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Estonia Pianos
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I am shopping for a grand and after I rejected my first almost-buy, I am back in the hunt.

I am still unsure what my budget should be. It is not unlimited but I am debating going up significantly from my initial $20,000, if I find the right piano. So far I have tried a bunch of Yamahas and Kawais and Steinways mostly. I don't plan to buy a Steinway because they are so expensive and I don't want to buy 100-year-old restored one for $40,000. Maybe I could find a good used one for a decent price that is less than 40 years old.

Yamahas: I've tried G3, G5, C3 and C5 all made in the 70s or 80s and I like the Gs much more than the Cs. I found all the Cs (played 4 or 5) much too bright for my liking. I heard that the early Cs were brighter and Yamaha later made them mellower (not sure if true, though).

I also played a 10-year old CF6 (198 cm) and this is the piano that I like the best right now. Only issue is asking price is $60,000, which is what is making me (very tentatively) re-consider my original budget of $20,000. I did like the sound of a G5 I played about a year ago and I would love to compare the two side-by-side as a 30-year-old G5 could be had for a fraction of the cost of the CF6.

Now, if I'm increasing my budget so much, a whole new slate of pianos becomes available, including a 7-year old Bluthner Model 4, which I may be able to get for 60,000 (asking price is 70,000). I have not played it so not sure how I'll like it but I understand Bluthner is tier 1.

Another piano I tried, and it probably wasn't a fair comparison since it was right next to the CF6, was Kawai RX-2. I liked the sound but I felt the action was too heavy for my taste. Have other RX-2 owners found the action to be heavy?

Anyway, these are just my initial thoughts on my early first grand buying journey. Comments, suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

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Have you tried any Yamaha CXs? I never cared for the Yamaha C series, but think the CX series is wonderful (I currently own a C2X). They can be a little hard to come by, but they're worth looking for.


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I ended up buying a Yamaha S7X. These have only been out a few years and might be impossible to find second hand. But have you considered a used C7X? It would have some advantages over the CF6 by virtue of being 15cm longer. Also take a look at Hailun 218 if you can. They are about half the price of a new C7X, and nice pianos in their own right.

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Originally Posted by Sonepica
But have you considered a used C7X? It would have some advantages over the CF6 by virtue of being 15cm longer.

The average or better CF6 is far superior to an average or better C7x, in my experience (at a not insubstantial difference in price, admittedly). How many CF6 have you tried?


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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Originally Posted by Sonepica
But have you considered a used C7X? It would have some advantages over the CF6 by virtue of being 15cm longer.

The average or better CF6 is far superior to an average or better C7x, in my experience (at a not insubstantial difference in price, admittedly). How many CF6 have you tried?

I've never played the CF6 or CF4, as Yamaha doesn't stock them in Australia. I have played the CFX. I didn't say that the C7X is better overall than a CF6, I said it has some advantages due to its larger size. Remember the OP is also trying to keep budget down.

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You should consult this guide that breaks down the market by brands and cost, then perhaps consider other brands that are similar in quality to the ones you have played.

Piano Buyer Market Map

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Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Originally Posted by Sonepica
But have you considered a used C7X? It would have some advantages over the CF6 by virtue of being 15cm longer.

The average or better CF6 is far superior to an average or better C7x, in my experience (at a not insubstantial difference in price, admittedly). How many CF6 have you tried?

I've never played the CF6 or CF4, as Yamaha doesn't stock them in Australia. I have played the CFX. I didn't say that the C7X is better overall than a CF6, I said it has some advantages due to its larger size. Remember the OP is also trying to keep budget down.


I thought that these pianos would be well over $20,000. Am I mistaken?


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Have you played any Bostons? I really liked the ones I tried.

I didn’t like the action of any of the new Kawai grands I played, though that is definitely personal preference. I liked the sound of the RX I tried, I think it was an RX, are those 5’11”? If so, then it was an RX2 but I didn’t really like the action enough to consider it.

What about Estonia?


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There's are many options pricewise between 40+ relatively short Yamahas and the 60K CF6. IOW you don't have to jump to such a high price since that's a concern.

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Estonias are astounding value, and I have liked the sound of every one I have heard.

And if you can get that price on a Bluethner 4 (and like it), your troubles may well be over for quite a while.

Have fun!

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Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
Estonias are astounding value, and I have liked the sound of every one I have heard.
I mostly liked the one Estonia I was able to try and it's on my short list. I'm curious why they are considered to be higher quality (at least per pianobuyer) than Yamaha/Kawaii. Does anybody know a specific aspect of the piano that we could point to as an example of better materials or craftsmanship?

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Originally Posted by adamcz
Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
Estonias are astounding value, and I have liked the sound of every one I have heard.
I mostly liked the one Estonia I was able to try and it's on my short list. I'm curious why they are considered to be higher quality (at least per pianobuyer) than Yamaha/Kawaii. Does anybody know a specific aspect of the piano that we could point to as an example of better materials or craftsmanship?

I don't think it's one specific aspect that gives Estonia the reputation it receives. It is overall quality of manufacture and construction plus value for the money. Estonia is one of the few - if not the only - piano companies whose president is a performing concert pianist, a distinguished graduate of Juilliard. He, Indrek Laul, has made it his mission to make a "pianist's piano" (yes, I know; all pianos are pianist pianos) while at the same time constantly refining the manufacturing techniques that contribute to the musical qualities of the product.

All that said, the tonal qualities of an Estonia are not everyone's "cup of tea." Those of us who love them are unabashed fans - can you tell?

Regards,


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I get the impression that they are good enough on the objective quality to compete with the Japanese giants, as well as the Americans.

Otherwise, as Bruce pointed out, the firm is run by someone who knows how an excellent piano is supposed to work, and is aiming for a sound that takes on the virtues of the best European brands while being amenable to American tastes.

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Originally Posted by adamcz
I mostly liked the one Estonia I was able to try and it's on my short list. I'm curious why they are considered to be higher quality (at least per pianobuyer) than Yamaha/Kawaii. Does anybody know a specific aspect of the piano that we could point to as an example of better materials or craftsmanship?
My guess is that Estonia pianos use better materials/components and are more "hand built" than the run of the mill Kawai GS and Yamaha CS instruments - but compete well with (are more comparable to) the higher end Shigeru Kawai and Yamaha CF/SX models.


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Originally Posted by Carey
but compete well with (are more comparable to) the higher end Shigeru Kawai and Yamaha CF/SX models.
In my market Estonias are price competitors with Kawai GX and Yamaha CX, not Shigeru and CF.

I liked the Estonia I played, but it was the small one and I've been looking for a chance to try the 190. The Shigeru I tried was definitely nicer (or at least better prepared by the dealer?) than the Estonia but also was significantly more expensive.

On a side note, buying a piano is WAY harder than I expected it to be. So many of the models I wanted to try (Kawai GX3, Estonia 190, others) have not been available at any dealer within 100 miles. In the end it will come down to the 4 sort-of-close-to-my-criteria pianos that exist in my driving range.

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Originally Posted by adamcz
Originally Posted by Carey
but compete well with (are more comparable to) the higher end Shigeru Kawai and Yamaha CF/SX models.
In my market Estonias are price competitors with Kawai GX and Yamaha CX, not Shigeru and CF.
Same in my market - which is what makes the Estonias such a great deal in terms of price.

Quote
I liked the Estonia I played, but it was the small one and I've been looking for a chance to try the 190. The Shigeru I tried was definitely nicer (or at least better prepared by the dealer?) than the Estonia but also was significantly more expensive.
Yes - the larger Estonia models are definitely more impressive (when prepared well). Shigerus are wonderful - but expensive.

Quote
On a side note, buying a piano is WAY harder than I expected it to be. So many of the models I wanted to try (Kawai GX3, Estonia 190, others) have not been available at any dealer within 100 miles. In the end it will come down to the 4 sort-of-close-to-my-criteria pianos that exist in my driving range.
That, unfortunately, is the reality the majority of us must deal with. I'm fortunate to live in a large metropolitan area - but even our choices here are becoming more limited than in the past.


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On a side note, buying a piano is WAY harder than I expected it to be

This was my experience as well. frown

I spent many months, and many miles, searching, and there were many, many makes and models of piano that I didn't even get to try. In the end, I got a great used piano for a great price, but it was a huge process. Not for the faint of heart!


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Originally Posted by Cassia
Have you tried any Yamaha CXs? I never cared for the Yamaha C series, but think the CX series is wonderful (I currently own a C2X). They can be a little hard to come by, but they're worth looking for.
I have not. Only Yamahas I've tried are G3, G5, C3, C5 and CF6. I'd be interested in playing one but if they are hard to come by, it might be some time before i can find one. What's the advtange of CX series over something like CF6?

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Originally Posted by Sonepica
I ended up buying a Yamaha S7X. These have only been out a few years and might be impossible to find second hand. But have you considered a used C7X? It would have some advantages over the CF6 by virtue of being 15cm longer. Also take a look at Hailun 218 if you can. They are about half the price of a new C7X, and nice pianos in their own right.
I am not necessarily looking for something bigger than the CF6. its size seems perfect. I'm OK with something a little smaller too.
Aren't Hailuns made in China? I know this may be an outdated opinion but something about a piano made in China does not feel right to me.

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Originally Posted by WinstonSmith
What's the advtange of CX series over something like CF6?
Price - the CX series is cheaper. It's just the updated version of the C series.

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