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Joined: Mar 2013
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I found a Williams Symphony on craigslist in almost new condition with a nice bench for $600. But I also found a Kurzweil Mark 5 for $600. And my main question is what makes the Symphony so good? What are the pros and cons of it and why is it so highly rated on websites? Does it have good sounds and good hammer action? How does it compare to a Yamaha? Sorry for all the questions I got a lot on my mind before I make a final desicion on buying a piano. Thanks

Last edited by zbryanz; 04/01/13 04:09 PM.
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You recently got a good review of the Kurzweil Mark 5 in another thread, though nearly 15 years old is a long time for digitals. I don't think you can find any positive reviews of Williams here on this forum, though you are welcome to search.

For only slightly more money, there are a few new instruments you could look at. They won't have the build quality of that Kurzweil, but they will have better technology (key sensors, polyphony, etc) and more advanced samples.

Something like a Yamaha P105 or Casio PX-150 with stand isn't much more brand new. There are closeouts on Korg SP-250 and the new SP-280 to consider, all under $750. I would definitely explore these choices before you brave craigslist.

Good luck.


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Tim Praskins gives his reviews on assorted Williams pianos at http://azpianonews.blogspot.com/ . Use the search tool to find Williams. Mostly he rates them as "not recommended".

I think it would be difficult to find an unbiased favorable review for a Williams. There may be some “plants” that seem to be favorable, but these may be supplied by the manufacturer.

My own feeling is that the Williams brand is a pile of “organic fertilizer”.

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Williams pianos aren't thought of too highly on this forum. They are Guitar Center's house brand of digital piano. Not sure who makes them. I have never cared for any Williams I've ever played. Recommend you look at something else.

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The Williams I played were not worth owning.

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I played a Williams model in the GC showroom once and while the overall sound and feel were 'OK', the dynamics were really awkward. It also seemed like the keybed was a little low because my knees kept hitting the bottom of the keyboard unit (it was a console). I imagine they're ok for a guitarist who wants a keyboard to plunk on, but I would not buy one for any serious play.


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Originally Posted by LesCharles73
I played a Williams model in the GC showroom once and while the overall sound and feel were 'OK', the dynamics were really awkward. It also seemed like the keybed was a little low because my knees kept hitting the bottom of the keyboard unit (it was a console). I imagine they're ok for a guitarist who wants a keyboard to plunk on, but I would not buy one for any serious play.


As a guitarist for over 40 years I can say they're not okay even to "plunk on".

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Originally Posted by dkong99
As a guitarist for over 40 years I can say they're not okay even to "plunk on".

It sounds like you're a more serious musician than the target audience I was referring to wink.

Living in a college town, I wrote that post in reference to the young-adult musicians who just want something to play a riff for the rest of the band to hear. In my experience, that is usually a flimsy toy keyboard, so the Williams would probably serve for that.

All said and done though, we both agree that the Williams sucks and even the poor garage band can spend their money more wisely.

Last edited by LesCharles73; 04/02/13 02:52 AM.

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Extra note:

Also, a former and no longer active PW member, Gyro, was the only one I know of who truly endorsed and believed in the Williams brand. He mentioned being able to play very difficult "concertos" and "jazz" pieces on the $600 Overture console model. grin

The rest of us would probably want to choose a real grand piano if you are going to attempt Rachmaninoff's 3rd piano concerto, for example. Even concert pianists find such pieces tough to play on an acoustic!

So, best of luck to those who choose a Williams.

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Originally Posted by pv88
He mentioned being able to play very difficult "concertos" and "jazz" pieces on the $600 Overture console model. grin


What's so hard about that? All you're really doing is hitting the correct keys at the right time, right? wink


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Originally Posted by LesCharles73


What's so hard about that? All you're really doing is hitting the correct keys at the right time, right? wink


We classical musicians know that. In fact, even André 'Preview' probably knows that. Here he is, in frustration at someone attempting Grieg's Piano Concerto, by Grieg, playing 'all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order'..... wink

http://youtu.be/r7yb-JncKow


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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by LesCharles73


What's so hard about that? All you're really doing is hitting the correct keys at the right time, right? wink


We classical musicians know that. In fact, even André 'Preview' probably knows that. Here he is, in frustration at someone attempting the Grieg Concerto, playing 'all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order'..... wink

http://youtu.be/r7yb-JncKow


Haha, classic! grin

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"...Gyro... mentioned being able to play very difficult "concertos" and "jazz" pieces on the $600 Overture console model..."

Ah, Gyro. Of all the fool things he said, that's the one he will never live down.

He was invited to submit recordings of these "very difficult concertos and jazz pieces" that others might enjoy them and learn at the master's feet. None was ever posted.

It is a dark mark against Guitar Center's name, if that is their house piano. It's not like they didn't have their pick.


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An exciting thing to note. Williams is made by whoever is assigned to make that brand. It is usually never the same manufacturer. Learned this little bit from a Guitar Center rep. Just cause the floor model is nice and your friend's is nice, doesnt mean you will be nice to.


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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
It is a dark mark against Guitar Center's name, if that is their house piano. It's not like they didn't have their pick.


These house brands have an important role to play in a retailer's business. Private label house brands:

- provide an aggressively low price point / high apparent value option for consumers (most of whom are per definition on a strict budget);

- generate traffic on site and into the store being lured in via a low price alternative;

- give the retailer a " price halo " that makes consumers believe that they can get a better price on other products;

- generate outsized margins and contribution to profits since the brand manufacturer is not collecting a brand premium.

That the quality might be crap is not so important. Most of these pianos are aspirational, compromise purchases and will ultimately never be played anyway.


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