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Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
#3018103 08/26/20 08:09 PM
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FWIW

Video by Stu at Merriam Piano

Some History & comparisons of the two Companies & Their pianos




~Lucubrate

Last edited by Lucubrate; 08/26/20 08:15 PM.

Bösendorfer 280VC
Steingraeber 130

“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.“ ~Epictetus
Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
Lucubrate #3018147 08/27/20 12:29 AM
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At 7:48:

"Yamaha tends to use a higher tension scale design, with a shorter string."

Huh? If the string is shorter, it needs *lower* tension to sound the same note.


First love: Kawai GX-6
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Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
Lucubrate #3018181 08/27/20 04:07 AM
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Well, although I always like Stu's video, I found this one to be a bit biased. Keep in mind that Stu is a Kawai dealer.


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VST(preference in order): VSL Synchron Pianos, Vienna Imperial, Garritan CFX, VI Labs Modern U, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq
Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
Lucubrate #3018188 08/27/20 05:23 AM
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Hmmm....

The best way to say this is - he is a fine Kawai salesman.


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Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
Lucubrate #3018196 08/27/20 06:11 AM
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What's the point of posting an obviously biased video?

Notice how he says Yamaha uses "synthetic plastic" in part of their actions but when referring to Kawai he never mentions "plastic" but says things like "ABS" or just "synthetic". When salesmen are not really honest or upfront for me it's a turn off. Just one of many examples.

Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
pianoloverus #3018200 08/27/20 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
What's the point of posting an obviously biased video?

Notice how he says Yamaha uses "synthetic plastic" in part of their actions but when referring to Kawai he never mentions "plastic" but says things like "ABS" or just "synthetic". When salesmen are not really honest or upfront for me it's a turn off. Just one of many examples.


Whenever I see an obviously biased video, I just cross the source from my ‘watch their infomercials” list. But then, I prefer a handful of trusted sources to an internet full of others.


"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: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
pianoloverus #3018201 08/27/20 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
What's the point of posting an obviously biased video?

Notice how he says Yamaha uses "synthetic plastic" in part of their actions but when referring to Kawai he never mentions "plastic" but says things like "ABS" or just "synthetic". When salesmen are not really honest or upfront for me it's a turn off. Just one of many examples.


Whenever I see an obviously biased video, I just cross the source from my ‘watch their infomercials” list. But then, I prefer a handful of trusted sources to an internet full of others.


"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

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
dogperson #3018206 08/27/20 06:56 AM
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For what it's worth, I'm shopping for my first acoustic piano. I'm an adult player, just over a year (so I'm new). I just thought it was a nice history lesson. When it comes down to it, the main message I received was "difference in tone" and that Yamaha has started to voice their pianos a bit darker recently. I've read way way too much on both companies. From this forum I've learned that people have varying opinions and prefer one sound over the other. It just depends on the individual.

Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
Boatshoe #3018238 08/27/20 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Boatshoe
For what it's worth, I'm shopping for my first acoustic piano. I'm an adult player, just over a year (so I'm new). I just thought it was a nice history lesson. When it comes down to it, the main message I received was "difference in tone" and that Yamaha has started to voice their pianos a bit darker recently. I've read way way too much on both companies. From this forum I've learned that people have varying opinions and prefer one sound over the other. It just depends on the individual.

After years of intense competition with each other, there’s a corresponding Kawai for just about every single Yamaha both acoustic and digital. It just depends on what the individual player prefers. One of the many things I like about Yamaha is they are/were partnered with Schimmel and Bosendorfer so there are some other quality pianos to try when shopping.

Last edited by j&j; 08/27/20 08:26 AM.

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Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
j&j #3018275 08/27/20 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Boatshoe
For what it's worth, I'm shopping for my first acoustic piano. I'm an adult player, just over a year (so I'm new). I just thought it was a nice history lesson. When it comes down to it, the main message I received was "difference in tone" and that Yamaha has started to voice their pianos a bit darker recently. I've read way way too much on both companies. From this forum I've learned that people have varying opinions and prefer one sound over the other. It just depends on the individual.

After years of intense competition with each other, there’s a corresponding Kawai for just about every single Yamaha both acoustic and digital. It just depends on what the individual player prefers. One of the many things I like about Yamaha is they are/were partnered with Schimmel and Bosendorfer so there are some other quality pianos to try when shopping.
When I've visited Kawai dealers I've found other brands as well, Fazioli, M&H, Estonia, Steingraeber and many others. I've found the same at Yamaha dealers, and not just the ones in the Yamaha orbit. I think only Steinway requires dealers to carry only Steinway family (Boston, Essex) products.


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Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
Lucubrate #3018294 08/27/20 10:33 AM
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In short, a piano from either company will satisfy equally, unless the piano in question is too small.


J & J
Estonia L190 Hidden Beauty
Casio Privia PX-330
My piano’s voice is beautiful!
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Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
Lucubrate #3018297 08/27/20 10:47 AM
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To be fair, I think it’s perfectly normal and expected to be biased for the brand(s) you sell. I’m mature and intelligent enough to see the bias and judge for myself. What I don’t like is when sales people throw shade at other shops or brands.

I bought my piano at the shop Stu works at but they never said a bad word about other shops or brands to me (even when I tried to lure them into it, evil me), while 2 other shops in my area did tell me Kawai pianos contained plastic parts, clearly to insinuate they were inferior. And both those shops sold high end pianos.


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Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
Lucubrate #3018331 08/27/20 12:43 PM
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I've always liked Stu's videos. They're always thorough and very informative and I've always thought them to be quite fair and objective. As he mentioned in the video the history of Kawai and Yamaha are intertwined from their humble origins. Personally I love both Kawai and Yamaha products equally well and they are pretty much neck and neck in regards to quality. But I've always found that it is easier to get a much better price on a Kawai of equal quality and build (if not more hand-built such as with the Shigeru versus the SX line) than a Yamaha. Other than that it comes down to preference of tone- bright versus warm, though Yamaha's have recently been voiced warmer and some Kawai's- particularly the Shigeru's may have been voiced a little brighter in recent years so even their characteristic tones are moving closer to each other.

Yes it is commonplace for some dealers to disingenuously frown upon the composite parts found in Kawai pianos when it is indeed of the same if not superior quality as their wooden counterparts. If you come across such a shop, move on. As a player I could care less, all I know is that I love the feel of Kawai's, but I've never frowned upon the feel of a Yamaha action. They are great too. I think Stu felt he had to address this issue and I think he did fine.

Check out the rest of his videos that often have more to do with understanding the inner workings of pianos in general and not much to do with brand names. They are quite good in my opinion.

Also if you look at my signature the reason why I have owned 3 Kawai pianos over other brands is because I found excellent quality at a better price. If you are in the market for a Japanese piano you would be surprised how much you save with a Kawai and you are not giving up anything, in fact it may just be the opposite.

Last edited by Jethro; 08/27/20 12:52 PM.

Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Preludio: Bach/Rachmaninoff E Major Sonata for Violin
Chopin: G Minor Ballade


Shigeru Kawai SK2
Kawai VPC-1
Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
Lucubrate #3018346 08/27/20 01:27 PM
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I am very familiar the the Yamaha CFX having heard it many times in recital at the Mannes International Keyboard Festival(many of the pianists who perform there are Yamaha artists). I would not call that piano bright at all. I cannot speak for the Yamaha pianos that are not part of the CF series, but I think the whole "Yamaha is bright" is probably a thing of the past. I have played the Shigeru concert grand and it is equally amazing.

Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
pianoloverus #3018350 08/27/20 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I am very familiar the the Yamaha CFX having heard it many times in recital at the Mannes International Keyboard Festival(many of the pianists who perform there are Yamaha artists). I would not call that piano bright at all. I cannot speak for the Yamaha pianos that are not part of the CF series, but I think the whole "Yamaha is bright" is probably a thing of the past. I have played the Shigeru concert grand and it is equally amazing.
Yes, the CFX sounds likes a tremendously beautiful piano on video, I've never heard either the CFX concert grand or a Shigeru EX concert grand in person. It's always Steinways when I go to concerts. My teacher is in the market for a rebuilt Steinway and she flew to Idaho to audition some Steinways that are available for rebuild. I told her I'd rather have a new Shigeru SK2 over a very old Steinway O she was initially considering. She's settling on a Steinway B with the innards completely rebuilt. I told her for that price you could get an Estonia, a Shigeru, Yamaha CF, Bechstein. She smiled and said, "but it's not a Steinway". She said something about all concert pianists dream of owning a Steinway. Sigh. But... I have to say, the Steinway B happens to be one of my favorite pianos of all time.


Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Preludio: Bach/Rachmaninoff E Major Sonata for Violin
Chopin: G Minor Ballade


Shigeru Kawai SK2
Kawai VPC-1
Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
Jethro #3018355 08/27/20 01:57 PM
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If the Piano Fairy Godmother changed my L190 with a new SK3 I don’t think I’d cry. I would mention I really wanted a Bosendorfer Imperial but I could enjoy a Shigeru. I’d miss the Estonia but I could adjust. I could be just as happy with the CF4.


J & J
Estonia L190 Hidden Beauty
Casio Privia PX-330
My piano’s voice is beautiful!
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Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
pianoloverus #3018358 08/27/20 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
What's the point of posting an obviously biased video?
.

Because there are many owners of both pianos here, as well as potential buyers. I thought some might find the video informative &/or a catalyst for discussion

Based on the replies so far - That seems to be the case


~Lucubrate


Bösendorfer 280VC
Steingraeber 130

“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.“ ~Epictetus
Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
Jethro #3018365 08/27/20 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I am very familiar the the Yamaha CFX having heard it many times in recital at the Mannes International Keyboard Festival(many of the pianists who perform there are Yamaha artists). I would not call that piano bright at all. I cannot speak for the Yamaha pianos that are not part of the CF series, but I think the whole "Yamaha is bright" is probably a thing of the past. I have played the Shigeru concert grand and it is equally amazing.
Yes, the CFX sounds likes a tremendously beautiful piano on video, I've never heard either the CFX concert grand or a Shigeru EX concert grand in person. It's always Steinways when I go to concerts. My teacher is in the market for a rebuilt Steinway and she flew to Idaho to audition some Steinways that are available for rebuild. I told her I'd rather have a new Shigeru SK2 over a very old Steinway O she was initially considering. She's settling on a Steinway B with the innards completely rebuilt. I told her for that price you could get an Estonia, a Shigeru, Yamaha CF, Bechstein. She smiled and said, "but it's not a Steinway". She said something about all concert pianists dream of owning a Steinway. Sigh. But... I have to say, the Steinway B happens to be one of my favorite pianos of all time.
A new Yamaha CF or Bechstein the same size as a rebuilt Steinway B would generally be more expensive. Their SMPs are around 120K and 150K.

Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
pianoloverus #3018370 08/27/20 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I am very familiar the the Yamaha CFX having heard it many times in recital at the Mannes International Keyboard Festival(many of the pianists who perform there are Yamaha artists). I would not call that piano bright at all. I cannot speak for the Yamaha pianos that are not part of the CF series, but I think the whole "Yamaha is bright" is probably a thing of the past. I have played the Shigeru concert grand and it is equally amazing.
Yes, the CFX sounds likes a tremendously beautiful piano on video, I've never heard either the CFX concert grand or a Shigeru EX concert grand in person. It's always Steinways when I go to concerts. My teacher is in the market for a rebuilt Steinway and she flew to Idaho to audition some Steinways that are available for rebuild. I told her I'd rather have a new Shigeru SK2 over a very old Steinway O she was initially considering. She's settling on a Steinway B with the innards completely rebuilt. I told her for that price you could get an Estonia, a Shigeru, Yamaha CF, Bechstein. She smiled and said, "but it's not a Steinway". She said something about all concert pianists dream of owning a Steinway. Sigh. But... I have to say, the Steinway B happens to be one of my favorite pianos of all time.
A new Yamaha CF or Bechstein the same size as a rebuilt Steinway B would generally be more expensive. Their SMPs are around 120K and 150K.
Wowzers. Didn't realize the CF series were that expensive. I thought the Bechsteins were considered good value high end pianos. So maybe a rebuild Steinway B is a good option after all. She's settling on a Steinway B. Hope to play it some day.


Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Preludio: Bach/Rachmaninoff E Major Sonata for Violin
Chopin: G Minor Ballade


Shigeru Kawai SK2
Kawai VPC-1
Re: Yamaha v Kawai: Acoustic Piano Brand Comparison
Lucubrate #3018385 08/27/20 03:21 PM
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All I can say is that both are excellent brands.Kawai is definitely more mellow and singing in the K500 than the U3. The U3 however if well voiced can have a very attractive tone which can be really musical as well.The U3 seems more powerful as an instrument perhaps because it is brighter than the K500. Of course the U3 evolves into a really nice instrument when it becomes the YUS5. I cannot compare it to the K800, but perhaps as I have not played that models Perhaps someone else could ?
The GX has a beautiful tone and response. I tried a C3 or a C2 quite while ago .Yes also a wonderfull responsive instruments.
As I have mentioned before the GL20 and GL30 had the bright
tone of Yamaha pianos.The GL10 is a small grand with a very
a mellow tone.The bigger GL's I was told have a really mellow tone as well ,but I have not tried them.
If I had to choose between the taller uprights It would not be an
easy choice, but I probably would choose the K500 ,but who knows, there was one U3....which was really nice !
So both are excellent instruments made to last at least 50years.Of course I am more "Kawai"by nature, so yes a matter of taste.

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