2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad) Piano Sight Reading
train piano sight reading with your iPhone or iPad
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
38 members (CyberGene, David B, drumour, dorfmouse, Alex.G, chrisbell, barbaram, aphexdisklavier, ColonelBogey, aesop, 4 invisible), 481 guests, and 469 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 2 1 2
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 35
L
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
L
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 35
Disregarding build quality, tone quality, locale of manufacture, and all that jazz, what is the cheapest new acoustic piano that money can buy? And how bad are they? laugh Would someone just be better off to buy a similarly priced digital piano, or would a dirt cheap acoustic piano actually be better in some way, shape, or form than a high-end digital?

Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,294
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,294
I used to tell my students that the worst acoustic upright is still better than any digital piano...15-20 years ago. Of course that isn’t true now at all! Digital pianos have come a very long way.

Cheapest acoustic piano? Any of the Chinese stencil uprights that from a “professional” line costing $3-4,000 brand new.

Better to get a nice digital.


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

Current:
1998 PETROF Model IV Chippendale
LEGO Grand Piano (IDEAS 031|21323)
YAMAHA PSR-520

Past:
2017 Charles Walter 1500 in semi-polish ebony
1991 Kawai 602-M Console in Oak
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 63
P
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
P
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 63
In my opinion the main problem with the cheapest acoustic as a practice piano is that they might have an imprecise action response, to put it mildly. Key response would vary wildly key to key, even (worst) adjacent keys might respond differently, which would throw off any pianist, let alone a learning pianist (imagine playing a trill on that piano). Ghost notes would be prevalent across a performance (especially when playing chords), which is always a turn off. It might suffer from stiff keys, develop sticky keys due to lack of quality control in the manufacturing, and in general lack of consistency in touch, which is the pianist's worst nightmare. I am remembering a brand new Belarus that I got many years ago as I am writing this and it developed all of these problems. Now, technically some of these issues are addressable by a technician, but the cost and hassle of constantly calling up on a technician for a visit might be prohibitive, resulting in a bad piano experience or worst, giving up practicing!

The second issue would be the potential inability to hold tune for a good length of time, again due to bad build quality. Practicing on an out of tune piano is not fun at all, and it would confuse/uncalibrate your auditory perception.

Unless you can play the piano (or have a person who knows their way around pianos play it) and thoroughly test its response and also somehow independently (through reviews or others' experience, not based on the word of the seller) ascertain that the cheap new piano won't develop those issues that I mentioned, I would agree with SonatainfSharp that your best bet is to get a portable digital, assuming a budget of < 2k. Their main strength in this price range is that they would be at least consistent note to note and save you a lot of headache.

Last edited by Pooya; 02/21/21 03:21 AM.
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 6,145

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015
6000 Post Club Member
Offline

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 6,145
Doesn’t the PianoBuyer say that every piano available in the marketplace today is a decent piano, or words to that effect?


“If it sounds good, it IS good.”
― Duke Ellington
!
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 203
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 203
Cheapest new MSRP range $4-5000 including Yamaha. We paid $5000 for a very old 9’ M&H concert grand in excellent condition and did nothing but tune it regularly for 25 years. It was played hard about five hours per day.

Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,889
J
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,889
Most of the cheap uprights being produced in the far east can be made to sound decent, at least most of the ones that are being shipped internationally. You might find that you prefer the touch and sound of a Kawai CA99 over a Kawai K15 (for example), and it may even be objectively that the digital piano is more responsive in this case.

When I bought a Roland HP603, new, in 2018 for £1399, of course it wasn't possible to buy an acoustic upright for that price. The cheapest acoustic upright was £2399 and I can't remember which one it was, but the Roland in that case was honestly musically superior. Of course I bought a digital for other reasons.

I would like to see what a top concert technician can do with the cheapest Pearl River piano, even given the size limits of say, a 109cm case. That's 42.9 inches for Americans. It isn't financially worth it to spend £2000 regulating and voicing a piano that costs £2000, but I am curious.

Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,294
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,294
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Doesn’t the PianoBuyer say that every piano available in the marketplace today is a decent piano, or words to that effect?
I believe so, but I don’t get it. I’ve played new, cheap pianos that were so awful that I could hardly play them as it felt like each key was from a totally different piano, and some sound like they are stuffed with heavy blankets. It’s no different than buying a $35 guitar off Amazon that will make a learner too frustrated to continue.

Yes, I know pros can make any piano sound good, but pros aren’t buying cheap pianos—parents buy them for new and young students—which just makes learning annoying.

So while PianoBuyer gets the respect they deserve and I’m a nobody, I have to very strongly disagree that every piano on the market is a decent piano. Okay, maybe the editors are older than I am and they are comparing cheap pianos of today to cheap pianos from 20 years ago. Then I could agree, sure. Perspective is everything. laugh


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

Current:
1998 PETROF Model IV Chippendale
LEGO Grand Piano (IDEAS 031|21323)
YAMAHA PSR-520

Past:
2017 Charles Walter 1500 in semi-polish ebony
1991 Kawai 602-M Console in Oak
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 29,671
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 29,671
Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Doesn’t the PianoBuyer say that every piano available in the marketplace today is a decent piano, or words to that effect?
I believe so, but I don’t get it. I’ve played new, cheap pianos that were so awful that I could hardly play them as it felt like each key was from a totally different piano, and some sound like they are stuffed with heavy blankets. It’s no different than buying a $35 guitar off Amazon that will make a learner too frustrated to continue.

So while PianoBuyer gets the respect they deserve and I’m a nobody, I have to very strongly disagree that every piano on the market is a decent piano. Okay, maybe the editors are older than I am and they are comparing cheap pianos of today to cheap pianos from 20 years ago. Then I could agree, sure. Perspective is everything. laugh
This is what PB says:
"Why don’t we strictly judge piano quality in Piano Buyer? During the last half of the 20th century, a great many pianos, especially low-end instruments manufactured in the U.S. and in developing countries, had significant defects that made separating good instruments from bad relatively easy. That is no longer the case. Due to globalization and the computerization of manufacturing, virtually all pianos now sold in the West are competently made and without major defects, and the differences between them are increasingly subtle and subjective. While it’s still clear that high-end pianos are better than entry-level ones, comparisons of instruments that are closer in price are less conclusive, and much more subject to the whims of personal preference, how well the pianos have been prepared for sale, room acoustics, and so forth."

It's possible that the piano you found to be very poor were the rare exception or had zero prep. Or its possible that, as you mentioned, the editors are comparing the cheapest pianos today to the ones from twenty years ago. It also depends on what is considered a major defect. To me, that is something that good prep cannot fix.

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 29,422
B
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 29,422
I think that there still may be some really awful pianos that are made to put out at a low, but still too high, price near the entrance of a piano store to draw people in so that the salespeople can upsell the customer to a decent piano, but I hope piano stores are getting better than that.


Semipro Tech
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,948
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,948
I think that another comparison that will separate the cheapest pianos from even the modestly priced ones is durability / longevity.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,342
M
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,342
Under 3K I'd go for a nice digital any day. If you are buying in the $3-5K range, ask yourself if you have the budget for moving and maintenance, etc. Even the cheapest new acoustic piano is still going to need to be tuned regularly and the tech isn't likely going to charge you proportionately less for your cheap new upright than they would for a more expensive piano. ;-)


2012 NY Steinway Model B | Kawai MP11 | Nord Stage 3 Compact | Moog Matriarch | ASM Hydrasynth 49 | Sequential Circuits Prophet 10 Rev4 | Yamaha ModX 61
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 63
W
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
W
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 63
There are perfectly fine acoustic pianos to be found in the used market at ~3k. There are many from the 1990s that are barely played, and also those that were loved and maintained. These pianos are numerous and they are a great value. Why buy a substandard Chinese stencil piano new when you can buy a quality instrument used at an age of 20-25 years and in good condition?

Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 872
P
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 872
I think there are often good reasons why some pianos are cheaper than others. Apart from how long the piano will last, there is also how well it can 'interpret' what one is playing. String length will play a part in how wide the sound pallette is, the quality of the mechanisms will play a part in how well the player can make use of that sound pallette. I have played a few of the cheaper, small 'student' ones and they are frustrating for the above reasons - here one of the large retailers separates their upright pianos into categories - 'student or beginners pianos' and 'pianos of expression.' I suspect that they are correct in doing so http://www.euroconcert.fr/99-gammes-pianos-acoustiques


regards
Pete
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,294
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,294
All of the reasons posted above are the reasons that I get so confused when people say that most cheap, Chinese pianos are "good" or even "great". The materials are inconsistent and unstable and questionable, the craftmanship isn't more than people just putting pieces together as they are instructed, there isn't a lot that a tech can do with them, the touch and feel are so frustrating when I try to get them to do anything. Of course a good pianist can make a terrible piano sound good, and I have deserved the title to being one of those people, but it certainly isn't fun or enjoyable or rewarding in any way; it's really, really difficult to make a crappy piano sound convincing. So, I continue to be confused about the praise of cheap pianos. At least the posters above me are far more articulate than I am in explaining it.

Yes, inexpensive pianos have their place, and I know some people dream of being able to own one (like how I feel that owning an upper-mid-range piano myself is all a pipedream), but overall in a general sense...I'm lost.


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

Current:
1998 PETROF Model IV Chippendale
LEGO Grand Piano (IDEAS 031|21323)
YAMAHA PSR-520

Past:
2017 Charles Walter 1500 in semi-polish ebony
1991 Kawai 602-M Console in Oak
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,300
j&j Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,300
I think a brand new cheapest acoustic straight out of the box is significantly better than some of the old beat to death uprights donated to churches and assisted living centers. The old Baldwin they had in my Sunday school was horribly out of tune and the only way to get a sound from it was banging on the keys. We sometimes forget how bad completely neglected acoustic pianos will sound. Even the cheapest new acoustic piano will cost as much to maintain as a premium brand.

There is an old cowboy wisdom that says it costs as much to feed and shoe a $600 plug as a prize winning roping horse.


J & J
Estonia L190 Hidden Beauty
Casio Privia PX-330
My piano’s voice is beautiful!
[Linked Image]
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 79
C
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 79
I know what you're saying. Inexpensive pianos will have limitations, but they still give satisfaction. My own piano was never "great," just a mid-priced family instrument when I bought it 43 years ago. But I've played my heart out on it. My Steinway tech here in NYC has gotten it into optimal condition -- regulation, tone, voicing, etc. -- but the bass still sounds a but tubby and the pin block has some splits. He says (quietly, not to offend) that that is the way the piano was built in the Aeolian days. That is to say, of modest quality. My expertise is of modest quality, so my and my piano are aging -- modestly -- together.


1978 Chickering Patrician, 5-feet 8-1/2
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 6,145

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015
6000 Post Club Member
Offline

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 6,145
Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp
I get so confused when people say that most cheap, Chinese pianos are "good" or even "great". The materials are inconsistent and unstable and questionable, the craftmanship isn't more than people just putting pieces together as they are instructed, there isn't a lot that a tech can do with them, the touch and feel are so frustrating when I try to get them to do anything.

Is this really your experience? How many of these pianos have you played?

I don't think anyone is saying that cheap Chinese pianos are "great," but the the Larry Fine quote above sounds a lot different from your comments.


I think most people would describe the current market as: good, better and best even better.


“If it sounds good, it IS good.”
― Duke Ellington
!
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 374
D
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 374
Don't forget https://keybird-instruments.com/english/home which might or might not fit your definition of "acoustic piano"

Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,294
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,294
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp
I get so confused when people say that most cheap, Chinese pianos are "good" or even "great". The materials are inconsistent and unstable and questionable, the craftmanship isn't more than people just putting pieces together as they are instructed, there isn't a lot that a tech can do with them, the touch and feel are so frustrating when I try to get them to do anything.

Is this really your experience? How many of these pianos have you played?

I don't think anyone is saying that cheap Chinese pianos are "great," but the the Larry Fine quote above sounds a lot different from your comments.


I think most people would describe the current market as: good, better and best even better.
Playing countless examples over the years at stores and gigs, techs and dealers telling me about factory tours, accounts of people here over the years, and so on.


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

Current:
1998 PETROF Model IV Chippendale
LEGO Grand Piano (IDEAS 031|21323)
YAMAHA PSR-520

Past:
2017 Charles Walter 1500 in semi-polish ebony
1991 Kawai 602-M Console in Oak
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 6,676
L
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
L
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 6,676
Originally Posted by Del Vento
Don't forget https://keybird-instruments.com/english/home which might or might not fit your definition of "acoustic piano"
Interesting ., Perhaps I can get one that turns round and round ! 😏

Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Ken Knapp, Piano World 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Couch to Concert Hall
Couch to Concert Hall
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Standchen which version of sheet music ?
by jzmeister1 - 04/19/21 03:47 AM
Strings termination
by Guido, Roma - Italy - 04/19/21 03:04 AM
Mozart vs. Salieri
by grand_BB_71 - 04/19/21 02:52 AM
Soft pedal rod falling off on Kawai K500
by ADIRL - 04/18/21 11:05 PM
re-felting hammers
by tjazz - 04/18/21 09:37 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics206,390
Posts3,083,993
Members101,234
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5