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Posted By: GCPiano Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/08/22 04:49 PM
Hi, I have been shopping around for a second hand Yamaha recently. Come across a lot of wet/grey pianos from Japan. I come across this 1983 C3 which seems to be a bit below market price and within my budget. The tuning record was available and showed it was infrequently tuned (10 times over 40 years), so probably a bit neglected. I took a lot of pictures to examine the piano and wonder if this is mold on the soundboard? There are little white spots on the soundboard from the bottom -- and from the top a few black spots you can see , below the strings, if you look very carefull.

If so this is definitely a no-go -- as I assume it will affect the life of the piano

https://photos.app.goo.gl/5QPHzmyBuoQFuF1Z8

https://photos.app.goo.gl/qaXJxKS1Bkqv4kTq9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/qgPFeCEraaiaA5un6

https://photos.app.goo.gl/MUrDnZH4S7EWS4Fg9

Really appreciate everybody's wisdom and advice!
A little cleaning, tunin', regulation
That piano has definitely been in some humidity for quite a while.
Reminds me of a really old G1 I serviced at someone's lake house here, prior to putting it up for sale. It was obvious they weren't leaving the A/C on when they weren't home...
Posted By: GCPiano Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/08/22 05:23 PM
Hi all, thanks for the comment -- my question is, is this a deal-breaker for the piano? Is this really mold on the soundboard, I assume it can't be cleared from a little wipe. It would damage the soundboard and limit the piano's lifespan?

The rest of the piano seems fine -- there's no mold on the hammer, actions. The tone seems sweet, the action was good.

The piano is listed below market price ($15000CDN vs 20k+ usually for a C3), in a times of elevated price for piano. So I wonder if the soundboard is why this is discounted.
Is it for sale by a dealer or a private seller? If it's at a dealer's, then would they give it a warranty?


Separate from that, you need to have it evaluated by a piano tech (someone you pay, not the seller). Whether it's being sold by a dealer or not.

I don't know if mold is a dealbreaker or not... Mold can be removed from most things, even wood (although mold stains usually can't)... And the good action feel and good tone are very good signs.

If this piano is within your budget, and others are not, then I would say hire an independent piano tech to check it out for you.

Also maybe google around about mold? But don't get overly scared by what you read, mold is everywhere all the time, and most of it is harmless.

Good luck, and keep us posted!
Just take a wet soft cotton rag to the spots on the bottom and see if they come off.
Posted By: GCPiano Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/08/22 05:57 PM
Thank you Shirokuro. The Piano is sold by a dealer / technician and has 10 yr warranty.

I guess I am thinking longer term, if this piano is going to last for another 20 to 30 years. From what I read, if the soundboard has issues then the whole piano has to be rebuilt and redone... Not what I'm looking for

At a similar price range, I could get 1980s non wet market G2 ... Pretty sure the G2 will last 20/30 yrs . I have to say I'm much partial to the tone and touch of a C3.
Posted By: GCPiano Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/08/22 06:09 PM
Thanks Ed. The top of the sound board also has some black spots, so if this is mold, it would have invaded into the soundboard? Even if you can wipe some off
I wonder if this is a case where you might benefit from talking to someone who specializes in antiques... If you google "can moldy furniture be saved" there are all kinds of links....

My thoughts about mold are that if the environment is good, mold won't be a problem.

So the real question is what you're zeroing in on here, is the soundboard ok or is it a concern...

You really need to get a piano tech in there to look at it and give you an opinion. Even the most honest dealer still needs to make a living and so can never be free from bias.

Which reminds me, what does the dealer say? Have you asked him directly? If not, don't be shy. You can say "I am really interested in this piano, but I'm worried about mold and the soundboard. What can you tell me about that?"

About the price, you wrote:
Quote
The piano is listed below market price ($15000CDN vs 20k+ usually for a C3)

You mean the piano is selling for $15000 Canadian, right? For a 39 y/o C3.... I feel like that's a reasonable price for Canada (w/o more info though, my impression is meaningless). Are there any other used C3s or comparable pianos in your area? What are their prices?

Also, again at the risk of stating the obvious, have you googled "mold on piano soundboard"? Because I just did and there are tons of hits.

In any case, I keep going back to the point that you like the action, and the tone. A piano with a bad soundboard does not have a good tone. And a piano that's damaged by humidity does not have good action. I've played some like that (ugh).

So, read up on google and find a tech to go with you and inspect it.
Posted By: GCPiano Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/08/22 06:31 PM
Hi Shirokuro

Thanks for your detailed response.

The dealer said it's ok, but I don't think he looked carefully underneath. TBH, I think he just downplay or ignore it for a quick sale.

C3 in the 80s and 90a list for 20 to 25k the days

I did Google on the topic, it's usually very moldy piano ( super obvious everywhere) or talk about different techniques to remove mold ( doesn't sound like putting hydrogen peroxide on the soundboard is a good idea)
Quote
TBH, I think he just downplay or ignore it for a quick sale.

Yeah, that's kind of disappointing, but it can't be helped.

Quote
C3 in the 80s and 90a list for 20 to 25k the days

Whoa! I didn't realize the Canadian market, plus probably pandemic piano supply issues, was making prices so high!

I agree, wiping the soundboard with peroxide is probably bad, but a mild solution of vinegar and water, or maybe even a little bit of dish soap diluted with water, might work. I can't remember the details now, but the recommendations for mold are usually not to use bleach.

I don't think this is a huge dealbreaker. But maybe someone like Rickster or someone else can chime in, someone who has worked on older pianos and gotten them into great playing shape.

Anyway, I think you should let the dealer know you'll be coming by with a tech to get some outside advice.
What I'm seeing looks treatable, but for the cleaners available to use on a piano, it will likely need multiple cleanings. I would also want it cleaned before coming to your home rather than introduce it to as-is.

It's easy for forget the follow up treatments...out of sight = out of mind, so set some reminders.

I think the mild vinegar and water solution could work well. I often clean sensitive areas of the piano with Murphy's Oil Soap, and wiping off any excess. If you try multiple cleaners, let the surfaces rest and fully dry between applications. You can be more aggressive on the laminate beams and rim than on the soundboard, and will likely need to be because those surfaces are more porous.
I'm glad to see Sam's comments here, first someone much more knowledgeable than me, but also another vote for "this is not a dealbreaker."
Posted By: GCPiano Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/08/22 09:10 PM
Thank you very much. Maybe I'd go back tomorrow and ask the tuner what he can do about it. To be fair, the piano has just got off the shipping containers and is not prepared yet. He gave me the option to put a refundable deposit down, test it again when it's all prepped and treated.

I guess there are other options, like a 79s kawaii KG3c for less, or a 1979 G5 or 1995 G2 for same price as this C3. I'm partial to the touch and tone of the C3....
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
I'm glad to see Sam's comments here, first someone much more knowledgeable than me, but also another vote for "this is not a dealbreaker."
I know its work to fix, and I'm certainly surprised that the obvious mold on the top side wasn't addressed. As far as being a dealbreaker, I'm not super sensitive to mold. I know for many people it is a more serious health risk. I wouldn't sell a piano like that, as-is, or even leave it in my showroom untreated. Mold is can be a big pain if it spreads. At the same time, having personally moved thousands of pianos with mold like that being fairly common.

When a piano arrives to us in that situation, not only would we clean it, but we'd also wait at least a few weeks before listing it just to see if it was coming back. From the photos, I'd expect 2-3 treatments at a minimum.

Mold can go dormant and reawaken under the right environmental conditions, so diligence is required. If anyone in your home is sensitive or if bringing in the piano might transfer the mold to carpet or a rug that is valuable, treat the piano in a different space or storage area. I think its impossible to get mold out of a carpet if it takes hold.

If the piano is pleasing enough and the deal is good enough, then some elbow grease, cleaner, and patience (and possibly an extra professional move from the storage/cleaning area before final delivery to your room), then I see its potential. That's the kind of hassle I might expect from a private sale, not a dealer sale.
Originally Posted by GCPiano
To be fair, the piano has just got off the shipping containers and is not prepared yet. He gave me the option to put a refundable deposit down, test it again when it's all prepped and treated.
That adds information and seems reasonable from the seller. Still, expect 2-3 treatments minimum before its gone, and be prepared to do followup treatments with your tuner or yourself.
Posted By: GCPiano Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/08/22 10:06 PM
Thank you so much PianoWorksATL.

I will go back and talk to him. My question is, if I treat it myself later, I can't possibly get underneath the strings to reach the top of the soundboard?

The bottom part I can certainly apply some treatment later myself. My place is far from dealer, I don't think they will drive an hour to put further treatment once it is delivered
Spurlock tools can get under the strings for treatment.
Just a point of clarification: what do you mean by "wet" piano and "wet" market? Is this a Canadian term? You seem to be using it synonymously with "gray market", which is a sales channel apart from a good's normal or official channel. AFAIK, a "wet market" is a place where raw meat and fish are sold.
Posted By: GCPiano Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/08/22 10:56 PM
Hi yeah wet / grey market, I think mean the same. These are second hand piano used in Japan and then shipped here for resale. Unofficial
It would seem that humidity at these levels for a period of time sufficient to grow this amount of mold would also affect glue joints, action parts (warp shanks affecting hammer alignment), etc. There may be some crown issues once it is at a normal humidity level since the soundboard surely expanded considerably during the high humidity period.

How does it sound?
Originally Posted by GCPiano
Hi yeah wet / grey market, I think mean the same.

I think you are mistaken.
Some great responses so far, and from some of our well respected piano professionals/experts.

That said, I'll share a few thoughts on the piano and the pics.

The good... the Yamaha C3 is an outstanding, high-quality instrument with an exceptional reputation.

The bad... yes, that is indeed mold/mildew, but I've seen worse, and much worse.

The good... As others have said, that mold/mildew can be mitigated/rectified to a high degree with some good mold-specific cleaner.

The bad... since there is evidence of mold/mildew due to a high moisture environment at some point, as others have mentioned, there could also be other detrimental/damaging effects from the moisture exposure which may not have manifested itself yet.

My opinion?... if it were me, and I was looking at that same piano as a prospective buyer, and I liked the way it sounded and played, as is, I would not pass on it due to the mold, but would expect a heavily reduced sale price due to the mold.

My opinion part II ( smile )... I would not pay anywhere near the current used market price for that piano, and wouldn't pay much more than a dealer might be willing to pay, which is wholesale or below, and likely way below.

The good... my opinion is worth something.

The bad... it (my opinion) is worth what it cost. smile

Good luck!

Rick
I'm not philosophically opposed to gray market pianos, but, if I remember correctly, humidity issues is one of the standard concerns with them. This would seem to have suffered more than usual. If it were only on the underside, and superficial, then I wouldn't worry about it too much (but I do see some in the top photo too). What I would worry about, as noted above, is the overall integrity of anything else that might be detrimentally affected by long term exposure to high humidity.
Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
What I'm seeing looks treatable, but for the cleaners available to use on a piano, it will likely need multiple cleanings. I would also want it cleaned before coming to your home rather than introduce it to as-is.

It's easy for forget the follow up treatments...out of sight = out of mind, so set some reminders.

I think the mild vinegar and water solution could work well. I often clean sensitive areas of the piano with Murphy's Oil Soap, and wiping off any excess. If you try multiple cleaners, let the surfaces rest and fully dry between applications. You can be more aggressive on the laminate beams and rim than on the soundboard, and will likely need to be because those surfaces are more porous.

Good advice. Just clean the vinegar immediately as it is also a solvent for the glues used in that era of piano
Posted By: Roy123 Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/09/22 04:44 PM
FWIW--commercial mold killer
Posted By: MarkL Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/09/22 04:47 PM
It looks like the connection between the rib and soundboard has been caulked, hard to tell for sure from the picture.
You can send samples of the mold for analysis to this company. They'll send a report that tells what it is and how to get rid of it. I've used them for mold in home construction projects.
Posted By: GCPiano Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/10/22 01:33 AM
Wow, thanks everybody for the great responses -- I went out checking a few other pianos for comparison shopping today, so just checked the post right now.

I went back to this dealer and asked him about the mold. He said this is fairly common from gray market piano, they deal with this a lot, and guarantee it won't come back after treatment. He said he's been in market for > 10 years (which is true). So for what it's worth....

In terms of price -- I don't sense a lot of room for bargain -- seems like Yamaha piano is hot commodity right now ( I asked 5-6 dealers, many don't have any at all, others have G2 at this price, and good quality C3s are in 40-60% more). I was told shipping cost has gone up by 30-40%.

I saw a private sale C3, older by 5 years but only cheaper by 10%. Sound a tiny less good as this one (just a little brighter with older hammers), and whether warranty can be transferable is questionable. It's more risk and hassle with private sale, so I was gonna pass.

In terms of how it sounds so far -- this unprepped 1983 C3 sounds really sweet and beautiful. I think when the dealer tunes it, it will sound amazing.

I have taken some more pictures and see if the wise crowd have any more observation. The rest of the piano looks good to my untrained eyes

https://photos.app.goo.gl/t5o62Z8s3XcuQWyw9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/qov6C1kAe35Jff2W9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/yXzjCs7d6HBUCKsG8

https://photos.app.goo.gl/mMMQohJMaPDmXBBC9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/f2BmEvXyC6nxpMsr7

https://photos.app.goo.gl/AyzwW2A3ck71XYAs6

https://photos.app.goo.gl/pPwsy4kFe3koUFZt6

https://photos.app.goo.gl/yJCaURjEqsZz6ap48

I found a 1980s KG2C for 50% less (very competent and good piano), or a 2000 Kawai Rx2 for 20% more. I was thrilled to see the Rx2, but then I tested the C3 again and my heart was moved by C3. The Kawai doesn't move my heart that way. So I may take the risk and put a deposit down and see how it goes

Really appreciate all your thoughts and opinions!!
This all sounds very encouraging! I would be leaning toward the C3 at the dealer's as well.

I played an Rx2 while piano shopping as well. I didn't like the action (but I never like Kawai actions, it's just my own problem I think).

Good luck and keep us posted!
Originally Posted by GCPiano
Wow, thanks everybody for the great responses -- I went out checking a few other pianos for comparison shopping today, so just checked the post right now.

I went back to this dealer and asked him about the mold. He said this is fairly common from gray market piano, they deal with this a lot, and guarantee it won't come back after treatment. He said he's been in market for > 10 years (which is true). So for what it's worth....

In terms of price -- I don't sense a lot of room for bargain -- seems like Yamaha piano is hot commodity right now ( I asked 5-6 dealers, many don't have any at all, others have G2 at this price, and good quality C3s are in 40-60% more). I was told shipping cost has gone up by 30-40%.

I saw a private sale C3, older by 5 years but only cheaper by 10%. Sound a tiny less good as this one (just a little brighter with older hammers), and whether warranty can be transferable is questionable. It's more risk and hassle with private sale, so I was gonna pass.

In terms of how it sounds so far -- this unprepped 1983 C3 sounds really sweet and beautiful. I think when the dealer tunes it, it will sound amazing.

I have taken some more pictures and see if the wise crowd have any more observation. The rest of the piano looks good to my untrained eyes

https://photos.app.goo.gl/t5o62Z8s3XcuQWyw9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/qov6C1kAe35Jff2W9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/yXzjCs7d6HBUCKsG8

https://photos.app.goo.gl/mMMQohJMaPDmXBBC9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/f2BmEvXyC6nxpMsr7

https://photos.app.goo.gl/AyzwW2A3ck71XYAs6

https://photos.app.goo.gl/pPwsy4kFe3koUFZt6

https://photos.app.goo.gl/yJCaURjEqsZz6ap48

I found a 1980s KG2C for 50% less (very competent and good piano), or a 2000 Kawai Rx2 for 20% more. I was thrilled to see the Rx2, but then I tested the C3 again and my heart was moved by C3. The Kawai doesn't move my heart that way. So I may take the risk and put a deposit down and see how it goes

Really appreciate all your thoughts and opinions!!

I played a grey market Yamaha C3 at a Church a while back, and I was very impressed at how good it sounded and played. I assume it was a grey market piano because it only had two pedals, just like the one in your pics.

If you really like the C3 and you think it is priced fairly, in your own opinion, and you have confidence in the dealer, I would not hesitate to buy the piano, if they agree to clean it up good and remedy the mold problem.

If it turns out to be a mistake, it is not the worst thing that can happen, and you may still get a chance to enjoy the piano for a while. And, a while is all we really have.

All the best, and good luck!

Rick
Posted By: GCPiano Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/10/22 02:25 AM
ShiroKuro, thanks for your support along the way!
Posted By: GCPiano Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/10/22 03:21 AM
Thanks Rick

From my brief shopping experience, the C3 in the 70s and early 80s have 2 pedals. C2A in mid 80s have 3 pedals. Interestingly listed at a lot more.

I can't say I have complete faith in the dealer, but they in fact have been around for at least 7 years ( my friend checked out that store in 2015), and they do a lot of gray market pianos

They give 10 yr warranty, so if the soundboard becomes detached, I can at least storm the store angrily. Lol.

So I'd put deposit down, have them service / prep it before I commit.
Originally Posted by GCPiano
Wow, thanks everybody for the great responses -- I went out checking a few other pianos for comparison shopping today, so just checked the post right now.

I went back to this dealer and asked him about the mold. He said this is fairly common from gray market piano, they deal with this a lot, and guarantee it won't come back after treatment. He said he's been in market for > 10 years (which is true). So for what it's worth....

In terms of price -- I don't sense a lot of room for bargain -- seems like Yamaha piano is hot commodity right now ( I asked 5-6 dealers, many don't have any at all, others have G2 at this price, and good quality C3s are in 40-60% more). I was told shipping cost has gone up by 30-40%.

I saw a private sale C3, older by 5 years but only cheaper by 10%. Sound a tiny less good as this one (just a little brighter with older hammers), and whether warranty can be transferable is questionable. It's more risk and hassle with private sale, so I was gonna pass.

In terms of how it sounds so far -- this unprepped 1983 C3 sounds really sweet and beautiful. I think when the dealer tunes it, it will sound amazing.

I have taken some more pictures and see if the wise crowd have any more observation. The rest of the piano looks good to my untrained eyes

https://photos.app.goo.gl/t5o62Z8s3XcuQWyw9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/qov6C1kAe35Jff2W9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/yXzjCs7d6HBUCKsG8

https://photos.app.goo.gl/mMMQohJMaPDmXBBC9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/f2BmEvXyC6nxpMsr7

https://photos.app.goo.gl/AyzwW2A3ck71XYAs6

https://photos.app.goo.gl/pPwsy4kFe3koUFZt6

https://photos.app.goo.gl/yJCaURjEqsZz6ap48

I found a 1980s KG2C for 50% less (very competent and good piano), or a 2000 Kawai Rx2 for 20% more. I was thrilled to see the Rx2, but then I tested the C3 again and my heart was moved by C3. The Kawai doesn't move my heart that way. So I may take the risk and put a deposit down and see how it goes

Really appreciate all your thoughts and opinions!!

There is what appears to be a crack in the bridge at one of the speaking length side pins in the treble section.

[Linked Image]

Here is the direct link so you can zoom in further on my snipped image -

http://forum.pianoworld.com//gallery/42/full/15882.png
Posted By: GCPiano Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/10/22 01:33 PM
Thanks... Hmm... I read quickly on pianobuyer, if the crack is hairline, then it can be fixed easily? I'd talk to the dealer and definitely pay attention to the tone of that note

Hmm... i'm having second thoughts... Maybe should go for the 2000 kawai and have much less trouble to worry about
Originally Posted by GCPiano
Thanks... Hmm... I read quickly on pianobuyer, if the crack is hairline, then it can be fixed easily? I'd talk to the dealer and definitely pay attention to the tone of that note

Hmm... i'm having second thoughts... Maybe should go for the 2000 kawai and have much less trouble to worry about


Have you contracted with an independent piano tech? You need to have them inspect the piano rather than just seeing what the dealer has to say. If you need to find a qualified tech, you can search by zip code at PTG.org

If you do not get this piano, I hope you will not settle for a piano that will not be a problem but only elicits a feeling of ‘it will do’. You will own this piano for a long time, so you should buy a piano that gives you pleasure and that you look forward to playing,
Be certain that you like the action on the Kawai grands, because they are quite different from the Yamaha's all-wood action.

(Bias alert: I don't like the Kawai action at all and very much prefer the Yamaha action, but it's definitely personal preference)
Posted By: Roy123 Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/10/22 10:46 PM
Kawaii actions do tend to feel different from Yamaha actions, but it has nothing to do with wood. In general, Kawaii actions have been heavier, but I don't know if that is still the case.
Originally Posted by Roy123
Kawaii actions do tend to feel different from Yamaha actions, but it has nothing to do with wood. In general, Kawaii actions have been heavier, but I don't know if that is still the case.

I suspect it has a great deal to do with the wood, primarily because the Yamaha action is all wood, while the Kawai action have the parts made from carbon composite, here's a photo of the most recent version of the carbon action (millennium III) in a Kawai grand:

[Linked Image]

I couldn't quickly find a photo of a Yamaha grand action (and I'm not going to go pull mine out grin

In any case, when I was piano shopping, I played a lot of new and used Kawais (and also new S&S, Boston, Seiler.... and other makes and models).

I consistently disliked the Kawai action, so one day at a dealer's shop, I asked about it. He showed me a model (like the photo here) and pulled out the action in a Steinway as well (he did not have any Yamaha grands, new or used) and kind of talked me through the differences.

I wouldn't have called it heavy at the time... I never really figured out a good way to articulate it. I just knew I didn't like it. Fortunately I found my current piano, which felt great, and then even better after my tech regulated it. smile

But a lot of people do like the Kawai action, and they are very well-respected pianos, hence my emphasis on it being personal preference.
Here's the best photo I could find of the Yamaha grand action:

[Linked Image]

Whatever the exact cause is, the two actions use different materials, so it makes sense that they feel different.
Posted By: Roy123 Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/11/22 10:19 PM
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Here's the best photo I could find of the Yamaha grand action:

[Linked Image]

Whatever the exact cause is, the two actions use different materials, so it makes sense that they feel different.

I appreciate that you think the different materials cause the difference in feel, but, really, that's not the case. In the US, the WSG action manufactured by Mason and Hamlin, which is made entirely of nonwooden parts, has won high praise from too many people to name. Action feel is all about moment of inertia, action ratio, action spread, hammer weight, friction at the centers, balancier-spring tension, and a bunch of other parameters. This whole business of wood parts somehow being better is really a red herring at best, and holds back the piano industry at worst..
Originally Posted by Roy123
This whole business of wood parts somehow being better is really a red herring at best, and holds back the piano industry at worst..

Somewhat off topic tangent.

When restoring my 1859 Steinway I was confronted with what to do with the original shanks.

No brainer, you'd think, replace them with new ones.

On a square though, it's not that simple.

Instead, I coated the original shanks with the thickest layer of JB Weld 5 minute epoxy I could apply with a paintbrush.

One at a time, slowly, painstakingly, under magnification, and destroying a great pile of cheap kids paintbrushes.

Took a very very long time.

Heavier and stiffer and no bending at impact and reduced on-string hang-time.

And will never break.

Only set in the world as far as I know.

Fantastic performance.

Garage doityourselfer faux carbon lol.
Posted By: kre Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/12/22 07:19 AM
Originally Posted by Roy123
Kawaii actions do tend to feel different from Yamaha actions, but it has nothing to do with wood. In general, Kawaii actions have been heavier, but I don't know if that is still the case.

I do not find modern Millenium 3 action to be any heavier that Yamaha, or Renner actions found in premium pianos.
Roy,
Quote
This whole business of wood parts somehow being better

I did not say all wood was better, in fact I’ve been very careful to say it’s personal preference several times.

But I noticed the difference in the Kawai action before I even knew it was there. When I was piano shopping, one of the dealers I visited was an official Kawai dealer, so he had several new models (GL and what’s the more expensive line, GX?). I consistently disliked the action on all of the Kawai grands I played.

So I don’t know what the cause is, but the Kawai action and the Yamaha action are not the same, and you — or at least I — can feel it when playing them. It’s not my imagination.

“Better” is subjective. Better how? More consistent? Longer-lasting and more durable? The Kawai action might be better in these ways (I have no idea).

But different? Yes, objectively, factually different. And therefore, worth making a note of when comparing.

Which was my main goal in originally mentioning it.
Posted By: Roy123 Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/13/22 09:39 PM
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Roy,
Quote
This whole business of wood parts somehow being better

I did not say all wood was better, in fact I’ve been very careful to say it’s personal preference several times.

But I noticed the difference in the Kawai action before I even knew it was there. When I was piano shopping, one of the dealers I visited was an official Kawai dealer, so he had several new models (GL and what’s the more expensive line, GX?). I consistently disliked the action on all of the Kawai grands I played.

So I don’t know what the cause is, but the Kawai action and the Yamaha action are not the same, and you — or at least I — can feel it when playing them. It’s not my imagination.

“Better” is subjective. Better how? More consistent? Longer-lasting and more durable? The Kawai action might be better in these ways (I have no idea).

But different? Yes, objectively, factually different. And therefore, worth making a note of when comparing.

Which was my main goal in originally mentioning it.

You missed my point. I'm not claiming that Kawaii and Yamaha action don't feel different. In my experience they do. I was only making the point that the difference has little to nothing to do with wood v. composites and everything to do with a myriad of other details.
Posted By: GCPiano Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/14/22 11:05 PM
Hi everyone, just to update.

I decided to pass on the C3 -- I asked the store about the ? crack at the bridge and the sales ignored me. I guess from her perspective, I'm looking at the cheapest one in the lot and maybe ask too many questions. I can't imagine how after sales service would be if there's problems down the road. So I passed it.

I ended up picking the 2000 Rx2 from a reputable dealer. ShiroKuro, I did pay particular attention to the action, and I think it's fine for my purpose. I've tested some pianos with lighter action like Bluthner or Schimmel, and my fingers fly on those. But at this stage, I needed more practice on my fourth/fifth finger (relatively stiff and weak) to gain better control. So a relatively regular action to practise on grade 9/10 pieces for me is good.

From a practical perspective -- the piano is going to be located in a rural area, and getting a technician for a major service might not be easy. I wanted a piano that will last 20-30 years, so the odds are much better with the 2000 RX2 than a 1983 C3 with moisture damage.

From a music perspective ,if the C3 gives me 100% satisfaction, then the RX2 gives 90% satisfaction -- so worth the tradeoff and peace of mind. I also need a piano like now -- I work in healthcare, we're expecting another huge COVID wave in the next 2-3 weeks, and this piano is going to give me solace and peace to ride through the tough times.

Thanks everyone for their advice and opinion -- it was really good education for me!
Congratulations!!!!!!! Yay!!! Isn't the Rx2 slightly longer than a Yamaha C2 but shorter than a C3? (IIRC). I bet it sounds wonderful!

And the touch is purely preference, as I said above, Kawai makes very well-regarded pianos so I'm sure you'll be very happy!

Your aftercare comment is telling, too. I would have found that C3 seller off-putting as well, so I'm glad you were able to make a purchase you feel good about, from a place you feel good about!

Quote
I also need a piano like now -- I work in healthcare, we're expecting another huge COVID wave in the next 2-3 weeks, and this piano is going to give me solace and peace to ride through the tough times

In that case, I am doubly happy for you!

Piano has been my solace as well. Since the pandemic started, I have added a lot of "feel-good" easy pieces that I often play at the end of a practice session, it's like a mini music meditation.

Here's wishing you many happy hours with your new piano!

When do you take delivery??
Originally Posted by GCPiano
Hi everyone, just to update.

I decided to pass on the C3 -- I asked the store about the ? crack at the bridge and the sales ignored me. I guess from her perspective, I'm looking at the cheapest one in the lot and maybe ask too many questions. I can't imagine how after sales service would be if there's problems down the road. So I passed it.

I ended up picking the 2000 Rx2 from a reputable dealer. ShiroKuro, I did pay particular attention to the action, and I think it's fine for my purpose. I've tested some pianos with lighter action like Bluthner or Schimmel, and my fingers fly on those. But at this stage, I needed more practice on my fourth/fifth finger (relatively stiff and weak) to gain better control. So a relatively regular action to practise on grade 9/10 pieces for me is good.

From a practical perspective -- the piano is going to be located in a rural area, and getting a technician for a major service might not be easy. I wanted a piano that will last 20-30 years, so the odds are much better with the 2000 RX2 than a 1983 C3 with moisture damage.

From a music perspective ,if the C3 gives me 100% satisfaction, then the RX2 gives 90% satisfaction -- so worth the tradeoff and peace of mind. I also need a piano like now -- I work in healthcare, we're expecting another huge COVID wave in the next 2-3 weeks, and this piano is going to give me solace and peace to ride through the tough times.

Thanks everyone for their advice and opinion -- it was really good education for me!

I agree with Dr. ShiroKur, Congratulations on your new-to-you Kawai RX2! A fine choice indeed! thumb

I was always in your corner regarding the moisture/mold laden Yamaha C3, hoping you would feel good about whatever piano you purchased; but as I looked closer at the photo enlargement of the small, hairline crack in the bridge, you could easily see how deeply embedded the mold really was. It looked very deeply embedded/saturated into the bridge cap itself, as well as the soundboard and all over the piano really. It was really bad.

So, I think you certainly made a good decision to pass on the Yamaha C3. Had the dealer/sales people been more accommodating to your questions regarding the C3 it might have been different.

Kawai has an excellent reputation and I own an older Kawai upright, and a Howard/Kawai grand. Both are very nice pianos and a joy to play.

Wishing you many years of enjoyment with your Kawai RX2!

Rick
Posted By: Sgisela Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/15/22 01:14 AM
Congratulations! I think you’re going to really enjoy this piano. I know that when I was looking at pianos, there was a point at which I just realized the piano that felt right for me, and it sounds like this is how you regard the piano you bought. There were just too many questions with the C3 to feel comfortable buying it, and the RX2 is a purchase that you feel really good about. Please post some photos once it’s been delivered!
Posted By: K8KT Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/15/22 04:31 AM
Glad to hear that you’ve chosen RX2 instead of C3. With that much mold on the visible area, I was going to suggest hiring an independent tech to pull the action to inspect everywhere else including the felt parts as well as checking the integrity of the strings and pins for corrosion. I have to disagree with the seller’s comment that all or most grey market pianos are moldy. Congratulations on your RX2!
Congratulations!
Posted By: GCPiano Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/15/22 05:34 AM
Hi all, thanks so much for the wonderful support! Special thanks for blueviewlaguana for spotting the crack, otherwise I wouldn't have followed up on the dealer and discovered their true nature.

My suspicion is that this dealer takes in lower grade piano from Japan, touch it up, and sell it low for a quick profit. There are probably quite a few unsuspecting parents who buy them for their kids to learn, not having any idea about pianos in general. I went to this private C3 seller who bought it for their little kid to learn.... total overkill. I heard there are wealthy parents who walk into a Steinway store and paid sticker price for a Steinway A... so their kids can start learning piano ... crazy world.


In any case... the Kawai is arriving within 1 week. The dealer is recommended by a professional pianist friend, and the piano is from local market, looks to be in good shape, plays well... in fact I forgot to ask to see the actions and the hammers etc

https://photos.app.goo.gl/qWD1VxZpcEKTHW576
https://photos.app.goo.gl/2ui5u9fHpLcBNswS9
https://photos.app.goo.gl/iXzJQzUEe8eCBxq98
https://photos.app.goo.gl/HS3Kv8tHTdKCfZwx5
https://photos.app.goo.gl/rL6n7JA7hver1FEc7
https://photos.app.goo.gl/jec3Zojjqw39Cz4LA
FWIW, I would not have had concern about that minor bridge crack on a nearly 40 year old piano in comparison to the rest of the mold and grunge. By itself, if the note isn't presenting an issue in tone or tuning, it's fairly isolated. The ones we tend to worry about are the ones that are not isolated, suggesting a manufacturing defect.

However, I do think you made a good and logical decision with the younger RX2. Perhaps working with a tech once the piano is in your home, you can close that preference gap from 90% to 95% with a little special attention.

Congrats!
Posted By: MH1963 Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/16/22 03:14 AM
Can’t speak to the impact on the instrument, but I live in a humid place. This looks like mildew to me. In my experience, sometimes this stuff gets into the surface of wood and comes back in the same place and pattern. There may be things that can be applied to the surface to prevent recurrence.
Originally Posted by GCPiano
Hi all, thanks so much for the wonderful support! Special thanks for blueviewlaguana for spotting the crack, otherwise I wouldn't have followed up on the dealer and discovered their true nature.

My suspicion is that this dealer takes in lower grade piano from Japan, touch it up, and sell it low for a quick profit. There are probably quite a few unsuspecting parents who buy them for their kids to learn, not having any idea about pianos in general. I went to this private C3 seller who bought it for their little kid to learn.... total overkill. I heard there are wealthy parents who walk into a Steinway store and paid sticker price for a Steinway A... so their kids can start learning piano ... crazy world.


In any case... the Kawai is arriving within 1 week. The dealer is recommended by a professional pianist friend, and the piano is from local market, looks to be in good shape, plays well... in fact I forgot to ask to see the actions and the hammers etc

https://photos.app.goo.gl/qWD1VxZpcEKTHW576
https://photos.app.goo.gl/2ui5u9fHpLcBNswS9
https://photos.app.goo.gl/iXzJQzUEe8eCBxq98
https://photos.app.goo.gl/HS3Kv8tHTdKCfZwx5
https://photos.app.goo.gl/rL6n7JA7hver1FEc7
https://photos.app.goo.gl/jec3Zojjqw39Cz4LA

Glad to assist, the Kawaii photos look terrific. Looking forward to an update when it arrives.
Posted By: drvenom Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/21/22 12:51 AM
Originally Posted by Roy123
Kawaii actions do tend to feel different from Yamaha actions, but it has nothing to do with wood. In general, Kawaii actions have been heavier, but I don't know if that is still the case.

I tried a whole bunch of pianos this past week, a lot of them yamaha and Kawai. The kawai gl10 and yamaha gbk1 felt identical, heavy and stiff. I also compared the G2, C2, And GC2 with Kawai gl30 and gl40. The yamahas had the lighter action to my fingers. My favorite action was the gc2, but that was a new piano too. The gl30 was close to the yamaha gc 2 but still heavier. The kawai gl40 was lighter to the gl30, but that didn't make it equal to the yamaha gc2. The gl40 feels a little sluggish compared to the gc2. Not in a bad way, just different. The gl40 was my second favorite action from all these pianos. The gc2 action with the kawai gl40 sound would have been the perfect piano for me. But yes, I agree that kawais feel a bit heavier than the yamahas, with the exception of the smallest baby grands. Those two baby grand actions are terrible.
Posted By: GCPiano Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/29/22 02:30 AM
Dear Friends

Just reporting back now -- the RX 2 arrived a few days ago, I was exhausted from work and then was totally absorbed in testing the piano and learning to take care of it

https://photos.app.goo.gl/kQT796728dWNYKyVA
https://photos.app.goo.gl/EzbNQpK2GhADRzUU7
https://photos.app.goo.gl/wHBnrJX8TNjMF5cB6
https://photos.app.goo.gl/vYZSPp2WTnhTtq7f7
https://photos.app.goo.gl/r7APo5EhKJU8imQM6
https://photos.app.goo.gl/b8qkqLYEjx3BsMfw7

1) It took me many hours to learn the action of this Kawai. The action is heavier (it's not millenium III action), so it takes a bit more to active each key. It's also very easy to overshoot, press the keys too much, and make the music sound harsh. After playing for 10+ hours, I finally get the hang of it.
I improved my posture to use my arm a little more to activate the keys, and trained my fingers with more control. I can finally get the dexterity and play some Chopin nocturne and bring out the sweetness in the tone. Still ++ practice needed to play some Chopin Etudes properly. The piano has a certain temperament ~~ and it's fun to learn and master it.

ShiroKuro -- that's the best I could describe it, and it seems trickier than other pianos. When I tested other brands (like Estonia, Schimmel, Bechstein, Yamaha or S Kawai), I didn't seem to have this problem. I think this Kawai accentuates my weakness, so it's great for me at this stage to focus and improve on my skills

2) It's negative 20 degree Celcius outside, I've been busy covering the air duct near the piano and sealing the drafty window nearby -- keeping the temp around 64-65F . Humidity is dry, around 30%, I put a couple bowls of water underneath the piano (I saw some dealers doing this). I may get a larger humidifier for the room to see if I can get to 40%.

3) It's slightly out of tune (by 0.2-0.4hz in the upper and lower registers on my app), I will wait a few weeks to get it tuned after the piano is settled.

4) Voicing -- I didn't voice it softer at the dealer -- as the piano was placed in a room with concrete floor and walls. I thought if I place it in a carpet room, the tone will be softer. I think there's room to soften it a bit more. I'm talking with a local technician who rebuilds piano -- he told me he could use some chemicals to soften (which will be cheaper) or needle it. I haven't heard of using chemicals to soften the felt -- I thought it is only to harden it? Any thoughts?

Anyways, I'm overall quite pleased with the piano. Have to thank all of you for the support and advise, I can't believe how helpful you all have been ~~
Yay, congratulations!! It looks fantastic!

Re the low humidity, keep the water level in the bowl low, like a cm (half inch) deep and refill it regularly. That will make it easier for the water to evaporate than if you had the bowls full. And that’s what you want< for the water to evaporate into the air.

(I’m currently driving my husband crazy keeping the heat in the house low to prevent the humidity from dropping too low! whome

Re the action, I bet you’ll get used to it and will forget it was ever even an issue. You might also ask the tech when they come to tune, sometimes there are things they can do to make the action feel lighter.

Go easy on voicing, or wait till summer maybe even. When the humidity is low, it affects the hammers as well, so you don’t really know how they are going to be yet. But if you do want to have them voiced, I would stick to needles.
Beautiful Kawai grand piano! Congratulations again!

I wish you many years of enjoyment playing it, and looking at it! smile

All the best!

Rick
Looks nice! Congratulations. thumb
Originally Posted by GCPiano
Dear Friends

Just reporting back now -- the RX 2 arrived a few days ago, I was exhausted from work and then was totally absorbed in testing the piano and learning to take care of it

https://photos.app.goo.gl/kQT796728dWNYKyVA
https://photos.app.goo.gl/EzbNQpK2GhADRzUU7
https://photos.app.goo.gl/wHBnrJX8TNjMF5cB6
https://photos.app.goo.gl/vYZSPp2WTnhTtq7f7
https://photos.app.goo.gl/r7APo5EhKJU8imQM6
https://photos.app.goo.gl/b8qkqLYEjx3BsMfw7

1) It took me many hours to learn the action of this Kawai. The action is heavier (it's not millenium III action), so it takes a bit more to active each key. It's also very easy to overshoot, press the keys too much, and make the music sound harsh. After playing for 10+ hours, I finally get the hang of it.
I improved my posture to use my arm a little more to activate the keys, and trained my fingers with more control. I can finally get the dexterity and play some Chopin nocturne and bring out the sweetness in the tone. Still ++ practice needed to play some Chopin Etudes properly. The piano has a certain temperament ~~ and it's fun to learn and master it.

ShiroKuro -- that's the best I could describe it, and it seems trickier than other pianos. When I tested other brands (like Estonia, Schimmel, Bechstein, Yamaha or S Kawai), I didn't seem to have this problem. I think this Kawai accentuates my weakness, so it's great for me at this stage to focus and improve on my skills

2) It's negative 20 degree Celcius outside, I've been busy covering the air duct near the piano and sealing the drafty window nearby -- keeping the temp around 64-65F . Humidity is dry, around 30%, I put a couple bowls of water underneath the piano (I saw some dealers doing this). I may get a larger humidifier for the room to see if I can get to 40%.

3) It's slightly out of tune (by 0.2-0.4hz in the upper and lower registers on my app), I will wait a few weeks to get it tuned after the piano is settled.

4) Voicing -- I didn't voice it softer at the dealer -- as the piano was placed in a room with concrete floor and walls. I thought if I place it in a carpet room, the tone will be softer. I think there's room to soften it a bit more. I'm talking with a local technician who rebuilds piano -- he told me he could use some chemicals to soften (which will be cheaper) or needle it. I haven't heard of using chemicals to soften the felt -- I thought it is only to harden it? Any thoughts?

Anyways, I'm overall quite pleased with the piano. Have to thank all of you for the support and advise, I can't believe how helpful you all have been ~~

Congratulations! this piano looks really solid. I'd recommend tuning it immediately so that you can take that out of the equation in regard to diagnosing tonal quality. I had my new August Forster tuned less than 24 hours after it was delivered and again in 1 week, then a month and now every 3 months.
Posted By: Sgisela Re: Is this mold on the soundboard Yamaha C3 - 01/29/22 02:44 PM
Congratulations, GCPiano! It looks fantastic! I suspect you will get used to the action with time. As regards the voicing, I’d also recommend giving yourself a little time.
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