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echo44 Offline OP
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Hi all,

I have decided to buy a piano, I am a guitar player but also play some synth and keyboards. For the last month or two I have been teaching myself classical piano and love it. So I figure rather then keep playing on a semi weight Kurzweil to get a medium sized real piano.

Went shopping today in Illinois suburb( family piano store) and tried a lot of used pianos. The one's that I liked the best :

Yamaha G3
Mason and Hamlin B54
Steinway O 1915 Mahogany

The Steinway O sounded very Dull. No resonance.
The Yamaha sounded decent the action was a little stiff
The Mason was ok sometimes sound a little muddy at times and was 2x the price of the Yamaha yet didn't sound 2x better.

Then I played a used Steinway M 1973 that sounded perfect. Would have bought it on the spot $15K yet was already sold. frown

Where do I go from here? Do I buy a new Steinway M or O, or just keep hunting? I would imagine every steinway probably sounds different. What I liked about the M was it sounded balanced and had nice clarity. How difficult is it to find a nice sounding used Steinway in the 20K range. I figure much more than that I might as well buy a new one? Where are the best places to look for one?( or better listen for one)

Its a dilemma when you are an unskilled player yet you have a lot of music experience which enables you to hear subtle differences in the pianos. I am used to playing many sampled pianos and am always comparing them and tweaking the sounds. I do believe if you find a piano that is special to you, it will foster the learning experience in a symbiotic way.

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If a 1915 piano doesn't sound as you want it the problem could be a very minor bit of voicing or could need a complete rebuild. Have it looked at by a technician to decide and also give you a quotation for the work.

Don't buy an old piano simply for the name on the fallboard.


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My advice would be to continue looking. There are many pianos and piano manufacturers out there, and buying a piano is a major decision. I would try playing as many pianos as you can.
I do think it’s useful to think about two major considerations up front: what are your space constraints? What are your budget constraints? You will usually get a nicer bass sound from a longer piano. Regarding Steinways, I think there is a huge price difference between $20K and a new piano (SMP for a model O is 90k). You can definitely find nice preowned pianos at prices in between those two values.
Budget really can also help constrain the search.
If you’re not aware of this resource yet, I’d highly recommend the PianoBuyer.com website. It has a lot of very valuable information related to the process of buying a piano.

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echo44

You are now on 'the journey.'
I have given you a few websites to look at

#1 The King of Piano Information - esp buying a used piano LARRY FINE's web site:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/

#2 Pianomart - used pianos for sale - you can put in what you are looking for.
but beware- hire a technician before purchasing a piano, esp from a private owner.
https://www.pianomart.com/buy-a-piano/piano-ads?AdSearchForm%5Bpiano_type_id%5D=1&AdSearchForm%5Bstate%5D=&AdSearchForm%5Bcountry%5D=&AdSearchForm%5Bposted_within%5D=&AdSearchForm%5Bkeyword_search%5D=&AdSearchForm%5Bmanufacturer_ids%5D=&AdSearchForm%5Bmin_size_id%5D=&AdSearchForm%5Bmax_size_id%5D=&AdSearchForm%5Bzip%5D=60601&AdSearchForm%5Bradius%5D=250&AdSearchForm%5Bcolor_ids%5D=&AdSearchForm%5Bmax_price%5D=25000&sort=-approved_time

Some advice - i purchased a beautifully rebuilt Steinway Model A (1912) - it was rebuilt in 1996 and reburbished in 2021
$40k

Steinway dealers mostly want to sell NEW Steinway's if they surmise you can't afford that, they will convince you to buy a new
Boston or Essex (Steinway's made in the Asian Market- some good/some not so good)

Here is a list of highly reputable dealers in the US that I have dealt with personally:

Freeburg Pianos (Levi Freeburg) Hendersonville NC (where I purchased my Steinway)

Cunningham Piano Co (Rich Galassini) Philadelphia PA (he is the best/knowledgeable/pleasant person ever)

Pianoworks (Sam Bennett) - Atlanta, GA (you can see examples of his rebuilds on YouTube

Faust-Harrison (Irving Faust) - NYC area - top Steinway rebuilder

Living Pianos (Robert Estrin) - watch his videos.

Also:
Stilwell Pianos in Arizona
Ric Kassman in Berkley CA
Hollywood Pianos in LA


these are not the only dealers but a good start and LeviF & RichG are especially great and will help and guide you and be more concerned about you finding the right piano.

Good Luck - keep us posted
and let us know how you make out
OH - and TAKE YOUR TIME - play as many pianos as possible

Brdwyguy

Last edited by brdwyguy; 10/25/21 07:27 AM.

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I was given advice to NEVER EVER buy a piano with the expectation that the technician will/can make it sound and feel
the way I like! wink

my 2 cents!

brdwyguy

Last edited by brdwyguy; 10/25/21 07:50 AM.

Emerson or Lester Upright (1920's)
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Originally Posted by echo44
The Yamaha sounded decent the action was a little stiff.
This is not necessarily a bad thing for someone coming from synths. Good piano action will naturally feel stiff until your technique adapts by using the weight of your forearms, with the bench height set such that they're roughly an inch higher than the keyboard, and the power of the rest of your body behind them. With a couple of weeks of steady play it will feel quite natural. Better somewhat stiffer and controllable than lighter and difficult to play a gradation from pianissimo to fortissimo. Also, it's easier to play a lighter action on someone else's piano, if you're used to a heavier one, than the other way around.

Last edited by MrSh4nkly; 10/25/21 08:36 AM.
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If you can buy a new Steinway M or O, then your options are huge. Try a new Yamaha CX or a Kawai GX or an Estonia L190.


J & J
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I would also suggest looking at a Mason & Hamlin Model A
especially if it's been rebuilt and originally made prior to 1929 (they are considered the best made pianos)

brdwyguy


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echo44 Offline OP
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Thanks everyone for such great advice and resources.

I went to another store today here in the Chicagoland area They are a Yamaha and Schimel dealer.

Tried 3 pianos a Schimel 7' Koncert series, 1911 Model O steinway rebuilt in Europe? and a new Yamha c3x 6'

The dealer tried to push me away from the steinway suggesting you really are just paying for the name?
I liked the Steinway but felt 50k for a used piano seemed a little high.

The Schimel was nice but slightly above my budget. Sounded the fullest but that is to be expected as it is longer. They told me the Schimel is great value compared to a new steinway.

Looking at it from the investment side the Steinway probably is the best?

It is har being a beginner piano player technically wise. I probably am not a good judge about the action and feel as I do not have enough experience. Example the dealer thought the Schimel 7' I much better based on the action having a longer throw resulting in better dynamics?

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Could be. But for the budget you're looking at, also try to find an Estonia.

And don't lose sight of good restored Steinways. Some of them are very nice, and there are more than two out there.

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Originally Posted by echo44
Thanks everyone for such great advice and resources.

I went to another store today here in the Chicagoland area They are a Yamaha and Schimel dealer.

Tried 3 pianos a Schimel 7' Koncert series, 1911 Model O steinway rebuilt in Europe? and a new Yamha c3x 6'

The dealer tried to push me away from the steinway suggesting you really are just paying for the name?
I liked the Steinway but felt 50k for a used piano seemed a little high.

The Schimel was nice but slightly above my budget. Sounded the fullest but that is to be expected as it is longer. They told me the Schimel is great value compared to a new steinway.

Looking at it from the investment side the Steinway probably is the best?

It is har being a beginner piano player technically wise. I probably am not a good judge about the action and feel as I do not have enough experience. Example the dealer thought the Schimel 7' I much better based on the action having a longer throw resulting in better dynamics?


Ok. No piano, even Steinways, are considered an investment.

A bit confused here. If the Schimmel K is above your budget, almost any new Steinway grand would cost more than the Schimmel.

All acoustic pianos age and depreciate. Perhaps review the new piano pricing index included in the PianoBuyer to draw up a list of what you can afford new and the check PianoMart for some idea of what people want for used pianos.


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Originally Posted by echo44
The dealer tried to push me away from the steinway suggesting you really are just paying for the name?
I liked the Steinway but felt 50k for a used piano seemed a little high.
Looking at it from the investment side the Steinway probably is the best?
All pianos lose money, so don't think of them as financial investments. However, I guess the dealer's comment (and their asking price for the rebuilt Model O) show that people do ascribe value to the Steinway name. It's up to you whether you think the pianos are worth it. I don't know whether any reduction in depreciation (due to the name recognition) offsets the higher purchase price (also due to the name recognition). wink

Originally Posted by echo44
It is hard being a beginner piano player technically wise. I probably am not a good judge about the action and feel as I do not have enough experience. Example the dealer thought the Schimel 7' I much better based on the action having a longer throw resulting in better dynamics?
You're already in a fortunate position to be considering grand pianos, which have actions that are technically superior to the actions of upright pianos. Perhaps the dealer was talking about further improvements in the actions of long grand pianos vs short grand pianos? I agree you may not be able to judge that yet, but you are already noticing differences in touch amongst pianos you've played.
I have a Kurzweil keyboard with fully weighted keys. The weighting is not graded (so the treble feels too heavy), and after playing acoustic instruments, the Kurzweil weighting feels artificial. You can't sense the momentum of the moving hammers like you can with a piano (because there aren't any). Any grand is going to be a big step up, and it won't take you long to learn to exploit the action to control the sound. =)
Speaking of beginner piano players, a dealer once told me of a customer who was a complete beginner / non player.. This casually-dressed customer walked in and went around the shop bashing on each piano in turn, until he got to one which he bashed on more thoughtfully and for longer. So he bought it. It was a Fazioli grand, the most expensive instrument in the shop! shocked


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Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by echo44
Thanks everyone for such great advice and resources.

I went to another store today here in the Chicagoland area They are a Yamaha and Schimel dealer.

Tried 3 pianos a Schimel 7' Koncert series, 1911 Model O steinway rebuilt in Europe? and a new Yamha c3x 6'

The dealer tried to push me away from the steinway suggesting you really are just paying for the name?
I liked the Steinway but felt 50k for a used piano seemed a little high.

The Schimel was nice but slightly above my budget. Sounded the fullest but that is to be expected as it is longer. They told me the Schimel is great value compared to a new steinway.

Looking at it from the investment side the Steinway probably is the best?

It is har being a beginner piano player technically wise. I probably am not a good judge about the action and feel as I do not have enough experience. Example the dealer thought the Schimel 7' I much better based on the action having a longer throw resulting in better dynamics?


Ok. No piano, even Steinways, are considered an investment.

A bit confused here. If the Schimmel K is above your budget, almost any new Steinway grand would cost more than the Schimmel.

All acoustic pianos age and depreciate. Perhaps review the new piano pricing index included in the PianoBuyer to draw up a list of what you can afford new and the check PianoMart for some idea of what people want for used pianos.
The Schimmel 7ft Konzert is $288,000 SMP, surely that is more than some new Steinway pianos.I do agree the Estonia may be a more moderate price.I would say a Schimmel Konzert grand could match the best of them musically though.
https://www.pianobuyer.com/brand/schimmel/

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echo44 Offline OP
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The Schimmel I played cost around $75,000 it's model number was K219 TEP

Another possibility is I have a friend who has a 1976 Steinway "L" she is selling the original owner and well taken care of. I have not heard or seen the piano yet. From doing research though the L model seems less desirable.

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OK It looks as if I looked at a special finish so for polished ebony the Schimmel is lower in price.Still the prices are certainly not low and probably higher than quite a few other high end pianos.

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Originally Posted by echo44
The Schimmel I played cost around $75,000 it's model number was K219 TEP

Another possibility is I have a friend who has a 1976 Steinway "L" she is selling the original owner and well taken care of. I have not heard or seen the piano yet. From doing research though the L model seems less desirable.
I would suggest buying a piano you enjoyed playing more than anything else.Our proffesional pianist member terminaldegree owns a Schimmel Konzert grand.(perhaps one step larger than you like) You could send him a pm message and ask him about his piano.(just a thought)

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I’m looking at the Fall Edition PianoBuyer and the SMP for the Konzert 219 is $103,246. That’s the most an ebony Schimmel 7ft should cost here in the US.


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25% discount would be around 77K. So the Schimmel you tried was a reasonable price to negotiate from.


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Originally Posted by j&j
I’m looking at the Fall Edition PianoBuyer and the SMP for the Konzert 219 is $103,246. That’s the most an ebony Schimmel 7ft should cost here in the US.
So that could get you a 6'2"Steinway! 😉 Of course there is always Fazioli!

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Originally Posted by tre corda
The Schimmel 7ft Konzert is $288,000 SMP, surely that is more than some new Steinway pianos.I do agree the Estonia may be a more moderate price.I would say a Schimmel Konzert grand could match the best of them musically though.
https://www.pianobuyer.com/brand/schimmel/
That's the price for the special art case Schimmel. The normal case has an SMP a little over 100K and one would usually get a price of 10-30% off that. So only the smallest Steinway grands might sell for less than the Schimmel.

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