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Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: ShiroKuro] #2888871 09/10/19 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Also, ando, did you not notice what Jethro said at the end of his post?

Originally Posted by Jethro
In the end though, you can't go wrong with either one.


In any case, thanks for your posts Jethro, I enjoyed reading about all that history. And it makes a lot of sense, or rather it explains a lot about the two companies.

Personally, I just find the whole debate super interesting because 1) I lived in Japan for more than 10 years, during which time I had the chance to play a lot of both Kawai and Yamaha pianos, 2) although I generally like the way Kawai pianos sound, for whatever reason, I have never liked their touch/action, and 3) I've owned two acoustic Yamahas and 3 digital Yamaha pianos. So hearing other people's impressions, reading about the history etc. is just fascinating.

Thank you Shiro, I find their histories somewhat fascinating as well. It does not escape me all the recent advances Yamaha has made in recent years. They have recently mellowed the tone of their Yamaha line-up that for me it would probably just come down to price if I was to decide between a Yamaha or Kawai today. Maybe for some of the same reasons why Galassini decided not to carry the Yamaha brand back in 2007 was probably why I ended up with an RX-2 back then as well when I compared them to their Yamaha siblings. I also preferred the mellower tone of the Kawai's to the Yamahas but could live with either. It was the great deal I got on my RX-2 and the too good to pass up price on my new SK-2 that I ended up with Kawais. The Shigeru dealer made zero profit on it. I basically won a modest lottery ticket on that one- the spirit of Shigeru shined fortune on me that day.

Last edited by Jethro; 09/10/19 07:28 AM.

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Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: ShiroKuro] #2888873 09/10/19 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Also, ando, did you not notice what Jethro said at the end of his post?

Originally Posted by Jethro
In the end though, you can't go wrong with either one.
.

It was tacked on specifically to offset the blatant bias in the rest of the post. It reads like a Kawai puff piece in the guise of historical information. That's my opinion. This remark in particular caught my eye:

Quote
What is clear is that Kawai stayed focused on doing one thing, and doing one thing well- building pianos.


There's an implication there that Yamaha's other areas of business took its focus off pianos and compromised them in some way. Yamaha could just as easily say that they were separate divisions and that the piano division remained as focussed as ever. It's an assumption.

Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: ando] #2888875 09/10/19 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Also, ando, did you not notice what Jethro said at the end of his post?

Originally Posted by Jethro
In the end though, you can't go wrong with either one.
.

It was tacked on specifically to offset the blatant bias in the rest of the post. It reads like a Kawai puff piece in the guise of historical information. That's my opinion. This remark in particular caught my eye:

Quote
What is clear is that Kawai stayed focused on doing one thing, and doing one thing well- building pianos.


There's an implication there that Yamaha's other areas of business took its focus off pianos and compromised them in some way. Yamaha could just as easily say that they were separate divisions and that the piano division remained as focussed as ever. It's an assumption.


And what you are saying is an assumption and what I said was a fact. Kawai DID continue to focus only on pianos and Yamaha made a strategic move to diversify. It had no bearing on the quality of the pianos they were building. The point of my post was to give my opinion on why Yamaha tend (historically) sell/cost more than a Kawai even though they were of equal quality. One it commands a stronger brand name and two it is a larger company with potentially larger overhead costs.

Last edited by Jethro; 09/10/19 07:33 AM.

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Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: Jethro] #2888876 09/10/19 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Jethro
You think you could get through any post without someone trying to find a reason to be critical of another poster... jeez.

Do you have some reason to imply that I have a history of criticising other posters? If you're going to write articles like that, expect them to be critiqued. It simply sounded highly biased towards Kawai to me. "You can't go wrong with either" notwithstanding.

Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: ando] #2888877 09/10/19 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Jethro
You think you could get through any post without someone trying to find a reason to be critical of another poster... jeez.

Do you have some reason to imply that I have a history of criticising other posters? If you're going to write articles like that, expect them to be critiqued. It simply sounded highly biased towards Kawai to me. "You can't go wrong with either" notwithstanding.

Don't you think that's another misread on your part? Just stick to the topic, don't look for reason to attack another poster. The very reason why I brought up their pedigree was to show no bias to either. They came from the same origins. There is no reason why we can't like them equally well.

Last edited by Jethro; 09/10/19 07:38 AM.

Shigeru Kawai SK2
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Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: Jethro] #2888879 09/10/19 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Jethro
You think you could get through any post without someone trying to find a reason to be critical of another poster... jeez.

Do you have some reason to imply that I have a history of criticising other posters? If you're going to write articles like that, expect them to be critiqued. It simply sounded highly biased towards Kawai to me. "You can't go wrong with either" notwithstanding.

Don't you think that's another misread on your part? Just stick to the topic, don't look for reason to attack another poster.

I didn't attack you - I said your post was a Kawai puff piece. There's a difference. I didn't say anything personally about you because I don't know you.

Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: letsplayit] #2888889 09/10/19 07:59 AM
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Ando, I don't think characterizing Jethro's post as a "Kawai fluff piece" is accurate or kind. But I'm not interested in arguing with you, so I will just sign off here by saying I found his posts interesting and on topic. I hope we can keep the focus on the question at hand, which is the differences (real or perceived) between the two brands.


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Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: ShiroKuro] #2888902 09/10/19 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Ando, I don't think characterizing Jethro's post as a "Kawai fluff piece" is accurate or kind. But I'm not interested in arguing with you, so I will just sign off here by saying I found his posts interesting and on topic. I hope we can keep the focus on the question at hand, which is the differences (real or perceived) between the two brands.

Sure, no problem, I've had my say on that.

I'll say that I think that Yamaha and Kawai are reasonably close in quality. From the pianos I've played, I think Yamaha does better finish work. Kawai made a useful change with the increased key length on the GX series. I think Yamaha has fewer sound anomalies with strings - false beats. Some Kawai models I've played had high frequency inharmonic tones in some strings - Ed McMorrow calls them "L-mode" vibrations. I haven't heard as much of that with Yamaha, although it can occur. I haven't heard this in the Shigeru Kawai pianos though. The Shigerus are lovely instruments and I would have one over a standard CX series Yamaha. Kawai actions play heavier than Yamaha - but that's a personal preference thing.

Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: letsplayit] #2888966 09/10/19 11:43 AM
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Please stop ! Yamaha and Kawai are on the SAME LEVEL .No More ,No Less !

Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: ando] #2888971 09/10/19 11:50 AM
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I did not take Jethro's thoughts as criticism. But they're still just opinions.
Originally Posted by ando
To be honest, Jethro, you sound like you just regurgitated the entire Kawai promotional manual. There should be a disclaimer of "in my opinion" and "I say this as an unabashed fan and owner of Kawai pianos" in your post. There is no evidence to back up most of the assertions you make. I won't bother thrashing through them all with you, but I will say that dealers like Rich Galassini have chosen to stock Yamaha pianos on the basis of their excellence as musical instruments. I'm sure he could have just as easily chosen to represent Kawai if he'd wanted to. There is no inherent superiority to Kawai instruments - despite all the prognostications of increased longevity from advanced materials. Yamaha pianos are renowned for their stability and consistency in institutional settings. I'd call that a draw. In the end, it comes down to personal taste. I think anybody looking at these two brands should simply forget all the specs and marketing talk and buy the one they like more.

I don't see support for any facts. Indeed, it reads as cliche.

Romantic cliche:
"... the pedigree of these two manufacturers are of the same origin."

Opinion, plainly stated:
"This streamlined Kawai's business model in my opinion ..."

Followed by unsubtantiated business cliche:
"... kept overhead relatively low compared to Yamaha which grew to be more of a "super" corporation."

Is this true? Maybe:
"Kawai is able to offer better discounts and more competitive pricing ..."

But is this a necessary conclusion? Or just guesswork?
"...because it is more focused and streamlined but at the same time more innovative and able to introduce newer technologies quicker because it's engineers have to go through less red tape."

More cliche:
"Yamaha ... has larger overhead costs being such a large company."

Some of those statements aren't even opinions.
Some might be true facts ... but there's nothing to substantiate them.
As such I see it as a ramble.

Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: MacMacMac] #2888978 09/10/19 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I did not take Jethro's thoughts as criticism. But they're still just opinions.
Originally Posted by ando
To be honest, Jethro, you sound like you just regurgitated the entire Kawai promotional manual. There should be a disclaimer of "in my opinion" and "I say this as an unabashed fan and owner of Kawai pianos" in your post. There is no evidence to back up most of the assertions you make. I won't bother thrashing through them all with you, but I will say that dealers like Rich Galassini have chosen to stock Yamaha pianos on the basis of their excellence as musical instruments. I'm sure he could have just as easily chosen to represent Kawai if he'd wanted to. There is no inherent superiority to Kawai instruments - despite all the prognostications of increased longevity from advanced materials. Yamaha pianos are renowned for their stability and consistency in institutional settings. I'd call that a draw. In the end, it comes down to personal taste. I think anybody looking at these two brands should simply forget all the specs and marketing talk and buy the one they like more.

I don't see support for any facts. Indeed, it reads as cliche.

Romantic cliche:
"... the pedigree of these two manufacturers are of the same origin."

Opinion, plainly stated:
"This streamlined Kawai's business model in my opinion ..."

Followed by unsubtantiated business cliche:
"... kept overhead relatively low compared to Yamaha which grew to be more of a "super" corporation."

Is this true? Maybe:
"Kawai is able to offer better discounts and more competitive pricing ..."

But is this a necessary conclusion? Or just guesswork?
"...because it is more focused and streamlined but at the same time more innovative and able to introduce newer technologies quicker because it's engineers have to go through less red tape."

More cliche:
"Yamaha ... has larger overhead costs being such a large company."

Some of those statements aren't even opinions.
Some might be true facts ... but there's nothing to substantiate them.
As such I see it as a ramble.

Mac has made a profession about following me through these forums and likes to ramble about my rambling. grin Isn't there a digital piano waiting for you somewhere?

Last edited by Jethro; 09/10/19 12:33 PM.

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Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: letsplayit] #2888993 09/10/19 01:19 PM
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And not to get OT but MacMacMac I can take a dart and throw it on any one of your posts and get some kind of ramble that have no idea it means. I am still waiting for the day when you post something with substance. Case in point random 2016 post:

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I understood the meaning of the term, but I take your point about it not being widely understood.

Anyway, I wasn't really referring to the **meaning**. Rather, I was commenting on the use of metaphor when plain-talk does the job quite well.

A poet often uses metaphor to good effect. But the rest of us (esp. the media) use it to mis-inform. Such metaphor is the speaker/writer's way of saying one thing while its meaning varies from one reader to the next. It's a way of saying something without saying it, and without admitting to having done so. I view it as obfuscated obfuscation.

I'm not directing that latter criticism at the posters here who surely intended no such obfuscation. Instead, it's just my view that unnecessary metaphor clutters speech and confuses meaning.

bennevis: You might be glad to know that I don't pull triggers at all, neither literally nor metaphorically.


What does that all mean?

Yes mine is just an opinion and nothing to substantiate it, but what gives?

Last edited by Jethro; 09/10/19 01:19 PM.

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Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: MacMacMac] #2889002 09/10/19 01:44 PM
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I appreciate MacMacMac for making me easier to comment on specific points raised by Jethro.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac

Followed by unsubtantiated business cliche:
"... kept overhead relatively low compared to Yamaha which grew to be more of a "super" corporation."


This is questionable.
While Yamaha has to spend money on the holding company, it is diversified well, and has more flexibility in efficient distribution of assets and resources based on their vision of future demand and market developments. Most likely, being a much bigger company than Kawai, it can get better borrowing terms, not mentioning ability to raise money through stock sales.
But Kawai has more freedom in decision making, not being driven by short term interests of minority shareholders.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac

Is this true? Maybe:
"Kawai is able to offer better discounts and more competitive pricing ..."


Local pricing is always driven by reginal offices or distributors, and this is not piano business specifics; all global companies do this. The same company may have absolutely different pricing models, and model lineups, for different geographic regions.
Most companies give pricing decision powers to their regional offices - Canon is perfect example: their regional offices are independent but fully owned business entities and can set whatever prices they want as long as they deliver on their target numbers set by headquarters. This is why Canon prices and rebates differ in the USA and EU so much.
But all companies set their pricing to achieve specific goals and interests - this can be attempt to enter to a new market, to increase or hold their market share, profit increase, etc. And this is usually highly confidential information; we can only guess what their regional goals are.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac

But is this a necessary conclusion? Or just guesswork?
"...because it is more focused and streamlined but at the same time more innovative and able to introduce newer technologies quicker because it's engineers have to go through less red tape."


I do not see where Kawai is more innovative, sorry. I guess this statement is just a wish..

Last edited by VladK; 09/10/19 01:47 PM.

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Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: ShiroKuro] #2889009 09/10/19 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Ando, I don't think characterizing Jethro's post as a "Kawai fluff piece" is accurate or kind. But I'm not interested in arguing with you, so I will just sign off here by saying I found his posts interesting and on topic. I hope we can keep the focus on the question at hand, which is the differences (real or perceived) between the two brands.


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Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: VladK] #2889012 09/10/19 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by VladK
I appreciate MacMacMac for making me easier to comment on specific points raised by Jethro.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac

Followed by unsubtantiated business cliche:
"... kept overhead relatively low compared to Yamaha which grew to be more of a "super" corporation."


This is questionable.
While Yamaha has to spend money on the holding company, it is diversified well, and has more flexibility in efficient distribution of assets and resources based on their vision of future demand and market developments. Most likely, being a much bigger company than Kawai, it can get better borrowing terms, not mentioning ability to raise money through stock sales.
But Kawai has more freedom in decision making, not being driven by short term interests of minority shareholders.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac

Is this true? Maybe:
"Kawai is able to offer better discounts and more competitive pricing ..."


Local pricing is always driven by reginal offices or distributors, and this is not piano business specifics; all global companies do this. The same company may have absolutely different pricing models, and model lineups, for different geographic regions.
Most companies give pricing decision powers to their regional offices - Canon is perfect example: their regional offices are independent but fully owned business entities and can set whatever prices they want as long as they deliver on their target numbers set by headquarters. This is why Canon prices and rebates differ in the USA and EU so much.
But all companies set their pricing to achieve specific goals and interests - this can be attempt to enter to a new market, to increase or hold their market share, profit increase, etc. And this is usually highly confidential information; we can only guess what their regional goals are.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac

But is this a necessary conclusion? Or just guesswork?
"...because it is more focused and streamlined but at the same time more innovative and able to introduce newer technologies quicker because it's engineers have to go through less red tape."


I do not see where Kawai is more innovative, sorry. I guess this statement is just a wish..

Some good points here and yes some of these points are debatable. The higher overhead is speculation but freedom to make decisions, to innovate because they are less driven by a minority of shareholders is typical of what we see in smaller companies.

Good point in pricing but those in the business can correct me if I am wrong, but I have traditionally seen more company rebates throughout the year from Kawai than I have seen from Yamaha and most Kawai owners here would probably attest to the fact that regardless of where they are from there is a tendency to get a better deal on a Kawai than any comparable Yamaha model. This is what I have observed over the years. Things may have changed though in recent years. You guys tell me.

Successfully introducing innovations such as aluminium action rails, slow-close fallboards, hard finish music desks and the revolutionary use of ABS composites and carbon fibre in piano actions as well as advanced robotics in production lines is not a wish it's reality bud.

Last edited by Jethro; 09/10/19 02:30 PM.

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Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: letsplayit] #2889018 09/10/19 02:59 PM
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Speculations about the impact of size of company and number of instruments made are irrelevant. There are very small volume piano manufacturers and comparatively larger volume manufacturers that make outstanding instruments. It is the final product that matters, not the organizational structure that produced it.


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Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: Sweelinck] #2889022 09/10/19 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Speculations about the impact of size of company and number of instruments made are irrelevant. There are very small volume piano manufacturers and comparatively larger volume manufacturers that make outstanding instruments. It is the final product that matters, not the organizational structure that produced it.

The point again being they BOTH produce outstanding products but one typically and historically at a slightly higher price to the buyer. Correct me if I am wrong. And if I am correct, you explain to me why that is.


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Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: letsplayit] #2889027 09/10/19 03:33 PM
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For everyone above who disagrees with Jethro, please clarify whether you agree or not with the following claim:

"For most Yamaha lines of pianos, Kawai offers a comparable line with essentially equal quality at a slightly lower price."

I find it funny when people go through the trouble of throwing criticism such as "this is merely speculation", "that lacks substantial evidence", "this is questionable", "that's not even an opinion", only to circle back in the very end to arrive at the same conclusion.

Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: letsplayit] #2889028 09/10/19 03:33 PM
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Quote
but one typically and historically at a slightly higher price to the buyer. ... And if I am correct, you explain to me why that is.


Because they can? IOW, Yamahas are priced higher because they are the price that they are, and they still sell.

There may be other factors, but if their pianos were not selling at those price points, they would be lowering the price points.


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Re: Hot topic, Does Yamaha make better pianos than Kawai [Re: ShiroKuro] #2889031 09/10/19 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Quote
but one typically and historically at a slightly higher price to the buyer. ... And if I am correct, you explain to me why that is.


Because they can? IOW, Yamahas are priced higher because they are the price that they are, and they still sell.

There may be other factors, but if their pianos were not selling at those price points, they would be lowering the price points.

Exactly Shiro, and I think a walk down history lane explains why that is. Why they are so well branded.


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