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gnuboi Offline OP
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I've only just begun real piano shopping by calling up private ads and dealers!

So out of the following, what would you get?
1. $20k (asking price) 1920s Steinway O 5'11" newer strings, pinblock, action
2. $15k (asking price) 1989 Baldwin L(?) 6'3" new strings
3. $18k (final price paid by a friend) new Yamaha C3
4. $??k (forgot the price) new Kawai RX-3

I played the Baldwin and Kawai, and the Baldwin was impressive while the Kawai was as good as you can expect a new piano to be; but it did not seem as special (yea, I should re-examine that feeling). I have not tried the Steinway. I played on a newer C3 couple years ago but I should go visit the Yamaha dealer anyway.

In terms of what I value in a piano, I would rank...
1. Sound and touch
2. Reliability
3. Resale value

This is why I'm having second thoughts on the Baldwin. I would rather get a new piano than having to deal with problems with the Baldwin in a few years. Then again, maybe I can get the Baldwin for much less to cover future maintenance.

I have been reading all your posts and really appreciate all your expert feedback smile

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The baldwin may be a pretty good deal you have there. Given its condition and such, it can be a most excellent purchase! The Yamaha is Nice, but I just dont think it can compare to the quality of a baldwin. smile

Baldwins are well built. Its not going to have problems unless it has defect parts and such for a long time! Take my '22 for instance. It plays flawlessly and is in excellent condition, of course the pin block is cracked, but hey it happens.

Dont have experience with that kawai, but the steinway may be really nice too. Seems like it had a fairly recent overhaul.

smile


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You seem to have zoned in on my favorites, the Baldwin and the Kawai. I own a Kawai verticle and think the MIII action is excellent. The Baldwin grands are a lot more "special." The Yamaha C3 gets lots of respect, but it doesn't run to my taste. If the rebuild's good, you could do much worse than the Steinway.

You rate sound and touch first. That's entirely subjective. I think, from where I sit in south Georgia, that I might prefer the Baldwin, maybe the Kawai. If I were to play the actual pianos you're considering, I might actually prefer one of the others. My preference doesn't matter, anyway.

The Kawai, Steinway and Yamaha should have better than average resale. Prices on used Baldwins are pretty depressed right now. The up side is that you'll be able to buy yours for less. If you're lucky, Baldwin prices might come up if/when you sell in the future.

Good luck with your choice. The good thing is you don't have any losers on your list.

Charles


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Make sure you play that Steinway before making your decision. But if I had my choices it would be the Steinway or the Baldwin. Don't let the age bother you if the work has been done that they say and it is done correctly. The name Steinway usually holds its re-sale value better than most pianos. But that Baldwin sure sounds good. You have some great choices to choose from.

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yea, the Baldwin L may be a good choice in this case although the Kawai and Yamaha are fine pianos. It's just that after having played the Yamaha C3 and the Baldwin L, the L has better bass in most cases.


Jack in TN

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I just sold a very nice 1964 Baldwin L that had been appraised three years ago at $13k but after over a year on the market ended up selling for less than half of that. If the Baldwin ends up being your choice (a good Baldwin L is a very nice piano!), I'm betting you can get it for somewhat less than $15k. Prices are way down, so you may be able to get an exceptional deal.

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Quote
$18k (final price paid by a friend) new Yamaha C3


I don't sell Yamaha pianos. However I doubt you'll get a new C3 for that price. Probably your friend bought it a long time ago or purchased a B stock item.
Currently Yamaha dealers experienced two price-increase in less than a year.

Best Regards,


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Why new strings on an '89 Baldwin L? Seems kinda new to have new strings.

I own an L and I love it. The Bass sings and the sound is wonderful. You can probably guess my choice.

C


I often wonder what could have been.

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I did find that to be kind of interesting. My 22 has original strings and they have to damage really. Makes you wonder why they replaced them on an 89.... Maybe the piano was just being fully reconditioned anyways. Kind of like they do to U1s and U3s. Not that they really need new strings, but sort of a "why not" smile


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Originally Posted by Brandon_W_T
The baldwin may be a pretty good deal you have there. Given its condition and such, it can be a most excellent purchase! The Yamaha is Nice, but I just dont think it can compare to the quality of a baldwin. smile

Baldwins are well built. Its not going to have problems unless it has defect parts and such for a long time! Take my '22 for instance. It plays flawlessly and is in excellent condition, of course the pin block is cracked, but hey it happens.
smile


I would take issue with you that a Baldwin is a better built piano than a Yamaha. In terms of ultimate musical potential when all "sorted out" by a tech-- sure, I can agree with that. In terms of manufacturing precision...not so much. Raw materials? I'd assume the Baldwin uses costlier wood, but I remember some truly sloppily-made action parts I tried to repin/rebush back in my college work-study days on some 80's vintage grands.

Your argument that your 1922 instrument proves this point is not relevant, the same way that different generations of Steinway have differed in parts quality, assembly, quality control, and finished condition upon leaving the factory. As the age of the instrument increases, in addition to "well built" a primary consideration should become "well kept" and the quality of work that has gone into the piano.


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gnuboi Offline OP
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So I finally visited the Yamaha dealer. The C3 felt heavy to my untrained "upright" fingers. The C2 only sounded a tiny bit different to me. I also tried out a GC2. Again, not a lot of difference there. But boy, prices have gone up in the past 5 years!

The Yamahas do sound just like how everyone here has described them... clean, bright, kinda sterile sometimes. After today, I'm more determined to look for a used American piano at about the 6' size to save some money.

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Is there a Knabe dealer in your area? The 5'8" model is in your price range and has a more "American" tone. The scale is the same as the vintage Knabe with the addition of duplex scaling. Research the new Knabes on this forum and you'll find some great reviews.


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I play a 1939 Steinway O every week at a volunteer gig. It is one of the nicest sounding pianos I've ever played, and the action is incredible. Obviously you'd need to check out the condition of the one you're considering. I own a Baldwin L, so I'm biased toward them. Used Baldwin grands are going real cheap right now, so $15K sounds high unless it's in exceptional condition.

If you have $20K to spend you might want to look at new Hailun or Brodmann grand. They are exceptional values, and very nice pianos.


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A C3 for $18k would be a ridiculously sick deal. A yamaha dealer could chime in on the cost of one...I believe that would be BELOW cost. Ask yourself, what do you see played on the stage most of the time? Yamaha and Steinway.


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gnuboi Offline OP
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Yes there is a Knabe dealer... but they were out of Knabe's at 6'. And I didn't like it there too much.

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gnuboi Offline OP
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Well that used 1988 Baldwin L for $15k got sold just hours before I went back to the dealer! For around that price, the buyer got new strings and a player system. Since it was still sitting there, I played it with its old strings and compared it to a new Baldwin L1 right next to it, and the new one is heck-a-lot nicer in sound and response.

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Oh these days it's like $20k for a Yamaha C1 before you "work out" a deal. $18k for a C3 was about 5 years ago.

Yes, stages have Yamaha's and Steinway's, and artists have contracts with those 2, but they also own Schimmel's and Bosendorfer's at home. Sound to me Yamaha and Steinway are their "work" pianos. Almost like a work-provided HP laptop or something wink Nothing against Yamaha, Steinway, and HP, btw wink

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Originally Posted by gnuboi
Yes there is a Knabe dealer... but they were out of Knabe's at 6'. And I didn't like it there too much.
That's too bad. There loss is another seller's gain.

The next size above the 5'8" is 6'4". There used to be a 6'1" Knabe (generally an upgraded Samick 185) and the 6'4" is fairly new...again wink. Like the 5'8", the 6'4" is from the original Knabe scale. I'm backordered on the 5'3" size right now.

Happy hunting.


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gnuboi Offline OP
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All, I ended up buying a new RX-3. I spent a lot of time comparing and decided that the Kawai sound is what I liked the most. Sure, I would have loved to save some dough with a used, but new ones sounded better wink I also wished an RX-2 was good enough, but the RX-3 was easily-noticeably better. I knew I could not go back to the RX-2 after listening to the RX-3.

I also wasn't so impressed with the restored Steinways and their funky ivory keytops, although they will likely retain value better. But resale was my third-ranked selection criteria anyway. To each his or her own wink

I want to thank you all for providing feedback during my search. This is a great forum!

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Sounds like you made a wise choice. Once you've heard what you're convinced is the best, it's hard to settle for anything less. Hope you enjoy the Kawai.


Jack in TN

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Yamaha C5 grand (home)
Kawai KG5 grand (church)
Roland RD300GX digital (jazz group)
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