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#1291199 - 10/21/09 11:04 AM Buying a Charles Walter Piano
djhopkin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/20/09
Posts: 2
Loc: Hill Country Texas
Another newbie here. I've been playing an old Baldwin spinet since my Dad bought it for me (age 14) forty years ago. I kept it for sentimental reasons (my Dad died young) but after one too many moves, it's not playable and I've decided I really need an upgrade anyway. I'm not a daily player and only play for my own enjoyment. I've read The Piano Book and lurked here for awhile. I've decided that a new Charles Walter vertical might work for me and fits my price range though I've never played one. I've finally found a dealer in my state (Texas) 6 hours away and I'm making a trek to play/look at one.
First off, should I really look at something else? (I'm less interested in "brightness"). Assuming I like the sound, is there anything else I should look for when I'm at the piano? I've read they come in really good shape from the manufacturer and don't need much prep. Since the dealer is primarily a Steinway dealer, is there anything else I should play while I'm there to compare? Is there anything I should watch out for? I'm not sure I have a good negotiation strategy when I'm at the only dealer in the state. Any suggestions?
Thanks for any suggestions.

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#1291213 - 10/21/09 11:38 AM Re: Buying a Charles Walter Piano [Re: djhopkin]
terminaldegree Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2910
Loc: western Wisconsin
Since you're driving a really long way to see the piano, call the dealer a couple of days in advance and let them know you're going to be driving 6 hours to look at their specific piano, and to be sure it is ready to show. At the store, ask for the same salesperson you spoke to on the phone, too.

When I did this (my piano search went from San Antonio to Plano), every dealer had their pianos tuned for me and in good working order. Since it's a Steinway dealer you're going to see, I'd play the Model K and 1098 Steinways for comparison's sake (even if you can't afford 'em...you may be surprised how other pianos do or don't measure up), and of course the Kawai-built Boston uprights.

Let us know how everything turns out! Best of luck.
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200 (Bl├╝thner pro-88 on the way!) @ home
NY Steinway A, B @ work
Schimmel 130T, on loan

#1291216 - 10/21/09 11:44 AM Re: Buying a Charles Walter Piano [Re: djhopkin]
guest1013 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/07
Posts: 1239
For negotiating, play other brands and see if there is anything you like as well as a Walter. Your strategy could be to find two other pianos that you'd be happy with in your budget.
one shopping strategy

Edited by guest1013 (10/21/09 11:45 AM)

#1291223 - 10/21/09 11:59 AM Re: Buying a Charles Walter Piano [Re: guest1013]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1399
Loc: Dallas, TX
Several years ago I bought a Walter from Steinway Hall in Dallas. Shopping there was great as they had a lot of Walters on the floor to compare including several of the plain black 1500s which is what I was looking for. They did negotiate some on price but I still probably came out higher than some buyers at other places (after all, it was Steinway Hall). But the piano was well prepped and tuned when delivered and I never had any real problems with it. I enjoyed the piano every day I owned it (and only sold it to make room for my Estonia grand which I absolutely adore).
Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718

#1291228 - 10/21/09 12:09 PM Re: Buying a Charles Walter Piano [Re: packa]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19836
Loc: New York City
I think you should play quite a few verticals in your price range and decide which you like best. I don't mean you should just ignore advice in the Piano Buyer or anywhere else, but just because a piano gets a good review doesn't mean you'll like it. Or you might like it but like something else even more.

And remember that if most of your playing has been on a very old spinet, all the newer high quality verticals will probably sound very good. So don't just choose the first one you like.

#1291238 - 10/21/09 12:21 PM Re: Buying a Charles Walter Piano [Re: djhopkin]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3425
Charles Walter uprights are very nice, but it wouldn't hurt to try other pianos, too.
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

#1291279 - 10/21/09 01:44 PM Re: Buying a Charles Walter Piano [Re: beethoven986]
Always Wanted to Play Piano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 674
Loc: Chicago
Question for the group... is contacting the factory directly an option here? Obviously that would preclude playing and ordering a specific instrument unless the OP were able to travel... but I read in another thread that the Walter factory is also a retail outlet. Does one save money by working directly with the producer?

Casio Ap-200
Almost midway thru Alfred's All-In-One Book Two
Blogging my family's piano learning experiences: http://aw2pp.blogspot.com/

#1291283 - 10/21/09 01:47 PM Re: Buying a Charles Walter Piano [Re: Always Wanted to Play Piano]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3425
Yes, you can contact the factory.
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

#1291287 - 10/21/09 02:01 PM Re: Buying a Charles Walter Piano [Re: beethoven986]
djhopkin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/20/09
Posts: 2
Loc: Hill Country Texas
I really appreciate all the posts. Great advice and you've all given me some good ideas. I think I will "play around".
THanks all.


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