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#3217271 05/18/22 01:52 PM
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We are moving from CA to TX (DFW area) and recently sold our Yamaha UX piano with the intention of buying a piano when we get to TX. Selling our piano was not a fun experience. We listed it multiple places for 2 months and sold it at the last minute for much less than it’s worth. In addition, although it was a wonderful piano with no issues, my son did not enjoy playing it. He says the action was too heavy for him. So when we buy a new piano, I don’t want to make the same mistakes. I want to avoid overpaying for a piano at a dealer, and I want something he enjoys playing. We bought the Yamaha because we were assured it was a very desirable piano and would hold it’s value. I’ve learned that wasn’t as true as we thought it would be. We spend over $5000 on it (I think it was $5500?) and sold it for just under $4000 after a LOT of effort. We got so many lowball offers it’s not even funny (like in the $2000 range).

So here is my question: what makers of upright pianos should we start looking at that are known for having a lighter action than Yamaha, don’t cost quite as much as Yamaha, and maybe aren’t the top rated but are affordable and have a nice sound? If we can find something for around 3000-4000 from a private party that plays nice and sounds good and makes my son happy, that’s what we want. He is an advanced player, but he is an older teen and will only be at home maybe 2-3 more years, so I want to be realistic and not lose a bunch of money on a piano in a few years.

Also, maybe the piano market in DFW is different than SoCal? Or maybe I am looking for a unicorn? Lol

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Hi JAK07!

Yes... piano selling is not fun. I’m sorry that you could not sell for more.

DFW is Dallas, Fort Worth correct?

I would think there are many dealers in DFW because well... Texas.

Bring your son along and play each one for a bit and the one you THINK you like for a while to make sure tone, touch, etc. is good.

When I went to a dealer I basically only looked at a few pianos, do not be distracted when shopping like me!!

For me, I got a good deal and I hope you do too. ($3500 kawai GE30)

When looking at a piano an inspection is heavily recommended on this forum. Although I did not I took a risk. (Good in the end)

Hope you get an amazing piano. 😄

Last edited by probably blue; 05/18/22 02:34 PM.
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Well piano dont keep their value. So I dont know how long you had the UX and if you bought it new. A piano is loosing 15 to 20% of its value in the first year. So the best is to buy pre owned and not too old.

Both Yamaha and kawai offer good quality for the price. But if you are going used, there are a lot of other brands that could work. Some of the cheapest would be chinese like Pearl River or Young Chang but I have no experience with those. For the action, it really varies from piano to piano, so your son need to test them himself before buying. The Yamaha action is not known to be heavy BTW.


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How long have you had the UX, and how old is it? As a U3, it should be quite a desirable in the used market. BUT, all pianos lose value, even ones that are supposed to "hold their value."

I don't know the market well for the Yamaha U-series, buy assuming you bought for a reasonable price at $5k, selling it a few years later for $4k sounds pretty reasonable to me, IMO. If you had it for 2 years, maybe think of it like paying $50/mo "rental fee"?


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Action weight seems to depend to some degree on brand...but even more so on the year it was made (and the tech who worked on it). Yamaha actions (or that of any piano, for that matter), can be light or heavy, depending.

But regardless, I'd also second the Kawai suggestion. This way your son can move on from Yamaha and turn over a new leaf. Sometimes what's needed is change. But there are other brands too. Maybe you could find something like a used Petrof in that price range. Those are also quite popular pianos. What matters most is that your son enjoys it.

I tried out a Kawai K300 during my search for an upright several years ago. I seem to remember it was preowned from the mid-2000s, and had a nice, light action (it was priced at about $3500). The only problem is that it seemed like it hadn't been taken great care of and needed some work done it, so I got a Yamaha U1 instead (which was from 1984, and in very good condition). I had also tried a K500 that was quite a bit older (70s or 80s, can't remember). Although in well cared-for condition, the action was quite heavy and not to my liking. And there was some vibration inside the piano that was bugging me (that was the main thing, possibly an easy fix).

Just make sure your son is there this time to test the piano out before you buy it. In theory, you can't go wrong, as long as he finds something he's happy to play on and the price is right. Good luck.

Last edited by chromaticvortex; 05/18/22 03:18 PM.

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Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
I had also tried a K500 that was quite a bit older (70s or 80s, can't remember). Although in well cared-for condition, the action was quite heavy and not to my liking. And there was some vibration inside the piano that was bugging me (that was the main thing, possibly an easy fix).
The current Kawai K500 upright model was introduced in 2014. If you were playing something from the 70s or 80s it wasn't a K500. smile


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In the used market, I'd focus on Japanese built Yamaha (U1 and U3) and Kawai (K series) and American built Charles Walter and Baldwin uprights. Your son can determine if the action is to his liking. (BTW I've never encountered a Yamaha with a heavy action.) If not buying a "certified" piano from a dealer, I'd recommend that you have any used piano you seriously consider evaluated by a piano tech. I'd completely avoid Chinese and Indonesian built pianos (Pearl River, etc.) Korean built Young Chang and Weber pianos are also a possibility if in good condition. I'm guessing that European built Schimmels and Petrof's would be out of your price range. Please keep us in the loop as you continue your search. Thanks !!!!


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Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
I had also tried a K500 that was quite a bit older (70s or 80s, can't remember). Although in well cared-for condition, the action was quite heavy and not to my liking. And there was some vibration inside the piano that was bugging me (that was the main thing, possibly an easy fix).
The current Kawai K500 upright model was introduced in 2014. If you were playing something from the 70s or 80s it wasn't a K500. smile

You're right. It must've been something else.

And for that matter, the other one I tried wasn't a K300, but a K-25EA.

Last edited by chromaticvortex; 05/18/22 05:01 PM.

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SoCal market is the best in the US for shoppers, in terms of choices, imo. It’s been long enough since I’ve lived in Texas that I can’t comment on the DFW piano market authoritatively.

Now is generally a good market for used pianos, as a seller, with higher prices and fewer choices for buyers. So long as you got your piano for a good deal in the first place. I recently sold a high-end upright for just under $10k, that I bought new for just over $13k, fifteen years earlier. And it took a month to get a few offers. So, no, if you buy well and choose wisely, they don’t lose a lot of value.

Yamaha verticals generally don’t have a reputation for heavy actions. Checking regulation is a good first step, addressing friction and checking the pinning are additional things to consider, particularly if the piano was from a very different humidity environment, or was subjected to prior institutional use. Since the UX was likely a Japanese-market, used import, that could have been the case.

I suspect you’re going to have trouble finding something that’s newer (let’s say, less than 20 years old), not thrashed from institutional use, or from a more reputable builder, for that budget. Since you have an advanced level pianist in your home, I would definitely recommend something in the 48-52” size, if possible. Have you looked at PianoMart/piano buyer classifieds, checked the pianos for sale section on this site, let your local piano technician know you’re in the market, and maybe see if you can post something to the local music teachers association. And yes, also visit dealers. Maybe see if there’s a used high-end hybrid digital (of a current model) out there, within your budget.

Since pianos, with regular maintenance and home use, can provide a good 50 years of service, you might consider buying a slightly better piano for your child, and gifting it after they finish college.

Last edited by terminaldegree; 05/18/22 05:58 PM.

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FWIW - checking DFW Craigslist, found a dealer with used Yamaha U series, one a U2, the other a U3, priced at $2980 and $3980 and a Schiller 115 in white for $3680. They were offered with a 2 year warranty. If you decide to check them out, aside from having your son play them, of course, follow the usual PW prescription: hire an independent tech to inspect before purchase.


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Originally Posted by Seeker
FWIW - checking DFW Craigslist, found a dealer with used Yamaha U series, one a U2, the other a U3, priced at $2980 and $3980 and a Schiller 115 in white for $3680. They were offered with a 2 year warranty.
You do have to be careful with the Dallas Craigslist listings, however, There are several "Dallas" listings that are actually posted by Jim Laabs Pianos in Stevens Point Wisconsin (including the Schiller). On the other hand, there appear to be several used Yamaha U1's available in the DWF area itself.


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Also be sure to get serial numbers and run a check to make sure it isn’t a gray-market piano too…unless you don’t mind if it is or not…


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Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
Also be sure to get serial numbers and run a check to make sure it isn’t a gray-market piano too…unless you don’t mind if it is or not…
Sorry for dumb question...
What is “gray market” and how do you run the serial numbers?

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Originally Posted by probably blue
Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
Also be sure to get serial numbers and run a check to make sure it isn’t a gray-market piano too…unless you don’t mind if it is or not…
Sorry for dumb question...
What is “gray market” and how do you run the serial numbers?

Gray market goods are manufactured for distribution and sale in another region. An example would be pianos made for the Japanese market but sold in the US instead. These pianos do not come with any warranty or support since they were bought outside of the dealer / support channel.

Some brands have an serial number database in their website that will allow you to search for piano details based on the serial number including market of origin.

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Sorry I didn’t see this until now.

Thanks!

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I would ask any seller of a piano you are considering purchasing if the V-bar is truly V-shaped and has not been subject to any metal hardening processes.


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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I would ask any seller of a piano you are considering purchasing if the V-bar is truly V-shaped and has not been subject to any metal hardening processes.

Do you mind if I play the ignorant newbie card here?

Genuinely curious, is it expected or reasonable for any seller, whether private sale or at a shop, to know the answer to this, or to answer honestly? If I was selling my piano and someone asked, I'd either say "no idea" or "it is what it is." And frankly I'd need to be strongly convinced that this is something important for me to know as a seller to find out.

If anyone asked me to take a file to the plate to biopsy it for hardness, I'd would say "no way in heck, good day to you." Yeah, I'd lose their potential sale, but I can't think of any situation where it would be worth letting a buyer do that.


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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I would ask any seller of a piano you are considering purchasing if the V-bar is truly V-shaped and has not been subject to any metal hardening processes.

Do you mind if I play the ignorant newbie card here?

Genuinely curious, is it expected or reasonable for any seller, whether private sale or at a shop, to know the answer to this, or to answer honestly? If I was selling my piano and someone asked, I'd either say "no idea" or "it is what it is." And frankly I'd need to be strongly convinced that this is something important for me to know as a seller to find out.

If anyone asked me to take a file to the plate to biopsy it for hardness, I'd would say "no way in heck, good day to you." Yeah, I'd lose their potential sale, but I can't think of any situation where it would be worth letting a buyer do that.

If I asked a seller that I'd expect an answer along the lines of "whats a V bar?" :-)

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Hi Jak. I've always liked Alamo Music's videos on YouTube, they do a lot of video reviews of pianos and talk about pianos in general. They seem to carry some Chinese brands that tend to be cheaper, as well as the Japanese and other better known brands. San Antonio is about 4 hours away from DFW, but you could check out the Riverwalk and the Alamo while you're at it.

Back to pianos, my friend has a Pearl River upright which I expect was pretty cheap new. I expected it to play and sound mediocre given the reputation I've heard regarding Chinese pianos, and Pearl River is the company's entry line. However, I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed playing this piano. So if you're looking at staying around the $4k mark, you may get good bang for your buck in a Chinese piano. Also, not all Chinese-made pianos have Chinese-sounding names, but the guys at Alamo should be able to help you identify brands and where they're made.

A local piano store (I'm in Portland) sells used Samicks, which are about on par price-wise with the Chinese brands. They routinely list full size Samick uprights in the $2k and under range, and another friend of mine bought one. It plays well and with a little voicing should sound quite good. The action also felt good and was not heavy. Make sure to take your son so he can try out the pianos.

Good luck!

Last edited by Emery Wang; 05/23/22 07:05 PM.

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