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Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
#2987530 06/03/20 05:26 PM
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Hey Everyone!

My daughters (9 and 7) have both been taking lessons for years. We have had them practicing at home on a decent keyboard and are looking at buying a real piano (budget = ~$5000).

While my wife and I have musical backgrounds, we legitimately know nothing about buying Pianos other than what we can research online... so the advice of 'looking in person' doesn't help us at all because we would not be able to tell if a piano was good/bad. No offense to my 9 year old daughter, but I doubt she can tell either :P laugh

We want to get a white piano to fit in with the decor in it's eventual room. These are obviously relatively limited. We're looking at the following:

- Reconditioned Yamaha U1 48" from Caruso Piano Gallery.

- New Upright Hailun 48"

- Used from Craiglist: Yamaha G2 Baby Grand, 5'8"

- Used from Craigslist: Wurletzer Baby Grand, 5'1"

These are all priced between $4,000 and $5,000.

Would love to hear thoughts/advice as we move towards finalizing a decision. Thank you in advance!

Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
The_What_Stage #2987536 06/03/20 05:42 PM
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Of the pianos that you have listed, the Hailun or the G2 would be the ones I would consider. Does your daughters' teacher have a technician you could talk to? At some point, earlier than you might think, the technician is more important than the piano.


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Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
The_What_Stage #2987540 06/03/20 05:47 PM
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Of course the U1 is always a good choice as well if in good condition.

Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
The_What_Stage #2987544 06/03/20 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by The_What_Stage
We want to get a white piano to fit in with the decor in it's eventual room. These are obviously relatively limited.
You have the option of finding a piano of any color and applying a vinyl wrap to make it white. You can do it yourself, and there are also places like this that will do it for you. That will give you many more options to choose from and hopefully a lower price because you're not chasing an uncommon color.


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Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
The_What_Stage #2987547 06/03/20 05:59 PM
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What are the ages of the pianos that are not new?


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Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
terminaldegree #2987554 06/03/20 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
Of the pianos that you have listed, the Hailun or the G2 would be the ones I would consider. Does your daughters' teacher have a technician you could talk to? At some point, earlier than you might think, the technician is more important than the piano.

I'll ask - they take lessons through a relatively large 'Piano School' in suburbian area, so I'm assuming they have someone - but I will ask. Why the Hailun/G2 over the others?


Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Of course the U1 is always a good choice as well if in good condition.


Thanks! This is where I was initially leaning, but I'm nervous about not knowing the true condition ahead of purchase (it would be shipped to us).

Originally Posted by MarkL
Originally Posted by The_What_Stage
We want to get a white piano to fit in with the decor in it's eventual room. These are obviously relatively limited.
You have the option of finding a piano of any color and applying a vinyl wrap to make it white. You can do it yourself, and there are also places like this that will do it for you. That will give you many more options to choose from and hopefully a lower price because you're not chasing an uncommon color.

Interesting! Will look into more!

Originally Posted by terminaldegree
What are the ages of the pianos that are not new?

Not sure- have not gotten that far with those choices (before getting to this point, they were second options to the first two listed).

Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
The_What_Stage #2987555 06/03/20 06:18 PM
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I was just going to ask about the ages of those pianos
(P.S. TD, nice sig line!! grin )

MarkL, I've never heard of the wrap option.... it looks interesting, but personally, I don't think I'd recommend it... For people who are first time acoustic buyers (kind of like first time home buyers....) the best option is not to buy a piano-project, but rather just buy a piano, one they can buy, have delivered and start playing right away. So no refurbishing, refinishing, wrapping etc.... I firmly believe that only hardcore piano enthusiasts should buy piano-projects. Well, unless it's someone who's well versed in doing other DIY stuff...


To the OP - don't tell any of the dealers that you're looking for a white piano! White pianos are sometimes hard to sell, so let them think you're "taking it off their hands" for them! whome


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Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
ShiroKuro #2987558 06/03/20 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
To the OP - don't tell any of the dealers that you're looking for a white piano! White pianos are sometimes hard to sell, so let them think you're "taking it off their hands" for them! whome


This is a nice segway to another question: Is there haggling in this process or is the sticker price what I'm paying?

Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
The_What_Stage #2987562 06/03/20 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by The_What_Stage
Thanks! This is where I was initially leaning, but I'm nervous about not knowing the true condition ahead of purchase (it would be shipped to us).
Buying a used piano without having it inspected by a piano tech is a collossal error. DON"T!

Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
pianoloverus #2987563 06/03/20 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by The_What_Stage
Thanks! This is where I was initially leaning, but I'm nervous about not knowing the true condition ahead of purchase (it would be shipped to us).
Buying a used piano without having it inspected by a piano tech is a collossal error. DON"T!


What are thoughts on this kind of refurb?

https://carusopianos.com/browse-pia...iano-polished-white-reconditioned-detail

Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
The_What_Stage #2987568 06/03/20 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by The_What_Stage
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by The_What_Stage
Thanks! This is where I was initially leaning, but I'm nervous about not knowing the true condition ahead of purchase (it would be shipped to us).
Buying a used piano without having it inspected by a piano tech is a collossal error. DON"T!


What are thoughts on this kind of refurb?

https://carusopianos.com/browse-pia...iano-polished-white-reconditioned-detail

How old is it ?

Is it a gray market piano ?

https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/buying-a-used-or-restored-piano-what-to-buy/

Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
The_What_Stage #2987570 06/03/20 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by The_What_Stage
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by The_What_Stage
Thanks! This is where I was initially leaning, but I'm nervous about not knowing the true condition ahead of purchase (it would be shipped to us).
Buying a used piano without having it inspected by a piano tech is a collossal error. DON"T!


What are thoughts on this kind of refurb?

https://carusopianos.com/browse-pia...iano-polished-white-reconditioned-detail


They call it reconditioned but I don’t see ehat was actually upgraded... just what they check.
Maybe I missed it....


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Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
The_What_Stage #2987577 06/03/20 07:03 PM
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What I understand is the coloration series mean that the piano was not white probably and they applied a while finish.

The rest is dealer prep, action regulation, voicing and checking. They also replace or recondition some parts if necessary:

KEYFRAME
Keys are removed and rail pins are individually inspected and cleaned. Worn punchings are replaced.

KEYS
Keytops and keyfronts are cleaned or replaced as necessary to ensure uniform bright-white appearance.

KEY BUSHINGS
Worn key bushings are replaced to ensure proper lateral tightness of the keys.

HAMMERS
Hammers are inspected and reshaped to attain the correct firmness and geometry, assuring full and proper contact with the string.

PEDALS / TRAPWORK
All pedal rods and trapwork are adjusted to ensure proper operation of the pedals. Worn felt bushings are replaced as necessary to ensure quiet operation.

REPETITION
Worn or degraded hammer return spring cords are replaced on Yamaha upright pianos to ensure proper note repetition and dexterity of the action.

Edit: Minor replacements. Basically no substantial reconditioning IMO.

Last edited by Hakki; 06/03/20 07:08 PM.
Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
The_What_Stage #2987586 06/03/20 07:21 PM
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I would go with,

- New Upright Hailun 48"

Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
The_What_Stage #2987588 06/03/20 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by The_What_Stage
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
To the OP - don't tell any of the dealers that you're looking for a white piano! White pianos are sometimes hard to sell, so let them think you're "taking it off their hands" for them! whome


This is a nice segway to another question: Is there haggling in this process or is the sticker price what I'm paying?

I would say there may be some bargaining to be done, although the degree to which you can get a lower price depends on a lot of factors. Before you get to that stage, I think you need a lot more information. You won't be able to ask for a lower price without knowledge to back up what you're asking for.

Now that I see the page, the store, the video of the white Yamaha U1... so, they painted that piano (and some others), which means they expect there to be buyers for pianos in that color. Too bad, you can't use that as a bargaining chip. When I was piano shopping last summer, dealers talked about how hard it was for them to sell white pianos.

I think you need to develop a relationship with an independent piano tech and have them help you. Alternatively do your daughters have a teacher who might be willing to join you at the piano shop and play some of the instruments for you? You will want to pay for theses services, but they are money well spent!

So, about that U1... it's hard to tell based on the video alone, but it seems reasonable. Not great, not bad. (Sorry! that's my true impression). It might sound great in person, in which case you can consider it a good possibility.

BTW I hate it when sellers don't post the year the piano was made, and carefully angle their photos so you can't see the serial number. >_<

Anyway, back to the question at hand. I know you said you didn't think you could judge a piano.... But I think you need to go to the store in person, ask the salesperson to play for you and tell you what about each piano makes it a good instrument. Use your ears, they will tell you a lot. Decide before you go that you will *not* purchase a piano on the first visit, but that the trip is fact-finding mission and nothing more.

BTW can you fit a grand? And if so, how big? What if your preference?


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Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
The_What_Stage #2987596 06/03/20 07:41 PM
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Ok, The_What_Stage, even if you're not interesting in buying one of the black pianos... go through a listen to a couple different videos of the Yamaha uprights (don't use your laptop/computer speakers unless you have really good speakers). If you have some good headphones, that's probably the best bet.

A lot of the videos start out with the salesman talking, so open up a bunch of videos and cue them up to the same point, where he stops talking and starts playing.... Try to compare the bass in a few different pianos, and then the treble.... Some of them sound tinnier than others in the treble (this is bad), some of them have a nicer, deeper bass than the others....

I think I like the $4290 black U1 better than the white one you posted above... Also maybe the black U3... (I didn't listen to the pink U3).

Then go and compare that to some of the grands, and see what you notice. (The pink G5 sounds great, but why did they paint it pink??)

Here's another thing that's bugging me. If this dealer is painting all those Yamaha U1s... I think you're paying for that paint job.

I mean, if they were great pianos beforehand, I don't think they would have painted them. Because I don't think there's a big market for pink or white uprights, and if you had a used piano that was really nice, you'd leave it as is to sell, the less work you put into it, the higher the return.

Does that sound paranoid? Maybe someone else can comment?

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 06/03/20 07:44 PM.

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Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
ShiroKuro #2987598 06/03/20 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
MarkL... I firmly believe that only hardcore piano enthusiasts should buy piano-projects. Well, unless it's someone who's well versed in doing other DIY stuff...
I trust that all people are capable of making their own decisions, and if presented with all the options available can make the best choice for themselves.


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Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
MarkL #2987602 06/03/20 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkL
I trust that all people are capable of making their own decisions, and if presented with all the options available can make the best choice for themselves.

Well, yes, of course. I generally agree and it's nice to know all the options. But so many times a first-time buyer posts here and gets some suggestions that would be daunting even to me, and I've been involved with acoustic pianos for 20ish years. It just seems unrealistic as well.... just how I feel though.


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Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
Hakki #2987609 06/03/20 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Hakki
I would go with,

- New Upright Hailun 48"
I agree - assuming that they don't buy it sight unseen. They should see how it sounds and feels before making a final commitment. Also - if the price is $5K, that would be about 63% of the SMP - an excellent deal. Plus there is the new piano warranty (15 years, parts and labor, transferable to the second owner).

Last edited by Carey; 06/03/20 08:48 PM.

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Re: Buying Piano for Daughters - Looking for Guidance
Hakki #2987613 06/03/20 09:18 PM
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Wow, thank you so much for the discussion everyone!

ShiroKuro - I'm really appreciating your input here. I think I may have been underestimating how much my ear as a musician could be an asset in this purchase (I played brass through high school and play bass guitar in a bands with keys currently). I'd definitely be able to hear a difference in tone with someone better than myself playing the piano. The White Hailun is an earshot (hahaha) away, so wife and I will do date afternoon/night to go check it out... maybe take the kiddos and have them play their most recent recital pieces as well (and then go home, just like buying a car). We'll listen to that piano and a few more in the showroom and get a feel for what's out there.

We are essentially converting our dining room into a music room with the piano being a centerpiece to some extent... We could technically fit a full grand piano, but I think we just have been set on having to settle for an upright to fit our budget and color. I recognized white was a rare finish desire, but I understand it even moreso after participating here.

I'd consider the vinyl wrap concept because it is cosmetic, but wouldn't trust myself with anything performance related. I'm glad that was posted and will keep it as an option along with painting if we decide to get another piano finish and to convert it down the road. The truth is that while we're probably wiling to spend a little bit extra to get white, it isn't a dealbreaker if we felt like we were getting an incredible value otherwise... which seems to be something we may need to pursue more.

Thanks again for the advice so far - still listening if anyone has more to pitch in!

Last edited by The_What_Stage; 06/03/20 09:19 PM.
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