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New piano v. Used piano

Posted By: Happy-in-Walnut

New piano v. Used piano - 04/24/19 04:04 AM

Someone told me that it’s better to get a used super good piano (like Steinways for example) even though it’s 50-60 years old than a new out of the box Kawaii or YAMAHA.
Is this opinion correct?
And anybody owns a Kawaii GL40 here in this forum? I need a little bit review on this piano.
Thank you 🙏
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/24/19 04:24 AM

That depends on the condition of the older higher quality piano. At 50-60 years old many or even most pianos will require a lot of costly work to put them in playable or excellent condition. This could add tens of thousands of dollars extra to the "cost" of the piano. If a full rebuild is needed it could cost even 40K so everything depends on the condition of the older piano.
Posted By: backto_study_piano

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/24/19 01:30 PM

As pianoloverus mentioned, there are potential risks involved in buying an elderly piano. Many could be worn out, no matter what they cost new - and big$$$ to restore..

There was a discussion about something similar recently in relation to the cost of rebuilding a full-size Steinway D - and it was huge, up to $80,000.

No matter how old a used piano is, or the original quality, it is always recommended that you hire a good technician to do a full appraisal of the piano - it'll cost a little, but worth it.

With new pianos, this could help - it's The Piano Buyer online magazine - this page is "staff picks" for different grades and sizes of pianos:

https://www.pianobuyer.com/Articles/Detail/ArticleId/243/The-New-Piano-Market-Today-Staff-Picks

Or you can search from here to see the entire listing of pianos from KAWAI (or any manufacturer).

https://www.pianobuyer.com/Resources/Piano-Brands-Profiles
Posted By: Rickster

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/24/19 02:10 PM

In my opinion, it depends entirely on your budget, what kind of piano you want/like and can afford, and the availability of high-quality, brand-name pianos in your area, etc...

I went the high-quality used/pre-owned route (more than once), and have experienced a high level of satisfaction with my pianos. My Yamaha C7 (7'4") from 1978 is one example. I could never afford to pay $75,000/$80,000 or so for a new C7 (and that price is just a guess, new ones may be much more); but I paid a small fraction of that cost for my C7 and it was in great condition, despite some wear and tear.

The thing about high-quality, name-brand pianos is that they use very good materials that can last a very long time to begin with. They can hold up to hard playing without needing rebuilding for a long time.

On the other hand, if you can afford it, I'm sure it is a wonderful experience to be able to buy a brand new, high quality name-brand piano.

If you go the used/pre-owned route, have a qualified piano tech (not affiliated to the seller) to look it over for you.

Good luck!

Rick
Posted By: kdr152004

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/24/19 02:35 PM

Hi walnut , I think it depends on the amount of playing you plan to do and how much risk you want to take - e.g. if you practice 2 hrs a day for the next 10+ years - a new Kawai may be a safer bet IMO - for a more casual play perhaps used is a better route
Posted By: One Ohm

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/24/19 02:51 PM

You can ask the same question about a house or car. The comparison is similar. I can buy an old house and fix it up, or buy a newer one that is turn-key. I can fix up that old muscle car or buy a new modern car with a warranty. Depends on what you enjoy doing. Some dealers have a full price trade-up guarantee (e.g., Classic Pianos). This can be a nice way to work your way up through better and better pianos without the hassle of trying to sell or fix up old pianos. Both old and new pianos can be great. But not every old or new piano is great. If you buy used, having a trusted piano tech to help you look over the piano is worth a few extra "bills" in my opinion.
Posted By: Steve Chandler

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/24/19 04:29 PM

It sounds like your concern is to maximize your bang for the buck. If that's the case then buying lightly used is your best option. A very good piano under 15 - 20 years old that hasn't been used heavily (institutional setting or practiced on >4 hours/day) will get you the best bang for buck. The very best is buying a young used piano (<5 years old) because you get the benefit of an almost new piano and the previous owner took the depreciation hit (pianos lose a significant portion of value by virtue of being sold and not being new anymore). Finding such gems can be difficult and you may need to be ready to pounce on a moments notice. The best pianos get snatched up quickly, have a tech ready to do an inspection and funds ready to write the check.
Posted By: Geusey

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/24/19 05:53 PM

Originally Posted by ConfusedinWalnut

Is this opinion correct?


You just said it. It's an opinion, I would hesitate to call someone's opinion "correct" or "incorrect."
I would say that its entirely subjective and dependent on the piano(s) in questions. There are definitely 50-60 yr old pianos that I would prefer over certain brand new pianos. There are other 50-60 yr old pianos that even have very well-regarded names that I have turned down because I didn't think they would be worth putting in the amount of work it would take to sell. Quality and condition are the most important things, not the name on the fallboard.
Posted By: Happy-in-Walnut

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/24/19 06:22 PM

Thank you so much for all the replies.
At this moment I’m seriously considering the Kawaii GL 40 as this is the best I can afford within my (overly stretched) budget.
Posted By: MarkL

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/24/19 08:56 PM

There are a few people on the forum that have a GL10, including me, which has the same action as the GL40. So if you would like info about that I'd be glad to help.
Posted By: Happy-in-Walnut

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/24/19 09:42 PM

Oh sure! I would like as much info as I can have about the Kawaii GL series. Thank you so much 🙏
Posted By: Kurtmen

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/24/19 10:35 PM

Hi "confusedinWalnut "

Definitely from quality and longevity stand point a new Yamaha or Kawai will be a better purchase.
Also piano technology offer benefits with new pianos. A GL-40 which is 5'11" is 1/2 the price of an equivalent new Steinway but not 1/2 the piano, perhaps even a better musical instrument.
Posted By: TomLC

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/24/19 10:57 PM

Originally Posted by Kurtmen
Hi "confusedinWalnut "

Definitely from quality and longevity stand point a new Yamaha or Kawai will be a better purchase.
Also piano technology offer benefits with new pianos. A GL-40 which is 5'11" is 1/2 the price of an equivalent new Steinway but not 1/2 the piano, perhaps even a better musical instrument.


An interesting question you made me think of: Is a smaller GX or SK (if possible) at the same price as the GL40, be a “”better” sounding piano? Or a better instrument overall? I read on PW that you should get the largest grand you can afford. But wouldn’t a smaller, higher quality piano be better overall?
Posted By: MarkL

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/24/19 11:45 PM

Originally Posted by ConfusedinWalnut
Oh sure! I would like as much info as I can have about the Kawaii GL series. Thank you so much 🙏

I made my choice after playing many other pianos and settling on a preference for the feel of the Kawai. I chose a smaller grand because my wife isn't crazy about the piano even when someone good is playing, and listening to me practice doesn't fall in that category. So I keep the lid down, cover on, and door closed so she's happy and I'm having a good time. I did play the GL30 and no surprise the sound is much better than the GL10. I've been very happy with the piano, no problems, the dealer is only about 5 miles from my house and did a nice job setting it up. They did have about a half dozen Kawais with the Millenium 3 action on the floor, including 2 or 3 K model uprights, and I tried them all. One thing I liked was the consistency between them, I didn't find one that was noticeably different than the others in terms of the action. So it seems Kawai has a good handle on consistent production processes. One thing to keep in mind is that trying a piano in a large showroom will sound different than in your home, unless you live in a large showroom. When you get close to your final decision you can ask them to move the piano into a practice room which should give you a better idea of what it will sound like in your house. Have fun with your search.
Posted By: Happy-in-Walnut

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/24/19 11:53 PM

Thanks Kurtmen and MarkKL for the input. I definitely do not live in a large showroom lol

@Tom LC that’s what I thought before and I had my kids try the GX series as well...they didn’t like it. Somehow they have their heart set on the GL40.
Posted By: Kurtmen

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/25/19 12:04 AM

Yes, a smaller higher quality piano should have better tonal quality or touch than a larger inferior piano
Specifically speaking about Kawai, I think the GX-1 is not necessarily far superior to the equivalent GL-30 but the GX-2 is better than the GL-40 and more appealing than a GL-50 (although can be subjective)
I think the Shigerus are substantially better than any GX by far.
Keep in mind than I don't consider Steinways to be higher quality pianos specially and S or M.
Posted By: siros

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/25/19 12:31 AM

In my market, 20 years old Yamaha C2/C3 and Kawai RX/GX of similar size are cheaper than new Kawai GL-20. You could find them cheaper there.
This might be another option you could consider.
Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/25/19 06:54 PM

Originally Posted by Steve Chandler
It sounds like your concern is to maximize your bang for the buck. If that's the case then buying lightly used is your best option. ...., have a tech ready to do an inspection and funds ready to write the check.


Steve nailed it. The most important thing is to avoid the initial drive-off depreciation. Have your own tuner/technician evaluate any used or rebuilt piano before you make the deal.
Posted By: j&j

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/25/19 09:16 PM

Whether you buy new or used, each have advantages and disadvantages. Steve Chandler is exactly right. A recent built quality piano that has little wear and tear and is approved by an independent piano tech is wonderful when and if you find one. New pianos only get your family’s wear and tear. But you take the depreciation hit no matter which brand you buy. Remember pianos depreciate. Pianos are a generally a poor financial investment no matter what a piano sales person tells you. It is only an investment in you and your family’s musical ability and enjoyment. Best of Luck in your search.
Posted By: Happy-in-Walnut

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/29/19 03:53 AM

Thanks guys for all the suggestions and ideas. I finally settled on the GL 40 today. New one. My kids are so excited.
Hope it will give everybody in our household a wonderful musical enjoyment for years to come.
Again. Thank you so so much!
Posted By: Learux

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/29/19 04:09 AM

Good for you, enjoy it.
Posted By: thepianoplayer416

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/29/19 06:54 AM

When it comes to the condition of a piano, a technician can tell how much wear a used instrument endured in its lifetime. There are several piano stores in my area with new and refurbished pianos. A friend got a used Baldwin upright from his church for free. The only thing he paid for was the moving cost. The piano is in excellent condition and has a nice sound. The only issue is that the strings hasn't been tuned for a long time that the technician recommended to get the strings up to a certain tightness and leave it for a few months and then tighten it to the proper tuning. For a few months it would sound slightly flat.
A lot of old pianos in a church get used every week for many years so some keys may have slight cracks and dents.

Came across a vintage Steinway upright from the WWII years about a year ago. The color is white color and the instrument was sent to the S. Pacific to entertain troops. The shop was selling the instrument for around US$10K. Not sure if the piano has a previous owner after the few years overseas and looked like it was in perfect condition. A piano like that would retain value as an antique.
Posted By: MarkL

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/29/19 12:11 PM

Congratulations, enjoy it. You'll have to change your username now because you're no longer confused.
Posted By: Rickster

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/29/19 01:18 PM

Congratulations on the new Kawai GL 40!

I wish you and family many years of enjoyment with it! smile

Rick
Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/29/19 02:34 PM

Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
Came across a vintage Steinway upright from the WWII years about a year ago. The color is white color and the instrument was sent to the S. Pacific to entertain troops. The shop was selling the instrument for around US$10K. Not sure if the piano has a previous owner after the few years overseas and looked like it was in perfect condition. A piano like that would retain value as an antique.


I remember reading about a museum (in Orange County IIRC) that recently found one of these Steinway Victory uprights after years of searching. If only I had an extra $10K lying around....
Posted By: Happy-in-Walnut

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/29/19 04:51 PM

@MarkL lol
Ya I’m going to change it to HappyinWalnut ha!
Posted By: Retsacnal

Re: New piano v. Used piano - 04/30/19 02:23 AM

Congrats!

I clicked on your location, because for some reason I was thinking Walnut Creek east of the Bay Area, but I see that you're in the Los Angeles area. I noticed a Baldwin Park near Walnut. Perhaps you should have gotten a Baldwin! wink
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