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Buying my first grand piano #2835026 04/03/19 09:34 PM
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PawelS Offline OP
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I was playing a digital piano for a couple of years now and decided to buy a grand piano. I'm new to the world of pianos and would appreciate any suggestions, comments from more experienced people here.

I live in a detached house and have a room 14'x21' witch sloped ceiling between 8'-12' (pretty much empty with hardwood floors).
I'm looking for a big grand piano 6'-7'.
I found a 1980 Yamaha C7 for $19000.
The owner claims that it is in excellent condition with no flaws in the soundboard. Hammers and dampers replaced 10 years ago.
I'll get a piano technician to look at it, but before that, I have a couple of questions:'

1. Isn't the piano to big for my room? (according to my research it is too long by 4" (21x21x14x14=70) although I don't know if higher ceiling will help)
2. What should I expect from almost 40 years old grand piano, I'm ok to put another $5000 to replace any action or strings but from what I've read it is near the end of life would that mean it will require expensive rebuild, soundboard will start cracking, pinblock will require replacement or it will need to be refinished?
3. Is the price right?

Last edited by PawelS; 04/03/19 09:40 PM.
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Re: Buying my first grand piano [Re: PawelS] #2835048 04/03/19 11:19 PM
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I'm in the process of searching for a piano near 7" right now too.

Have you read about how to voice a room (and that's from where you got your measurement restrictions?)

https://www.pianobuyer.com/Articles/Detail/ArticleId/121/Ten-Ways-to-Voice-a-Room

How open is your space? Does the room open up into any other rooms? If so, how large is the door? I have a house with large openings between the rooms, which helps give the sound somewhere else to go.

As far as how much work it may or may not need, the best person to assess that would be a good technician. I would have him/her go over it very carefully. They can tell you what work it needs and what kind of costs you're likely to incur. When pianos get that old, I start worrying about big ticket items needing replacement (where $5000 may not cover the expenses).

Have you played the piano? How does it play and feel?

I cannot comment on the pricing as I don't know much about the used Yamaha market.

Re: Buying my first grand piano [Re: PawelS] #2835053 04/03/19 11:50 PM
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You are wise to have it inspected (any second-hand piano purchase).

Re. size, I wouldn't worry about four inches! Personally, I don't put a lot of stock into formulas for determining max size based on room dimensions. It's more a question of your comfort with the physical space it will take up (IMO). You can voice the piano, and also address issues with the room acoustics if necessary. Speaking of which, the sloped ceiling will probably help. On a hardwood floor, you may want to put a rug under the piano.



"If it sounds good, it is good." - Duke Ellington
P E R F O R M A N C E over p r o v e n a n c e

Re: Buying my first grand piano [Re: PawelS] #2835083 04/04/19 02:28 AM
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I've got the same size piano, but in a considerably bigger room. My room is the same length, but only 10' wide (it's wider but a built-in cupboard narrows it) - but it "L" fully opens up to another room 12'x20'. And has 3 double width open doorways running off to corridors or other rooms. I wouldn't worry about the 4" - they're approximate guesses anyway.

It more depends on the piano - and how it's voiced and regulated. If it can be regulated to play ppp when necessary, it could be fine. I've had mine regulated very fine, and voiced a bit softer. It's also on carpet, though part of the room is hardwood. My ceilings are much lower than yours though.

The technicians among PianoWorld could comment better, but I doubt a 40yr old YAMAHA C series would have issues with soundboard cracking or with pinblock, unless it's been an institution piano.

I like YAMAHA C7s - but they can be quite loud, and are used in smaller halls and medium Churches (where I've played several) for that reason.

You need to play it, and ask your technician for advice on how it plays, and if it can be adjusted to suit your room. If it needs, as a 40yr old piano may, new hammers and strings, as well as a full regulation to have it play suitably for your size room, then you need to budget that in.

I'd suggest also checking out a slightly smaller piano - maybe a C3 (or RX3 KAWAI) - both good pianos - they might be more suitable for your size room..


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: Buying my first grand piano [Re: PawelS] #2835188 04/04/19 08:36 AM
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C7 is a very nice instrument. At 39 years old it's not young, but could still be in very good condition. Your tech inspection will tell you what work needs to be done. The soundboard could be in any condition from still quite good to thoroughly trashed. Again your tech inspection will tell you that. Does it sound and play good to you?

As for room size, worst case scenario is it'll be rather loud and you'll learn how to play softer, or like me, you'll just revel in the sound of a big piano is a smaller room. If you need to you can put wall to wall carpet and heavy drapes in the room and that will control the sound.

Re: Buying my first grand piano [Re: PawelS] #2835219 04/04/19 09:53 AM
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Hi, Pawel --

1. Forget about the old size formula thing. It's nonsense. Many of us have concert grands at home.

2 & 3. Only a piano technician carefully inspecting the actual piano can tell you for sure whether or not it has big problems coming in the near future, and therefore also whether the price is good, bad, or average. There are a lot of 40+ year old Yamahas that are in good shape and have decades of life left if used as a personal home piano. OTOH, there are some that have been knocked around in hotel banquet rooms for 40 years, too.


-- J.S.

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Re: Buying my first grand piano [Re: JohnSprung] #2835241 04/04/19 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung

Hi, Pawel --

1. Forget about the old size formula thing. It's nonsense. Many of us have concert grands at home.




This, many times this. That article in piano buyer is filled with nonsense and repeated myth. It wasn't written by a acoustician. Is there a volume difference between a 5'5" and a nine footer? Yes. Is there a volume difference big enough to matter between a 6'6" and a 7 footer, no.


If the room is too echoey/boomy/harsh with a 6 footer it'll be too boomey,echoey/harsh with a 7 footer. It's acoustics NOT volume or room size.

Kurt


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Re: Buying my first grand piano [Re: PawelS] #2835282 04/04/19 12:12 PM
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Technician will be best person to tell you if soundboard, pinblock, bridges are OK

may only need some regulation, hammer refacing, maybe bass strings replaced. Shouldn’t be $5000 though.

19K seems optimistic for private transaction, would expect that to be dealer price with support/warranty. See what technician says, maybe offer 15 if everything OK.

Re: Buying my first grand piano [Re: PawelS] #2835284 04/04/19 12:13 PM
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I tried a 5'-8" Knabe with a Steinway D once, and they could be pretty well matched in volume. Download a decibel meter app for your phone and test for yourself.


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Re: Buying my first grand piano [Re: PawelS] #2835493 04/04/19 10:34 PM
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Hi,

Don't forget to look at $24,000 pianos that are out there that might not need serious rehab.


David



Re: Buying my first grand piano [Re: PawelS] #2835525 04/05/19 04:25 AM
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According to the size formula 7 ft is the maximum size for your room. (70 / 10 = 7ft).

IMO it might be safer to look for a smaller and a newer piano around 25k.

Re: Buying my first grand piano [Re: PawelS] #2835528 04/05/19 04:37 AM
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Re: Buying my first grand piano [Re: PawelS] #2835734 04/05/19 12:46 PM
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Re: Buying my first grand piano [Re: PawelS] #2846922 05/09/19 11:59 PM
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PawelS Offline OP
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Thank you for all the valuable comments, I've played quite a few more pianos and decided to buy a brand new 6'2" Kawai GX-3 BLAK.
What I found out was that all used Yamaha pianos had very worn action including two C3s that were from the years 2004 and 2006 also finish was worn which I think is due to the fact that bigger grands are usually used in the institutions and played a lot.

The things I liked about Kawai GX-3:
* I liked the tone better, it is slightly warmer than Yamaha
* I felt to have better control on Kawai action
* the keys are longer which makes playing back in the keys easier
* the base is good much better than shorter baby grands and not that different from 7' pianos
* with a small price difference I got a brand new piano instead of used one

Re: Buying my first grand piano [Re: PawelS] #2846923 05/10/19 12:12 AM
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Congratulations on your new Kawai!
That is a very fine piano.
I wish you years of enjoyment with your new piano.
Pics please when it arrives.

Re: Buying my first grand piano [Re: PawelS] #2846931 05/10/19 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by PawelS
Thank you for all the valuable comments, I've played quite a few more pianos and decided to buy a brand new 6'2" Kawai GX-3 BLAK.
What I found out was that all used Yamaha pianos had very worn action including two C3s that were from the years 2004 and 2006 also finish was worn which I think is due to the fact that bigger grands are usually used in the institutions and played a lot.

The things I liked about Kawai GX-3:
* I liked the tone better, it is slightly warmer than Yamaha
* I felt to have better control on Kawai action
* the keys are longer which makes playing back in the keys easier
* the base is good much better than shorter baby grands and not that different from 7' pianos
* with a small price difference I got a brand new piano instead of used one

Enjoy your new piano!! I think it will probably suit the room you originally described well, better than a C7.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).

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