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<7k Upright piano, advice please
#2869602 07/15/19 05:16 PM
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Hello all,

I am hoping in the next 1-3 years to purchase an upright piano. I am open to new or used. I am hoping you all may be able to give me some ideas on what makes and models to check out. Here are some details.

1. 41 yr woman, with small hands, I prefer a lighter touch
2. I am at an intermediate level, but a strong music background (ie, I have a good ear)
3. I prefer a warm sound. I have played a handful of Yamaha U1 and U3s and found them way too bright. I played a recently voiced Essex 123 and Boston 118S at the Steinway dealer and found them much more pleasing, especially the Boston.
4. Hoping to spend less than $7k.

Given this info, I would love to hear y'all's input on what to check out or other resources I should refer to. Additionally, I live in Austin and am considering a trip to Houston to piano shop, so if you have any recommendations on stores I would love to hear it. Given my interest in the Boston it seems I should check out Kawaiis, but I don't believe we have a dealer in Austin.

thanks!

Joanne

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Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
J.Kennedy #2869623 07/15/19 07:08 PM
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When we were looking at pianos.I briefly played a used Boston 118S . I also liked the tone and thought it quite
mellow and the response fairly good.It is an institutional model and unlike the UP series which are made in Japan it is made by the Kawai factory in Indonesia.
Look up Piano Buyer Brand Profiles.

Last edited by Lady Bird; 07/15/19 07:10 PM. Reason: Missing word
Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
J.Kennedy #2869717 07/16/19 04:48 AM
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Not sure of US prices but Kawai K500 would be on my list even if no local dealer. Maybe K300 but I have not personally tried that model.

Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
J.Kennedy #2869730 07/16/19 05:59 AM
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I agree - check out the K500 or 600, or a recent K6 or K8.

The Essex is Chinese and, to be honest, I thought didn't deserve the Steinway name - better pianos for less $$$.

The Boston is made for Steinway by KAWAI - though to a Steinway design. The KAWAIs, I thought at least as good (if not better) for less $$$.

Check out YAMAHA's equivalent YUS1, YUS3 - different tone, similar quality. As you say - bright - but it's difficult to assess in a showroom. If you see a similar YAMAHA in a different showroom, try it out - the resonance in some showrooms doesn't give a good idea. My Mum has a current model YUS1 which I was playing this morning - I wouldn't call it bright in her home, carpeted living room.

I'm not sure of the warranty with a BOSTON, but I believe both YAMAHA and KAWAI have 10 years in USA.

But - play lots of pianos - and stretch to play pianos a bit (or a lot) more expensive - not so you need to stretch your $$$, but to get a good idea of what it is you really like and want in a piano.

And keep a notebook with comments - pro and cons of each piano, just brief. After you've played 100 pianos they tend to drift into each other (at least in a 66yr old mind!!).

Above all, enjoy the piano search!!


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
J.Kennedy #2869734 07/16/19 06:19 AM
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I will add that if you like the Boston 118S sound and touch, the equivalent Yamaha piano is the P22. This model of Yamaha has been the single largest selling institutional model in the USA for decades (when it took that moniker from the Baldwin Hamilton) and it is the piano that the Boston 188s was designed to compete with.

I find the P22 to be a warmer sound than the Yamaha U1 and U3, which are brands unto themselves. Although I agree with back_to_study_piano that the YUS series of Yamaha are tremendous pianos, it is unlikely they could be bought for under 7k.

Enjoy the process of choosing a piano. It can be quite fun!

My 2 cents,


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Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
backto_study_piano #2869961 07/16/19 10:18 PM
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Backto_study_piano, great tip to bring a notebook! Seems obvious, but yet I hadn't though of it. And yes, I am concerned about what the piano will sound like in my carpeted house as opposed to the showroom. It seems like it could lead to disappointment, but since I want a mellower sound maybe that is in my favor.

Rich G, thank you for recommending the P22, I hadn't been able to determine what the Yamaha equivalent is for the Boston 118S, so this is very helpful.

I'll keep an eye out for used YUS pianos too. And just keep testing a lot of pianos.

Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
J.Kennedy #2870033 07/17/19 09:11 AM
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The notebook really helps when you’re playing many pianos. You might ask to record yourself playing each too. Take your notes immediately after playing each piano because after you play 2 or 3 pianos, the sound and action fade into each other.
The newer Yamahas are much less bright and the YUS are built for a more mellow tone, but the 7K budget might be an obstacle. The P22 is really nice.
I’m going to say this and probably be struck down by the Steinway avenging Angel but here goes. Boston’s are fine pianos but why would Kawai build a better piano for Steinway than they sell themselves? If it were me, I’d just buy the Kawai. I guess I don’t appreciate those Steinway design touches. IMHO Kawai design is great. Best of Luck!


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Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
J.Kennedy #2870043 07/17/19 09:49 AM
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If you are buying new, you are receiving some recommendations that are over your budget. I like the K-300, also, but I think you would be hard pressed to find a new one for $7K.

Some new pianos I would look at:

1. Yamaha P22. Rich is right.
2. Perzina GP-122. I think that one will sneak in. Perzina pianos aren't for everybody, but if you have a light touch, I think you'll enjoy that piano.
3. WM. Knabe WKV 132MD. Maybe over. Take a look at the 48" little brother, if the 52" is too much. The bigger piano is better, IMO.
4. Hailun HU-5P.
5. Rittmuller UH -121RA

I've never had much luck with pricing in Austin, so I think you'll find better pricing in Houston or Dallas. If you noticed a trend in the above pianos, with the exception of the Yamaha, I'd look at 48" or above (48 being the usual sweet spot). I think with your description of how you play, you'll be more satisfied.

Now, the above is talking about new. Used, that's a case of finding a good piano within budget. I bought a nice K-30 a couple of years ago for around $2500. A nice K-30. Replaced the music holder on it with a different Kawai unit, but got the dealer to throw the holder in and I mounted it. But you gotta shop and dig.


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Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
J.Kennedy #2870322 07/18/19 12:14 PM
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Thanks , Jolly for the additional model recommendations. And a good tip that I will find better pricing in Houston or Dallas. Makes sense, as Austin has so few stores.

Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
J.Kennedy #2870524 07/19/19 05:38 AM
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Petrof also do some nice warm uprights if you get the chance to try one, and a new one might just about be near your budget.

Re the Yamahas mentioned, you may find that all the 'special' older models of Yamaha like the YUS, UX3, YUX etc. can sound somewhat warmer than the standard U3 and are perhaps worth a try if you find one.

Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
J.Kennedy #2870580 07/19/19 09:21 AM
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Oh, Petrof was mentioned so I'll chime in. smile

I owned a Yamaha U1 for 9 years which I loved dearly (I only sold it because we moved from Japan to the US, and they don't let you take uprights as your carry-on luggage). I now own a Petrof upright, and the tone and "voice" of this upright could not be more different from my Yamaha. I loved this Petrof when I first played and it immediately struck me as being a different sort of sound from the Yamaha. My Petrof is about 30 years old, but your budget should get you something much newer.


Started piano June 1999.
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Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
J.Kennedy #2870591 07/19/19 10:01 AM
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When I was shopping last year I played the K300 and K500, both very nice. For reference, I was quoted $7500 and $8900 respectively, and that was without haggling. So I think you could probably get the K300 close to your budget.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
ShiroKuro #2870764 07/19/19 09:22 PM
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Agreed - when I was first looking for a piano, I was looking at Uprights - and PETROF was firmly on my list - every one I played was good. Their grands, much less so.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
J.Kennedy #2870767 07/19/19 10:06 PM
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As dealer hopelessly biased. With most of our visitors ending up feeling same.
Coincidence?
https://youtu.be/Ws_C-88F-DE


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Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
J.Kennedy #2870875 07/20/19 10:21 AM
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I have a Boston 118PE and love it. It's very easy to play, Very forgiving, stays in tune well. It is a little bright in tone, but that really doesn't bother me.

Sometimes I prefer to play it over my grand....it seems easier, like taking a break. It's akin to when I take a break from my manual transmission, hard core sports car and drive the automatic.


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Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
J.Kennedy #2870883 07/20/19 10:54 AM
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This is all such great info. It has really helped me see the breadth of options that exist outside of the new piano market in Austin. And this info and some additional research has also made me more confident that I can find great options on the used market. I think right now, I would actually be much happier with a used $3,500 - $4,500 piano. Besides the argument that I could potentially get a better or equivalent piano for cheaper going used, I just think spending $7k on a piano is just going to feel like a lot of pressure. I am still at an early intermediate level. I just don't want to feel like I have to practice because I spent $7k. I want practice because I enjoy practicing.

A couple of people mentioned Ritmuller.

There is a private seller right now selling a 2018 Ritmuller UH-121RA for $3,499. If it is in as good of shape as the seller claims, that is a very good deal, right? Just curious, I am not ready to purchase at this time.

Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
J.Kennedy #2870886 07/20/19 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by JoanneD
This is all such great info. It has really helped me see the breadth of options that exist outside of the new piano market in Austin. And this info and some additional research has also made me more confident that I can find great options on the used market. I think right now, I would actually be much happier with a used $3,500 - $4,500 piano. Besides the argument that I could potentially get a better or equivalent piano for cheaper going used, I just think spending $7k on a piano is just going to feel like a lot of pressure. I am still at an early intermediate level. I just don't want to feel like I have to practice because I spent $7k. I want practice because I enjoy practicing.

A couple of people mentioned Ritmuller.

There is a private seller right now selling a 2018 Ritmuller UH-121RA for $3,499. If it is in as good of shape as the seller claims, that is a very good deal, right? Just curious, I am not ready to purchase at this time.
Yes - that would be an exceptionally good deal if the piano is in good shape.


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Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
Norbert #2870931 07/20/19 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Norbert
As dealer hopelessly biased. With most of our visitors ending up feeling same.
Coincidence?
https://youtu.be/Ws_C-88F-DE

That piano really sounds great !

Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
backto_study_piano #2870933 07/20/19 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by backto_study_piano
Agreed - when I was first looking for a piano, I was looking at Uprights - and PETROF was firmly on my list - every one I played was good. Their grands, much less so.


Sorry for the thread drift, but Backto_study_piano, you mean you don't like the Petrof grands? I am planning to go test-play one soon, I think it's about 25 years old. If you have any thoughts or Petrof-specific advice please share.


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Re: <7k Upright piano, advice please
J.Kennedy #2870934 07/20/19 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by JoanneD
This is all such great info. It has really helped me see the breadth of options that exist outside of the new piano market in Austin. And this info and some additional research has also made me more confident that I can find great options on the used market. I think right now, I would actually be much happier with a used $3,500 - $4,500 piano. Besides the argument that I could potentially get a better or equivalent piano for cheaper going used, I just think spending $7k on a piano is just going to feel like a lot of pressure. I am still at an early intermediate level. I just don't want to feel like I have to practice because I spent $7k. I want practice because I enjoy practicing.

That is one of the reasons piano shoppers are told to buy the best piano you can afford. If you spent as much as you can afford, you’d just feel compelled to practice and improve. Every time your eye catches your piano sitting there, you’ll think to yourself, I should be practicing.
I, myself, don’t buy into that theory. The best way to make yourself practice is find a teacher. Take lessons and get assignments.


J & J
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