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Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner #2935031 01/16/20 08:57 PM
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Sunny apple Offline OP
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I am looking for a piano for my 7 years old daughter who just started the lessons. I came across a Yamaha G5 which was manufactured in 1972. It belongs to a church. I don’t know much about piano and never own one in the past. Would you please comment on the following questions?

1. Is G5 too big for a beginner?
2. Is $4000 a fair price?
3. I haven’t checked the piano yet, but the church person told me it is in excellent condition. Will it be difficult to take care of half century old piano?

Really appreciate any comments / suggestions you may give. Thank you!

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Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: Sunny apple] #2935036 01/16/20 09:04 PM
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1. Size does not matter.
2. Prices for used pianos are variable.
3. It would be advisable to have the piano checked out by a technician. Church pianos often get a lot of use. You cannot depend on a seller's assessment of condition, and that will determine how serviceable it is.


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Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: BDB] #2935047 01/16/20 09:29 PM
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BDB, thank you very much for your comments! One more question. Where can I find piano technician? Thanks!

Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: Sunny apple] #2935055 01/16/20 09:43 PM
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Where do you live Sunny apple?


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Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: Sunny apple] #2935057 01/16/20 09:48 PM
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You can use the Piano Technicians Guild to find a tech. The link below will allow you to search in your area
https://portal.ptg.org/4dcgi/directory/rpt/person.html

Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: Learux] #2935058 01/16/20 09:53 PM
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I live in MI

Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: dogperson] #2935061 01/16/20 10:01 PM
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Got it. Thank you dogperson!

Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: Sunny apple] #2935778 01/18/20 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Sunny apple
I am looking for a piano for my 7 years old daughter who just started the lessons. I came across a Yamaha G5 which was manufactured in 1972. It belongs to a church. I don’t know much about piano and never own one in the past. Would you please comment on the following questions?

1. Is G5 too big for a beginner?
2. Is $4000 a fair price?
3. I haven’t checked the piano yet, but the church person told me it is in excellent condition. Will it be difficult to take care of half century old piano?

Really appreciate any comments / suggestions you may give. Thank you!


With a church piano it probably got hard use. And maintenance of church pianos depends entirely on the church and the choir director. If parishioners are doing well and are generous the pianos tend to be well maintained. For a much smaller church always struggling to get by, piano maintenance can range from spotty to non existent. Your piano tech can give you the best opinion on whether it’s suitable for your daughter.
This is my personal experience. I’ve attended churches that have really nice musical equipment on hand, other churches with high end DPs and nice guitars, and even some churches where parishioners bought and brought their own instruments.
Personally I love Yamaha C5s. I really hope you find a nice piano.


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Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: Sunny apple] #2935783 01/18/20 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by j&j
With a church piano it probably got hard use. And maintenance of church pianos depends entirely on the church and the choir director. If parishioners are doing well and are generous the pianos tend to be well maintained. For a much smaller church always struggling to get by, piano maintenance can range from spotty to non existent. Your piano tech can give you the best opinion on whether it’s suitable for your daughter.
This is my personal experience. I’ve attended churches that have really nice musical equipment on hand, other churches with high end DPs and nice guitars, and even some churches where parishioners bought and brought their own instruments.
Personally I love Yamaha C5s. I really hope you find a nice piano.

+1 smile

I purchased my 1978 Yamaha C7 from a large Church that had build a new Sanctuary/Auditorium and went to all digital pianos. It had some wear on it, but was in great condition, as far as I could tell, with the exception of a couple of broken bass bichord strings and one chipped key-top. I used that as part of the price negotiation process, and got what I thought was a fantastic price for the C7.

The thing about Yamaha pianos in general is they are well built, and can take a lot of hard playing, and still have a lot of life left in them. I have really enjoyed the C7 and play it often, and sometimes pretty hard. I actually broke a high treble string once while I was playing it pretty hard. Not a musical sound. smile

And, in my view, if the G5 is in reasonably good condition, $4K is a bargain price. But keep in mind, with any private sale, you have to consider moving, tuning and any repairs needed. I did the repairs on my C7 myself.

Good luck, and keep us informed!

Rick


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Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: Sunny apple] #2935808 01/18/20 03:51 PM
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I do not know what is climate in your area, however I would not buy piano coming from church in Germany, Poland and similar countries, mostly due to the fact that there would be no control over very changing humidity and.temperature during the year.

Oh, and we do not have pianos in churches lol.

Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: Sunny apple] #2935810 01/18/20 04:02 PM
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That might be an issue.Michigan is not known for its climate having stable humidity.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: Sunny apple] #2935816 01/18/20 04:15 PM
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Last edited by MrKaramba; 01/18/20 04:16 PM.
Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: Learux] #2935844 01/18/20 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Learux
That might be an issue.Michigan is not known for its climate having stable humidity.


Hopefully the piano was kept by a church that believed comfortable climate was important for both the pastor or priest giving the sermon and the parishioners to pay attention during the service. The first church I went to as a kid and went to the school built into the church building, the pastor didn’t believe we needed air conditioning. People frequently passed out during services during mid summer heat and humidity. It did make sermons about heck fire all the more scary. grin


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Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: j&j] #2935845 01/18/20 05:42 PM
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Interesting. One word was automagically changed for me. Hmmmmm. grin


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Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: j&j] #2935850 01/18/20 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Learux
That might be an issue.Michigan is not known for its climate having stable humidity.


Hopefully the piano was kept by a church that believed comfortable climate was important for both the pastor or priest giving the sermon and the parishioners to pay attention during the service. The first church I went to as a kid and went to the school built into the church building, the pastor didn’t believe we needed air conditioning. People frequently passed out during services during mid summer heat and humidity. It did make sermons about heck fire all the more scary. grin


The issue of church pianos is not really what is done for services— as they are generally fine for those hours. The real issue is that many climate systems are cut off in between, so you may have many hours during the week where there is no humidity control.


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Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: dogperson] #2935905 01/18/20 08:48 PM
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Good point. Some of the big, big churches use their facilities for functions daily and evenings are especially busy so maybe those thermostats don’t turn down the heating too low or the air conditioning completely off. Hopefully. The same would go for university pianos.


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Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: j&j] #2935908 01/18/20 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by j&j
Good point. Some of the big, big churches use their facilities for functions daily and evenings are especially busy so maybe those thermostats don’t turn down the heating too low or the air conditioning completely off. Hopefully. The same would go for university pianos.


It’s a nice thought but the big churches I have been in cut off the air to the sanctuary except for an interval prior to a service; it is not frequently on as functions/classes are held in other wings of the church with independent systems. Of course, there certainly are exceptions but the churches I have seen that even seat 500+ in the sanctuary still follow this pattern.

Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: dogperson] #2935923 01/18/20 10:37 PM
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Oh, you’re probably right. I remember when I was working the only place that was chilled 24x7 was the big server and network Data Center. Darn.


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Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: Sunny apple] #2935929 01/18/20 11:26 PM
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Well, Ms Sunny Apple. First of all, welcome to PW! It is a good place to find out all kinds of things about pianos and music, and there are some lovely people here who share their knowledge and love for the calling we all share, in some measure.

I would also say, good for you for offering this opportunity to your daughter. It is a very special thing to do this. A lot of people would not make the commitment. My grandmother married into a musical family, and even though she was not musical herself, she bought a used (but nice-looking) piano so her daughter--- my mother--- could learn. She understood the importance of encouraging talent. She learned; I learned; her piano went to my brother, the high-school band director, and I got my own piano. It will be passed down to whoever is bitten by the music bug, who has a stable place to keep it (a grand piano is a commitment in its own right).

Now, about that piano you have your eye on. The advice you've already received is well-taken. Rule Number One when shopping for a used musical instrument: condition is everything. It is fine if it looks presentable to you, and the seller tells you what good care it has had, but neither of you has the training and knowledge of a piano technician. That person will inspect the piano for condition, reading the true story of its life as he (or she--- there are some very fine female techs) looks inside the case.

Among other things, he will be able to tell you what is good, and what is wrong with the instrument, and to give you an estimate of what it might cost to put it in good playing condition. And, an estimate of a fair price in your area. This inspection typically costs in the neighborhood of $100 (there are other levels of estimating that can cost more, for example, producing a written report to be evidence in a court proceeding).

We don't know where you are, so that's about all I can say about it. Now, about finding a piano tech. The best I can tell you is to go the the Piano Technicians Guild website (good information there, too) and use their directory to find a list of qualified techs in your area.
http://ptg.org

Ok. The piano. I can't jump through the computer screen and tell you what's what (and I'm not a tech anyway), but going on what you have told us, I would have to say, the indications are not great. Rule of thumb is that pianos of good quality normally have about 50 years of musically useful life, before they need work that is pretty expensive. The Yamaha consumer grade pianos usually don't get a rebuild; people can buy a new one for less than a rebuild costs.

An old piano that has been gently treated and has had regular attention from a pro (like, keeping it in tune, and in good regulation and voice), has a better chance of living beyond 50. Keeping it in a stable environment has a lot to do with it, mainly the relative humidity. Pianos like it to not jump around too much; it does bad things to the action and other parts of the instrument. The Deadly Three environments which destroy pianos: bars, schools, and churches. They are typically beaten to death, given inadequate care, and subjected to violent jumps in temperature and humidity. And, not uncommonly, subjected to acts of vandalism (I count drinks spilled into them, cigs stubbed out on the case, legs broken off when they are carelessly rolled around, tacks driven into the felts on the hammers, etc).

This only repeats what you have already heard from our other members. I am sorry to have to say it. If you are serious about it, make the effort to have a tech inspect it. BTW, you should pay for this yourself. The tech is there to serve your interests, only, and to give you, alone, the real, honest truth. That hundred bucks, or whatever it is, can save you from an ocean of tears. You will be clear-eyed as you continue your search for the right instrument to open up the world of music for your daughter, and for the whole household.

I wish you the best of luck. Please write back as you go through the process; we love these piano search stories, and you can never ask too many questions.


Clef

Re: Is 48 year old Yamaha G5 good for beginner [Re: Sunny apple] #2936066 01/19/20 10:02 PM
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I really appreciate everyone’s inputs for this post! Thank you all for sharing your experience, raising the concerns and giving the suggestions! I am really touched!

Here are some updates:
I went to check the piano today. It was not in perfect condition.
Pros:
1. Soundboard and stings are good.
2. It sounds good and in tune (I am not professional)
3. It is in a conditioned room since the piano moved from old church to this location. However no one knows if it was bought new. They want to sell it and will use digital piano instead.

Cons:
1. Bench is broken. The piano is not very clean and the inside is dusty.
2. Middle pedal does not work.
3. Some white keys can be lifted up on the front (the front edge is higher than the normal level) and need to press down to the position. However, if you press the keys down, all the keys can be returned to the position.
4. The drummers in the middle section have groves, not sure if it should be called deep.
5. The legs don’t have wheels. Instead, the piano was placed on a customized dolly (without handle) for easy transportation.

I have made an appointment with a technician to check it before making the final decision. I will keep you posted.

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