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I'm in the market for a new baby grand piano to replace my beloved old Vose whose action is shot. It's been quite an education - I had no idea how many piano brands are out there! I've been playing for decades at a fairly high level so I want a responsive piano with a fairly bright, big sound (more bright than dark). I've had it in my head that Yamaha is THE brand to look for, but more recently have realized Samicks have a nice sound as well, also the Cunningham brand (although I would prefer staying under $10K).

Curious to know what people think of these:

1. Otto Altenburg made in 1993 (I think made by Samick?), 5'7", pristine condition, glossy red mahogany with inlaid wood trim. A local dealer is giving me a "great deal" for $8500 including 2 moves (I will have to move again later this year after they deliver the piano), 2 tunings, removing my current 6' grand, 3-year warranty, and ability to trade in if I'm not happy at any time. Most of that is typical with dealers but they're throwing in an extra move and tuning. They claim this is a great price but experts I've talked to say it's way too high, even twice as high as it should be. The serial # is IMEG0135, model # OA-507RLS. I've been told the 'R' may mean a Renner action, which adds value. The cabinetry can add some value too. The sound is fairly bright, a bit darker than I'm used to in the bass. Is the price too high?

2. Samick SIG-161 5'3", black ebony, in very good condition, sold by a private owner for $4250 (will negotiate). Action is a bit sticky but my tuner says that is a typical problem with some Samicks and that it can be adjusted by replacing certain pins. The sound is wonderfully bright as I like it. How would people rank Samicks for a classically-trained pianist?

3. Nordiska 5'11" black ebony, excellent condition by a local dealer, reducing the price from $6700 to $4500. Dealer says this is also a bright sound similar to Samick and googling shows it's a respected name but I've never heard of it. I still have to play it to see how it sounds, but what do people think of this manufacturer?

4. Cunningham new 5' grand, black ebony, sold by Cunningham dealer for $10K. It sounds great but I don't really want to pay that price.

5. Knabe - in general, how do these hold up? I know it to be a well-respected name but only older instruments are being sold online.

Or - do I hold out for a 'reliable' used Yamaha from a reputable dealer so I know what I'm getting? Thanks for any feedback!


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Hello, and welcome to Piano World!

You don't hear much about Samick pianos here on PW, but they have been for a long time, and remain, one of the largest piano manufacturers in the world. They build many stencil models for various companies.

I remember years ago, when I decided I wanted a grand piano, the first grand I looked at (although at the time I didn't know what I was looking at) was a D H Baldwin 5'8" made by Samick. It was used, and being sold by someone going through a divorce and liquidating their assets to settle the divorce. The deal didn't work out, (long story) but I thought the piano played and sounded good at the time.

Also, I remember the Nordiska brand (made in China) being quite popular and well thought of, or at least well promoted, when it came out. I played a Nordiska grand at a dealer and thought it sounded and played well, but I just couldn't bring myself to buy it at the time.

The Knabe is a well known brand, but most likely anything 30-40 years old or newer is likely not one of the original US made Knabe pianos.

The new Cunningham brand is well regarded here, and there is a long thread about a long-time member here purchasing one recently, Ebony Kawai/Lisa. (Now EbonyK?). She is thrilled with the piano and there are several videos of the piano in her thread. Also, Rich Gallissini, one of the owners of Cunningham Pianos, is a member here. Maybe he will chime in.

Since you like a bright sound, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding something you like, in your price range. How long it will last is an unknown. I will say that the traditional Yamaha and Kawai pianos have a superior reputation for good performance and longevity, even under harsh conditions.

Good luck, and keep us informed of your progress in your search! smile

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P.S. Here is the thread about Lisa's new Cunningham grand piano.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...am-54-studio-grand-pics.html#Post3074512

As for the Otto Altenburg, I think it too is an old name used on newer pianos made in China. I don't know much about them.

Good luck!

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Originally Posted by lgodiva
1. Otto Altenburg made in 1993 (I think made by Samick?), 5'7", pristine condition, glossy red mahogany with inlaid wood trim. A local dealer is giving me a "great deal" for $8500 including 2 moves (I will have to move again later this year after they deliver the piano), 2 tunings, removing my current 6' grand, 3-year warranty, and ability to trade in if I'm not happy at any time. Most of that is typical with dealers but they're throwing in an extra move and tuning. They claim this is a great price but experts I've talked to say it's way too high, even twice as high as it should be. The serial # is IMEG0135, model # OA-507RLS. I've been told the 'R' may mean a Renner action, which adds value. The cabinetry can add some value too. The sound is fairly bright, a bit darker than I'm used to in the bass. Is the price too high?
Built by Samick - most likely in South Korea.. The Renner Action is a plus assuming it is in good shape. The price is on the high side, but dealers charge more than private sellers. Here are three older models currently for sale on Pianomart - a 1989, 2000 and 2003.

https://www.pianomart.com/buy-a-piano/view?id=44184

Quote
2. Samick SIG-161 5'3", black ebony, in very good condition, sold by a private owner for $4250 (will negotiate). Action is a bit sticky but my tuner says that is a typical problem with some Samicks and that it can be adjusted by replacing certain pins. The sound is wonderfully bright as I like it. How would people rank Samicks for a classically-trained pianist?
Built in Indonesia. Less than average quality. You can probably do better.

Quote
3. Nordiska 5'11" black ebony, excellent condition by a local dealer, reducing the price from $6700 to $4500. Dealer says this is also a bright sound similar to Samick and googling shows it's a respected name but I've never heard of it. I still have to play it to see how it sounds, but what do people think of this manufacturer?
The name is respected because it belonged to a 100 year old Swedish manufacturer that went out of business in 1988. The new Nordiska models were built by the Dongbei Piano Company in China. Quality is less than average. The new models I played about 18 years ago were OK, but I understand that they didn't hold up very well.

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4. Cunningham new 5' grand, black ebony, sold by Cunningham dealer for $10K. It sounds great but I don't really want to pay that price.
Understood, although sometimes it pays to stretch the budget a bit.

Quote
5. Knabe - in general, how do these hold up? I know it to be a well-respected name but only older instruments are being sold online.
Again, the name may be respected, but ultimately the manufacturer building pianos using that name is what counts. Depends on the specific piano - it's age and condition - and who built it.

Quote
Or - do I hold out for a 'reliable' used Yamaha from a reputable dealer so I know what I'm getting? Thanks for any feedback!
Don't overlook Baldwin, Kawai or possible Young Chang (Pramberger).


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Originally Posted by lgodiva
4. Cunningham new 5' grand, black ebony, sold by Cunningham dealer for $10K. It sounds great but I don't really want to pay that price.
Are you sure that piano is new and that is the price? The SMP is around 22K so that would be an amazingly low price. Even 15K(30% off SMP) would be considered a good selling price.

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Originally Posted by lgodiva
4. Cunningham new 5' grand, black ebony, sold by Cunningham dealer for $10K. It sounds great but I don't really want to pay that price.
Are you sure that piano is new and that's the price? The SMP is around 22K so that would be an amazingly low price. Even 15K(30% off SMP) would usually be considered a good selling price.

Not considering price for the moment, how do you rate your experience with the different pianos?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 03/02/21 03:06 PM.
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Thanks!!

Carey - I don't like the sound of Baldwin or Kawai....not bright enough. I think I liked Young Chang when I played it at Cunningham but it was too expensive.

As far as longevity, as I am 60 I don't need it to last more than 30-40 years (LOL)! But I do want it to be my LAST piano! My Vose is the one my parents bought for me at age 12 and I've loved it until the past few years. Just goes to show you that a less-well-known brand can be darn good.

Rickster - I tried following the Cunningham thread but it was waaaaay too long! What did she pay for it? I don't see many used ones around. I sure do like the sound though.

I'm kind of suspicious about Jacobs Music now, who made me the offer for the OA. Cunningham is a well-known company around Phila but the prices are so high!


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Also wondering how reliable buying a piano on a website like pianomart.com is, compared to Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist? Are they all the same or can you trust listings on pianomart.com more than other websites? For example, here's a Yamaha with zero info other than the serial number. They didn't even put "Yamaha" in the title! https://www.pianomart.com/buy-a-piano/view?id=44047


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Originally Posted by lgodiva
Also wondering how reliable buying a piano on a website like pianomart.com is, compared to Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist? Are they all the same or can you trust listings on pianomart.com more than other websites? For example, here's a Yamaha with zero info other than the serial number. They didn't even put "Yamaha" in the title! https://www.pianomart.com/buy-a-piano/view?id=44047

Just my opinion here, but I've read positive reviews regarding PianoMart; they seem to have a good reputation, here on PW at least. Just remember, they are in business as an advertisement company, and do charge the seller a fee. That in itself might make for better prospective sellers.

Personally, I think Facebook Marketplace is fairly safe, because you can vet the sellers, to some extent, by viewing their FB page; however, there are scammers on FB Marketplace too, I'm sure. I'd say FB Marketplace is safer than Craigslist.

Re: Craigslist. I've purchased a few pianos advertised on Craigslist and it worked out great. I've also sold a few pianos on Craigslist, and it worked out great. That said, I've seen some obvious scam piano ads on CL, and talked to a few weirdos before; you just have to be very careful who you deal with. But you can tell pretty easily who the scammers are and who the weirdos are. I have a scammer/weirdo checklist I'll share with you if you'd like. smile

Also, as a general rule, you can get more for your money buying pre-owned from a private seller, but there is more work/risk involved on your part. A dealer will have a higher price, usually, but take more of the responsibility/risk off the buyer. But buying from a dealer is not completely risk free.

Good luck!

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by lgodiva
4. Cunningham new 5' grand, black ebony, sold by Cunningham dealer for $10K. It sounds great but I don't really want to pay that price.
Are you sure that piano is new and that's the price? The SMP is around 22K so that would be an amazingly low price. Even 15K(30% off SMP) would usually be considered a good selling price.

Not considering price for the moment, how do you rate your experience with the different pianos?

The Cunningham is new. The salesperson wanted to work within my budget. Is that a great deal?

I've learned that every piano is different! I like the action of some Yamahas, but not all. I generally like the action and brightness of the Cunningham and Samick. My Vose is bright so I'm also used to that, but I am told that a "darker" sound (I call it muffled) is more of what people in general find desireable, like a Steinway sound. But I like more clarity. I guess that just takes some getting used to, re-training your ear, b/c when I stand back and hear someone else play the same piano, it sounds great...but when I'm playing it, the bass (for example) sounds a bit dark and muddled.


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Describing piano sounds with adjectives is so subjective that it becomes dangerous.

To me, "dark," "mellow," and "muffled" are all very, very different things. Steinway, to me, is "boisterous" no matter how you spin it. And I am under the impression that people actually prefer "bright," "singing" pianos more these days than "dark/mellow/muffled", at least based on what people prefer around PW. Who told you that people like darker sounds? The dealer? The high-end Euro and German brands will give you "clarity", as you mentioned you like in the post above.

The only piano I know of well on that list is Samick. I have never played a Samick that I liked. And I can "feel" a Samick stencil instantly. Stencil meaning Samick action and parts but different name (or even the Samick name). Lower than average as alerady stated, but they make a lot of stencils, so you have to look up names. They also share their factory with brands like the ED Seiler line, which don't use Samick parts (except keys in that example). But Samick Music Corporation (SMC) is the largest or second largest music builder on the planet. They do make really good stuff, though, I've read here, but Samick isn't on the fallboard of those instruments.

I don't know how long the current iteration of the Cunningham Matchless has been around regarding longevity, but they are built in China and seem to be expensive compared to other Chinese pianos (Hailun, Baldwin, Pearl River, et al--yes I looked them up before posting this time!) laugh My point is that I don't know their secret (yet), but they are well-loved, but going down to $10,000 to make a sale seems...fishy?


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Originally Posted by lgodiva
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by lgodiva
4. Cunningham new 5' grand, black ebony, sold by Cunningham dealer for $10K. It sounds great but I don't really want to pay that price.
Are you sure that piano is new and that's the price? The SMP is around 22K so that would be an amazingly low price. Even 15K(30% off SMP) would usually be considered a good selling price.

Not considering price for the moment, how do you rate your experience with the different pianos?

The Cunningham is new. The salesperson wanted to work within my budget. Is that a great deal?

I've learned that every piano is different! I like the action of some Yamahas, but not all. I generally like the action and brightness of the Cunningham and Samick. My Vose is bright so I'm also used to that, but I am told that a "darker" sound (I call it muffled) is more of what people in general find desireable, like a Steinway sound. But I like more clarity. I guess that just takes some getting used to, re-training your ear, b/c when I stand back and hear someone else play the same piano, it sounds great...but when I'm playing it, the bass (for example) sounds a bit dark and muddled.
Unless you intend to have frequent in home concerts the important thing is how the piano sounds to the person seated on the bench.

Steinways are not all very bright or all very mellow or all in between.

It doesn't matter so much what other people like in a piano's sound unless you are a new piano student or not familiar with lots of pianos.

No one knows what more people like in terms of a piano's sound. There is no numerical measure of how bright or mellow a piano is so when people use those words it's their subjective use of those terms.

I think most people would say mellow is not the same as muddled and bright is not the same as clear.

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Re your comment: "5. Knabe - in general, how do these hold up? I know it to be a well-respected name but only older instruments are being sold online."

Aeolian American, the holding company that produced Knabe, Chickering, M&H and others for several decades, went defunct in 1984-85. While these late models weren't anything to write home about, they were solid American made pianos based generally on the original templates from the golden age. Anything after 1985, bearing the Knabe nameplate has no bearing on the golden age of pianos. Unless I'm mistaken and Knabe has been resurrected. Would love to know more.

Last edited by cfhosford; 03/02/21 05:45 PM.

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Originally Posted by cfhosford
Re your comment: "5. Knabe - in general, how do these hold up? I know it to be a well-respected name but only older instruments are being sold online."

Aeolian American, the holding company that produced Knabe, Chickering, M&H and others for several decades, went defunct in 1984-85. While these late models weren't anything to write home about, they were solid American made pianos based generally on the original templates from the golden age. Anything after 1985, bearing the Knabe nameplate has no bearing on the golden age of pianos. Unless I'm mistaken and Knabe has been resurrected. Would love to know more.

What we think of any and all pianos is subjective for sure. That said, I played one of the newer Wm. Knabe & Co. branded pianos several months ago, at a fellow "Piano Buddies" home, and I thought it sounded and played pretty good. It was probably less than 6 feet, maybe 5'8" or 5'10". It looked nice, sounded nice, and played pretty well. Not sure if it was a Samick stencil made in Indonesia, or a Chinese made piano.

Would I buy one if I were in the market for a new baby grand piano? Not sure. I might, or I might not. I don't think I'd say definitely not. It'd be a slight maybe, or remote possibility. smile

I actually really like the pianos I currently own, and don't foresee myself in the buyers market anytime soon (although I'm sure I've developed some brand bias based on my own experiences).

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Poor Knabe has been passed around like a hot potato. frown

https://www.pianobuyer.com/brand/knabe-wm/

I have heard that they are the "better" of the Samick pianos though, taking over what used to be Samick's highest end line. That is how I understand it to be, anyway.

Relating this to answering the OP's question, though, it boils down to pretty much the specific year a Knabe was/is made.


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Originally Posted by lgodiva
[quote=pianoloverus][quote=lgodiva]4. Cunningham new 5' grand, black ebony, sold by Cunningham dealer for $10K. It sounds great but I don't really want to pay that price.......The Cunningham is new. The salesperson wanted to work within my budget. Is that a great deal?
It's an incredibly great deal.

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

Quote
I've learned that every piano is different! I like the action of some Yamahas, but not all. I generally like the action and brightness of the Cunningham and Samick. My Vose is bright so I'm also used to that, but I am told that a "darker" sound (I call it muffled) is more of what people in general find desirable, like a Steinway sound. But I like more clarity. I guess that just takes some getting used to, re-training your ear, b/c when I stand back and hear someone else play the same piano, it sounds great...but when I'm playing it, the bass (for example) sounds a bit dark and muddled.
Yes - it all depends on the individual piano. Also, as hammers harden, pianos tend to brighten with age. You might be able to find late model Baldwins, Kawais, etc. that are bright. Of course, Yamahas are known for their brightness.


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Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by lgodiva
[quote=pianoloverus][quote=lgodiva]4. Cunningham new 5' grand, black ebony, sold by Cunningham dealer for $10K. It sounds great but I don't really want to pay that price.......The Cunningham is new. The salesperson wanted to work within my budget. Is that a great deal?
It's an incredibly great deal.

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

Respectfully, the listed prices in PianoBuyer is not the reference for what should be considered a great deal here.

< $10000 was about the floor price of a new Kawai GL-10 with Millennium III action when I last checked.

I would use that as a closer reference along with the floor price of the comparable Hailun to figure out what constitutes a great deal here.

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Originally Posted by navindra
Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by lgodiva
[quote=pianoloverus][quote=lgodiva]4. Cunningham new 5' grand, black ebony, sold by Cunningham dealer for $10K. It sounds great but I don't really want to pay that price.......The Cunningham is new. The salesperson wanted to work within my budget. Is that a great deal?
It's an incredibly great deal.

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

Respectfully, the listed prices in PianoBuyer is not the reference for what should be considered a great deal here.

< $10000 was about the floor price of a new Kawai GL-10 with Millennium III action when I last checked.
10K would be around 33% off SMP which is close to Fine's stated reasonable % off SMP. The discount from SMP for the Cunningham was around 55%.

Fine doesn't attempt to give a separate typical percent off SMP for every piano make. That means his 10-30% off SMP is an average for all makes. Finally, there could be many reasons why the figure you quoted was not the usual asking price. Maybe the dealer needed to raise cash or the piano had been on the floor for a long time etc.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
10K would be around 33% off SMP which is close to Fine's stated reasonable % off SMP. The discount from SMP for the Cunningham was around 55%.

Fine doesn't attempt to give a separate typical percent off SMP for every piano make. That means his 10-30% off SMP is an average for all makes. Finally, there could be many reasons why the figure you quoted was not the usual asking price. Maybe the dealer needed to raise cash or the piano had been on the floor for a long time etc.

None of these numbers really mean $10000 for a 5 foot baby grand is "an incredibly great deal".

For reference, the regular non-discounted floor price before any negotiation for a new Kawai GL10 with Millennium III action when I checked was $9999. Similarly, a Yamaha GB1K was $11,760 (in a pricey area of town). Most certainly cheaper for Pearl River and Hailun.

So I would say $10000 is the standard price. If you wish for an incredibly great deal, perhaps Rich would be willing to help.

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Originally Posted by navindra
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
10K would be around 33% off SMP which is close to Fine's stated reasonable % off SMP. The discount from SMP for the Cunningham was around 55%.

Fine doesn't attempt to give a separate typical percent off SMP for every piano make. That means his 10-30% off SMP is an average for all makes. Finally, there could be many reasons why the figure you quoted was not the usual asking price. Maybe the dealer needed to raise cash or the piano had been on the floor for a long time etc.

None of these numbers really mean $10000 for a 5 foot baby grand is "an incredibly great deal".

For reference, the regular non-discounted floor price before any negotiation for a new Kawai GL10 with Millennium III action when I checked was $9999. Similarly, a Yamaha GB1K was $11,760 (in a pricey area of town). Most certainly cheaper for Pearl River and Hailun.

So I would say $10000 is the standard price. If you wish for an incredibly great deal, perhaps Rich would be willing to help.
With all due respect, it seems like you're saying that no new 5 foot piano should sell for more than $10K - regardless of the SMP. Doesn't make sense. Sorry. In the case of Pearl River, $10K already is the SMP - so yes, you could probably get one for less. But $10K for a Bosendorfer 155 with an SMP of $115K? Not likely. 55% off the SMP for the Cunningham - if not incredible - still is a very good deal.

Last edited by Carey; 03/03/21 01:30 AM.

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Recommend me a trouble-free Garritan CFX computer!
by Gombessa - 04/21/21 08:12 PM
Which one do you like - ABRSM vs RCM??
by Pikka - 04/21/21 06:35 PM
Sauter o Bechstein
by Luis Miguel - 04/21/21 05:57 PM
Pricing information for new Steinway/Yamaha?
by lct14558 - 04/21/21 04:10 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
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Mar 21st, 2010
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Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
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