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Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
#3051982 12/02/20 10:56 AM
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We’re on the hunt for a used grand in the five and a quarter to six and a quarter foot range. It’s an instrument that will be replacing an older Baldwin Hamilton studio upright that we have loved for fifteen years. The new (to us) grand will be played regularly by my wife and me - neither one of us very good, for playing show tunes and Christmas carols and easier classical rep, and by our youngest daughter who is six and has been progressing quite quickly.

We’ve had a chance to play several Yamaha Gs and Cs - mostly from the 80s and 90s, Kawai RXs and a KG2, Baldwin Ls, Rs, and an M - mostly from the 80s, a Steinway O I think from the 30s, a Bluthner from the 20s (not sure of the size, sorry), and I think that’s it.

We didn’t care for the action on any of the Kawais, the Steinway sounded tired and stuffy, my wife and I liked the Yamaha G2s that we played but not the Cs. We liked all of the Baldwin Ls that we played and I really liked the sound on the Bluthner but it’s well out of our budget - of course.

We aren’t considering any Asian makers other than Yamaha and Kawai. And my wife prefers a non-ebony case which is making our search a little harder.

Given our requirements and budget, are there any makes that we’re overlooking and are plentiful enough in the US to expect to find one in the wild?

Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
Piparoo #3051987 12/02/20 11:00 AM
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Where are you located?


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Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
Piparoo #3051994 12/02/20 11:10 AM
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Have you checked listings on Pianomart?


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Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
Piparoo #3052002 12/02/20 11:30 AM
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Thanks for the replies. We’re located in North Carolina. I have scoured pianomart’s inventory and some of the larger online dealer/importers. I like doing the research and pose the question to the experts here to make sure there aren’t any big blind spots in our search - aside from not considering a bunch of Asian makes.

Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
Piparoo #3052035 12/02/20 12:43 PM
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I understand your concerns about Asian makers in general, but if you can find a Korean built Young Chang Pramberger model (built when Joseph Pramberger was still alive and involved with Young Chang) it would definitely be worth a look.

Also consider Schimmel and Petrof/Weinbach - assuming you can find any for under $10K. There's also Mason & Hamlin and Charles Walter.......

Last edited by Carey; 12/02/20 12:45 PM.

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Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
Piparoo #3052093 12/02/20 03:11 PM
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Thanks Carey! Petrof is on our radar but we haven’t found any instruments near us to try. Didn’t think Mason and Hamlin or Walter would be an option given our budget but we will add them to our list.

Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
Piparoo #3052098 12/02/20 03:25 PM
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There aren't going to be $10k Walter grands at this point, they're all too new. Most sub-$10k Masons will be pretty old, or well-worn and original, but you might find something if you look carefully and hire a tech to closely inspect. There were some Czech-built Weinbach grands that were less expensive but basically similar to equivalent Petrof models; some of those might be inexpensive in the used market because of the limited name recognition. Also from Carey's list, looking on PianoMart I only see a couple of Schimmels under $10k, and they're from the 1980s; however you might be able to find their similarly-designed lower line built in Poland, Vogel, if you look around hard enough.

At this price point for a grand piano, it pays to not be brand-specific, and you have to weed out a lot of pianos that are tired, in need of repairs, overpriced, and a lot of instruments that aren't properly tuned/voiced/regulated...to find the decent stuff.


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Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
Piparoo #3052105 12/02/20 03:47 PM
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I figured that Mason and Walter would be a long shot - but I threw them out there anyway. You never know. Also recognize that any Schimmels for under $10K will be at least 30 years old. Weinbach is a good option if you can find one. I'd forgotten about Vogel - although I wasn't all that impressed by the one I played 15 years ago.


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Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
Piparoo #3052167 12/02/20 06:31 PM
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I think at this price point and with used instrument you should buy the instrument, not the brand. Some brands are overrated, and some others are underrated and the price reflects that more than the actual condition of the instrument.

I recommend checking all the stores in your area, in addition to pianomart and craigslist (and some people also say facebook and ebay but I don't use them so I don't know). Playing every instrument in the price range you are looking for, extended by +/- 50% (you could find a bargain or you can bargain down a seller, or fall in love with an instrument and find ways to shell out more for it, so don't exclude just because of asking price, especially on craigslist). Try everything, not just some brands, and make sure you have a trusted and experienced technician to advice.

If you want the instrument before Christmas, resign to spend more and have an inferior instrument. The #1 rule of piano purchasing, especially used, is patience. If you want what you really love and at the good price, it will take months.

Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
Del Vento #3052172 12/02/20 06:45 PM
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Thanks for all of the helpful advice. Seems like Petrof and Weinbach may be promising leads but none are nearby. Sorry if this is a foolish question but are prices higher around Christmas? If so, when are they lower?

Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
Piparoo #3052233 12/02/20 10:27 PM
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I have read that holiday season and the beginning of school year in the fall are common piano shopping times, so other times of the year might possibly bring a better deal. However, people decide to sell their pianos to the dealers for all kinds of reasons throughout the year. You would have a better chance of finding a piano at a price you like if you patiently wait for “the one” to appear instead of giving yourself a “purchase by” deadline.

Yamaha G2 is a nice piano for the under 10k category assuming that it’s in good condition. I have seen a walnut finish one near me recently so non-ebony ones do exist. Good luck on your search!

Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
K8KT #3052242 12/02/20 11:01 PM
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Thankfully we don’t need to rush the purchase process. Since reading all the suggestions I’ve found some leads on a couple of Petrofs, a Weinbach, a Mason, and a Blüthner. Very productive indeed. Excited to try some of them!

Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
Piparoo #3052245 12/02/20 11:08 PM
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Have you asked your technician for recommendations?


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Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
BDB #3052248 12/02/20 11:19 PM
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Yup. He recommended a Baldwin L. We have played and liked several.

Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
Del Vento #3052250 12/02/20 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Del Vento
I think at this price point and with used instrument you should buy the instrument, not the brand. Some brands are overrated, and some others are underrated and the price reflects that more than the actual condition of the instrument.

I recommend checking all the stores in your area, in addition to pianomart and craigslist (and some people also say facebook and ebay but I don't use them so I don't know). Playing every instrument in the price range you are looking for, extended by +/- 50% (you could find a bargain or you can bargain down a seller, or fall in love with an instrument and find ways to shell out more for it, so don't exclude just because of asking price, especially on craigslist). Try everything, not just some brands, and make sure you have a trusted and experienced technician to advice.

If you want the instrument before Christmas, resign to spend more and have an inferior instrument. The #1 rule of piano purchasing, especially used, is patience. If you want what you really love and at the good price, it will take months.

+1

Great advice from start to finish! smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
Piparoo #3052342 12/03/20 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Piparoo
Yup. He recommended a Baldwin L. We have played and liked several.

I really like this advice. I think it is one of your best options at this price point. I say this as someone who used to own one.

Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
George Smith #3052357 12/03/20 08:30 AM
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We do too. They are plentiful and we have liked the sound of each one we have played. I wouldn’t be surprised if we go this route but want to make sure we’ve considered as many options as possible before purchase.

Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
Piparoo #3052373 12/03/20 09:29 AM
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You could try Cunningham Pianos in SE Pennsylvania or even in South New Jersey. They are a Yamaha dealer and also sell used and rebuilt pianos. One of our members, Rich Galassini owns it and he is very knowledgeable and helpful.

This is just my opinion but it has become very difficult to find a piano in anything other than black. If your dream piano turns out to be black, embrace the color and buy an area rug with black and some other color stripes to set off the black piano as a feature.

Best Wishes on your search!

Last edited by j&j; 12/03/20 09:32 AM.

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Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
Piparoo #3052401 12/03/20 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by j&j
This is just my opinion but it has become very difficult to find a piano in anything other than black. If your dream piano turns out to be black, embrace the color and buy an area rug with black and some other color stripes to set off the black piano as a feature.

Very true, j&j. When shopping for a used piano, dealer or private seller, we can't always be so picky about the exterior finish, although sometimes we get lucky.

I too prefer the wood finishes, and always have. But my first grand piano was ebony polish; and, as you said, it did grow on me and became plenty acceptable, as opposed to being unhappy with the finish. We can learn to love something we previously did not (there is lesson there somewhere smile ).

Now, I will say that I prefer a satin ebony finish over a high polish, if I can't have the wood tone finish. But, hey, what is that they say about having your cake and eating it too? smile

Rick


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Re: Used Grand Buying Advice - $10,000 Budget
Piparoo #3052405 12/03/20 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Piparoo
Thanks for all of the helpful advice. Seems like Petrof and Weinbach may be promising leads but none are nearby. Sorry if this is a foolish question but are prices higher around Christmas? If so, when are they lower?

Prices around Christmas are not necessarily higher, but there are more people shopping and therefore the sellers (private or shops) are less likely to bargain down in price, and there will be less choices. As others have said, a few weeks after schools start (when people have relocated and settled in new places), it's another time of high demand.

From private sales, prices are definitely lower right after the "premium house selling" time: people selling their house will use a piano to make a great impression on potential buyers. Then they will accept an offer for the house with a closing date, agreeing to vacate the home by a fixed date. Often, they can't or don't want to bring the instrument to a different location, so they are very willing to accept low offers, especially because the number of buyers is lower (they are moving to other locations too and are not ready to purchase until schools start again). More often then not people selling houses feel "rich" with the money they are making by that sale, and hence accept a loss on "the other sale" we care about (the piano). In Colorado, such a time is late spring or early summer.

Hope this helps.

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