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#245525 - 02/25/09 07:28 PM Piano with tonal colour for classical music
Mike088 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/23/09
Posts: 92
Loc: New Westminster, Canada
I know this is going to sound extremely subjective but I would like to ask for an opinion about Yamaha and Kawai pianos for classical music.

I was reading Larry Fine's 2007-2008 Piano Book supplement and I came across a comment about Kawai pianos not being ideal for classical music - but because they have such a good touch, many classical pianist still value them. And a second comment about Yamahas suggested that because of Yamaha piano's superior clarity they are great for jazz and pop but may not be so ideal for classical which might require more lush harmonic colour. I agree these are all subjective interpretations and I would not want to be making a negative comment towards these two versatile quality piano brands in a general sense. Personally I love playing Yamaha's for their crisp brightness and accurate feeling - I find them very suitable for Bach - my opinion. U1 is nice. I also enjoy playing Kawai pianos.

But I wouldn't mind an opinion about these ideas in terms of suitable tonal colour - or however we could describe the feel of the sound.

The reason I am asking is that I am looking to purchase an acoustic upright piano (to replace our digital Roland HP 1500). I am interested in the better quality consumer grade pianos (Larry Fine's "Group 3" category.) My family are all taking Royal Conservatory piano lessons and I myself have been playing piano for many years. Most of the music we play is classical. For example, my wife plays flute and often I accompany her on our piano. My eldest child is in grade 5 piano.

I will be going to a few dealers as well as looking at private sales to try out a few brands within my budget of about $2000-$4000 (likely looking for a used piano). I am determined to try all of these brands including Yamaha and Kawai so that I may formulate my own informed personal opinion.

I was considering:

Perzina (if I can find one here in Canada)
Pramberger, J.P. (Samick)
Weber, Albert (Young Chang)
Young Chang (Platinum Edition)
Essex (Young Chang/Korea with Steinway)
Knabe, Wm. (Samick)
Weber (Sovereign series) (Young Chang)
Young Chang (Professional Artist series)
and maybe:
Kohler & Campbell (Millennium series) (Samick)
Pramberger, J. (Samick)

am I missing any?

And of course I will be trying out Yahama and Kawai as well.

Does anyone have any thoughts on which of these brands might be more suitable for classical music? Of course we also sometimes play other styles and so a versatile piano sound would have benefits as well, but for the most part our music tends to be in the classical range.

I am also aware that pianos can be "voiced" and there may be variance within a single brand and so I suppose the best way to go about this is to try them out.

Do any classical musicians on this forum have a preference they may share with me in terms of these pianos (or others) which are within this budget range?

Thank you for any comments or opinions,


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#245526 - 02/25/09 09:20 PM Re: Piano with tonal colour for classical music
Rank Piano Amateur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1850
I cannot imagine that any of the pianos on your list would be inappropriate for classical music. The test is whether you like how they sound when classical music is played on them. This is inevitably a highly subjective judgment. Many pianists play both classical music and other kinds, and few if any pianists keep separate pianos on which to play the various kinds of music they enjoy. You have started several threads on the subject of your search. The search will be very exciting, and you will learn a lot, but at least in my view what you need to do is go out and play pianos, as many as you can find. You will find a piano that calls to you, I am sure.

#245527 - 02/25/09 10:42 PM Re: Piano with tonal colour for classical music
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14987
Loc: Surrey, B.C.

Play as many pianos as possible and come to a conclusion of your own.

The question you pose cannot simply be answered by 'brand' - it may be more one particular model of any one brand.

Once you like a particular piano, it should make additional work such as voicing relatively superfluous.

The reason I say this is that many buyers have unrealistic hopes how much a piano can be changed - and if changed - stay that way.

The other reason is that there are VERY few technicians who are really good in voicing and know what they are doing.

Voicing requires a lot of experience and a kind of special gift "listening in", something that requires a certain amount of musicality, not just technical skill on the part of the tuner.

My advice: get a piano with which you connect *from touch one* or at least work with someone you can trust and demonstrate his abilities to you.

Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642 www.eliteheritagepianos.ca Edmonton, Alta dealers for Estonia,
Brodmann 780-405-8908

#245528 - 02/25/09 10:50 PM Re: Piano with tonal colour for classical music
boxijie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/08
Posts: 126
Loc: Vancouver
In Vancouver and in your price range you are likely only going to find used Yamahas and some Kawais, but nothing else on your list, unless it is 80-100 years old (which you should stay away from) on Craigslist. You can get a used Yamaha U3 for the upper end of your price range.

Pacey's pianos has lots of "grey Market" Yamahas in your range, and they give a 10 year guarantee. You can also rent to own.

Showcase pianos has some new Baldwins over your range and some used ones in your range.

Fraser Pianos near Aldergrove has new Wm Knabe and Steigerman that may be in your range or a bit higher (5-6K). If you want to go higher, they also have very nice Bohemia and W. Hoffman for 8-10K. Those sound very nice, especially the Bohemia.

You can also go see Norbert (a frequent poster here) at Heritage pianos in Surrey and he can hook you up with a new Hailun or Brodmann. I think in your range or maybe up to 5k will get you a very nice Hailun that sounds 10x better than the Yamaha T118 that is in the similar price point.

I think you are going about it the right way. First fix your budget and then play lots of pianos and find the one that sounds the best in that budget.

I have been doing this also for a bit higher price point, but in your range, I think you should really go play a Hailun and/or Broadman. You will be surprised the quality and the sound of these new pianos and you are not paying extra for a name brand.

Happy hunting!

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#245529 - 02/26/09 03:08 AM Re: Piano with tonal colour for classical music
Mike088 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/23/09
Posts: 92
Loc: New Westminster, Canada
Thank you Norbert and Buzzey,
Glad to here there are local places I can visit instead of searching all over the internet. I appreciate all this advice which has helped me to focus my direction. Thanks for such helpful answers!


#245530 - 02/26/09 03:12 AM Re: Piano with tonal colour for classical music
Mike088 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/23/09
Posts: 92
Loc: New Westminster, Canada
And thank you Rank Piano Amateur for your perspective on this issue. Good points. I'll have to try as many pianos as I can to guide my judgement on this important issue.

#245531 - 02/26/09 09:07 AM Re: Piano with tonal colour for classical music
apple* Offline

Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
better check out the Charles Walters.. they are durable and have the BEST, most grandlike action i've encountered in that price range. they seem kind of short, but the bass is awesome... and the balance is superb. they awesome pianos. I also am very impressed with the largest Baldwin upright.(6000?).
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

#1153940 - 02/27/09 01:58 PM Re: Piano with tonal colour for classical music [Re: apple*]
Steve Cohen Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10727
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Within your price range you probably won't be able to find pianos, new or used, that have good tonal color.

You are likely best off with a grey market Yamaha or Kawai.

Edited by Steve Cohen (02/27/09 01:59 PM)
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

#1153979 - 02/27/09 02:48 PM Re: Piano with tonal colour for classical music [Re: Steve Cohen]
NoctuGranes Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/22/07
Posts: 285
Loc: Northeast USA
15-20yr old Baldwin 6000 uprights are capable of being voiced to have good tonal color. I just sold one (private sale) in that price range. There should be some around still in very good shape. Yes, I sold it to buy something with FANTASTIC tonal color but it cost an order of magnitude more. I still think the 6000 was a very nice piano, and tonal color is my "thing".

...this is why I tire of Yamaha even though they feel good and are fun to play, and don't care for Kawai much at all. But I like dark music, not Bach/Mozart, so I'm not bashing, just giving you info on my perspective.

On a 6000, make sure the action is fast enough for you. I played Gershwin and Rachmaninov on mine but the action is not gonna match a Yamaha.
Not in the piano business.
1906 Baldwin C rebuilt 2008


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