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Mark, my budget was a bit higher than yours, but still in the category where I wasn’t seriously considering the most expensive pianos (new). I ended up purchasing an Estonia L210, and I’m very happy with it.

My thoughts about your situation: 35K should give you plenty of options. But the best decision for you will end up being highly personal and depend on a number of factors. This includes your preferences for touch and tone, the availability of pianos in your area, and how much you like shopping/are willing to wait.

This is generally how I think about the categories that you’re outlining: new vs fairly recent (last 20 years, not too heavily used) vs older restored/rebuilt pianos.
New pianos will come with a factory warranty, you will buy it from a dealer who will take care of a number of logistical issues for you, and the dealer will hopefully provide you with support after delivery, for any issues that arise. But this does come with the price tag of a new piano. You also are a little less at the mercy of whatever is available and can expect to see more options when shopping at dealers.

Lightly used, relatively young pianos can be good buys. You can find them at a dealer (and pay a little more but hopefully have a little more confidence that it’s in good shape) or through a private sale (where you should expect to pay less, but the seller is likely to be fairly clueless about the condition and worth of the piano). You should get a technician to inspect anything you’re seriously considering. Additionally, some technicians will refurbish pianos and turn them over. You may get some PMs referring you to specific technicians in the St Louis area.

Older, restored or rebuilt pianos seem to me to be the riskiest proposition, because so much depends on the quality of the work that was done. I didn’t really consider this route, but many people are very happy with their older, rebuilt pianos. When I was shopping, I played a couple that were truly dreadful to play… I didn’t need a technician to tell me that the quality of the work was lacking. I played some others that were very nice. But there can be issues that you as a player will not appreciate. My understanding is that evaluating the piano and restoration/rebuild work requires significant knowledge and expertise, particularly as you get into really old instruments, such that you don’t just want any technician to do the evaluation. In other words, you need to do a lot of homework if you’re going to consider this kind of purchase. Or have a technician you really trust.

With private sales, you are rather at the mercy of what happens to be available at any given moment. So I think you have to be a lot more tenacious and patient (or just lucky) to find the right piano.

There are lots of great piano manufacturers. My first piece of advice would be to visit as many dealers and play as many pianos as you can, to get a sense of what you like. As I said, with your budget, you should be able to find a piano that you really, really like.

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Originally Posted by ebonyk
Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
I haven't tried them, but if you want something bigger, take a look at the better Chinese-made instruments. Cunningham, et al.
Cunningham is not really a “Chinese made instrument”. They were designed by Cunningham along with George (Frank) Emerson, who also designed Baldwins and Mason & Hamlins. They have German strings and hammers, Italian keys, and Japanese action. They are assembled at Hailun, and are finished in Philly. Many hours are spent finishing and prepping them. Mine (yes, I have a Cunningham studio grand) was tuned 3 times before it was delivered and, consequently, barely needed tuning 4 months later. To this day, one year later, it is solid as a tank, LOL. It’s a wonderful instrument with a tonal palette that is surprisingly colorful and unique in comparison to the myriad other pianos I’ve played.

Just wanted to set the record straight. 🙂👍
I agree they have had significant work (by the sound of it) done at Cunningham Pianos which make it different to the typical Chinese piano like Halun

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Originally Posted by tre corda
Originally Posted by ebonyk
Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
I haven't tried them, but if you want something bigger, take a look at the better Chinese-made instruments. Cunningham, et al.
Cunningham is not really a “Chinese made instrument”. They were designed by Cunningham along with George (Frank) Emerson, who also designed Baldwins and Mason & Hamlins. They have German strings and hammers, Italian keys, and Japanese action. They are assembled at Hailun, and are finished in Philly. Many hours are spent finishing and prepping them. Mine (yes, I have a Cunningham studio grand) was tuned 3 times before it was delivered and, consequently, barely needed tuning 4 months later. To this day, one year later, it is solid as a tank, LOL. It’s a wonderful instrument with a tonal palette that is surprisingly colorful and unique in comparison to the myriad other pianos I’ve played.

Just wanted to set the record straight. 🙂👍
I agree they have had significant work (by the sound of it) done at Cunningham Pianos which make it different to the typical Chinese piano like Halun
That doesn;t change the fact that they are built in China at the Hailun factory.

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Originally Posted by tre corda
Originally Posted by ebonyk
Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
I haven't tried them, but if you want something bigger, take a look at the better Chinese-made instruments. Cunningham, et al.
Cunningham is not really a “Chinese made instrument”. They were designed by Cunningham along with George (Frank) Emerson, who also designed Baldwins and Mason & Hamlins. They have German strings and hammers, Italian keys, and Japanese action. They are assembled at Hailun, and are finished in Philly. Many hours are spent finishing and prepping them. Mine (yes, I have a Cunningham studio grand) was tuned 3 times before it was delivered and, consequently, barely needed tuning 4 months later. To this day, one year later, it is solid as a tank, LOL. It’s a wonderful instrument with a tonal palette that is surprisingly colorful and unique in comparison to the myriad other pianos I’ve played.

Just wanted to set the record straight. 🙂👍
I agree they have had significant work (by the sound of it) done at Cunningham Pianos which make it different to the typical Chinese piano like Halun
That doesn't change the fact that they are built in China at the Hailun factory.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by tre corda
Originally Posted by ebonyk
Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
I haven't tried them, but if you want something bigger, take a look at the better Chinese-made instruments. Cunningham, et al.
Cunningham is not really a “Chinese made instrument”. They were designed by Cunningham along with George (Frank) Emerson, who also designed Baldwins and Mason & Hamlins. They have German strings and hammers, Italian keys, and Japanese action. They are assembled at Hailun, and are finished in Philly. Many hours are spent finishing and prepping them. Mine (yes, I have a Cunningham studio grand) was tuned 3 times before it was delivered and, consequently, barely needed tuning 4 months later. To this day, one year later, it is solid as a tank, LOL. It’s a wonderful instrument with a tonal palette that is surprisingly colorful and unique in comparison to the myriad other pianos I’ve played.

Just wanted to set the record straight. 🙂👍
I agree they have had significant work (by the sound of it) done at Cunningham Pianos which make it different to the typical Chinese piano like Halun
That doesn;t change the fact that they are built in China at the Hailun factory.

They are probably like present day Feurich pianos.I mean for some people I have noticed Feurich pianos (made in the same place as Cunningham Pianos today) have european voicing and are perceived as having a "europeaness about them".I think we all know the high quality work Cunningham Pianos does when Pianos are rebuilt,restored and prepared as these pianos obviously are.(I mean finished off)

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My knowledge of St Louis, Mo, is limited to having seen Meet me in St Louis dubbed badly into French (not the songs, happily, they were left alone) so my comments may lack local perspective however my thoughts are these:

1. You should be aiming to get the best possible value for your money. In my view, you will be best served by buying on the private, used market. Take your time and see plenty of instruments. Let someone else take the hit on early years depreciation/sales tax/dealer margins.

2. At least in France, the worst value is offered by Yamaha and Steinway, both of which, for different reasons, attract premium prices in the used market.

3. Don't buy anything too old but be aware that a twenty year-old lightly-played piano can be a better bet than a ten year-old instrument that has been flogged to death. Don't buy from a school or college.

4. You are almost certainly in a buyer's market, don't be afraid to make a low offer and do be prepared to walk if it isn't accepted. For the sort of money you are thinking of spending most of the competition will be from the piano trade and they will routinely low-ball a private seller. If you are unhappy about making such an offer face-to-face, go away and make your offer by email.

5. Don't buy from anybody who you wouldn't be happy to invite to dinner at your house. Don't buy from anybody who has half-a-dozen pianos in their living room.

6. Always ask to see the original paperwork from when the piano was bought. If they have it, it may be of interest, if they haven't they will feel that they should have.

7. Oh yes....if there's a nice stool with the piano, make it clear that it's included in your offer.

8. Just about everyone on this site will tell you to get a Piano Tech. to inspect the piano, and who am I to contradict them?

9. Don't even think of buying anything made in China or Korea. For the sort of money that you are thinking of spending, you can do better.

10. That' all for now, folks!


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Unless it's top tier piano and absolutely not older than 20 years, I would buy new. Take into the consideration, the chinese piano makers made a great improvements over the last 20 years, and traditional piano makers had to improve their pianos as well. New pianos are much better in every way, unless you buy Steinway D or etc. Take in mind that 20 year old Bechstein or Sauter is NOT the piano that is today. Sauter was a middle class piano maker until 2005, only than they switched to doing top end piano (I may not be right with the year, but should be pretty close), Bechstein only in recent years made scale and other improvements (but for home usage it will not matter, it was always top piano).

Top chinese brands are told to present european quality for half the european price. Where is the truth? This is what I think you need to find the answer by yourself. As everyone wants to make business out of your money, it's hard to find true advise and there are lots of myth within the industry as well.

Anything what was frequently played and is older than 20 years will need significant amount of work soon.

Rebuilders will tell you one story, seller another, piano shops who are doing "restorarions" also another... Everything was it old is deteriorating over time, no matter whether this is piano or a car. The fact that piano makes sound doen't mean it's a still good piano or even anything close to what is was new.

There are a lot of middle class brands, some too expensive for what they offer (like W. Hoffmann, which I have confirmation from two independent sources that they are too expensive and deteriorate too fast), but you have brands like Schimmel, Seiler, August Forster, Petrof, Wilhelm Grotrian, lesser known italian Schulze Pollmann who makes great instruments but now known very much, Feurich, Kayserburg, Perzina, Hailun, I do not know what is current status of Young Chang, some years ago they were really praised here. Somewhere here I read the statement "If you need to buy chinese made piano buy true chinese, not chinese made european brand" - for example Irmler. Open piano buyer and check prices and so on. There are cheaper brands which makes great pianos as well, Shigeru is one of them.

Stock models which are on the floor for 3-4-5 years can have significant discounts (but than there is always a question why noone before bought them?)

Boston is in your price range definitely, I played on them and was left indifferent, but many are very happy.

Last edited by maucycy; 01/20/22 06:43 PM.
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Originally Posted by maucycy
...but you have brands like Schimmel, Seiler, August Forster, Petrof, Wilhelm Grotrian, lesser known italian Schultz & Pollmann.

Wilhelm Grotrian is a Chinese made piano, Grotrian Steinweg or Grotrian as they are known here are made in Germany.With Schimmel the Classic and the Konzert models are made in Braunschweig Germany and so are more expensive models.The other models are made are made in China or Eastern Europe. Schultz & Pollmann only the Masterpiece series grands are completly made in Italy and San Marino and are of the higher quality.

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Originally Posted by Jean Claude
My knowledge of St Louis, Mo, is limited to having seen Meet me in St Louis dubbed badly into French (not the songs, happily, they were left alone) so my comments may lack local perspective however my thoughts are these:

1. You should be aiming to get the best possible value for your money. In my view, you will be best served by buying on the private, used market. Take your time and see plenty of instruments. Let someone else take the hit on early years depreciation/sales tax/dealer margins.

2. At least in France, the worst value is offered by Yamaha and Steinway, both of which, for different reasons, attract premium prices in the used market.

3. Don't buy anything too old but be aware that a twenty year-old lightly-played piano can be a better bet than a ten year-old instrument that has been flogged to death. Don't buy from a school or college.

4. You are almost certainly in a buyer's market, don't be afraid to make a low offer and do be prepared to walk if it isn't accepted. For the sort of money you are thinking of spending most of the competition will be from the piano trade and they will routinel1y low-ball a private seller. If you are unhappy about making such an offer face-to-face, go away and make your offer by email.

5. Don't buy from anybody who you wouldn't be happy to invite to dinner at your house. Don't buy from anybody who has half-a-dozen pianos in their living room.

6. Always ask to see the original paperwork from when the piano was bought. If they have it, it may be of interest, if they haven't they will feel that they should have.

7. Oh yes....if there's a nice stool with the piano, make it clear that it's included in your offer.

8. Just about everyone on this site will tell you to get a Piano Tech. to inspect the piano, and who am I to contradict them?

9. Don't even think of buying anything made in China or Korea. For the sort of money that you are thinking of spending, you can do better.

10. That' all for now, folks!

+1


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I wonder if you would be open to a higher end upright? Likely would require travel for some brands, but I have been impressed with Schimmel K (132?, whatever is the large one), and I have a 7.5 ft higher end grand. There are some nice uprights out there. Maybe go to NYC and sample at Faust Harrison and the store on the same block (I forget name) if you are interested. Closer to you is a Steingraeber dealer in Chicago, last I heard.
Just a thought, and it may not suit your situation.
Steingraeber, Bechstein, Bösendorfer, even Petrof can be delightful. I’m sure other brands I haven’t played are as well.

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Sometimes I wonder if the best, most straightforward option is to negotiate a good price on a new or lightly used Yamaha C3X and then get a technician on it to voice it to taste. They are extremely versatile in terms of what can be done with voicing. It’s certainly the most straightforward in terms of warranty, longevity, etc.

You might not want a Japanese piano and might prefer something rebuilt. In that case you might be able to find something which has been rebuilt recently and is being sold as second hand. A piano that had a comprehensive rebuild 20 years ago and which has sat in a house relatively unused might only need a good clean out and regulation. I don’t know what it’s like here but in Britain. rebuilt pianos can depreciate a lot so sometimes you can find a stellar piano at a rock bottom price. I’ve seen Bluthners and Bechsteins with new soundboards and pinblocks replaced fifteen or so years previously sell for as little as 7k gbp which is about 10k US. Steinways command more of course, they always do, as do Bösendorfer….. just some grist for the mill


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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Quote
Would you buy a new piano, so that everything is perfect?

Would you try to maximize value with an older piano that was either meticuloulsly cared for (or restored)?

I have never purchased a new piano (I've purchased new digitals, but that's not the same!)

So, I might buy a new piano just because, wow, how exciting! smile

Or I might buy a used (but relatively recent) piano from a dealer... Hard to decide!

I would also expand (geographically) my search compared to where we went for my last piano search. My goal in doing that would be to play some piano brands I've never played before (Estonia... Bösendorfer ... sigh).

Also, I have yet to play a brand new Yamaha Cx series, so I'd make sure I could try some.

Also, while piano shopping there were some Boston grands that I really liked, so I would reconsider a new Boston.

Considering that the Boston I liked the most sounds very different from my C2, I would anticipate that I might fall in love with some unexpected brands (IOW, I'm not limited to a Yamaha sound by my own preferences).

I probably would not aim to buy a S&S, but if I did, I would buy used because $35,000 probably wouldn't get me a S&S that I liked (IIRC from the prices of pianos I played while piano shopping).

Sigh... it's fun to dream!

Keep us posted on your search, Mark.

I got to look at some used S&S at dealer shops and some were about 38K for sure. A guy I met has a reconstruction shop and he offered some in the low 20k to mid 30k range, but I was hesitant. At that point I felt that I might just be getting a Steinwas rather than a Steinway lol. I don't know enough about pianos so I decided not to even bother with that. Like you, I wish I would have tried other brands like Estonia, but the piano landscape is kind of dry right now and the dealers near me didn't have a lot of the models I'd be interested in. Despite having a new piano on the way, I will continue to play as many pianos as I can because I just realized how much fun that is even if I'm no longer in the market for a piano.


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Keep looking and playing pianos, enjoy the ride and don't rush yourself.

One day you will sit behind a piano and you will know that it is the one.


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

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Originally Posted by Learux
Keep looking and playing pianos, enjoy the ride and don't rush yourself.

One day you will sit behind a piano and you will know that it is the one.



thumb If you patiently wait for THE ONE, you won’t wonder about the ones you didn’t buy.

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I always recommend buying new. There are a few very nice 'complete' rebuilds, new soundboard, that are usually priced 45K - 55K. These rebuilds are always limited to one or two brands.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
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Originally Posted by Dave B
I always recommend buying new. There are a few very nice 'complete' rebuilds, new soundboard, that are usually priced 45K - 55K. These rebuilds are always limited to one or two brands.

New is nice but the deals are in slightly used pianos.

This one was about 35K if I remember correctly and in my opinion it will be next to impossible to find a piano of this quality new for 35K.

https://michellespiano.com/portland...-pianos/august-forester-215-grand-piano/


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https://carusopianos.com/browse-pia...r-model-275-9-concert-grand-piano-detail
Seems OP can go even longer ))

The piano teacher I used to take lessons from has this August Forster 275 at home. It is a great instrument. The touch is a bit on the lighter side and has gorgeous sound (surprisingly not overpowering for a living room). I prefer mellow sounding instruments, but his forster had just the very perfect amount of sparkle, which came out more during forte.

Last edited by Walkman; 01/21/22 05:41 PM.
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Originally Posted by drvenom
Despite having a new piano on the way, I will continue to play as many pianos as I can because I just realized how much fun that is even if I'm no longer in the market for a piano.

Yep.

And that's also why so many of us keep posting here! It's just darn good fun!!
grin


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Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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Originally Posted by Walkman
I like Caruso! They have such a good website and really represent the pianos they sell: honest descriptions, lots of pics, good videos, I like their delivery method. Prices are very reasonable. I’ve inquired about pianos with them in the past, they always answered right away and were very helpful. Only wish they took trades!


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Wow, that AF is beautiful! It seems like a crazy low price, although it is almost 50 years old.


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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