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Estonia Pianos
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Joined: Feb 2019
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yvr2011 Offline OP
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Hoping to get some advice here. My son is 12 and is practicing level 9 RCM. He'll probably practicing for another 3 years while he completes level 10 and possibly his ARCT. We're looking at purchasing a grand piano as he has been playing on an older upright. We've been told the grand should be at least 6'. the C2X is 5'-8". Is it worth getting the C3X? More expensive, yes but does it play differently? I assume the sound is a little better on the C3X. We've played both but he couldn't feel a big difference. We are sacrificing a lot to buy this for him but we think that it will be worthwhile.
Hopefully he will continue playing in his adult life and keep this for a long time!
Any advice is appreciated!

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The big difference will be the tonal improvement in the bass register because of the longer bass strings. The 2 pianos will probably play just about the same and sound similar otherwise. As a general rule, as pianos lengthen, the bass is usually more powerful, has more of a "growl", and more clarity (fundamental tone). This may be why a piano of at least 6' is recommended. As the piano approaches the 7' range, the difference is usually even more noticeable. I'm not sure if the CnX series Yamaha pianos are considered to have a wide tail or not, but often a short piano with a wider tail will have a significantly improved bass tone.

Are you purchasing a new piano or used? The C2X and C3X are relatively new models. I highly recommend fully investigating the used piano market. One can often find amazing deals out there on excellent pianos -- Baldwins, Steinways, Mason & Hamlins, Yamahas, and Kawais. The used piano market is a buyer's market. Always have a technician check out the condition of any used piano first to make sure you aren't getting a "money pit".

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If the level 9 player in your house can't feel or hear the difference, I think you've found the point of diminishing returns!


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Save the money and get the less expensive piano. Any decent grand will already be a world of difference from his current upright. If you’re price sensitive, I agree looking for used. You don’t need to spend 25K

I got my ARCT practicing on a dinky spinet piano. A nice piano helps, but definitely is not necessary to advance.

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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
If the level 9 player in your house can't feel or hear the difference, I think you've found the point of diminishing returns!


Wise words. Both are beautifully built pianos.


Rich Galassini
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As pianists train, their ears train also so your son might not hear or feel much difference now but might hear and feel the difference in a few years. As mentioned before, buying used can save you considerable money. It HAS TO BE CHECKED BY AN IMPARTIAL PIANO TECH. Used is a buyers market. For the same cash as a
new C2X you could buy a used bigger Yamaha C series or used Kawai.
You’re a very loving parent and I hope your son realizes how incredibly lucky or blessed he is.


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Lots of professional pianists "only" have a C2 at home. I wouldn't worry that by getting a C2 that you are short-changing the pianist in your home!

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If your son can't tell the difference between the C2X and C3X, get the C2X. I've played these two pianos in a showroom before and couldn't really tell much of a difference either. Any difference I thought I heard was extremely minor. It could very well be due to acoustics from the slightly different position in the room. They both play the same.

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I very much enjoy the full rich pianissimos of the C3X. I find the C3X to be much more expressive.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
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At his level and with the time he will commit in the next few years, he should try more instruments until one stands out. After trying more, a Yamaha may be the stand out because they are good instruments, but there are more quality, competitive choices in that size/price range than a few years ago.

Typically, I find the difference between the C2's and C3's to be very substantial when it comes to the subtlety and nuance. Your son's level of study means he has the repertoire to dive deeper, but he may not have the understanding or may not be using the best pieces to test when comparing. Often, the best test is playing softly with control - selecting pieces that have dynamic range, but not just top end. Select pieces that also test the different registers. Do you feel in control of the bass & treble balance.

I would ask him to try and play a piece "differently" than he does at home. Think of a few simple pieces he knows well, and then exaggerate the way it would typically be played, faster, slower, louder, softer, stretch himself a bit and see which piano excites him. If you see a difference then, you are probably on the right track. If not, then definitely go with a cheaper option.

I agree with chronos1701 that the room acoustics may not be helping, and that can be a challenge when shopping. I think that is more reason to try a few more pianos in a few more spaces before settling in on one. Evaluating/comparing pianos is a developed skill, so creating at least some experience base can be really helpful.


Sam Bennett
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