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#3060307 12/23/20 10:33 AM
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Just browsing pianos again. I will buy one eventually.

But I was thinking about gloss black pianos. Originally I was determined that whatever piano I buy it would be gloss black. Why, Im not really sure but probably something about it being the modern finish and easily fitting in with whatever room decor.

However, it obviously precludes any of the older European or American pianos, which are almost always not black.

Some older pianos are very ornate, some are plainer. However colours like Mahogany are very 70's.

I had a matt black digital piano as my first one, didn't like the finish at all. Reminded me of a 90's cheap particle board TV unit. My next DP was a Kawai rosewood one, again just a veneer though. Spending alot of money on a real piano, obviously the piano itself has to be good but so does the styling.

Interested in what others think about it?

Last edited by danlightbulb; 12/23/20 10:34 AM.
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Hello, danlightbulb,

The exterior finish on a piano is purely subjective, as you mentioned. But since you want to know what others think, I'll share a bit.

I've had both the high-polish ebony finish and the satin-ebony finish on a grand piano, as well as high-gloss wood finishes, and satin wood finishes.

They were/are all beautiful. My first grand piano was a high-polish ebony, and, although not my first choice in finishes, since I bought the piano used, I didn't have a choice. But after a while, the high-polish ebony finish grew on me and I liked it fine.

I currently own 3 grand pianos, and a few uprights. My favorite piano, a vintage Yamaha C7, is satin-ebony. And, I may well be easily influenced, but I honestly think I prefer the satin-ebony over the high-polish ebony. Both will get dusty and need periodic dusting and polishing. Both will match most any interior d├ęcor.

I also have a Baldwin R grand in a satin-cherry wood finish, that is quite beautiful, I might add. I like it too. I have an older Howard/Kawai 550 grand that is satin-walnut, and I like it too. My best upright is a Kawai K48A and has a satin-walnut finish, that I never tire of. And, I purchased all the pianos pre-owned, so the finish came with the piano, for better or worse.

So, the bottom line, I think, is, if you indeed have a choice in a finish, get what you think you like the best. The high-polish ebony is by far the most common, and most available at dealers. Satin or wood finishes are usually priced higher, initially, if new.

I've learned that we can live with a finish we may not have preferred initially. Especially if the piano plays well and sounds good! smile

Good luck!

Rick


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Gloss black piano is fine. It's what I have and what is generally available.

That said I would much prefer a wood finish but *only* if it was the right sort of wood and matched in with the (lots of) other wood in the piano room. So in practice finding such a piano would be very restrictive - hence the popularity of gloss black.

At the end of the day its just appearance, how the pianoplays and sounds is the important thing, so choose on that basis first.

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Just ordered a glossy black digital piano (CLP-745). Have to pay 400 euro premium over a veneer finish, exact same feeling as you described.

I suppose it also depends on your interior. You just cannot go wrong with glossy black. Would love to have a bigger room and fit in glossy black C3(X).

However if you're living in a older house, let's say from the 1800's, in a room with wooden panelling, high stucco ceiling, etc, I can also imagine that a glossy mahogany grand piano would also be very, very pretty and adding to the overall ambiance of the room. Especially if it's a restored Bosendorfer/Bechstein in mint condition with those ornate legs.

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My take on this question (the aesthetics, visuals of the piano) is that, obviously I'm not going to buy a piano that looks great but doesn't sound good. However, given that I'm spending so much money, I do want a piano that looks nice and matches my decor (in addition to being a great instrument etc.)

So for example, even if the piano sounded amazing, I would not buy a white piano, or a very ornate piano (like a chippendale style etc.).

The high gloss black finish looks modern to my eye and for my decor, is easy to decorate around. A satin black finish can be nice, but wouldn't have been my first choice. If I were to consider a wood (brown) color, the case and legs would have to be in a modern style.

This is just my personal preference for what I'm spending my money on. I do love looking at other kinds of piano (esp the wacky art case ones!!) but that's not the same as the piano I buy to put in my house.

Again, just my two yen!


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Oh! I should add though... once a few years back when I was in the market for an upright, I had been looking at Baldwins (and my budget was quite low). Someone who knew I was looking for a used piano contacted me and said he had a Petrof upright. I knew a little bit about the different Petrofs, and so I asked him was it a European style (what I like to call the legless uprights!) He said, "yes, as a matter of fact it is." I said, "you know, I actually hate the way those pianos looks" and we shared a good laugh about that.

But, he had the used Baldwin I was thinking of buying, and he said "just come and play the Petrof, I'll put it right next to the Baldwin and you can play both and see which one you like better." Well, how could I refuse that! He had heard me play (I think I played for almost an hour trying out that Baldwin) and he said he thought I would really like the way the Petrof sounded.

Well, wouldn't you know it, he was right! I loved that Petrof and thought it sounded much, much nicer than the Baldwin. And in the end, that was the piano I bought, and I kept that Petrof until I bought my grand last summer. The Petrof had a beautiful case, the reddish brown (maybe it's called a sunburst?? very warm brown color) and the case was in good shape for a used piano. And eventually the look of it (legless and all) started to grow on me.

And the person I eventually sold it to liked it as well, so it was a great choice. It's just funny how things work out.

A little aside regarding the fellow who sold it to me, I called him the Piano Whisperer because he had a knack for connecting people and pianos. When I was shopping for my grand, I contacted him and play a used Mason and Hamlin he was selling but it wasn't the piano for me. But my connection with him, and by extension, a piano moving company, really came in handy when I purchased my grand from a private seller.

Sorry for the thread drift! To make up for, here's the moral of the story: know what you want and what you like, but also, never say "never"!
whome

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 12/23/20 12:53 PM.

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Originally Posted by gwing
At the end of the day its just appearance, how the pianoplays and sounds is the important thing, so choose on that basis first.
For some people the appearance is very important or even the most important factor, and that's a perfectly valid opinion.

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Satin ebony, gloss ebony, or wood finish is personal choice. Wood finishes on new pianos tend to cost more, sometimes a lot more. Ebony seems to be quite a bit more popular today than even ten years ago.

Finishes, including gloss ebony, range a lot in quality/appearance. I never liked gloss ebony much until I visited the Boesendorfer showroom in NYC. The majority of the pianos were gloss ebony and they looked fantastic.

Not all satin ebony finishes look the same. My Mason & Hamlin BB's satin ebony finish looks somewhere in between a typical satin and gloss finish to my eyes.

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We all have different tastes. I was shopping a year ago and really didn't want to fall in love with a black piano, certainly not a glossy one. Luckily the one [in my price range] that I found the most attractive (in satin walnut) also sounded the best to me. This finish was $500 more than ebony for whatever reason.

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Originally Posted by JB_PW
We all have different tastes. I was shopping a year ago and really didn't want to fall in love with a black piano, certainly not a glossy one. Luckily the one [in my price range] that I found the most attractive (in satin walnut) also sounded the best to me. This finish was $500 more than ebony for whatever reason.
Wood finishes cost more because the veneer is more expensive, and more labor is required when they are used. A $500 difference is very small. On a Steinway B the price difference between ebony polish and walnut is $20,000!

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by JB_PW
We all have different tastes. I was shopping a year ago and really didn't want to fall in love with a black piano, certainly not a glossy one. Luckily the one [in my price range] that I found the most attractive (in satin walnut) also sounded the best to me. This finish was $500 more than ebony for whatever reason.
Wood finishes cost more because the veneer is more expensive, and more labor is required when they are used. A $500 difference is very small. On a Steinway B the price difference between ebony polish and walnut is $20,000!

Agreed that finish is an individual taste. Like a woman's traditional "little black dress" which can go everywhere, I think that a black piano can fit in with any decor, if decor is an issue. Whereas a wood finish might work or might just not quite work with whatever other woods may be in the room.

Regards,


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Satin ebony, gloss ebony, or wood finish is personal choice. Wood finishes on new pianos tend to cost more, sometimes a lot more. Ebony seems to be quite a bit more popular today than even ten years ago.

Finishes, including gloss ebony, range a lot in quality/appearance. I never liked gloss ebony much until I visited the Boesendorfer showroom in NYC. The majority of the pianos were gloss ebony and they looked fantastic.

Not all satin ebony finishes look the same. My Mason & Hamlin BB's satin ebony finish looks somewhere in between a typical satin and gloss finish to my eyes.
Sometimes polished ebony costs more than some types of wood finish. For example Sauter and August Forster .

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I like dark finishes, whether wood or black. The wood finish on digitals can look cheap, but acoustics generally look very good.

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I only like a wood finish that I can relate to.There are some I have seen that I like but more often there are ones I do not.
When I was considering ordering a Sauter piano "blind", the Walnut finish was cheaper than the ebony gloss.However both of us felt we would be safer ordering the black gloss. One manufacturer's idea of "Walnut" is often very different to another's
We did not just want a brown piano. (I know usually its not quite as bad as that)

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Thanks for the replies.

As a few of you say, it perhaps is related to the setting of the piano most. A quite large traditionally styled living room is going to be able to accommodate something far more ornate, whereas a small family living room in your typical 3 bed semi, with a TV in one corner and the piano in the other, something very ornate looking would look out of place alongside your contemporary flat screen tv and grey sofa.

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Originally Posted by danlightbulb
...contemporary flat screen tv and grey sofa.

Buy a piano in a transparent case.


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by gwing
At the end of the day its just appearance, how the pianoplays and sounds is the important thing, so choose on that basis first.
For some people the appearance is very important or even the most important factor, and that's a perfectly valid opinion.

Indeed. All opinions are valid, even if they are totally ridiculous :-)

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CR40 matches with contemporary flat screen TV and grey sofa, IMHO.

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Originally Posted by gwing
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by gwing
At the end of the day its just appearance, how the piano plays and sounds is the important thing, so choose on that basis first.
For some people the appearance is very important or even the most important factor, and that's a perfectly valid opinion.
Indeed. All opinions are valid, even if they are totally ridiculous :-)
Something cannot be both valid and ridiculous.

Anyone has the right to buy piano for whatever reason they like without being judged by someone else. I think it's arrogant to say that if someone buys a piano mostly or totally for its aesthetic appearance they're being ridiculous.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 12/24/20 08:38 AM.
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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Satin ebony, gloss ebony, or wood finish is personal choice. Wood finishes on new pianos tend to cost more, sometimes a lot more. Ebony seems to be quite a bit more popular today than even ten years ago.

Finishes, including gloss ebony, range a lot in quality/appearance. I never liked gloss ebony much until I visited the Boesendorfer showroom in NYC. The majority of the pianos were gloss ebony and they looked fantastic.

Not all satin ebony finishes look the same. My Mason & Hamlin BB's satin ebony finish looks somewhere in between a typical satin and gloss finish to my eyes.
Sometimes polished ebony costs more than some types of wood finish. For example Sauter and August Forster.
Yes, that's why I wrote "tend " to cost more, since it's true almost all the time.

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