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Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686173
01/23/09 08:57 AM
01/23/09 08:57 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,555
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Bob Newbie Offline
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Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,555
Awhile back I was looking at digital baby grands
and saw an ad for Valdesta C500..I asked a poster who owned one for a few years..said I like the sound of the Valdesta but indicated she liked the Feel/Touch of the Suzuki better if she had to do it over she would've bought the Suzuki..
said the keys action of the Valdesta "were a bit mushy" smile

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Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686174
01/23/09 05:13 PM
01/23/09 05:13 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 5
New York
P
PrinceMercer Offline
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Joined: Jan 2009
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New York
Don't take this the wrong way IronCobra, but you are the only person strongly advocating the Suzuki...is there anyone else who has played it and has an opinion on this forum?


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Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686175
01/24/09 03:56 PM
01/24/09 03:56 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 4,755
Georgia, USA
terminaldegree Offline
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I think it's great to have more people contributing here about their experiences with a brand we don't experience firsthand that often. Having said that, I must take serious issue (for the purpose of trying to disseminate factual information for later searches on PW) about a lot of what you've posted regarding their acoustic pianos.

Regarding your previous statements, a little followup is seriously warranted:

Originally posted by IronCobra:
"Suzuki Acoustic Grand Pianos are made in one of four factories they own and operate.
A Korean, Japan, China, and North American factory."
"All of their Grand Pianos that are sold in North American are assembled in North America at the North America Suzuki Piano Assembly Plant."

Where exactly is this North American factory? It has been stated here in the past that they don't have their own and subcontract the work to other existing factories. Enquiring minds want to know!

"Many of the parts used are German or Japanese made and are developed through a partnership with Yamaha."

In a forum with over 38,000 members-- a LOT of whom work in the industry, you're the first to suggest a partnership. Does Yamaha have a financial stake in Suzuki? Why wouldn't that be prominently displayed on their marketing literature as an asset?

"All bushings and dampers are very high quality Japanese felt. Their hammers are made from seasoned hardwoods and the hammer heads and shanks are covered in 100% Japanese virgin wool felt. They also use hand wound solid copper German Roslau strings, Japanese Maple 17 ply pin blocks and other ultra high end features."

This is all marketing speak and not necessarily indicative of "ultra high-end" features. Every piano maker comments on the high quality of their felt. What does "virgin" wool mean, exactly? The number of layers in a pin block is irrelevant as a tool for assessing its quality. I'm pretty sure every piano maker uses hardwoods in the hammers and shanks too. "Select hardwoods" is not a term that is used by marketers of "ultra high-end" pianos.

"They are one of the few Piano manufacturers who is ISO 9001 certified."

I see this certification listed on a lot of different products and don't really know what it would mean for an acoustic piano. It's not a term seen in connection with any of the high-end builders in my experience. Is Bosendorfer an ISO 9001 manufacturer?

"I hope all this information helps dispel some of the rumors regarding their pianos."


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686176
01/24/09 08:16 PM
01/24/09 08:16 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 26
Corpus Christi, TX
IronCobra Offline
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IronCobra  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 26
Corpus Christi, TX
I don't know where all their factories are. I was informed by their people that they have a factory in Laredo, TX that is one of a few Suzuki owned assembly plants in the US. I have personally see a very large Suzuki building in Laredo, though I am not 100% sure if that is what he was speaking about.

The same technician (whom I asked many questions) was the one who indicated their use of Yamaha co-developed parts. There are probably reasons why they can't advertise outright the use of other companies parts. For the same reasons Kia doesn't advertise the use of Toyota transmissions in their vehicles. There is probably something in a contract somewhere. You may not be aware, but Yamaha and Suzuki have MANY partnerships in Japan and use many of the same vendors for parts on almost everything they develope. It wouldn't be a stretch for them to stare vendors for piano parts.

As far as the marking jargon used in their development process, I can't speak to. I can only list many of the things they make available.

Being that ISO 9000 is a standard for quality management, it probably does contribute to some level of assurment in quality.

Here is the actual rules regarding 9001 certification.

ISO 9001:2000 Quality management systems – Requirements is intended for use in any organization which designs, develops, manufactures, installs and/or services any product or provides any form of service. It provides a number of requirements which an organization needs to fulfill if it is to achieve customer satisfaction through consistent products and services which meet customer expectations. It includes a requirement for the continual (i.e. planned) improvement of the Quality Management System, for which ISO 9004:2000 provides many hints.


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Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686177
01/24/09 11:19 PM
01/24/09 11:19 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,011
H
Horwinkle Offline
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Horwinkle  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,011
Most people have never heard of ISO 9000 (or any of the other ISO protocols related to manufacturing).

I think ISO 9000 compliance is mandatory for manufacturers in Europe, I think. Not so in America, but many American makers choose to tighten up to meet the specs anyway.

Wikipedia sums it up as follows:
Quote
ISO 9000 is a family of standards for quality management systems. Some of the requirements in ISO 9001 (which is one of the standards in the ISO 9000 family) include:

- A set of procedures that cover key business processes
- Monitoring processes to ensure they are effective
- Keeping adequate records
- Checking for defects, with appropriate corrective action
- Regularly reviewing processes and the quality system for effectiveness
- Facilitating continual improvement

Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686178
01/25/09 03:32 PM
01/25/09 03:32 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 99
Texas
PhysicsTeacher Offline
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PhysicsTeacher  Offline
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Texas
I don't know anything about Suzuki pianos, but any manufacturing organization that is ISO 9000 certified is top notch in my book. Getting certified is not an easy nor inexpensive process. Most companies without deep pockets just can't afford to go through the process. Every detail of the process must be documented and then closed loop corrective actions must be put in place to assure continual improvements in the processes. Just the monitoring and documenting is very expensive.

IMO, the biggest benefits of ISO 9000 are repeatable processes and continual quality improvement. ISO 9000 certified companies must track quality output closely and when a problem is detected, they must implement corrective action and formally document those corrective actions. I know this seams like common sense but you would be surprised how costly this is to actually do and how many companies do not formally do this. The result is that ISO 9000 companies have much lower variances in their outputs. The result is that quality of output is much more consistent. Again, it may seem intuitive to do business this way, but it is costly and many small companies cannot afford to do so.

We have been and are in an era of changing paradigms when it comes to manufacturing. Poor quality is no longer acceptable in the marketplace. Companies have to produce quality products to stay competitive. IMO small family owned manufacturing businesses simply do not have the resources or skills to compete. Very few people are willing to spend the high 5 and 6 figures for a machine created by a small set of craftsmen. Yet the mass sales that are needed to stay in business will not permit crap from a mass manufacturer. Products need to be high quality and reasonably priced to succeed.

The best answer to this dilemma is a 1st class, deep pocket, large manufacturer. Because of labor costs, this necessarily means far east manufacturing. While this was once equated with low quality, it is no longer the case. Some good quality stuff is coming out of the far east. I recently built a kit airplane that was fabricated in Indonesia - first class work all the way around.

Again, I am not advocating Suzuki or any other brand of piano. But from my experience with ISO manufacturing, I would blindly purchase a product coming out of a ISO 9000 plant before I would purchased a similar product from a small family owned manufacturer who is not ISO 9000 certified.

Is a $10K Suzuki as fine a product as a $125K Steinway? Probably not, but I don't think that are the options on the table here.


Casio PX-320, Fabers' Adult Piano Adventures 1
"If you drive faster than I do, you are a maniac. If you drive slower than I do, you are are an idiot."
Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686179
01/25/09 09:01 PM
01/25/09 09:01 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 26
Corpus Christi, TX
IronCobra Offline
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IronCobra  Offline
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Corpus Christi, TX
well put.


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Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686180
01/25/09 09:58 PM
01/25/09 09:58 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 4,755
Georgia, USA
terminaldegree Offline
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Joined: May 2006
Posts: 4,755
Georgia, USA
Physicsteacher,

Thanks for that information- very interesting.
The current reality of the high-end of the acoustic piano industry hearkens back to the idea of family ownership, low volume slow-paced production, and extensive hand labor. Even Yamaha and Kawai use a different manufacturing process (like that I just described) for their very best instruments. A serious pianist would never buy an acoustic instrument sight-unseen.


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686181
01/25/09 10:37 PM
01/25/09 10:37 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 99
Texas
PhysicsTeacher Offline
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PhysicsTeacher  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 99
Texas
Quote
Originally posted by terminaldegree:
Physicsteacher,

... A serious pianist would never buy an acoustic instrument sight-unseen.
Perhaps not today, but one day he/she may not have a choice. Unless of course there rises a great number of "serious pianists" demanding hand crafted pianos sold through traditional channels. I don't see that happening. What I see is the quality of the mass produced products getting better and better and continued pressure on the high end producers. I predict the ranks of the traditional craftsmen will continue to fall to the point a high end piano becomes a special order product. To play before purchase may not be an option, except of course on the Suzuki at Costco. smile

All the best.


Casio PX-320, Fabers' Adult Piano Adventures 1
"If you drive faster than I do, you are a maniac. If you drive slower than I do, you are are an idiot."
Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686182
01/26/09 07:32 AM
01/26/09 07:32 AM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,946
Banned
T
theJourney Offline
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T

Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,946
Banned
Most high end pianos seem to be special ordered anyway already because people want a certain finish, etc.

The nice thing about the Costco sales model is that everything is 100% returnable if you are not satisfied. Try that buying a Kawai or Grotrian-Steinweg at your local piano store. Personally, I would buy a Yamaha acoustic from Costco before I would buy a Suzuki.

In the age of $500 transatlantic air tickets and $125,000 hand crafted top grand pianos, serious customers just fly to the factory and pick out their piano there.

Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686183
02/08/09 02:36 AM
02/08/09 02:36 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 521
California
AnotherSchmoe Offline
500 Post Club Member
AnotherSchmoe  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 521
California
I was in town today checking out a couple of instrument dealers hoping to find a Yamaha Clavinova, Roland HP-20X, or Kawai digital piano to try out but had no such luck, the best digital piano any of the stores I visited carried was a Suzuki (upright DP, not grand). I didn't check what model it was but the dealer was asking around $1300 for it. My opinion of it was that the Grand Piano sound was good for the price, and it had variations for each sound, such as Grand Piano 2, Honky-Tonk Piano etc. which I thought all sounded pretty good, very clear and crisp. Not fantastic mind you, but decent enough. The other voices all had 3 variation settings as well I believe, though I only tried E. Piano and Strings. The E. Piano was fairly decent, but not as good as the Grand Piano sound. I thought the strings voice sounded like garbage, and the keys felt terrible, which was my main complaint. Extremely fake and plasticy feeling, they were weighted but it felt extremely clunky and awkward for me to play on, and the keys were quite heavy and playing just did not feel right *at all*. But like I said the piano sounds were pretty good and the built-in speakers could get plenty loud (I turned it up about 70% of the way and it was almost louder than I would want it lol, so no complaint there).

Like I said, I don't know what model it was but it was a $1300 upright Suzuki DP, in summary my opinion was: Good piano sounds (for the price), nice loud speakers, *terrible* action on the keys, and pretty crummy strings voice. Overall not overly impressed, but certainly not too disappointed considering it was $1300, the only REALLY bad thing that bothered me about it in the 5 minutes or so I fiddled around on it was the terrible action on the keys, which I thought was a real deal-breaker, it was BAD. Though I don't know if this is true for all of Suzuki's models as this was the only one I've played, it is quite possible that they have far superior actions on their digital grands, I just don't know personally. I also don't know what year this model was put out (I didn't really ask too many questions while I was there as I wasn't really interested in purchasing it) but I'd *guess* no earlier than 2000. I don't know how this would compare to a similarly priced Yamaha / Casio as I haven't tried one yet. But I personally think it would be more advisable to save up a little bit longer and spend an extra $400-$600 to get a good model DP from a good brand like Yamaha, Roland, or Kawai rather than the Suzuki (that is, if you already know you plan on sticking with piano for years to come and not just dropping it after a few months). This is all my opinion of course, and I have not played the others in person yet but have done loads of research and listening to samples online and this is based on what I've read, though obviously I can't say for certain yet.

Was really hoping to try a Yamaha, Roland, or Kawai today but unfortunately no one in the city I visited (pop. 50,000) was carrying them for some reason (turns out most of the piano dealers there were pretty small-time). Guess I'd better try a different city later on and call ahead of time to see what they carry.

EDIT:
I forgot to mention this, but it is possible that there was a setting to adjust the touch on the key-action of the Suzuki DP I tried, but I wasn't in the store very long and didn't check for this feature. I doubt it would have helped greatly though, the action was not very good.

Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686184
02/08/09 10:04 PM
02/08/09 10:04 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,604
Marty Flinn Offline
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Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,604
Iron Cobra,
I am glad you are happy with your Suzuki product. Ownership satisfaction is what is important. Ordinarily I would not rock the boat with a happy owner, but you have posted very stridently several things that I take issue with.

I have had considerable experience with these products and found them to be lacking. I am not a fan. I will state this up front.

I do not believe there is any U.S. stateside Suzuki factory. There may be a shipping/receiving/warehouseing facility. There is a U.S. distributorship. There is some kind of repair facility. It is my understanding that Suzuki acoustic pianos are built under contract with one or more Chinese manufacturers. It is also my understanding that the digital pianos are built under contract with one or more Chinese manufacturers.

It would see the the bulk of your information re. Suzuki has come from their printed material, website, sales presentations, and from speaking to their "people." There are those of us with real hands on experience that have a different viewpoint.

The fact there are few, if any, U.S. retailers for these products except COSTCO speaks volumes. Any time a distributor has to take out full page ads in trade magazines to resell returned and refurbished units doesn't speak well either.


Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.
Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686185
02/09/09 12:52 AM
02/09/09 12:52 AM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,011
H
Horwinkle Offline
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Horwinkle  Offline
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H

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,011
Quote
Originally posted by AnotherSchmoe:
I was in town today checking out a couple of instrument dealers hoping to find a Yamaha Clavinova, Roland HP-20X, or Kawai digital piano to try out but had no such luck, the best digital piano any of the stores I visited carried was a Suzuki.
In the US, Yamaha and Roland sell the low-to-mid range goods through band/music stores, such as Guitar City and Sam Ash. You won't find the Yamaha Clavinovas or the Roland HP-series there. (Not sure about the Kawais.)

To find those you must go to a piano dealer. That's the way it is in the US for their high-end DPs. (No internet sales either.) The mfg web site can help you locate a dealer, or check your local business listings for a piano dealer in your town.

Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686186
02/09/09 12:53 AM
02/09/09 12:53 AM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,011
H
Horwinkle Offline
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Horwinkle  Offline
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H

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,011
Quote
Originally posted by AnotherSchmoe:
I was in town today checking out a couple of instrument dealers hoping to find a Yamaha Clavinova, Roland HP-20X, or Kawai digital piano to try out but had no such luck, the best digital piano any of the stores I visited carried was a Suzuki.
In the US, Yamaha and Roland sell the low-to-mid range goods through band/music stores, such as Guitar City and Sam Ash. You won't find the Yamaha Clavinovas or the Roland HP-series there. (Not sure about the Kawais.)

To find those you must go to a piano dealer. That's the way it is in the US for their high-end DPs. (No internet sales either.) The mfg web site can help you locate a dealer, or check your local business listings for a piano dealer in your town.

Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686187
02/09/09 01:20 AM
02/09/09 01:20 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 521
California
AnotherSchmoe Offline
500 Post Club Member
AnotherSchmoe  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 521
California
Quote
Originally posted by L Horwinkle:
Quote
Originally posted by AnotherSchmoe:
[b] I was in town today checking out a couple of instrument dealers hoping to find a Yamaha Clavinova, Roland HP-20X, or Kawai digital piano to try out but had no such luck, the best digital piano any of the stores I visited carried was a Suzuki.
In the US, Yamaha and Roland sell the low-to-mid range goods through band/music stores, such as Guitar City and Sam Ash. You won't find the Yamaha Clavinovas or the Roland HP-series there. (Not sure about the Kawais.)

To find those you must go to a piano dealer. That's the way it is in the US for their high-end DPs. (No internet sales either.) The mfg web site can help you locate a dealer, or check your local business listings for a piano dealer in your town. [/b]
Thanks for the tips. It sort of makes it a hassle (at least for me in the country), it's too bad I can't just order online the same way I could if I wanted a YDP-223 or CE200 or something. I actually visited 1 piano dealer but like I said, a lot of the dealers around here are small-time (and this was an hour from where I live, my area only has a pop. of around 5,000, I went to one with around 50,000 to shop)... Anyways, it was a tiny shop and all they sold were small spinets (not substantially better than my own spinet at home) and the one Suzuki DP. Depressing! I would have loved to have bought a DP from them too, the guy who owned it was very friendly and was not trying to force any sales down my throat, we just held casual conversation while I was there, so I would have loved to have given him business buuut he doesn't carry what I'm wanting unfortunately.

I guess I'd better make sure to call around before I make any trips next time, there are a few other small cities about an hour in other directions from where I live, and there's a chance they may have what I'm wanting. If that doesn't turn up anything my only option is to take a 3 hour trip into a real, large city. frown

Ah well, I'm just airing my frustrations, sorry lol. I know it's worth the trip to make sure I get something I'm happy with I just wish there was an easier way. And I realize after typing this up now how ridiculous I sound sighing over 1-3 hour trips to scout out some piano dealers but I don't get out much. :p

Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686188
02/09/09 06:13 PM
02/09/09 06:13 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 744
Denton Texas
LesCharles73 Offline
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Posts: 744
Denton Texas
You may already know this, but the "adjustable" touch settings on a DP will not change the actual feel of the keyboard itself. It will only change how the instrument reacts to how heavy or light you are playing. The keys will feel the exact same whether you have it on Heavy, Light, or Medium.


Les C Deal




Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686189
02/09/09 07:26 PM
02/09/09 07:26 PM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 521
California
AnotherSchmoe Offline
500 Post Club Member
AnotherSchmoe  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 521
California
Quote
Originally posted by LesCharles73:
You may already know this, but the "adjustable" touch settings on a DP will not change the actual feel of the keyboard itself. It will only change how the instrument reacts to how heavy or light you are playing. The keys will feel the exact same whether you have it on Heavy, Light, or Medium.
Ah, I was actually not too sure. I haven't had much hands-on experience with DPs yet. Thanks for the tip. smile

Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686190
02/12/09 04:51 PM
02/12/09 04:51 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 9
Pittsburgh, PA
C
celiatrout Offline
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celiatrout  Offline
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C

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 9
Pittsburgh, PA
Here's a link to Suzuki R-21 through Sam's Club.

http://www.samsclub.com/shopping/navigate.do?dest=5&item=415639&pCatg=5861

I haven't been able to find ANY reviews of these models. Anybody know anything about this one? Thanks.

Celia

Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686191
02/16/09 03:42 AM
02/16/09 03:42 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 302
K
Ken. Offline
Full Member
Ken.  Offline
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K

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 302
Iron Cobra, in your original review you mentioned that the Suzuki S-350 did not have as loud a bass as a Roland. Which Roland were you comparing it to? Do you still prefer the Suzuki over the Roland?

I was listening to the ABF recital today and the Roland FP-7 sounded pretty good to me. I also was at Costco yesterday and noticed some new digital pianos there and briefly looked at them, but didn't notice the brand. I'll have to take a closer look next time.


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Re: Costco Digital Pianos #686192
02/24/09 03:52 PM
02/24/09 03:52 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 26
Corpus Christi, TX
IronCobra Offline
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Posts: 26
Corpus Christi, TX
i would definatly say the Roland is a better piano. I personally wouldn't spend the $12k that it costs to purchase one though. The Suzuki looks great, sounds great, and has ok action and feel when playing. The Roland will defiantly be a higher end piano with many features that the Suzuki may lack. however, I would expect that for a piano that costs 6x more.


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