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So as mentioned in a previous thread, I am very close to buying a Kawai GX-2. After trying everything in the 5'6" to 5'11" range, I feel pretty sure this is my favorite one and at a price I am comfortable with.

The problem is that the room it will go in is 10.5' by 10.5' with 10 ft high ceilings. I've read the rule of thumb's on piano size and rooms and this would fail miserably, but I still have a lot of interest in making this work based on a few thoughts:
  • I've played 6 ft baby grands in smaller practice rooms and didn't see a major problem with it.
  • My current 52" upright is very loud and sounds great in there. Compared to a friend who has a similar upright in a much bigger room, I actually like the sound of the piano in this small room more.
  • The piano would have a pretty plush 8x10 rug under it, which I am sure helps with the current upright in there. The ceiling has some grooves and a chandelier and stuff. Also, it has french doors opening into a pretty large hallway, though even with the doors closed, I feel like the current upright sounds great.
  • I feel like my upright is just as loud as most baby grands I have tried. Not sure if the GX-2 would be louder as it is very hard to judge at the piano store.
  • I'm not sure a smaller baby grand would be any better. I just don't feel like it would be smart to buy a 5'8" baby grand if none of the ones I tried satisfy me as much as the 5'11" GX-2.



Appreciate any thoughts or ideas... anyone manage to get a similar size piano into a room this small and have been generally happy? Thanks!

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I think you should be OK, don’t worry too much. thumb

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The high ceiling and French doors will be a big plus. You might consider adding a thick rug pad under your 8 x 10 rug; I feel it made a big help in my room, and it is a cheap addition.

Don’t forget that your tech will need around 3 feet of clearance in order to pull out/work on the action.


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Originally Posted by dogperson
The high ceiling and French doors will be a big plus. You might consider adding a thick rug pad under your 8 x 10 rug; I feel it made a big help in my room, and it is a cheap addition.

Don’t forget that your tech will need around 3 feet of clearance in order to pull out/work on the action.

Oh, yes, I already have a thick rug pad under the rug, so glad to know that helps!

As far as clearance... is this the distance between the front of the piano (where the keys are) and the wall? Right now, I was planning about 30-31 inches, which gives room for a bench for an adult to sit and a small amount of clearance. Think that's too small of a clearance?

Thanks!

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Originally Posted by 80k
Originally Posted by dogperson
The high ceiling and French doors will be a big plus. You might consider adding a thick rug pad under your 8 x 10 rug; I feel it made a big help in my room, and it is a cheap addition.

Don’t forget that your tech will need around 3 feet of clearance in order to pull out/work on the action.

Oh, yes, I already have a thick rug pad under the rug, so glad to know that helps!

As far as clearance... is this the distance between the front of the piano (where the keys are) and the wall? Right now, I was planning about 30-31 inches, which gives room for a bench for an adult to sit and a small amount of clearance. Think that's too small of a clearance?

Thanks!

30-31 inches should be fine for clearance. — yes, measured from keys to wall.

Last edited by dogperson; 06/22/22 05:41 PM. Reason: Typo

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Originally Posted by dogperson
30-31 inches should be fine for clearance. — yes, measured from keys to wall.

Great, thanks for confirming!

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I think you should be fine with a 5'11" piano in there.... Do you ever play with the french doors open? Because that would probably help the sound, both in terms of mitigating actual volume but also in terms of making the sound richer or fuller.

Also, I doubt that dropping down to 5'8" would make much of a difference, and as you rightfully point out, you don't want to buy a piano that you don't love just because it's three inches shorter.


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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
I think you should be fine with a 5'11" piano in there.... Do you ever play with the french doors open? Because that would probably help the sound, both in terms of mitigating actual volume but also in terms of making the sound richer or fuller.

Also, I doubt that dropping down to 5'8" would make much of a difference, and as you rightfully point out, you don't want to buy a piano that you don't love just because it's three inches shorter.


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I'm with probably blue and dogperson on both of these points.

A small room is OK, you can always play more quietly, or with the lid at half-stick or down if you need to, and also have acoustic treatments in the room like a big plush rug, to lower volume. A "slightly smaller" piano won't make that much difference in the grand scheme of things, especially if you feel you'll be compromising on the instrument you want. And a GX-2 is an extremely well-regarded piano with a near-ideal size-to-performance ratio. I've played larger 6-7ft pianos in very small practice rooms too, and it's fine. From the bench, even a concert grand rarely ever sounds "too loud." But I wouldn't want to be in the audience in rooms like that smile

My piano is also up against a wall, and I had to decide how much space to leave between the wall and the keyboard for the bench. In the end, I went with just over 2.5ft, so the same 30-32" you're planning. It's more than enough room to place the bench, sit, lean back, stretch, walk around the bench and another person for a duet, etc. In terms of pulling the action and having enough room for a tech/tuner to work, it's a little tiny bit tight. And I'd love a bit more room to be able to mess up if and when I pull the action out myself, but it'll do.


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A smaller piano would be more likely to be too loud than a GX2. With size comes control and refinement.


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How is the room furnished and what coverings (if any) are on the walls?

Some of perceived "loudness" can come from reverberation of sound off hard surfaces. If a room has a wall of windows and has tile flooring, for example, it can feel like a very "loud room" whatever the size of the piano. This can be mitigated to considerable extent by having not only a rug under the piano but upholstered furniture and draperies (where practical).

It may take some experimenting, one step at a time, to find a solution that is pleasing.

Regards,


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If it fits it plays.

I had a similar size room with a 6'1 piano and had no issues.

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Thanks for all of the comments. Makes me feel better that I'm not crazy for considering this laugh

Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
I think you should be fine with a 5'11" piano in there.... Do you ever play with the french doors open? Because that would probably help the sound, both in terms of mitigating actual volume but also in terms of making the sound richer or fuller.

During the day, I play with the french doors open and late nights (due to kid being asleep), I tend to close it, but I doubt it matters as my daughter can sleep through anything. I'm guessing it will take me awhile to figure out optimum playing arrangement with regard to doors open/closed and lid open/closed, etc.

Originally Posted by Gombessa
My piano is also up against a wall, and I had to decide how much space to leave between the wall and the keyboard for the bench. In the end, I went with just over 2.5ft, so the same 30-32" you're planning. It's more than enough room to place the bench, sit, lean back, stretch, walk around the bench and another person for a duet, etc. In terms of pulling the action and having enough room for a tech/tuner to work, it's a little tiny bit tight. And I'd love a bit more room to be able to mess up if and when I pull the action out myself, but it'll do.

Awesome, glad to know that my proposed clearance is generally acceptable. I also planned it for just enough room without feeling claustrophobic.

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There is no way to be sure if the room is not too small. Each situation is unique. My suggestion would be to ask the dealer for return clause if the piano is too loud. It's possible to significantly quiet a piano by installing acoustic foam under the soundboard, but one cannot be sure if one will like the tone after this is done.

There have been many threads on PW about pianos that are too loud for their room. If everything was a rosy as most of the previous posters say, then I don't think there would be so many of these posts. The posters who say everything will be fine are not taking the risk.

The French doors may be very helpful because if they are open, I think this effectively increases your room size by a lot.

Do you have a tech that is familiar with your current room and piano and could offer his opinion?

I think that since the present upright is presumably against a wall that may block a lot of the sound. So a grand even with the lid closed would still have a lot of sound coming out of the bottom.

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If the piano is in excellent condition and optimally regulated and voiced, I doubt it would be too loud for any room it could fit in.


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
There is no way to be sure if the room is not too small. Each situation is unique. My suggestion would be to ask the dealer for return clause if the piano is too loud. It's possible to significantly quiet a piano by installing acoustic foam under the soundboard, but one cannot be sure if one will like the tone after this is done.

There have been many threads on PW about pianos that are too loud for their room. If everything was a rosy as most of the previous posters say, then I don't think there would be so many of these posts. The posters who say everything will be fine are not taking the risk.

The French doors may be very helpful because if they are open, I think this effectively increases your room size by a lot.

Do you have a tech that is familiar with your current room and piano and could offer his opinion?

I think that since the present upright is presumably against a wall that may block a lot of the sound. So a grand even with the lid closed would still have a lot of sound coming out of the bottom.

Yea, the upright is pretty close (about 6 inches) from the wall. So the tech who serviced my upright was the one who suggested that a baby grand would be fine in that room, even a six foot one. Based on my concerns with the touch and feel of the piano and the fact that my daughter and I play a lot, he strongly felt we should buy a grand if we can afford it, and that's what sort of set us down this path. But I agree that no one really knows until the piano makes it into the room.

I'll be visiting the dealer again within a week so I will ask about my concerns and see what they can do if I am not happy with the result.

Thanks!

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One question is, too loud for who? In my own experience:

Most uprights sound louder to me than most grands, when seated at the bench.

For a listener sitting in the same room (not at the bench), you can definitely reach "too loud" for them without feeling the same way at the bench.

It sounds like from your 52", you're OK with loud generally, and you're thinking about it from the player's perspective?

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If everything was a rosy as most of the previous posters say, then I don't think there would be so many of these posts. The posters who say everything will be fine are not taking the risk.

True. But many of us have been in very similar situations to OP, some of us very recently. Whether a piano is too loud is a huge unknown in new piano purchase, unsolvable by taking a recording or laying a size template on the floor. It was a major question for me, but I "took a gamble" based largely on my experiences playing similarly sized pianos in small practice rooms. I'm really thankful it turned out well, though 1) I am working with a larger room than OP, and 2) I paid attention to reasonable sound treatment for the room, especially considering the piano is right up against a wall AND a floor-to-ceiling mirror.


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Originally Posted by Gombessa
One question is, too loud for who? In my own experience:

Most uprights sound louder to me than most grands, when seated at the bench.

For a listener sitting in the same room (not at the bench), you can definitely reach "too loud" for them without feeling the same way at the bench.
I think unless someone else will usually be in the room while another person is playing the important question is always how it will sound to the person at the bench.

I don't know about most uprights sounding louder than most grands but that makes little sense to me from a logical point of view because the upright is almost always placed against a wall and unless the front of the upright is open no sound comes out of the front. With a grand, even if the lid is completely closed, a lot of sound will come out of the bottom unless it is treated with acoustic foam under the soundboard.

The above assumes one is comparing apples to apples. If one is playing an old upright with very worn hammers it may sound very bright and unpleasantly loud. One has to compare a grand and an upright of equal quality and in the same condition.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
The above assumes one is comparing apples to apples. If one is playing an old upright with very worn hammers it may sound very bright and unpleasantly loud. One has to compare a grand and an upright of equal quality and in the same condition.

Well, even an extreme apples to oranges comparison: I personally feel that a 9' concert grand played at the same intensity is not as loud to me, compared to a typical 48" home upright, when at the bench.

I know it's not intuitive and I welcome others' thoughts, but I think I ascribe to the "pianist sits at the worst seat in the house" philosophy. When seated at a grand, the soundboard is facing up and down and the lid reflects the sound away from you. At an upright, your face is right against the soundboard and the main reflecting wall, with a typical placement. I feel like the sound is just more directed at you with the upright, similarly to if you were seated in the audience facing the open lid of the grand (which I don't doubt would be much louder on the large grand).

When I sit with my daughter as she practices on the grand, it never sounds loud. But if I sit 4 ft away on the couch, my ears can quickly start hurting and I have to move away.


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Originally Posted by BruceD
How is the room furnished and what coverings (if any) are on the walls?


There are two big windows with blinds, a bookshelf, french doors, and a few picture frames. I think the plush rug with thick pad helps a lot.

Originally Posted by Gombessa
One question is, too loud for who? In my own experience:

Most uprights sound louder to me than most grands, when seated at the bench.

For a listener sitting in the same room (not at the bench), you can definitely reach "too loud" for them without feeling the same way at the bench.

It sounds like from your 52", you're OK with loud generally, and you're thinking about it from the player's perspective?

Yea, this might be why I never thought loudness would be a problem for myself as the player since I never found a problem with small practice rooms with large pianos. Now I'm wondering if it will be so loud as to be a nuisance late at night for neighbors or someone sleeping in the house on the second floor (the piano is on the first floor). But in that case, it seems it's not really the small room that is the problem.

Last edited by 80k; 06/23/22 01:37 AM.
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