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Estonia Pianos
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Joined: Jan 2016
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colcha Offline OP
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I have found a 2009 Yamaha C5 through a private seller and would really appreciate some advice.

I had a piano technician (a very experienced Yamaha authorised repairer) go over the whole piano and his feedback was that the piano has been very lightly used and is in near new condition both internally and cosmetically. He would have no hesitation in recommending it.

I however have a couple of reservations:

1. the piano is brighter / louder than I would like (especially compared to the new C3X and C5X models that I have tried which IMHO are ideal tone wise). The piano technician is confident that he can address these issues through voicing / needling. He commented positively on the underlying tone and sustain of each note. I am hesitant to buy a piano in the hope that the piano technician can voice it to my preference; and

2. many of the keys are heavier than I would like (up to 60g) but the piano technician feels that with some minor regulation this will improve. I would prefer a weight closer to 55g but there is no guarantee that the piano tuner can get there without significant work.

In my area, it is rare for such a young piano to come up for sale and I don’t want to miss a good opportunity especially as the price is attractive. However, it makes me very nervous buying a piano based on what might be as opposed to how it currently is.

Any advice is appreciated!



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Regulation can help, and some tonal change can be achieved, but it's still going to be loud. It's a C5, a fairly powerful piano. To really reduce the power your would have to get a technician to make substantial changes: new/lighter hammers, key weights rebalanced, full regulation. I feel that expecting a C5 to play softly is unrealistic. They do have pretty hard/heavy hammers, and any needling you get done will have to be done periodically because they are a dense hammer. The new CX series has different hammers, so if that's the tone you are after, you'd probably have to look at getting different hammers put on this C5. This is probably not what you wanted to hear, but I think you need to know this before you are committed to the purchase. I agree that it's not a good idea to buy a piano that doesn't sound great to you now. I think the action could be brought into like if you like the sound. The sound could be brought into line if it was pretty close to what you want but you just wanted to tweak it a little. But you want to change everything about it. That doesn't sound like your piano to me.

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You don't like the touch and tone. You seem to like the price and the name...
Unless the seller is willing to make corrections prior to sale (unlikely), that's a pretty good sized risk.

Have you worked with this technician before? You'd be putting a ton of trust in this person, were you to proceed. It has been my experience that some technicians talk a good "line" about what they can do, while others can actually do it. It's hard as a layperson to distinguish between the two without playing examples of similar work they've done.


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In the past I have had a concert grand in a home environment. A well regulated piano with a decent action can be played softly and may well improve your technique.

Be VERY careful about comparing sounds. Pianos in showrooms (usually large and quite sound reflective rooms) can sound radically different in a home environment.

There is something of an old story (maybe fallacy) of Yamaha's being bright. I used to practice occasionally on a C3 at my son's school that started life very bright and through some expert care it was toned down and became very musical.

However ....you must like the basic sound and tonality of a piano. I would largely disregard the volume issue as you can easily control that, but if you do not like the tone then however good teh deal is, it is not a deal for you. That said, C5 is a very good piano for home and amateur or professional use and I would be happy to own one.


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Hello, and welcome to Piano World!

I can certainly understand your excitement and your reservations regarding the later model Yamaha C5.

However, it has been my experience that any and all pianos will need hammer voicing and action maintenance (lube and regulation) sooner or later, and likely sooner than later.

Also, it has been my experience that voicing and action lube/regulation can make a big difference in the tone and touch.

So, the way I see it, you have two choices... rule out the C5 and keep looking, or buy the C5 and have it voiced and the action lubed and regulated.

As far as risk involved in buying an expensive pre-owned piano, in my view, there are certain risk involved in buying any acoustic piano, new or used, regardless of how expensive it is...

You do have another option, which is rather unorthodox, but you could ask the seller for their permission to have the piano voiced and the action serviced, on your dime, and see if it improved things for you. I don't think it would be kosher for you to ask the seller to have this done at their expense, since they are a private seller and not a dealer. You could, however, include this expense in the price negotiation process. Of course, the seller may not agree to this course of action.

In my view, when buying from a private seller, you buy as is and then have the maintenance done. I don't think it unreasonable to ask a private seller to have a piano tuned prior to closing a sale.

You do have another choice, and that is to forget the used C5 and buy a new CX3 or CX5, if money is no object.

Good luck!!

Rick



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Would you allow a potential buyer to have a piano voiced to their taste? I personally would not, as the result might not be my taste nor that of any other potential other buyer if this sale did not happen.

Permission to tune? Absolutely.

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Any tech worth their weight can soften or brighten any hammer, and can also reduce key weight. However, as noted in previous replies this "brightness" and even the apparent weight of each key may be a result of the environment in which the piano resides or has been subjected to, and may even be a result of the extent to which it's been played - or rather not played.

If it's condition passes muster, the price is right, and pianos of this type are a rare find in your area then I say go for it. Give it a chance in YOUR home before condoning it in someone elses.

Let it acclimate to your environment. Play it. Play it more. Then have it tuned. Keep an ear out for any idiosyncrasies and address them if and only when they surface. You may find that the action may lighten up on its own from sheer use. And you'd be surprised in the differences a simple change in environment can make to the volume and tone of a piano, how the addition of room accoutrements such as carpets and wall hangings affect accoustics, and lastly how you can unknowlingly become accustomed to and enjoy that which you once thought was an undesirable asset.

My Yamaha C7D explodes with a full spectrum of voice when I call upon it; I had the hammers filed then voiced, followed by an action regulation, and it easily expells any "Yamaha brightness" myth ever uttered.

Life is too short, go for it grin


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Originally Posted by dogperson
Would you allow a potential buyer to have a piano voiced to their taste? I personally would not, as the result might not be my taste nor that of any other potential other buyer if this sale did not happen.

Permission to tune? Absolutely.

Well, for the sake of argument, (which I'm not good at smile ) piano dealers do this all the time... have a piano voiced to a potential customers liking before closing the sale. And, I specifically stated that the seller may not agree to it. And, you are right, if I were selling that piano, I would not agree to it.

But I was just trying to offer suggestions, which is what the OP asked for.

And, for the record, any voicing that cannot be undone (either by playing in or a different voicing process) is not voicing... it is faulty voicing and ruined hammers.

When you buy used, you don't always get everything you want. But that doesn't mean you can't make it what you want when you get it.

Rick


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In the long run you probably wont be happy. And it will need to be touched up on a regular basis to be the way you want it. So many pianos out there, wait till one truly speaks to you...

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Thanks to everyone for the insightful posts (both for and against) – it has greatly helped me to make my decision.

Given that I am planning to keep this piano for the rest of my days, I have decided that it is too much of a risk to spend a significant amount of money on a piano in the hope that I can voice it to my liking.

I have been very impressed with the tone of Yamaha’s new CX series and may take up Rickster’s suggestion to save up for a new C3X (which should be large enough for my room and purposes). It would be nice to find a C3X secondhand but given that it has only been in the market since 2012, this seems unlikely.


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Why not contact Yamaha dealer in finding out if they have pre-owned C3X? When I was doing our piano search I was able to find a 2015 C3X through the dealer. It was a loaner to LA Opera and the dealer was willing to sell it for a discount.


Estonia L210

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