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Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
#3047340 11/18/20 09:33 PM
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Hi Everyone—

I'm stuck.

I've been looking for a new-to-me piano for a month or so, and have played 40+ instruments, finally settling on the following three as finalists, given my budget limitations and space considerations at home:

1999 Yamaha MPX1 Disklavier. It's in excellent shape, and the disklavier mechanism is in tip-top working order. I'm a little nervous about the control unit being floppy-disk based, but it also has midi in/out and the piano includes silent mode, which would be a great thing to have in my little house at night. The piano itself is solid, though not remarkable in any way, shape or form. The appeal here is the disklavier part.

1978 Baldwin M 5'2" grand. This particular piano has clearly been well-maintained and loved. It sounds surprisingly full and warm for such a small piano, even into the lower register, though there's a spot about two and a half octaves above middle C where the action is a bit less responsive and somewhat noisy and the tone loses some of its complexity. The store's tech hasn't worked on this piano yet, so perhaps there's a simple solution to the action issues? I'm wondering if it's been rebuilt, as it overall sounds and plasys much nicer than I would have expected for a 42 year old piano.

1968 Chickering 5'4" grand. This is the dark horse candidate. The sound is similar to the Baldwin--rich, surprisingly robust bass, warm character across the range--but the action is less consistent and not as responsive. It seems as if it might be the kind of piano that would respond well to good regulation and some much-needed TLC. And it's a nicer instrument than the upright Disklavier, at least from my perspective.

The MPX1 and Chickering are $4600 and $5000, respectively. The Baldwin would be closer to $9K.

Thoughts on any of these pianos? I'm genuinely stuck at the moment--was ready to purchase the Disklavier this morning, since no pianos (at least in my price range--I won't count the beautiful Shigeru Kawai that I played last week and would buy in a heartbeat if I could afford it) had stood out other than that one to this point. The Chickering and Baldwin showed up today and are making the decision harder. The dilemma? I've never owned a disklavier, but have worked with them enough in the past to know what a powerful tool they can be for composer/improvisors. So that one is appealing for that reason alone right out of the gate, even though the other two pianos have so much more personality and musicality and much more complex tone. Yet the Baldwin is clearly the nicest and most well-crafted instrument, and the Chickering is a close second in terms of appeal because of the price.

I had forgotten how invigorating a piano search can be--I haven't looked this extensively for an instrument for over fifteen years & am looking forward to welcoming home a new-to-me piano in the near future. Just need to find my way to an actual decision. Thank you for any insight you might have!

Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
jmiley97302 #3047349 11/18/20 10:33 PM
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This is the condition a number of PW members have suffered from "you will survive"

Last edited by Lady Bird; 11/18/20 10:34 PM. Reason: spelling
Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
Lady Bird #3047359 11/18/20 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
This is the condition a number of PW members have suffered from "you will survive"

Very true, Lady Bird, including myself.

In the past, I've purchased a piano or two, or three, and had buyers remorse afterwards. But we learn as we go, and hopefully do not make the same mistake twice, although it can happen (making the same mistake twice, or even three times smile ). Part of being human, I guess.

To the OP, I've never owned a disklavier, so I can't be of any help there. I will say, however, to wait until find a piano that you really like and can afford. A big part of buyer's remorse, is knowing you bought something you really could not afford, that you could have done without.

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
jmiley97302 #3047371 11/19/20 12:34 AM
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I have really only once had real buyer remorse .That was when I bought a used piano from Japan .I never had it checked .It could not stay in tune. A few days later I sent the piano back to the store. We were refunded but paid for the move .

At the moment I am going through a weird spell., I decided I would like a practice pedal if I really want to put more practice in (without driving my husband crazy ).My Sauter has a sostenuto pedal , a sustain and a soft pedal but no practice pedal .I do not like the add on device that I could put a practice pedal in with .
So oo, I heard there is a Schimmel K132 downtown. Actually a lovely piano and sensitive response . Yet when I play my Sauter , I just love the tone and it holds tuning so well.
So yes I am flrting with a very new Schimmel and I feel my piano somehow "knows it "
The Schimmel K132 also has a very nice tone too......

Perhaps this strange Covid time is causing part of the problem🤔

The Schimmel sounds like a medium sized grand as well.

Last edited by Lady Bird; 11/19/20 12:40 AM. Reason: spelling
Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
jmiley97302 #3047379 11/19/20 02:08 AM
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Jmiley
I am sorry I did not mean to steal your thread .I hope you find some answers.

Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
jmiley97302 #3047384 11/19/20 02:51 AM
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Based on your descriptions, I dont think you have found your piano.

Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
Lady Bird #3047387 11/19/20 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
So yes I am flrting with a very new Schimmel and I feel my piano somehow "knows it "
The Schimmel K132 also has a very nice tone too......

Saucy!


~Lucubrate


Bösendorfer 280VC
Steingraeber 130

“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.“ ~Epictetus
Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
Lucubrate #3047389 11/19/20 03:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Lucubrate
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
So yes I am flrting with a very new Schimmel and I feel my piano somehow "knows it "
The Schimmel K132 also has a very nice tone too......

Saucy!


~Lucubrate
Too saucy to think straight., the Schimmel is a bit brighter than the Sauter which more of a bell like tone. It is a bigger piano ,with larger soundboard and so has a bigger tonal pallett.
The first and second time I played it "I was swept off my feet" it did not sound bright, just different to the Sauter and like a medium sized grand .Today the Schimmel had lost some tuning so its "aura" was a bit dull but still very responsive.
I then walked over to the Sauter 130 nearby and it had been obviously been tuned and I was totally overcome by the more mellow beautiful sound of it .It was like my piano also very responsive . A few days ago this piano was out of tune and the sound of the Schimmel was "glowing" now the other way around .
The K132 is from the best model Schimmel produces in Germany.
So yes I feel I have some kind of "fever"
And yes the practice pedal in the Schimmel is not just a heavy
felt practice pedal but something that sounds like a Celeste.
One can even practice expressively with it. 😢
What to do ?

Last edited by Lady Bird; 11/19/20 04:00 AM. Reason: spelling
Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
jmiley97302 #3047404 11/19/20 05:37 AM
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Hi,

First of all, if you have space for a grand, I strongly suggest going for a grand, preferably slightly larger than your examples, if possible.

Second, as you're working with a restricted budget, I suggest looking around for a longer period, as to see what deals might show up. If you can afford the Baldwin, there might be other grand pianos to be had with less wear and more consistency. From your description, I also get the impression that neither of the three pianos really attracted you. If so, wait for something that appeals to you more.

Third, a local technician once told me, that pianos older than 50 years are usually considered to be of zero value unless the condition is either unexpected healthy or recently restored. The Baldwin and Chickering are both getting up there. When reading your description of the Baldwin, I interpret it as having a more or less dead zone - sounds like something I would avoid at that price.

I would definitely keep looking around, even for 6 to 12 months or longer. Using more time in the selection process may also define preferences better and make it easier to select an instrument based on pros and cons at a given price level.

Best,
Kasper


Schubert, Beethoven, Brahms, Bach and Berg
2017 Shigeru Kawai SK-2
1950'es Zimmermann upright
Fender Classic 50's Precision Bass -> Dynacord Bass-King T -> BassLab 212
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Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
jmiley97302 #3047458 11/19/20 09:33 AM
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As I understand it a PianoDisc unit can be installed on nearly any existing acoustic piano. Also I would check out fully what you would have to do to enjoy the full Disklavier Library and utilities on a twenty one year old system. Player Piano systems have been around for many years and now with new technology are enjoyable and durable but ain’t so great if you don’t absolutely love the sound and action of the piano itself.

Also, having worked with electronics and IT gear for all of my career, stuff gets completely outdated in a short time and getting replacement parts for outdated systems is a nightmare.

So if it were me, I’d rule out the Yamaha because I dread the thought of trouble shooting a 21 year old system, especially on an upright.

I love the Baldwin and Chickering sound but never got to play a Chickering grand. If either of those two is wonderful and checks out with your tech, and after you fully research Player Systems which can be installed on existing pianos you can have a great piano and perhaps equip it with an after market Player system.

I would also research the idea which I chose. I bought an acoustic that I love and play and bought a great Casio keyboard with stand and bench and pedal and MIDI ports for recording and playback. Plus I can set it up to automatically transpose music to another key. A digital piano, especially the new ones, can perform most things except play your acoustic that a Disklavier or Spirio can perform and is less expensive than either system. Check out the Digital Forum and ask some questions.

At this particular point you might want to do more research to avoid being unhappy or disappointed later. Besides my whole state is essentially under house arrest right now so it’s a great time to thoroughly research future purchases before plopping money down.

Best Wishes on your search. About a month after you purchase your piano, you will be so glad you went through the whole agony of shopping and indecision and found your dream piano.


J & J
Estonia L190 Hidden Beauty
Casio Privia PX-330
My piano’s voice is beautiful!
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Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
jmiley97302 #3047459 11/19/20 09:36 AM
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LadyBird - buy the Schimmel and keep your beautiful Sauter. You’ve had two uprights before. We only live once. smile


J & J
Estonia L190 Hidden Beauty
Casio Privia PX-330
My piano’s voice is beautiful!
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Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
jmiley97302 #3047472 11/19/20 10:22 AM
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The $9K asking price by a dealer for the 42 year old Baldwin M is "reasonable" but not great. I've seen 20 year old M's advertised on E-Bay and Piano Mart in the $7K range. That said, the M can be a terrific small grand. I coordinated the purchase of a 1995 7 foot Baldwin SF10 semi concert grand for our church a few years ago from a private seller in our city for $10K. Those types of deals do exist.

ALSO - if the 1978 Baldwin you are considering was indeed "rebuilt" it would be a important to find out what was done and by whom. Baldwin's are sturdy pianos, and I'm guessing this one is still original.

Last edited by Carey; 11/19/20 10:29 AM.

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Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
j&j #3047522 11/19/20 12:37 PM
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[quote=j&j]LadyBird - buy the Schimmel and keep your beautiful Sauter. You’ve had two uprights before. We only live once. smile[/quote
The manager would give me a very good price for the Sauter
towards the Schimmel K132. The Schimmel also has a beautiful tone when in tune but different to the Sauter.
It was strange the Sauter 130 in the store it had not been really been tuned whenever I went there .Then yesterday when it was tuned it was amazing.
I guess it is because that both pianos are so new that thier tuning is still fragile ? The Schimmel is intriguing though as an upright piano but has only just arrived from the warehouse. It has the same voice as the K195 grand. (same colour)when in tune.
It really is what I would call a "grand upright"

Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
jmiley97302 #3047540 11/19/20 01:47 PM
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After you have APSIS, and recover, then you get PAS (Piano Acquisition Syndrome). Don't ask how many pianos I have!

Sam

Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
Sam S #3047635 11/20/20 09:14 AM
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How many pianos do you have Sam?


J & J
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Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
j&j #3047749 11/20/20 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by j&j
How many pianos do you have Sam?

I told you not to ask me that question. I have one fewer than Rickster - although I have a harpsichord and Rick doesn't!

Sam

Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
Sam S #3047752 11/20/20 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Sam S
Originally Posted by j&j
How many pianos do you have Sam?

I told you not to ask me that question. I have one fewer than Rickster - although I have a harpsichord and Rick doesn't!
Sam
How many pianos does Rick have? smile


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Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
Carey #3047761 11/20/20 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by Sam S
Originally Posted by j&j
How many pianos do you have Sam?

I told you not to ask me that question. I have one fewer than Rickster - although I have a harpsichord and Rick doesn't!
Sam
How many pianos does Rick have? smile

Yea, Sam and I do have some things in common, when it comes to pianos, except I don't own a harpsichord, and Sam can play much better than me. smile

That said, I have 7 acoustic pianos, and a digital piano. I have two grand pianos in my music room, and an upright in my living room, one old upright in my detached garage, and 3 in my piano shop, two uprights and a grand, as well as my digital piano.

Of course, I do play some more than others, but I play them all on occasion. I gave the Howard 550 baby grand (a very nice piano) to my granddaughter when she was 12 years old, and taking piano lessons. She is now 17, and stopped taking piano lessons years ago, and my son has yet to come get the Howard 550, but says they still want it. So, technically, I have 6 acoustic pianos. smile

Why so many? Why not? smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
jmiley97302 #3047763 11/20/20 04:08 PM
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Thanks for all the great info here! Still suffering from APSIS, but it's less debilitating, and full recovery appears to be on the horizon.

The disklavier is officially out. It doesn't make sense to replace my perfectly serviceable Kawai UST7 with another upright of similar quality. So I've slowed things down and am focusing *only* on smaller grands (5'5"-ish, give or take, due to space limitations), looking for just the right instrument, even if it has some quirks, rather than the best deal. It turns out both the Baldwin M and Chickering have yet to be serviced by the dealer's tech, so I'll play them again next week once they've given them a little TLC to see where they stand.

Several friends have suggested I look at Hallet Davis or the new Fandrich-designed Webers, or even Hailun, but I'm hesitant to buy a new piano in that sub-$10K price range, as I don't think I'll find the sound/touch I want (and, truthfully, since I play several hours each day, I'm a little worried about quality control issues on those mass mass mass mass-produced new instruments). I don't think I can find what I'm looking for in a new piano without having to increase my budget significantly, and that's not going to happen any time soon.

With that in mind.... Are there other smaller grand piano models I should keep on my used piano radar? Am I missing a potentially good fit by not considering any of the new entry-level Chinese or Korean grands? I read good things about some of those models, but the idea of buying a new piano for $10K that isn't from tried and true builder seems too risky an endeavor.

Re: Acute Piano Search Indecision Syndrome (APSIS)
jmiley97302 #3047772 11/20/20 05:13 PM
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I've just wanted to post a "Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS)" thread in the Digital Piano subforum, and now I'm reading about this syndrome. I'm wondering whether they are somehow connected?

I hope you'll find your piano soon, jmiley97302!


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