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Piano purchase - please advise
#2878941 08/12/19 05:17 PM
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Good afternoon,
May I ask for your advice please. We are buying a piano for our 6 yr old son on a budget. We are choosing between Yamaha P22 2001 in brown and Pear River 2012 model UP120S (which now is EU122 I believe). The Yamaha had 2 owners (at one point was at the Met Opera), the Pear River only had one owner. They are both in very good condition, professionally tuned and checked. We are leaning towards Pear River (even though I realize this piano maker has a bad reputation and buying their pianos is bit like playing Russian roulette..) The PR it is a newer piano, taller than P22, had only one owner, is in gloss black finish that we prefer, but I understand Yamaha is a much better brand. Would you please share your thoughts with me? Thank you very much.

Re: Piano purchase - please advise
Janette C #2878954 08/12/19 06:15 PM
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Janette, it's not clear if both pianos were checked by a technician who was hired by you. taking that precaution often eliminates the 'russian roulette' aspect of buying a piano. did someone who plays piano at a competent level play both pianos for you and give their impressions ? again, it's not clear if you or anyone played and heard both pianos, and if you are leaning toward the newer, taller piano (both attributes are potentially positive) because of its finish. are the pianos selling for the same price ?
the yamaha P22, around the same age as the one you're considering, that I've played for a couple of hours was a very solid, institutional style console-height upright, which didn't quite have the depth of sound or responsiveness of a comparable full size upright (it would be exceptional if it did). have never played a Pearl River, so have no idea how their 122 cm. upright (48 in) compares to similar pianos. your son is fortunate to get a nice upright for his piano initiation.

Re: Piano purchase - please advise
Janette C #2878956 08/12/19 06:18 PM
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Janette C - Welcome to PianoWorld! Pardon me, but I’ll ask you a bunch of questions. Is your son already taking lessons? Do you play piano? Is your son really interested in learning piano?
If you don’t really know that your son really wants to play and stick with piano, a used digital piano would be the way to go IMHO. If he’s already playing and wants acoustic, a used upright is a good route. With any used piano, condition is everything and you should get a piano technician to check it out


J & J
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Re: Piano purchase - please advise
huaidongxi #2878965 08/12/19 06:38 PM
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Thank you for taking the time to respond. Both pianos are the same price ($2,300 that includes delivery, tax and tuning). Both were serviced and checked by a professional who we trust. He leans towards the PR because the PR is only 7 years old comparing to the P22 which is 18 yrs old. Also PR is a taller which is better from the sound aspect perspective. My only hesitation is the brand, because I've read a lot of bad reviews. I know they are improving but still there is a bit of stigma associated with PR I feel.

Re: Piano purchase - please advise
j&j #2878974 08/12/19 07:07 PM
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Hi, yes my son started playing when he was 5, he was enrolled at a music school in France (piano practice, reading music, etc..) We've just moved back to the US two weeks ago. He was studying under a French and Russian teacher, both would not allow a child to touch a digital piano. He was learning on acoustic upright and grand piano. I completely understand that the digital pianos are very good these days ( the Europeans are bit more conservative I suppose), nevertheless I've been brainwashed. I considered the Yamaha Clavinova for a moment, but my son's teachers voices in my head stopped me.... My daughter who is 4 also seems interested but she is so young. I can't tell if she genuinely wants to lear or just mimics her brother. She only knows how to play 2 little songs with one finger...While at school my son has been practicing at home every day including weekends for 15-30 min. I don't play but has started to learn simply to support him.

Both pianos we consider were checked by a professional who we trust and he knows both pianos well. He suggested that we get the PR because it is younger and taller (better for the sound). I wish I weren't but I am influenced by the bad reviews of PR brand, hence my post. I suppose I should not overthink this decision, after all the price is very good (in my opinion) and if my son continues with his music education we will upgrade in 2-4 years but still I'd like to choose the better piano out of the two we consider.

Re: Piano purchase - please advise
Janette C #2879019 08/12/19 10:42 PM
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I have a Yamaha p22 about the same age, owned by one previous owner, who hardly played it all. My tech, who is a classically trained pianist, liked it very much. I’ve been playing it now for about 3 years, and every time my tech tunes it he remarks how much he likes it. In fact, he usually gives me a 10 minute or so concert post-tuning!

By the way, the p22 is considered a studio piano, not a console.

Re: Piano purchase - please advise
Janette C #2879037 08/13/19 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Janette C
... I don't play but has started to learn simply to support him. ...

That's an excellent approach. Back when I was teaching (several decades ago), parents who either 1) could play already; or 2) were learning with them - progressed considerably quicker, but more importantly, hung in there.

4yr old - that's great. I've known a few who loved going and "tinkling" the keys, and that's good - they teach themselves how the keys work, loud and soft - high/low notes - and, like your daughter, they can work out melodies. She might need the occasional encouragement if she's picked a note which sounds wrong - eg should be a black note. Which is another advantage of you learning too.

Children are great mimics - they hear us talking, and at 12-18 months start simple words, phrases, sentences. They see us reading books - so they pick up books and "read" them - who cares if they're upside down. They hear us singing to them when infants, and soon after learning to talk, they sing along with us (or incessantly at other times - like bedtime). They hear us playing the piano - they join in too. When our first child was old enough to stand at the piano, because she heard me playing every evening at length, she knew it was something exciting. She would reach up to the keys which she could barely see, and tinkle them - she's now got a B.Music, and plays piano, violin and tenor sax.

I think you'll find that it's PEARL RIVER. Going back well before the one you're looking at, they were quite "ordinary", but in recent years, I've played some which were fine. Probably not up to YAMAHA standard - but not the €€. PR manufacture a cheaper piano range for STEINWAY - not a STEINWAY, but quite an acceptable piano. And 7 years is young for a piano.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: Piano purchase - please advise
Janette C #2879048 08/13/19 02:56 AM
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Dear Janette, chances are your son will not become a new Horowitz before his 10th birthday, so both pianos are perfectly fine and will do the job. I have played Yamahas as well as some Pearl Rivers, and I would say a new Yamaha is superior to a new Pearl River, but the situation can easily be the opposite in case of used instruments.

Pearl River is the world's largest piano manufacturer, based in Guangzhou, China. They are manufacturing a wide range of pianos from very cheap to quite decent. Their top pianos are sold under the brand name "Essex" by Steinway. I have played a new Essex EUP123S at my local Steinway dealer's and found it quite good. From the price and the information here http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/uprights.html I have the impression that the Pearl River EU122 is identical, just sold under their own brand name - I may be wrong, though...

Because of quality issues with many other Chinese products in the past, there is a lot of China bashing in the internet, often from people with little expertise. Besides, the Yamaha uprights are manufactured in Indonesia...

Re: Piano purchase - please advise
Janette C #2879055 08/13/19 04:13 AM
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I'm not sure about 18 years ago, but PianoWorld had some articles about the P22 being made in China - but it looks like now being made in Indonesia. The Indonesian made ones aren't as good as the Japanese - but that's possibly because their "dearer" models are made in Japan.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: Piano purchase - please advise
Janette C #2879060 08/13/19 05:11 AM
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I wouldn't have any hesitation buying a Pearl River, Hailun, or any other high quality Chinese piano. It's a great opportunity for your son (and you) to play a good piano, whether you choose the Pearl River or the Yamaha.

Last edited by johnstaf; 08/13/19 05:12 AM.
Re: Piano purchase - please advise
Janette C #2879090 08/13/19 08:01 AM
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Hi Janette,

First, I think that condition is king and either piano could suit your needs. Your child could grow on either of these pianos. I have seen the recent Pearl River product and, while I am not terribly excited by it, these are pianos that will hold up to your demands.

I will relay one issue that was quite irritating to my company. This may be more of a distributor issue than a manufacturer issue (distributors technically hold the warranty, not the manufacturer). We had carried Pearl River for a very short time. This was just before the year 2000. We placed our order but, when the pianos arrived, they were not up to snuff. We dropped the line in less than a year.

However, we service everything we sell and had to keep those pianos going that we sold. Parts support was almost non-existent and we wound up trading some of those pianos in.

I know. This was 20 years ago. Things change. Perhaps they even support those pianos better now then they did then.... and maybe I need to see a piano therapist about this. smile I feel better now that that is off of my chest.

Bottom line - either piano could support your child's musical endeavors.

My 2 cents,


Rich Galassini
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Phila., Pa.
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Re: Piano purchase - please advise
Janette C #2879120 08/13/19 09:00 AM
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Janette - your piano tech OK’d both but preferred the Pearl River because it’s newer. I like the sound and action of Yamahas and have come to trust the name and the brand. You have heard bad reviews about Pearl River and so have I. But Pearl River now sells more pianos than any other manufacturer and truthfully it sounds like they’ve straightened out past issues and problems. Also, the one who’s claiming that PR sells the most pianos is Pearl River, so that wouldn’t set me at ease.
Maybe for the tie-breaker take your son and some of his music to each piano and have him play each one. See which one sounds better to your ears and see which piano he likes playing better. Pick that piano. Either piano has been approved by your tech and either should last a few years until you’re ready to trade in and upgrade.
*** quiet whisper here: It is interesting that an older Yamaha is priced the same as a much newer Pearl River. Yay Yamaha! ***
I can never claim to be completely impartial 🙄


J & J
Estonia L190 Hidden Beauty
Casio Privia PX-330
I don’t play well but I play far better than I sing.
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Re: Piano purchase - please advise
Janette C #2879124 08/13/19 09:09 AM
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The tech has given a thumbs up to both, and you like the touch and tone of one of them over the other.
I wouldn't be particularly afraid of a PR from 2012 that checks out okay by an independent tech. The story is different if we're talking about one made a decade or more earlier, as they were still figuring some things out (as Rich described above).

The P22 pianos made in the US (around 20 years ago or more) were, in my opinion, nothing particularly special. I would like, as an American living in the south, to say otherwise, but the best I can say is that they tend to hold up well-- but as far as touch and tone were concerned, not my favorite pianos to play or service. I tuned a couple of current-production P22s and liked them much more.


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Re: Piano purchase - please advise
Janette C #2879194 08/13/19 12:21 PM
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All I can say is I preferred an older P22 to a newer PR that I played.
It is important however which one your daughter seems to prefer.
I get quite confused about all the things said about Chinese made
pianos
. You yourself do not sound too happy with either of these
instruments so perhaps you should look at more pianos ?
Just a suggestion.Best wishes.

Last edited by Lady Bird; 08/13/19 12:25 PM. Reason: Missing word
Re: Piano purchase - please advise
backto_study_piano #2879257 08/13/19 03:10 PM
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Hi Alan

I very much agree with you. Kids don't listen to us they imitate us. I also believe that for kids to remember us tomorrow we need to spend time with them today:)

Piano requires daily practice and commitment, unless the child has a tutor at home, I don't know how s/he can progress well without parent involvement.

Both pianos we consider are exactly the same price, that's also a reason why the decision is bit harder. In any case, he is only 6 and I am probably overthinking this. Either of these pianos will be just fine for him, I'm sure.

Re: Piano purchase - please advise
Janette C #2879270 08/13/19 03:52 PM
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Hi Janette - please let us know which one you select and purchase and why you select the one you select. Also, take photos during and after the delivery. We love happy piano stories and enjoy hearing about new owners and their discovery of their piano’s voice and it’s capabilities.


J & J
Estonia L190 Hidden Beauty
Casio Privia PX-330
I don’t play well but I play far better than I sing.
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Re: Piano purchase - please advise
Janette C #2879309 08/13/19 05:37 PM
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Hello
First and foremost, thank you to all who took time to reply and shared your thoughts with me. This is a wonderful community and I am happy I found you.

I have yet another question if you don't mind. We've also just located a Pearl River model UP115M5 for only $2,700, brand new. It is a studio upright. So our choices now are the following (please note prices include delivery, tax, tuning and professional check)

Yamaha model: P22 year: 2001 price: $2,300
Pearl River model: UP1205 year: 2012 (now this is model EU122 I believe) price: $2,300
Pearl River model: UP115M5 year: brand new price: $2,700

We do lean towards Pearl River because the 2012 had only one owner who didn't use it much and the UP115M5 is brand new with 10 year warranty. The Yamaha P22 had multiple owners and much heavier use, and it is older. Is studio upright much worse than traditional upright?

What do you think?

Re: Piano purchase - please advise
Janette C #2879365 08/13/19 07:55 PM
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It is likely that if you buy the brand-new Pearl River, it will be easier to sell (or trade in) when your son grows out of it and you need something better.

I think you've summed up the story of which piano is the better, but you want to choose the very one which is least well-recommended. The Yamaha is older, has seen heavier use, and yet still commands the same price as its new competitors. The "used" Pearl River was not used! That does not say to me that it was a musical instrument that inspired or compelled respect and love.

There's a case to be made for continuing to shop for awhile. And while you're contemplating that, you might read Rich Galassini's very honest letter again--- he even left his phone number on it.

There are other marques beyond Yamaha and Pearl River. And BTW, 19 years old is not especially old for a well-made piano which has been kept in good repair, and played respectfully, even if there were several owners. One could expect the effective musical life of a good piano of good make to be around 50 years.

I used to play a little Kawai console--- even shorter than the size I believe you mean by 'studio'--- at a community center. I used to enjoy going over my repertoire after our meetings, and I was impressed by the niceness of touch in what I know must have been close to the bottom of their line. It was even and responsive to both volume and register (how hard or softly you press the keys brings out a different voice, which we call register, but at the same pitch).

When I was able to buy a piano for myself, I went for one of their grands. If you have a store close enough, you might have a look. http://www.kawaius.com/ I also really like Charles Walter's little console piano, especially for youngsters. It has a big voice because of its longer strings and effective crafting, but it is short--- a youngster could love it, rather than having it scare the life out of a child. I especially like its full-width music desk. American made. Much harder to find, but http://www.walterpiano.com/ . Who knows; nothing ventured, nothing gained. A used CW younger than 20 years might be in your price range.

Has your child played any of these offerings? What did he think?

I'll close with one last thought for your consideration. https://www.ptg.org/ The tuner--- aka piano technician these days, especially those with the Piano Technicians' Guild certification--- can become your dearest friend as you first buy, and then care for, a used piano. Sellers' memories tend to be failing, if they knew anything in the first place. Their representations might be true, might be vague, might be, well, untrue. I like to give them the benefit of the doubt, for their sincerity, which I prize above all things. But a qualified and experienced technician, paid for by you alone and there to look out for your best interest, solely, can read the true story in the strings and felts. They can tell you about its condition and prospects, what work it will need, and its cost, and give you an estimate for its fair price in the local market.

I tell you as earnestly as I can, to consult a tech before you buy any used piano. As Rick said, and everyone else says too, Condition is King when it comes to used pianos. https://www.ptg.org/ can help you find someone in your area, and any piano store can recommend someone local.

Forgive me for running on for so long. I do wish you the best of luck. Please write again and let us know, we love these stories.


Clef

Re: Piano purchase - please advise
Janette C #2879377 08/13/19 08:23 PM
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Quote
We are leaning towards Pear River (even though I realize this piano maker has a bad reputation and buying their pianos is bit like playing Russian roulette..)


While this was perhaps true some 10-20 years ago, it no longer is. While I'm not promoting China as such [ though am dealer for Ritmuller pianos.] going back some 20 years is not helpful to making a decision in today's market. The Rit is only few years old so it's not really an issue. Having said this, I have always been a fan of the Yamaha P22, a very rugged, institutional type model. I would make a choice according to which of the models suits you better personally, this both involving looks & sound. And of course 'condition'. A tech has apparently already cleared both models, so it's really up to you.
Good luck in your decision making!
Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 08/13/19 08:32 PM.

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Re: Piano purchase - please advise
Jeff Clef #2879394 08/13/19 10:12 PM
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Jeff Clef - thank you for your opinion and the info you've provided. We've lived in France for a while and just got back to the US. Our son starts music school in two week and we need to get the piano before then. So the first limitation is that we don't have much time. And the second, more important one, is that unfortunately we are working with a small budget. We live in New York area and I am finding that the pianos here seem to be more expensive (not that I can tell for sure since we lived in Europe, but from my limited research is appears so) My first choice would certainly not be the Pearl River. And I looked at pianos you've mentioned in your post and many others but couldn't find anything within our budget (and I am referring to acoustic pianos not digital) Just the shipping/delivery, tuning, professional check and taxes easily increase the price of the piano by almost $1,000...With our next piano I will have time to look, by then my knowledge of pianos will expand and our budget will increase. But for now I am stuck with these 3 choices. We are lucky to work with an excellent professional who I trust and who can help me vet each piano. All the 3 pianos I've posted are good from the technical stand point of view.

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