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Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 #2773515
10/18/18 03:27 AM
10/18/18 03:27 AM
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almo82 Offline OP
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Hi All,

Following previous posts about my search for a Grand, I've narrowed it down to these 2 (both New).

Both Pianos are the same size, and, as far as I understand, have the same scale design and Millenium III action . The Shigeru is made by hand in a separate factory, largely hand-assembled : it also costs approx. 70% more.

I tend to like the Shigeru better both Tonally and touchwise - but the difference isn't great, and could be psychological as the pianos are not in the same show room - so a "blind" test isn't feasible. I will say that when I first played the Shigeru I had a "WOW" moment - but now, having played it on 3 different occasions - I'm not so sure.

I've recorded myself playing on both, and listening to the recordings the GX (the less expensive one) sounds slightly "harsher" - an opinion shared by another pianist with whom I've shared the recordings


I am interested in the forums opinion whether these differences are worth the significant difference in price.

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Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: almo82] #2773569
10/18/18 08:47 AM
10/18/18 08:47 AM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 4,676
Georgia, USA
terminaldegree Offline
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What level of player are you?
Will this be the last piano you ever buy, or is there a larger/better instrument in your future?
It is funny how the market positions itself— midrange pianos are roughly twice as expensive as the entry level ones, high performance stuff is roughly twice that of midrange product.

I never compared these two series at the same size because of the pricing differential. In an earlier grand piano search, I did consider an okay (not the best example I’ve ever played) SK-3 vs a very well prepped RX-5, and sort of vacillated back and forth, before going in a different direction.


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: almo82] #2773585
10/18/18 09:41 AM
10/18/18 09:41 AM
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Learux Offline
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The fact that you like the Shigeru better is not surprising, It is a better piano.

I played both of them while looking for my piano. I had the exact same experience, nicer piano but is it worth the extra money?


In this case when you are not sure if the added expense is worth it I would consider the following.

1. Look for a lightly used Shigeru so you don't take the initial depreciation hit.

2. Dealers usually have a 5 year or more trade up policy. Buy the GX-2 and if after a couple of years you still want the Shigeru, trade up.

Good luck.



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Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: almo82] #2773612
10/18/18 11:35 AM
10/18/18 11:35 AM
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almo82 Offline OP
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Thanks Terminal : I'm not a pro but consider myself fairly advanced classical pianist - Diploma level. I am in my 40's so it may or may not be my last piano - time will tell.

Learux; Trade up isn't really an option here, as I am dealing with different dealers - it is part of the problem.

Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: almo82] #2773618
10/18/18 11:54 AM
10/18/18 11:54 AM
Joined: May 2015
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Florida
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Originally Posted by almo82
Thanks Terminal : I'm not a pro but consider myself fairly advanced classical pianist - Diploma level. I am in my 40's so it may or may not be my last piano - time will tell.

Learux; Trade up isn't really an option here, as I am dealing with different dealers - it is part of the problem.




None of ever ‘know’ if what we buy will be our last piano but I think you can probsbly have a good guess: is the potential piano size limited by your space? If so, it would make it more likely for a future upgrade. Do you anticipate an increase in income at some point (other than just cost of living)?

If it were my decision, I would not buy a piano I considered tonally harsh ..... you will need to hear it for many years, and you should not dread recording yourself. I would buy the SK or keep looking.... including the private market. But then, I am of the school of ‘keep looking until you find a piano you love within your budget’ group. YMMV

Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: almo82] #2773629
10/18/18 12:21 PM
10/18/18 12:21 PM
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New York City
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You could ask the dealer of the GX-2 if they would try and voice the piano more to your liking. Do you have room for a larger non Shigeru model? It might be more to your liking tonally and would still cost less than the Shigeru.

Unfortunately, only you can decide but your dilemma is a very common one among non millionaires. Some good considerations from terminaldegree.

Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: almo82] #2773630
10/18/18 12:23 PM
10/18/18 12:23 PM
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Unless money is no object, I don’t think I would buy a new top tier piano. You can get a used but nearly new top tier piano for a fraction of the cost of a new one. That’s what I did. I found an SK7 that was about 10 years old but was in like new condition and saved maybe 70% off of the price of a new one. If you went this route you could buy an SK2 or an equivalent top tier piano of a different make for the price of the new GX2 or maybe even less. I know buying used may not be desirable for everyone but I think it’s worth considering.

Last edited by John305; 10/18/18 12:25 PM.

It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: John305] #2773638
10/18/18 12:34 PM
10/18/18 12:34 PM
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New York City
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted by John305
Unless money is no object, I don’t think I would buy a new top tier piano. You can get a used but nearly new top tier piano for a fraction of the cost of a new one. That’s what I did. I found an SK7 that was about 10 years old but was in like new condition and saved maybe 70% off of the price of a new one. If you went this route you could buy an SK2 or an equivalent top tier piano of a different make for the price of the new GX2 or maybe even less. I know buying used may not be desirable for everyone but I think it’s worth considering.
Although a nearly new piano is certainly a good idea, if your piano was 70% off the typical selling price(and not 70% off the latest MSRP) I think you got an exceptional deal. I doubt, for example one can typically buy a 10 year old Steinway for 70% off the price of a new one.

Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: pianoloverus] #2773656
10/18/18 02:18 PM
10/18/18 02:18 PM
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Chicago
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John305 Offline
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by John305
Unless money is no object, I don’t think I would buy a new top tier piano. You can get a used but nearly new top tier piano for a fraction of the cost of a new one. That’s what I did. I found an SK7 that was about 10 years old but was in like new condition and saved maybe 70% off of the price of a new one. If you went this route you could buy an SK2 or an equivalent top tier piano of a different make for the price of the new GX2 or maybe even less. I know buying used may not be desirable for everyone but I think it’s worth considering.
Although a nearly new piano is certainly a good idea, if your piano was 70% off the typical selling price(and not 70% off the latest MSRP) I think you got an exceptional deal. I doubt, for example one can typically buy a 10 year old Steinway for 70% off the price of a new one.



You certainly couldn’t from a dealer. Especially not with a Steinway, since everyone thinks they are made of gold or something.

I’m talking about buying from a private seller. In my search for my piano I found many motivated sellers whose asking prices were in line with what I mentioned above. The number one reason I found for the need to sell was that the sellers were moving and were typically downsizing and could not take the grand piano with them to the new smaller home. I expect this would apply more to the larger grand pianos and less so the smaller ones. In fact, I was advised to look for used concert grand (9 foot) pianos since they are so big and hard to get rid of that they can be had for really great deals.

Last edited by John305; 10/18/18 02:19 PM.

It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: John305] #2773668
10/18/18 03:16 PM
10/18/18 03:16 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 4,676
Georgia, USA
terminaldegree Offline
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Originally Posted by John305
Unless money is no object, I don’t think I would buy a new top tier piano. You can get a used but nearly new top tier piano for a fraction of the cost of a new one. That’s what I did. I found an SK7 that was about 10 years old but was in like new condition and saved maybe 70% off of the price of a new one.


You got an exceptional, once in a lifetime sort of deal that pretty much nobody else could reasonably expect to get. I wouldn't extrapolate that into a typical expectation for everyone, though you make a good point about buying a recently made used piano from a private seller as a way to save money, so long as the buyer is willing to assume all the risk of having no warranty (in most cases) and coming up with the total amount without financing assistance from the seller.


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: almo82] #2773677
10/18/18 03:47 PM
10/18/18 03:47 PM
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North of Los Angeles
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Learux Offline
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I can imagine that a 9 foot grand is much too loud for the average home.



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Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: Learux] #2773696
10/18/18 04:52 PM
10/18/18 04:52 PM
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Chicago
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Originally Posted by Learux
I can imagine that a 9 foot grand is much too loud for the average home.



That could very well be but there are people on this forum I believe who have a 9 foot grand in their home.


It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: almo82] #2773771
10/19/18 12:34 AM
10/19/18 12:34 AM
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almo82 Offline OP
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I considered looking for a used : Used Shigeru's are extremely hard to find out here - I've yet to see one.


To reply to an earlier Post : the GX2 isn't harsh - in fact its sound is quite mellow. It is only in comparison to the SK2 that it sounds a bit harsh (and through a recording at that) .

Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: almo82] #2773789
10/19/18 05:50 AM
10/19/18 05:50 AM
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almo82 Offline OP
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I've put the two recordings in the attached link for comparison. Both were recorded using the same setup : a portable Zoom recorder using an M/S mic configuration, placed approx. 2 meters behind the pianist - on the Music stand of another instrument.


Apologies for the poor performance - I wasn't trying to be accurate or musical.... in one of them you might actually hear the dealer talking to another customer in the background.

I'm purposely not saying which is which: Both instruments were fully open.

https://1drv.ms/f/s!AotslwjoknWchJZ0kC1ny371kYMr4w

Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: John305] #2773805
10/19/18 07:04 AM
10/19/18 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by John305
Originally Posted by Learux
I can imagine that a 9 foot grand is much too loud for the average home.


That could very well be but there are people on this forum I believe who have a 9 foot grand in their home.


Would a 9' grand even fit in an average home?


I've been trying to change my signature quote for weeks.

Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: almo82] #2773807
10/19/18 07:05 AM
10/19/18 07:05 AM
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Number 2 by some margin for me. I have no idea how much preparation could make a difference, so that variable is certainly there.

Last edited by dhull100; 10/19/18 07:08 AM. Reason: Addendum
Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: almo82] #2773810
10/19/18 07:30 AM
10/19/18 07:30 AM
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Number 2 sounds like a more sophisticated scale design; it sounds more balanced. But Number 1 is also voiced differently, brighter.

Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: almo82] #2773839
10/19/18 09:11 AM
10/19/18 09:11 AM
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Rockville, MD
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Despite the background noise on the 2nd recording, I liked the sound of that piano better. The sound was more refined to my ears.

Was it the SK or the GX?

Don't know. Doesn't matter with respect to your question.

Regarding SK vs GX - the "prep" really does matter. I was evaluating potential Kawai purchases for our university at a Kawai dealer. While I was there, among other instruments, I played a "well prepped" GX-3, and immediately after, though in a different room, a SK-2, so not an apples to apples comparison.

I expected to like the SK-2 better.

I didn't. The GX-3 was loads less expensive, and was the better sounding of the two instruments. The "feel" was about the same.

Turns out that the GX had been specially prepped by a Kawai master technician prior to showing a potential buyer.

Conclusion: in the case of the OP, buy the piano you like provided it's in your budget.

As to finding a 70% off SK-7 in near mint condition, wow! They don't project like a concert grand (I played one in front of an orchestra in a hall seating 1500 people), but they can be absolutey gorgeous. In a smaller hall, or in a home with a large music room, they would certainly make my list of top contenders.

Let us know which recording was which. Eh? And good luck with your purchase.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: almo82] #2773883
10/19/18 12:15 PM
10/19/18 12:15 PM
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almo82 Offline OP
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Seems to be a consensus on #2 - which is the SK-2 for those who were wondering - well done to all those who guessed right.

As to prep : I haven't considered that point and its a valid one. The GX-2 was brought in at my request - so is very new (literally unboxed a few days ago - 2 days before I came in). Should that be a factor? should I ask it to be voiced?

Last edited by almo82; 10/19/18 12:25 PM.
Re: Kawai GX2 vs. Shigeru SK2 [Re: almo82] #2773904
10/19/18 01:45 PM
10/19/18 01:45 PM
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San Mateo, CA
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Hi Almo82,

When I opened my location in San Mateo, we were a Kawai Dealer without access to Shigeru Kawai. At that time I had a competitor in the area with Shigeru Kawai and I needed to prep the GXs to a point where I can close the gap between the performance of the Shigeru and the GX. I dedicated about 6 months also on a GX2 and GX5 doing extensive work and refinements including collaboration from fellow colleagues who have taken Shigeru prepping courses. (We didn't close the gap)
We sold the GX based on the lower price point but non of the buyers or people who were comparing the two pianos ever mentioned that the GX was near the SK regardless how much work we putted into it.

The difference is in many parts of the two pianos, key-balance, type of hammers, shanks, bridges, soundboard, rim, the bass strings are different. Last the factory prepping and follow up.
3 years later we are now a Shigeru Kawai dealer and a GX dealer. We had compare both pianos side to side and the SK are just a better piano.

Regards,


San Mateo Piano
Kawai Piano Dealer San Francisco Bay Area
www.sanmateopiano.com
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