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New Kawai GL-20 issues
#2854666 06/01/19 04:57 PM
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BACKGROUND:
After 40+ years of playing an old Cable spinet that would no longer hold tune, I marked "small grand" off my bucket list with the purchase of a brand new Kawai GL-20 (made in Japan, not Indonesia) from a very reputable music company.

I've had it for about six weeks, played 2-3 hours/day. From the day it was delivered, it was clearly in need of a tuning, but what concerned me was the unevenness in tone and volume up and down the keyboard.

Some keys are noticeably louder than others with same touch. Some keys buzz when played. Tuner recommended and paid for (first tuning only) by store came this week. Pitch is much better but issues with consistent sound are actually worse, across the board. New buzzes, old ones still there, etc.

MY QUESTION:
Is this just part of a break-in period with this type of piano or should the dealer have done work (not sure if it's regulation or voicing) before delivery? And, is that something I should be able to ask for now? I get that I might not like a bright or soft sound, etc., but all I want right now is to consistently hear what I anticipate when I play instead of grimacing at buzzes and twangs.


Kawai GL-20
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Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Mbetts #2854700 06/01/19 05:41 PM
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Hi Mbetts,
What you described it does seem like anything abnormal. Sometimes new piano owners don't know that the piano will need some prepping in the early stage. Certain buyers don't understand that taking the piano on display, It is better than asking the dealer to send you one out of the box (I don't know what is your particular situation)
If the dealer gave you a free tuning, they've done their part since the piano is not defective, simply needs additional refinements.
Your piano needs voicing and tuning, it is part of owning a piano.


San Mateo Piano
Kawai Piano Dealer San Francisco Bay Area
www.sanmateopiano.com
Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Mbetts #2854707 06/01/19 06:12 PM
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It is very disappointing to experience these these problems with a new piano. When I purchased a new Kawai RX-3 in 2007, it came with an unmarked checklist on a warranty form of 46 things for the dealer to inspect and adjust if necessary. I suspect that few, if any of the checklist points had been checked at all. The meaning of the word "reputable", sadly, has been debased in recent years.
It does take time for a new piano to settle, and new instruments that have been in the showroom for some time are usually more stable and nicer to play.
However, it is unacceptable to have buzzing notes and twangs and other atrocities arising from inadequate preparation of a new piano by the dealer. I advise you to contact your dealer and insist that you are not happy with the instrument in its current state and detail the problems.
Most, if not all of these defects should be put right by a competent technician.
Good luck and happier music making!
Robert.

Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Kurtmen #2854712 06/01/19 06:25 PM
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Thanks for the perspective. I should have noted that this was an "out-of-the-box" piano, not the floor model I played in the store.


Kawai GL-20
Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Mbetts #2854715 06/01/19 06:40 PM
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Sounds like you got a piano that had not been prepped prior to delivery.

This is one of the reasons why we always recommend buying the floor model instead of getting a piano delivered straight from the crate.
I would hiring a highly regarded tech to spend maybe 4 hours, sorting out the piano in your home. This may or may not be the store's tech, by the way...sometimes the tech who does the "free" tuning is paid a lower, promotional rate, by someone that's less experienced and just starting to build a client base.


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Mbetts #2854716 06/01/19 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Kurtmen
Your piano needs voicing and tuning, it is part of owning a piano.

+1.

Will make a huge difference in tone refinement. Check regulation, hammer to string mating, string leveling, and voicing. Make sure the tech is experienced at voicing and tone regulation as well as tuning. smile

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Mbetts #2854723 06/01/19 07:10 PM
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I've had my GL-10 for about a year. The tuner from the store who came for the first tuning is also one of the technicians who sets up the new pianos there. He told me it takes hours in the shop to get a new piano ready for the floor or a customer. I was happy with the way mine was delivered, so I'd echo previous suggestions to call the dealer and ask for someone to come and take a look at it.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Robert 45 #2854728 06/01/19 07:29 PM
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Robert 45,
I disagree with your post> The tone of your post only does a disservice to someone who is looking for help and information. It is full of aggravation and disapproval, what is your point? Make him feel that he got cheat out of something?
There are two options! The floor unit or one out of the box, he took the second one.
The piano is new out of the box all it needs is service. Simple.


Last edited by Kurtmen; 06/01/19 07:32 PM.

San Mateo Piano
Kawai Piano Dealer San Francisco Bay Area
www.sanmateopiano.com
Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Kurtmen #2854734 06/01/19 08:26 PM
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I don't want to create Ill-will between folks.
I just assumed (yes, I know what that makes me) that purchasing an instrument like this would be similar (only more fun) to purchasing a vehicle. I've never bought a new vehicle that wasn't running smoothly at delivery. This feels like having to take a new car to the mechanic to have the timing set (I think that shows how old I am when I reference timing guns) as I drive it off the lot.

Just shows that every business is different with different benchmarks for what should be expected. Seems my expectations were "out of alignment" (to mix my metaphors) in regards to the piano industry. We all learn as we go and now I'm on the hunt for a quality technician.

Thanks all for the information and education.


Kawai GL-20
Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Mbetts #2854737 06/01/19 08:39 PM
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I was told by a technician that Yamaha and Kawai pay the
dealer to prep a piano.Also the dealer should provide voicing
every now and then.Sometimes a new piano from a crate
will develop metalic sounds and buzzing,this should be covered
by the warranty.
The piano will need at least 6 tunings in the first 18 months.
When I bought the Sauter I chose the floor model after reading
piano buyer.I found out from the manufacturer that the piano
was sent to Canada a few months earlier.
The head technician still spent a few days prepairing the piano
even though he already had worked on the piano.
I think you do need to assert yourself (difficult)and insist
that a good technician prep and voice the piano.
Do not worry ,with the correct work your piano will soon be
singing nicely.

Last edited by Lady Bird; 06/01/19 08:40 PM. Reason: Missing word
Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Mbetts #2854742 06/01/19 09:11 PM
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The 6 tunings should paid by you but the dealer should cover
the cost of regulation and initial voicing.
Before I bought the Sauter I bought a new U1 out of a crate. Also had
not been prepped by the dealer.However in the days that followed the dealer had the piano regulated and every now and then I called
him up and they did some voicing.
I never had any problems with the Sauter but I will myself
have to have it voiced and perhaps regulated again as I have
had it over a year now.You will soon soon be enjoying your
wonderful new piano!

Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Mbetts #2854743 06/01/19 09:12 PM
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Lady Bird
I’m looking forward to responses and warranty coverage. My understanding Is that voicing and regulation are not part of the warranty as this is maintenance and not a defect.

Some dealers prep well and some do not. Some will be concerned with an unhappy customer and want to regulate the piano for free as good customer service, . But I don’t believe any of this is covered under warranty. .. neither will periodic tunings. Terminal degree implied this in his post.

I would therefore call the dealer and in a non-aggressive way see if they will help out. The good news is that this can be fixed. 😊

Last edited by dogperson; 06/01/19 09:14 PM.
Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Kurtmen #2854744 06/01/19 09:14 PM
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Reputable dealers will resist delivering a piano out of the box but sometimes circumstances require it. Reputable dealers will take pride in delivering a piano in tune, at concert pitch, with any issues such as voicing or action friction addressed.

A buyer should not accept a piano out of the box. It's preferable to buy a floor model that you can try out and approve.

Uneven voicing out of the box is unusual for a Kawai grand.

A new grand piano should be tuned 3-4 times each year for two years, or until your technician tells you it's stable. Then tuned 1-2 times a year after that.

Real world example - In January, I did a free tuning on a new grand, obviously delivered out of the box. The client was complaining - he didn't like the piano at all. I raised the pitch 100 cents (a whole note) and reduced the key friction so it played better. The client was happy. I told him a follow up tuning was needed within 3 months. He called in May, and I did his second free tuning, this time a 1/4 note pitch raise (the piano was already flat due to strings stretching). and some quick voicing to even out a few notes.

Recommended followup in November. He pays for that, so I hope he does it.

New pianos are at their worst, till they settle in and get regular service from a tech that does more than a tune and run. Regular service is a must for best performance.




Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Bob #2854745 06/01/19 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob
Reputable dealers will resist delivering a piano out of the box but sometimes circumstances require it. Reputable dealers will take pride in delivering a piano in tune, at concert pitch, with any issues such as voicing or action friction addressed.


I was just getting ready to ask what accepted practice is, but you answered my question. It seems like a brand new piano should not have be to some sort of project (other than the early adjustments they all need).

Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
dogperson #2854752 06/01/19 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Lady Bird
I’m looking forward to responses and warranty coverage. My understanding Is that voicing and regulation are not part of the warranty as this is maintenance and not a defect.

Some dealers prep well and some do not. Some will be concerned with an unhappy customer and want to regulate the piano for free as good customer service, . But I don’t believe any of this is covered under warranty. .. neither will periodic tunings. Terminal degree implied this in his post.

I would therefore call the dealer and in a non-aggressive way see if they will help out. The good news is that this can be fixed. 😊

I DO NOT NEED any regulation or voicing that I an aware of .
You MISREAD!!! I was talking about the YAMAHA U1 which was
not prepped (before I bought the Sauter.)
My Sauter WAS perfectly prepped and voiced.
Of course I WILL PAY for the piano to be regulated and voiced.
Please read more carefully!!!
You are suggesting aggression ,I was suggesting the customer
assert themselves.BIG difference.
I am only thinking I may need in a year or 2
that my piano will need voicing and regulation.




Last edited by Lady Bird; 06/01/19 10:03 PM. Reason: Missing word
Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
dogperson #2854755 06/01/19 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Lady Bird
I’m looking forward to responses and warranty coverage. My understanding Is that voicing and regulation are not part of the warranty as this is maintenance and not a defect.

Some dealers prep well and some do not. Some will be concerned with an unhappy customer and want to regulate the piano for free as good customer service, . But I don’t believe any of this is covered under warranty. .. neither will periodic tunings. Terminal degree implied this in his post.

I would therefore call the dealer and in a non-aggressive way see if they will help out. The good news is that this can be fixed. 😊

What can be fixed? I do not need anything fixed !!!
The OP is the one who needs help .

Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Lady Bird #2854756 06/01/19 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Originally Posted by dogperson
Lady Bird
I’m looking forward to responses and warranty coverage. My understanding Is that voicing and regulation are not part of the warranty as this is maintenance and not a defect.

Some dealers prep well and some do not. Some will be concerned with an unhappy customer and want to regulate the piano for free as good customer service, . But I don’t believe any of this is covered under warranty. .. neither will periodic tunings. Terminal degree implied this in his post.

I would therefore call the dealer and in a non-aggressive way see if they will help out. The good news is that this can be fixed. 😊

I DO NOT NEED any regulation or voicing that I an aware of .
You MISREAD!!! I was talking about the YAMAHA U1 which was
not prepped (before I bought the Sauter.)
My Sauter WAS perfectly prepped and voiced.
Of course I WILL PAY for the piano to be regulated and voiced.
Please read more carefully!!!
You are suggesting aggression ,I was suggesting the customer
assert themselves.BIG difference.
I am only thinking I may need in a year or 2
that my piano will need voicing and regulation.





I did not miss read. I was not talking about your piano, but I thought your statement about work for voicing and regulation being under warranty applied to the OP’s. problem. Nothing in my reply was talking about your piano but rather about your response in regard to warranty work. Good grief!

Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Mbetts #2854761 06/01/19 10:49 PM
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When I had the YAMAHA U1 the dealer did regulate the piano
for FREE because he never properly prepped it.He also had
the technician do minor voicing on the YAMAHA U1
that was LATER traded in for in for the piano I now have.
It is Mbetts who needs help NOT me .

Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Mbetts #2854769 06/01/19 11:34 PM
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I went through similar with my new Kawai upright. It was a floor model and prepped pretty well, but I still suffered through the settling in period. It ended up achieving tuning stability in about a year, and I had it tuned the recommended 6 times during that year, with some tweaks to random keys when they sounded funkier than usual. Still drove me crazy, but it's lovely now! New pianos need time and work.


Lisa

Playing RCM 7 & 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: New Kawai GL-20 issues
Mbetts #2854770 06/01/19 11:44 PM
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Kurtmen,
As the OP in his first post did not say that he had bought his new Kawai grand piano brand new out of the crate, I assumed that he had chosen it from the showroom. As brand new pianos are normally "prepped" and allowed to settle in the showroom, I sensed the frustration and disappointment of Mbetts since the delivery of his piano. However, I believe in that context my response was empathetic and supportive and offered some practical advice.

Had I known that the aforementioned instrument had been delivered out of the crate, my take would have been quite different.

Kind regards,
Robert.

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