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#3203702 03/24/22 03:52 PM
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Good afternoon,

I learned about your company from some of your posts on the piano world forums. It seems that a lot of folks have great things to say about your store so I thought I'd reach out.

We're in search of a piano for our son. He is 10 and has been playing a little over 3 years on a digital piano (Alesis Coda Pro - https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/CODAPro--alesis-coda-pro-88-key-weighted-key-digital-piano).

His teacher is recommending that we move him to an acoustic piano as he believes our son has outgrown the digital. We figured this day would come at some point. We started him on a cheap keyboard first. Then bought the digital piano. We wanted to make sure his level of investment matched ours. He mainly plays classical and is apparently progressing at an advanced pace (working through Beethoven's Pathetique and handling it pretty well if that gives an idea of his level). He has such a passion for it (our problem is pulling him away from practice to do other things, not getting him to practice) that we’re wondering if he legitimately has a shot at turning this into a career (or something that at least gets him a scholarship a little later on). His teacher agrees. Being honest, we can tell he’s outgrowing the digital as well. We can hear a distinct difference in his playing when he plays on the piano at his music school as opposed to the digital our house.

So here we are. His investment has outstripped ours and we’re struggling with the large amount of options (and frankly the cost) of more advanced pianos. We know we want an upright as we do not have the room (or budget if I’m being honest) for a baby grand.

I see used pianos recommended but we’ve been searching for 3-4 months and the market around us has been less than fruitful. Pianos listed on facebook / craigslist in our area are typically really old, not really in our area, or are straight up scams (I’ve wasted so much time with people listing stuff that they don’t have, bait/switch, whatever). We’re fearful of buying a used piano from out of our region as that would mean our son can’t play it first.

The same goes for new pianos. There is only one new piano store here in town (Jacksonville, Florida) and they weren’t the best to work with. They also wouldn’t discount at all - list price or nothing. This was a Yamaha dealer so he got to play the often-recommended U1. He seemed to like the U1 okay enough but we couldn’t afford to buy it with no discounting at all. The other dealer local to us deals in nothing but used instruments and they were either very expensive, really old, or models I’ve see recommended for beginner use only.

We're hoping to find guidance on a somewhat economical but appropriate level piano. I'm struggling with the large amount of options and, frankly, the apparent cost of giving him an “advanced” piano. Our budget is around $7500 max but that’s probably stretching it honestly.

Any recommendations on how I give him the tools he needs to continue getting better in an economical / common sense way?

Sheesh that got long. Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance for the help.

Warm Regards,

Matthew

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7500 grand is a lot of money for a good piano. You have lots of option with it. Used Yamahas, Kawai, new Ritmullers or Kayserburgs, and list goes on...

Hopefully people here will help you with addresses of good dealers in your area.

Just for condiseration - used Yamaha upright holds their price very well and often they cost far more than their real value is.

There are many other good brands like Hailun, Perzina, Feurich, Zimmermann and W.Hoffmann, Charles Walter makes impressive uprights. Do not limit yourself to Yamaha, they have excellent after sales service and build quality, but your son needs to love the sound and touch, not just be "ok".

Don't be in a Harry and given yourself 2-3 months for this processor and visit as many dealers as possible. Avoid anything order than 30 years unless fully restored.

And indeed, skip craiglists and so on, you will need a technician to evaluate the piano... if you do not have idea about pianos just buy one from a dealer.

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You need to buy from a reputable dealer.
Ask others in your local music community who is reputable.

Yamaha U1 is an excellent choice, and many can be had used if you can't get a new one.

Kawai K300 is also nice, or the older K3.

Good luck in your search. This forum has many helpful folks who will, no doubt, have excellent advice.

Welcome!


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Hi Matthew
I’ve looked at the piano store listings in Jacksonville and they really don’t provide any information about thd used pianos they have in stock. Either no inventory at all or only a few used grand listings. Quite unusual. Can you ask your son’s piano teacher which pisno store she would recommend? Would she be willing to contact her tech (or let you contact her tech)? I live on the west coast of Florida where there are not many piano dealers. I let my tech know what I was looking for, and he called me when one of his clients was selling her piano.

I’ll keep looking for you,


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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A U1 would be a perfectly good instrument.If the price of the U1 is too high then the Kawai K300 may be more suitable.These pianos are equally good quality pianos.Kawai dealers are known to give good discounts.Do not give up on a used piano.There are bound to be a good upright on Craigslist eventually or in some dealer.Often when buying a used upright the present condition of the piano may be more important than the brand.Yamaha do make the P22 model which used to be an institutional piano.Ideally though an upright should be about 48"(studio size) to suit a serious piano student.Have all used pianos checked by an independent technician.

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Seconding dogperson, I suggest that you call your piano teacher's technician, and see if you can get advice, and possibly leads on pianos for sale. You will need a technician, and it helps to get an idea of the price of maintenance.

Last edited by BDB; 03/24/22 07:31 PM.

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Thanks for the comments so far. I especially appreciate the advice about our Piano teacher's technician. We've asked our Piano teacher and he wasn't able to recommend much locally (it seems our area really needs more competition) but I didn't think to ask to talk to his technician.

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Any feedback on the Cunningham professional upright? https://www.cunninghampiano.com/shop/cunningham-professional-upright-piano.html

Cunningham seems to have a good reputation as a company here but information seems limited on this specific piano. Any advice on quality? How does it compare to the U1? How about in comparison to the Kawai K300 recommended above?

Also, @I. Bruton, thanks for the suggestion of Kawai. I had read that they also make good intermediate level uprights (K300/K500). I stopped researching because I couldn't find any near us. I'll check other somewhat nearby cities and see what I can find.

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Originally Posted by mgparr
Thanks for the comments so far. I especially appreciate the advice about our Piano teacher's technician. We've asked our Piano teacher and he wasn't able to recommend much locally (it seems our area really needs more competition) but I didn't think to ask to talk to his technician.

It’s strange, to me, that the dealers don’t show their in stock pianos on their web sites. It makes looking on the internet fairly useless.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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The folks around here recommend paying an independent tech, hired by you, to inspect at pre-owned pisno. It usually costs about $100. I would let your teacher’s tech know you will pay him for an inspection.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by mgparr
Thanks for the comments so far. I especially appreciate the advice about our Piano teacher's technician. We've asked our Piano teacher and he wasn't able to recommend much locally (it seems our area really needs more competition) but I didn't think to ask to talk to his technician.

It’s strange, to me, that the dealers don’t show their in stock pianos on their web sites. It makes looking on the internet fairly useless.

There are only two "real" piano stores in town. Kelly's piano which is really close to being out of business. They only sell used pianos at this point and, according to the owner, are looking to go repair and service only in the near future.

Edit to say: The owner was really nice and took a lot of time to show me his shop and such. I'd use them in a heartbeat for repairs down the road. It's a shame they they are getting out of the sales side. Stark contrast to the other store in town.

The second is the Yamaha dealer I mentioned above. They had two or 3 used at prices way above market (at least from my research) and they refused to discount anything new at all. On top of that, the customer service was just passable. The salesman wasn't rude but was pretty clear that he didn't care if I bought a Piano or not unless it was what he had and at full price. Pointed to a stack of orders and basically said he was the only dealer in town and doesn't need my business. On principle alone, they are out.

So our market is what I'd call "slim pickens" for piano stores.

Last edited by mgparr; 03/24/22 08:05 PM.
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Hard to tell exactly where in Florida this Yamaha U3 is located - but if in good condition, the price is certainly appealing.

https://jacksonville.craigslist.org/msg/d/jacksonville-yamaha-u3-professional/7461784879.html

There's another U3 on the Jacksonville Craigslist with a photo of a U3 at Stilwell Pianos in Arizona. I'd be wary of that one as I don't think it is legit.


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Originally Posted by Carey
Hard to tell exactly where in Florida this Yamaha U3 is located - but if in good condition, the price is certainly appealing.

https://jacksonville.craigslist.org/msg/d/jacksonville-yamaha-u3-professional/7461784879.html

There's another U3 on the Jacksonville Craigslist with a photo of a U3 at Stilwell Pianos in Arizona. I'd be wary of that one as I don't think it is legit.

Thanks for the suggestion. This is actually sort of a quasi scam as well. I saw it yesterday and upon reaching out, got an email back that said "call my dad at xxx number". Googling the number revealed it to belong to A440 pianos in Atlanta. So not in our area and a dealer masquerading as a pirate listing to avoid insertion fees. I called anyway and it felt like a bait and switch. I couldn't get a straight answer on whether they even had that U3. They have a Facebook page with some pretty terrible reviews.

That experience is actually what pushed me to make this post. This is the 4th or 5th time I've ran into something sketchy while trying to find a piano. It's getting really frustrating.

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You might check out PianoMart (.com) for used pianos, if you haven't done so already. However, currently there are few listings there that I could see in your area. You may have to expand your search area, if that's feasible for you.

Good luck!

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If your teacher’s tech is not able to help, you can find others in your area at PTG.org
This is a searchable database of techs who belong to the guild,

I know your pain—- Piano wasteland 😢


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Originally Posted by mgparr
Originally Posted by Carey
Hard to tell exactly where in Florida this Yamaha U3 is located - but if in good condition, the price is certainly appealing.

https://jacksonville.craigslist.org/msg/d/jacksonville-yamaha-u3-professional/7461784879.html

There's another U3 on the Jacksonville Craigslist with a photo of a U3 at Stilwell Pianos in Arizona. I'd be wary of that one as I don't think it is legit.

Thanks for the suggestion. This is actually sort of a quasi scam as well. I saw it yesterday and upon reaching out, got an email back that said "call my dad at xxx number". Googling the number revealed it to belong to A440 pianos in Atlanta. So not in our area and a dealer masquerading as a pirate listing to avoid insertion fees. I called anyway and it felt like a bait and switch. I couldn't get a straight answer on whether they even had that U3. They have a Facebook page with some pretty terrible reviews.

That experience is actually what pushed me to make this post. This is the 4th or 5th time I've ran into something sketchy while trying to find a piano. It's getting really frustrating.
Sorry to hear that. I can understand your frustration. Craigslist can be a mixed bag. On the positive side, I found a terrific used 7 foot Baldwin SF-10 for our church a few years ago from a private seller here in town - and it was perfectly legit.

Last edited by Carey; 03/25/22 01:39 AM.

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I know this is like swearing in church, but have you considered upgrading to a better digital piano for your son? An example could be the Kawai MP-11SE that would cost you a little over $2k IIRC. You might want to let him try one out and see what he thinks of it.

I have both that and a U1 and I play the MP-11SE a lot more than my Yamaha. It's just as excellent!

You can find lots of threads on that model over in the Digital piano section.

Best of luck in your search!


Peter
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