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Need your help - which piano to choose? #2814209 02/12/19 06:04 PM
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Sissi Offline OP
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My son is 8 years old, he likes piano, but I can see he won't be a pianist. He is using the Casio Privia PX860 digital piano, and it's time for him to go with a real piano.

I am thinking to either buy a good piano so we can use for a long time, or a starter piano so we can upgrade in the future. A few options here (all from private sellers):
1. Pearl River UP108. 2004, great condition. $2000.
2. Yamaha p22. 1938, made in Japan. Very good condition. $2000.
3. Weber grand, model 7, 6'1". Made in 1906, but restored in 2000. Very good condition. $3000.
4. Steinway model M, 5'7". Made in 1950. Owner's husband is a pianist. One owner, the piano is original, no repair made. Could have some minor issues. $7500.

Would highly appreciate if you could give me some suggestion. Thanks in advance!

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Re: Need your help - which piano to choose? [Re: Sissi] #2814232 02/12/19 06:31 PM
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Some here may recommend one brand over another, depending upon how they may see the long-term or future needs of the piano. That, of course, only you can tell when it is determined if your son is going to continue with piano study and whether he may need a better piano in the future if you currently buy a "beginner" piano.

The condition of a used piano is paramount in determining how good an instrument it is. Do you know whether or not the pianos you mentioned to be in "great," or "very good," condition have been evaluated by a professional technician, or is it simply the owner who is giving this description? If it is the owner, then these descriptions have to be taken with a grain of salt. For some people "condition" means no blemishes on the finish without any regard for the piano's use, age and maintenance, if any. Many owners, quite frankly, don't really know the real condition of their piano; that is why, before buying any used piano, the potential buyer is strongly recommended to have a piano examined and evaluated by a professional technician.

A 1938 Yamaha, if it has not had substantial work done to it is a piano that is 80 years old and would certainly not be worth considering unless it has been substantially rebuilt which may not be likely. The Steinway Model M is approaching 70 years of age; it too might require considerable work to fix "minor (?) issues" to make it a good instrument.

Unless you buy from a reputable dealer and have a signed agreement about return on a piano that's being traded in for an upgrade, you will lose money on a trade-in for an upgrade. On the other hand, if your son doesn't continue with piano studies, then you will have less to lose if you have to sell your "starter piano" in the future.


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Re: Need your help - which piano to choose? [Re: Sissi] #2814240 02/12/19 06:37 PM
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I doubt the Yamaha was built in 1938. It is probably a typo for 1983.


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Re: Need your help - which piano to choose? [Re: Sissi] #2814281 02/12/19 07:35 PM
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1 You and your son see and try out those pianos and others you’re interested in.
2 Narrow the list down to 2 or 3
3 get a piano tech to give a report on condition and how much money needs to be paid to fix any issues.?
4 Your son gets final pick after the tech gives an OK.


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Re: Need your help - which piano to choose? [Re: Sissi] #2814358 02/12/19 11:29 PM
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I liked the Privia 860 a lot for a digital piano at its price. Of the options you list:

1. This was an entry level piano, specifically the cheapest one they made for the US market. Chinese pianos for export have improved in quality markedly in the past 15 years.
2. That piano was probably made in the US. I think the Thomaston, GA operation started making P22s in 1983. At that age and price, it's not something I'm all that excited about.
3. It's impossible for a well-restored piano to cost $3,000. At that age, it's doubtful it's in very good condition, either.
4. All original, owned by a pianist, and almost 70 years old. The possibility of needed repairs that could equal, double, triple, or more the purchase price is a worry. Would advise a very thorough technical inspection by someone experienced before buying.

None of them seem particularly exciting as a step up from a decent digital piano for a rapidly developing student.
If you can swing it, a budget of $5,000 can buy a new 45-48" slightly better than entry-level vertical piano, or a used (but not terribly old) 48-52" midrange one that will perform better and more reliably than any of these, and carry your child through early advanced repertoire without getting in the way.


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Re: Need your help - which piano to choose? [Re: Sissi] #2814379 02/13/19 02:12 AM
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If the Steinway M really has no major issues (only your independent technician can verify this), it could be a great buy at that price. I think the Steinway M can be a lovely, responsive, and fun piano if maintained well.

I play one every so often, and while I don't generally like baby grands, I've always enjoyed playing this particular one, but it is beautifully regulated and voiced. This could be difficult to do on a 70 year old piano.

Re: Need your help - which piano to choose? [Re: Sissi] #2814454 02/13/19 08:03 AM
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PS. When I say I don't like baby grands I just mean that I think good uprights are often better pianos. I'm not being a piano snob.

Re: Need your help - which piano to choose? [Re: Sissi] #2814457 02/13/19 08:20 AM
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If he really loves piano a grand might inspire him more.

Otherwise it is better to go with a starter piano and upgrade later.

Re: Need your help - which piano to choose? [Re: Sissi] #2814468 02/13/19 08:49 AM
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I'll put in a good word for the antique Weber. I've seen one of the six-footers from this era rebuilt by a local piano tech and it seemed perfectly playable.
The small Steinway isn't worth the extra money just for the brand name.
If an upright fits in your house better, the Yamaha is widely known as a safe choice. The better action in the grand piano only makes a difference to a serious classical pianist. They do look better and impress the neighbors more.

Re: Need your help - which piano to choose? [Re: edferris] #2814479 02/13/19 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by edferris
I'll put in a good word for the antique Weber. I've seen one of the six-footers from this era rebuilt by a local piano tech and it seemed perfectly playable.
But the Weber in question wasn't rebuilt, it was "restored". So for the 3K price that means very little work. It's always possible that a 120 year old piano is in good condition but extremely unlikely.

Re: Need your help - which piano to choose? [Re: Sissi] #2814486 02/13/19 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Sissi
My son is 8 years old, he likes piano, but I can see he won't be a pianist. He is using the Casio Privia PX860 digital piano, and it's time for him to go with a real piano.

I am thinking to either buy a good piano so we can use for a long time, or a starter piano so we can upgrade in the future. A few options here (all from private sellers):
1. Pearl River UP108. 2004, great condition. $2000.
2. Yamaha p22. 1938, made in Japan. Very good condition. $2000.
3. Weber grand, model 7, 6'1". Made in 1906, but restored in 2000. Very good condition. $3000.
4. Steinway model M, 5'7". Made in 1950. Owner's husband is a pianist. One owner, the piano is original, no repair made. Could have some minor issues. $7500.

Would highly appreciate if you could give me some suggestion. Thanks in advance!


I would buy a new Steinway B, its a good investment. Just look at that other thread that is trending regarding Steinway as a good investment.

Ok, I am only joking.

Seriously now. My wife and I started our search for a piano this past 2 month or so. We currently have a Yamaha upright P2E. We visited several piano retailers and she played on many pianos. At first, my wife was very reluctant because the price and what we have to give up. A week later, she keeps telling me how she wished she had a nice piano when she was younger. She never thought playing a better piano has brought new life in her. She has never been more motivated to play. That if she had a better piano, there would be no doubt how she would be better. She also tells me she is much more confident playing a nice grand piano.

For you, maybe if you have the cash or some equity, take a loan on a used Steinway. Maybe a model A or B. If your son one day decided to quit, you can sell it for a reasonable price instead of that initial 30% depreciation you get with a new Steinway. just my 2c


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Re: Need your help - which piano to choose? [Re: Sissi] #2814499 02/13/19 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Sissi
I am thinking to either buy a good piano so we can use for a long time, or a starter piano so we can upgrade in the future. A few options here (all from private sellers):
1. Pearl River UP108. 2004, great condition. $2000.
2. Yamaha p22. 1938, made in Japan. Very good condition. $2000.
3. Weber grand, model 7, 6'1". Made in 1906, but restored in 2000. Very good condition. $3000.
4. Steinway model M, 5'7". Made in 1950. Owner's husband is a pianist. One owner, the piano is original, no repair made. Could have some minor issues. $7500.

Would highly appreciate if you could give me some suggestion. Thanks in advance!

1. Ignore seller's comments re "great condition".
2. Any of the pianos might be OK or even good but the chances are quite small that will be the case for any of them except maybe the Yamaha if it's really from 1983. All would absolutely require a tech inspection to avoid a potential disaster. Some that are not so good in their present condition might be quite good with a few thousand in tech work or even just a good tuning plus a little voicing/ regulation but only a highly qualified tech can tell you this.
3. If your budget is 7.5K and if none of the pianos on your list work out,
I would look for used but reasonably new smallish non Steinway grands, used but reasonably new good quality uprights(Yamaha or Kawai for example), or new Chinese uprights(Cunningham, Ritmuller, Hailun). When choosing a Chinese vertical I'd suggest one at least 48" and if the company has several different quality levels to go for the highest.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 02/13/19 10:55 AM.
Re: Need your help - which piano to choose? [Re: Sissi] #2814556 02/13/19 12:38 PM
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If $7500 is your budget, that should get you a new Yamaha P22 or Kawai UST, maybe getting close to a new K300 Kawai, according to Piano Buyer @ 25% off of Suggested Maximum Price.


David




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