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1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
#3018009 08/26/20 04:01 PM
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I was hoping to get some thoughts on a kawai 1965 baby grand made in Japan. I have the opportunity to purchase one in pristine condition (Looks like it’s brand new— has been regularly tuned and cared for) and would love thoughts on the piano. Price is $3200. Thus far I’m under the impression that this is a good piano at the right price — my tuner whom I trust hadn’t even seen the photos but was enthusiastic about it (he has since seen them and heard it a bit and remains positive) I’d love some more opinions. Thank you!

Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3018012 08/26/20 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ScarltBegonia23
I was hoping to get some thoughts on a kawai 1965 baby grand made in Japan. I have the opportunity to purchase one in pristine condition (Looks like it’s brand new— has been regularly tuned and cared for) and would love thoughts on the piano. Price is $3200. Thus far I’m under the impression that this is a good piano at the right price — my tuner whom I trust hadn’t even seen the photos but was enthusiastic about it (he has since seen them and heard it a bit and remains positive) I’d love some more opinions. Thank you!
Hi welcome to PW !
I had a Kawai K500 grand made in 1966 .My parents bought the instrument for me and it was new.(I was in my teens ) I kept the piano until 2017 when it was sold to the local Kawai dealer. It had done some serious traveling in 2001 when we emigrated to
Canada .I have been told by two excellent technicians how incredible those instruments were.Kawai was very ambitiously competing against the giant Yamaha.
My piano had a dark ,rich and mellow tone.It was quite an instrument! However you need this piano to be fully checked before you decide to buy. This is always important.

Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3018028 08/26/20 05:00 PM
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Perhaps I am incorrect with that model number. I think it was called a Kawai 500 ? (probably thats it )

Last edited by Lady Bird; 08/26/20 05:01 PM. Reason: spelling
Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3018049 08/26/20 06:10 PM
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Since you call it a baby grand, it is probably the model 350 which was 5'-1". The model 500 was 5'-10". They have a reputation as really well made pianos, and were the predecessors to the KG series. That seems like a very fair price, but of course with a piano that old you want to have it inspected by an experienced tech.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3018056 08/26/20 06:33 PM
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ScarltBegonia23, welcome.

Knowing nothing but the age, the make, and the purported good care, it is not possible to say a lot. It's 55 years old. Our rule of thumb, which tells us that pianos which were of decent quality to begin with, and which have been treated well, generally have a usable musical life of about 50 years. Having said that, the real gold standard is condition: "Condition is king." It trumps every other consideration. Your tech will be able to read a lot of the story, and perhaps can tell something of the future.

How much wear, is the main thing. The action parts are mechanical devices, which are subject to wear, which at some point compromises their ability to function. Besides the action parts, the soundboard and the pinblock are the main vulnerabilities. The big change in humidity from summer to winter, degrades the soundboard to a greater or lesser extent over many seasons of it. The pinblock, which is where the strings are held and tuned, is critical. If some keys can't hold a tune, it may be possible to put an oversize pin in the block, and/or help it with cyanoacrilyc glue (Crazy-Glue is one formulation you might be familiar with).

Maybe you are inclined to accept the compromised condition, considering the price, and don't mind spending the money to keep it in repair. A very honest estimate from your tech, who should be well-qualified and paid for solely by you, and reporting only to you and advising you of your best interest only, will be your best guide. This guidance should include his or her best estimate of the cost of repairs, and an idea about the timetable. Keep in mind that you will have to pay for moving and setup, and for regular tunings, probably at least some regulation, and finally, for hauling it to the dump when its time as an instrument is over. Your tech can also give you an estimate of the fair dollar value of the piano in the local market, in its present condition.

All things considered, I think the price is a little on the dear side. Offer them $1000 less and see how they squawk. Sellers often have very failing memories and an unrealistic sense of the value of their old piano. In fact, offer them $1000 and make them pay for the delivery. You might be coaxed up a little from that. But be guided by your tech.

If you're in the U.S., try https://ptg.org Piano Technicians Guild. They offer a look-up service to help you find their members who work in your area. The site also offers some useful information.

Best of luck!


Clef

Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3018160 08/27/20 02:32 AM
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Sounds promising. I believe that people that care for their things over decades should be rewarded. I wouldn’t lowball them. If you like the piano get it. Her owners have extended her life with their care.

I’ll bet it’s a delight with more character than new ones.


-Bill L. - former tuner-technician
Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3018173 08/27/20 04:01 AM
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Thank you all. I’m looking at it on Saturday and am having a piano tuner in the area inspect it while I’m there. It’s 90 min from my home (in So California) so I couldn’t ask my regular tuner to make the trip. It is too far. I’ll keep you all updated. Thank you again for your input!

Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3018321 08/27/20 01:09 PM
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Another data point that might be helpful...

I purchased a pre-owned Howard 550 grand from 1969, from the original owner several years ago. The piano is actually a Kawai, more or less, and has the Kawai emblem embossed in the plate, the Kawai decal on the soundboard, and the Kawai decal on the side of the inner rim. Underneath the piano, it is stamped "Made in Japan". It too is 5'10" and is the same as the Kawai 500, or KG-2.

In my view, it is an exceptionally nice piano, particularly for its age. The wound bass strings could use replacing due to age, but the piano itself was played very little. I have given the piano to my beautiful granddaughter, who was 12 when I gave it to her, and is now 17, and my son has yet to come and get the piano. So, I still play it occasionally (never give someone a piano, unless they plan to come and get it:-).

It plays and sounds great, despite the muddy lower bass; the action is just a hair on the heavier side, but not too heavy. The mid range and upper treble sounds as good as some Steinway grands I've played, and I am not exaggerating. It holds a tuning like a rock.

I paid considerably less for the Howard 550 than you mentioned, but I see the Kawai KG-2 and KG-3 grands in that age bracket for sale often at a similar price range as you mentioned.

Good luck, and welcome to Piano World!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3018361 08/27/20 03:22 PM
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Thank you again. It’s a 500 model. And having it looked at. I so appreciate the input. Wanted to add a photo but don’t know how. Lol.

Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3019202 08/30/20 01:06 AM
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Following up. I purchased the KG-2 500 piano today after a thorough inspection by a highly knowledgeable and trained tech. He was actually surprised at the good shape that the piano was in. Strings were clean, pads and dampers all in good shape along with the soundboard. Pins good as well. Took out the action and that too was in good condition. It just needs a good tuning (likely two in the next 10 months) to get it truly in tune. Bass strings sound good too! The appearance of the piano was also exceptional. No scratches. No dings. Looks like it has been in a time machine. I even have the original brochure and sales sheet as it was the original owner. I’m thrilled. Thank you all for the invaluable advice!

Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3019273 08/30/20 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by ScarltBegonia23
Following up. I purchased the KG-2 500 piano today after a thorough inspection by a highly knowledgeable and trained tech. He was actually surprised at the good shape that the piano was in. Strings were clean, pads and dampers all in good shape along with the soundboard. Pins good as well. Took out the action and that too was in good condition. It just needs a good tuning (likely two in the next 10 months) to get it truly in tune. Bass strings sound good too! The appearance of the piano was also exceptional. No scratches. No dings. Looks like it has been in a time machine. I even have the original brochure and sales sheet as it was the original owner. I’m thrilled. Thank you all for the invaluable advice!

Congratulations!

I wish you many years of happiness and enjoyment with the piano! smile thumb

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3019274 08/30/20 07:56 AM
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Congrats on the new piano 😊 Please post pictures when it is delivered


"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: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3019280 08/30/20 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by ScarltBegonia23
Following up. I purchased the KG-2 500 piano today after a thorough inspection by a highly knowledgeable and trained tech. ... I even have the original brochure and sales sheet as it was the original owner.
Congratulations and I'm interested in the designation as a KG-2 500. I had thought the 500 was the predecessor to the KG-2. Maybe there was a transition period where Kawai used both model numbers?


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3019298 08/30/20 09:44 AM
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I’m assuming it’s a model 500, not a KG-2.


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Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
terminaldegree #3019326 08/30/20 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
I’m assuming it’s a model 500, not a KG-2.

Ok, that got me curious so I googled, and found this:

https://kawaius.com/old-grand-piano-models/

that chart makes it look like indeed you could call it a KG-2 500, could you not??

In any case, ScarltBegonia23, congratulations! I see that this is a 5'10" model. While shopping I played an RX-2 and it did indeed sound very nice, I bet you will really enjoy it! smile


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Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3019365 08/30/20 12:29 PM
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Congratulations on your new to you Kawai grand. Best Wishes on your new piano adventure.


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Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3019385 08/30/20 01:25 PM
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Here's an old thread that has a good discussion on the differences between the designer and KG series. The service manual title is 500-KG2 which probably reflects that fact that it covers both the designer and KG series versions of the piano, rather than implying that there is a model called 500-KG2. KawaiDon indicates that they are two separate models and the change occurred in 1970.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ShiroKuro #3019414 08/30/20 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
that chart makes it look like indeed you could call it a KG-2 500, could you not??

I looked back through my tuning notes and I've serviced a 1968 "No. 600", and it did not have any markings indicating it's a KG-3. I remember that one because it was one of the rare times I got a tuning complaint...apparently the stability of the tuning was poor after the visit (I'm not sure if it was a structural problem with the piano, an unstable humidity environment, or whether it was unstable because it was the 74th piano I'd serviced at that point!).


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Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3019442 08/30/20 03:47 PM
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The piano actually came with the original documentation. The brochure says KG 2 500. I would love to post a photo of it but haven’t figured out how to do it in this thread! Here’s what it says:
The classic grand
Model 500 KG-2
Satin ebony or American walnut finish
Length 5’9”

Re: 1965 kawai baby grand - Thoughts?
ScarltBegonia23 #3019463 08/30/20 04:39 PM
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Congrats on the new piano!


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