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Facts:

I live on the third floor of a very narrow, long house. I plan on moving into an apartment or condo in the nearby area within the next two years.

I have a maximum budget of $7,000 to spend on a used piano. I plan on having a technician inspect any piano before considering purchasing it.

I have two rooms to work with:

1. my 'office', which measures 73 square feet (22.25 square meters) and has hardwood floor; and

2. my bedroom, 120 square feet, carpeted floor.

Questions:

1. Is buying a piano realistic given my budget, space, and changing living situation?

2. If the answer is "yes", what is the biggest grand I can accommodate? What is the point at which the grand is so short that an upright makes more sense? (For example, is an entry-level 5'3" grand more of a musical compromise than an intermediate-grade 50" upright? More than a 44" top-end upright? Etc.)

Assume that I can't stretch my budget any farther and that I AM willing to move nearly everything from the bedroom into the office for the right piano. Also assume that I want to stick with this piano for classical lessons for at least a few years (at which point, I may upgrade).

Note: I found a 44" Charles Walter console for about $4,000, but I haven't gone to play it yet. Just wondering what my options are before I begin my piano search.

Thank you.


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Given your space constraints, a grand would be difficult, but it really depends on what kind of sacrifice (space) you're willing to make. My understanding is that some modern short designs produce a better sound than older short grands. Finding a newer one under your budget might be tougher than fitting it in. If I were in your space, I don't think I'd be looking for a grand though. In fact, I'd probably find a digital piano for the short term, and work on the grand when I moved two years down the road. Good luck with your search though!


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Before I say GRAB THAT WALTER FOR 4K and RUN, see if you can find what year it is. Serial number will also help. You can call the Walter factory in Elkhart, Indiana (574-266-0615), and they will tell you the year of manufacture. If it's within 12 years, it would still be under the original Walter FULL (not limited) Warranty.

I would also invest $100 or so on a piano technician to look over the instrument. Walters are known to be fantastic instruments that are usually handed down within families. If the Walter gets the green light from the tech, and they only want $4k for it... GRAB IT and RUN!!!


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Any smaller grand is a compromise is what I have been able to distill from this forum. If I recall correctly there is some sort of magical border at 6 feet but not entirely sure.

I think given the space constraints a good upright might serve you well. Retsacnals advice is probably even better from a cost and neighbour point of view although I by far prefer an acoustic piano over a digital and 2 years is quite some time.

In your case I would retain the current digital for late practice and so on and use a good upright for daytime practice/fun.

A Walter is certainly a good option.

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Given your price/size restrictions, I think that a good upright may be a better choice. Grands much smaller than about 6 feet tend to have significant compromises, brought on by short bass strings and a smaller sound board. A good upright can still be a fine instrument. Also considering the prices of grands compared to uprights in general, you'll likely get a better performing upright piano at your price point.


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Originally Posted by wimpiano
If I recall correctly there is some sort of magical border at 6 feet but not entirely sure.
The urban myth rides again.

There are some truly wonderful pianos under six feet. The list is long: Estonia (although not my personal favorite tone, they make a truly excellent under six foot piano) Steingraeber, Fazioli, Bosendorfer, Charles Walter (some people actually prefer their smaller grand over their larger), Shigeru Kawai, and Mason and Hamlin. This is not an exhaustive live. On the less expensive side of things the Baldwin R and the Kawai RX2 can be very nice instruments.


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For your budget, I'd go for good uprights. There are good, older grands that might fall to your price range, but they may not be current brands. Moving costs to the 3rd floor will eat into your budget as well whether it is a grand or upright.

The used Charles Walter may be a great choice, but buying privately isn't usually the best place to start. When it comes to buying privately, most buyers are not well-equipped to make comparisons of choice even when you have a tech inspection to back you up. I'd recommend working with a dealer so that you can more readily compare options, handle the move, service and potential future upgrade.

Still, you should go and check out the Walter.


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I used to own a triplex where I lived downstairs and my tenant lived upstairs. In a house you hear everything.

Unless you have the most forgiving neighbors in the world they are going to be poking the ceiling with a broom handle to get you to stop playing.

If it were me, since you are planning on moving in 2 years, I would watch c/l and find a keyboard. You can find one for a really good price if you just keep a watch. That way you could get a set of earphones and be able to play it at 3am if you so desired. I myself would always prefer a piano over a keyboard but, considering your circumstances...

That way, in 2 years when you move you could look for the piano that you really desire at that time... And, wait till you find your new place so you can accommodate the piano to the surroundings. And, get a few bucks for the keyboard.


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Originally Posted by musicpassion
Originally Posted by wimpiano
If I recall correctly there is some sort of magical border at 6 feet but not entirely sure.
The urban myth rides again.

There are some truly wonderful pianos under six feet. The list is long: Estonia (although not my personal favorite tone, they make a truly excellent under six foot piano) Steingraeber, Fazioli, Bosendorfer, Charles Walter (some people actually prefer their smaller grand over their larger), Shigeru Kawai, and Mason and Hamlin. This is not an exhaustive live. On the less expensive side of things the Baldwin R and the Kawai RX2 can be very nice instruments.

Thanks for the info. It comes up a lot over here so good to see it corrected.

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Originally Posted by Dwscamel
Facts:

I live on the third floor of a very narrow, long house. I plan on moving into an apartment or condo in the nearby area within the next two years.



IMHO, wait on the piano until you move, get a nice digital in the meantime.

More importantly, when you buy the condo, get a ground floor unit. I've had pianos in a ground floor apartment, and now my ground floor condo. Not once have I heard a complaint from a neighbor. A real miracle, considering my level of "talent"!

A couple of months after moving into the condo I asked my neighbors if the piano was a bother. They all said, "What piano?"


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Originally Posted by wimpiano
Originally Posted by musicpassion
Originally Posted by wimpiano
If I recall correctly there is some sort of magical border at 6 feet but not entirely sure.
The urban myth rides again.

There are some truly wonderful pianos under six feet. The list is long: Estonia (although not my personal favorite tone, they make a truly excellent under six foot piano) Steingraeber, Fazioli, Bosendorfer, Charles Walter (some people actually prefer their smaller grand over their larger), Shigeru Kawai, and Mason and Hamlin. This is not an exhaustive live. On the less expensive side of things the Baldwin R and the Kawai RX2 can be very nice instruments.

Thanks for the info. It comes up a lot over here so good to see it corrected.
I understand, and if a person has the space... why not go big. There are advantages.

But as far as a line... we could draw a line anywhere, and support it. Think about nothing under 7 foot. That does make some sense, as the 7 foot piano starts to take on *some* of the characteristics of a concert grand. Or we could say nothing under 5'6". Again we could point to enough pianos and characteristics for that line to make some sense.

Each piano needs to be evaluated on it's own merits, but that is more difficult and requires actual listening and playing.


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