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2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
#3048702 11/23/20 08:15 PM
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Hello, Tomorrow I am going to play a 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano. Been doing some research and I haven't seen anything bad about this brand Can you tell me more about it? Is there anything I need to be concerned about? Thanks!

Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3048754 11/23/20 11:02 PM
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Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3048954 11/24/20 11:32 AM
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Yes, I have read both of those links -- neither say that the Ritmueller is a bad piano. All say 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand is the lower end commercial grade grand piano created by Pearl River, the largest Chinese piano makers (that has had some quality issues in the past). But based on the reviews and Youtube videos I have viewed, reviewers say they are impressed with the quality improvement this company has made in recent years and Ritmueller is the top of their line. Reviewers (and the seller) claim that this grand piano sounds rich and warm (which is what I want) with a excellent action (although a bit heavy due to that longer keys). Since it is a German design, reviews say that this baby grand as surprisingly bold sound. At a price point less than half the price of the Kawais I like, financially I need to consider this brand. Since the seller (an accomplished pianist) is also the proud owner of a Steinway, I am curious...

Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3048980 11/24/20 12:29 PM
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You need to go and play it and see what you think. It's the least expensive version of that piano they make under that nameplate.
Most of the information mentioned in your post above is either contradictory, incorrect, or should be ignored as marketing:

A lot of the praises you read are for their higher level line(s), which are 20-200% more expensive for the same size. You have not mentioned what level the players are in your household, what your desired sizes are, how you want to use it (furniture piece, casual/occasional playing, beginner/intermediate/advanced students, intensive practicing for 4 hours a day, institutional use, etc.) and what your budget is. Let us know your reaction when you go and try it, though!


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Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3049041 11/24/20 03:28 PM
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I never had the chance to play any Ritmeullers when I was piano shopping, so I have no firsthand info. But I wouldn't rule them out just because of the brand.

What I'm more concerned about is the size, the pianos in that size that I did try (Yamahas and Kawais) were fine but the difference between the 5'3" pianos and the next size up was pretty substantial.

So, is this Ritmueller at someone's house? If it is, you may be able to get a better idea of how it would sound at your house than if it were in a dealer's shop. (Although, having said that, the devil is in the details when it comes to room acoustics.

Keep us posted on how you like it when you try it!


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Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3049168 11/24/20 09:27 PM
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Anna,
I test played a Ritmuller R9 for an hour when I was looking for a small grand piano last year. I found it to be a fine value, and would have probably bought it (new) had a lightly-used Kawai not fallen into my lap at quarter the price.

Ritmuller pianos are made by Pearl River in China and have no direct connection with Germany. I did not consider that a drawback; if Pearl River can build a good piano and price it to be a great value, that is fine by me.

Pearl River had employed a German piano designer and a German quality control/production manager to upgrade their Ritmuller line several years ago. I know that the former has left the company (not sure about the latter), but their designs and production methods continue to be used.

The Ritmuller R series has some components of lower quality than their GH series, and of better quality than Pearl River's self-branded pianos, e.g., the hammers. Some design features of the GH series seem to have trickled down to the R series and Pearl River branded pianos over time.

As has been pointed out, some of what you have been told is contradictory, incorrect or mere marketing. Longer keys could result in a lighter action, but these pianos do not have especially long keys, so the point is moot. German-designed pianos are not known for their "surprisingly bold sound", whether that is a positive or not. Some consider Yamaha grands to have a bolder sound than others, but such generalizations are rather simplistic.

So go and play the Ritmuller R9, and you may like it as I did, for being a fine value as an entry-level grand, when appropriately priced. Good luck!
Lotus

P. S. I just read your posts on other threads and saw that your budget was $15,000. If that is still the case, you should be able to get a much larger and better (used) piano than this one, as others have advised on those threads.

Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Lotus1 #3049171 11/24/20 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Lotus1
Pearl River had employed a German piano designer and a German quality control/production manager to upgrade their Ritmuller line several years ago. I know that the former has left the company (not sure about the latter), but their designs and production methods continue to be used.

I believe you're talking about Lothar Thomma for the designs and Stephan Mohler as the person who (to my knowledge) is still onsite at the factory and spends the majority of his time there. Very nice fellow.


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Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3049186 11/24/20 11:05 PM
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Hello, So I played the piano. The room was large with 18-foot ceiling, carpeting, padded furniture. The piano was place in front of a large and tall window that went to the ceiling (the classic "here is my grand piano" setting you find in all the marketing pics). The piano's exterior was flawless -- soft close fallboard, pristine brass and mirror black ebony without a single dent, nick, or scratch to be found. The interior had no dust, no blemishes on the wires, all the felts looked clean and fresh without grooves or indentations (that I could see).

I played it for half an hour.

I was expecting to something "tinny" but instead the sound was round and warm -- very similar to the Kawais and Schimmels I have been playing but with less "presence" in the room. It sounded clear and warm but did not have the full volume of the larger Kawai RX-2 (but as a baby at 5ft 3-inch, that was to be expected). Still, I was impressed with the boldness of the base and the bell-like sound of the treble. I found the keyboard action highly responsive to both my loudness and softness tests. Sustain (without pedal) is not as long as in larger pianos but at 13-15 seconds, I thought that was pretty good. All my classical and pop numbers sounded great with just the right amount of brightness for my taste. The seller allowed me to play his 109 yr old Steinway grand (6ft 1-inch) that he keeps in a larger dining. No, this piano was not a Steinway, but it was still sounds pretty darn nice!

terminaldegree -- I am 62 years old and have been playing for 4 years after taking classes at a local junior college. I am currently playing on a Casio CDP-130 digital keyboard. At my age, I am not likely to ever grow into an accomplished pianist (although I continue to be hopeful). I have some of carpal tunnel in both hands from 23-years as a computer engineer. I have been dealing with tendonitis in both my pinkies over the last year due to tension (something that is a constant struggle for me). I also have arthritis in my thumbs and can only play an hour at a time, usually. I often wonder how long I will be able to play piano if I can not get over my injures. Add in stage fright and no one other than my husband and dog will ever hear me play. My budget is $15K -- money I received from an inheritance from my parents estate, no other reason than that. To date, I have been looking at used Kawais, 20-years or younger.

This 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano ticks off a number of things for me:

1) It sounds nice -- nice and warm with a good deep bass and bell-like treble. But it does miss the full thunder of a bigger grand with a better name.
2) The keyboard action felt nice on my hands -- after a half and hour I felt no fatigue or pain.
3) It looks great! Very impressive styling and a truly lovely piece of furniture!
4) Although I currently have the room for a larger grand piano (18-ft ceilings in a 25x28ft great room with hardwood floors, large glass windows, and some padded furniture), I feel a baby grand is a good size to take with us when my husband and I decide to downsize into a smaller home.
5) I think it fits my skill level well with some room to grow. In the event my ambition (and hands) make me great pianist (it could happen), I can always get a better piano, right?
6) The price is right -- seller is asking $2800. He bought it five years ago for $9000 (it had an MSRP for $13K). He priced it to move because in this area (Northern California), people all want Yamahas and Kawais.

The only thing this piano does not have going for it is the name -- there does not appear to be much snob appeal in a Chinese made brand nor do people have much confidence in the quality of Pearl River pianos. I admit it, this bothers me. At the same time I want to be reasonable and practical in this purchase -- I do wonder how wise it would be for me to purchase a costly instrument (in both price and value over time) given my age, experience, and the abilities of my injured hands. <Heavy sigh>

I will sleep in this. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3049193 11/24/20 11:36 PM
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Anna, for what it's worth, I'll offer you my advice. Buy it! The price is right and the piano is a good match for your experience. As mentioned, I came very close to buying a new Ritmuller R9 a year ago, and understand your positive feelings about the instrument.

As a child, I studied the piano for a dozen years, with lessons 3x a week, lots of recitals and exams. When I returned to the piano in retirement, after many decades away, I struggled with deciding how much to spend. My accomplishments as a child seemed so long ago!

So when a lightly-used entry-level Kawai grand fell into my lap for a bargain price, I could not turn it down. And I've been very happy with it over the year I've owned it. I don't rule out buying a bigger/better/grander piano some day, but have not felt the need to do so at all. I hope that you have a similar experience.

Sleep well and good luck with your decision!
Lotus

P. S. to terminaldegree:
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
I believe you're talking about Lothar Thomma for the designs and Stephan Mohler as the person who (to my knowledge) is still onsite at the factory and spends the majority of his time there. Very nice fellow.
Yes, indeed; their names had slipped my memory. I had researched Pearl River's piano lines thoroughly a year ago, and it was Mr Mohler's continuation at the factory that reassured me of their quality.

Last edited by Lotus1; 11/24/20 11:45 PM.
Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3049200 11/24/20 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Anna B
The only thing this piano does not have going for it is the name -- there does not appear to be much snob appeal in a Chinese made brand nor do people have much confidence in the quality of Pearl River pianos. I admit it, this bothers me. At the same time I want to be reasonable and practical in this purchase -- I do wonder how wise it would be for me to purchase a costly instrument (in both price and value over time) given my age, experience, and the abilities of my injured hands. <Heavy sigh>

I will sleep in this. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Hi Anna B,

My first grand piano was a Tokai G180 (5'10") (circa 1987). It was made in Hamamatsu Japan, where the high-end Yamahas and Kawais are made. It was an obscure, little known brand that most people had never heard of, nor had I. It was for sale by a private seller, located about 30 or 40 miles from my home. I bought it around 2006/2007, or about the time I joined Piano World.

I went to look at it, and didn't know much at all about what I was doing. It was a beautiful piano, in ebony polish, and looked great, played well, to my untrained hands, and sounded pretty good to my untrained ears, although it was a tad (okay, a lot:-) on the bright side. The seller was a nice man, who was a full-time minister of music at his Church. He said he bought the piano new from a dealer who sold the Tokai brand, which is no longer made, to my knowledge.

I paid $4250 for the piano, plus $350 for moving cost. I didn't have it inspected by a piano tech because I thought I knew enough about pianos that I could notice anything amiss or major problems, which I did not.

The piano served me well for a few years, (I forget how many), and I can honestly say that I enjoyed the Tokai grand while I had it.

After a while, I had the desire for something better still. So, I sold the Tokai G180 for $3000 and bought an older Yamaha C7 grand, and yes, it sounded better and played better than the Tokai, but it also cost more.

I said all that to say this... it seems to me that the price of the Ritmueller baby grand is a decent enough price that, should you buy it, and decide later that you wanted something better, or different, you could likely get most, if not all of your money back on the Ritmueller, although used pianos are hard to sell, as a general rule.

I have come to the conclusion that if you buy a piano, and decide you made a mistake, or it doesn't please you like you thought it would, you can always sell it or trade it. There are lots and lots of pianos out there for sale.

However, only you can decided what is best for you at this point in time, and with the budget you have to invest in a piano. And, the name on the fallboard matters to an extent, but it also doesn't matter, to an extent. A contradiction? Maybe, or maybe not. Some pianos with well known names on the fallboard may not sound or play as good as the Ritmueller you are looking at. As for longevity, we can only live one day at a time. So, the piano only has to be good for one day at a time.

I'm not trying to convince you to buy the Ritmueller, or not buy it. I'm only trying to share a few thoughts for you to think about along the way. I've been where you are now, when it comes to making a decision regarding a piano acquisition.

Wishing you the best regarding your piano search and acquisition decision! smile

Rick


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Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3049205 11/25/20 12:55 AM
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Anna, it sounds like you have found your partner in music. Enjoy!


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Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3049206 11/25/20 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Anna B.
Hello, So I played the piano. The room was large with 18-foot ceiling, carpeting, padded furniture. The piano was place in front of a large and tall window that went to the ceiling (the classic "here is my grand piano" setting you find in all the marketing pics). The piano's exterior was flawless -- soft close fallboard, pristine brass and mirror black ebony without a single dent, nick, or scratch to be found. The interior had no dust, no blemishes on the wires, all the felts looked clean and fresh without grooves or indentations (that I could see).

I played it for half an hour.

I was expecting to something "tinny" but instead the sound was round and warm -- very similar to the Kawais and Schimmels I have been playing but with less "presence" in the room. It sounded clear and warm but did not have the full volume of the larger Kawai RX-2 (but as a baby at 5ft 3-inch, that was to be expected). Still, I was impressed with the boldness of the base and the bell-like sound of the treble. I found the keyboard action highly responsive to both my loudness and softness tests. Sustain (without pedal) is not as long as in larger pianos but at 13-15 seconds, I thought that was pretty good. All my classical and pop numbers sounded great with just the right amount of brightness for my taste. The seller allowed me to play his 109 yr old Steinway grand (6ft 1-inch) that he keeps in a larger dining. No, this piano was not a Steinway, but it was still sounds pretty darn nice!

terminaldegree -- I am 62 years old and have been playing for 4 years after taking classes at a local junior college. I am currently playing on a Casio CDP-130 digital keyboard. At my age, I am not likely to ever grow into an accomplished pianist (although I continue to be hopeful). I have some of carpal tunnel in both hands from 23-years as a computer engineer. I have been dealing with tendonitis in both my pinkies over the last year due to tension (something that is a constant struggle for me). I also have arthritis in my thumbs and can only play an hour at a time, usually. I often wonder how long I will be able to play piano if I can not get over my injures. Add in stage fright and no one other than my husband and dog will ever hear me play. My budget is $15K -- money I received from an inheritance from my parents estate, no other reason than that. To date, I have been looking at used Kawais, 20-years or younger.

This 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano ticks off a number of things for me:

1) It sounds nice -- nice and warm with a good deep bass and bell-like treble. But it does miss the full thunder of a bigger grand with a better name.
2) The keyboard action felt nice on my hands -- after a half and hour I felt no fatigue or pain.
3) It looks great! Very impressive styling and a truly lovely piece of furniture!
4) Although I currently have the room for a larger grand piano (18-ft ceilings in a 25x28ft great room with hardwood floors, large glass windows, and some padded furniture), I feel a baby grand is a good size to take with us when my husband and I decide to downsize into a smaller home.
5) I think it fits my skill level well with some room to grow. In the event my ambition (and hands) make me great pianist (it could happen), I can always get a better piano, right?
6) The price is right -- seller is asking $2800. He bought it five years ago for $9000 (it had an MSRP for $13K). He priced it to move because in this area (Northern California), people all want Yamahas and Kawais.

The only thing this piano does not have going for it is the name -- there does not appear to be much snob appeal in a Chinese made brand nor do people have much confidence in the quality of Pearl River pianos. I admit it, this bothers me. At the same time I want to be reasonable and practical in this purchase -- I do wonder how wise it would be for me to purchase a costly instrument (in both price and value over time) given my age, experience, and the abilities of my injured hands. <Heavy sigh>

I will sleep in this. Would love to hear your thoughts.
For $2,800, how could you go wrong? Not only would the purchase be reasonable and practical, but the Ritmuller would be a major step up from the Casio you've been playing on. Given all that you've told us, I seriously doubt that you would beat the piano to death, so it probably will hold up fairly well over the years. Ritmuller pianos built prior to July 2020 do not have transferable warranties, so that's not an option with this five year old instrument. For peace of mind you should consider paying a local piano tech to evaluate the piano for you and give it a clean bill of health. If your skill level improves to the point that you "outgrow" the R9, you can always sell it (for what you paid) and purchase something else. I wouldn't get too hung up over the snob appeal factor. The name on the fallboard is not as important as the design, build and condition of the piano itself - and this one seems to have a lot going for it. As a point of reference, here's a similar vintage R9 being offered by a dealer for $8,500.

https://www.alamomusic.com/pre-owned-ritmuller-r9-grand-piano-polished-ebony-1553820/


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Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3049259 11/25/20 07:06 AM
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I agree, it sounds like a good buy. But do have it inspected by a piano tech. In particular you want them to look at the action. I suspect it’s fine since you played it for 30 minutes, but the one thing You probably want to ensure, given your hand concerns, is that the action is good.


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Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3049438 11/25/20 03:46 PM
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Hello,

My piano has been sold! When I called the seller this morning to tell them I would take the piano, they said some guy stopped at their house earlier this morning with a wad of cash and bought it -- he didn't even play it!!!! The seller tells me he bought it as a Christmas present for his 8-year old grandson.

I am very disappointed.

In any case, thank you for all your input! I very much appreciate all your help and am thankful that this forum exists! My search for my piano will continue.

Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3049443 11/25/20 04:04 PM
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Oh no!!!! I'm so sorry! frown

Try not to be disappointed, you'll find another one!


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Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3049468 11/25/20 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Anna B.
Hello,

My piano has been sold! When I called the seller this morning to tell them I would take the piano, they said some guy stopped at their house earlier this morning with a wad of cash and bought it -- he didn't even play it!!!! The seller tells me he bought it as a Christmas present for his 8-year old grandson.

I am very disappointed.

In any case, thank you for all your input! I very much appreciate all your help and am thankful that this forum exists! My search for my piano will continue.

So sorry to hear this, Anna B.

If it is any consolation, I've missed out on a couple of great buys on a nice, private sale piano, because I didn't act fast enough. I've learned that when a really good deal/bargain comes along on a used piano, (which may not happen often), you have to be prepared to act quickly, or someone else will.

That said, don't worry about it too much. Another nice piano will come along, sooner or later. It might be worthwhile to go ahead and have your ducks in a row (piano tech, movers and funds), so you can act faster when a good buy on a nice piano comes along.

I could tell one of my many "piano adventure" stories here, but I think most of the regulars here get tired of hearing the same old stories (a sign of getting old smile ).

Rick


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Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3049522 11/25/20 08:51 PM
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Thank you, ShiroKuro and Rickster. Of course, you are right, there will be other pianos.

It was a strange -- before yesterday there was no interest in this piano and this morning a guy arrives at the seller's house early in the morning with $2800 in cash? My husband thinks that posting my review of the piano may have been a mistake. He thinks that this guy read my review and swooped in to purchase the piano before I could contact the seller with my decision. Does that sort of thing happen?

Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3049544 11/25/20 10:15 PM
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Anna,
I wondered about that, especially if the piano was listed for sale at a popular site like Craigslist. Your comments, as well as the positive sentiment of those who replied to you, could have guided someone who knew nothing about pianos and was also in Northern California. A Google search for "Ritmuller R9 review" would have led them to Piano World, if not your exact post.

But don't kick yourself about it. Good pianos priced well below what they are worth sell fast. In this age of easy access to information on the internet, it would not have been difficult for anyone to determine that a 5-year old Ritmuller kept in the conditions you described was worth a chance at $2,800.

There was a recent thread on a Yamaha GB1K for sale for $2,500, which some believed could be a scam, particularly as the Craigslist listing was quickly removed. I pointed out that it could very well have been genuine, relating the story of how I contacted the previous owners of my Kawai GM-10 just 40 minutes after it was posted on Craigslist and paid them the asking price in cash immediately after playing it, several days before it was delivered to me.

See that thread here: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/3038953

The challenge for used piano buyers, as you've discovered, is that few private sellers price realistically. I saw so many badly kept pianos, well kept but absurdly priced pianos, and scams, that I had come to the conclusion that a new piano was my best option. Until "my" used Kawai appeared on Craigslist!

I'm sorry that you came so close this time and wish you the best in your continuing search. Be ready to pounce when "your" piano shows up ... and it will!
Regards,
Lotus

Last edited by Lotus1; 11/25/20 10:18 PM.
Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3049548 11/25/20 10:44 PM
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My husband called the seller to get the entire story because he needed some closure. After their conversation, we now believes that there was nothing sinister going. In the end, it was a simple matter of me expressing my decision to the seller too late. We have learned from this experience and we are moving on!

Re: 2015 Ritmueller R9 Baby Grand Piano
Anna B. #3049551 11/25/20 11:11 PM
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I’m glad you followed up and found nothing odd. Also, closure is good!

Perhaps this was meant to be. You’ll only know in hind sight though!


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