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Joined: Oct 2007
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I'm pretty sure the SK7 is a fantastic piano to get your prinky groove on. Just the perfect piano for a Porsche loving perfectionist.

Last edited by Jethro; 10/27/20 01:22 PM.

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I don’t know about other Piano World members but I think anyone that buys a Shigeru of any size and never tunes it after 5 years is committing a terrible sin. Just my 2 cents.


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Originally Posted by Mark Kulanet
Originally Posted by Jethro
In regards to the differences, my understanding is that as you move towards the larger models the SK6 and SK7 Kawai uses their original stockpile of EZO spruce which may be a slightly higher quality spruce than the Sitka spruce they use on their smaller models. As they were running out of this spruce they switched to Sitka spruce on their smaller models as time went on- at least this is my understanding. Possibly when the project started all Shigerus started out with EZO spruce in their soundboards. Also in the SK6 and above similar to Faziolis they use Japanese box wood caps in the treble section of the bridge. Rumor has it that the Shigeru bridge (on the larger models?) is an exact replica of the bridge found on Hamburg Steinways. So as you move towards the larger Shigerus you get additional refinements not found on the smaller models, but as a Shigeru owner I can attest to the fact that even the smaller models are gorgeous instruments.

Thank you for the information! The SK7 that I have played reminds me a lot of the Hamburg Steinway C that I recently played. The SK5 on the other hand was very refined but felt like a lot smaller piano. The sound was also a bit more clinical than the larger grand.
So I was wondering if the SK6 would be closer in term of character to the SK7 or the SK5. But based on your information, I’d think that the SK6 would leans more toward the SK7.
Yes if the information I heard from a dealer of Shigeru's online is correct the larger models are a little more special. Kawai apparently doesn't publicly share some of this information from what I understand but if you are hearing differences as you move from the SK5 to the SK6 maybe some of this explains some of it. Of course as you move up to larger models the tone naturally tends to be much fuller especially as you play the lower registers on all pianos.

Last edited by Jethro; 10/27/20 08:55 PM.

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Originally Posted by Mark Kulanet
Originally Posted by Jethro
In regards to the differences, my understanding is that as you move towards the larger models the SK6 and SK7 Kawai uses their original stockpile of EZO spruce which may be a slightly higher quality spruce than the Sitka spruce they use on their smaller models. As they were running out of this spruce they switched to Sitka spruce on their smaller models as time went on- at least this is my understanding. Possibly when the project started all Shigerus started out with EZO spruce in their soundboards. Also in the SK6 and above similar to Faziolis they use Japanese box wood caps in the treble section of the bridge. Rumor has it that the Shigeru bridge (on the larger models?) is an exact replica of the bridge found on Hamburg Steinways. So as you move towards the larger Shigerus you get additional refinements not found on the smaller models, but as a Shigeru owner I can attest to the fact that even the smaller models are gorgeous instruments.

Thank you for the information! The SK7 that I have played reminds me a lot of the Hamburg Steinway C that I recently played. The SK5 on the other hand was very refined but felt like a lot smaller piano. The sound was also a bit more clinical than the larger grand.
So I was wondering if the SK6 would be closer in term of character to the SK7 or the SK5. But based on your information, I’d think that the SK6 would leans more toward the SK7.

Mark,
I own a Shigeru SK-7 as well as a Steinway B, and have also owned various Yamahas and other Kawais, including an SK-5 and an SK-6. I latched on to your statement above comparing the SK-7 to the Steinway C, which seems to be an apt comparison in my experience, especially with regard to the bass. And I also think the SK-6 is comparable to a B in sound quality, both being non-cantilevered bridge designs (although the brands have their distinctive sounds). By the time you get down to the 6 1/2 ft. size category and below, all three brands use cantilevered bridges in order to cram longer strings onto shorter pianos (SK-5, CX-5, Steinway A), and I think there is a sound characteristic to the bass that follows with that.

I think it's fair to infer that each manufacturer believes that the correct way to design a piano is with the standard, direct transfer, non-cantilevered bridge, and that is what they do it when given enough length to work with. That's how the Shigeru SK-6, Yamaha CX-6 (and CF-6) and Steinway B are designed.

One interesting thing is that the lowest bass strings are not that much longer on an SK-6 than on an SK-5, because much of the extra length is given up on the conventional bridge design. The same is true of the CX-6 and the CX-5, and the Steinway B and A. As each manufacturer hits the 7 ft. size they change to a conventional bridge and only increase string length by a modest amount. I believe this shows just how important each manufacturer believes a conventional bridge design to be.

So yes, I do believe that the SK-6 and the SK-7 are in one category, and the SK-5 is in another, because of bass bridge design. While your mileage may vary, what I hear is a smoothness and trueness to the bass with the non-cantilevered bridge designs. The bass just goes lower without being boomy, sort of like an expensive microphone with no proximity effect. While I'm not necessarily endorsing one brand over another, I do believe that within the Shigeru line the sweet spot is the SK-6, for this reason. I just bought the SK-7 because it was for a recording studio and we had the space for it. If it was for my home I probably would have bought an SK-6.

I know that the conventional wisdom is that you should only buy a piano you've played and loved, and I usually do it that way if I can. I've spent the day at the Steinway factory in Queens picking out a B on multiple occasions, but I had to order the SK-7 sight unseen. I couldn't be happier with the piano, and it has not even had it's MPA visit yet. I thought my experience might be helpful to you.

Last edited by Wes Lachot; 10/27/20 09:34 PM. Reason: clarity

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Originally Posted by Wes Lachot
Originally Posted by Mark Kulanet
Originally Posted by Jethro
In regards to the differences, my understanding is that as you move towards the larger models the SK6 and SK7 Kawai uses their original stockpile of EZO spruce which may be a slightly higher quality spruce than the Sitka spruce they use on their smaller models. As they were running out of this spruce they switched to Sitka spruce on their smaller models as time went on- at least this is my understanding. Possibly when the project started all Shigerus started out with EZO spruce in their soundboards. Also in the SK6 and above similar to Faziolis they use Japanese box wood caps in the treble section of the bridge. Rumor has it that the Shigeru bridge (on the larger models?) is an exact replica of the bridge found on Hamburg Steinways. So as you move towards the larger Shigerus you get additional refinements not found on the smaller models, but as a Shigeru owner I can attest to the fact that even the smaller models are gorgeous instruments.

Thank you for the information! The SK7 that I have played reminds me a lot of the Hamburg Steinway C that I recently played. The SK5 on the other hand was very refined but felt like a lot smaller piano. The sound was also a bit more clinical than the larger grand.
So I was wondering if the SK6 would be closer in term of character to the SK7 or the SK5. But based on your information, I’d think that the SK6 would leans more toward the SK7.

Mark,
I own a Shigeru SK-7 as well as a Steinway B, and have also owned various Yamahas and other Kawais, including an SK-5 and an SK-6. I latched on to your statement above comparing the SK-7 to the Steinway C, which seems to be an apt comparison in my experience, especially with regard to the bass. And I also think the SK-6 is comparable to a B in sound quality, both being non-cantilevered bridge designs (although the brands have their distinctive sounds). By the time you get down to the 6 1/2 ft. size category and below, all three brands use cantilevered bridges in order to cram longer strings onto shorter pianos (SK-5, CX-5, Steinway A), and I think there is a sound characteristic to the bass that follows with that.

I think it's fair to infer that each manufacturer believes that the correct way to design a piano is with the standard, direct transfer, non-cantilevered bridge, and that is what they do it when given enough length to work with. That's how the Shigeru SK-6, Yamaha CX-6 (and CF-6) and Steinway B are designed.

One interesting thing is that the lowest bass strings are not that much longer on an SK-6 than on an SK-5, because much of the extra length is given up on the conventional bridge design. The same is true of the CX-6 and the CX-5, and the Steinway B and A. As each manufacturer hits the 7 ft. size they change to a conventional bridge and only increase string length by a modest amount. I believe this shows just how important each manufacturer believes a conventional bridge design to be.

So yes, I do believe that the SK-6 and the SK-7 are in one category, and the SK-5 is in another, because of bass bridge design. While your mileage may vary, what I hear is a smoothness and trueness to the bass with the non-cantilevered bridge designs. The bass just goes lower without being boomy, sort of like an expensive microphone with no proximity effect. While I'm not necessarily endorsing one brand over another, I do believe that within the Shigeru line the sweet spot is the SK-6, for this reason. I just bought the SK-7 because it was for a recording studio and we had the space for it. If it was for my home I probably would have bought an SK-6.

I know that the conventional wisdom is that you should only buy a piano you've played and loved, and I usually do it that way if I can. I've spent the day at the Steinway factory in Queens picking out a B on multiple occasions, but I had to order the SK-7 sight unseen. I couldn't be happier with the piano, and it has not even had it's MPA visit yet. I thought my experience might be helpful to you.
Really interesting info. I had to look up the differences between a non-cantilevered bridge design and a cantilevered bridge design. My understanding is that the a cantilevered bridge design is required of smaller pianos to maintain string length but the compromise is that it places the strings closer to the rims in areas where the soundboard does not flex as well. It helps me understand other reasons why there are tonal improvements when going from say a 6'3 piano to a piano greater than 7 feet piano. But it also helped me understand why it's important to compare apples to apples when looking at pianos.

My former Kawai RX-2 and my current Shigeru SK2 have very similar designs and both have cantilever bridges, but timbre wise are these are two very different instruments. As nice as the RX-2 is for a mid-range piano the SK2 is beyond a doubt has much fuller more refined tone quality to it in comparison. So features other than just bridge design can still have a profound effect on tonal quality. I'm interested to see how my SK2 would compare to a similarly priced Kawai GX 6 with its non-cantilevered bridge design and larger soundboard and if this would be a good swap. I imagine the bass notes will sound richer and more distinct in the GX-6 but what about the middle registers and upper treble? I think it is possible that I may still prefer the expected and more refined tone qualities in a Shigeru SK2 over the GX-6 at least in the middle to upper registers and this more refined tone quality hypothetically speaking should be based on materials used and greater craftsmanship. I think I'm going to have to find out.

Last edited by Jethro; 10/28/20 09:27 AM.

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Jethro,
Interesting questions. There is no doubt that the SK models sound more refined than the GX or GL models, and I once heard an SK-2 that sounded incredibly sweet in the mid and high end. You know what I mean, I'm sure. So it's a tough dilemma--you may prefer the bass on the GX-6 but prefer the mid and treble on the SK-2. I'd love to hear your impression after you've been able to play a GX-6. It would of course be ideal if you could find a GX-6 and an SK-6 in the same store.


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Originally Posted by Wes Lachot
Jethro,
Interesting questions. There is no doubt that the SK models sound more refined than the GX or GL models, and I once heard an SK-2 that sounded incredibly sweet in the mid and high end. You know what I mean, I'm sure. So it's a tough dilemma--you may prefer the bass on the GX-6 but prefer the mid and treble on the SK-2. I'd love to hear your impression after you've been able to play a GX-6. It would of course be ideal if you could find a GX-6 and an SK-6 in the same store.
I'll let you know if I get around to it. First I have to find a local Kawai dealership that actually has a GX6 on display.


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Hi Mark,

Of course the Master visits to tweak your SK purchase from the Bangkok authorized dealer (in the Central Dept store right?)...I bought my SK-3 there some 5 years ago and have two Master visits actually...

In addition to brightening up the sound at my request, affording almost one extra octave real estate for 5-note LH comping w/out too much muddiness down south, those Masters tune by ear instead by the little computer/machine helper thingy and the difference is enormous when say playing mostly 5 noted rootless chords w more than one 1/2 step interval in the voicing, to my ears as if he was able to more evenly spread out of the variances to be less noticeable -


I've PM-ed you w more details...

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