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Re: My piano buying adventures [Re: schinl] #2742843
06/07/18 02:08 PM
06/07/18 02:08 PM
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schinl Offline OP
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Thanks so much for your reply! You are right, I have been looking at so many entry level grands and the 5'0 is surprisingly quite lacking compared to their 5'5 and above brothers. I never thought a few measly inches could make such a difference in sound.

Your Boston 163 has a beautiful sound. Did you find it stayed the same in the showroom and in your house? Did you have it tuned and voiced? I was told that I could voice a Kawai to sound more similar to a Boston after purchase, which is why I am focusing more on the action. Did you find the Boston action to be more sensitive than the Kawai?

And you are right, I couldn't care less about the carbon whatever. The dealers went through some trouble showing me the wood and carbon parts but I didn't retain any of it.

Unfortunately, my budget is very small. I am fully aware that the GX and 163 is far superior, but my pursestrings only afford me a GL10 equivalent. Right now I am still contemplating forking over an extra $4-5k for a GL20, and even that is a big leap for me. Which is why my piano search is so excruciating. I have champagne tastes on a beer budget!


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Re: My piano buying adventures [Re: schinl] #2742845
06/07/18 02:17 PM
06/07/18 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by schinl
[...]
Your Boston 163 has a beautiful sound. Did you find it stayed the same in the showroom and in your house? Did you have it tuned and voiced? I was told that I could voice a Kawai to sound more similar to a Boston after purchase, which is why I am focusing more on the action. Did you find the Boston action to be more sensitive than the Kawai?

[...]


From what I have heard and read - and I'm no expert, so keep that in mind - one should never buy a piano in the hopes that "it can be made to sound like [fill in the blank]. A piano can be voiced, yes, but optimally to its own characteristics and not to the tonal characteristics of another piano, let alone to that of another make.

Buy a piano that you like for what it is, not one that you think you will like (or maybe you won't) after it is voiced.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: My piano buying adventures [Re: schinl] #2742852
06/07/18 03:03 PM
06/07/18 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by schinl
Thanks so much for your reply! You are right, I have been looking at so many entry level grands and the 5'0 is surprisingly quite lacking compared to their 5'5 and above brothers. I never thought a few measly inches could make such a difference in sound.

Your Boston 163 has a beautiful sound. Did you find it stayed the same in the showroom and in your house? Did you have it tuned and voiced? I was told that I could voice a Kawai to sound more similar to a Boston after purchase, which is why I am focusing more on the action. Did you find the Boston action to be more sensitive than the Kawai?

And you are right, I couldn't care less about the carbon whatever. The dealers went through some trouble showing me the wood and carbon parts but I didn't retain any of it.

Unfortunately, my budget is very small. I am fully aware that the GX and 163 is far superior, but my pursestrings only afford me a GL10 equivalent. Right now I am still contemplating forking over an extra $4-5k for a GL20, and even that is a big leap for me. Which is why my piano search is so excruciating. I have champagne tastes on a beer budget!


Yeah, every inch counts smile The sound of my piano was pretty similar when in my house compared to the showroom (except it's louder in my smaller room), but that's because the acoustics/environment were similar (i.e. very quiet rooms). Most times that's not the case, and you will need to modify your living space to either be more or less reflective as you prefer, but the color should be the same. When in the showroom, I found it best to play the pianos with the lids down and folded open, and the music desks removed (or down). This reduced the effects of the showroom's acoustics.

I will have it tuned next week. I'm OK with the voicing as it is. I may decide to have it voiced in 6months or a year, once it opens up and settles in more. I couldn't agree more with what Bruce said above. Dealers will say this piano can be made to sound like this and that, but that's mostly selling points IMO. Each piano will sound a bit different, never mind trying to match a Kawai to a Boston or whatever. So I wouldn't go by that at all.

I would actually focus more on the sound than the action, unless you find the action not to your liking and clearly prefer one over the other. In my case, I preferred both the sound and action of the Bostons over the Kawais, despite Kawai dealers insisting that the Kawai action is "superior". They will tell you they are made in the same factory, by the same people, Boston is overpriced with lesser action, blah, blah. In the end, they DO sound and feel different, as they should. The funny thing is that Boston salespeople never talked about matching a Kawai, it was always the other way around. But yeah, all that sales talk aside, I personally found the Kawai action heavier and less to my liking for reasons I don't even know or can't put in words. I felt I had to dig more into the keys to get the same sound. And the sound, yes, the Bostons had more sustain and color IMO.

The Kawai is defiantly more "bang for the buck" when buying new, and some dealers can discount a lot. I remember the GL30 was around $18k new and the GX-1 $20K new. GL20 probably $15k new. I would definitely get at least the GL20. If not, continue to look for used. Some great pianos out there used.


2017 Boston GP-163 PE II
Re: My piano buying adventures [Re: schinl] #2742862
06/07/18 04:20 PM
06/07/18 04:20 PM
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I am dealing with the same Dilemma. To make it easier on myself I have to decide first first whether I want an upright or grand. It seems impossible to make a choice otherwise.

Good luck

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Re: My piano buying adventures [Re: ghostwind] #2742866
06/07/18 04:35 PM
06/07/18 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ghostwind
When in the showroom, I found it best to play the pianos with the lids down and folded open, and the music desks removed (or down).
I think it makes at least as much sense to play the pianos with the lid adjusted the way you will play the piano in your home.

Originally Posted by ghostwind
In my case, I preferred both the sound and action of the Bostons over the Kawais, despite Kawai dealers insisting that the Kawai action is "superior". They will tell you they are made in the same factory, by the same people, Boston is overpriced with lesser action, blah, blah. In the end, they DO sound and feel different, as they should. The funny thing is that Boston salespeople never talked about matching a Kawai, it was always the other way around.
It's not really funny or unexpected. It's because Kawai dealers want you to think you are getting a Steinway-like piano and because Boston dealers don't want you to think you're getting a Kawai-like piano(they also want to emphasize the Steinway connection).

Re: My piano buying adventures [Re: pianoloverus] #2742889
06/07/18 07:16 PM
06/07/18 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ghostwind
When in the showroom, I found it best to play the pianos with the lids down and folded open, and the music desks removed (or down).
I think it makes at least as much sense to play the pianos with the lid adjusted the way you will play the piano in your home.


Yes, play with the lid in all positions, of course, but again, to rule out room acoustics as much as possible, playing the way I was describing it is the best way IMO to get a true impression of the piano's sound in a large showroom.

Quote
It's not really funny or unexpected. It's because Kawai dealers want you to think you are getting a Steinway-like piano and because Boston dealers don't want you to think you're getting a Kawai-like piano(they also want to emphasize the Steinway connection).


Yes, this is true. But back to my original post, Kawai salespeople spoke about the instrument's build quality, the ABS action and humidity changes, and stuff like this. Never a word about sound, color, etc. Found that very telling. And yet they are wonderful instruments, with their own sound and touch that many prefer. I guess everyone markets what they think will best sell their instruments. Still I would hear this sales talk to other customers while playing in the showroom, and they were not very interested as well. People I think primarily care about sound and touch. Not about material science smile Anyway, they were all nice and friendly people, and I do like the Kawais. I just preferred the Boston in my case.

One thing that's interesting, is why would Kawai, a proud family business, build a piano that was better than theirs, unless (contrary to what you say - and which I agree with) they don't think it's better, which goes back to my point. Sure they are getting paid by Steinway to do this, but it's a bit strange to me.


2017 Boston GP-163 PE II
Re: My piano buying adventures [Re: ghostwind] #2742902
06/07/18 08:34 PM
06/07/18 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ghostwind
One thing that's interesting, is why would Kawai, a proud family business, build a piano that was better than theirs, unless (contrary to what you say - and which I agree with) they don't think it's better, which goes back to my point. Sure they are getting paid by Steinway to do this, but it's a bit strange to me.

1. You're assuming that your personal preference about Boston being better is how most think and that's not the case.
2. My guess is that Kawai dealers mostly bring up Boston pianos only if a customer mentions it. If they bring it up independently it's probably because of Boston's Steinway connection.
3. Despite the internet, many buyers are may not be familiar with Boston so it's not necessarily major competition for Kawai or at least not any more than other makes in a similar price range.

Re: My piano buying adventures [Re: pianoloverus] #2742905
06/07/18 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ghostwind
One thing that's interesting, is why would Kawai, a proud family business, build a piano that was better than theirs, unless (contrary to what you say - and which I agree with) they don't think it's better, which goes back to my point. Sure they are getting paid by Steinway to do this, but it's a bit strange to me.

1. You're assuming that your personal preference about Boston being better is how most think and that's not the case.
2. My guess is that Kawai dealers mostly bring up Boston pianos only if a customer mentions it. If they bring it up independently it's probably because of Boston's Steinway connection.
3. Despite the internet, many buyers are may not be familiar with Boston so it's not necessarily major competition for Kawai or at least not any more than other makes in a similar price range.


No, I'm not assuming that at all - I said as much. But again, back to my main point, it's interesting and telling how the Kawai dealers (at least the 2 I've met) never spoke about sound, but about technical things. That to me tells me that Kawai either knows they are not as good and pushes the technology aspect, or that they think that's the best way to sell their pianos. Which is fine, but for me sound is the main thing. I would think for everyone that would also hold true.


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Re: My piano buying adventures [Re: ghostwind] #2742908
06/07/18 09:13 PM
06/07/18 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ghostwind
But again, back to my main point, it's interesting and telling how the Kawai dealers (at least the 2 I've met) never spoke about sound, but about technical things. That to me tells me that Kawai either knows they are not as good and pushes the technology aspect, or that they think that's the best way to sell their pianos. Which is fine, but for me sound is the main thing. I would think for everyone that would also hold true.
For some, touch is more important than sound.

I certainly don't think Kawai pushes their action because they think their sound is not good. I think that's just your personal preference for the Boston sound showing. Sound preference is personal but the materials Kawai uses in it's action are fairly unique. I think the only other maker that uses a non wood action is Mason Hamlin in its WNG action.

Re: My piano buying adventures [Re: pianoloverus] #2742911
06/07/18 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ghostwind
But again, back to my main point, it's interesting and telling how the Kawai dealers (at least the 2 I've met) never spoke about sound, but about technical things. That to me tells me that Kawai either knows they are not as good and pushes the technology aspect, or that they think that's the best way to sell their pianos. Which is fine, but for me sound is the main thing. I would think for everyone that would also hold true.
For some, touch is more important than sound.

I certainly don't think Kawai pushes their action because they think their sound is not good. I think that's just your personal preference for the Boston sound showing. Sound preference is personal but the materials Kawai uses in it's action are fairly unique. I think the only other maker that uses a non wood action is Mason Hamlin in its WNG action.


No, it has nothing to do with my personal preference! As I've repeated several times, I was just surprised none of the Kawai dealers spoke about sound, period! Yamaha dealers did, Boston dealers did, others did. Kawai spoke about their action, build quality, etc. And I found that interesting and telling. That's all. If as you say some care more about touch than sound, then that will be important perhaps. Still, what musician doesn't care about sound primarily? This is also quite strange to think about...

Their action is definitely unique and makes sense in many ways. But it was not a deciding factor for me consciously. In other words I preferred the Boston and Yamaha actions, but not because I thought "it's wood and not ABS or whatever" or vice versa. Yes M&H also use non wood. Those pianos have a wonderful sound and quite a different feel from the Kawai action. But very $$$$ smile


2017 Boston GP-163 PE II
Re: My piano buying adventures [Re: pianoloverus] #2742979
06/08/18 08:33 AM
06/08/18 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ghostwind
One thing that's interesting, is why would Kawai, a proud family business, build a piano that was better than theirs, unless (contrary to what you say - and which I agree with) they don't think it's better, which goes back to my point. Sure they are getting paid by Steinway to do this, but it's a bit strange to me.

1. You're assuming that your personal preference about Boston being better is how most think and that's not the case.
2. My guess is that Kawai dealers mostly bring up Boston pianos only if a customer mentions it. If they bring it up independently it's probably because of Boston's Steinway connection.
3. Despite the internet, many buyers are may not be familiar with Boston so it's not necessarily major competition for Kawai or at least not any more than other makes in a similar price range.


When I worked for Maytag back before it was owned by Whirlpool in their Cooking Products Division, we designed and manufactured products for Kenmore and other private labels. We also stamped some other "major manufacturers" (the direct competitions) brand names on product and shipped to their distribution centers. A sale is a sale in the business world for the parent company. In that industry (and many others) it's hard to tell who actually produced a product and what you're getting. Maytag owned 2 plants that produced washers and dryers. Both plants stamped the same brand names on the units, but the 2 plants produced very different lines of machines at very distinct quality levels. Unless the consumer was really educated and knew what to look for, it was really hard to tell the differences and what they were purchasing.

My mother used to work for a textile factory that produced women's clothing for K-Mart, Wal-Mart, JC Penney, Belk, etc. They had stricter quality standards for the JC Penney and Belk products and they were periodically inspected by their representatives to insure quality, but it all came out of the same factory.

To a degree, this is the relationship between Kawai and Steinway. The same can be said for other piano companies that are building pianos for competitors. Kawai has the manufacturing capacity to build the Steinway-designed Boston pianos, and as long as they can sell the pianos to Steinway for a profit ad increase the bottom line, Kawai is happy to play the game, and it helps Kawai maintain manufacturing economy-of-scale reducing their overhead costs. The relationship gives Steinway a line of pianos to compete outside the top-tier / luxury piano market. It's the same with the Essex line and Pearl River. All parties at the parent company level win as long as the pianos sell. As long as the general public is unaware of the relationships all is good. And there are marked design differences between Boston and Kawai pianos and Pearl River and Essex pianos.

However, a local, independently-owned Kawai dealer will never mention a Boston piano or they will treat them as "the competition" pointing out the sound and design differences in a negative way. Why? Because the sale of a Boston does not increase the bottom line of the local Kawai dealer.

Re: My piano buying adventures [Re: GC13] #2742981
06/08/18 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by GC13
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ghostwind
One thing that's interesting, is why would Kawai, a proud family business, build a piano that was better than theirs, unless (contrary to what you say - and which I agree with) they don't think it's better, which goes back to my point. Sure they are getting paid by Steinway to do this, but it's a bit strange to me.

1. You're assuming that your personal preference about Boston being better is how most think and that's not the case.
2. My guess is that Kawai dealers mostly bring up Boston pianos only if a customer mentions it. If they bring it up independently it's probably because of Boston's Steinway connection.
3. Despite the internet, many buyers are may not be familiar with Boston so it's not necessarily major competition for Kawai or at least not any more than other makes in a similar price range.


When I worked for Maytag back before it was owned by Whirlpool in their Cooking Products Division, we designed and manufactured products for Kenmore and other private labels. We also stamped some other "major manufacturers" (the direct competitions) brand names on product and shipped to their distribution centers. A sale is a sale in the business world for the parent company. In that industry (and many others) it's hard to tell who actually produced a product and what you're getting. Maytag owned 2 plants that produced washers and dryers. Both plants stamped the same brand names on the units, but the 2 plants produced very different lines of machines at very distinct quality levels. Unless the consumer was really educated and knew what to look for, it was really hard to tell the differences and what they were purchasing.

My mother used to work for a textile factory that produced women's clothing for K-Mart, Wal-Mart, JC Penney, Belk, etc. They had stricter quality standards for the JC Penney and Belk products and they were periodically inspected by their representatives to insure quality, but it all came out of the same factory.

To a degree, this is the relationship between Kawai and Steinway. The same can be said for other piano companies that are building pianos for competitors. Kawai has the manufacturing capacity to build the Steinway-designed Boston pianos, and as long as they can sell the pianos to Steinway for a profit ad increase the bottom line, Kawai is happy to play the game, and it helps Kawai maintain manufacturing economy-of-scale reducing their overhead costs. The relationship gives Steinway a line of pianos to compete outside the top-tier / luxury piano market. It's the same with the Essex line and Pearl River. All parties at the parent company level win as long as the pianos sell. As long as the general public is unaware of the relationships all is good. And there are marked design differences between Boston and Kawai pianos and Pearl River and Essex pianos.

However, a local, independently-owned Kawai dealer will never mention a Boston piano or they will treat them as "the competition" pointing out the sound and design differences in a negative way. Why? Because the sale of a Boston does not increase the bottom line of the local Kawai dealer.


Yeah, this is clearly the case. I think the key as always, as you point out, is that most people do not know the relationship at all. People here on Piano World know, people really into pianos may know, but the majority of the piano buying public probably has no idea. From all I've read and heard about Kawai (being a smaller player, proud family business, etc.) I was a tad intrigued, that's all. But business is business, and if Steinway is helping them in any way, then more power to them. They do a heck of a job in terms of build quality on both Boston and Kawai pianos. I know Steinway first approached Yamaha back in the early 90s to build the Bostons, but they were turned down from what I heard. Yamaha was large enough to not need the money I suppose, and Kawai being smaller took them up on their offer.

It probably is the same with Pearl River and Essex, though Pearl River is not a small, proud, family business. They are just business.


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Re: My piano buying adventures [Re: schinl] #2743033
06/08/18 12:29 PM
06/08/18 12:29 PM
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schinl Offline OP
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I am thoroughly enjoying your conversations, thank you so much. I am also learning a lot about the relationship between Boston/Kawai. Personally, as a beginner/intermediate, action is most important to me, as I still have to deal with learning notes and trying to express color through my playing. My ear isn't sufficiently trained enough to be able to make it a priority, but of course I can tell the difference between a deep warm Kawai and brighter Yamaha. But once variables such as lid opened or closed, big or small rooms come in, I get confused. Hence my preference to buy for action. After all, it is only my first acoustic piano. Maybe 15-20 years in the future, I will have advanced enough to be able to buy for sound.

I have news, I found a Mason Hamlin model A 5'9 grand on Craigslist for $5500. It is built in 1972, the pictures look fine, and owned by a RPT. I am a little suspicious at the price, something must be wrong with it. But I am still going to go look at it tomorrow with a pianist friend and see what is there to see. Please give me any tips on how to evaluate if it is a good deal? Is it rude to ask if I can ask another RPT to take a look at it?


Falling in love with the piano again after 15 years of silence!
www.openinkstand.com
Re: My piano buying adventures [Re: schinl] #2743036
06/08/18 12:36 PM
06/08/18 12:36 PM
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schinl Offline OP
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Here are some pictures of it:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


Falling in love with the piano again after 15 years of silence!
www.openinkstand.com
Re: My piano buying adventures [Re: schinl] #2743037
06/08/18 12:38 PM
06/08/18 12:38 PM
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Me and my videos... here's a good one by Robert Estrin at Living Pianos on the subject. I used this when evaluating mine for purchase. I don't think it would be rude to have another technician evaluate it. That is a low price, and if he has nothing to hide I don't think he'd mind another technician taking a look.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2e3kPzP5kU

Re: My piano buying adventures [Re: schinl] #2743887
06/12/18 12:51 PM
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Thanks GC13. That was very a helpful video. I am going to Pierre's and Ahn's piano store in California next month, and will try to squeeze in a visit to Living Pianos in Santa Ana.

Unfortunately the Mason Hamlin was not my piano. I'm sure it used to be a beautiful piano, but after 40 years in a church, it needs some repairs. I wouldn't mind that as it was so under budget, but the bass was just no longer there, and the action felt like it was fighting me the whole time. The search continues... frown


Falling in love with the piano again after 15 years of silence!
www.openinkstand.com
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