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Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright #2937298 01/22/20 07:37 PM
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jywsdd Offline OP
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Hi My kids just started piano lessons and I am looking to buy a piano for them to practice - there is a 20 plus year old Kawai baby grand selling at $4500+; with $1500 more, could probably buy a new Yamaha U1 or Kawai 300.
Which one would you pick and why?

Thanks!

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Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: jywsdd] #2937301 01/22/20 07:45 PM
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Hi there,
It would be helpful to know the exact model and serial number/age of the used grand piano, along with some sort of condition report from a technician. Otherwise, it’s a little too thin on information to give good advice.


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Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: jywsdd] #2937303 01/22/20 07:50 PM
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Hello, and welcome to Piano World!

I would have to look at and play all three pianos before offering an opinion. smile

In my experience, new is usually better, as a general rule, but you can also get a lot more piano for the money buying pre-owned, depending on the piano, and your piano purposes.

Also, and based on my own personal experiences, if you have the room, I'd be inclined to lean toward the Kawai grand piano, which you didn't mention the model/size. Also, it would depend on the condition of the Kawai grand. When it comes to used acoustic pianos, the three most important factors are condition, condition, and condition. smile

On the other hand, the new uprights would be a known quantity, to a certain extent. Even brand new pianos need a break-in period, and periodic tuning and service.

Glad to see your children taking an interest in learning to play the piano, and that you are supporting them in that endeavor.

Wish I could be of more help.

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: jywsdd] #2937316 01/22/20 08:47 PM
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jywsdd Offline OP
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Thank you terminaldegree and Rick for your responses. The baby grand is GE-1, manufactured in 1995. I haven't brought a tech to check it out yet, as I am trying to figure out whether it is worth looking at this used one at all.
Or should I just go ahead and buy a new one?

The used one is advertised as in "excellent condition" and one owner, though I am not sure how I will be able to verify the ownership history other than to take the dealer's word for it. Assuming the condition is as advertised, will the baby grand be a good choice? Space is not an issue for us.

Thanks!

Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: jywsdd] #2937326 01/22/20 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by jywsdd
The used one is advertised as in "excellent condition" and one owner, though I am not sure how I will be able to verify the ownership history other than to take the dealer's word for it. Assuming the condition is as advertised, will the baby grand be a good choice? Space is not an issue for us.
The description of the piano by the seller is often close to meaningless. Most pianos owners don't know enough to know if their piano has problems. And if they knew about the problems, many would not mention them because this would make the piano harder to sell.

Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: jywsdd] #2937327 01/22/20 09:46 PM
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pianoloverus Offline
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Have you actually seem Yamaha U1s selling for 6K? This would be a 48% discount from SMP as given in the Piano Buyer which is not typical.

Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: pianoloverus] #2937351 01/22/20 11:19 PM
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Lady Bird Offline
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Have you actually seem Yamaha U1s selling for 6K? This would be a 48% discount from SMP as given in the Piano Buyer which is not typical.

Yes it seems a little low for a new U1 ?
I would say a new upright piano of good brand and model. A few years ago most piano teachers
would always suggest a U1 .However today there are quite a few good brands and models at that
level .Others may suggest a Kawai upright or a Boston ? I am going to be daring (for me )and say even some of the better Chinese pianos are now finding a niche among these Japanese verticals

For a start look at the Kawai K300 or the K500 pianos as well. If you decide on Yamaha also look
at the U3 and compare to the U1 and Kawai models.

Last edited by Lady Bird; 01/22/20 11:21 PM. Reason: Spelling
Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: jywsdd] #2937354 01/22/20 11:25 PM
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jywsdd, I was just wondering if your child or you, perhaps, are at a point where you could try/test the pianos keys to see what you think or how they feel to you. The reason I say this is that the Kawai GE-1 might have a firmer key touch than the new Yamaha U1 or Kawai K300.

Usually, one selects a piano based on how they like the tone and key-touch, along with other things like appearance, etc...

Doing a quick Google search on the Kawai GE-1, many used piano dealers have/are asked a higher price than the one you are looking at (of similar age). I assume, based on your comments about a dealer, that the Kawai GE-1 is from a used piano dealer and a not a private seller.

I've not played a Kawai GE-1, but I have played some newer Kawai baby grands in the 5 feet size. To me, they played well enough, but of all the Yamaha U1s I've played, which are several, older and newer, I've never been disappointed. I've not played a Kawai K300 upright, but I own an older Kawai K48A upright, and like it a lot.

But I'm afraid I may not be a good piano critic, because I pretty much like most any piano I've ever played, even old worn-out uprights! smile

On the other hand, I have played some very nice pianos, including, but not limited to, top of the line Steinway concert grands. I've also played Kawai concert grands, and Yamaha concert grands.

Sorry to ramble on, but was thinking it would be nice if your child could have some kind of input/say in the decision making process. Some here have said that is not a good idea, but children nowadays seem to be smarter, and learn faster than I did when I was a child. smile

Good luck!

Rick



Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: jywsdd] #2937369 01/23/20 12:29 AM
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I don’t remember seeming comments here not to involve your child, but recommendations for picking out 2-3 ‘contenders’ and getting them involved at that point. After all, the kids will be playing it so it would be great if they can have excitement with the new piano.


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Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: jywsdd] #2937423 01/23/20 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by jywsdd
Hi My kids just started piano lessons and I am looking to buy a piano for them to practice - there is a 20 plus year old Kawai baby grand selling at $4500+; with $1500 more, could probably buy a new Yamaha U1 or Kawai 300.
Which one would you pick and why?

Thanks!

Just be careful if you decide to go for the U1 as there are many of these seemingly new that are actually reconditioned imports
Ian


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Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: jywsdd] #2937429 01/23/20 05:25 AM
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It all depends. My points are:

1. Unless you got 50% promotions, it's quite unrealistic to get new U1 for that price. New K300 yes, as its more or less half price of U1.

2.GE-1 is quite short, looked on youtube and it sound sensible, but good upright vs baby grand is always close. Also, old baby grand are not considered any good (Read Larry Fine for more on that), but that one may be better than new mediocre upright.

3. In last 20 years japanese pianos made significant improvements.

4. As stated before, your U1 may be old reconditioned. I would stay away from any U1 uless it's not older than 5 years old, as theese old model (so from 70 and so on) are horribly bright.

5. Grand action is always better than upright.

6. Get someone who actually can play the piano to test both, and take the technician to evaluate the baby grand. Maybe it was hardly used and is worth to buy.

Again, please remember than piano to sound proper should have at least 160cm, but is that one sounds fine, and tech inspection will go well, and instrument will no need additional investments, than I would ten to buy the grand, but you and your daughters have to try both and tell which of them they like better. If the tone of piano will be unacceptable, than they will not be willing to play on it. Usually pianos need to replace some parts after 20-30 years (a lot of people says diffeent stories, I once had a tech who told me that 90 year old damper felts in my own heavy played instrument are still fine...)

It's kind of head to head, be sure to have good tech and test-play both options

Last edited by MrKaramba; 01/23/20 05:33 AM.
Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: jywsdd] #2937439 01/23/20 06:19 AM
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Any of those pianos will be more than adequate for someone starting to learn.

The Kawai is a five foot piano, so a decent size not a 'toy' baby grand at all, if it is in good condition (do get an inspection) and you have space it would be a very special instrument to learn on. more so than the uprights you are looking at.

I don't think any dealer would sell a used/reconditioned U1 as new but do ask. The U1 price is too low for a new one and too high for a reconditioned one so make sure exactly what is being sold. If it really is a new U1, it is a bargain.

Personally (and everyone's preferences are different) I did not like the Kawai K300, but I did like the new U1 pianos and I liked even more the Kawai K500 which was much the same price as the U1. I did like some of the used/reconditioned U1 pianos but not all, some were really bright and horrible. There is a real difference between one individual piano and another even of the same model when you get to older pianos that have had use and possibly some reconditioning work so you have to treat each one as an individual, play and listen to many and pick out one of the gems.

Last edited by gwing; 01/23/20 06:22 AM.
Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: jywsdd] #2937544 01/23/20 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
I don’t remember seeming comments here not to involve your child, but recommendations for picking out 2-3 ‘contenders’ and getting them involved at that point. After all, the kids will be playing it so it would be great if they can have excitement with the new piano.

dogperson, when I said that some here have said it is not a good idea to allow a child to have a part in the decision making process of buying a piano for them (the child) to play, I did not mean in this thread in particular, but on PW in general.

I should have worded my comments better.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: jywsdd] #2937608 01/23/20 01:31 PM
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I understood what Rick is saying. In fact it is not that long ago that
kids would have no say .Perhaps because a buying a piano is a major
expense Even today the child needs to choose the piano he likes .
This I think should be taken seriously, but since the parent ultimately
will pay for the piano and technician service I think it's ultimately a
mature response that should make the decision .
If its a choice between a tiny Essex or a taller K300 .,please use common
sense and choose the K300. If child is musical they will adjust quickly
and thank you for buying a good piano one day.

Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: MrKaramba] #2937610 01/23/20 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by MrKaramba
It all depends. My points are:

1. Unless you got 50% promotions, it's quite unrealistic to get new U1 for that price. New K300 yes, as its more or less half price of U1.
2.GE-1 is quite short, looked on youtube and it sound sensible, but good upright vs baby grand is always close. Also, old baby grand are not considered any good (Read Larry Fine for more on that), but that one may be better than new mediocre upright.
3. In last 20 years japanese pianos made significant improvements.
5. Grand action is always better than upright.

1 How can that be? The SMPs are almost the same, 10.8K vs. 11.3K.
2 Fine never said old baby grands are not any good. What he probably said was that there have been significant improvements in designing short pianos so some of them are much better than they generally were in the past.
3. Yes, but the really question is the quality of the 20 year old piano under consideration.
5. True in general, but certainly a sensationally good new upright could have a touch superior to old or in poor condition or inferior make grand.

Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: Lady Bird] #2937619 01/23/20 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
I understood what Rick is saying. In fact it is not that long ago that
kids would have no say .Perhaps because a buying a piano is a major
expense Even today the child needs to choose the piano he likes .
This I think should be taken seriously, but since the parent ultimately
will pay for the piano and technician service I think it's ultimately a
mature response that should make the decision .
If its a choice between a tiny Essex or a taller K300 .,please use common
sense and choose the K300. If child is musical they will adjust quickly
and thank you for buying a good piano one day.


Agree, the choice must be made WITH, not BY the hildren in my opinion. Ilbut if the parent has let's say 4 instruments nto choose between in similar price and condition, than I child should take even more into process. If there are two of big variance in price it's different story.

Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: jywsdd] #2937750 01/23/20 07:14 PM
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Yes I agree with you MrKaramba ! That would be the best outcome !

Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: jywsdd] #2937760 01/23/20 07:30 PM
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my suggestion to anyone considering a new yamaha/kawai studio height upright - - try out a Ritmueller, if they're accessible where you are. you might prefer the others, but widening the sampling base before you decide is usually constructive.

Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: jywsdd] #2937762 01/23/20 07:33 PM
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Whether or not children have some say in selecting a piano should IMO depend on their age, maturity, and level of skill. If very young or lacking maturity or skill they may choose a particular piano for the wrong reasons. Children who have just begun piano lessons are not generally good judges of tone or touch.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 01/23/20 07:36 PM.
Re: Advice Needed: 20Y Baby Grand vs. New Upright [Re: pianoloverus] #2937779 01/23/20 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Whether or not children have some say in selecting a piano should IMO depend on their age, maturity, and level of skill. If very young or lacking maturity or skill they may choose a particular piano for the wrong reasons. Children who have just begun piano lessons are not generally good judges of tone or touch.

Yes I agree!

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