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Buying first piano - Kawai 506n
#3028284 09/23/20 03:45 PM
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Hi all!

I'm in the process of purchasing my first piano. I am a hobbyist, but this is my first substantial adult purchase, and I feel like I'm flying a little blindly.

I have my eyes on a new Kawai 506n in satin ebony for $5,000. This price includes tax, moving, first tune, and trade up option. (Note that I'm in NYC and prices are going to be a bit inflated).

I had previously been looking at used pianos, but have been finding most uprights in satin ebony -- the finish I've had my eyes on -- to be in the $3500-$4500 range and the new unit at this price seems worth it? I think?

Is this a good piano for this price? Should I be looking elsewhere? Help!!

Re: Buying first piano - Kawai 506n
hmm2135 #3028300 09/23/20 04:31 PM
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Hi - Welcome to Piano World.

Have you read this?

https://www.pianobuyer.com/brand/kawai/

Specifically - "Kawai’s vertical piano offerings change frequently and are sometimes confusing. At present there are three basic series of Kawai verticals. The console series begins with the 44½” model 506N, a basic entry-level console in an institutional-style cabinet (legs with toe blocks). Model K-15 is a 44″ version of this in a continental-style cabinet (no legs), and model 508 is a 44½” version in a simple furniture-style cabinet (freestanding legs). Model 607 is the same piano in a fancier furniture-style cabinet. All have the same internal workings. The action in this series is slightly smaller than a full-size action, so it will be slightly less responsive. However, it is more than sufficient for beginner or casual use."

The MSRP and SMP for the 506n is $5,995. If the $5,000 you have been quoted does indeed include tax, moving and a first tuning - then, yes, the price is very reasonable. If you are a beginner or intermediate player the 506n may be sufficient for your needs - but it is a very basic model. The 506n is built in Indonesia - not Japan. However, Kawai builds very good products at a variety of price points.

https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/a-map-of-the-market-for-new-pianos-ratings/

https://kawaius.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/506N-Brochure.pdf

Last edited by Carey; 09/23/20 04:37 PM.

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Re: Buying first piano - Kawai 506n
hmm2135 #3028321 09/23/20 05:54 PM
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Agreed with most of Carey's comment except the price part.

Originally Posted by Carey
The MSRP and SMP for the 506n is $5,995. If the $5,000 you have been quoted does indeed include tax, moving and a first tuning - then, yes, the price is very reasonable.

On the west coast at least, for a new Kawai upright from a dealer (which pretty much means includes ground floor deliver, first 1-2 tunings, ~10yr trade up, ~10year warranty), before tax we'd be looking at about 70% of SMP as a solid deal and around 60% as a good deal.

So with that in mind, I'd expect a 506n to be below 4K. I haven't actually done price research on a 506n so I'm not sure if the discounts are less, but for around $5K after tax I'd expect to be looking at a K-200.

Re: Buying first piano - Kawai 506n
hmm2135 #3028328 09/23/20 06:13 PM
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That K506N looks like an attractive piano. The K200 is more expensive. Does the K200 have the Millennium Action ? It is a few thousand $ more of course .,But at the same size it seems.
Well at least it is the console size .A studio size is ideal but either of these will do fine.

Last edited by Lady Bird; 09/23/20 06:18 PM. Reason: spelling
Re: Buying first piano - Kawai 506n
rkzhao #3028333 09/23/20 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by rkzhao
Agreed with most of Carey's comment except the price part.

Originally Posted by Carey
The MSRP and SMP for the 506n is $5,995. If the $5,000 you have been quoted does indeed include tax, moving and a first tuning - then, yes, the price is very reasonable.

On the west coast at least, for a new Kawai upright from a dealer (which pretty much means includes ground floor deliver, first 1-2 tunings, ~10yr trade up, ~10year warranty), before tax we'd be looking at about 70% of SMP as a solid deal and around 60% as a good deal.

So with that in mind, I'd expect a 506n to be below 4K. I haven't actually done price research on a 506n so I'm not sure if the discounts are less, but for around $5K after tax I'd expect to be looking at a K-200.
Sometimes dealers just may give you a huge discount, sometimes not. Kawai is fairly good at the prices they charge and these instruments are worth the price.
The piano would have been made in the Kawai factory in Indonesia.

Re: Buying first piano - Kawai 506n
rkzhao #3028353 09/23/20 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rkzhao
Agreed with most of Carey's comment except the price part.

Originally Posted by Carey
The MSRP and SMP for the 506n is $5,995. If the $5,000 you have been quoted does indeed include tax, moving and a first tuning - then, yes, the price is very reasonable.

On the west coast at least, for a new Kawai upright from a dealer (which pretty much means includes ground floor deliver, first 1-2 tunings, ~10yr trade up, ~10year warranty), before tax we'd be looking at about 70% of SMP as a solid deal and around 60% as a good deal.

So with that in mind, I'd expect a 506n to be below 4K. I haven't actually done price research on a 506n so I'm not sure if the discounts are less, but for around $5K after tax I'd expect to be looking at a K-200.

I figured the OP would pay "approximately" 71% of SMP ($4,256) plus tax of 8.875% ($377) plus first tuning ($150) plus moving ($200 est.). Since the OP lives in NYC, a first floor delivery is unlikely. So the entire package seems reasonable to me.


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
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Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: Buying first piano - Kawai 506n
hmm2135 #3028368 09/23/20 08:51 PM
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This is all helpful, thank you all so much!

Yes, it is my understanding that the $5,000 includes a bench, moving (I am one of the few New Yorkers in a ground floor unit), first tune, trade-up package. And frankly, after speaking with so many different dealers, this one was by far the least pushy, most helpful, and most patient with me as I asked a million questions. Even if I could find this particular piano for a few hundred dollars less, I'd rather give my business to this person.

I guess my other question is whether this is the best piano for $5,000 or whether I hold out for a used one elsewhere? I have seen a 1960's console size Kawai in ebony black for $3300 and a 2011 Kawai 506N for $4400, not including delivery...

Re: Buying first piano - Kawai 506n
hmm2135 #3028372 09/23/20 09:12 PM
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Hi
How exciting to be buying your first piano! Personally , the price difference between the 2011 and the new in negligible: with the older you would need to cover moving costs and the first tuning. In addition, you would get a full warranty with the new. New would be my vote.

Last edited by dogperson; 09/23/20 09:22 PM.

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Re: Buying first piano - Kawai 506n
hmm2135 #3028395 09/23/20 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by hmm2135
This is all helpful, thank you all so much!

Yes, it is my understanding that the $5,000 includes a bench, moving (I am one of the few New Yorkers in a ground floor unit), first tune, trade-up package. And frankly, after speaking with so many different dealers, this one was by far the least pushy, most helpful, and most patient with me as I asked a million questions. Even if I could find this particular piano for a few hundred dollars less, I'd rather give my business to this person.
I would agree with you.

Quote
I guess my other question is whether this is the best piano for $5,000 or whether I hold out for a used one elsewhere? I have seen a 1960's console size Kawai in ebony black for $3300 and a 2011 Kawai 506N for $4400, not including delivery...
The main problem with the Kawai is it's height. Taller is

usually better with uprights. You might be able to find a used 48" Yamaha U1 or older Kawai model in your price range. I'm assuming you've checked the listings in the NYC Craigslist. smile

Regarding the 506n - here's "deal" on a used one. Pristine inside.
https://newyork.craigslist.org/jsy/msg/d/cliffside-park-kawai-piano-only-11/7199441678.html

Last edited by Carey; 09/23/20 11:22 PM.

Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
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Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: Buying first piano - Kawai 506n
hmm2135 #3028404 09/24/20 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Hi
How exciting to be buying your first piano! Personally , the price difference between the 2011 and the new in negligible: with the older you would need to cover moving costs and the first tuning. In addition, you would get a full warranty with the new. New would be my vote.

^agreed. With used Kawai and Yamahas, from what I've seen, it's not usually much of a deal vs a new one. They depreciate relatively slowly, especially popular models like the Yamaha U1.

Originally Posted by hmm2135
Yes, it is my understanding that the $5,000 includes a bench, moving (I am one of the few New Yorkers in a ground floor unit), first tune, trade-up package. And frankly, after speaking with so many different dealers, this one was by far the least pushy, most helpful, and most patient with me as I asked a million questions. Even if I could find this particular piano for a few hundred dollars less, I'd rather give my business to this person.

This kind of reminds me of one of the points brought up in the article Steve Cohen just posted on piano buyer. https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/five-mistakes-first-time-piano-buyers-make/

I've had good experiences with Kawai salesmen as well, but don't decide on the piano or price purely because you like the salesman. There's different sales tactics and being friendly and helpful is certainly part of them.

My understanding is that all new Kawais come with a height adjustable bench and a 10 year manufacturer's warranty. Those aren't really extra bonuses. Similarly, I believe it is common practice to include free ground floor delivery (within a certain distance), and at least the first tuning (new pianos will usually need several tunings until they stabilize). The more established dealers I've spoken with all had some kind of trade up policy, sometimes even with their used pianos.

I don't know New York pricing, so that may be a fair price for a 506n even if it seems a tad high for where I'm at. Prices can of course differ quite a bit by region. It's always good to shop around and dealer prices are usually negotiable. If you haven't yet, you may want to try and negotiate the price down more for that 506n if you really like that piano. It's not a bad choice for the price range you are looking at.

Re: Buying first piano - Kawai 506n
hmm2135 #3028405 09/24/20 01:06 AM
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If you are willing to take your time shopping, looking for a Kawai k300/500 in a good used condition is also an option. Satin ebony in that model might be hard to come by, however. I have to say polished ebony is very durable, and taller pianos have better tone and touch so it might be worth it to compromise and go with a different finish. By the way, satin still shows fingerprints.

Re: Buying first piano - Kawai 506n
hmm2135 #3028410 09/24/20 01:44 AM
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Nice piano. Go for it.


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Re: Buying first piano - Kawai 506n
hmm2135 #3028411 09/24/20 01:56 AM
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Re: Buying first piano - Kawai 506n
K8KT #3028529 09/24/20 11:20 AM
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Also built in Indonesia and about the same height as the 506n. BUT it does n have the Millenium III action. smile


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Re: Buying first piano - Kawai 506n
Carey #3028602 09/24/20 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by rkzhao
So with that in mind, I'd expect a 506n to be below 4K. I haven't actually done price research on a 506n so I'm not sure if the discounts are less, but for around $5K after tax I'd expect to be looking at a K-200.
I figured the OP would pay "approximately" 71% of SMP ($4,256) plus tax of 8.875% ($377) plus first tuning ($150) plus moving ($200 est.). Since the OP lives in NYC, a first floor delivery is unlikely. So the entire package seems reasonable to me.

You could getting a smokin deal on that craiglist find, or maybe new K-200s are a bit more discounted than what you are finding with that 506n.
If we use Carey's math above, purchasing that K-200 new could have been 71%($5388) + 8.875%(478) + $150 + $200 ~ $6.2K.

K-200 is marginally taller than a 506n. Probably the most notable difference is that it uses Kawai's latest MIII action which uses ABS-Carbon parts. 506n uses ABS-Styran parts. The other thing is that the K-200 would have a tapered soundboard where as the 506n is not tapered afaik. Supposedly tapered can improve tonal quality but it's subjective so you would have to try it out. One downside I remember about the K-200 is that I think it's physical dimensions has less depth so likely the keystick length is shorter than the 506n.

It's kind of interesting that 2018 K200 has a standard bench rather the height adjustable bench Kawai ships with the K-200 now.


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