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Hello everyone smile

As I have implied in some previous threads around here, I have been considering the option of getting an acoustic. I have had the chance to play on several acoustics of various sizes and shapes in my weekly piano lessons, and it is always so rewarding compared to my digital experience that I am now convinced I want to continue learning on an acoustic mainly. I am planning in putting it in my living room (30 m2 ~ 300 ft2) (my flatmate agreed! :))

I own a relatively good digital which I am planning to keep for silent practice. Thus, I am not considering silent options. I went to two dealers in my area today. The first one was mostly Yamaha focused. I got to play a U1, a B3 and a U3. I was not expecting to enjoy the U1 as much as I did. It had a very nice action. The sound was as expected quite direct and clear, and not as bright as I thought. I think it was a clear step up to the B3. The U3 was on the other hand very bright and seemed it would be too much for my space. Good, since it was out of my budget :P. He also had a K300 ATX3, which I was very interested in (I like Kaway, my digital is Kawai and the best piano I have ever played until today was an SK3). For some reason it was awfully prepared compared to the rest, so no conclusions here. The U1 will be 10000 CHF, so the maximum I want to expend.

I could also play a Schimmel C116 an C120 which I quite enjoyed, specially the C120. The C116 could fit somehow in my budget. I also had a celestial experience with a "only in my dreams" Bechstein A124 (I had no idea an upright could sound that good lol hah amazing).

The second dealer had only a K200 and a K300 (with ATX3 again ://) in my price range, but they were really good prepared. I was surprised by the K200, it sounded a lot better than I expected. However, the K300 had a superior sound and I liked it a lot!. Unfortunately, I could tell the difference in the action of the K300 compared to the K200 (whose action I really enjoyed!) because of the silent system. He has a couple of K300 with no silent in the warehouse, so he will prepare one of those for me to test next week. The price for the K300 will be 7000 CHF ~ $7500. It will include tuning and transport. They also offer a trade in option in the future in case I want to upgrade. He mentioned details to the trade in price but I forgot. I will ask again. I had a very good experience with this dealer. It was really nice to chat with him, he explained a lot of questions I had gathered from previous research, and he did not seem to want to hide info to keep the purchase (he was very upfront to the differences and compromises of the action in the silent system for example). So, by now I am inclined to get a K300.
I could also try the rest of his instruments, so more SKs, and some Steingraeber and August Foerster uprights and grands. They topped my Bechstein experience earlier in the day, just amazing. Hopefully one day ... whome

Anyways, just wanted to share my thoughts. I will keep you posted. This would be the largest purchase I have ever done in my life so far, and I do not know if I am upgrading too soon given I only started to play last June. I just think I found a life passion in playing piano, so keep convincing myself it is the right time whome

Sorry for the long post and for keep reading it lol. Any advice/comment is very welcome smile
Thank you all


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I think if you really have a passion for piano and playing other acoustics has given you a much more satisfying experience, upgrading to an acoustic will make it a real joy to play at home! I don't think you are upgrading too soon and that getting a good acoustic piano will help you progress with your playing smile


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Thank you twocats. I really appreciate your reply. I do find enjoyment playing my digital, but an acoustic is just another level. I will keep your points in mind smile


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Are there other dealers in your area? Or perhaps private party sellers? (Make sure to get a used piano professionally inspected before buying!)

It sounds like you have a good sense of the touch and tone that you prefer. You may want to broaden your search and see if you can find a piano that you really love within your budget smile


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Congrats on moving on to a real instrument, it will be an incredible delight.

Originally Posted by AndresVel
The U1 will be 10000 CHF, so the maximum I want to expend.
In my opinion, that would be a costly mistake. You're on an English speaking forum and will get a lot of US-centric advice; nothing wrong with that, in fact often: the best. But in your case you should really also consult European and ideally German-speaking forums instead like clavio.de where you'll get advice that's better tailored to your specific context.

If I was you, I'd take that budget of 10k CHK and buy an instrument for which the other people in this thread (including twocats and myself) have to shell out close to forty or fifty thousand dollars. But you're in Switzerland, and you have access to a market that's not been ransacked by ridiculous price hikes aka the US of A. Here's an example, Bluethner Model B - which is TWICE the instrument of the Bechstein Akademie 124 you're so impressed with - for 11k Schweizer Franken (after negotiation, well within your budget):

https://www.klaviano.com/de/pianos-for-sale/bluthner/b/bluthner-357289.html

It's used and restored, and you'll have to factor in the cost of a technician to get it inspected and attended to. But guess what, at the end of the day, you'll have a premiere instrument sitting at home, with great re-sale value, and not a Yamaha U1 which is where inevitably all of us stumble into when you first start searching - simply because some brands are extremely well represented at the level of dealerships (and good for them).

Here's the complete listings for Switzerland. Good luck and please keep us posted.

Last edited by Windjammer; 01/17/21 04:11 PM.

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Originally Posted by twocats
Are there other dealers in your area? Or perhaps private party sellers? (Make sure to get a used piano professionally inspected before buying!)

It sounds like you have a good sense of the touch and tone that you prefer. You may want to broaden your search and see if you can find a piano that you really love within your budget smile

I have been checking the used market but I mainly find pianos that might be a bit too old to be my first one (from the 1980s, early 1990s) or that I am not sure I would want. I see several smaller uprights in the used market at the moment. I am kid of the mindset I would like an upright at least 120 cm high but I do not know if this requirement makes sense. I have to admit I was surprised by the K200 and the Schimmel C116 in spite of being shorter than that. But I would like something with a more interesting bass. I truly enjoyed the sound of the K300. I hope I love the action once I play the one without silent system integrated.
I will check other dealers around if covid allows. The one dealer I really enjoyed chatting with (he gave me a really good impression, I found that important, mainly since they also do service and repairs) works together with other one I had targeted but I could not visit due to covid. They are smaller family businesses that have been around for quite some decades already. I might double check with them if other models are available.


Originally Posted by Windjammer
Congrats on moving on to a real instrument, it will be an incredible delight.

Originally Posted by AndresVel
The U1 will be 10000 CHF, so the maximum I want to expend.
In my opinion, that would be a costly mistake. You're on an English speaking forum and will get a lot of US-centric advice; nothing wrong with that, in fact often: the best. But in your case you should really also consult European and ideally German-speaking forums instead like clavio.de where you'll get advice that's better tailored to your specific context.

If I was you, I'd take that budget of 10k CHK and buy an instrument for which the other people in this thread (including twocats and myself) have to shell out close to forty or fifty thousand dollars. But you're in Switzerland, and you have access to a market that's not been ransacked by ridiculous price hikes aka the US of A. Here's an example, Bluethner Model B - which is TWICE the instrument of the Bechstein Akademie 124 you're so impressed with - for 11k Schweizer Franken (after negotiation, well within your budget):

https://www.klaviano.com/de/pianos-for-sale/bluthner/b/bluthner-357289.html

It's used and restored, and you'll have to factor in the cost of a technician to get it inspected and attended to. But guess what, at the end of the day, you'll have a premiere instrument sitting at home, with great re-sale value, and not a Yamaha U1 which is where inevitably all of us stumble into when you first start searching - simply because some brands are extremely well represented at the level of dealerships (and good for them).

Here's the complete. Good luck and please keep us posted.

Thank you very much for your advise Windjammer. On the particular case of the U1, I have discarded it already. I do not think the price makes justice, considering the rates I got for the Schimmels.

I had thought on what you said. I also think I have all these german and european pianos just right around the corner, and it feels funny not to take advantage of that and still go for a japanese one. Unfortunately a lot of them are out of my budget if I buy new. On the other hand, I enjoyed playing the Kawai models. Maybe it is because this is just my first piano purchase, but I am also a bit hesitant of the used private market. I would have to pick wisely those I want to get inspected, otherwise I just run into much cost. Any advice how to proceed purchasing from privates? I will see if there are models I am overlooking. Thank you for the links.

I found some Wilhelm Steinberg P-series and Wilhelm Grotrian W120 at this other dealer? Does anyone know about those models?
Thank you again smile

Last edited by AndresVel; 01/17/21 06:07 PM.

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Originally Posted by AndresVel
[ Maybe it is because this is just my first piano purchase, but I am also a bit hesitant of the used private market. I would have to pick wisely those I want to get inspected, otherwise I just run into much cost. Any advice how to proceed purchasing from privates?
Others with more experience will chime in. I can share my limited experience.

I generally limited my search to recent used instruments, max. 5 years old. I start by looking up ads online; I then proceed to contact the seller and ask them for the serial number, asking for a photograph of the number on the instrument. I'd then call up the brand's HQ in Europe (Leipzig, Vienna, etc.) and have them verify the age of the instrument based on the serial number, and when it was shipped to which store. I generally did not trade with private individuals but with dealers who had used inventory and were able to give me a warranty.

Let's use an example. The Bluethner B that I linked comes from a Swiss dealer who gives you a 5 year warranty. No private person can give you that. So start with that store, contact them, ask for the serial number; call up Bluethner Switzerland and ask them to verify the serial number and the year of vintage (Bj. Baujahr); their address is in Grenchen, number +41 (0) 32 501 48 48. Next, you must do diligence on the Swiss dealer; how long have they been around? Do they provide good post-sales service? Do they honor their warranties? If yes to to these questions, and the serial number checks out, you are in safe hands.

Why do I recommend that? Because like used cars, the trust issue with private individuals is very different. I had private sellers refuse to provide serial numbers, or blatantly lie about the age of the instruments they are selling. That's when you walk because too much money is on the table to throw it at a person who refuses to deal honestly and transparently.

Finally, the Bluethner B is just an example I use; I'm biased because I spent a LOT of time researching their used market, and just recently bought a 2018 upright at 35% retail price following the above steps. However, you should not limit your search to one brand. The same methodology I outlined applies to any other main European brand, like Sauter, Seiler, Schimmel, or what have you. Sometimes the manufacturer will have explicit - and strong - opinions about the dealerships you're buying from. That's why I advise the phone: people are a LOT more outspoken on the phone than what they will tell you over email. Emailing means going on record. Piano manufacturers and piano dealers are very reticent people, and you learn a lot by talking to them directly.

Last edited by Windjammer; 01/17/21 07:27 PM.

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I'm surprised that some dealers are not allowing visits! Here they are mostly by appointment and of course you need to be masked and I assume social distanced inside the store.

Regarding used pianos, if you find any pianos that are not too old (maybe max 20 years old?), I think if you find one you really like then hire an inspector. There's advice online about what you can look for by yourself before taking this step. But I think in general if a piano is in good condition you'll know by playing it (good tone, even touch), the inspector is just to make sure you don't have any unforeseen issues. Also it's very difficult to evaluate the tone of pianos that are very out of tune, so keep that in mind. Personally I like ads where the history and use of the piano is well detailed and I can go in fairly confident that it was cared for.


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Originally Posted by Windjammer
I generally limited my search to recent used instruments, max. 5 years old. I start by looking up ads online; I then proceed to contact the seller and ask them for the serial number, asking for a photograph of the number on the instrument. I'd then call up the brand's HQ in Europe (Leipzig, Vienna, etc.) and have them verify the age of the instrument based on the serial number, and when it was shipped to which store. I generally did not trade with private individuals but with dealers who had used inventory and were able to give me a warranty.

...

Finally, the Bluethner B is just an example I use; I'm biased because I spent a LOT of time researching their used market, and just recently bought a 2018 upright at 35% retail price following the above steps. However, you should not limit your search to one brand. The same methodology I outlined applies to any other main European brand, like Sauter, Seiler, Schimmel, or what have you. Sometimes the manufacturer will have explicit - and strong - opinions about the dealerships you're buying from. That's why I advise the phone: people are a LOT more outspoken on the phone than what they will tell you over email. Emailing means going on record. Piano manufacturers and piano dealers are very reticent people, and you learn a lot by talking to them directly.

Thank you very much for your advice Windjammer. You are totally right. I feel a bit hesitant to go to privates since it is hard to tell how much work is needed and how much it can cost. I must add that handwork is extremely expensive here in Switzerland. So having to do much afterwards on an used piano might easily come close to buying a new one at the price range I am looking at. But I will check anyways.
I have no issue on checking used uprights prepped and sold by dealers. I am considering that scenario as well. For that particular Bluthner, it is unfortunately located in Geneva, which is a far from where I am located (at least for Switzerland standards). I will check closer to where I live.

Actually, I now have my eye on a Sauter 122 special edition from 1992. It is offered a bit higher than my maximum budget, but I do not know if it might be too old though. I will ask what was done by the dealer on that model.


Originally Posted by twocats
I'm surprised that some dealers are not allowing visits! Here they are mostly by appointment and of course you need to be masked and I assume social distanced inside the store.

Regarding used pianos, if you find any pianos that are not too old (maybe max 20 years old?), I think if you find one you really like then hire an inspector. There's advice online about what you can look for by yourself before taking this step. But I think in general if a piano is in good condition you'll know by playing it (good tone, even touch), the inspector is just to make sure you don't have any unforeseen issues. Also it's very difficult to evaluate the tone of pianos that are very out of tune, so keep that in mind. Personally I like ads where the history and use of the piano is well detailed and I can go in fairly confident that it was cared for.
Thank you twocats. Covid boomed here again so it is getting trickier. 20 years old is was what I was thinking. I might give a free-pass to that 1992 Sauter.

Last edited by AndresVel; 01/18/21 08:41 AM.

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Maybe worth waiting for a while, till the virus is effectively controlled? p.s. a 1992 Sauter does not necessarily mean too old. They're very solid built. It depends on how it was used and maintained. And...newly made Schimmels are really of high value/cost ratio in Europe.

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Hi everyone,
My search goes on and I am now fully convinced it is totally worth it for my budget to check for used uprights, given also the amount of european uprights available in the used market. The search started a bit rough. The Sauter 122 was purchased out of the blue by a long time costumer of the dealer. He did not even try it. Then a Schimmel 116 from 1993 appeared online, but it was sold within two days. I was the second one replying to the add, and was too late smirk I have played several models by various dealers and continued checking online. The last week has been more productive and I have found two models that I have really enjoyed:

- Schimmel 114 from 1993 offered by a dealer. I played and liked it a lot, not too heavy touch (it has renner action) and it has a lot of power for the size, with a warm yet bright sound (hard to describe). The dealer is working on some minor details I noticed, so I can play it again towards the end of the week.
- W Hoffmann model 120 from 1996 offered by a private. One can tell he has taken good care of it. I enjoyed the action a lot (full size Renner action) it was very responsive, and the sound is well rounded, with good power in the treble. I really enjoyed it. I will have a tech inspect it. I found it superior, mostly in sound, to the current P120 produced in Czech republic which I played at another dealer.

My question: Does anyone know a bit more about this W Hoffmann models from the period after the purchase by Bechstein and prior to switching the production to Czech republic? I have read the instrument must have been produced in the German Bechstein factory at Seifhennersdof. I am really considering giving it an edge over the Schimmel taking into account also the 6cm advantage in size. It is also more affordable, although now transport and probably some minor prep work will add to that.

Thanks in advance smile


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I haven't played German made W. Hoffmanns, hope other fellows have information. For Schimmels I always consider them warm and on the bright side, even though something is changing continuously. Some Konzert grands in the early 2000s were exception to me, with sound like marbles in the stream, very pretty but cold and a bit harsh sometimes. Their uprights always sound charming. I prefer the ones made in recent years better, but it is only my personal preference.

As at present you're looking for a reliable piano for practice, not a unique kind of sound which impresses you most, I think the 1993 Schimmel is an excellent one worth consideration.

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Originally Posted by AndresVel
....
My question: Does anyone know a bit more about this W Hoffmann models from the period after the purchase by Bechstein and prior to switching the production to Czech republic? I have read the instrument must have been produced in the German Bechstein factory at Seifhennersdof. I am really considering giving it an edge over the Schimmel taking into account also the 6cm advantage in size. It is also more affordable, although now transport and probably some minor prep work will add to that.

Thanks in advance smile
I bought my relative's new Hoffmann 115 piano in 1996, the tone is ok, but today we know it doesn't worth that money. Especially I am also for a vertical piano minimum > 120
I bought recently a used Petrof 125, 1978, for me it is much better almost in every aspect.
The piano buy logic in the past:
-the piano action could be compensate with the finger technics
-the tone dynamic range can't.
-the piano action in the past was rarely broken...

PS:

7 months ago, I was almost with your situation, the unique quite ok local piano dealer has relocated, there remains only Yamaha and Kawai dealers. I don't like the tone of those pianos, I don't have any confidence on these dealers and the business model of those brands. In effect those posts confirm that:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre.../bad-news-i-really-need-help.html#UNREAD
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...-in-auckland-5-mins-ago.html#Post3075470

So I bought a much under budget piano, a used Petrof 125, 1978, from a private so I can arrange everything myself and understand the mechanism on acoustic piano. I almost disassembled it and fixed every detail which should be fixed, except few painting issues. It works really great, I am happy with it and I will keep it.


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Hi everyone,

I just wanted to share with you that my search has finally come to an end. After testing a lot of pianos, seeing some that I liked disappear in front of my eyes (it seems I was the only one around here taking time for such a purchase and comparing models lol), I unexpectedly fell in love with a piano I did not know much about.

I ended up purchasing a seven years young Sabel S123. Sabel was one of the top swiss piano manufacturers in the past century. Mostly their uprights were apparently pretty popular in central Europe. The company was founded in 1842 but went to the hands of Schimmel in 1979. Their production continued in Switzerland until 1991, when production was stopped.
Sabel pianos are still made nowadays by Schimmel in Europe but only for selected markets and stores, I think exclusively in Switzerland. Well, I found one of them, used, and offered by an amazing local piano business. I loved its tone, very warm but with plenty of power if needed. It was very well prepped as well, and it felt very easy to play. It was delivered this week. In terms of specs, it resembles a lot the last Vogel, perhaps current Wilhelm Schimmel models. Mine has even a soundboard and cabinet labeled as Vogel, which makes sense since it is from the year Wilhelm Schimmel replaced Vogel.

I want to thank Windjammer, twocats, aesop, and zonzi for your very useful suggestions and inputs during my search. I am very happy to finally have my first acoustic piano :))))))

Here some pics of Tucan! (yes, of course I named my piano)

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


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Congratulations on your new piano !
Despite so many very strange threads about European pianos and odd beliefs, old youtube videos , putting odd pieces together , and false conclusions you actually found your piano!

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Awesome! It can be a daunting process finding a piano that is affordable, available, and speaks to you... congrats on the acquisition!

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Here is a Sabel in action.( with no clothes on)
Sounds good for an upright !



https://youtu.be/ZUrn3lpx3j8

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Congrats!!! That is wonderful news! smile


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Congratulations on your new piano! Beautiful!

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Thank you everyone smile It is such a wonderful thing to wake up and see it there all shiny in the living room smile

Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Congratulations on your new piano !
Despite so many very strange threads about European pianos and odd beliefs, old youtube videos , putting odd pieces together , and false conclusions you actually found your piano!
Originally Posted by Wry Guy
Awesome! It can be a daunting process finding a piano that is affordable, available, and speaks to you... congrats on the acquisition!
It was indeed very daunting. Very fast it was clear to me that it was definitely worth it to focus more on used pianos. Windjammer's advice was very useful here. This since I wanted to get an European piano if possible. I was focused so much on specs at the beginning of my search that I rapidly became overwhelmed and did not even remember how the tested pianos felt like. I then decided to leave specs on the paper and just let my fingers and ears decide. I have read that piece of advice several times on this forum but I guess I was being stubborn.

Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Here is a Sabel in action.( with no clothes on)
Sounds good for an upright !
https://youtu.be/ZUrn3lpx3j8
I had found that video as well during my search. There are not many videos online from Sabel pianos, and maybe this helped the research since I went to test it with no expectations. That is why I was very surprised that I liked it that much. After that, I asked around for some info about those new Sabel models and based on all this I went for it.

Last edited by AndresVel; 02/20/21 05:20 AM.

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Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
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