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Kawai KG1E

Posted By: ebonykawai

Kawai KG1E - 05/13/19 08:08 PM

Hi everyone,

Just looking for an opinion of a decent asking price for a 1989 KG1E in stunning mahogany high gloss. It's a gorgeous piano, 5'4", and I like the action very much. It's in great shape, honestly looks close to excellent condition, hammers are lightly used, action is smooth and even, no marks on the case. Definitely a 1989, I checked the serial number. I'm in western NY. Just curious what a good asking price might be as it seems overpriced at $8400, but I have no idea how much the mahogany finish adds to the original price when new. I've read that the E designation means it was made a bit brighter than the previous D. Do any of the Kawai dealers here know if anything else is different? What action is this? I'm not sure when the Millenium action came into being, but this one is really smooth and lighter than other KGs I've played.

Thanks for any info!
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/13/19 09:25 PM

Even though the KG series of pianos was quite good, I would say that it is significantly overpriced for today's market. Many people can't stand the idea of "losing money" on their piano "investment".

Have you talked with the seller? It can be instructive to find out just how they arrived at the price. Some are simply ignorant, whereas some are arrogant. Try to find out.

Pwg
Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/13/19 09:33 PM

It's being sold by a piano rebuilder, but it was a trade-in, it wasn't rebuilt by this shop. They do tend to be kind of higher in their pricing of their used pianos. I was thinking of trading in my upright, but it wouldn't be worth it at this price point.
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/13/19 10:16 PM

I agree with Peter, ebonykawai, the price seems unreasonably high to me. Though the KG series were great pianos, it is an older, discontinued model. If the seller is in the piano business, he/she likely knows the market and is out to make as much profit as they can possibly make. That is not a criticism, it is just an opinion.

And, you are right, at that price for the KG1, you'd be pretty much giving away your upright if you traded. But that is how it works in the piano sales business, I suppose.

I have an older Howard/Kawai 550 from 1969 (same as Kawai KG2) that I like a lot. It has a very nice tone, though it could use some new bass strings due to age alone. I've promised to give it to my 15 year old granddaughter, whenever my son can make room for it in his house. The Howard/Kawai 550 (5'10") was in excellent condition and rarely played by the original owner I purchased it from. Granted, it is an older model, but still in fantastic condition.

Maybe you can negotiate a good bit on the price/trade if you really like the piano.

Good luck!!

Rick
Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/13/19 10:20 PM

Agreed, Rick! I can't see doing anything at that price, though it's a lovely piano and SO beautiful. At that price, I doubt very much that I could negotiate anything reasonable. Kind of like that Kawai 350 that had a huge pricetag at the other local shop. They closed, BTW. Last month. I wasn't very surprised.
Posted By: Lotus1

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/13/19 10:25 PM

Lisa, I agree with Peter and Rick that it is severely overpriced. I rejected KG1s at half that price while looking for a piano recently. They may not have been in as great a condition, but were well maintained.

The Millennium III action was phased in beginning in 2004. It is a carbon-infused version of the previous all-ABS Styran action, which had a carbon jack, that was introduced in 1996. A 1989 piano would have some ABS Styran parts, but not all, and probably a carbon jack.

A unique finish like mahogany limits the set of potential buyers, as most prefer polished ebony. So while it would have been more expensive than PE originally, you should not pay a premium.

Remember, it is still a 30-year old piano. You can buy a new Kawai grand for less than $10,000 and a quality new Chinese-made grand for even less than that.

I came very close to buying a new grand, when a used Kawai gem still under warranty dropped into my lap at an excellent price. The private seller listed the piano at double ($2,000) what a dealer offered over the phone ($1,000), which should give you a sense for what dealer markups* can be.

Now, all this sounds very negative, but you may have found your gem if you can get it for a reasonable price. You obviously love the action and the appearance, and that means a lot. Best wishes, Lotus

*This is not meant to disparage professionals who sell used pianos, either as their main business or as a side line. One explained to me that he gets many calls from people wanting to sell their pianos, and he does not have the time, capital or space in his shop to consider "flipping" one, unless the profit margin is substantial.
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/13/19 11:31 PM

Originally Posted by Lotus1
I came very close to buying a new grand, when a used Kawai gem still under warranty dropped into my lap at an excellent price. The private seller listed the piano at double ($2,000) what a dealer offered over the phone ($1,000), which should give you a sense for what dealer markups* can be.

I don't usually like to divulge what I paid for my pianos (for various reasons:-) but in this case I'll make an exception, since I've given the Howard/Kawai 550 to my beautiful 15 year old granddaughter. I paid $1500 for it and felt like it was a real bargain, which it was.

But bargain prices on nice grand/baby grand pianos in good condition are not necessarily plentiful and you have to look hard or wait for them to come along.

Rick
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/13/19 11:44 PM

Edit time had expired in my last post but here is a pic of the Howard/Kawai 550. It sounds and plays as good as it looks...

[Linked Image]
Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/14/19 01:05 AM

Thanks, everyone! I don't know why it's so challening to find a nice used grand here. Even Craigslist pianos are vastly overpriced. Many never sell, but owners never want to bargain either. It's weird! I do enjoy the shop where this piano is. I bought my very piano from them 25 years ago! That was just a little Kimble upright, but it was very endearing to me to, as I'd wanted to play since childhood, but my parents insisted I play the violin instead (it was basically free; school lessons, not that I regret it in any way, but...it wasn't piano).

Anyway, yeah, it's too bad. What do you even think a reasonable offer would be? I don't want to insult them in any way. Thanks for the great input, everyone! 😊❤️
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/14/19 01:42 AM

Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Thanks, everyone! I don't know why it's so challening to find a nice used grand here. Even Craigslist pianos are vastly overpriced. Many never sell, but owners never want to bargain either. It's weird! I do enjoy the shop where this piano is. I bought my very piano from them 25 years ago! That was just a little Kimble upright, but it was very endearing to me to, as I'd wanted to play since childhood, but my parents insisted I play the violin instead (it was basically free; school lessons, not that I regret it in any way, but...it wasn't piano).

Anyway, yeah, it's too bad. What do you even think a reasonable offer would be? I don't want to insult them in any way. Thanks for the great input, everyone! 😊❤️

Ebonykawai, I'm sure location has a lot to do with used piano prices. And, I'm certainly no kind of authority on the subject. But I've seen the Kawai KG1s and 2s for sale in my area anywhere from $3K to $6K. It sounds like you really like the KG1E and the dealer who has it for sale. If I were you I don't think it would be insulting to offer them half their asking price or $4.5K cash; maybe something different if you are trading your Kawai upright. Worse they could say is no (right?:-). To me that would still be a price on the high end, but there are certainly variables that play a role in the pricing equation.

On the other hand, if you really like the piano and want it and can afford it, $8.9K would not be too high a price to pay. smile

Good luck!

Rick

Posted By: Rich Galassini

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/14/19 12:16 PM

I would like to inject a little balance here. If this piano is at a rebuilder then they may have put a significant amount of work into this piano for resale.

Of course, this would depend on their expectation of quality for anything they sell. I can tell you that Cunningham Piano Company recently had a KG-2E that we installed new tuning pins, new Heller bass strings, new Roslau treble strings, refinished and redressed the frame, installed new dampers, new damper guide rail bushings, rebushed and reconditioned the keys, regulated the action, and touched up and buffed the finish. The piano was in nice shape for its age when we got it but we wanted it to perform at its best. It went out the door with a 10 year warranty. We sold this piano for way more than what these people are asking and I feel it was a significant value.

We really have too little information on this and assuming the piano is being sold "as-is" is likely a mistake.
Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/14/19 12:45 PM

Rich, it was a trade in. The shop didn't do any work on it, except maybe tuning it. They told me it was a trade in. An elderly couple traded it for a Yamaha U1 because they were moving to a retirement home. That's why it's in such great shape. They were the sole owners.
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/14/19 01:38 PM

Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Rich, it was a trade in. The shop didn't do any work on it, except maybe tuning it. They told me it was a trade in. An elderly couple traded it for a Yamaha U1 because they were moving to a retirement home. That's why it's in such great shape. They were the sole owners.

Well, knowing the history of a piano is worth something, it seems to me. smile

Why not have a talk with the dealer and see what you can work out, if you really like the KG1E, which I think you do. smile

Wishing you all the best, ebonykawai!

Rick
Posted By: WeakLeftHand

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/14/19 02:42 PM

I was curious and did a quick Google search and found a 1989 KG1E in polished ebony sold. Asking was $11,750. Don’t know when or for how much it was actually sold for.

https://livingpianos.com/pianos/kawai-parlor-grand-piano-kg1e-1937858/

Here’s another one:

http://www.besbrodepianos.com/piano-sale/kawai-KG1E-grand-piano-1.htm

I think there are others on a Google search that could give you an idea of asking prices.

The prices are all over the place:

https://stilwellpianos.com/products/kawai-baby-grand-piano-model-kg-1e
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/14/19 04:34 PM

Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I think there are others on a Google search that could give you an idea of asking prices.

The prices are all over the place:

https://stilwellpianos.com/products/kawai-baby-grand-piano-model-kg-1e

This is a very nice looking Kawai KG1E and the price seems more reasonable.

Again, this is not a criticism, but piano dealers are in business to make a profit, and as much as they can. It's just business, I suppose. But pianos are subject to market/economic forces like supply and demand as well as competition between dealers just like any other product/commodity.

Also, what someone may be looking for is not always available for sale on the private seller market at any given time.

Just a few thoughts...

Rick

Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/14/19 04:41 PM

Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I was curious and did a quick Google search and found a 1989 KG1E in polished ebony sold. Asking was $11,750. Don’t know when or for how much it was actually sold for.

https://livingpianos.com/pianos/kawai-parlor-grand-piano-kg1e-1937858/

Here’s another one:

http://www.besbrodepianos.com/piano-sale/kawai-KG1E-grand-piano-1.htm

I think there are others on a Google search that could give you an idea of asking prices.

The prices are all over the place:

https://stilwellpianos.com/products/kawai-baby-grand-piano-model-kg-1e


Most of the KG1s listed on EBay are in the $5000 range. At least they are listed at that price. Haven't looked yet to see if any actually sold at those list prices. People can ask what they want, it doesn't mean anyone will buy, though.
Posted By: WeakLeftHand

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/14/19 05:47 PM

Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I was curious and did a quick Google search and found a 1989 KG1E in polished ebony sold. Asking was $11,750. Don’t know when or for how much it was actually sold for.

https://livingpianos.com/pianos/kawai-parlor-grand-piano-kg1e-1937858/

Here’s another one:

http://www.besbrodepianos.com/piano-sale/kawai-KG1E-grand-piano-1.htm

I think there are others on a Google search that could give you an idea of asking prices.

The prices are all over the place:

https://stilwellpianos.com/products/kawai-baby-grand-piano-model-kg-1e


Most of the KG1s listed on EBay are in the $5000 range. At least they are listed at that price. Haven't looked yet to see if any actually sold at those list prices. People can ask what they want, it doesn't mean anyone will buy, though.


If they haven’t changed it, eBay has a reverse search type function where you can search for “sold” prices. Several years ago, I was into buying vintage toys and I used the reverse search to see how much people actually paid for certain items, so I could bid strategically.
Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/14/19 06:00 PM

Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I was curious and did a quick Google search and found a 1989 KG1E in polished ebony sold. Asking was $11,750. Don’t know when or for how much it was actually sold for.

https://livingpianos.com/pianos/kawai-parlor-grand-piano-kg1e-1937858/

Here’s another one:

http://www.besbrodepianos.com/piano-sale/kawai-KG1E-grand-piano-1.htm

I think there are others on a Google search that could give you an idea of asking prices.

The prices are all over the place:

https://stilwellpianos.com/products/kawai-baby-grand-piano-model-kg-1e


Most of the KG1s listed on EBay are in the $5000 range. At least they are listed at that price. Haven't looked yet to see if any actually sold at those list prices. People can ask what they want, it doesn't mean anyone will buy, though.


If they haven’t changed it, eBay has a reverse search type function where you can search for “sold” prices. Several years ago, I was into buying vintage toys and I used the reverse search to see how much people actually paid for certain items, so I could bid strategically.


Yep, just did that now that I'm home (I hate doing stuff on my dinky phone, LOL). The closest I found was a KG3C for $1700 and a couple other Kawai grands that sold at "best offer accepted" (don't know what they went for, but obviously less than asking price.)
Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/14/19 06:19 PM

Thanks so much for all the input, everyone! I'll have to pass on this, just because I can't see any possible negotiation that would work. This starting price is just too high, and my 1 year old upright is probably worth about what this 30 year old grand is worth, so it's just a no-go from the start, unfortunately. A fair trade would be impossible.

Ah well, I've been looking for the right grand for about 10 years now. Some day it will come....
Posted By: PianoWorksATL

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/14/19 06:31 PM

We don't sell as many of the KG-1's, but we do see more of the KG-2's. The KG-2's of similar age, when truly pristine, generally sell for above your dealer's asking price. Looking through the few KG-1's of similar age, I saw one sold above (newer) and one below (1987) the asking price in the last 5 years.

There are a ton of average or below average ones on the market, and the KG models from that time were noticeably improved over the ones that are just slightly older. No harm in getting the best deal you can, but I do see harm in taking limited info from scattered private sales to try to determine "fair" pricing. Many private sales include pianos that were rejected by dealers, vastly skewing the numbers.

For useful comparison's sake, the relative quality level of the original build in 1989 is a predecessor to the current GX-1. While not as good, it was better than the GE-series that existed when new. Today, Kawai's second tier line is the GL line. To make parallels, the 1989 KG-1 (when original) has a build quality somewhere between the GX-1 and the GL30. Out of curiosity, how do you feel that instrument compares with a new GL30?
Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/14/19 08:31 PM

Do you mean the RX-1? I've never heard of a GX-1 made by Kawai.
Posted By: PianoWorksATL

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/14/19 10:54 PM

The GX-1 is the current generation and successor to the RX-1 (~1995 - 2017?).
Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/15/19 12:02 AM

Sam,

That would be why I'm not familiar with them, lol. They are priced vastly above anything I could ever afford. 😊

The GL series is wonderfull, I like it a lot. I feel it's quite superior to the KG1E. Not sure why that's significant. I like many brand new pianos over this 30 year old Kawai, including the Bechsteins, Yamahas, and Steinways.

I do, however, find it very significant to try and determine a fair price for a used piano, as well as a fair price for a brand new one. These forums are here for that very reason, among others. I'm sure dealers reject some pianos. They also often pay scads below what the piano is worth to uninformed traders/buyers/sellers. We all have to make a living. But this isn't a war, buyers/sellers vs dealers. I'm simply trying to not be taken advantage of, just like everyone else on these boards.

Posted By: DPCK

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/15/19 08:50 PM

Despite the fact that the KG grands are good, this one sounds over priced. If you are reaching that budget, consider a new Kawai GL10 with MIII action
Posted By: PianoWorksATL

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/15/19 09:54 PM

I'm with you, Lisa. I asked about the GL because the best gauge for the value of used is the price of new equivalent. If the KG-1E is most similar to a GL30 (but with the GL having the advantage of being new) then the depreciated value of the KG-1E should be priced relative to that new model. That's how the depreciation guides work for most pianos in that large middle category of above average quality with the brand still in production. For decades, Kawai also made GE-series, below the KG/RX lines. The GL line is a mix of designs from the GM, GE, KG/RX series.

I know that if I ever quote someone a range estimate for a potential service, they only remember the bottom number. I know that the numbers that favor one side or the other are used. If you want to bring an offer to the seller, its their choice again. I'm not telling you the price is good or bad, I'm telling you that it's potentially in range, just in the same way that others are convinced it is high.

We recently delivered a 30 year old Yamaha C7 to a chamber music organization. Several members of their board had recently purchased smaller Yamaha grands for their home, and they were blown away by the condition and performance of the instrument we delivered. The price would have been high for one of good, but average condition, but for this piano, it became a great value because of the attention to many details. Those details made it good purchase for them piano.

A "comp" for the Kawai KG-1 would be Yamaha's G1. While Yamaha does command a modest premium, a pristine G1 from that age might command similar dollars. We sold a 1989 Yamaha G1 for ~$9k. We did install new bass strings and front key busthings on it, but otherwise, "refurbished, original" condition. We sold an original 1984 Yamaha G1 in mahogany, pristine, in the mid-$8ks. Due to unusual circumstances with a the first customer's hearing loss, we sold it twice for that price.

Yamaha's lower level GH1 commonly competed against Kawai's GE models. They frequently bring less. Another "comp" for the KG-1E would be the Boston GP163. The Boston's began production ~1991, so there are some that are close in age, and I would call them very comparable in quality at that time. Later KG-1E's were made with better components than some of the earlier KG-1's.

Based on what I can gather, Atlanta's piano market tends to be priced just a little below average of other large market cities in the US, not as aggressive as some West coast markets, but nowhere near the highest priced markets. Small market prices are truly unpredictable, in my experience. I hope that is helpful perspective and some concrete information.
Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/16/19 02:18 AM

Well, comparing a 30 year old KG to a GL30 isn't just to say that the GL is new, it's also completely redesigned. Apples and oranges, really, when it comes down to it. They are totally different pianos.
Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/16/19 02:34 AM

LOL, I left the room for too long and now I can't edit the above. 🙄

Anyway, I was about to say that Yamaha G1s currently listed on Ebay are priced higher than the KG1s, anywhere from $3800 to $9500. Unlike the KG1s, however, none have actually sold. If you look under completed auctions, nothing comes up. It's interesting.

The issue with Bostons is that buyers are also paying a permiun for the brand because they're connected to Steinway. It's just not that easy to compare different pianos to each other that way. It's much more reasonable, imo, to compare them to each other and get an idea of relative asking price by seeing what they are listed at and where. Craigslist and Ebay are pretty helpful in that respect. At least, it's been helpful to me.
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/16/19 04:14 AM

I used to check out Craigslist and eBay daily for used pianos as a past-time/hobby; kind of like reading the newspaper every morning. But who reads the paper version of the morning newspaper anymore? smile

I saw the Howard/Kawai 550 (same as Kawai KG2, 5'10") on Craigslist in southeast Georgia near Augusta, about 300 miles away from my location. The seller started out asking like $3500. Craigslist is set up to view ads in certain cities/locals. I'd go down the list of areas all over Georgia, although Atlanta is the biggest local, I suppose. The Howard 550 did catch my eye for some reason, and the ad stated that they had built a new house and though the piano was more or less a family heirloom, she didn't want it in her new house.

After a few weeks, I noticed the price started to come down in the CL ad. $3000, then $2500, then $2000 over a period of several weeks. And, although I really didn't need another piano, per-se, the lure of a good buy/bargain on a nice baby grand piano of that caliber was a big temptation. I called the lady and talked to her about the piano. She said her parents bought if for her new when she was 16 years old and taking piano lessons. Since it was a 1969 model, that is a long time to own a piano. She said the lessons never really help her to develop the skill to play the piano much and it remained unplayed most of its life, although she did say it was tuned occasionally. She also said it was still on its side on the mover's skid-board wrapped in quilts under her carport.

I explained to her that I was more or less a piano enthusiast and liked pianos and really didn't need another piano. Next, I swallowed hard and got the lump of fear out of my throat and asked if she would consider an offer of $1500 cash for the piano. Oddly enough, she didn't think about it long at all and agreed to sell it for $1500. Now, I know this goes against all sound piano wisdom and logic, but I bought the piano sight unseen and unplayed. I knew it was a gamble, but $1500 for a piano of that caliber and reputation was worth the gamble, based on the information I was given by the seller. She was ready to get rid of it and out of her garage.

So, I made arrangements for the move, and had it delivered to my home, which was another $300, but that was a good deal as well. I was nervous and excited all at the same time, but after I got the piano home and checked it over good, and played it a little, I knew my big gamble had paid off. It was everything I had hoped it would be. The first time I tuned it, it held its tuning like a rock, and didn't need tuning again for months. The bass strings were a little weak sounding from age itself, and I tired twisting them a couple of turns to get a better tone, which may have helped some. But it still could use new bass strings. The plain-wire strings sounded very good to me with no rust and the hammers had very little wear; almost no string grooves at all.

It cleaned up very well, and I removed the action and lubricated the knuckles with powdered teflon and used ProTeK CLP on all the flanged joints. The action is still a tad heavy, but many older Kawai grand piano actions are. But I like a firm feeling action to an extent. The key bushings were very tight, like a new piano. I've enjoyed playing it a lot. And, I know that my granddaughter will enjoy it as well, whenever my son can find room for it in his house.

I'm not sure why I'm telling this story when I know that some here would disagree with me and criticize me for some of the decisions I made, but, oh well, you can't please everyone. smile

Sometimes a gamble pays off and sometimes it doesn't. But it was another fun piano adventure that I can share on Piano World. smile

Moral of the story? The bargain pianos are rare and don't come up for sale often. You have to search for them diligently and be willing to take risks. It's less risky to buy from a reputable dealer, at a fair price, of course.

Heck, I should write a book about my piano adventures... or not. smile

Wishing you all the best in your piano adventures as well, Ebonykawai!!

Rick
Posted By: BigIslandGuy

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/16/19 11:38 AM

Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Thanks so much for all the input, everyone! I'll have to pass on this, just because I can't see any possible negotiation that would work. This starting price is just too high, and my 1 year old upright is probably worth about what this 30 year old grand is worth, so it's just a no-go from the start, unfortunately. A fair trade would be impossible.

Ah well, I've been looking for the right grand for about 10 years now. Some day it will come....


And here, I thought the 3 years I took to find my perfect grand was a long time. Wishing you all the best luck in your search.
Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/16/19 01:24 PM

Great story, Rick, congrats on that lovely grand! You definitely should write a book!!! Thanks everyone for the input! I'm passing on the Kawai.
Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/16/19 01:28 PM

Originally Posted by BigIslandGuy


And here, I thought the 3 years I took to find my perfect grand was a long time. Wishing you all the best luck in your search.


I did have a very nice Baldwin R for a time, but my music room is small and it overwhelmed the room. That's really why it's taking me so long. I need a 5'5" or thereabouts and I'm really picky, LOL. 😊
Posted By: PianoWorksATL

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/16/19 04:10 PM

Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Well, comparing a 30 year old KG to a GL30 isn't just to say that the GL is new, it's also completely redesigned. Apples and oranges, really, when it comes down to it. They are totally different pianos.
There are significant changes, but no, not completely redesigned, not apples to oranges. The lineage of the current grand models and the specs of the GL line in comparison with the KG-1E make such comparisons reasonable.

If the instruments don't at least remind you of each other, then perhaps the older one needs some attention.
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/16/19 11:52 PM

Originally Posted by Rickster
I used to check out Craigslist and eBay daily for used pianos as a past-time/hobby; kind of like reading the newspaper every morning. But who reads the paper version of the morning newspaper anymore? smile

I saw the Howard/Kawai 550 (same as Kawai KG2, 5'10") on Craigslist in southeast Georgia near Augusta, about 300 miles away from my location. The seller started out asking like $3500. Craigslist is set up to view ads in certain cities/locals. I'd go down the list of areas all over Georgia, although Atlanta is the biggest local, I suppose. The Howard 550 did catch my eye for some reason, and the ad stated that they had built a new house and though the piano was more or less a family heirloom, she didn't want it in her new house.

After a few weeks, I noticed the price started to come down in the CL ad. $3000, then $2500, then $2000 over a period of several weeks. And, although I really didn't need another piano, per-se, the lure of a good buy/bargain on a nice baby grand piano of that caliber was a big temptation. I called the lady and talked to her about the piano. She said her parents bought if for her new when she was 16 years old and taking piano lessons. Since it was a 1969 model, that is a long time to own a piano. She said the lessons never really help her to develop the skill to play the piano much and it remained unplayed most of its life, although she did say it was tuned occasionally. She also said it was still on its side on the mover's skid-board wrapped in quilts under her carport.

I explained to her that I was more or less a piano enthusiast and liked pianos and really didn't need another piano. Next, I swallowed hard and got the lump of fear out of my throat and asked if she would consider an offer of $1500 cash for the piano. Oddly enough, she didn't think about it long at all and agreed to sell it for $1500. Now, I know this goes against all sound piano wisdom and logic, but I bought the piano sight unseen and unplayed. I knew it was a gamble, but $1500 for a piano of that caliber and reputation was worth the gamble, based on the information I was given by the seller. She was ready to get rid of it and out of her garage.

So, I made arrangements for the move, and had it delivered to my home, which was another $300, but that was a good deal as well. I was nervous and excited all at the same time, but after I got the piano home and checked it over good, and played it a little, I knew my big gamble had paid off. It was everything I had hoped it would be. The first time I tuned it, it held its tuning like a rock, and didn't need tuning again for months. The bass strings were a little weak sounding from age itself, and I tired twisting them a couple of turns to get a better tone, which may have helped some. But it still could use new bass strings. The plain-wire strings sounded very good to me with no rust and the hammers had very little wear; almost no string grooves at all.

It cleaned up very well, and I removed the action and lubricated the knuckles with powdered teflon and used ProTeK CLP on all the flanged joints. The action is still a tad heavy, but many older Kawai grand piano actions are. But I like a firm feeling action to an extent. The key bushings were very tight, like a new piano. I've enjoyed playing it a lot. And, I know that my granddaughter will enjoy it as well, whenever my son can find room for it in his house.

I'm not sure why I'm telling this story when I know that some here would disagree with me and criticize me for some of the decisions I made, but, oh well, you can't please everyone. smile

Sometimes a gamble pays off and sometimes it doesn't. But it was another fun piano adventure that I can share on Piano World. smile

Moral of the story? The bargain pianos are rare and don't come up for sale often. You have to search for them diligently and be willing to take risks. It's less risky to buy from a reputable dealer, at a fair price, of course.

Heck, I should write a book about my piano adventures... or not. smile

Wishing you all the best in your piano adventures as well, Ebonykawai!!

Rick


I loved your story! And it is true that sometimes you will end up lucky by taking a calculated risk.
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/17/19 01:27 AM

Originally Posted by NobleHouse
I loved your story! And it is true that sometimes you will end up lucky by taking a calculated risk.

Thanks for the kind words, NobleHouse. I wish I was as lucky playing the lottery as I've been with the pianos I've bought. But I've come out on the losing end way more with the lottery than I have with pianos. smile

Fact is, I don't play the lottery anymore. Maybe I should, or not... smile

Wishing you all the best with your piano search, Ebonykawai!

Rick
Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/17/19 02:19 AM

Thanks, guys! 😊
Posted By: jrcallan

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/17/19 10:23 AM

Since you liked the Baldwin R, have you considered the Baldwin M 5'2"? May be richer tone that the 5'4" Kawai, though they are likewise nice pianos.
Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/17/19 03:28 PM

I've been looking for an M for a loooong time. That's actually been my 1st choice for years. They don't come up around here very often. The couple that have were extremely old and, as always, ridiculously overpriced.
Posted By: dogperson

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/17/19 04:14 PM

Hi Lisa
Could you possibly travel to buy the piano and have it shipped to you? It would open up a whole range of possibilities as well as possibly lower your cost 😊
Posted By: ebonykawai

Re: Kawai KG1E - 05/17/19 10:12 PM

I'm not that desperate yet, LOL.
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