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#1313180 - 11/27/09 08:32 AM advice on replacing an upright with a mid-ranged grand
daniel.j Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/22/08
Posts: 4

I've owned an upright Kellen-Gros (I don't think they exist nowadays) for about 15 years now. I've taken really good care of it and made sure to tune it frequently and it's still a very good piano. But I feel like it's holding me back and would like to upgrade to a grand.

I have looked into several brand new grands:

  • Yamaha GB-1 - quite nice for it's price and size, but I feel it's small size puts it below others in the same price range.
  • Pearl River GP-183 - very cheap for it's size. Didn't fall in love with the tone and touch. Heard/read mixed reviews.
  • Hailun HG178 - The one I liked the most of these 3. It has a nice feel and touch, the tone is lovable aswell. The problem is that it costs 30% more than the rest.

Initially when I started looking, the first piano I played on was a Yamaha G2. I really liked the tone but it was quite old and wasn't sure if it's a good buy. I continued checking out Yamaha but the only one that I could afford was the GB-1, which like I said before was a bit disappointing. I thought of checking out 20-30 years old Yamaha C3 but again I'm not sure if it's a safe buy considering I can get for the same price a brand new one.

I would appreciate any advice from people: is it worth spending more for the Hailun? Should I check out old Yamaha's?


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#1313194 - 11/27/09 08:56 AM Re: advice on replacing an upright with a mid-ranged grand [Re: daniel.j]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 21940
Loc: New York City
Unfortunately, only you can decide if the extra cost for the piano you like the most is worth it. I wouldn't consider any piano whose tone/touch you don't like much at all, e.g. the Pearl River you mentioned.

Chances are many people will say to go for the one you like the most even if it's more expensive. But I've never seen a PW memebers suggesting this approach offer to pay the difference! It's easy to say it's worth it when you're not the one spending the money.

How much do you love piano music?

Assuming you plan to have the piano for quite a while, you may want to think of things in terms of how much extra per year you'll be paying. The difference may seem smaller that way.

If you're willing to search and get it inspected by a good tech, a slightly used piano that would be too expensive if brand new is another possibility. To get an idea of what'sw available you can check out pianomart.com.

Edited by pianoloverus (11/27/09 09:04 AM)

#1313440 - 11/27/09 04:34 PM Re: advice on replacing an upright with a mid-ranged grand [Re: pianoloverus]
Louis H. Bousquet Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/08
Posts: 350
Loc: Stratford, Ontario, Canada
I would go for Hailun, just please don't go for the Pearl River, although in Pearl's defense their bigger grands have renner actions. Go for the one you like the most but if the cost difference between the Hailun and the rest is about $5K figure it this way: 5000/30/12/30=0.46 If you like the Hailun the best, and you own the piano for 30 years, the difference is negligible. If you paid an extra 0.46 per day for the next 30 years, you could own the Hailun.
Louis Bousquet

#1313450 - 11/27/09 04:54 PM Re: advice on replacing an upright with a mid-ranged grand [Re: Louis H. Bousquet]
Konzert Patrick Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 791
Loc: The Netherlands
I disagree Louis,
Hailun is a new brand so you do not know if it will hold up for 30 years, the OP is asking for help and if the 30% more expensive wasn't a problem he wouldn't be asking for advice.

I would say keep looking for slightly used pianos like pianoloverus mentioned. There are very good deals to be made. Try out the brands that you consider and that are in your price range. If you want new your options are slightly more limited.

When I was shopping I wanted a C2 or a C3, my budget only allowed me to get the GC1 with silent system. I new I wanted to buy form a manufacturer who's resale value would hold up well so that if I ever decide to trade up in 5/10 years I can sell the piano easily.

Good luck, take your time and enjoy the experience
Schimmel Konzert 189 Tradition

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#1313453 - 11/27/09 04:56 PM Re: advice on replacing an upright with a mid-ranged grand [Re: Louis H. Bousquet]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 15185
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Hailun HG178 - The one I liked the most of these 3. It has a nice feel and touch, the tone is lovable aswell. The problem is that it costs 30% more than the rest.

There's several possible reasons for that,the simplest perhaps that it is most likely a current model instrument.

If I were the dealer, I would make your preferred choice as doable as possible, as it would be an honour to be chosen out of the others.

Perhaps time to talk some serious turkey with dealer....


Edited by Norbert (11/27/09 04:59 PM)
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

#1313456 - 11/27/09 05:08 PM Re: advice on replacing an upright with a mid-ranged grand [Re: Norbert]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
An older Yamaha G2 might be worn out, OR it might still have a long time ahead of it. I wouldn't throw away that possibility without a second look, especially if the price was good. Getting a technician to look at it for you and see if it's in good shape is usually a good plan. If it's worn out or needs $thousands in repairs then of course don't buy it.
(I'm a piano teacher.)

#1313700 - 11/28/09 03:32 AM Re: advice on replacing an upright with a mid-ranged grand [Re: david_a]
daniel.j Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/22/08
Posts: 4
Thanks for the replies.

I've scheduled to go see the older Yamaha's next week. The dealer is quite anti-Yamaha, he insists that the ones he has are inferior to the Hailun.

When I began looking I also had in mind the resale value in case I'll want to upgrade. That's why I knew the reputation Yamaha has where I live would help sell it (the market for grand pianos here is really small, so chances are people will be more familiar with Yamaha than Hailun). But then I realized that the odds of me upgrading it to something better are very slim. I doubt I'll feel held back (considering my piano skills now, and in the future) by such a nice instrument such as the Hailun 178. So given this changed mindset I am less inclined to buy a more known brand just so it'll be easier for me to sell it. Atleast I think I'm taking the right approach?

Either way the dealer suggested that the price is negotiable. When I entered his store he knew my budget but still showed me the Hailun. What would be a reasonable discount to ask for?

Also I thought of trading in my Kellen Gros but it seems it's value is really low, it might be best to keep it and maybe use it someday.

#1313702 - 11/28/09 03:40 AM Re: advice on replacing an upright with a mid-ranged grand [Re: daniel.j]
Jay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/01
Posts: 476
Loc: AUD
who knows maybe in the next 15-20 years of ownership, the hailun might be the next asia-yamaha.. by then selling it will not be difficult. just like what i have been reading in the forum, buyers pay $$$ for some 20-30 years old japanese pianos that weren't as good as current.

#1313721 - 11/28/09 05:04 AM Re: advice on replacing an upright with a mid-ranged grand [Re: Konzert Patrick]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3489
There is no reason to assume that Hailun pianos won't last at least 30 years... these guys mean business! People were saying the same thing about Yamaha and Kawai... and were wrong.

#1313723 - 11/28/09 05:09 AM Re: advice on replacing an upright with a mid-ranged grand [Re: daniel.j]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3489
The older Japanese pianos are probably inferior to Hailun, and possibly a few other Chinese pianos. Earlier this year, I played a Wendl & Lung 218 (Hailun) which I thought was a much better piano than Yamaha or Kawai's equivalent. I've also played a few Fandrich grands, which I'd take over a Yamaha or Kawai without thinking twice. However, it all boils down to personal taste in the end. As long as you do your research, you can't go wrong.

#1316864 - 12/02/09 04:35 PM Re: advice on replacing an upright with a mid-ranged grand [Re: beethoven986]
notime4kids Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/01/07
Posts: 16
Loc: St.Louis MO
We purchased a used (1982) Yamaha G2 3 years ago for my four kids (upgrading from an M500 upright) and have been COMPLETELY happy with it. I don't play but my kids have placed as high as second in state competitions so they have some level of experience by which to judge, and of all pianos in that size range this particular G2 is their favorite.

BUT I will add that we almost passed on even looking at this piano because during our search we encountered two other G2's that just didn't measure up in action and sound. The one we ended up purchasing (locally off of Craigslist, believe it or not) was being sold by the original owner, a music teacher who played it for her own enjoyment and had it maintained by the same technician from the day she bought it. When I called her and confirmed the model number and said we would pass she replied "But you want to play THIS G2", and we did. I had to drag my two "testers" out of her house at 10:00 at night cuz' they didn't want to stop and insisted that I call her "NOW" and say we'd take it! It was FAR superior to the others in every way. She related that she spent 6 months playing every piano on the market in St. Louis in 1982 until she found this one, which has a GREAT sound compared even to other G2s. Our piano technician examined the unit, spoke with the other technician and called us and said "BUY IT!", especially after she dropped the price $3000 just to see it go to a home where it would be played every day.

Bottom line - you really have to play it to know it.....
Father of 4 pianists = lotsa music!

#1317235 - 12/03/09 04:00 AM Re: advice on replacing an upright with a mid-ranged grand [Re: notime4kids]
daniel.j Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/22/08
Posts: 4
I went to the dealers storage and played some of his Yamaha G2 (he had other G's, can't remember which). I wasn't particularly impressed with them. I thought he had a few C's there to check but unfortunately he doesn't have any at the moment.

While there, he repeated his strong recommendation for the Hailun 178G. More so he had a 10 months old one (which was previously in the show room) laying there which he claimed to have forgot about and said he's willing to give me a 20% discount for. Other than it being a little out of tune and dusted, it seemed in good shape, some of it was even still wrapped.

In the end the price I'll have to pay for the Hailun is slightly lower than what I had to for the Yamaha GB1!
The dealer seems to be a good guy and I don't think he's being dishonest regarding this 'discovery'. But I have to admit it does seem a little strange.

The way I see it now, the only question left is whether it's worth paying 20% more for one that is only a couple of months old. I'm leaning towards no but will appreciate any thoughts.

Also I kind of gave up on searching for a Yamaha C3 (or any C), reason is the few used piano dealers in the area simply don't have any C's (only G's) and I'm not sure if it's wise to order a used one without checking it out first.


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