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#3118780 05/17/21 09:20 PM
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Hi,

I wanted to get some advice. I want to buy a small grand piano. I live in an apartment with limited space and my building’s elevator limits me to a piano around 5 ft.

There are 2 used pianos that meet my requirements available at stores in my area and the difference in price is about $2k. I can get a 2018 Yamaha GB1K or a 1996 Kawai GE 1 for $2k less than the Yamaha one.

I’ve played the Yamaha GB1k that i’d be getting and I was happy with the feel and sound. I know the Yamaha I’m looking at is the budget model but I can’t find that much information about the Kawai GE 1. Also with the Kawai being that much older, would it even matter if it was better originally?

Thank you!

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From the current edition of Pianobuyer: "The GB1K has simplified case construction and cabinetry, no duplex scale, and the middle pedal operates a bass-sustain mechanism. It does have a soft-close fallboard. It is currently the only Yamaha grand sold in the U.S. that is made in Indonesia."

From the 2002 edition of the Piano book: "A GE-1AS model has duplex scaling, a slow close fallboard, and NEOTEX keytops." The GE model also has agraffes and was built in Japan.

In the 2002 Piano Book there is some discussion about how the small entry level Kawai grands compared to the entry level Yamaha grands of the time. Kawai seemed to have an edge from a musical standpoint. HOWEVER, this was the situation in 2002 - not 1996. I have no idea how the specifications of the Kawai GE model of 1996 compared to those of 2002.

The Yamaha is 22 years newer than the Kawai. If you like the feel and sound it probably is worth the extra $2K investment. The fact that it was built in Indonesia shouldn't be a major concern. However, if the Kawai is in pristine condition, and if you can verify that it has a full sostenuto pedal, agraffes, duplex scaling and slow close fallboard, it might definitely be worth considering. ALSO - it might be possible to negotiate the price of the 1996 Kawai down a bit.


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
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I started with a Yamaha GB1K (2014-15 I think - it was only 1 year old at the time and barely used), for the same reasons - tight budget and small spaces. I would agree that (especially for budget grands) age isn’t their friend and the 20+ year old Kawai would most likely loose any edge it had over a GB1K unless it was kept in pristine condition (and even then it might still be a tie at that point).

Entry level grands can sound good new, but don’t last as long since they aren’t built as well (that’s the point of budgets and that’s ok) and paying for voicing and regulation often isn’t considered worth it on them.

Eventually I stepped up to a C1X which was a huge difference even at the same size (but also more money). And I would recommend checking with wherever you buy to see if there are trade-in programs for the future if you want to eventually upgrade.

Last edited by Player13; 05/18/21 12:55 PM.
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Condition is king. Play both pianos. IF you prefer the Kawai have it examined by a piano technician. IF you prefer the new Yamaha, buy it.

Easy-peasy. smile


Rich Galassini
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Thank you for the responses! I am going with the 2018 Yamaha. Both stores allow me to trade up but the store that has the newer Yamaha also has more selection of both new and used pianos compared to the store with the older Kawai. That store only carries older reconditioned pianos.


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