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upright for jazz #2920739 12/07/19 04:47 PM
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Hi, I reach to you because I'm looking for a upright piano.
I'm into Jazz and would like to buy an upright for home playing. In Jazz world Yamaha is the king (U1, U3) but honestly I'm not sure how much of this fame is earned and how much of it is branding, sponsoring and we all know that Yamaha spend a lot of money in this area. I don't want to pay for branding, I want a good piano. It is very hard to find unbiased opinion about pianos both famous brands and Chinese ones. I've heard that Feurich and Zimmermann is worth considering and I know it is Chinese Heilun with European roots and perhaps quality assurance but honestly I don't know if there is real difference between brands like Kawai, Yamaha and those Chinese built ones.I don't suppose so (in fact sometimes I think that developing markets are so ambitious and motivated that build quality may be even better than in spoiled labour-unioned European factories - remember US motor industry and Toyota Motor Company history?) But then again, I have zero experience in this field it is just my guts feeling.  

And another thing is piano clarity, tone separation which supposedly is very important for jazz. Unfortunately I have no experience with "analog" pianos and don't really know what does it mean. Can you give me some Youtube examples of "clear" and "unclear" pianos? 

I know I'm looking in a low to mid range but still it is a lot of money and I want it for life time. 

So for example do you think I should look for used Yamaha U1, U3 or new Yamaha P121 or maybe some Feurich, Zimmerman, Pearl River or other Chinese or Chinese assembled brand? Any input will be appreciated. Thank you in advance. 

p.s. Yes, I know, I need to try before buy. Nonetheless want to arm myself with theoretical knowledge and experienced pianist opinion.

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Re: upright for jazz [Re: bajtucha] #2920981 12/08/19 02:05 PM
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Since you sound like you are starting at ground 0, a reasonable first step would be planning to visit a large showroom where many makes of piano will be available to play. Go with some material prepared so you can perform direct comparisons between the different models. Try them all, and figure out which ones you think sound and feel the best to you.

After playing a bunch of instruments, you will start to get an idea which ones you generally like and then you can target your search in those areas.

Piano tone and touch preferences are very subjective... I tend to prefer pianos with a darker, diffuse tone and actions that offer a good amount of feedback and resistance. I find that I can make such instruments sound wonderful for all kinds of music, including jazz.

I would hesitate to take opinions regarding tone and touch too seriously for a purchase as expensive and permanent as a piano. Take your time and identify an instrument that speaks to you.

Re: upright for jazz [Re: bajtucha] #2921015 12/08/19 04:32 PM
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Maybe a fairly general question, but how do you actually judge the tone of a piano when trying them? I tried one Kawai K-300 in a showroom and didn‘t like the sound because it was too soft and dark. I thought this is „the sound“ of this piano model, and didn‘t consider this piano from then on. By coincidence I later tried a different piano but of the same model a few days later. It sounded a lot brighter and now really had exactly the tone that I liked. The sales guy said this is because of a different intonation. I only thought „okay but this means I cannot really go by the sound of a piano if it means you can change the character that much with just a few hours of work“..
How do you evaluate the tone of a piano when trying them? What can be attributed to the piano itself, and what is just how the piano is set up?

Re: upright for jazz [Re: bajtucha] #2921031 12/08/19 05:04 PM
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bajtucha, you didn't say where you're located (country name is fine, you don't need to go into detail) or a ballpark figure for your budget. These details might help people give you more specific advice.

As far as pianos, I am biased toward Yamaha. My first digital piano, my last digital piano, my first acoustic upright (U1) and my current grand have all be Yamahas. In between I had a Baldwin upright and a Petrof upright, both of which were much older and no where near as nice as any of the Yamahas. Having said that, a Yamaha piano is a reliable instrument and you probably can't go wrong with one.

Still you should try to play and listen to as many different brands as you can, so that whatever piano you end up with, you can be sure it's the one you like best.

Do you current have a digital piano? Or, are you a complete beginner? This is relevant, because if you're a beginner, you won't be able to judge from playing yourself. But if you can play, even a little bit, that should help you a great deal in the selection process.

In any case, the best thing you can do is start testing out as many different pianos as possible. Take notes on the brand, model, age and price, and then what you liked/disliked about each. This will also help you start narrowing down.

Good luck!


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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Re: upright for jazz [Re: bajtucha] #2921057 12/08/19 06:24 PM
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if a consumer has access to Ritmueller (a differentiated brand/tier made by Pearl River) uprights, they might benefit from comparing them to the similar Yamaha verticals. am probably biased myself, because the local Ritmueller dealer does top notch prep for the pianos in his showroom, but his examples at least exhibited an expressive range and touch sensitivity that new Yamaha verticals don't usually have.

Re: upright for jazz [Re: bajtucha] #2921096 12/08/19 08:37 PM
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Removed for political commentary and overtones.

Last edited by Ken Knapp; 12/08/19 09:52 PM. Reason: Political commentary removed. NO politics allowed on forum!
Re: upright for jazz [Re: bajtucha] #2921123 12/09/19 12:44 AM
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Remark on my previous post: I was talking about „intonation“. Apparently Intonation in German means voicing in English. So actually I was referring to the different voicings affecting how a piano sounds.

Re: upright for jazz [Re: ShiroKuro] #2921149 12/09/19 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
bajtucha, you didn't say where you're located (country name is fine, you don't need to go into detail) or a ballpark figure for your budget.

Poland. I suppose prices are different in every country. I'm looking for upright in a Kawai K-300, Yamaha P121 price range.

Re: upright for jazz [Re: ShiroKuro] #2921157 12/09/19 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro

Do you current have a digital piano? Or, are you a complete beginner? This is relevant, because if you're a beginner, you won't be able to judge from playing yourself. But if you can play, even a little bit, that should help you a great deal in the selection process.


Yes I have a good old Yamaha P-85 digital and I'm extensively working on it. I know that for sure in a near future I would like to have something which sounds good (P-85 is pretty good with headphones but the speakers... well, it's a budget piano) It has weighted keys but I have no idea what would be the difference between this one and acoustic.
I'm thinking of keeping my DP for night practice and buying acoustic for special concerts for my wife ;-)
I don't feel like buying top notch DP - speaker will always remain only a speaker if you know what I mean but of course I will try some (ROLAND LX-708?) for the sake of comparison.

I'm 40. I want to play jazz for the rest of my life.I have a daily job. I'm in no hurry.

Re: upright for jazz [Re: bajtucha] #2921181 12/09/19 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by bajtucha
[...] I think that developing markets are so ambitious and motivated that build quality may be even better than in spoiled labour-unioned European factories - remember US motor industry and Toyota Motor Company history?) But then again, I have zero experience in this field it is just my guts feeling.  


Whatever.

Re: upright for jazz [Re: johnstaf] #2921212 12/09/19 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by bajtucha
[...] I think that developing markets are so ambitious and motivated that build quality may be even better than in spoiled labour-unioned European factories - remember US motor industry and Toyota Motor Company history?) But then again, I have zero experience in this field it is just my guts feeling.  


Whatever.


Yeah, whatever. If the OP is so convinced the build quality in emerging markets is so superior, he should only be looking at pianos made in emerging markets. Forget Europe or Japan in the search so there is no risk of spoiled workers... and certainly avoid the unions.


"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
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Re: upright for jazz [Re: bajtucha] #2921229 12/09/19 09:50 AM
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Famous European brands, famous American brands and famous Japanese brands have earned their reputations over many years. These countries also enjoy the benefit of access to quality materials like maple, beech, fine grain spruce, quality wool and felt, and copyrighted key top material. Their experienced craftspeople are trained for years before they are allowed to do the final voicing and regulation. All these things add to the final price. Only you can decide if an upright piano from China, Korea, or Indonesia will work for your required needs and the only way to figure that out is to go play them. It was, I believe, a Yamaha C7 that earned “the jazz piano” because it was the piano of choice for recording studios. The Yamaha C7X is even better.
I’m getting on the edge of political statements here. During the Soviet regime, some wonderful piano makers suffered from lack of access to quality materials and trained craftsmanship. This is what happened to Estonia pianos (Estonia was part of the USSR) and Petrof (the Czech Republic which was part of Czechoslovakia). I personally think Chinese piano companies have, can, and will improve quality as China slowly finds its way from the dark days of Chairman Mao’s little red book. Since the OP is in Poland, this should make sense. Wilhelm Schimmel pianos, which are made in Poland, makes 3 different upright pianos that are more affordable than Schimmels made in Germany.


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Re: upright for jazz [Re: bajtucha] #2921250 12/09/19 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by bajtucha
I think that developing markets are so ambitious and motivated that build quality may be even better than in spoiled labour-unioned European factories  



My decades of experience both playing and working on European pianos versus their developing countries counterparts would refute that.

But it's your money. Spend it as you wish.

Last edited by Hank Drake; 12/09/19 11:12 AM.

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Re: upright for jazz [Re: Hank Drake] #2921267 12/09/19 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Hank Drake
Originally Posted by bajtucha
I think that developing markets are so ambitious and motivated that build quality may be even better than in spoiled labour-unioned European factories  



My decades of experience both playing and working on European pianos versus their developing countries counterparts would refute that.

But it's your money. Spend it as you wish.


Perhaps even more than labor unions, I think prices and prospects dramatically changed for the better for piano makers when they became members of the European Union instead of the Soviet Union.


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Re: upright for jazz [Re: bajtucha] #2921331 12/09/19 02:58 PM
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bajtucha Offline OP
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Seems that I've touched sensitive subject, I didn't intend too.
Funny I didn't know that some quality pianos are made in Poland. Thanks for Schimmel tip. Which of the 3 uprights are made in Poland?

Re: upright for jazz [Re: bajtucha] #2921345 12/09/19 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by bajtucha
Seems that I've touched sensitive subject, I didn't intend too.
Funny I didn't know that some quality pianos are made in Poland. Thanks for Schimmel tip. Which of the 3 uprights are made in Poland?

Yeah I was researching Schimmel pianos and the Yamaha dealer also carried both Schimmel’s made in Germany and Wilhelm Schimmel made in Poland. Wilhelm Schimmel uprights are:
Wilhelm Schimmel pianos
the W114, W118, and the W123.
If nothing else, you should be able to save on shipping costs while supporting the home team!


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Re: upright for jazz [Re: j&j] #2921364 12/09/19 04:50 PM
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They are made in Kalisz Poland. Schimmel previously made Vogel pianos in Poland. I’m guessing but don’t know for sure they were made by the same factory in Kalisz.


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Re: upright for jazz [Re: j&j] #2921368 12/09/19 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by j&j
They are made in Kalisz Poland. Schimmel previously made Vogel pianos in Poland. I’m guessing but don’t know for sure they were made by the same factory in Kalisz.


Thank you. Although at the first glance it seems that they have no special distribution in Poland. I will look deeper into it.

Re: upright for jazz [Re: bajtucha] #2921722 12/10/19 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by bajtucha
Originally Posted by j&j
They are made in Kalisz Poland. Schimmel previously made Vogel pianos in Poland. I’m guessing but don’t know for sure they were made by the same factory in Kalisz.


Thank you. Although at the first glance it seems that they have no special distribution in Poland. I will look deeper into it.

I thought I’d also mention Petrof pianos, which are made in the Czech Republic. There have been significant improvements since leaving Soviet control and they are well rated. Petrof does make uprights. I would think you could find a dealer in Poland that carried Petrof. Like Estonia, Petrof does “punch above its weight class” and is still fairly reasonably priced. Only Petrof makes uprights, Estonia only makes grands. Best Wishes!


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Re: upright for jazz [Re: bajtucha] #2921767 12/11/19 01:26 AM
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Just because I bought one last week: Take a look at W.Hoffmann uprights as well if you want to. They belong to the Bechstein family (and you can check them out on the Bechstein homepage) and are made in the Czech Republic as well. My personal guess is that probably half of their workforce is from Petrof (just a guess without information behind it).

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