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buy a first piano for 5 year old

Posted By: lilly95120

buy a first piano for 5 year old - 02/25/08 04:42 AM

Hi guys, I am in search of good-quality piano for my son who just started piano lesson and really enjoys his music-making instrument. I hope the first one could last about 10 years if possible before upgrading to Grand for him to continue his music dream. I got a brandnew Henry/Miller piano as part of rent-buy piano from a local Steinway dealer. I don't know much about the piano, but got a bad review about Yamaha from this dealer. But for price of $4800 Henry/Miller, I could have much better used piano. So I have a mission to get a used one around $3000. Since I don't play piano, I rely on piano forum and other source for quality and price. Thanks in advance. I have a few choices here that would like to get opinions. Young chang upright 48' 6 year od priced 2000 Brambach 48'5 year old $2000 Yamaha UX10BL 1988 $3000. Thank you so much!
Posted By: pianobroker

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 02/25/08 08:24 AM

UX10BL is a newer gray market uprt. with the radial back. In Japan they mix and match the various cabinet designs with different strung backs. Honestly Iv'e never had one but can figure out what it is. The cabinet is not as heavy duty as a U1.(probably has thinner arms, less backposts,no lock but the strung back is of an upgraded design. If in pristine shape it is probably a decent piano for 3K. Have a tech assess the cond. Not being familiar with the other two options,I would think that the Yamaha would be a safer bet as for future trade up even though of gray market and an uncommon mdl.in the states. Giving a bad rap on Yamaha from a sales pro is hard to believe but these are desperate times for many. A Henry F. Miller is a stencil name for a chinese manufacture made by ?
Don't know and don't care! Good luck !
Posted By: turandot

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 02/25/08 02:45 PM

I agree with Broker. A used Yamaha is a good instrument. You live in a great market for used pianos. You'll find a wealth of choices on Craigslist. You also have lots of dealers and even grey-market 'specialists' like Silicon Valley Piano.

A well-chosen Yamaha vertical will be a good training ground for your child and good protection for you against depreciation. You should check back here and report used Yamaha's that you are considering. You will want to be careful...especially with the condition and actual age.

The Yamaha diss probably came from a Sherman Clay salesman. They are the proud parents of the Henry Miller stencil.
Posted By: NE_Geek_Girl

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 02/25/08 04:41 PM

I would also just note that you can use your own ears to listen to a piano even if you don't play. I just don't like the sound of a Yamaha, but they are very good pianos, and doubtless a good used one is available. Because the brand is well known, I imagine you would be able to trade in/sell easily too. You probably should try to find a technician who can look at any piano you are considering as well.
Posted By: lilly95120

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 02/26/08 05:22 AM

Hi all, I am really new to the forum, but glad to see we got many experts here to help me out. You are right about Sherman Clay salesman (even I didn't want to mention it in the first place) Also I totally agree I could use my own ears to listen to the piano. I will keep looking and report to this forum for more findings. Thanks in advance. Many options I have here are Yang Chang/Weber or Yamaha or Kawai. Yang Chang is a good choice? it seems cheapest.
Posted By: Hoaglie

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 02/27/08 03:22 PM

I'm not sure that old Young Changs or Brambachs would fulfill any musical dreams or ten year plans and don't see how they'd be an improvement over the Henry Miller.

As for the UX1, that's not exactly a dream machine either, but from what I saw on S.F. Craigslist no red flags and might be worth checking out with an RPT. I would stay away from the Craiglist's factory reconditioned Yamahas. I've played them and something gets lost in the reconditioning.

The Gray Market Shop usually has a dozen old Yamahas, the usual gray market fodder of X3's and W's, all good players, all original, all 20 to 30 years or better, and all pricey.

The Gray Market Shop currently has a sale in the 5k+ range. I'd expect 20-25% off that but they seem pretty firm on the prices, claiming good deals since the new U3's list at equally ridiculous 13k. I guess they've taken a page out of the Rick Jones and Big Ed Gein playbook.

Closeby the Yamahas sits an out of tune 52" Perzina tagged at 8k+. When I politely said this seemed steep for a Chinese upright, they said the piano was made in Germany and pointed to the Gothic script on the fallboard. I didn't argue with them, guessing the Perzina was chum for the Yamahas.

I wouldn't worry about what Steinway says about Yamaha, they have even better stories about Estonia and claim a certain Yamaha concert artists is actually a closet Steinway lover and have the pictures to prove it.

The gang over at Yamaha claim Steinway is over rated with Boss Tweed pretentions and that Kawai is fine for a small company but anything good about them they stole from Yamaha. Not to be out done, the Kawai folks claim Yamaha has too many irons in the fire to do the the one thing that Kawai excells at--making pianos. And so on and so forth.

Anyway, back to the Henry Miller. I never liked rent to own schemes as they do little more than mask high interest rates and other charges.

Best piano I've played at Steinway recently that would fit your needs(good quality) was a 52" Fandrich upright, ten years old, that you could switch out with the Henry Miller. Don't be afraid to horse trade for best deal. Rent the movie Glengary Glenross for tips.

Or you could dump Henry Miller back in Steinway's lap and buy new K6 or U3 for 9k+. I know it's more money but over the course of 10 years the amount is negligible.

On the other hand, since your son enjoys playing the Henry Miller, keep it. That way if his musical aspirations wane in the near future you can still dump it back into Steinway's lap and buy him a guitar.

Posted By: lilly95120

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 02/28/08 06:50 AM

Thank you so much for checking out local shop for me, Hoaglie! I was afraid to go to those dealers, because I tended to fall in love with anything they showed me after they claimed they were artists. Anyway, after your review about Yamaha and Kawaii, I feel more comfortable with these two pianos and maybe better price with Kawai. I will also check out the 52" Fandrich upright. let you know later. Thanks again.
Posted By: Bear 1

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 02/28/08 08:14 AM


Since you are wondering about Kawai.

Click on Kawai's web-site: www.kawaius.com

Then click on Upright Pianos then check out the various Kawai Professional uprights. K2, K3, K5, K6, and K8. The new UST-9 is also a very good piano.

Read about Kawai's full transferrable warranty and don't miss reading all about Kawai's Millennium III action. Some other interesting stuff there to check out also.

Best of luck with whatever piano you decide to buy. smile


Posted By: Poor Dave

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 02/28/08 08:25 AM

Kawai. Kawai gets my vote smile
Posted By: lilly95120

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 02/29/08 08:11 AM

Hi all, I contacted the dealer about 9 year-old 52' Fandrich upright for $8500. I don't know if this is a good price or any room for negociation. Also saw a 2 year-old Yamaha U1 for sale from private party and it was sold the same day 2 hours after the ad posted. $3500! oh, I wish I checked the CL every minute! mad
Posted By: Hoaglie

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 02/29/08 04:42 PM

I'll send you a PM with the price I got on the Fandrich & Sons. I felt it was the best player in the shop, better than the 15k Schimmel sitting next to it, the 52" Steinway in the frontroom, or the Bostons. I believe that Fandrich originally came from China (you can get serial # and contact Fandrichs for particulars), but is alterred and massaged into something special. I don't want to turn this into a Fandrich testimonial but felt it would fit your needs.

As for Craigslist, you can get some good deals if you move quickly and know what you're doing. You can also get burned. A 2006 U1 for 3500 is good, maybe too good. If it was a straight deal it only illustrates the pricing pressure pianos are under and you can probably get a brand new U1 with warranty for 5500.

There's a model similar to the U1 that's even cheaper and with the Kawais as well but I think when you're talking about a ten year music dream it's not advisable to go for the cheapest model available. I'm not sure they're appreciably better than the Henry Miller. (While I'm generally skeptical of ten year plans, I'll trust your judgement.)

There are other shops in your area besides the ones I mentioned. The Bosendorfer dealer has a big moving sale and a sea of pianos all marked down but still 25% more than they're worth. But I didn't feel it was advisable for you to be chasing all over south bay looking at pianos. It's easier to deal with the bunch you're currently renting the Henry Miller from. They're no better or worse than the others. Make sure buying deal stays separate from renting deal.

Don't be intimidated by salespersons putting on shows with Liberace lounge lizard tricks or their interpretations of Mozart. Don't mistake flashiness for musical competence. You're not there to witness their virtuousity, anyway, but to judge the sound of the piano.

Remember, you have the power when you walk in the door because you have the money. If you feel uncomfortable, simply walk out. And don't be put off by the outlandish claims you'll hear. It's just part of the business.

As for learning about the business, while some think it's simply a matter of getting Fine's book or carrying around a checklist and becoming an overnight expert, it's a little more complicated than that--which is why I suggested cutting to the chase and getting new U3 or K6. These are good solid pianos and will be good and solid ten or twenty years from now.

In the meantime, I don't know the details of your rent-to-own deal, if it's a six-month deal or what, but the Henry Miller is fine for now and the most important thing is that your son enjoys playing it. Take your time.

Posted By: turandot

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 02/29/08 06:49 PM

I believe that Fandrich originally came from China (you can get serial # and contact Fandrichs for particulars), but is alterred and massaged into something special
Hey Hoaglie,

I think the Fandrich verticals were built on a European chassis: at different times Bohemia, Feurich, Klima, Rieger-Kloss, and Wilh. Steinberg. My guess if that 10-yr-old would be Klima, but that's just a hunch.

These are such specialty items, I would think establishing a price would be tough....probably just whatever can be obtained.
Posted By: pianobroker

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 02/29/08 07:24 PM

Close to 10 years ago ,I remember seeing it at the Namm show on a Pearl River 151 chassis. with a heavy duty suspension, rear wheel drive and antilock brakes that was controlled by the altered trapwork and middle pedal.
Posted By: turandot

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 02/29/08 07:54 PM

laugh laugh
Posted By: Hoaglie

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 03/01/08 04:46 PM

Wherever the box was made it had great sound and touch. It's the only Fandrich & Sons I've seen but made the mistake of telling the SS guy it played better than his gathering of B's. After the paramedics left, he did admit all B's went through 4-hour prep before being delivered to clients. At realistic price, it's superior to U1's and certainly equal in performance and cheaper than U3's and K6's, but still ought to be good player a decade hence. Who knows?

This Fandrich model came mounted with Grover 1600 dual truktone airhorns operated by the middle peddle and fed by an auxiliary 1hp airpump. A brass hand nozzle was also provided to blow dust off the keyboard and inner workings. The original Reo undercarriage including differential, drive line, wheels, airbrakes, and the fuller roadranger transmission were all sold by the previous owner to a truckstop outside of TJ, making the piano lighter and enhancing its harmonic complexities. Of course, it does not move as fast as it once did.

Posted By: turandot

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 03/01/08 11:38 PM


I only mentioned the 'box' because with the Fandrich grands being built on a DongBei chassis and the current level of DongBei appreciation falling through the floor (don't share that with Dolly), a customized Fandrich grand may be a tougher sell than a customized Fandrich vertical built on a 'pedigreed' Wilh. Steinberg or Rieger-Kloss European chassis.

On a broader topic, I'm glad to see you have moved away from your deep philosophical discussion of fuzzy ethics to your usual panoramic view of the salubrious world of piano retail. (Every shop should have an unprepped Perzina. There's no doubt about that in my mind.)

Anyway, I never could see why fuzzy ethics was such a bad thing. I have a fuzzy logic rice cooker and it does an admirable job keeping me clear of the rice cooking problems detailed by Saroyan in Aram's household. Yessir! No swill or tough chewy rice ever again with fuzzy logic onboard my cooker, so I'm assuming that fuzzy ethics must be good thing too, softening the buyer just the amount needed before serving him up with lots of furikake. laugh
Posted By: Rod Verhnjak

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 03/02/08 01:15 AM

Posted By: fong ll

Re: buy a first piano for 5 year old - 03/02/08 09:56 PM


I rcommend go to the san jose piano place on 395 south winchester blvd. call 408-248-9200 they have lots of good quality piano and kawai too.

try a seiler there you will like.

good local plase to buy a piano.
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