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#1379934 - 02/21/10 09:05 PM Kawai KG5 vx. RX6
PianoMan1958 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 502
Loc: Tennessee
I have played a 1980 Kawai KG5 for years - at home for almost 20 years and now at our church where I play it almost every service. The piano is still in good shape, plays/sounds terrific; however, it's needing new strings and other minor rework.

Rather than restringing the Kawai, the church may sell a Baldwin M and the Kawai, replacing with a newer grand that would not require any rework.

I was wondering if anyone out there is familiar enough with the KG5 to compare it with one of the newer Kawai's in that size, say the RX 6 or RX7? Or any other piano that would have the nice, mellow and powerful sound of the KG5?
Jack in TN

Yamaha C5 grand (home)
Kawai KG5 grand (church)
Roland RD300GX digital (jazz group)

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#1380021 - 02/21/10 11:18 PM Re: Kawai KG5 vx. RX6 [Re: PianoMan1958]
Robert 45 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 1583
Loc: Auckland New Zealand
I am not familiar with the Kawai KG5, but the Kawai RX series are said to represent an advance in both design and quality on the earlier KG models.
However it is better not to rely on other people's advice. Try the pianos yourself and judge from your own experience. A few chords on either the RX6 or RX7 will tell you immediately how it compares with the KG5.

Good luck!


#1380052 - 02/22/10 12:05 AM Re: Kawai KG5 vx. RX6 [Re: Robert 45]
Dave Stahl Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 1645
The KG-5 was a nice piano, but the RXs are a couple of steps up, both technically and tonally. Having the KG5 restrung and possibly other things done to it wouldn't be a bad investment, but if they want to upgrade, either the RX 6 or seven would be a great choice. They are quite mellow and full sounding.

Try one out, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA

#1380061 - 02/22/10 12:25 AM Re: Kawai KG5 vx. RX6 [Re: Dave Stahl]
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4346
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Well your 1980 Kawai KG5 is a C mdl evolving to the KG5D in the early to mid eighties. The piano being 6'7" would probably be more comparable size wise to the RX5 at 6'6". Restring and new hammer shank flanges would definitely improve it greatly, probably not to the statue of an RX6 or RX7 though a much cheaper route is to refurbish what you have.

Edited by pianobroker (02/22/10 01:37 AM)
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#1380069 - 02/22/10 12:36 AM Re: Kawai KG5 vx. RX6 [Re: Dave Stahl]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4594
Loc: San Jose, CA
PM1958, do you have a financial estimate for the restringing and other work that is proposed? It can be quite expensive, and does not improve the resale value enough to recover its cost. You still have a piano that's (at least) at the midpoint of its design life. Your plan to get a newer piano strikes me as better for the long term.

I'm curious--- if your piano plays great and sounds great, why does it need to be restrung? At its age, it's more understandable that it might be time for some work on the action parts and hammers: cleaning, tuning, regulation, voicing, etc. Have the strings become rusty from the humid environment of Tennessee? Some techs will clean them and try to bring some life back. Are there other problems from moisture and long use--- mildew, mold, delamination, split soundboard, downbearing problem, finish appearance, loose pinblock, ugly key covers, wonky bridges, mice, etc? Or are we just talking about a two-day working-over to get the instrument as it stands in tip-top condition? That would strike me as quite reasonable maintenance for such a piano.

Anyway, I agree that getting out there and trying out pianos and talking with sellers will give you the answer to your original question. My personal answer might be "Get the RX-7, it sounds wonderful and will have enough volume and body of sound to carry the congregation's unison accompaniment, and the more intimate voice for quieter parts of the program.

#1380161 - 02/22/10 07:58 AM Re: Kawai KG5 vx. RX6 [Re: Jeff Clef]
PianoMan1958 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 502
Loc: Tennessee

There's no rust or anything on the strings and the piano hasn't been exposed to extreme humidity or anything. And none of the symptons you mention other than normal wear and tear.

It's just that some of the bass strings sound "tubbier" than others and our piano tech says the only way to fix this is to replace the strings; however, he says this would be a big task and we would be without the piano for a few weeks.

He also said it could use some minor regulation in the action but nothing major. The keys are in excellent shape and the touch is very even, a little heavier than my Yamaha at home but not bad.

One of the things I don't like about the Kawai is that it is hard to play softly, like you can on a Yamaha C5, C6 or C7. THis may be due to regulation, I'm just not sure. When you try to play soft (like at altar time, etc.) the keys go down but sometimes don't hit the strings. But I love the mellowness and volume I can get out the KG5 when I play medium to hard. For the size piano it is, it is quite impressive.
Jack in TN

Yamaha C5 grand (home)
Kawai KG5 grand (church)
Roland RD300GX digital (jazz group)

#1380174 - 02/22/10 08:15 AM Re: Kawai KG5 vx. RX6 [Re: PianoMan1958]
M.O.P. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 995
Loc: Ocala, Florida
Have you played the RX? The action is different from the KG in that it is the cabon fiber action, and you can certainly play softly, with great expression.
Nancy Fanzlaw
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#1380346 - 02/22/10 01:09 PM Re: Kawai KG5 vx. RX6 [Re: M.O.P.]
PianoWorksATL Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 3120
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Hello Pianoman,

The KG5 model is certainly capable of soft play, but regulation is what is causing you to miss notes. I find that techs may have to make some compromises in how they regulate a piano especially in a church setting when they are trying to please more than one person. We have a nearby church with a wonderful concert grand that has two talented but very heavy handed players (they also have a C7 in another part of the church where a few times a year they break strings and that is Very hard to do) so our techs have made choices to regulate the piano more for their style.

With the age and use of the hammers, you may not be able to get the desired tone from voicing any more.

I agree with pianobroker that you should first explore making repairs. At 30 years, it is a great time to replace strings and hammers. You'll also need to replace all the felts, damper felts and then re-regulate fresh. The action parts are made to last a very long time perhaps needing lubrication or re-pining. This is not work to be scared of and will bring back your old friend. Unless there is a problem with the core, this makes MUCH more sense to me.

If you do decide to go new, in addition to the RX models, consider the 7' Knabe. I think it will give you a good comparison for performance/price.
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
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#1380367 - 02/22/10 01:28 PM Re: Kawai KG5 vx. RX6 [Re: PianoWorksATL]
PianoMan1958 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 502
Loc: Tennessee
Thanks for the advice up to this point. And the KG5 has been a good old friend. I bought it soon after it made its debut at the World's Fair in Knoxville, TN. So, it was practically new when I bought it at a very good price, I thought at the time. I had it regulated soon after it was delivered and have maintained it very well (tunings 2x/year, minor regulation as needed, etc.) during its lifetime. It has served me well.

How much would be a reasonable cost to restring a KG5 and do the other suggested repairs mentioned by PianoWorks?

Also, has the KG5 always been a little lacking in the upper range, or does the brilliancy diminish when strings need to be replaced? Just wondering if this was due to it not being a duplex scale or not. Of course it's not going to be as brilliant as my Yamaha at home, nor do I expect it to be.
Jack in TN

Yamaha C5 grand (home)
Kawai KG5 grand (church)
Roland RD300GX digital (jazz group)

#1380503 - 02/22/10 04:46 PM Re: Kawai KG5 vx. RX6 [Re: PianoMan1958]
PianoWorksATL Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 3120
Loc: Atlanta, GA
There are several contributing factors to upper range brilliance including the strings & hammers. The duplex scaling doesn't give true brilliance by changing the tone of the speaking string, however the high frequencies in the duplexing in effect thicken the speaking note...which contributes to other factors of the upper register's performance. I'm defining "brilliance" as how percussive is the tone as well as how fast is the initial decay in the sustain. Grotrian pianos, for example, have a brilliant treble but accomplish this without duplex scaling.

We recently restored a Kawai concert grand that always had a few week areas, even when new. Restoration revealed the main reason was likely a poor connection between the bridge and board (a weak section in the glue joint). I think this type of problem is rare with Kawai but the piano is now better than it ever was because we could correct this problem.
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop


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