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Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
#3001778 07/12/20 10:12 AM
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Hoping to get some advice as we're buying our first piano for our kids and have it narrowed down to the following three choices. Any perspectives would be greatly appreciated!

Brodmann CE175 (5ft 9 inches)
- New piano
- 10-year warranty
- Dealer is standing firm on $17.5K (this is after negotiation, which is actually above SMP of $17K)
- Likes: Sound, action & tone (warmer, more color); brand new; Roslau strings; handcrafted; know what parts are in the piano
- Risks: Manufactured by Parsons / China (can I trust quality?); don't necessarily feel like I'm getting the best deal (when I raised the point of SMP, dealer is telling me not to put too much stock in the Piano Buyer Guide, that the information in there is misleading, and the creator of the guide is taking ad dollars from piano vendors so the information in there is impartial -- do people know this to be the case?)

Boston GP-163 (5ft 4 inches)
- 2013 used piano
- 3-year dealer warranty
- Dealer asking $22K (this is before any serious negotiation, but dealer said they could probably get to $20K, which is under SMP)
- Likes: Steinway brand; sound, action & tone (equal to the Brodmann); Mapes strings; know what parts are in the piano; given discount to SMP, I feel like I'm getting a pretty good deal
- Risks: It's a bit out of our budget, but given discount to SMP, I would be willing to pay more for it

Yamaha GC2 (5ft 8 inches)
- 2018 used piano
- 5-year dealer warranty
- Dealer asking $20K (this is before any serious negotiation, so can probably get it down too, which is under SMP)
- Likes: Yamaha brand and recommended by RPTs; given discount to SMP, I feel like I'm getting a pretty good deal
- Risks: Don't like tone as much (feels shallow, a bit tinny); mass-produced; don't really know what parts are in piano


At this point, it's probably a toss-up between the Brodmann and the Boston. Both have action / sound / tone qualities we like, which is the most important. That said, two lingering thoughts in my mind:
1) Can I trust the quality of the Brodmann (Parsons-made vs. Boston which is Kawai-made)?
2) I want to feel I'm getting a a good / fair deal. I feel it with the Boston, but I just feel I'm overpaying the Brodmann. What do people think?

Thank you for your help!

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Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
sdag #3001789 07/12/20 10:30 AM
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Don't buy the Steinway sales pitch.

Go with the Yamaha GC2. Better resale opportunity if you decide to upgrade.

Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
sdag #3001792 07/12/20 10:39 AM
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Hi There,

Welcome to the forum. In terms of the shopping experience, you're being fed some stuff that's not necessarily accurate, getting caught up in some marketing stuff that doesn't matter, and applying the SMP to used pianos, which doesn't make a lot of sense. Let's unpack this a bit:

Brand of strings - to me, almost completely irrelevant. I might select some esoteric brand of hand-wound strings if I'm commissioning a very high-end rebuild, but otherwise all I'm paying attention to on a lower priced piano is if the bass bichord strings sound decently matched and that there are no loose windings.

Brand of parts - Yamaha, being one of the world's largest piano makers, makes their own parts. "knowing what parts are in the piano" is sort of interesting, though you should know it's a marketing strategy employed by low and and high end brands, alike!

Handmade vs mass produced - one of the largest marketing points of the sales side of the industry, that doesn't necessarily mean what you think. Every piano has mass produced and hand made elements. Every. Single. One. The companies that have the budget for the machinery and produce in large enough numbers, tend to automate more. Companies where the labor cost is less could possibly automate less. It's far more complicated an issue and completely valid arguments in favor of both approaches can be made.

SMP pricing - a very useful tool to compare the "deal" you're getting on a new piano in the US, in a way that tries to level the playing field using wholesale cost in this market as the starting place, rather than a random MSRP that could be artificially inflated. If you're looking at a used piano, the advice from the Piano Buyer is to start with the already discounted "street price" applied to the SMP of the piano's new equivalent, and then use the used piano depreciation schedule to figure an approximate used price. As one of the staff for the Piano Buyer, I don't appreciate the nasty accusations, but it's not the first time salespeople have attacked us. Our advertisers come and go, but that doesn't mean we change the brand profiles from issue to issue, based on that... We work really hard to get accurate pricing information for the consumer.

Getting to your actual playing experience (the part that matters most!), it appears you didn't care for the touch and tone of the Yamaha, but you did like the Brodmann and Boston. My priorities when shopping are: tone, touch, price, appearance, dealer experience, and warranty support. I wouldn't pay above SMP price on any piano, as it remains a buyer's market. Also, it means you'd lose more on resale if you changed your mind and decided to sell it 5-10 years down the road. You can always call or email and make an offer.

Originally Posted by Hakki
Don't buy the Steinway sales pitch.
Go with the Yamaha GC2. Better resale opportunity if you decide to upgrade.

I disagree with this advice. Although you're buying the piano, not the sales pitch, if you like the piano...you like the piano! Although Yamaha is sort of the king of student level instruments (by sales volume, and don't misunderstand, they produce pianos at all levels of performance), I don't know definitively that the resale value will hold up as well for their lower cost GC line, since they make 3 other lines of higher quality grand pianos-- it could go either way.


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Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
Hakki #3001793 07/12/20 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Hakki
Don't buy the Steinway sales pitch.

Go with the Yamaha GC2. Better resale opportunity if you decide to upgrade.

I don’t understand why you are recommending the Yamaha when the OP doesn’t like the tone. Shouldn’t that evaluation be a prime criteria?


"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
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
sdag #3001808 07/12/20 11:10 AM
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sdag, welcome to PW!

I did a multi-months long tour of piano shopping last year and finally settled on a used Yamaha C2. It was 20 y/o when I bought it, so quite a bit older than the instruments you're looking at, but I absolutely love it.... Anyway, here are my thoughts, based on my own experience.

1. I don't remember at this point, but I read up on the differences between the G-series and C-series Yamaha and decided that I wanted a C series. I am not up on the details of the GC-series, but I wonder if the Boston might be a higher class of piano than the GC... Maybe someone else here can comment?

More to the point though, if you don't love the sound and/or the touch/feel of this Yamaha, don't buy it, especially if there are pianos whose tone/sound you do love.

2. I played several Boston grands, new and gently used, including the GP 163. I loved the Bostons that I played, and would have purchased one if it were in my budget. If you like the Boston, I say go for it, but try to talk them down from that price. Remember, it's a 7 y/o piano, so not old, but also not new. If you haven't already, check PianoMart and other online sellers, not with the intention of purchasing there (I would never recommend purchasing a piano without playing it first) but rather so you can try to find other Boston GP 163s that are between 5 and 15 years old and compare those prices with the one you're looking at. This might help you when it's time to bargain with the dealer.

3. I have no direct experience with Brodmann pianos, but I would prioritize Yamaha, Boston, Kawai, over Brodmann any day. I would feel more confident in terms of the expected reliability and resale possibilities of those brands over a brand like Brodmann. Having said that, everyone says that pianos coming out of China continue to improve in quality, so maybe don't write it off just yet. Still, there's a reason why the new Brodmann is priced less than those two used pianos, and I wouldn't be quick to discount that.

BTW do you mind telling us where you are (or at least the region)? That helps understand the pricing.

Also, are you willing to shop around more, to consider pianos from private sellers? You may get a better deal that way. But you do need to be prepared for it to be a slower process, and you have to be more hands-on. With a private seller, you need to organize the piano movers, you need to coordinate with a piano tech that you hire so you can have the piano evaluated etc.

Also, regarding the piano tech, remember that any used piano should be evaluate by a piano tech of your choosing.

Keep us posted. Piano shopping can be stressful, but at the end of it is a new (or new-to-you) instrument, so it's more than worth it! smile

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 07/12/20 11:11 AM.

Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
sdag #3001839 07/12/20 12:40 PM
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Hi sdag! Congrats on considering a very nice piano. I have my thoughts about each of these instruments. I have played multiple models of all of them and I have some familiarity with all of them as well. Here are my thoughts. Before you read them, if the touch and tone of any of these pianos is truly "head and shoulders" above the other to you, that should be the piano you zero in on.

Originally Posted by sdag
Brodmann CE175 (5ft 9 inches)
- New piano
- 10-year warranty
- Dealer is standing firm on $17.5K (this is after negotiation, which is actually above SMP of $17K)
- Likes: Sound, action & tone (warmer, more color); brand new; Roslau strings; handcrafted; know what parts are in the piano
- Risks: Manufactured by Parsons / China (can I trust quality?); don't necessarily feel like I'm getting the best deal (when I raised the point of SMP, dealer is telling me not to put too much stock in the Piano Buyer Guide, that the information in there is misleading, and the creator of the guide is taking ad dollars from piano vendors so the information in there is impartial -- do people know this to be the case?)

Although I have heard of some service issues with the Brodmann piano, if you trust your dealer and you like this action you should be ok with this piano.

Originally Posted by sdag
Boston GP-163 (5ft 4 inches)
- 2013 used piano
- 3-year dealer warranty
- Dealer asking $22K (this is before any serious negotiation, but dealer said they could probably get to $20K, which is under SMP)
- Likes: Steinway brand; sound, action & tone (equal to the Brodmann); Mapes strings; know what parts are in the piano; given discount to SMP, I feel like I'm getting a pretty good deal
- Risks: It's a bit out of our budget, but given discount to SMP, I would be willing to pay more for it

This is one of our industry's greatest coups. The Steinway family never bowed to making a mass produced piano in association with their instruments and they were approached regularly. The Boston is a result of a publicly traded company (S&S) trying to give their investors more profit. The thought began with compromise. With a new 5'4" RETAILING at 27k, I see this as a very poor value for the money. Frankly, I have a 3 year old Boston 5'10" that I am offering at 25k. The owner bought it and traded up to a Yamaha C3x because they just couldn't get what they wanted from the piano.

Originally Posted by sdag
Yamaha GC2 (5ft 8 inches)
- 2018 used piano
- 5-year dealer warranty
- Dealer asking $20K (this is before any serious negotiation, so can probably get it down too, which is under SMP)
- Likes: Yamaha brand and recommended by RPTs; given discount to SMP, I feel like I'm getting a pretty good deal
- Risks: Don't like tone as much (feels shallow, a bit tinny); mass-produced; don't really know what parts are in piano

First, you should buy the piano you love above all else, but your last line "mass-produced; don't really know what parts are in piano" have me concerned. Yamaha is better than any manufacturer I know in incorporating ownership in everything from raw materials, to processes, to assembly, to final preparation. All three of the pianos you are considering are mass produced. If you have been told something else I would immediately dismiss that person's knowledge.

Originally Posted by sdag
At this point, it's probably a toss-up between the Brodmann and the Boston. Both have action / sound / tone qualities we like, which is the most important. That said, two lingering thoughts in my mind:
1) Can I trust the quality of the Brodmann (Parsons-made vs. Boston which is Kawai-made)?
2) I want to feel I'm getting a a good / fair deal. I feel it with the Boston, but I just feel I'm overpaying the Brodmann. What do people think?

Thank you for your help!

You are not getting a good deal on the Boston. I cannot comment on the Brodmann, and the Yamaha could be a smidge better. If you consider the Yamaha, before you put money down ask for custom preparation and mention your thoughts on tone and touch. Actions are adjustable. I mention this because I have no idea how thorough this dealer is and if the piano was brought in and put on their floor with little other work, this could be the reason for your comments.

Good Luck and please keep us posted.

My 2 cents,


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Philadelphia, King of Prussia, and Cherry Hill, NJ
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
sdag #3001846 07/12/20 01:01 PM
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Do you kids play already? If they do, let them help pick based on their choice of feel and sound. If they don't play already, you might consider renting one of the pianos you're looking at to see if it continues to be a favorite.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
sdag #3001850 07/12/20 01:26 PM
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Rich, I'm always interested in your take.

What do you think would be a good or reasonable price for a 7 y/o Boston 163? (Assuming a generic US market etc. and assuming the piano was in good condition of course, not heavily played etc.).


Started piano June 1999.
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Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
sdag #3001854 07/12/20 01:41 PM
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I would guess somewhere a bit under $20k from a dealer (with a warranty), and a few thousand less from a private seller (without a warranty).


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Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
sdag #3001857 07/12/20 01:51 PM
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Hi sdag,

Don't buy a piano mostly according to brand or specs. Buy a piano mostly because when you play it you like the touch, sound and keys/response feel. From what you mention, you should go with the Brodmann. The last one I would choose from your list is the Boston, too expensive for such a small piano (5' 4'').

Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
Hakki #3001877 07/12/20 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Hakki
Don't buy the Steinway sales pitch.

Go with the Yamaha GC2. Better resale opportunity if you decide to upgrade.

That is true in my obseration. Watching many aution sites and private listings, I see that Yamaha sells faster and holds up in higher prices than other brands. People are usually all over Yamahas and they are the first to get bought up before other brands' autions/listings!

From my experience with Yamaha pianos vs others, that is not for no reason smile

Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
DreamPiano80 #3001907 07/12/20 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by DreamPiano80
Originally Posted by Hakki
Don't buy the Steinway sales pitch.

Go with the Yamaha GC2. Better resale opportunity if you decide to upgrade.

That is true in my obseration. Watching many aution sites and private listings, I see that Yamaha sells faster and holds up in higher prices than other brands. People are usually all over Yamahas and they are the first to get bought up before other brands' autions/listings!

From my experience with Yamaha pianos vs others, that is not for no reason smile


Well, the Yamaha wouldn’t be their ‘DreamPiano’ since they don’t like the tone wink

Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
dogperson #3001915 07/12/20 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Hakki
Don't buy the Steinway sales pitch.

Go with the Yamaha GC2. Better resale opportunity if you decide to upgrade.

I don’t understand why you are recommending the Yamaha when the OP doesn’t like the tone. Shouldn’t that evaluation be a prime criteria?
Of course.

Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
sdag #3001918 07/12/20 05:59 PM
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I don't really know the American market, but wouldn't it be possible to get a Yamaha C2X for not much more?

Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
sdag #3001924 07/12/20 06:14 PM
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The Yamaha GC series is not the equal, IMO, of the C, nor the old G series. I evaluated several when we were buying pianos for our university. With THREE "kids" playing on it, it will be getting more than casual wear. I don't think it will hold up - and - yes, I know that Yamahas have a great reputation. But, NO, not all Yamahas are created equal.

The Boston is smaller. Rich Galassini wrote eloquently about why Bostons may not be the best buys. I have played a few that were disappointing. A Boston is not a Steinway.

Frankly, I like the new Brodmann best of the three on your list. If you feel strongly that $17K is the most you are willing to pay, make the offer, and walk away if the dealer doesn't take it. Or, pay that extra $500, get some good will from the dealer in the process, and negotiate on tuning or service. With a new piano, you are also buying into a dealer relationship. With three kids pounding on the piano, the long warranty and a good dealer relationship may well save you money down the road.


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Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
sdag #3001925 07/12/20 06:15 PM
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The C2X is a new enough that there are probably not many for sale, used. The SMP price is over $13k more than the GC2.


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Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
sdag #3001929 07/12/20 06:24 PM
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Seems like a difficult choice to me since the two pianos you like have some clear negatives. OTOH unless one has 100K to spend, buying almost any piano will involve some degree of compromise.

1. Although you don't like the Yamaha's sound and or touch, Rich Galassini's suggestion of asking the dealer to try and voice/regulate more to your liking is a good one.

2. The two negatives for the Brodmann are its price and some doubts you have about the quality. I don't know what location is, but even in high priced areas like NYC I think it's rare for a dealer not to discount from SMP. OTOH there are many other factors that Fine discusses in detail that might explain why this dealer is charging more than SMP. So the dealer is not necessarily trying to overcharge you. I don't know anything about the quality of Brodmanns to help you out there. The general consensus from what I've read is that the better quality Chinese pianos, Brodmann among them, are well built.

3. The Boston's negatives are its too high price and relatively short length.

Although I can understand that most people don't want to search for a piano forever, perhaps you should consider shopping some more. If you've already gone to all the piano dealers within a reasonable distance, you either have to wait for a better candidate to appear or choose among the three you listed.

I think possible resale value or ease of resale should be low on the list of criteria for selecting a piano.

My final point is if you really like the Brodmann or Boston or worked on Yamaha, I wouldn't worry too much about how good a deal you get.

Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
sdag #3002077 07/13/20 07:54 AM
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What a great piano community - thank you all for your awesome comments and feedback. I really appreciate it. You helped me to narrow my decision criteria and refocus on what's important going into this process. I will keep you all posted as I near a final decision. Many thanks for your time and valuable perspectives again!

Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
sdag #3002129 07/13/20 11:25 AM
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sdag- great advice so A far. My preferences are irrelevant because I’m not gonna be playing the piano you buy.

1) I’ve never tried Brodmann so I have no opinion.

2) used Boston. It’s supposed to be designed by Steinway and made by Kawai. I played several years ago and found them nice. If you like the sound and touch of the Boston, you should try out some Kawai’s. Maybe a GL or used GX or RX. Personally I think the “designed by Steinway, a Steinway brand” is a sales pitch. You would get full trade in if you trade it in for a Steinway but seriously it’s made by Kawai. A Kawai piano wearing Steinway lipstick and heels. But that’s just my opinion.

3) Yamaha GC2 - I seriously considered one when I traded my GB1K. Unfortunately it was sitting close to the C series and the C3 I bought was at a nice discount because the C3X prototype was being promoted. I really liked the sound and action BUT if you really don’t care for it, cross it off the list. Perhaps an older used Yamaha C series would be interesting for you to try.

Also a correction. You negotiate down from SMP, not down from MSRP. SMP is the max price that should be paid in the US. SMP is not “deal”. MSRP and SMP aren’t really as relevant for used because condition and age determine price.

Larry Fine’s PianoBuyer is a veritable piano shopper’s Kelly Blue Book. It’s not misleading! But I guess that’s the salesperson’s hype.

Best Wishes on your search!


J & J
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Re: Brodmann vs Boston vs Yamaha?
sdag #3002178 07/13/20 01:34 PM
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Re. the Brodmann dealer's price, keep in mind that SMP is simply a suggestion (as the name implies). The PianoBuyer is a third party guide, nothing more, and the dealer can ask whatever he wants to for his piano. If he's negotiated but firmly applied the brakes at 17.5k, then apparently he believes that he can find a buyer at this price (ideally he knows his market). If he holds out for too high a price then it's his loss. SMP is a negotiating tool, and apparently it doesn't "work" on this dealer (why doesn't really matter). The onus is on you to decide if it's a price that you're willing to pay. Or try other strategies to get a price concession.

Re. the Boston price, if the dealer has volunteered that he'll go down to 20k, then forget he ever asked 22k. That's his attempt to get negotiations going. As TD pointed out, you're misapplying SMP on used pianos.


Generally there's no reason to rush, and it can't hurt to look a little farther afield.



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