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As long as price looks like the only criterion for you, I am afraid that I am the completely wrong person to talk to.

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Originally Posted by danlightbulb
Originally Posted by OE1FEU
I'd say you buy Kawai then.

It does seem to me that not much beats the brand for value. I'm not a Kawai salesman or anything just to be clear! I just always try to find the value for money sweet spot in my purchases, no matter what it is.

And it also seems impossible to get a cheaper piano, which is strange when so much discussion of 'cheap' chinese pianos seems to be had here, yet where are they?

I don´t think really cheap acoustic pianos make any sense anymore - if they sound "twangy", you would just get a good digital instead if we´re talking a price point of say USD 2500. Otherwise you would just get a used one. Early on in their life, pianos depreciate much more than they wear out. If you have 2500 to spend, you give 2000 for the instrument and 500 for a good tuning and regulation and you´re set.

In the olden days we had horrible things like spinets - THAT´s what a really cheap piano is like.

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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
As long as price looks like the only criterion for you, I am afraid that I am the completely wrong person to talk to.

Value does not equal price alone. Value is the combination of price, quality and features.

So for example a Bluthner Model A is £16k in the UK from what I can find (nearer £20k on list price, but ive seen it for £16k). A Kawai K500 is about £7k. Is the Bluthner, as nice as I'm sure it is, worth over twice as much as the K500? For a start its smaller. What makes the Bluthner 'worth' £9k more, in terms of its actual quality and features?

I don't know the answer, but these are the thought process someone has to go through if not wedded to a brand or not the type to have to own the absolute best at any price.

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Originally Posted by Keybender
I don´t think really cheap acoustic pianos make any sense anymore - if they sound "twangy", you would just get a good digital instead if we´re talking a price point of say USD 2500. Otherwise you would just get a used one. Early on in their life, pianos depreciate much more than they wear out. If you have 2500 to spend, you give 2000 for the instrument and 500 for a good tuning and regulation and you´re set.

In the olden days we had horrible things like spinets - THAT´s what a really cheap piano is like.

Hmm good point yeah, a new £3k digital will likely be far better than a £3k acoustic, used or new. So digitals have replaced cheap pianos entirely. Saves me keep searching for cheap acoustics now.

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Originally Posted by Keybender
Originally Posted by danlightbulb
Originally Posted by OE1FEU
I'd say you buy Kawai then.

It does seem to me that not much beats the brand for value. I'm not a Kawai salesman or anything just to be clear! I just always try to find the value for money sweet spot in my purchases, no matter what it is.

And it also seems impossible to get a cheaper piano, which is strange when so much discussion of 'cheap' chinese pianos seems to be had here, yet where are they?

I don´t think really cheap acoustic pianos make any sense anymore - if they sound "twangy", you would just get a good digital instead if we´re talking a price point of say USD 2500. Otherwise you would just get a used one. Early on in their life, pianos depreciate much more than they wear out. If you have 2500 to spend, you give 2000 for the instrument and 500 for a good tuning and regulation and you´re set.

In the olden days we had horrible things like spinets - THAT´s what a really cheap piano is like.
There is nothing "cheap " about a Kawai K500. They are very popular on this forum. Many people are perfectly happy with them , especially if they are well prepped.
There is a lot of musical value in the K300 and the K500.Of course there is always the Yamaha U3 which can be a very good instrument.

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I really wonder: When was the last time you actually played a number of well designed pianos?

All you are talking about is money, perceived value and it seems that your field of vision is limited to the writing on the fallboard with an inevitable mechanism kicking in that somewhat calculates a value metric on your own assumptions. Together with a vision how an industry should develop that is as old as the piano industry and has by now come into an equilibrium of individual companies finding their place in a volatile market that has its competition in really cheap and in digital pianos.

And, there are people like me who by now have invested more than 15k EUR into restoring an 1886 Steinway B - with a completely different idea of what value one attributes to a piano..

I still don't get what you actually want to discuss. When you want to fundamentally change the European piano industry, then just go ahead and do it. More or less all CEOs of the relevant companies are easily accessible and if you have a value proposition that actually resonates with them, you may safely assume that your voice will be heard and the message will be pondered.

So far, however, all I read is that Kawai is cheaper than the rest.

Again: When was the last time you actually played on a beautiful piano without looking at the fallboard? I'd be interested to hear your impression on what you perceive as beauty, quality, craftsmanship, individuality, tactile response etc.

Other than that we should just leave it at that and my suggestion to buy a Kawai (a company that builds truly very nice pianos) still stands.

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I presume you are speaking to danlightbuld ?

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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
I really wonder: When was the last time you actually played a number of well designed pianos?

All you are talking about is money, perceived value and it seems that your field of vision is limited to the writing on the fallboard with an inevitable mechanism kicking in that somewhat calculates a value metric on your own assumptions. Together with a vision how an industry should develop that is as old as the piano industry and has by now come into an equilibrium of individual companies finding their place in a volatile market that has its competition in really cheap and in digital pianos.

And, there are people like me who by now have invested more than 15k EUR into restoring an 1886 Steinway B - with a completely different idea of what value one attributes to a piano..

I still don't get what you actually want to discuss. When you want to fundamentally change the European piano industry, then just go ahead and do it. More or less all CEOs of the relevant companies are easily accessible and if you have a value proposition that actually resonates with them, you may safely assume that your voice will be heard and the message will be pondered.

So far, however, all I read is that Kawai is cheaper than the rest.

Again: When was the last time you actually played on a beautiful piano without looking at the fallboard? I'd be interested to hear your impression on what you perceive as beauty, quality, craftsmanship, individuality, tactile response etc.

Other than that we should just leave it at that and my suggestion to buy a Kawai (a company that builds truly very nice pianos) still stands.

The only acoustic I get to play on is my teacher's Yamaha U3, and pre-covid, a Yamaha grand piano at a piano meetup group once a quarter. Would be great if we all had the opportunity to play on loads of lovely pianos.

The conversation started because the OP posted about this Feurich Vienna model, and there were some discussions over where it was made. I observed that it was a £10k piano and asked why it was worth that, when a U3 or K800 can be had for the same money and are both bigger pianos with excellent reputations for quality. I observed that with this Feurich, we are just paying for this removable case novelty, which is a cool feature but one which would probably not be used after the first week or two of owning it. Then some other posters went on to discuss expensive European pianos and I asked why they were worth three or four times as much as something like a Kawai or Yamaha.

I think restoring antiques is quite a different matter from buying a new piano. With antiques you're paying for the rarity.

So I guess what I want to know is, when the Japanese pianos seem to be both relatively cheap, and high quality, what makes these European brands worth three or four times as much? Are they made of four times more expensive materials, don't think so. Do they sound four times better, unlikely (but subjective I agree), are they four times more reliable, doubt it. So what is it?

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Originally Posted by danlightbulb
.......what makes these European brands worth three or four times as much?

There enough people who will pay to keep the firms intact and, one hopes, profitable. The price is what the market will pay. Beyond your control and mine.

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Originally Posted by danlightbulb
Originally Posted by OE1FEU
I really wonder: When was the last time you actually played a number of well designed pianos?

All you are talking about is money, perceived value and it seems that your field of vision is limited to the writing on the fallboard with an inevitable mechanism kicking in that somewhat calculates a value metric on your own assumptions. Together with a vision how an industry should develop that is as old as the piano industry and has by now come into an equilibrium of individual companies finding their place in a volatile market that has its competition in really cheap and in digital pianos.

And, there are people like me who by now have invested more than 15k EUR into restoring an 1886 Steinway B - with a completely different idea of what value one attributes to a piano..

I still don't get what you actually want to discuss. When you want to fundamentally change the European piano industry, then just go ahead and do it. More or less all CEOs of the relevant companies are easily accessible and if you have a value proposition that actually resonates with them, you may safely assume that your voice will be heard and the message will be pondered.

So far, however, all I read is that Kawai is cheaper than the rest.

Again: When was the last time you actually played on a beautiful piano without looking at the fallboard? I'd be interested to hear your impression on what you perceive as beauty, quality, craftsmanship, individuality, tactile response etc.

Other than that we should just leave it at that and my suggestion to buy a Kawai (a company that builds truly very nice pianos) still stands.

The only acoustic I get to play on is my teacher's Yamaha U3, and pre-covid, a Yamaha grand piano at a piano meetup group once a quarter. Would be great if we all had the opportunity to play on loads of lovely pianos.

The conversation started because the OP posted about this Feurich Vienna model, and there were some discussions over where it was made. I observed that it was a £10k piano and asked why it was worth that, when a U3 or K800 can be had for the same money and are both bigger pianos with excellent reputations for quality. I observed that with this Feurich, we are just paying for this removable case novelty, which is a cool feature but one which would probably not be used after the first week or two of owning it. Then some other posters went on to discuss expensive European pianos and I asked why they were worth three or four times as much as something like a Kawai or Yamaha.

I think restoring antiques is quite a different matter from buying a new piano. With antiques you're paying for the rarity.

So I guess what I want to know is, when the Japanese pianos seem to be both relatively cheap, and high quality, what makes these European brands worth three or four times as much? Are they made of four times more expensive materials, don't think so. Do they sound four times better, unlikely (but subjective I agree), are they four times more reliable, doubt it. So what is it?
Well I could not find a nice recording on a Sauter upright so
Here is top of the line Schimmel K132 which sounds more like a grand piano than most small grands.



https://youtu.be/cPavgh6Sfeo

Last edited by Lady Bird; 11/10/20 07:41 PM. Reason: spelling
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Originally Posted by danlightbulb
The only acoustic I get to play on is my teacher's Yamaha U3, and pre-covid, a Yamaha grand piano at a piano meetup group once a quarter.

Oh, I see.

That's of course in incredibly sound foundation to discuss fundamentals of the piano industry, intricacies of manufacturing, regional differences, economic necessities, decades of trial and error in the market (some people call it experience) and - oh, whatever, fill in the blanks as you wish.

Please do us all a favor and spare us your wisdom when it comes to all the above points. Please.

Quote
Would be great if we all had the opportunity to play on loads of lovely pianos.

Oh yes, I can tell you from experience, it is great, really. And so can many of the contributors in this forum. Most of us come across great pianos every day, some play them on an expert level every day, some even get to play play concert grands and some actually can choose between a variety of concert grands every day and play with and on them as they choose.

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I perceive a lot of anger in some replies in this post. But i think danlight question has a good point. Is an eurpean piano that costs 4 times more than a good mass produced Japanese, 4 times better?

I clearly think the answer is no.

Why would anyone be angry about that?

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Originally Posted by Ubu
I clearly think the answer is no.

Ah, that of course makes all the difference.

Screw facts.

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Originally Posted by danlightbulb
So I guess what I want to know is, when the Japanese pianos seem to be both relatively cheap, and high quality, what makes these European brands worth three or four times as much? Are they made of four times more expensive materials, don't think so. Do they sound four times better, unlikely (but subjective I agree), are they four times more reliable, doubt it. So what is it?

They are made to very high quality specifications and that costs money.

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Let me put this without any anger or without any resentment or even feeling slightly heated.

The top-end Japanese pianos are actually priced the same as the top-end European pianos. There's clearly a good reason for that, and ultimately that reason is musical because why would they bother otherwise?

The top end European pianos are the choice of the greatest artists, who would rather have a Fazioli or Steinway grand in their home instead of a Kawai K800 or Yamaha U-3 which are both good pianos in their own right, don't get me wrong, but if they didn't feel it was worth shelling out the money (and these artists DO buy their pianos, they don't generally get gifts of pianos), then why would they bother?

Honestly it comes down to whether you're a discerning enough individual to know what the difference is.

It's like playing actually. Playing the right notes, at the right tempo, with the right dynamics and the right phrasing is not actually good playing, it is merely the basis for good playing, and those who know, know. It's taste that has to be developed.

There is a world of difference between a mid-priced Japanese piano and a high-end European piano, and it doesn't just come down to four times the price being or not being four times as good. As much as I like the Yamaha U3 and C3, I'd prefer to play a Bösendorfer for so many reasons. Yamaha must know it's important too because why else would they even keep such an expensive outfit as Bösendorfer going? They'd save a lot of money just shutting down Vienna and building a mass produced piano to the Bösendorfer 'design' in Indonesia.

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I suppose Joe means the SU7 which ,yes is quite a price .I have never seen one of these. Here is another youtube video of the Feurich 123


https://youtu.be/31tUOSku-gg

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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Well I could not find a nice recording on a Sauter upright so
Here is top of the line Schimmel K132 which sounds more like a grand piano than most small grands.



https://youtu.be/cPavgh6Sfeo

Lady Bird, the recording is good but this Schimmel upright does not resemble the tonal quality or sound of a grand at all. The bass is incredibly thin and has that distinct upright tone which is not overly pleasing. That said, the mid- and high-treble ranges are far better but a little bright in my opinion.

I do not think that this would be an appropriate alternative to a grand if someone wanted an upright that sounds like one. I'd like to caveat that this is just my opinion and purely subjective!


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All,

It has been quite interesting reading all of the posts since I last checked my thread. As Ubu mentioned, I too could feel the perceived anger in a lot of these posts and whilst the forum is here to serve our freedom of speech and opinion, the last thing I would like to see is for people to fall out over opinions on my thread. This is not a place to point fingers. We all have a mutual love/interest in pianos and lets continue to share that on the platform that we are each enhancing one another's knowledge. A lot of the points made above are insightful. Just because one does not agree with them does not make them incorrect.

danlightbulb, I think you make very valid points and I can fully understand why you would ask why one should pay 4x the price for a European upright that is similar in stature to a Japanese upright. I am not going to delve into all the reasons again as I think these have been well covered off but there are some obvious reasons as to why one would.

It's interesting to see how this thread has vastly changed from the topic of my original post but it definitely makes for good reading...!


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Originally Posted by williambonard
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Well I could not find a nice recording on a Sauter upright so
Here is top of the line Schimmel K132 which sounds more like a grand piano than most small grands.



https://youtu.be/cPavgh6Sfeo

Lady Bird, the recording is good but this Schimmel upright does not resemble the tonal quality or sound of a grand at all. The bass is incredibly thin and has that distinct upright tone which is not overly pleasing. That said, the mid- and high-treble ranges are far better but a little bright in my opinion.

I do not think that this would be an appropriate alternative to a grand if someone wanted an upright that sounds like one. I'd like to caveat that this is just my opinion and purely subjective!
The piano sounds like a medium sized grand I played it the other day . The tone is rich not thin and the one I played was certainly not bright . In fact I have never played an instrument
so much like a medium size grand .
A true German piano at its best .You should try it. The piano is taller than my piano and a massive soundboard .

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I apologise for derailing the thread a bit. I just find it frustrating that the barriers to entry are so high these days, and its exasperated by these really premium brands. The purpose of these very premium brands does not seem to be just about the piano itself, you never see these brands on stage for example. I think these pianos are better compared to a piece of high end furniture than a musical instrument, because the only musicians that can afford them will be very wealthy ones. Its a display piece for the discerning buyer as Joseph Fleetwood said.

Then I worry, having now been learning to play myself as a middle aged adult, that when kids want to learn to play the opportunity won't be there for most of them like it wasn't for me as a child. If a normal working class parent goes online to look at piano costs they are going to be put off and feel like they can't give that opportunity to their child. Its a real shame. And what happens then is you look at cheap pianos on ebay or whatever, and they are brands you've never heard of and can't find any information on, or they are only small ones (<110cm) when all the advice online says bigger is better etc etc. So you end up between a rock and a hard place. That's how I feel about it anyway.


Coming back to the OP's Feurich, like I said earlier I think you're paying for the case design and (unproven) perception of quality implied by the name and where its made. The Chinese made Feurich 125 Designdoesn't have the fancy case but is half the price, I was looking at those myself recently, haven't tried one. There is a big price gap between the mainstream £5-£10k pianos and the premium European brands (£15k-£30k).

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