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I'm new to this forum, and thanks for advance in any suggestions in buying a piano. My daughter has been learning for over 2 years and has outgrown the digital one. At the same time I'm kind of learning by myself together with my daughter, which is quite fun.
I have been trying to upgrade my current digital piano to a real one, and I'm hoping to get a baby grand under 8K (probably used with this budget).
I came across a Yamaha GB1 with the player system from 2007 that asks for 8K, but I'm not sure if this model and year worth it. I was trying to search for its price back in 2007 but couldn't find anything useful.
What do you expect to pay for this one assuming everything is in good shape? It is being sold by the first owner. Does the disklavier system worth the extra cost? It seems to be quite fun given that it can play by itself, but I don't know back in 2007 if this system is already quite mature, or how much technology has progressed during the last 15 years - I guess quite a lot.
My further question is, in today's market, what do I expect with 8K to get the best grand piano? Should I consider an even older one but better model? Or a newer one by a less prestige brand? Thanks!

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FTD:

Welcome to Piano World!

You don't say where you are located; I'm going to assume the price you quoted is in US dollars.

In 2006-2007, the Yamaha GB1 was listed at $10,500.00 USD; the DGB1CD (Disklavier, playback only) was listed at $19,070.00. I can't give you any information on the reliability of the playback system, but at almost 15 years, it may not have much practical use. Since it doesn't record, the question would be whether or not playback discs are still available. I am sure someone else can advise on that.

What I would say, however, is that 4' 11" is considered a very small baby grand with compromises that would make a quality upright at a similar price a better musical instrument.

Regards,


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Thanks for the info! Yes, I'm in North Carolina, and it seems to me that the price has been going up quite a bit in the recent years - although I don't have statistics to prove that, just my feeling.
Do you mean the disklavier system require specialized discs to play? I thought it is using some sort of internal memory - but I can only find the info on modern systems.
Do you think with 8K, people can get a decent grand piano that is one step higher than all these entrance level models? I mean the ones that are shorter than 5'?

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Welcome to PW, FDT!

I don't know where you are in NC, but here are some dealers you might visit if you can get to them.
Freeburg Pianos, near Asheville NC
Marshall Piano, in Rock Hill SC but close to Charlotte NC
Miller Piano (Charlotte NC)

Marshall Pianos has a lot of used grands in the smaller size ranges, 5' and 5'3". They sometimes will have larger ones as well, so it might be good to just go and play some to see what you think.

Re your question... I'm confused by this:
Quote
Do you think with 8K, people can get a decent grand piano that is one step higher than all these entrance level models? I mean the ones that are shorter than 5'?

Do you mean you want a grand that's smaller than 5'? Or do you mean you want one that's larger than 5'?

Just for ease of discussion, let's set some parameters.

You said your budget is $8000. Would you increase it, and if so, under what conditions, and by how much?

What are your size constraints?

Are you willing to buy from a private seller? (Which means you would need to arrange inspection, delivery, and first tuning)?

Re the Disklavier, here is how I think about it. First, it's not as much of a benefit as sellers make it out to be, instead it ends up being an excuse to sell the piano at a higher price point, even though very few people actually use them. This is esp. the case if it's playback only. If you see a model that has something that allows for silent (headphones) practice, and/or recording, then that is something that has a clear benefit, pedagogical and otherwise. But otherwise, I don't think there's all that much benefit to the disklavier. When I was grand shopping, I personally ruled out any models that had them, but you may not need to, or want to, be that hard-headed about it. grin


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FDT

I live near Hendersonville NC
May I suggest you check out the Grands at Freeburg Pianos in Hendersonville.

ask for Levi
it has a wonderful selection of pianos
and they are very friendly, helpful & no pressure!

I went to Charlotte & Greenville SC
and found Freeburg has great pianos at all levels and prices

Here is their website
check out their preowned

They are specialists in
Perzina's
Kawaii's
Mason & Hamlins
and have many preowned Steinways

https://freeburgpianos.com/

trust me - you won't be sorry!

tell Levi
brdwyguy sent you

Last edited by brdwyguy; 08/02/21 02:56 PM.

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Thanks for your reply! I meant to ask if I can get anything decent longer than 5' (not shorter, that's a typo) with 8K. I'm assuming that models longer than 5' would be better in general than those shorter ones, but not sure how true is that when comparing different brands.
My space is also a limiting factor, and I would probably stay below 6'. Well, I don't know if 8K could even get anything beyond 6' anyways. I'm hoping to limit my budget to 8K, unless there's a super deal that nobody can resist, maybe I can consider going up to 9K.
Yes, I'm looking at ads from private sellers, and it seems to me so far that the process needs some patience and luck, definitely not like buying something from Amazon!


Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Welcome to PW, FDT!

I don't know where you are in NC, but here are some dealers you might visit if you can get to them.
Freeburg Pianos, near Asheville NC
Marshall Piano, in Rock Hill SC but close to Charlotte NC
Miller Piano (Charlotte NC)

Marshall Pianos has a lot of used grands in the smaller size ranges, 5' and 5'3". They sometimes will have larger ones as well, so it might be good to just go and play some to see what you think.

Re your question... I'm confused by this:
Quote
Do you think with 8K, people can get a decent grand piano that is one step higher than all these entrance level models? I mean the ones that are shorter than 5'?

Do you mean you want a grand that's smaller than 5'? Or do you mean you want one that's larger than 5'?

Just for ease of discussion, let's set some parameters.

You said your budget is $8000. Would you increase it, and if so, under what conditions, and by how much?

What are your size constraints?

Are you willing to buy from a private seller? (Which means you would need to arrange inspection, delivery, and first tuning)?

Re the Disklavier, here is how I think about it. First, it's not as much of a benefit as sellers make it out to be, instead it ends up being an excuse to sell the piano at a higher price point, even though very few people actually use them. This is esp. the case if it's playback only. If you see a model that has something that allows for silent (headphones) practice, and/or recording, then that is something that has a clear benefit, pedagogical and otherwise. But otherwise, I don't think there's all that much benefit to the disklavier. When I was grand shopping, I personally ruled out any models that had them, but you may not need to, or want to, be that hard-headed about it. grin

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Thank you for the info, I'll definitely check it out. It's a bit far from Raleigh though.


Originally Posted by brdwyguy
FDT

I live near Hendersonville NC
May I suggest you check out the Grands at Freeburg Pianos in Hendersonville.

ask for Levi
it has a wonderful selection of pianos
and they are very friendly, helpful & no pressure!

I went to Charlotte & Greenville SC
and found Freeburg has great pianos at all levels and prices

Here is their website
check out their preowned

They are specialists in
Perzina's
Kawaii's
Mason & Hamlins
and have many preowned Steinways

https://freeburgpianos.com/

trust me - you won't be sorry!

tell Levi
brdwyguy sent you

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FDT

check their website
you could even call them (Levi) tell them your price range
what your looking for and they will make suggestions
or
even call you if they have something come in that is near your needs

let them know how far a trek it would be

brdwyguy
JDM

Last edited by brdwyguy; 08/02/21 03:57 PM.

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FDT, given your budget and hopes for something larger than 5', here's my advice:

1. Visit piano dealers (start with Ruggeros in Raleigh?? IIRC) and play what they have to get an idea of the different options and check out their prices. Try to become familiar with a few different brands including: Yamaha, Kawai, Young Chang, Boston, others will add to this I hope. Focus on pianos in the 5'4 to 5'8" size range.

2. Start watching local listings by private sellers (CL, FB Marketplace, OfferUp, Next Door, PianoMart online, you could even check eBay). Oh, even if you don't go there physically, check out Marshall Piano Co. online to get an idea of the sizes and prices.

3. Try to find an independent piano tech and get an idea of what companies you might be able to use to pay for piano delivery yourself. See if you feel comfortable buying from a private seller, where you pay to have the piano evaluated by a tech and you pay moving. This opens up a lot more possibilities for you.

I think if it might take some time but you should be able to find a used piano at around 5'3" in your price range. I am partial to Yamaha and Boston, but definitely look at other brands.

Good luck!!


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FDT

check out this one - Baldwin 5' 8" with a player

https://freeburgpianos.com/used-pianos-for-sale/model-r-pianodisc/

brdwyguy

PS Shiro has great advice, I agree with him.

Last edited by brdwyguy; 08/02/21 05:57 PM.

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Originally Posted by brdwyguy
PS Shiro has great advice, I agree with him her.

FIFY smile


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You could probably find a larger upright (used) would sound far better than a small grand.😉 I would say keep your options open about small grand or upright.Look for the best piano you can find for that price.If you feel you would like the look of a grand in your living room (as many do)then buy the baby grand.I just want you to consider your choices.

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Eventually, teachers will want a student to get a grand, for its action. But if your daughter is only two years in, you have plenty of time to live with an upright that may sound better, behave better, and take up less space than a lower-quality grand at the same price.

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Sure a grand is ideal for an advancing student but not absolutely necessary.Good uprights today do have excellent actions.A regulated upright in excellent condition would "out perform" an older grand which has not had much attention from a technician.A grand does not just win because it looks like a grand.A larger grand in good condition can be ideal.

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Apologies Shiro


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Originally Posted by brdwyguy
Apologies Shiro

No worries!! My user name is Japanese (shirokuro means "white black" -- like a piano keyboard!) and it's kind of gender-neutral in any case, so you're not the first PWer to think I'm male.


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Buying a grand is a good idea imho. It will do a lot for you, plays nicer, sounds nicer, it will motivate to play. Of course, assuming you get a decent one.

I also think that even a small grand plays and sounds nicer than a big upright

I recommend visiting piano dealers, both new and 2nd hand, to get an idea of the quality and prices. If you really need to buy from a private seller, have the piano checked by an independent tech.


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BTW I think 5' is on the small side, grands start sounding nice from about 6'.


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Originally Posted by BruceD
What I would say, however, is that 4' 11" is considered a very small baby grand with compromises that would make a quality upright at a similar price a better musical instrument.

Originally Posted by tre corda
You could probably find a larger upright (used) would sound far better than a small grand.😉 I would say keep your options open about small grand or upright.Look for the best piano you can find for that price.If you feel you would like the look of a grand in your living room (as many do)then buy the baby grand.I just want you to consider your choices.

Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
Eventually, teachers will want a student to get a grand, for its action. But if your daughter is only two years in, you have plenty of time to live with an upright that may sound better, behave better, and take up less space than a lower-quality grand at the same price.

I agree with the other (quoted) posters here. A quality upright piano can sound better than a very small grand. (Quite a few years ago, before she passed away, my paternal grandma lived in two retirement homes - first one had a Kimball LaPetite grand (one of the shortest grands made, if not THE shortest 88-note grand), and her final place had an early 1950s Baldwin Acrosonic spinet. I preferred playing (and listening to) the Acrosonic by a HUGE margin.)

Here where I live now (although I'm planning on moving in the next couple weeks, & looking at getting more training in working on pianos, but hoping to post more on that in another topic later), we have my mom's 4'11" grand alongside my own 45" upright. Right now the grand piano has a bunch of things stored around it so I can't record anything on it, but I did find a couple recordings I did a number of years ago on the two pianos, with the same two songs.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1EKuxG1gfUsMJzsjEkh734W65mx0i8dYo?usp=sharing

The 4'11" grand is a Young Chang PG-150, from 1998. (My mom got it in 1999 as a gift, I think her foster parents paid $6K for it but I'm not 100% sure.) The two songs were recorded in December 2000.
The 45" upright is a Baldwin Hamilton upright (#167714) from 1956. (I paid $349 for it in October 2008.) The songs on that one were recorded in March 2010.

Personally, I think the 45" upright sounds better than the 4'11" grand. I would expect a newer and better quality (and more expensive) upright to sound better. (But then, I've played some newer uprights, even 48-52" uprights, that I didn't like as much as the Hamilton, but then those weren't super high-end uprights.)
The action on my Hamilton does need regulating, though (and most likely the grand needs it too, as it's never been done), and there's a crack in the soundboard under a rib that needs to be repaired sometime (cause sometimes the rib separates causing an intermittent (few days at a time every several months to couple years or so) buzz, especially on C#1 and B3).


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Ran out of edit time, but...

Originally Posted by wouter79
BTW I think 5' is on the small side, grands start sounding nice from about 6'.

This reminded me of a couple videos I saw of a young lady (Emily Linge - that's her YT name) playing a Steinway M grand (5'7" I think) and singing. I thought the sound in the low bass on the Steinway was a bit lacking, at least compared to my Hamilton. (The rest of the piano sounds nice, though, even if it's not quite my personal preference. Also I think Emily plays and sings beautifully, btw.)
Here's a couple songs from her channel :
https:/ /www.you tube.com/watch?v=_5EtqYHhFew (uses C1 a few places, including at the end)
https:/ /www.you tube.com/watch?v=iDMG2EfiwbM (A0 is played as part of an octave at 4:43, also other bass octaves are used frequently throughout the song)
Posting as links instead of embeds, because idk how they would be on your displays, but on this forum, YT embeds on my 28" 4K monitor are huge. Also you'll need to copy/paste & remove the spaces in "https:/ /www.you tube.com", as just pasting normally made it the gigantic embed and idk how to turn that off, or at least make the embeds much smaller (or limit to a certain width either in pixels or % of display).

Last edited by 88Key_PianoPlayer; 08/03/21 06:58 AM.

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