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Sabin76 Offline OP
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The time has come for my daughter to graduate from my 15-y.o. Yamaha weighted 88-key synth. She's still fairly young, but she's been playing for 2 years and still loves it, so here I am! As we're just starting the research process, I don't yet have a final budget (my step-father said he would help with the purchase... and that's as specific as it got). Let's say, for the sake of argument and what my gut tells me that we're in the $5-6k range.

My wife and I went to a few dealers yesterday to play some and get their spiels. Boy did we get them. Of course, only the pianos that that particular dealer sold were the ones worth buying... That said, the Brodmann dealer (he also sells Wilhelm, Hallet Davis, and Schimmel) was incredibly informative in regards to opening up all the pianos and pointing things out. I did learn a lot in that particular store. We were very impressed with the sound of the Brodmann PE 121, but we also liked the sound of the Kawai K300 and can possibly get it for slightly less (which is probably a rather large point in its favor, considering how much used ones seem to go for); both being new. We also saw some refurbished Yamahas from Japan, but I wasn't as impressed with the sound (they were kind of tinny) and I was warned by more than one dealer that humidity changes can ruin a good piano. Japan and California are pretty much opposites in that regard.

OR

I've seen people say that NA is awash with amazing used pianos. I've looked at Craigslist and have found 3 Steinway uprights (of varying ages and conditions) and a Kawai K500 that is only 4 years old (still under warranty) for similar prices to the new pianos above. I didn't limit my search to Steinway, but those were the ones that came up that I could actually recognize after looking a various lists of famous piano brands. I am incredibly wary of buying a used piano, but hopefully someone here can either allay that fear or confirm it so I can back off with no regrets. How much is it to get a technician to come with me to take a look, anyway?

I also posted on Reddit here.

Thanks in advance for you help!

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As to engaging a technician to assist you that is a good idea. However most technicians would not want to go shopping with you. It simply would take too much time and expense. And since you are hiring a techncian to advise you, the information he/she provides to you should be yours to reveal to the seller as you desire in the negotiating process. If the tech goes with you, the conversation can be overheard by the seller and thus make for some akward moments sometimes. I would try to select a techncian as early as possible in this process that you will use to evaluate any appealing prospects before you make a final purchase. And then have the tech go on their own to see the piano.

Keep looking and trying as many pianos that appeal to your needs. That way you will be able to form a better idea of what you want and can narrow down your prospects to ones a technician can evaluate for condition and value.

Good luck and keep us all posted on your progress.


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Keep trying and comparing the pianos, learning from the salesman, you'll be a piano specialist soon. Good luck

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Where are you located?


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Hi Sabin, I bought a new Kawai K3 about 7 years ago and it has been a pleasure to play nearly everyday since then. To me, the actions on Kawai uprights are second to none , very precise and quick. However, the tone of my K3, especially in the bass and around middle C, is rather lack luster. I'm hoping to upgrade to a grand soon.


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Ask the piano dealer if you can rent it and have the rent applied to the purchase if that is the one you really want.

Best of luck / Steve


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Based on what's been written, the K-500 sounds like it would represent a tremendous piano for a student. If you do rent, make sure you like the dealer enough that you're pretty sure you'll find the upgrade piano with him and also know that the rental credit is usually off of MSRP and you'd probably be able to do better by straight haggling.

If you haven't already, have a good look through Piano Buyer online available as a link through the front page of Piano World. It has a wealth of information about piano brands and models, who actually owns the old names and where they are made. If nothing else, the article on how pianos are priced and discounted at retail is a must read before wading in to serious negotiations. it'll help you see through much of the smoke and fog laid down by sales people.

Good Luck

Kurt


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K3 or any piano can lose its luster . ,maybe needs to be voiced ,regulated and tuned !

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Originally Posted by Sam Rose
Where are you located?


Bay Area, California.

Originally Posted by Lakeviewsteve
Ask the piano dealer if you can rent it and have the rent applied to the purchase if that is the one you really want.

Best of luck / Steve


This was something that was an option for a dealer that had a Yamaha X-series that we initially were looking at, but we've backed away from that prospect due to the humidity warnings I mentioned above. I'll also keep in mind KurtZ's comment about rent-to-own.

Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
As to engaging a technician to assist you that is a good idea. However most technicians would not want to go shopping with you. It simply would take too much time and expense. And since you are hiring a techncian to advise you, the information he/she provides to you should be yours to reveal to the seller as you desire in the negotiating process. If the tech goes with you, the conversation can be overheard by the seller and thus make for some akward moments sometimes. I would try to select a techncian as early as possible in this process that you will use to evaluate any appealing prospects before you make a final purchase. And then have the tech go on their own to see the piano.


I see, that makes sense. Is there a ballpark figure I should be looking for in terms of having someone go to check out a piano?

Additionally, is there anyone with any long-term experience with Brodmann (noting that they are only, what, 10 years old now...)? Does that amazing sound I heard last?

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Originally Posted by Sabin76
... This was something that was an option for a dealer that had a Yamaha X-series that we initially were looking at, but we've backed away from that prospect due to the humidity warnings I mentioned above. ...

I had an old "X" series Yamaha - 1979 - it was the most stable piano I've ever had. It did a lot of work, with my studying for a diploma on it, and 3 children doing various exams, and accompaniment for all their other instruments - and I played it every night.

We bought it new, when I lived in the tropics but up a mountain range, so it was coolish, there was fog most nights, humidity was often in the 90% range, and rained about 75% of days. But could still have dry westerly winds with 25% humidity. After 5 years, we moved to semi-tropics, at sea-level, but much higher temperatures and almost as high humidity - it was there for 23 years. I moved to a less humid climate for a couple of years when I replaced it - but it's at my daughter's place now where they tend to ignore it, it sat for 4 yrs under an air-conditioner there. It could well do with a service, but is still playing quite well.


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Originally Posted by Sabin76


This was something that was an option for a dealer that had a Yamaha X-series that we initially were looking at, but we've backed away from that prospect due to the humidity warnings I mentioned above. I'll also keep in mind KurtZ's comment about rent-to-own.



If you like that X-series piano I'd suggest putting it back on your list of candidates. There is some controversy/disagreement on whether this whole imported Yamaha humidity story has any substance at all or is just a sales story, but leaving that argument aside the X series 'special' pianos are particularly stable due to their enhanced construction so I would go back and judge it on its merits.

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One of the short list pianos when I bought an upright in this price range was a X model. I have no doubts about the structural integrity of any Yamaha piano. As much as I admire Yamaha as a company in acoustic and electric pianos, I think the whole seasoned for the US is a canard that started in the 60's and 70's when it was likely that Yamaha's simply weren't seasoned enough full stop. Where in America do they season them for? Seattle? Florida? Denver at 6,000 ft or Las Vegas' average humidity of 30 percent? And since Yamaha biggest competitor in entry level upright isn't Kawai as much as it's own used pianos, they keep up the front as a sales tactic.

Isn't Yamaha USA selling "Yamaha Certified" gray pianos now? where are those pianos seasoned for?

Kurt


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The problem with gray market pianos is not I think humidty but the way some have been used ,shipped ,or refirbished. If you decide on one it would absolutely necessary to have it totally checked by a technician. Also make sure about the dealer ?

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I haven't, personally, checked out the X-series I mentioned. That was my wife and her friend. At that shop, they had 3 X-series and one of them had mold in it (not the one we were considering).

Originally Posted by KurtZ
Where in America do they season them for? Seattle? Florida? Denver at 6,000 ft or Las Vegas' average humidity of 30 percent? And since Yamaha biggest competitor in entry level upright isn't Kawai as much as it's own used pianos, they keep up the front as a sales tactic.

Isn't Yamaha USA selling "Yamaha Certified" gray pianos now? where are those pianos seasoned for?

Kurt


This is a valid point, though. I'm now convinced that buying used is not a terrible idea... I just need to find a technician.

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Originally Posted by Sabin76
... This is a valid point, though. I'm now convinced that buying used is not a terrible idea... I just need to find a technician.

Not necessarily - there are many thousands of great used pianos available. People get rid of them for valid reasons. My Mum's immaculate 6 or 7yr old Yamaha YUX1 piano is only going (to my sister) - because, sadly she's in palliative care after a serious stroke and won't ever play it again.

A piano like that, serviced twice a year, played daily would sell for 2/3 new price or less - and it's fully "run in", voicing and regulation fine-tuned several times - would be an excellent buy.

A new piano needs several services before it'll be playing at its best.


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I believe many of these pianos are refirbished at Osaka, the Takimoto factory .If a family piano goes to another family member it's different to buying an unknown piano from a different country. New pianos out of a crate need more attention. ,piano wires have to stretch. If you buy a piano that has been in a store for a few months it will be receiving good attention while on the floor .Dealers have several reasons to keep the piano in good condition. People will be trying the piano out which is also good for the piano .Buying a used piano without a tech .checking it is foolish .I know I have been that fool !

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I am sorry about your mom .I wish you all well .


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