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Finally in the market for a grand (at last!)

Posted By: williambonard

Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/08/15 07:53 PM

So, as the title would suggest, I'm finally in the market for definite for a grand piano at home. I worked out with my parents - by building a grand piano template with my stepmother - that we could fit up to a six footer in our drawing room. Of course, this means I'm able to (hopefully) get a great piano with a good bass and good tonal quality. As of yet, we haven't established a definite budget but it would seem it would be within the £10,000-£15,000 range which leaves me open to a good piano.

I was wondering if anyone could suggest any pianos that may be suitable for a pianist like me who is serious and at an advanced level. I need something that I can really express myself on and that will really last me for a few years yet. My Dad and I saw a Yamaha C3X online that was only a few years old. I'm hoping to make a trip down to Chamberlain Music where the piano is in Surrey in a few weeks time to try the piano out.

Of course, Yamahas are synonymous with being workhorses so I imagine a C3 would be a good piano to have. Of course, at the end of the day it's difficult to say without having tried one. On the other hand, I assume that the Kawai RX/GX3 could be a possible contender, although I believe that to be more expensive than the Yamaha here in the UK.

I did also see a Yamaha G3 online recently, the predecessor to the C3 of course, I do not know what they're like though. So I don't know if anyone is able to shed a little light on the G-series models.

I'm not sure what else is good to look at in my budget? So please, share some advice and opinions by all means! Another piano dealer, that shall remain unnamed, currently has a 2007 C2 in stock at the moment that is a similar price to the C3X that Chamberlain Music has. It almost seems stupid to consider a C2 if I can get a C3X for almost the same price. Am I wrong?

If it helps, the C3X is currently up for £12,995, the C2 at £11,950 and the G3 I've seen (which is around 30 years old) is up for £7,495.

Many thanks for any help in advance that anyone can give.
Posted By: Furtwangler

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/08/15 08:34 PM

I would go here:

http://www.chrisvenables.co.uk/

Posted By: BrianDX

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/08/15 11:37 PM

At 0.65 dollars per British Pound, your C3X price is under $20,000, which is, well, almost an impossible price. There has to be something wrong here. Please double-check that this is a brand new C3X.

Otherwise, I'm flying over to England and trade in my C2X. shocked
Posted By: musicpassion

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/09/15 04:41 AM

Originally Posted by BrianDX
At 0.65 dollars per British Pound, your C3X price is under $20,000, which is, well, almost an impossible price. There has to be something wrong here. Please double-check that this is a brand new C3X.
He said it's used, unless I'm the one that misread.
Posted By: musicpassion

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/09/15 04:48 AM

You seem to be gravitating toward Yamaha. Which is ok, if that's what you like. This is precisely what you need to determine: what piano do you like? I would hope there are options in your price range. There would be plenty in my region, but I realize that's not the case everywhere.

The Yamaha C series have earned their good reputation, but you need to love the sound and touch for it to be the right piano for you.

What have you tried? Baldwin? Kawai? Try those if you can find them. Try the better Chinese pianos if you can find them.
Posted By: sirwormsalot

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/09/15 07:50 AM

As Brian said, that C3X price is impossible. They were only released in 2012, so it is practically new. Some pianos sit in store/showrooms for that long. Go and play it, see if you like it.
Posted By: Phil Greenough

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/09/15 07:57 AM

Although I cannot give any specific advice on models William; I would most certainly support Furtwangler's recommendation of speaking to Chris at Venables pianos; he is based at Ringwood, Hampshire. Here is his web address.

http://www.chrisvenables.co.uk/

Good luck

Phil
Posted By: williambonard

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/09/15 03:52 PM

Many thanks to you all so far for your advice - it's greatly appreciated.

musicpassion, I don't intend to gravitate towards Yamaha! I must have done that subconsciously... I'm certainly interested in trying other brands and models, it just so happens that there are a lot of Yamahas on the market at the moment and I've run into them, quite clearly.

Regarding the 'better Chinese pianos', I would definitely been keen to try them. A dealer near to me is carrying brand new Feurichs (was Hailun/Wendl & Lung). He has the 178 5'10" model in at £9750, so I may go and have a look at that. 5'10" is a good size but I would like something a little closer to 6'1" (like the C3X) if possible.

Another Chinese brand I've always wanted to try is Brodmann. I've read so much online and so many people seem to praise the brand. Of course, Chris Venables used to stock Brodmann but has now discontinued them and stocks Petrof instead - unfortunately Petrof isn't quite in my price league! Unfortunately, I'm finding it hard to find another dealer in the UK that stocks the Brodmann. So far I've found a place in Edinburgh, but don't fancy travelling all the way up to Scotland for a piano! If anyone knows of anyone near to the south/south east of England that stocks Brodmann, then please do let me know.

The dealer in Edinburgh that stocks Brodmann also seems to stock Estonia. Another well praised brand that I'd love to try. They're incredibly scarce in England though. Again, it's not feasible for me to travel to Scotland to try one either. They have an Estonia 168 player piano for sale at the moment for £11,500, so it would seem the 168 would be in my budget - not sure about the 190.

Originally Posted by sirwormsalot
As Brian said, that C3X price is impossible. They were only released in 2012, so it is practically new. Some pianos sit in store/showrooms for that long. Go and play it, see if you like it.


sirwormsalot, the C3X is practically new. The website says that the store originally sold the piano brand new in 2013, so it's only two years old. If it was brand new, then the price would be impossible! But it's feasible given it's a few years old.
Posted By: joe80

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/09/15 04:21 PM

the dealer in Edinburgh stocks ONE Brodmann that has gone up for sale at the auction.
Posted By: williambonard

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/09/15 06:30 PM

Oh really? I recently looked on the website and there was a 187 in a Strauss styling and a 162 baby grand both listed for sale. Either way, I'm not sure if he's an appointed dealer/stockist of Brodmann or whether it's just coincidence that he happens to have two Brodmanns in stock at the moment.
Posted By: Jason74

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/09/15 06:38 PM

All I can really add to this is to support what others have said. £13k seems an excellent price for a 2 year old C3X so I'd definitely want to take a look at that as part of any search process. Given the money involved for a used piano, I'd want a tech appraisal personally even at the young age, but it could well be a real bargain.

I'd also second the idea that going to see Chris Venables is a must as part of any search process involving Yamaha. I bought a Yamaha YUS5 there only a couple of Months ago, and I have nothing but good things to say about both the piano and the whole buying process. I really am delighted with my piano.

A visit to Venables has the advantage that you could also try the Venables and son Grands while you're there. I tried one briefly while I was there and they seemed very nice. Certainly better than I would have expected a Chinese Grand to be, albeit I've only played a couple of others for comparison. If you wanted to try some of the better Chinese pianos, I'd suggest that that may be a good place to start.

Good luck with the search, and try and enjoy it. I found the whole thing quite stressful when I was buying, and wouldn't want to go through it again in a hurry!.
Posted By: backto_study_piano

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/09/15 07:33 PM

Originally Posted by williambonard
... 5'10" is a good size but I would like something a little closer to 6'1" (like the C3X) if possible. ...


In reality, there may be no appreciable difference between these 2 sizes - the difference between 2 different brands of different sizes, and the degree and quality of preparation could be more important.

I've not played a C3X, but I've enjoyed every C3 I've ever played.

A 2 year old piano, as you say, should be like new. Would the YAMAHA warranty be transferable? Check the service history - it could well have had 4 or 5 services and be a well settled piano. Hopefully they would have been done well by a technician experienced in regulation and voicing as well as tuning. It is normally recommended that a used piano is checked over by your own technician, but I'm not sure if that would be necessary with one this young?
Posted By: schwammerl

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/09/15 08:09 PM

Quote
A visit to Venables has the advantage that you could also try the Venables and son Grands while you're there


And while you are there it is also worthwhile trying his range of the new Petrof Grands.

As an alternative with a European sound they are very competitively priced against Yamaha. E.g. for a Petrof Storm P194 you will merely pay a 10% premium to C3X.

schwammerl.
Posted By: BrianDX

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/09/15 08:47 PM

Originally Posted by williambonard
sirwormsalot, the C3X is practically new. The website says that the store originally sold the piano brand new in 2013, so it's only two years old. If it was brand new, then the price would be impossible! But it's feasible given it's a few years old.

Hi williambonard; We are definitely here to help you out, so please don't get the impression I'm trying to be a cynic on your Yamaha prices.

I've probably looked at over a 100 used Yamaha C2 and C3 pianos for sale, some on eBay, some at dealers. Some of these pianos are 20-30 years old, a few are 10 years old or so.

A 2-year C3X at under $20,000 is the best price I've heard by a mile. Low enough to make me suspicious. Now, if the piano is as advertised and is in like-new condition, well this would be well worth checking out.

I can tell you the new CX-series is a noticeable improvement over the C-series, however you want to to try to listen to multiple brands if it is possible. Each piano has its own unique touch and sound. Great price or not, make sure whatever you choose meets your every expectation.

Good luck! smile
Posted By: joe80

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/09/15 10:11 PM

Brian, sometimes in this country when a Yamaha main dealer has a very recent second hand model in stock, which is rare but does happen, they set the price really low to get it out of the door faster.

It's not a common phenomenon, but I've seen it happen more than a few times in the last decade.
Posted By: Ataru074

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/10/15 12:11 AM

Prices in Europe are marked up quite less than in the US.... just to say that a notorious italian brand can be acquired in Italy and shipped to my house from Italy paying taxes and whatelse for almost half the price published by piano buyer. The same is true for a couple of German brands and one Austrian... is a different market, is a different cost of living and is a different philosophy of selling these kind of instruments.

Yamaha is way cheaper over there than here... why? I don't know... they just position themselves in a different way.
Posted By: williambonard

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/10/15 06:48 PM

Again, thank you to everyone for your comments. They're greatly appreciated. I think I can deduce from this all that a visit to Chris Venables is obligatory in my piano search!

As Jason74 mentioned, I would certainly be keen to try Venables own brand of piano whilst I'm down there and certainly the line of Petrofs he's carrying as schwammerl pointed out too.

Does anyone know much about Venables' own brand of piano, Venables and Son, and what they play like? They seem interesting and certainly by looking at the website, they have some sound features to them.

One major point that comes to mind that I must enquire about: the room that the piano will be going in has underfloor heating. Now, at first, it sounds like a recipe for disaster. Of course, round at this time of year, the underfloor heating is off but in the winter when it gets colder... I know that the underfloor heating could eventually ruin the piano. Surely there's a way to combat this? I think I saw online that there are protective mats you can buy that stop so much of the heat dissipating through (the mat, of course).

If anyone could shed any light on my potentially disastrous problem, then that would be fantastic! Thanks again guys - your advice is invaluable.
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/10/15 08:01 PM

Originally Posted by Williambonard
One major point that comes to mind that I must enquire about: the room that the piano will be going in has underfloor heating. Now, at first, it sounds like a recipe for disaster. Of course, round at this time of year, the underfloor heating is off but in the winter when it gets colder... I know that the underfloor heating could eventually ruin the piano. Surely there's a way to combat this? I think I saw online that there are protective mats you can buy that stop so much of the heat dissipating through (the mat, of course).

If anyone could shed any light on my potentially disastrous problem, then that would be fantastic! Thanks again guys - your advice is invaluable.

Under-the-floor heating, usually hydronic heating with flexible piping routed into the concrete, is a common/popular method of heating, if that is what you are referring to. Hence, it is a gentle method of heating the structure and should not damage your piano.

However, I would suggest some kind of insulating cups/matt between the floor and the casters on the piano. Also, I would be more concerned about the relative humidity than the ambient temperature of the room.

In my view, pianos are not as delicate as some suggest, but big swings in humidity are worse on a piano (especially the tuning stability) than temperature swings.

Just my .02.

Rick
Posted By: williambonard

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/11/15 04:49 PM

Originally Posted by Rickster
Under-the-floor heating, usually hydronic heating with flexible piping routed into the concrete, is a common/popular method of heating, if that is what you are referring to.


Yes Rick, that's what I mean. Here in England we just call it underfloor heating - I didn't realise it had a different name in the States.

It's good to hear that it shouldn't affect the piano though. However, I'd read many different things online. It seems it's a controversial topic and many people state that the piano should be isolated from underfloor heating or that a matt should be placed underneath it to stop damage.

I don't know what you make of this? I'd be interested to know.
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/11/15 08:31 PM

Originally Posted by williambonard
Yes Rick, that's what I mean. Here in England we just call it underfloor heating - I didn't realise it had a different name in the States.

It's good to hear that it shouldn't affect the piano though. However, I'd read many different things online. It seems it's a controversial topic and many people state that the piano should be isolated from underfloor heating or that a matt should be placed underneath it to stop damage.

I don't know what you make of this? I'd be interested to know.

Once again, I'm no expert, but a matt or thick carpet under the piano, along with the caster-cups (creating some insulation between the floor surface and the piano) should be fine. Like I said, I'd be more concerned about the %RH.

The only type of heating set-up I can think of that would actually do damage to an acoustic piano is to place the piano in front of or too close to an active fireplace/wood-burning heater/radiant heater or one of the old, natural draft floor furnaces from yesteryear.

Heat is transferred in three ways... conduction, convection and radiation. The under-floor heating system is a combination of conduction and convection. The hot water circulating in the pipes within the concrete conduct heat into the concrete floor and the heated floor sets up natural convection air currents as the heat from the floor heats the air above the floor surface. Since heat always travels toward a colder temperature (first law of thermodynamics; heat energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transferred from one place to another) the heat from the floor keeps the house nice and warm.

Have you bought a piano yet? smile

Rick
Posted By: maurus

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/11/15 08:33 PM

There are two problems with underfloor heating that need some consideration. The heating itself is not the issue, as it were, but:

- Rooms heated in this way can easily dry out in the winter, since the only quick way to cooling such a room if need be is to open the window. This lets out the warm air in the room and brings in dry and cold air. When I lived in an apartment with underfloor heating I often used this method when the weather changed, for cooling the apartment before the night, etc. My piano didn't like it.

- When leaving the apartment for extended periods (for holidays, professional travel, etc.) I always found it difficult to adjust temperature in a good way.

So I guess it can work, but you need some care in getting it right, especially with room humidity.
Posted By: williambonard

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/11/15 08:53 PM

Thank you both Rick and maurus for your help and advice.

Rick, I was hoping to put a thick rug or something under the piano anyway as the room at the moment is covered with wood flooring and is quite bare of furniture (and curtains until the new ones arrive). Therefore, I assume the sound will be bouncing all over the place if I don't put some kind of rug underneath the piano.

Originally Posted by Rickster
Have you bought a piano yet? smile


I haven't bought a piano yet. But I'm definitely onto it all. I'm hoping to go and see and try out the C3X I mentioned in my original post next weekend. I'll see what else the dealer has in as well at the time that might interest me. Apart from that, I plan on taking a trip down to Chris Venables as well as I feel that could be highly beneficial.
Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/11/15 11:21 PM

Originally Posted by williambonard
. It seems it's a controversial topic and many people state that the piano should be isolated from underfloor heating or that a matt should be placed underneath it to stop damage.


I'd think that it would be a greater issue with an upright, since one end of the sound board is significantly closer to the heat source. You have the good fortune to be getting a grand, so the board is parallel to the floor and removed by the length of the legs.

Posted By: Norbert

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/11/15 11:39 PM

We have floor heating in our showroom and never had an issue. In fact they are a blessing. Floor rugs may or may not be important to use but unless cranked up to full blast, modern floor heatings are just fine.

As laminates or wood floors are commonly used, area rugs etc may be of some benefit but this having more to do more with tone and acoustics.

If going to Chris Venebales,let us know how the piano are made under his own name. Wouldn't be surprised if are pretty nice.

Norbert smile

Posted By: maurus

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/12/15 09:29 AM

Originally Posted by Norbert
We have floor heating in our showroom and never had an issue.

No doubt about that - a showroom is something quite different from a living apartment. I guess if you have a good temperature and humidity control in a dedicated room a floor heating will do very fine for musical instruments indeed. I know one building with a separate, climate controlled music room which also uses a floor heating very efficiently. (Even if the Steinway in that room is no longer in its best shape.)
Posted By: KurtZ

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/12/15 03:30 PM

[quote=Norbert}

If going to Chris Venebales,let us know how the piano are made under his own name. Wouldn't be surprised if are pretty nice.

Norbert smile

[/quote]

I'd be so interested to hear a Cunningham side by side with a Venables and or any of the other variants based on Hailun contract built corpora.

Kurt



Kurt
Posted By: williambonard

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/12/15 07:02 PM

That's all quite promising to hear. Hopefully the piano will be okay in the room with underfloor heating. Even in the winter we tend not really to crack the underfloor heating in that room up because we have a log burning stove - fear not! That's quite a distance from where the piano will sit!

If I go down to Chris Venables, I'll definitely try out his Venables & Son pianos. I agree with Norbert - I too, wouldn't be surprised if they were set up well and played pretty nice. From what I've read, he spends a lot of time prepping pianos to their optimum, so the Venables & Son pianos are probably quite nice to play. Anyway, we shall see!
Posted By: williambonard

Re: Finally in the market for a grand (at last!) - 06/13/15 04:00 PM

UPDATE: For those of you interested in my search and in particular the C3X I've seen, I have some news.

The dealer said he would email me when the piano arrived (was meant to be on Thursday) but alas, I heard nothing. So I gave them a call this morning to see what was going on. Turns out they've had a problem acquiring the piano.

They were meant to be selling it on behalf of a client, but said client is now thinking he wants to sell the piano privately and has a potential buyer lined up apparently. However, I believe the chap on the phone said something about them already having a contract with the client that they would sell it on his behalf.

Basically, they're not sure what's going on and they're not even sure that they're going to be able to get the piano. It'll be sad because the C3X is a fantastic piano and at that price, there's not going to be another one on the market soon...
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