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wmm575 Offline OP
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Most of the posts I've read hear concern the pivotal question: which (usually of those looked at) should I buy? Well. here's my FIRST submitted question.
I am an intermediate to advanced player for 50+yrs. I've played a Ohio-built Baldwin Acrosonic all those years, and while it cannot replicate the voices and resonance of a grand, it has been a dependable instrument. As at least semi-retirement nears, I'm going to fulfill a lifetime dream of owning a new grand. I am torn by the used/new argument (eg an American BAldwin from the postwar period captures the American Sound). I played one from '88, sounded great, but cabinetry rough , felt eaten away and seller won't repair cabinet w/o complete refinish and will not replace felt without replacing strings. Next, new BP178 at same shop; owner devastated that piano's quality. Looked at my other favorite Kawai: gX3 too expensive, GL series a downfall after the GX. Dealers and online sites give such conflicting info:"don't buy a used baldwin, get a Kawai" to "don't buy a Kawai, get a good used Baldwin". It amazes me how conflicting and contradictory the info out these is. I'm not price shopping, and don't mind putting the money into the right piece/ like Diogenes, I'm walking through the darkness with my lantern looking for the truth.


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Welcome to the forum.
What do dealers around you have that's roughly in your price range? Have you checked used listings at PianoMart with a reasonable distance of your zip code?
Have you played around with the Piano Buyer database tool, to see what might be possible for a new piano within your preferred size and budget (you can even input a percentage discount)?
https://www.pianobuyer.com/new-piano-pricing/


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You will only get your American Baldwin sound from an American Baldwin, so Kawai really shouldn't even come into play here, as you are talking apples and oranges given you really already know what you want. That being said, the longer GLs are quite nice and could be more than fine, even for an advanced player nearing retirement. But they aren't Baldwins from yesteryear.

I think your best bet is to just look around and wait for the perfect used Baldwin from their desired era comes up and speaks to you.


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I think the Baldwins come available more than you might think. I've seen at least 3-4 Ls and SF-10s available locally in PDX in the last few months.

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Hello - Could you please clarify your comment re: the BP 178? My son may be trying one of these out soon. Interested hear thoughts from some more experienced pianists.

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wmm575 Offline OP
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Mine was the original query here///Kawai (new) vs Baldwin L, used. As the price of the 178 wasn't that much more than an older,, I played one at dealer locally. Not even close/$24k for a new Asian made, vs 13-14k L from the 80s. The touch, tone, voice, resonance were in no way replicated on the new Asian Baldwin.


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What is you price range? You wrote the Kawai GX3 is too expensive. This seems to implies that you liked its sound. What about a GX2?

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wmm, Welcome to PW!

I'm having a little trouble following your posts, but if I'm understanding correctly, you don't have a specific preference in terms of brand (i.e., you liked a Baldwin grand, but also a Kawai). Is that right?

I recommend that you decide on a few parameters (length, approximate budget) and then start playing all the grand pianos you possibly can and try to decide what you like in terms of touch, tone, sound character. You may find you like a few brands, or your preferences might be all over the place (i.e. you love this one Baldwin but that Kawai and there's no clear brand preference so much as something in each piano that you like). You might also return to visit pianos you've already tried out, to see if your impressions of them change.

If your parameters are flexible, you might adjust them during this process (e.g., you find that the pianos you like all tend to be above a certain length or above a certain price).

I suspect that this process will play a big role in solving your "new vs. used" dilemma as well.

I had a "love-at-first-play" experience with a piano early in my grand piano shopping. After visiting many other pianos, I returned to that piano and ended up deciding I didn't like as much as I had in my memory. I think what changed is I got a lot more clarity in terms of understanding my own preferences.

After many months, I bought a 20 y/o Yamaha C2 (5'8") from a private seller. I absolutely love this piano! Needless to say, I was very glad I didn't buy that first piano!

By the time I made the purchase, I was much more knowledgeable, both about grand pianos in general and about my own preferences.

If I have misunderstood something in your posts, please let me know, but it sounds to me like you want to do a lot more test-playing before making any decisions.

Good luck!


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My rule of buying: The less money you have for the purchase, the more time you need to spend looking.


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Originally Posted by BDB
My rule of buying: The less money you have for the purchase, the more time you need to spend looking.

+1

I agree, BDB. Also, when that bargain in a really nice used piano comes along, after all that time spent waiting and looking, you need to act quickly, or someone else will. Others are looking and waiting for that great buy too... smile

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For members to be the most helpful, I think you need to tell us:

1. Your budget.
2. What makes you are considering. Only Baldwin? Only the American sound(this would probably limit your choices to Baldwin or M&H or maybe a rather old Steinway)? Any piano whose sound you like?

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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by BDB
My rule of buying: The less money you have for the purchase, the more time you need to spend looking.

+1

I agree, BDB. Also, when that bargain in a really nice used piano comes along, after all that time spent waiting and looking, you need to act quickly, or someone else will. Others are looking and waiting for that great buy too... smile

Rick

+2

With an additional piece of information/opinion, the smaller the budget the more open to other piano brands and voices you should be and be willing to include in your search. My most exciting piano find is my Estonia L190. Perhaps include used Bostons or Mason & Hamlin. Used Baldwin grands are still out there and typically more affordable than Steinways. You might be able to afford a new Cunningham or a Hailun. Check out used Kawai and Yamahas. Go out and try as many pianos that you can.

Best Wishes!

Last edited by j&j; 05/02/21 05:28 PM.

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You may not realize this, but I think geographically you are in a fantastic location to find a good high quality piano.

I also have an Acrosonic same era as yours. I really admire it! I do not want to push it away. It is low on my list of the current pianos. A good Acrosonic is cool! Good for you.

I think you need to chill and become a piano tourist and take outings to see second-hand pianos from individuals. You might want to look at only 1 in a hundred that you see. Enjoy yourself. For $5-10k you should be able to find an excellent instrument you feel some love for.

PS Personally I really like German built pianos. But I can make do otherwise. :-)

edit: my stash includes Kawai, Acrosonic, Pleyel, Bluthner, Knabe, Chickering, and soon a Weber. The date range is 1860-1937 except the 1990's Kawai. Alls I can tell you is that I will never buy another Kawai.

Last edited by MichaelET; 05/02/21 09:46 PM. Reason: add text
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Always appreciate good reply....one reply said that he was having trouble following my posts?? I love my Acrosonic, just had it tuned and this new-to-me tuned left #1 and 2 keys buzzing, three mid register with a twangy sound, and hasn't responded to calls/msgs...the original point was that the dealership experience has been terrible=at a large Boston area shop, the owner was pulling out his calculator and throwing prices at me..by the time I got to the second piano, he was demanding to know if I had my checkbook on me!!!! The heavy mildew smell in the building was not too encouraging...but relative to your reply, I started out looking for a nice condition L, didn't find "the one" (local dlr said he'd have a furniture expert patch up the gnashes and scratches, next visit told me that he wouldn't, that I'd have to pay $2k for refinishing...so expanding my travels, I've come across the new Baldwin 178 (beautiful but lacking),Boston (nice but a lesser Kawai} and Brodmann...I am broadening the search but what was supposed to be fun has become a workout!


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Quote
one reply said that he was having trouble following my posts??

Yes, that was me. I'm just trying to be helpful. And please note that several posters (including myself) have asked you some specific questions which you haven't really answered. If you want more targeted advice, do address those questions, otherwise we can only make more general comments.

Separate from that, I'm sorry you had an unpleasant experience with the pushy dealer. I met one like that as well, it's quite unpleasant!


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Hmm, I thought the remark was from someone else...I was answering a reply.Anyway, I'm trying to fill s lifetime dream of a new grand piano for retirement. I've been playing since grade school and am still an intermediate. I've been told by listeners (I might just play an unattended piano in a restaurant) that I have "talent" but not really...I need practice and mastering the basics. I have posted twice and thought I made myself clear,but I;ll give more detail: price is not an issue, within reason/ I've grown up on a
Baldwin Acrosonic (better action than some grands) and now want the tone, depth and excitement that a spinet just cannot provide-inherent limitations.
I am a Baldwin lover, played the new China-made-even the Baldwin dealer told me to avoid it, played Kawais-played gl40 but dealer referred me to the GX and there was a world of difference.Love the GX3, but now getting pricey. Another dealer steered me to Broadmann but reviews are mixed.Advised on the forum that I'l be better off with an 80s Baldwin L..and I do enjoy them. Also looked at Boston, but I believe Kawai in that they;ll never make a piano better than one with their name on it. And so that's why my first msg referenced a "conundrum". A unique sound from BAldwin, but not new, Boston,Btoadmann, always return to Kawai...a good question always deserves a good answer anda good answer is complicated. Hope I've made things clearer. BTW, my first post was early April, the second two wks later (a couple of folks asked questions which O replied to. BUT I cannot find my posts or replies.....I hope that you can offer constructive suggestions....the dealership experience has almost made me give up.

Thanks again,
Bill


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Hi Bill,
I’m going to try to summarize what I’ve gleaned from your posts, but please correct me if I’ve got anything wrong.
It seems like you are looking for a piano that’s somewhere between 5’8” and 6’3 inches or thereabouts (this is gleaned from the pianos you mentioned), that you would prefer an American made Baldwin (possibly a model L) that is in excellent condition but that you are willing to be open minded about other manufacturers. You liked a new Kawai GX3, but it’s a bit above your budget. A new GL40 was within your budget but not to your liking.
Some additional questions: How many dealers have you visited? You live in a part of the country where there are quite a few dealers within an hour’s drive from you (many in Boston, a few in Providence), but your first post suggests that all the pianos that you saw were at a single dealer. If you’ve only visited one dealer, my first recommendation would be to make a list of all the dealers within a given distance from you, look at their inventory online and/or contact the dealers to get more specifics about inventory, and use this information to prioritize which places you think might have the most interesting offerings. Then go down your list, play as many pianos as you can (within your size/budget parameters), and take plenty of notes. I only ever visited one dealer a day, but I’m sure there are people who just go from one store to another. Don’t expect to fall in love with a piano at the first place you visit! If you can’t find anything in your initial radius that appeals to you and is within your budget, then expand your radius and play some more pianos. Think of this as a great piano adventure/project. Enjoy yourself, and take the opportunity to learn as much as you can about these wonderful instruments!

And if you find a used piano that appeals to you, hire an independent technician to check it out!

I hope this helps, and good luck!

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Piano shopping can be a lengthy process. I too suggest you play more pianos at various dealers until you are familiar with your taste and what’s available. It took me about a year and quite a few out of town trips until I found the piano that checked just about all the boxes.

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