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I've been lurking on this site for awhile, reading posts especially related to some of the pianos I've been researching. I used to play (as in, I took the obligatory lessons as a young girl, hated practicing, could play decently but never as well as my instructor wanted me to). Took lessons again in college for a bit just for fun, about 10 years later received a baby grand Yamaha as a gift to the ex- and me from his mom. He kept the piano when he became the ex. So....after a few years I've decided to use money I've saved for a dining room on buying a piano instead - a pretty baby grand that plays well and will be a lot more fun than dining room furniture!

(So for the upright fans here, I understand I could get more piano for same money, but having a beautiful piece of furniture in a baby grand will give me a lot of joy, so am only interested in baby grand.)

I would ultimately (as in, within the next couple of years) like to add the player component to the piano, as I just love to hear a piano playing "live". My former mother-in-law was a very accomplished pianist and it was such a pleasure to sit and listen to her. I also have a somewhat limited budget - I am not interested in financing AT ALL, I understand that for "a little more" I can always upgrade to the next level, but budget is hugely important!

So my 3 goals: purchase a good quality and affordable baby grand piano that I (and hopefully my children) will enjoy playing for fun; own a beautiful piano that will be a lovely addition to my new home; the ability to add the player component when I have the funds for it. Space is not an issue - it will go in a long rectangular room so I can make most any size work.

I have used the Larry Fine piano book for research (thanks to learning about it here). I have become familiar with some of the pricing strategies, and better understand what I need to expect to pay, thanks to a very detailed post from one of your members. I have contacted a certified piano technician and received referrals to some of his clients who may be interested in selling, I have visited a piano store and plan to visit more today, I have been on Craigslist and was almost duped by a somewhat shady character (again, info I learned here verified what my gut was telling me). I think I now have a pretty decent understanding of grey market pianos, stencil pianos, the overseas manufacturers, etc. thanks to Larry Fine and this site.

So here are some of my questions for all of you:
My budget is under $5000 including move, taxes, etc. I realize that isn't much, but am interested in "seeing what's out there." I may have to wait and save up longer to be able to get a good quality piano.

I started out looking for a Yamaha, only because that is what my former mother-in-law purchased for us (mid to late 1990s) and that is what I found on Craigslist. I now realize that ours was probably an Indonesian piano. I remember that the keys played very soft, not particularly what I preferred. So as I have learned more on this site, I have expanded my search.

I have found a local owner (referred by tech) who has a Hallett & Davis 1999 G-82, 5'9". I really can't find any information on that particular model. Understand this is a stencil brand and built in DongBei. Does anyone have information on whether or not the G-82 was a good model? For pricing purposes, using the Fine depreciation, I would need to compare it to a comparable piano in today's market - any ideas of a good comparison piano?

I have had a dealer offer me a new Pearl River GP150 for $6495 (above my budget but that was his first offer.) I liked the sound of this piano. Honestly, I don't know that I can get past the name Pearl River - that was the name of the muddy, ugly river in my hometown. Probably not a valid reason for turning down a piano! If I can get him to my budget amount, is this really a good quality piano for that price range? I don't necessarily prefer a new piano, because my budget is tight and I don't want to take that "driving it off the lot" de-valuation hit.

Thanks in advance for information and insight!


I think with a 5k budget, you can get a nice used piano. It might take some time - do not rush and make a purchase until you find what you want.

Since you are looking at used, you might have to expand your geographical area for searching to find what you want - this might mean some long drives on the weekends to check out pianos.

You mentioned the Yamaha being an Indonesian piano - when I was looking recently I ignored where the piano was built. I would not ignore the reputation of the company and especially the reputation of a dealer if you decide to purchase through one. I looked for what I liked in sound and touch (within my price range.)

When you think you have found the right one, make sure you hire a technician to check out the piano - the last thing you want to do is buy the piano, get it home and then discover you need to put another 1k into it to make it just right.

Since you mentioned the sound of the PR and the keys of the Yamaha (played soft) you already have an idea of what you like. Get out there and play as many as you can - and keep us updated on your search.

Good Luck!


PS - I assume you are in either LA or MS based on the reference to Pearl River - I grew up in SE LA.
Good decision, BuilderGirl. Formal dining rooms aren't used that much anymore, and playing the piano is so much more fun. Bedsides, in a situation where you need a dining room, you can just close the lid and fallboard of the piano, put a nice thick tablecloth over the top of it, pull up some chairs .... and voila, you have a very uniquely-shaped dining room table! grin

Then, after the "table" has been cleared, you can charm your dinner guests with your fabulous piano playing. wink

Seriously, if your budget is only $5k I would recommend looking at a good used grand. Start with a reputable dealer and/or technician first. You would be amazed at what you can find.

Good luck. smile
Posted By: patH Re: New here....interested in used baby grand - 05/04/13 06:03 PM
Welcome to the forum, and good luck with your search. smile

Baby grands (new ones) which pleasantly surprised me last year, were the Samick SIG50, and the Kawai GE30. But I don't know how good used ones are. New, they both cost much more than 5.000 $.
But maybe I'm not the right person to give advice; because I'm not a big fan of Pearl River.
Yes Jonathan - I am originally from Jackson MS. The Pearl River wasn't considered one of our tourist attractions! I am going tomorrow to see the Hallet Davis - a certified piano technician gave me a referral for this one.
Posted By: rlinkt Re: New here....interested in used baby grand - 05/05/13 06:46 AM
I do not know about the Pearl River branded grands. But I have a Ritmuller baby grand, which is a Pearl River brand, and I think it is a fine sounding piano. If a used one fits your budget, I would recommend taking a look at it. Its very, very different from the Yamaha's that I have heard though -- its a far darker sound than the Yamahas.
Already good advice given - look at reputable dealers and get in touch with reputable technicians. It sounds as if you've already begun this approach.

In the end you must be happy with the tone and touch, but we can certainly guide you in slimming down the pack. Good luck looking at the Hallet & Davis, although I must add that in 1999 I did not like their performance or consistency at all.

Keep us posted,
Posted By: malkin Re: New here....interested in used baby grand - 05/05/13 02:30 PM
Originally Posted by BuilderGirl

... I liked the sound of this piano. Honestly, I don't know that I can get past the name Pearl River - that was the name of the muddy, ugly river in my hometown. Probably not a valid reason for turning down a piano!

If the piano is right for you, the name will no longer bother you.

If anything about the piano continues to make you think of anything ugly, that seems like a perfectly legitimate reason to turn it down.
Welcome and wish you the best with your hunt for a baby grand.

I do understand stayng within your budget is very important to you. The younger the piano, the better it is for you and your children.
I honestly never heard of Hallet & Davis, and I do not recommend Pearl River.


The best used piano money that you can spend is that spent for a pre-purcahse inspection by a certified piano tech who has no affiliation with the seller.

Please try to consider first this piano's tone, then its touch, then its appearance. If you don't like a piano's tone, that instrument has no value at all to you.

When buying used, you're substituting time for money. Patience and persistence.

We love piano search stories. Please keep us updated.

Decided to go with the Hallet Davis & Co - picked it up yesterday. Absolutely love it! Pulled out all my old piano books and played for hours - I'm amazed how much came back to me. I love the sound, it feels good to play, and it's a beautiful piano.
Pictures please!
Originally Posted by Jonathan Alford
Pictures please!

+1 we love pics! smile
Whilst it pains me to disagree with so many of my fellow posters, I am obliged to observe that you have made a serious mistake in buying a piano rather than a dining table. You will find that it is shockingly bad for the morale of your indoor servants not to have a proper suite of dining room furniture. My brother, Jean-Pierre, gave over his dining room to a collection of stuffed animals and has since found it almost impossible to retain decent domestic staff.

D'accord, Jean Claude. Good help is so hard to find!
For the past year and a half I've had a music room as opposed to a dining room. For my most recent dinner party I seated eight at the breakfast room table. For extra seating for holidays I set up card tables in the living room. I promise you: you'll never miss that dining room table. Happy playing.
Congratulations on your new piano!

When I built my home, the dining room was added, but specifically as my piano room. Stupid builder could not get his head around why I did not want a chandelier in there. Kept telling him it was my teaching studio over and over. VERY happy that I did it.
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