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Joined: Feb 2021
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whited Offline OP
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Hi, I hope it's alright that my first post is one seeking help. I'll try to make this somewhat specific.

My scenario:
My son has been playing a digital Casio Privia for a few years and he very much needs an acoustic piano. Here is a recent (remote) recital to give you an idea of where he is: Youtube Link
Now I have essentially no ability to play, but I do remain involved with the development of his playing and technique. That said, we've spent a couple trips to showrooms trying various pianos and my son is possibly a bit too young and I'm a bit too ignorant to really know when we play a ringer.

The pianos:
We're definitely at the point where we're exclusively shopping for a grand piano. My son definitely like a warmer sound e.g. he played & likes a new Kawai GL-50, and a 1996 Schimmel around 5'10" (I wish I can remember the model #). He does not like any Yamaha he tried. He also liked a pre-owned Boston GP-178. Here are his favored ones listed:
Boston GP-178: pre-owned, for sale by Steinway, $24000
Schimmel about 5'10" from 1996, for sale by a local piano dealer, $20000
Kawai GL-50, new from the same local piano dealer, $18,500


My son doesn't really have a clear favorite among his 3 preferred above. I personally like the Kawai brand, and specifically the GL-50 my son played based on the combination of sound, price, and the fact it's got a 10 year warranty. I can afford around $20k at the end of the day, but I must say my budget started closer to $10k before we started visiting showrooms.

So here is where I need advice:
If I put in the effort to be thrifty, can I find a piano just as nice if not better for around $10k to maybe up to $15k? I can't help but wonder if I shift directions I may find a 10 or 20 year old Kawai (RX?) for around $12k. Similarly I believe there are some other solid pianos in the $12k price range if I put effort and due diligence in searching (which I think I could do). On the other hand, is a $18.5k GL-50 a great deal? Should I aim higher than a GL if my budget stretches to $20k?

Ok I asked a bunch of questions at the end, but that's where I'm at right now. Wish me luck and thanks for your help.

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It would help to know where you are looking and how far you would travel to try pianos.

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You might look here for new Kawai prices. 18.5 k for a new Kawai GL-50 seems to be a very good deal. Go for it.

https://www.pianobuyer.com/brand/kawai/

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18.5K for GL-50 is a great deal, and I would try GX-2 if the price is only 1-2k higher than GL-50.

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Well, I have to chime in to suggest that, if you’re near the Philadelphia area, Cunningham Piano Co. would be absolutely worth a trip. They have a great selection of instruments, and their Cunningham Matchless grands are, in my personal opinion, superb. Very well worth an audition! I’m certain Rich Galassini would be more than happy to show you around, he’s a great guy, and Cunningham has an excellent reputation. 👍😊https://www.cunninghampiano.com/


Lisa

Playing RCM 7-8 repertoire
Cunningham Studio Grand & Yamaha CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
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Another vote here for the Kawai based purely on the info you provided, hands down, no hesitation.


I do music stuffs
Yep, I have a YouTube channel!

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We bought a new Kawai GL40 last year and have really enjoyed it. I played several more expensive pianos before selecting it. Only the Shigeru Kawai Concert Grand I tried out was better but just a wee bit out of my price range. I played the GL40 right next to an GX2, and I preferred the sound of the GL, particularly in the bass. Of course, all pianos are different, even of the same model. The GL50 is an excellent choice if you like the sound. Great price!

Last edited by rwsavory; 02/14/21 12:10 AM.
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I just watched the YouTube video of your son, and he would definitely benefit from the action of a brand new piano. Very impressive! Time to write that check, Dad. 😄

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Welcome to the forum. FRom what you have said I would go for the Kawai.


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Wow what a great help to be reassured the GL-50 is a solid choice! I am in NJ, very close to NYC and I know there are many places to see pianos.

On paper, what do you think of these compared to the new GL-50? I am thinking about bringing my son to Caruso Pianos showroom to try them. I don't mind within reason paying higher maintenance and upkeep over time given the upfront savings over the new GL-50. I'd hire a technician before purchasing. But on paper might these be as good if not better (or worse) instruments for my son?
Baldwin R, 1994, $10k
Kawaii RX-2, 1995, 12.9k
Mason and Hamlin model A, restored in the past 30 years, $12.5k
There are more, but this gives an idea of what he'll try. If I come up to the new GL-50 price point there are some early 1900s steinways to consider too.

I'll let you know what he thinks after seeing them.

Originally Posted by rwsavory
I just watched the YouTube video of your son, and he would definitely benefit from the action of a brand new piano. Very impressive! Time to write that check, Dad. 😄

Ha ha thank you. My friends half jokingly / half seriously tell me it's a travesty I've not gotten a proper instrument for him yet. In any case I'm taking the process seriously!

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A new Kawai either a. GL50 or a GX2, whichever your son likes better would be wonderful. Since you’re in NJ, you could visit the Cunningham Piano dealership in Cherry Hills NJ or in King of Prussia PA. They have the Cunningham Matchless Grands that are very reasonably priced and very impressive. Rich Cunningham is also a Yamaha dealer so your son could check out some of the Yamahas available. Yamahas tend to be slightly more expensive than Kawai but it never hurts to try a variety. Ebonyk did buy a beautiful Cunningham piano and her thread is still up on the first or second page of the Piano Forum with pictures. Best Wishes on your piano adventure!


J & J
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Of the 3 options you have posted above, IMO 1995 RX-2 sounds best. If your technician approves and your son likes it go for it.

I would rule out the other two.

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My opinion, with your young son being such a dedicated player, I would opt for a brand new instrument. The big issue with maintenance of older pianos is not necessarily the cost, it’s the time, inconvenience, and frustration, sometimes, especially with parts of the action that don’t work properly.


Originally Posted by whited
Wow what a great help to be reassured the GL-50 is a solid choice! I am in NJ, very close to NYC and I know there are many places to see pianos.

On paper, what do you think of these compared to the new GL-50? I am thinking about bringing my son to Caruso Pianos showroom to try them. I don't mind within reason paying higher maintenance and upkeep over time given the upfront savings over the new GL-50. I'd hire a technician before purchasing. But on paper might these be as good if not better (or worse) instruments for my son?
Baldwin R, 1994, $10k
Kawaii RX-2, 1995, 12.9k
Mason and Hamlin model A, restored in the past 30 years, $12.5k
There are more, but this gives an idea of what he'll try. If I come up to the new GL-50 price point there are some early 1900s steinways to consider too.

I'll let you know what he thinks after seeing them.

Originally Posted by rwsavory
I just watched the YouTube video of your son, and he would definitely benefit from the action of a brand new piano. Very impressive! Time to write that check, Dad. 😄

Ha ha thank you. My friends half jokingly / half seriously tell me it's a travesty I've not gotten a proper instrument for him yet. In any case I'm taking the process seriously!
Originally Posted by whited
Wow what a great help to be reassured the GL-50 is a solid choice! I am in NJ, very close to NYC and I know there are many places to see pianos.

On paper, what do you think of these compared to the new GL-50? I am thinking about bringing my son to Caruso Pianos showroom to try them. I don't mind within reason paying higher maintenance and upkeep over time given the upfront savings over the new GL-50. I'd hire a technician before purchasing. But on paper might these be as good if not better (or worse) instruments for my son?
Baldwin R, 1994, $10k
Kawaii RX-2, 1995, 12.9k
Mason and Hamlin model A, restored in the past 30 years, $12.5k
There are more, but this gives an idea of what he'll try. If I come up to the new GL-50 price point there are some early 1900s steinways to consider too.

I'll let you know what he thinks after seeing them.

Originally Posted by rwsavory
I just watched the YouTube video of your son, and he would definitely benefit from the action of a brand new piano. Very impressive! Time to write that check, Dad. 😄

Ha ha thank you. My friends half jokingly / half seriously tell me it's a travesty I've not gotten a proper instrument for him yet. In any case I'm taking the process seriously!
Originally Posted by whited
Wow what a great help to be reassured the GL-50 is a solid choice! I am in NJ, very close to NYC and I know there are many places to see pianos.

On paper, what do you think of these compared to the new GL-50? I am thinking about bringing my son to Caruso Pianos showroom to try them. I don't mind within reason paying higher maintenance and upkeep over time given the upfront savings over the new GL-50. I'd hire a technician before purchasing. But on paper might these be as good if not better (or worse) instruments for my son?
Baldwin R, 1994, $10k
Kawaii RX-2, 1995, 12.9k
Mason and Hamlin model A, restored in the past 30 years, $12.5k
There are more, but this gives an idea of what he'll try. If I come up to the new GL-50 price point there are some early 1900s steinways to consider too.

I'll let you know what he thinks after seeing them.

Originally Posted by rwsavory
I just watched the YouTube video of your son, and he would definitely benefit from the action of a brand new piano. Very impressive! Time to write that check, Dad. 😄

Ha ha thank you. My friends half jokingly / half seriously tell me it's a travesty I've not gotten a proper instrument for him yet. In any case I'm taking the process seriously!

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Welcome to Piano World!

I watched the YT vid of your son playing, and he plays very well, and at such a young age! He will only get better in time.

All the pianos you have mentioned would be good, and it is hard to advise you on what to buy. We all have our own preferences and biases that would strongly influence any advice we could give.

I would suggest buying the piano your entire family likes best, and is in line with your budget.

As for buying new or used, again that is going to be a decision you will have to make. I will say that good quality pianos can last a very long time, although any machine made of wood, felt and metal will wear over time. I will say, however, that if your budget is a concern, you can likely get more piano for less money buying used, in good condition, of course. But, again, that is my own personal opinion.

Buy what feels right to you, your son and your family! smile

Good luck!

Rick


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Your son plays well and would benefit from a good instrument but the warning flag to me is that he does not have a distinct preference for one of the pianos over the others. The implication of that is that as he plays more and becomes attuned to the nuances of acoustics he will develop a preference and, statistically given the number of different pianos out there, the one he really come to like is unlikely to be the one you purchase now.

So my suggestion is to review your budget and decide what amount you consider appropriate to spend assuming you'll change the piano after a few years rather than it being a forever purchase. If it still remains within budget after that consideration the RX-2 starts to look attractive as it is a fine piano in its own right and a used model generally depreciates much less than a new one. The other good alternative is to keep looking with your son playing more and more different pianos until you son falls in love with one and is clear that no other will do.

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David -

I just posted an appreciative comment on YouTube re your son's playing - thank you again for posting that, it's just a pleasure. Ater closing the browser I realized the *sound* was, imo, also very natural (no metallic-ness that I hear in so many digital pianos). If/when you have a chance, I'd enjoy info about the recording setup.

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Go check out forte piano in Paramus.

https://www.fortepianonj.com/

Friendly, knowledgeable people that will help you find your piano just in case you haven't decided on one already.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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Awesome, it sounds like I need to check out Cunningham based on multiple recommendations. At the same time, my wife and I are getting closer to pulling the trigger on the gl-50 based on everyone's help here, thanks!

Originally Posted by pwl
David -

I just posted an appreciative comment on YouTube re your son's playing - thank you again for posting that, it's just a pleasure. Ater closing the browser I realized the *sound* was, imo, also very natural (no metallic-ness that I hear in so many digital pianos). If/when you have a chance, I'd enjoy info about the recording setup.

Thanks, that will make my son's day! Glad you asked: I used a Tascam DR44-WL digital recorder. The setup was nothing special, just put the recorder on a stand behind the bench slightly higher than my son's head and hoped for the best. The sound is much improved over my phone. I have to admit I'm looking forward to recording an acoustic piano. (Being thrifty as usual, I got the recorder used from Adorama).

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I’ll say this to my PW friends as well as the OP. Not everyone relishes a 5 year search and trying countless different models and brands for their first acoustic grand. If the OP’s son finds piano shopping interesting, great. If the son finds it tedious and boring then just choose the new Kawai’s or the RX2 and enjoy. I think any of the three would suit any piano student, if he doesn’t really seem to have a preference, for his pianos studies at home and would be fine for anyone else in the family who
wants to play piano. That’s just my humble opinion.


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Originally Posted by whited
Awesome, it sounds like I need to check out Cunningham based on multiple recommendations. At the same time, my wife and I are getting closer to pulling the trigger on the gl-50 based on everyone's help here, thanks!

The GL-50 is a really good deal, I agree! I do still suggest to have your son audition a few more pianos, especially the Matchless Cunninghams if possible. I had originally expected to purchase a GL-20 and ended up with the Cunningham Studio grand. The difference in sound is quite surprising and the prices are very similar. If the Cunningham shop is not a long drive for you, it might be good just to hear some different pianos before you pull the trigger. This is only my suggestion due to how my own situation turned out. The GL-50 is a nice piano, and if your son loves, that’s wonderful! No harm in hearing a few others, though, if you have the time. 😊👍


Lisa

Playing RCM 7-8 repertoire
Cunningham Studio Grand & Yamaha CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
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