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Choosing my used piano #2925812 12/22/19 03:42 PM
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Deann Offline OP
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Next week I will be heading in to a nearby store to buy a used piano to replace my current under-performer. I'm looking for a mid-range grand in the 5'6" to 6' range. I've got an upgrade/trade-in situation, so this one store is the place. Below is a list of likely possibilities in their current inventory as listed online, make and year of mfr. They don't list many prices online. I've been playing for over 50 years so I think I can evaluate sound and touch, so although I appreciate any comment you might have, I am most looking for comments on things that might not be obvious from playing in their showroom, like it was a bad year for that model, they had just moved to a new mfr and it wasn't working out well, etc, or vice versa I suppose.

Baldwin BP152 Baby Grand Piano 2017
Samick Baby Grand Piano 1980s
Grotrian Baby Grand 1977
Kawai KG2 1982
Schafer & Sons Baby Grand 1989
Weinbach Baby Grand 2005
Yamaha G2 1979
Yamaha G3 1973, 1984
Yamaha C3 1986

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Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: Deann] #2925824 12/22/19 04:16 PM
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MarkL Offline
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I can only comment on one in that list, the Kawai KG2. I've played them and they're very nice and have a good reputation. I assume you'll have your own tech do an evaluation before you buy one. Good luck and enjoy.


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Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: Deann] #2925831 12/22/19 04:27 PM
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Based on name alone Grotrian stands out by far. No bad years that I am aware of but still over 40 years old. Have fun playing them.

Rich


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Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: Deann] #2925861 12/22/19 06:25 PM
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Play them first. You should be able to whittle down that list quite a bit once you’ve seen them and tried them. You don’t want to pay your tech to inspect a piano you don’t really like.
Once you decide the top two or three, and post your likes and dislikes, then you can figure out which ones you want inspected. The one that gets the best inspection report and that you really love playing is the winner. Plan on playing the finalists for awhile. Don’t be in a rush. Best wishes


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Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: Deann] #2925871 12/22/19 07:07 PM
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Just a couple of thoughts as I am far from knowledgeable about brands:

Baldwin: do you realize this is a 5 foot piano?

I would advise to do some reading in Piano Buyer about all of these brands; I’m hoping also that someone with more knowledge will help you out with specifics.


"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: Choosing my used piano [Re: Deann] #2925925 12/22/19 10:43 PM
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It is very common for Samick made pianos to have problems with the action center pins seizing up. they first start seizing only after the piano is played for some time like a couple of hours. Over time, they move towards permanent seize.

Grotrian grands from the 1970's can have loose tuning pins. They even start to come up out of the hole while you are trying to tune them. The angle the pins are drilled for is too little to properly resist the bending forces the tuning process puts into them..

The Schaefer and Weinbachs I know too little about to comment on other than to say I have never heard anyone raving about them as nice pianos.

The Yamahas might be imported used. Sometimes these pianos can look nearly new but have loose tuning pins and dead tone. If Yamahas are played and tuned often, the treble strings can start to break and string buzzes also start.

It is very difficult to give you any more useful information without inspecting the piano in question.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
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Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: Deann] #2926030 12/23/19 09:44 AM
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Deann, what are you trading in? Any chance you'd be better off selling that privately and then buying something else, giving you more options for dealers or even buying from a private seller?

Having said that, let's assume you're going to buy from this dealer. If you're not too keen on the options he currently has, you could ask him how likely it is he might have other options in the near future etc.

As to the models in your list, I will comment about the Yamahas. First, Yamaha is an excellent brand, but these pianos are so old it really depends on the specific instrument. Have you arranged for an independent tech to evaluate them? Are all of these pianos in the same location? If so, that definitely works to your advantage and should make it easier and cost-effective to have the evaluation done.

I have played a few G-series pianos, but none that were that old. The ones I played were all very nice pianos, for what it's worth. In general, C-series will be better than G-series because the C-series is the higher end line and will have various details that make it a better instrument. There's a lot written about that so I'll leave that discussion to the experts.

Back to your list. I think the G-series in your list are probably too old. Of the Yamahas in your list, the newest one also happens to be a C-series, so those two points (age and C-series) are in its favor and something to keep in mind. The C3 is also just over 6 feet, will that fit in your space? I have played two C3 pianos, and they were really lovely. I might have bought one except for the fact that I knew it would be too big. I ended up getting a 20y/o Yamaha C2 (5'8") and I could not be happier with it.

If you can wait a little or consider selling your piano on your own and buying elsewhere, I would say hold out for a slightly newer piano. If you haven't already, ask the dealer you're working with what they would pay you to buy your piano back from you.

As others have mentioned, have you looked at Piano Mart online? Plug in your zip code and the maximum length and see what the models are and how they're priced. Do that before you go to play those pianos you listed, and that will give you something to compare with.

If you don't mind sharing your location (doesn't have to be super specific, country and state maybe) and/or budget, that might help us. If you want some specific monetary figures but don't want to post publicly, feel free to PM me.

Whatever you end up doing, good luck!


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: Deann] #2926061 12/23/19 11:17 AM
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Hey folks, thanks for the comments. I thought I would add in that my situation does make this a bit more difficult in that I am in a small town with the nearest piano store 90 miles away. The market is very limited for selling here by private party, and I have a 100% trade-in guarantee for my current piano at this store 90 miles away because I bought it there. My piano tech, a great guy who lives three blocks from me, is also the contracted tech for that store who handles their warranty work in town - and in the region. He is not available to drive 90 miles for this. I have consulted with him by text on these choices, but I understand that for used pianos, it's not the same as checking them out individually. There will be some year-end sales going on at the store, but I will have to decide whether to jump or not. I got my current grand on the cheap (under $4K) because I got a sudden irresistible urge to upgrade from my Baldwin Hamilton console (which I still have, more on that in another thread) after playing a grand at a friend's. It was a sudden decision and choice at a time when my budget was severely limited. Now I am committed to getting the right piano for me. I am also hoping that they may have a larger selection at the store, that some aren't online yet.

Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: Deann] #2926064 12/23/19 11:34 AM
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You have my sympathy in terms of being in a small town. I am as well, and we pretty much spent the whole summer driving to different piano sellers around this state and the neighboring one. We just made a day of it each time, I'd look online for an interesting restaurant to go to after visiting the piano etc. So if you've already decided to buy from this one store, that just means one trip, or maybe a few trips over time to this place. It's do-able, but you absolutely must be sure to play any piano before buying.

So I would say your first step should be to find a time when you make the drive, and see what they have in inventory right now. Take detailed notes about you like and don't like about each piano, and rank them in order of preference. Then, if you don't buy one of the current pianos, if/when the dealer gets new inventory, you can ask things like "is that piano newer than X, brighter than Y" etc. comparing them to the ones you've already played. This will help you decide when it's worth it to make the drive again.

Then here is your next step: find an independent piano tech in the city where the dealer is. Your current tech might be able to recommend someone, but given his connection to the store, see if you can find someone on your own, just for your own piece of mind. As soon as you've found a piano or two that you're considering buying, have that person inspect it. You really need to have the piano evaluated by someone who's not connected to the person selling it. The tech should be able to tell you what his/her fee for that is, it might be $100 but will definitely be money well-spent.

Again, good luck!!


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: Deann] #2927130 12/26/19 10:41 PM
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I went in to choose a used piano today, and I think I will be buying new. Of all those used pianos, only two were really satisfying, the Yamaga G2 and Grotrian, but both are at least 40 years old which I think is older than I want to go. There were new versions of a Wilhelm Grotrian Studio (5'5") and a Kawai GL-40 (5'11") that I liked that are marginally in my price range. I tried some Bostons and wasn't too happy with them. I was disappointed that there were no Kawai GX line there, they were sold out. No decision yet.

Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: Deann] #2927134 12/26/19 11:06 PM
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Kawai has 0% financing through the end of the year if that helps.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: Deann] #2927188 12/27/19 07:35 AM
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I recently tried both the GL and GX lines. If you can somehow arrange this, you'll be most impressed by the GX series. Both are nice, though.

Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: MarkL] #2927214 12/27/19 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by MarkL
Kawai has 0% financing through the end of the year if that helps.

Yamaha has 0% financing through the end of the year also. Best wishes!


J & J
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Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: MarkL] #2927256 12/27/19 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MarkL
Kawai has 0% financing through the end of the year if that helps.


0% only available for a max of two years and I'm going to need longer than that if I'm getting a ca $20K piano. It also is rushing me since I would have to decide in a few days. I'm wondering if I should instead wait till they get a GX in stock.

Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: Deann] #2927258 12/27/19 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Deann
Originally Posted by MarkL
Kawai has 0% financing through the end of the year if that helps.


0% only available for a max of two years and I'm going to need longer than that if I'm getting a ca $20K piano. It also is rushing me since I would have to decide in a few days. I'm wondering if I should instead wait till they get a GX in stock.


Please don’t rush as this is a big commitment; it should be the piano you love to practice, not a compromise. If it were my decision I would wait for the GX and also continue to look at used pianos outside of the store

Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: Deann] #2927267 12/27/19 12:33 PM
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Yes definitely don't rush for a purchase like this. I don't know your location, but perhaps you could go to a more distant dealer to try a GX if they have one in stock. Or if you advertise your location on the forum and ask for someone near you who has a GX, they might let you drop over and try it.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: Deann] #2927272 12/27/19 01:02 PM
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In further consideration, a GX2 (same size as the GL40) would obviously be considerably more, which means I would have to get a GX1. So the question is would it be worth getting those features and drop 6" in the process. My tech think that 5'11" gets into a range string harmonics are much more consistent across the 88 keys. There is also the Grotrian Wilhelm Studio in the mix, which is the same size as a GX-1 (and with almost no reviews online because they are so new).

I also get the sense that even within one specific model, there are variations, so if I want to try a GX, it needs to be the same individual I'm going to buy if I decide that.

Last edited by Deann; 12/27/19 01:03 PM.
Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: Deann] #2927278 12/27/19 01:26 PM
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I don't know if you found this resource yet, but Piano Buyer can get you pretty close on the relative prices for different models. If you deduct 20% from price listed in the column headed "SMP" you will get a starting guess at what the dealer might charge. You can do better on some brands/models, but at least you can get a relative idea.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: dogperson] #2927298 12/27/19 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Deann
Originally Posted by MarkL
Kawai has 0% financing through the end of the year if that helps.


0% only available for a max of two years and I'm going to need longer than that if I'm getting a ca $20K piano. It also is rushing me since I would have to decide in a few days. I'm wondering if I should instead wait till they get a GX in stock.


Please don’t rush as this is a big commitment; it should be the piano you love to practice, not a compromise. If it were my decision I would wait for the GX and also continue to look at used pianos outside of the store



+1 Don't rush as this is a huge $$$ commitment! Take your time.



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Re: Choosing my used piano [Re: Deann] #2927423 12/27/19 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Deann
In further consideration, a GX2 (same size as the GL40) would obviously be considerably more, which means I would have to get a GX1. So the question is would it be worth getting those features and drop 6" in the process. My tech think that 5'11" gets into a range string harmonics are much more consistent across the 88 keys. There is also the Grotrian Wilhelm Studio in the mix, which is the same size as a GX-1 (and with almost no reviews online because they are so new).

I also get the sense that even within one specific model, there are variations, so if I want to try a GX, it needs to be the same individual I'm going to buy if I decide that.

That is very true. One of the great things about Yamaha and Kawai is consistency. Two pianos of the same model are much more alike than they are different. The variation in pianos of the same year and same model are much less than some other well known brands. If you had to order a piano, IMHO, a Kawai or Yamaha, especially in their mid priced pianos, is a safer bet that you’d be thrilled with the piano you ordered. Again, just my opinion.


J & J
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Pianos - the reason God made trees!
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