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What made you decide to replace your piano? #2917160 11/27/19 09:38 PM
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I've had my grandma's piano for about 20 years. I've only recently started playing regularly, about a year and a half ago (also had lessons as a kid). I've become a bit obsessed with playing and don't anticipate I will give it up again.

This piano is a Kimball Artist's Console from the 70s. I assume she bought it new. My tuning guy calls it "medium quality." He spends about 3 hours tuning it every year, and says he could keep going but he just does the best he can within 3 hours. This is the only piano I've ever owned, so I don't know how long the tuning process usually takes.

I never even thought of replacing it until the last few months, after reading about everyone's experiences here. crazy But I've also had the opportunity to play on a few Yamahas in the past year. I don't know the models...one was a grand and one an upright. The action felt so different, so much more pleasurable to play on.

I think my piano is in decent condition, but I can't say I love the sound. There are a few notes that seem to sound harsh often, and the bass notes go out of tune pretty quick. There's also the sentimental factor, but my grandma is long gone and I doubt anyone else in the family would get any use out of this piano.

I am reluctant to take any pianos for a test-drive because I'm sure I'll talk myself into buying one. It would have to be an upright. I'm sure I'll be overwhelmed by all the options.

Just curious to hear what factors led people to upgrading from a piano that was still functional and maybe "good enough." I will not be putting any money into this one beyond tuning, so the decision will certainly be easier if something happens to fall apart!

JB


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Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: JB_PW] #2917164 11/27/19 09:52 PM
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If your tuner spends three hours for a single yearly tuning, I have never heard of something like except for an amateur tuner which I assume he is not. An hour and a half is generally the maximum time it would take. If your tuner is doing other work besides tuning it could take longer.

Only you can decide about the sentimental value of the piano vs. the chance to play on a piano whose tone and touch would probably be superior. Many people find the piano search a bit daunting. but if you read the PianoBuyer's article on buying a piano(see free link in left column) you will find a ton of useful advice about how select a piano.

Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: JB_PW] #2917167 11/27/19 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by JB_PW
Just curious to hear what factors led people to upgrading from a piano that was still functional and maybe "good enough."

Likely the same factors/reasons you are thinking about... better tone, better sound, better key-touch, and better looks in some cases. Just better everything than what you had previously.

Once I moved up the chain to a certain point, I figured that was about the best I was going to get, based on my willingness to spend my money on a piano.

In my view, getting the best piano you can afford, or are willing to afford, is a good strategy. In some cases, depending on what you have already, a better piano can help you learn to play better and make progress towards your piano playing goals, if nothing else but increasing the motivation factor. If you like the piano, the way it sounds and plays, and looks, (in some cases) and have a desire to play it everytime you look at it, that's a good thing. smile

Also, it's been my experience that there is always a better piano to be had, at a cost, regardless of how good a piano you may already have...

All the best!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: JB_PW] #2917168 11/27/19 10:06 PM
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Replacing one's own piano is often something that simply grows out of becoming a better player. People forget we don't only become better players but also start hearing and 'feeling' things better too. I discovered this decades ago after visiting different dealers and trying out some of their new pianos. At that time I had rapidly become a better player than before. Needless to say, today I have quite a different appreciation of this than back then. Keep practicing - and "listening in".
You will know "when" is time....

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 11/27/19 10:10 PM.

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Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: JB_PW] #2917171 11/27/19 10:07 PM
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JB
I’m of the opinion that everyone, within their budget, should not have a piano that ‘is good enough’ but a piano that feels so good and sounds so pleasing, that you look forward to playing it as often as you can. It is so motivating to have a piano that you love .

To me, when you have a piano that has action that is difficult, a tone that is harsh and goes out of tune quickly, it is time to look. Three hours to just tune and then have the tech tell you he could keep working is a sign that it is time to buy a new piano


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: pianoloverus] #2917175 11/27/19 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If your tuner spends three hours for a single yearly tuning, I have never heard of something like except for an amateur tuner which I assume he is not.


He is not an amateur, but as far as his skill level...I have nothing to compare to so I can't say. 3 hours has always seemed excessive and he's not doing any other repairs that he's mentioning to me.

I think the main reason I'm so hesitant is that the current condition of this piano is not hindering my desire or motivation to practice whatsoever...so it really is adequate. But I hear [read] so many of you talk about how much you love the way your piano sounds. It's making me envious for sure!

Also, I wouldn't say the action is "difficult." It's just very different from the Yamahas I tried, so I now know what I'm missing.

Thanks for your replies so far!


I ❤️ Mendelssohn, Yann Tiersen, Heller
Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: JB_PW] #2917179 11/27/19 10:33 PM
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Well, I can give you some other "trivial" reasons...

Going to piano stores and playing new pianos is fun! Going to look at a nice, pre-owned piano for sale is fun! Going on a piano adventure (not knowing exactly what you will experience) is fun! Buying a new/newer piano is fun! Buying a better piano than what you had previously, adequate or not, is fun.

Having more than one piano is fun! Playing more than one piano is fun! Getting a free piano is fun!

I could keep going, but I'll stop there, unless you want to hear more reasons. smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: JB_PW] #2917180 11/27/19 10:37 PM
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LOL...I think I might enjoy the process once I decide that it's "OK." I've been going back and forth about whether I really "need" to do this or not. It's a big expense. But yes...I suspect having a shiny new piano that actually sounds lovely would be quite FUN! smile


I ❤️ Mendelssohn, Yann Tiersen, Heller
Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: JB_PW] #2917184 11/27/19 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by JB_PW
LOL...I think I might enjoy the process once I decide that it's "OK." I've been going back and forth about whether I really "need" to do this or not. It's a big expense. But yes...I suspect having a shiny new piano that actually sounds lovely would be quite FUN! smile


What is your budget for this purchase?

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: JB_PW] #2917190 11/27/19 11:15 PM
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This is an almost fifteen year old story for me. I replaced my perfectly serviceable 5'9" Howard/Kawai back in 2006. I had two motives. The most important was a son who was getting good, and who could benefit from a more responsive (less heavy) action and better tone. The second motive was for me, and because I became fascinated with this little market of pianos.

Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: JB_PW] #2917199 11/28/19 12:11 AM
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Reading this has given me a lot of food for thought. I am still having issues with my piano not keeping its tune. I struggle with this because of its beautiful tone. This post reinforces that maybe it is time to upgrade. I will continue to give this thought going into the new year. Thank you for this.

Last edited by Music Me; 11/28/19 12:11 AM.

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Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: Norbert] #2917205 11/28/19 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
What is your budget for this purchase? Regards,


I haven’t given that serious thought yet. I am still in the “don’t be silly you don’t need to spend this money” phase. That said...I tend to squirrel money away. That means technically I could buy whatever I want, but also that I find it difficult to part with large sums! My budget will be limited to whatever I decide is practical/acceptable/comfortable. I haven’t done any shopping yet so I have no idea what sticker shock to expect.

Originally Posted by Norbert
Replacing one's own piano is often something that simply grows out of becoming a better player. People forget we don't only become better players but also start hearing and 'feeling' things better too. I discovered this decades ago after visiting different dealers and trying out some of their new pianos. At that time I had rapidly become a better player than before. Needless to say, today I have quite a different appreciation of this than back then. Keep practicing - and "listening in".
You will know "when" is time....

Norbert


I have been thinking about this. I am a mid to late intermediate player. In 5 or 10 years I suppose I might have different criteria. Probably no reason to break the bank right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if just about every new piano out there is a major upgrade to what I have now!


I ❤️ Mendelssohn, Yann Tiersen, Heller
Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: JB_PW] #2917207 11/28/19 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by JB_PW
I have been thinking about this. I am a mid to late intermediate player. In 5 or 10 years I suppose I might have different criteria. Probably no reason to break the bank right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if just about every new piano out there is a major upgrade to what I have now!

I have a couple of very nice acoustic pianos. Yea, I could upgrade to an even better one, again, at a substantial cost; but the upgrade would not be head and shoulders better than what I have already, at least in my view.

But if you really like playing the piano, or learning to play, as in my case, having a really nice piano is a blessing, and it's FUN! smile

Good luck, and keep us informed of your decision!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: JB_PW] #2917214 11/28/19 02:15 AM
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My pianos have been replaced on the basis of opportunity, Like Rickster, I doubt I could improve on them without a substantial investment of time, space, and money, and I certainly could not justify it on the basis of my performance level.


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Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: JB_PW] #2917284 11/28/19 10:36 AM
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Great subject for a thread. True confession time. I’m on my fourth piano in 24 years. Even though my piano studies and daily practice have slightly improved my playing I can hear and feel the difference between a mediocre upright or grand and a piano that sounds beautiful to my ear and one with a silky smooth action. I will never play professionally in my lifetime but did work a day job for 40 years, 36 of which were for a National Laboratory and the pay and benefits were good. We saved like squirrels during those years so financially we’re doing good. I’ve used the trade in option repeatedly so in fact I worked my way up to my latest piano. Financially speaking it’s considerably more expensive than what PW Member Jethro did, which was to sell his RX2 after purchasing his SK2, but boy oh boy it’s so much easier to have the delivery team wheel out the old and wheel in the new. Playing wise, I could easily still be using my little Baldwin upright, but why? I’ve worked a good paying job I was very good at, but didn’t enjoy, so now it’s time to enjoy my hobby and buy the piano I love.

I traded up my Baldwin upright after 14 years to buy a bank owned GB1 in polished walnut directly from Yamaha Piano Company, at below whole with a reasonable trade in for the Baldwin. I took university courses and lessons. 3 years later I traded it on (full price trade in) my C3. Huge step up in sound and quality. Coming up on 8 years of the C3, after a serious health scare, I went to another sale at the Yamaha dealer who now carries Estonia. This dealership had only one for me to try but my heavens it was perfect! Looking through the Estonia piano brochure that’s the one I would set my sights on, and there it was at an attractive sale price. Went back the next day, retried the other pianos, played the Estonia again, wrote the check and signed the trade in offer and waited a week for delivery. It’s my Christmas present, birthday present and 32 year wedding anniversary present.

Thank heavens we don’t have to play a recital to buy a piano our playing deserves. We can buy whatever we want and can comfortably afford. Best wishes for your piano journey.


J & J
Estonia L190 Hidden Beauty
Casio Privia PX-330
“Send lawyers, guns, and money. The $hit has hit the fan.” Warren Zevon
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Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: JB_PW] #2917306 11/28/19 11:54 AM
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In typical fashion, I'm already losing sleep over this and I haven't even started shopping yet! I think I'm ready to move forward in the next few months. My husband has his heart set on moving in the next year or two, and if we do that our mortgage will likely go from $ to $$$. I have plenty of my own money from "the before time," so I know I don't need to feel bad about splurging right now. It will be harder to talk myself into it in the future if our monthly expenses increase dramatically.

I'm leaning towards new. I'm assuming that makes the trade-in option possible, or at least more convenient.

What will I do with my old piano? I can't imagine it's worth much, if anything. I don't suppose dealers take those away, like when you get a new washer or dryer? smile

I appreciate all of the comments. It's interesting to hear your stories and it makes me more comfortable about this decision.


I ❤️ Mendelssohn, Yann Tiersen, Heller
Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: JB_PW] #2917311 11/28/19 12:19 PM
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In my case, I needed more dynamic range and a faster action. I'd gone as far as I could with an old English upright. I'd owned a Challen and a Knight, the Knight wore out very quickly because I practised on it for between 6 and 7 hours a day in the days when I needed to do that amount of practice, and I completely wore it out - hammers, string breakages, action parts breaking, it just couldn't cope with the workload and it was going to cost more to fix than buying a better instrument would have cost. By that time I was studying in the conservatoire so I also used their good pianos. The Challen I used for studying for my grades and I kept that piano but stopped using it for practice. It was used no more than 3 hours a day but of course it is 65 years old - it was already 40 years old when I got it so it was never really the right tool for the job. It now suffers from pin block issues, and the action really needs replaced if it's going to be a suitable instrument again. A piano teacher I know who is a good friend of mine needed a piano for teaching elementary grades on, and she asked if she could buy it from me. I said to her she could have it for free because really, I feel bad selling a piano that would be worth £1200 in good condition when it needs a lot more than that spent on it.... anyway all the keys work and it will hold a tuning so long as we're not trying to run Rach 3 on it, and she seems happy with it. She said I can have it back at any point. Her current piano is a Yamaha P105 digital, so whether this is an upgrade or not I've no idea!

My next piano was my first Blüthner - patent action, rock solid pin block, completely original 1912 piano. How it survived from 1912 until 2002 without developing any discernible flaws I've no idea - but I'll come to the bit about structural flaws in just a second! Anyway I used that piano to prepare for my grad school entrance exams in 2002, and I worked solidly on it for 8 hours a day, every day I wasn't in the conservatoire, for about 18 months. Obviously I completely flattened the hammers on it and it sounded like a bad harpsichord by the end. I put a new set of hammers on it in 2007 but that had a fairly minimal effect on the sound quality which made me wake up to the fact there was a lot more that needed done to this piano.... At that time I couldn't afford to have it rebuilt, but I could afford a new Brodmann....

Everyone who has been on this forum for a long time and who has read my posts knows about my experience with the Brodmann. Many on this forum run to the defence of Brodmann (actually is that company still producing under the Brodmann name?? We're not getting them in the UK and I so far haven't seen a dealer in the southern USA), but the fact is the Brodmann I had was poorly made and failed very quickly. Within a few years - 3 to 5 - the strings started breaking. At first it was the odd pop here and there, and then eventually in one year I lost 12 strings in the treble. The V-bar was re-shaped and that did nothing to help the situation. The action also turned out to be terrible, with glue failing. It was impossible to get a proper regulation on the piano from the start. My tuners worked very well on the piano and gave it a full concert style regulation every year (my tuner in Edinburgh was the concert tuner for Steinways and trained with Ulrich Gerhartz on a regular basis), but the action just wouldn't hold out.

I still had the Blüthner of course, and then I decided to replace the Brodmann with another Blüthner, a rebuild from Piano Restorations. Later, I had my patent Blüthner restored - you know, the one I thought was structurally sound but just needed new hammers. Well, turns out it wasn't as structurally sound as I thought and actually it had a crack in the plate. Where the crack was is apparently a common problem on older Blüthner grands, and thankfully it didn't take much to repair the crack in the context of the rebuild, but let that be a lesson to all! You may think the old piano you're looking at is structurally sound, good for another 20 or 30 years (which would see one through good chunk of a career), but actually very often there are things that we as pianists wouldn't find no matter how hard we looked, and this was only found when they replaced the pin block. The pinblock that needed replaced because although it was holding the original strings and pins quite well for such an old instrument, it really wasn't up to doing the job for another few years. The soundboard had also stopped functioning properly, and although the old strings and hammers sounded rather beautiful in their own way, there was weakness and unevenness in the tone that has since been rectified.

So there's the reason I replaced my pianos. Then I b**ger off to America to get my DMA and have to put my pianos in storage while I'm stuck practising on university pianos which are worse than anything I've ever encountered before in my life! Three semesters from now I'll be ABD and ready to look for a job..... then I can have my pianos...

Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: JB_PW] #2917317 11/28/19 12:36 PM
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Before I got my grand piano with silent system, I had a digital.
Reasons for buying my Yamaha C2 SG: I wanted a better piano action, and realistic loudness. And good keytops. And a silent system.


My grand piano is a Yamaha C2 SG.
My other Yamaha is an XMAX 300.
Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: JB_PW] #2917319 11/28/19 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by JB_PW
In typical fashion, I'm already losing sleep over this and I haven't even started shopping yet! I think I'm ready to move forward in the next few months. My husband has his heart set on moving in the next year or two, and if we do that our mortgage will likely go from $ to $$$. I have plenty of my own money from "the before time," so I know I don't need to feel bad about splurging right now. It will be harder to talk myself into it in the future if our monthly expenses increase dramatically.

I'm leaning towards new. I'm assuming that makes the trade-in option possible, or at least more convenient.

What will I do with my old piano? I can't imagine it's worth much, if anything. I don't suppose dealers take those away, like when you get a new washer or dryer? smile

I appreciate all of the comments. It's interesting to hear your stories and it makes me more comfortable about this decision.


Dealers do take older pianos in trade but offer much lower amounts toward the new one. Most dealers also have used pianos for sale.


J & J
Estonia L190 Hidden Beauty
Casio Privia PX-330
“Send lawyers, guns, and money. The $hit has hit the fan.” Warren Zevon
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Re: What made you decide to replace your piano? [Re: j&j] #2917324 11/28/19 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by JB_PW
In typical fashion, I'm already losing sleep over this and I haven't even started shopping yet! I think I'm ready to move forward in the next few months. My husband has his heart set on moving in the next year or two, and if we do that our mortgage will likely go from $ to $$$. I have plenty of my own money from "the before time," so I know I don't need to feel bad about splurging right now. It will be harder to talk myself into it in the future if our monthly expenses increase dramatically.

I'm leaning towards new. I'm assuming that makes the trade-in option possible, or at least more convenient.

What will I do with my old piano? I can't imagine it's worth much, if anything. I don't suppose dealers take those away, like when you get a new washer or dryer? smile

I appreciate all of the comments. It's interesting to hear your stories and it makes me more comfortable about this decision.


Dealers do take older pianos in trade but offer much lower amounts toward the new one. Most dealers also have used pianos for sale.


Due to the age and condition of your piano, don’t be surprised if it has little to no value to a dealer. If that is the case, consider donating to a needy child

https://pianoadoption.com/


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
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