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Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
#3030527 09/30/20 11:30 AM
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I'm looking at two pianos online that are both over 2 hours away, so I'm looking for advice before we drive to try them out. The first is a 1988 Yamaha M405. It appears to be in great condition. They are asking $500 but will take less. The second is a 2005 Samick JS-115. He's asking $1500 firm. Any thoughts on which would be the better choice. It's for my daughter who has been taking lessons for 7 years. She played on a Samick that was on loan to us. I would go with the Yamaha but am concerned about the difference in an older console vs. a newer studio. Thanks for your input!!!


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Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
AngP #3030529 09/30/20 11:32 AM
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If your daughter has been taking lessons for seven years, and stuck with it, I would suggest getting something better than both of those pianos, if your budget allows.


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Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
AngP #3030575 09/30/20 01:36 PM
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My budget tops out around $1500 and that's pushing it.


AngP
Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
AngP #3030779 10/01/20 02:06 AM
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Norah Jones plays a Yamaha M series piano in her home. It sounds amazing. But of course, it’s Norah Jones.

https://youtu.be/oOcWPJ1KIv8


-Bill L. - former tuner-technician
Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
WBLynch #3031069 10/01/20 06:27 PM
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javascript:quickReply(3030779)Norah Jones!!!!! I'm thinking this might be the way to go because the price is right at less than $500.


AngP
Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
AngP #3031662 10/03/20 01:19 PM
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Does it make sense to buy a piano that is 32 years old? I really don't know what to do. Can anyone recommend decent, new pianos at a reasonable price? Thanks again.


AngP
Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
AngP #3031687 10/03/20 03:11 PM
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The cheapest new entry level acoustic pianos in the US market have a street price starting around $3200. Nicer ones in terms of quality or a better size than a console start around $4000.

A 32 year old piano that has been independently inspected by a technician and gets a clean bill of health would not be a worry, given your budget. But a lot of people neglect maintenance completely with pianos (or only tune occasionally and nothing else), so it helps to know what you're getting into before buying.


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Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
terminaldegree #3031695 10/03/20 04:06 PM
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Thanks so much for your reply. We could go higher if we finance. Our closest dealer carries Halliun. Would that be a decent choice. We live in such a remote area that our choices are limited. The two we are considering (used) are both over two hours away in different directions. I feel like if we went with the Yamaha we wouldn't have too much invested, but I also want to make sure it's not going to be more of a headache than it's worth. I really appreciate your advice so much!!


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Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
AngP #3031697 10/03/20 04:18 PM
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If you are planning on reselling it once your daughter goes off to college in several years, Yamaha would be vastly easier to sell, although at your daughter’s level she may appreciate a 45” studio size like p22 than a shorter console like m405. It’ll be even easier to resell a p22 also it that’s the plan.

Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
AngP #3031706 10/03/20 04:51 PM
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Have you tried to broaden your search sources? Let piano technicians know you are in the market. Facebook marketplace has many pianos in my area - I see several Baldwin Hamiltons from $500 which is a decent studio model.

I would try to avoid the smaller consoles as your daughter has been playing for awhile and generally speaking the smaller sizes are compromised in sound quality.

Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
AngP #3031719 10/03/20 05:25 PM
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AngP, I don't know what to say about the pianos you are considering. But, if you feel committed enough to one or the other, or undecided about both and prefer to continue looking, the one piece of advice I could give would be to hire a qualified piano tuner/ technician, and ask them to inspect these candidates for condition. It would probably be two techs, since they are 400 miles from each other.

Your present tech might be a resource for this, except for the long trip. Onsite inspections for instruments local to the examiner run in the neighborhood of a hundred bucks. They report to you, only, and act in your interest only. If you need local techs for each, I could suggest that you try

Piano Technicians Guild
http://ptg.org

which has a utility on their website to help you locate member techs (certified as RPTs, not an easy thing to pass; my own very brilliant tech has told me about what it takes). The locator is based on the zip code of where the piano is. So there's that.

Knowing what your gifted and diligent daughter requires for her studies will help them determine whether either candidate is suitable. I should add, about RPTs, that the organization requires that its members subscribe to a code of ethics. I don't know if you could put that in the bank, but I would be glad to know it, hiring someone blind, like this. My own tech has his own very upright sense of ethical behavior. I have read that if you find yourself dissatisfied with the performance, the first person to call is the President of the Local Chapter. After that, the President of the organization.

One other aspect is that the tuner/ techs often know when one of their customers is getting ready to sell, before the instruments come into the market. And they know their customers. It is admirable, and always heartwarming, when we see a parent making such an effort to support their child's talent and musical education. There could be a piano out there that is better than what you're looking at, which the seller might decide to offer at a price you can meet, when you have an RPT in your corner looking out for you. At least you will save the cost of an additional inspection; the tech already knows the piano's story.

It's nothing I could guarantee, but it happens all the time. Selling a piano is not such an easy matter for people who have loved it. Who knows, contacting your local PTG chapter could bear some fruit. It takes some luck, but sometimes we have to make our own luck... especially when we're looking at piano sticker shock.

All that aside, I have had, and loved, some of the worst pianos (some would say) in the world. And thereby, it could be that your present candidates would serve, for the time. Your daughter has a dream piano in her future, and moving up the piano food chain we go from one stepping stone to the next. It's a time-honored tradition.

You have all my best wishes, and it would be great if you would write back and let us know how it goes--- we love these piano search stories. And I would imagine some one or more PW members could answer just about any question you might come up with.


Clef

Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
AngP #3031730 10/03/20 05:45 PM
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AngP - Unfortunately your budget is a bit tight so in all likelihood the better options are older uprights and so 32 years old shouldn’t be the showstopper. Best Wishes on your search.


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Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
AngP #3031745 10/03/20 06:33 PM
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Thank you all so much! This is all so helpful! I'll let you know what we find. We live in Northern NY (on the Canadian border) and there aren't many options around us! We're going to look at Haliun pianos tomorrow. smile


AngP
Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
AngP #3031771 10/03/20 08:06 PM
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How about a 20 year old Yamaha U3 for $3100? Suggested by technician.


AngP
Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
AngP #3031776 10/03/20 08:23 PM
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That would be an excellent choice assuming that the condition is good.

Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
AngP #3031788 10/03/20 09:22 PM
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What did he say, AngP?

This is not graven in stone or anything, but a handy rule of thumb for the useful musical life of a reasonably good piano is around 50 years. For a better piano, with regular technical care, you might even think of 75 years, if it's not played to death, thought the decline will be noticeable and it will need more and more repair as it gets older. This is one reason I like your 20-year-old Yamaha better than its 38-year-old competition (knowing nothing more, although if the tech likes it for you, that's could be a plus). Pianos depreciate about the same as cars do, but because pianos last so much longer than cars, they can seem much more affordable... after a few years. But, condition is king, first and last. Pianos can be ruined in just a few years by abuse. Believe it or not, there are some people (twisted monsters) who hate pianos. Sometimes, even then, they can be brought back.

The ability of an instrument to provide a responsive action, with any kind of tonal precision or dynamic response (both, important to a serious pianist), will peak in the years up until its middle years (let's call it 25) and after that will rather gradualy fade, needing more repair and technical support.

What I don't like about the 20/ Yamaha is that they want twice as much as you are comfortable spending. Even pretty well-off people can find themselves in the poorhouse if they go overboard, because when it comes to fancy pianos, the sky is the limit. Some people pay more for their pianos than I paid for my house (not that it's so fancy, but because it's in California, where real estate is ridiculously overpriced--- but you've got to live somewhere).

Still. What did the tech have to say about it, and which one did you talk to, your local tech or one in the other two towns?

There are some online resources that might help you. Try http://pianobuyer.com , also, the websites of the makers. Yamaha, Kawai, Charles Walter... there are a bunch. You've already found PianoWorld....

The other thing we haven't heard, is, what has your daughter had to say? Are you planning to surprise her? That would be a killer surprise, just as winter is coming on; plenty of time to play in the quiet countryside. Still, a piano is such a personal thing, it might be better to include her in the process.

I don' t know if any of this has been helpful, but I hope so; we'll see. I have a good feeling about it. How silly, what business of mine is it to have an intuition of any kind. But, there it is; I will keep a good thought for you. I will say, that this is not about anyone telling you what you must do, or shoud do; if some information should come your way that helps you to decide what is best for your family and your daughter, that is the purpose and the whole idea. So, best of luck.


Clef

Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
AngP #3031825 10/04/20 03:42 AM
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Just get that M405 and enjoy. It’s not like it will explode because it’s 32 years old. It will be fine.


-Bill L. - former tuner-technician
Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
WBLynch #3031829 10/04/20 04:03 AM
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Originally Posted by WBLynch
Just get that M405 and enjoy. It’s not like it will explode because it’s 32 years old. It will be fine.


Get the M405 and save the extra money for your daughter’d College fund. Pianos will last much longer than a car, so don’t despair 😊 just enjoy. As a kid, I started out playing a piano more than 30 yrs old and drug that old beauty around to several adult homes. It didn’t hold me back.


"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: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
Jeff Clef #3031869 10/04/20 07:54 AM
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Thanks for your post. My daughter is part of the process. She's got to love it! The tech we talked to is our local one and the Yamaha is one he services. I agree, the price is an issue. If we buy a new one, we'll pay more but could finance it. The local piano store carries Halliun which I don't really know much about We're headed out today to try them out. smile


AngP
Re: Samick JS-115 VS. Yamaha M405
WBLynch #3031871 10/04/20 08:00 AM
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Good point!


AngP
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