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#1248656 - 08/13/09 05:50 PM a Henry F. Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3?
pteach13 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/13/09
Posts: 5
HI:

I am a piano teacher hoping to find a nice quality grand 6' or over to go in home.
I just went to a Steinway store and the salesman introduced me to the Henry F. Miller 6'2'' model. He told me that the makers, Pearl River, have an excellent reputation and this particular Miller is the top of the line. (Price 11,999)

Salesman Quote: "The piano is brand new....as far as manufacturing, this piano is built at the pearl river factory and is the flagship piano built there! The piano you picked out is the nicest of all miller pianos -and is there newest design, meaning the reviews probably are not on the piano you picked out. The piano you picked out has all solid wood parts, a beautiful sitka spruce sound board and a super-lovely touch and tone"

After reading some of the forum postings, I am wondering if this is accurate...

I also stopped by another place and saw a Kawai RX3 for a reasonable price (24,500). I heard Kawai is a great brand.
Does anyone have any thoughts on the Henry Miller or the Kawai RX3?


Edited by insearch (08/13/09 08:12 PM)

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#1248692 - 08/13/09 07:19 PM Re: a Henry Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: pteach13]
Denny Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/23/09
Posts: 40
Loc: Scottsdale AZ
Where are you located? Did you see the Henry F Miller at a Sherman Clay Store?

The Henry F Miller is a very nice piano and worthy of consideration. The Kawai RX3 is also a good piano but much more expensive.

I too am a piano teacher as well as working at the Steinway Dealership in Phoenix AZ. We have the Henry F Miller pianos in our store and I do like them. I have, in the past, sold Kawai pianos as well. Tell me, do you like one better than the other? Tell me your thoughts on the 2 pianos and I would be happy to share my thoughts with you as well.
_________________________
Denny in Scottsdale AZ
Steinway Dealer and Piano Teacher

Making music at the piano is one of the greatest joys of life.

Play On!

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#1248722 - 08/13/09 08:01 PM Re: a Henry Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: Denny]
KawaiDon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/02
Posts: 1224
Loc: Orange County, CA
insearch,

Having never seen one of the recent Henry F. Miller pianos I can't comment on it. The RX-3 is, of course, a well respected and well made piano. I'm sure the Kawai dealer can fill you in on the main selling points and features, as can the Kawai web site.

You need to start to establish what it is that you want in a piano, and do a lot of listening to the pianos themselves. 10 years from now the sales stories won't mean a lot, but having the piano that suits you sure will!
_________________________
Don Mannino, MPA
Kawai America

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#1248739 - 08/13/09 08:41 PM Re: a Henry Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: KawaiDon]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14138
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
I am perplexed when piano teachers seek this advice - please note I'm not meaning to be derogatory.

Pianists are the first to decide wether or not they like a particular piano - all others, including us whizkids here, are a humble second.

Norbert
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#1248779 - 08/13/09 09:34 PM Re: a Henry Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: Norbert]
pteach13 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/13/09
Posts: 5
Denny,
I did see the Henry F. Miller at Sherman Clay. I really liked the sound and the look of it, more than other pianos in the store. I had never really heard of Henry Miller at the time, and was excited until I got home and read reviews. Other musicians advised me to stay away from Chinese manufactured pianos.
After reading the Piano Book, I am even more concerned about the quality.

The Kawai RX3 has more of a mellow sound than the Miller. Also, the Kawai action sounds clean and more precise. However, I feel the Miller had more power. (Miller in small carpeted room, Kawai in warehouse). The price of the Kawai is not really an issue for me, because I view a piano as a major investment. I read the Pearl River brands depreciate quickly in value...

Norbert, I do believe I should go with the piano that best fits me, but I don't want to have major issues with it 10 years from now. That is why I ask for advice in this forum.

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#1248806 - 08/13/09 10:20 PM Re: a Henry Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: pteach13]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14138
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
Norbert, I do believe I should go with the piano that best fits me, but I don't want to have major issues with it 10 years from now. That is why I ask for advice in this forum.


The Nr 1 reason why you you could have issues with a piano in 10 years, IMHO is that you don't like it anymore.

This is admittedly very rare, but it can and does happen from time to time.

From my own experience as a dealer, the major switches are not between oriental pianos as such but more between orientals and some others, involving most typically either U.S. or European pianos.

All new pianos come with at least 10 years warranty and warranty issues, especially serious ones, are almost non-existing in today's world of modern, CNC controlled manufacturing.

Henry Miller is made by Pearl River and the only thing I would watch out for is that the piano would perhaps come form one of its most recent production.

You could wait for Larry Fine's just about to be released 2010 Supplement to read about these pianos.

I certainly will wish you very well and as a piano player myself have always been a strong advocate for "individual choice".

Norbert thumb


Edited by Norbert (08/13/09 10:24 PM)
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#1249720 - 08/15/09 10:53 AM Re: a Henry Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: Norbert]
pteach13 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/13/09
Posts: 5
FYI

I e-mailed The Piano Book for more information on when the next supplement comes out.

Here is the reply, "There will no longer be an "annual supplement". Instead there will be a new, semiannual publication called Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer, part of which will be devoted to the same sort of information that was in the Annual Supplement. It will be online for free, as well as available for purchase in print form. The online version will be available as soon as we can complete the website, Pianobuyer.com, hopefully within the next few days or a week. The print version will be out in September."

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#1249722 - 08/15/09 10:59 AM Re: a Henry Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: pteach13]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14138
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
It may be worth waiting for it.

I've seen it already and it talks about the brands mentioned....

Norbert
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#1249736 - 08/15/09 11:23 AM Re: a Henry F. Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: pteach13]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2727
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Originally Posted By: insearch
HI:

I am a piano teacher hoping to find a nice quality grand 6' or over to go in home.
I just went to a Steinway store and the salesman introduced me to the Henry F. Miller 6'2'' model. He told me that the makers, Pearl River, have an excellent reputation and this particular Miller is the top of the line. (Price 11,999)

Salesman Quote: "The piano is brand new....as far as manufacturing, this piano is built at the pearl river factory and is the flagship piano built there! The piano you picked out is the nicest of all miller pianos -and is there newest design, meaning the reviews probably are not on the piano you picked out. The piano you picked out has all solid wood parts, a beautiful sitka spruce sound board and a super-lovely touch and tone"

After reading some of the forum postings, I am wondering if this is accurate...

I also stopped by another place and saw a Kawai RX3 for a reasonable price (24,500). I heard Kawai is a great brand.
Does anyone have any thoughts on the Henry Miller or the Kawai RX3?

Pearl River's reputation has improved in recent years. Everything the salesman told you is true, but there is nothing unique about solid all wood parts or sitka spruce sound boards. I've played lots of Kawai pianos and the Millenium II actions sounded mellower than the current product (to my ears). However, piano hammers compress with use and the sound will bloom over time. If a piano is already bright it may do so to the point of requiring voicing sooner rather than later. Over time any piano will require voicing. To answer your question I've heard and liked the RX3s I've played.

If you like the Henry Miller, then buy it. The usual advice here is to play a piano on several occasions on different days because how you respond to it will vary.

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#1249845 - 08/15/09 02:49 PM Re: a Henry F. Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: Steve Chandler]
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
insearch, two unrelated issues here.

In general it's tone, touch, and appearance - to your ears, your fingers, and your eyes.

Choosing a piano is ultimately an emotional decision and we often react differently on different days, so multiple auditions are preferred.

Bold pianos make a strong first impression, but IMO raw power is overrated as a characteristic of pianos which will be played at home. I'd be more interested in how easy - or difficult - it is to get pianissimo.

In general the quality of Chinese made pianos is rising quickly. Pearl River pianos did not used to have a good reputation for quality, but the company has moved to a new, climate controlled factory.

The way to resolve doubts about quality control is to hire an experienced tech who has no affiliation with the seller, to do a prepurchase inspection. Techs can assess things such at proper fitting of pin blocks and proper seasoning of wood. Most consumers - of whom I'm definitely one - cannot do that.

Patience and persistence.

PS, re posts which mention teachers asking for advice, you've inadvertently bumped into a recurring theme on PW. When people ask, we frequently post that teachers are not the people on whom consumers should depend for choosing a piano. Partly that's because teachers sometimes receive a commission for referrals and partly it's because teachers know the instrument(s) which they use for teaching, but otherwise are not considered to have special expertise.



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#1249852 - 08/15/09 03:16 PM Re: a Henry F. Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: FogVilleLad]
Muget Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/07/09
Posts: 21
Loc: California
I would hijack a pianist who is actively performing and well trained and ask that person to also play the instrument, in which, you are interested. The ear of an active performing musician can be very helpful. Also Larry Fine's book and keep asking others about their instuments. And remember no 2 piano's are the same even IF they are the same manufacturer. If you can find the movie " Note by Note" ( YOU CAN BUY IT THRU THE STEINWAY WEBSITE.... not released until 9/09 to the public ), the movie will give you a bucket of info about the mechanisms of a piano and other musicians and their preferences etc. Fascinating movie. Compelling story. Helped me when I got my Kawai RX3. Good Luck, Mere

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#1249857 - 08/15/09 03:26 PM Re: a Henry F. Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: FogVilleLad]
charleslang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 2079
While what is often said about tone developing over time is definitely true, I wouldn't take it so seriously as to decide for a piano whose tone doesn't fully appeal to you now, when you play it in the store or whatever.

I had the same experience as you, insearch, when playing some Kawai RX's -- that they don't have the power of some other pianos. It may be that you won't need power when it is in your home, but just personally I would always go for the piano that sounds good when I play it and not wait on any promises. If you care about power, it's easier to voice down a powerful piano than to try to get more out of a piano that is just not made with power in mind.

I worked at a college and I'll never forget the experience we had with a Petrof (in about 2005). We bought it brand new -- at least 48" upright -- and it is beautiful and when we auditioned it our accompanist played Mozart and it sounded fantastic. But after we got the piano back to the college I realized that it was just not made to be a powerful piano. Fine for Mozart, terrible for some of the things I wanted to play on it. My little 43 inch May-Berlin blew it out of the water in terms of power.

They told us the same things about the Petrof that people are writing here -- the hammers will get brighter over time etc. But to this day I feel a little cheated by that Petrof and the salespeople. A Yamaha U3 for example might have been a better choice for us. (We even had them come and harden the hammers but it did not do much).

So don't buy anything you don't already like in the hope that you will later.
_________________________
Charles Lang
Working on: A Night in Tunisia; Memories of Tomorrow (Keith Jarrett).
Just started: Brazilian Like (Michel Petrucciani)

Baldwin Model R (1974), Hardman 5'9" grand (1915), Rieger-Kloss 42.5" vertical

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#1249868 - 08/15/09 04:01 PM Re: a Henry F. Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: charleslang]
Muget Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/07/09
Posts: 21
Loc: California
Oh another consideration I forgot to mention: During my search for a piano, when I would have the occasion of attending a performance, I often would approach the piano soloist in the foyer of the auditorium (after the performance) and I would ask what kind of piano they used in their home or personal studio. Many well known pianists would tell me that altho they are endorsed by Steinway etc ....at home they play another manufacturer. Often,the answer was Kawai. To me, that told me I better look at a Kawai. When an RX 3 is open, it produces a powerful sound and I agree with the blogger before me, it is a lot easier to voice down than try to voice UP a piano.

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#1249869 - 08/15/09 04:07 PM Re: a Henry F. Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: charleslang]
Robert 45 Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 1220
Loc: Auckland New Zealand
While I do not know the Henry F.Miller piano at all, the Pearl River piano company would be one of the most established and enterprising piano manufacturers in China.
My advice is always to choose the piano you like although your choice should not exclude the factors of independent technical opinion on the piano you are considering to purchase and spending your money wisely.
In my opinion, the Kawai RX3 will have greater brand and model recognition than the Henry F. Miller piano should you decide later to upgrade or sell.
I also believe that a piano should be judged primarily as a musical instrument which covers a myriad of criteria in terms of tonal colour, dynamic range, touch and response. Loudness per se is not an indicator of a superior piano.

Good luck with your choice.

Robert.

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#1249887 - 08/15/09 04:48 PM Re: a Henry F. Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: Robert 45]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
To me, the choice would be an easy one: the RX. But I have played a lot of pianos (including while I was shopping, and since), and that's how I found out which one I liked better.

"Salesman Quote: "The piano is brand new....as far as manufacturing, this piano is built at the pearl river factory and is the flagship piano built there! The piano you picked out is the nicest of all miller pianos -and is there newest design, meaning the reviews probably are not on the piano you picked out. The piano you picked out has all solid wood parts, a beautiful sitka spruce sound board and a super-lovely touch and tone"

"After reading some of the forum postings, I am wondering if this is accurate..."


I would wonder too, it sure sounds like puffery and sales pressure. Let your own ears and fingers decide. Best is to go back three times to try the candidates. I would look at a wider range, if I were in your shoes... just to see what's out there. You have some fine choices and favorable prices these days, and if it were me shopping, I would feel more comfortable with a dealer who didn't lean on me quite so hard.
_________________________
Clef


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#1249897 - 08/15/09 05:21 PM Re: a Henry F. Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: FogVilleLad]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6294
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Dear Insearch -

No new 6'2" baby grand piano is "top of the line" at $11,999.

You get what you pay for.

And chances are that if you buy the Miller you'll be less than satisfied with it before 10 years is up.

Perhaps it would be better to pay a bit more and go with something that has an established track record.

Please wait and read the online Larry Fine supplement. Evaluate ALL of your options - and take your time!!!

If you are unhappy with your purchase, it will be difficult to sell the instrument and recoup your investment (I know this from experience !!). So do the research - and beware of sales pitches !!

Good luck !!





Edited by carey (08/15/09 05:24 PM)
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#1249898 - 08/15/09 05:21 PM Re: a Henry F. Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: Jeff Clef]
charleslang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 2079
Anybody know why Pearl River has Ritmüller on their web page but not Henry Miller? I can't find a web site for Henry Miller.
_________________________
Charles Lang
Working on: A Night in Tunisia; Memories of Tomorrow (Keith Jarrett).
Just started: Brazilian Like (Michel Petrucciani)

Baldwin Model R (1974), Hardman 5'9" grand (1915), Rieger-Kloss 42.5" vertical

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#1249900 - 08/15/09 05:23 PM Re: a Henry F. Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: pteach13]
SeilerFan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/27/09
Posts: 746
Originally Posted By: insearch
... that the makers, Pearl River, have an excellent reputation and this particular Miller is the top of the line. (Price 11,999)


I remain a skeptic. Pearl River doesn't have an "excellent" reputation among people who seriously play their pianos many hours a day, be it professionally or on an amateur level. Of course, this makes the customer feel good about their decision to go for a entry-level grand piano. Pearl River is not a Steinway, is not a Mason & Hamlin, is not a Kawai RX or a Yamaha C. It just isn't. If you'll be content with an entry level grand, then that's ok. If you want more, then you have to pay more. There is a reason why most musicians don't play Pearl River but other makes. They might have improved but they are far from excellent.

The sales person seems to have pegged you as a customer who isn't willing/able to pay for a Steinway and is now trying to give you a glowing sales pitch about this sub-sub-sub Steinway instrument. What he/she told you is more like a typical sales spiel than true personal conviction.

When I was sixteen, my parents bought me a 6' Samick grand, based on what the salesperson deemed to be an "excellent" piano. After four years of practicing, the leather on the knuckles was gone, hammers slipped, the intonation was sh....y, the felts were worn out, the keys not level any longer. During heavy use (I practiced the 1st movement of the 1st Chopin piano concerto then), the tuning wouldn't hold. I got what I paid for. I was glad to get rid of that black piece of furniture and trade it in for a real piano. Maybe, miraculously, Pearl River now makes world-class instruments that they sell for a penny. I doubt it. It can say Henry F. Miller or Albert T. Fox or Charles Bukowski on the fallboard, it still is a Pearl River. Maybe in twenty years the Chinese will produce world class instruments. That might well be possible. As for now, they don't.




Edited by SeilerFan (08/15/09 05:27 PM)

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#1249903 - 08/15/09 05:26 PM Re: a Henry F. Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: charleslang]
charleslang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 2079
Just for those of us who haven't played one (and I know you can't judge all that much from recordings anyway) I think this video has a recent (2008) seven foot Henry Miller (he has a video of it being delivered in July 2008 so I assume that his videos after that date are on the piano).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZe27HY_t60&feature=channel_page

Sounds like the bass is nice but the piano could really use some voicing.

Edit: woops! I found out that is a very old Henry Miller piano (his web site mentions it).


Edited by charleslang (08/15/09 05:39 PM)
_________________________
Charles Lang
Working on: A Night in Tunisia; Memories of Tomorrow (Keith Jarrett).
Just started: Brazilian Like (Michel Petrucciani)

Baldwin Model R (1974), Hardman 5'9" grand (1915), Rieger-Kloss 42.5" vertical

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#1249907 - 08/15/09 05:32 PM Re: a Henry F. Miller 6'2'' or a Kawai RX3? [Re: SeilerFan]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6294
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
"Maybe, miraculously, Pearl River now makes world-class instruments that they sell for a penny. I doubt it. It can say Henry F. Miller or Albert T. Fox or Charles Bukowski on the fallboard, it still is a Pearl River."

WELL SAID !!!
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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