boston pianos are not lower in general than the related Kawai pianos. They are in the same range - some models are slightly lower than Kawai, some models (like the 5'10") slightly higher than Kawai. But they are all in the same general area.

If you would go and listen to a new Kawai RX grand, or a Shigeru Kawai grand (about as high end as you can get, by the way), or even a new K-3 upright piano for that matter, you will find that these pianos are not bright and shrill at all.

As to the ABS and ABS-Carbon in actions being cheap, this is also very old sales talk. Any even brief study of the history of these parts will show you that they are proven over the long term - offically, ABS has been in use for 38 years in Kawai pianos. The benefits of these parts are:
- Higher consistency of weight and flexibility than wood, for a more even touch and tone
- Lower mass with higher strength for faster performance without sacrificing tonal power
- Lack of reaction to humidity changes, resulting in less service required, especially in highly variable climates. This is because parts which are screwed down tight to a rail do not swell and shrink with weather changes when made from ABS. Hammers and other parts stay lined up and screwed in place better with a quality composite material - wood is quite inferior in this regard.

Since the ABS-Carbon parts cost more than wood action parts, your other statement of companies using them because they cost less is simply incorrect. Again, any quick investigation into these materials will show you that composites with long-fiber carbon added for strength are generally used in only the most expensive products which benefit from low weight and high strength, from racing bicycles to racing automobiles to aircraft.

As I mentioned, I suspect that this information came to you from an ill-informed salesperson, or
someone who is trying to manipulate you into spreading false information. Please let this person know that they are incorrect, and have them read this message. If you would like more detailed information, feel free to write to me at Kawai, or send me a private message here in Piano World.


Don Mannino, MPA
Kawai America
Re: What would you buy - Upright 2-3K #267304
12/15/08 05:47 PM
12/15/08 05:47 PM
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I trust the KAWAI references given supplied appropriate information to the Kawai representative defending his product. By no way is this a means of a conflict of interest?

I understand Kawai's angle at differenintiating themselves from there competition by building plastic or carbon action parts is a great business move.

I always revert to the fact that all of the very best most expensive pianos across the world ALL use wooden parts in there action except Kawai. And I don't really buy into the fact that even a plastic infused with carbon which that can be injection molded by the thousands in one pop is more expensive than a wooden part which take up to 5 steps to shape and create one single part.

Its pretty obvious Kawai has a large following and many high level employees / ex-employees who are very active here.

Thanks Don for your insight.


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