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#1425583 - 04/27/10 10:11 PM New State, New Piano!
PianoDude2010 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/10
Posts: 33
Loc: Rochester, NY
Hello all,

I'll be moving down to Texas (either Houston or Austin area) next fall, and am excited to be buying my first piano.

First, can anyone suggest reputable dealers in the Houston/Austin areas?

Second: I've decided to go with either a nice upright, or an older, smaller grand. My budget is around $5,000-6,000. In that range, I've seen Steinway 1098s, Yamaha U1s, U3s, numerous other uprights, and older grands around the 5'8" size from Weber, Knabe and others. I'm a professional pianist (finishing my doctorate now), so quality does matter.

My question is, should I stick to an excellent, used upright (either by Steinway, Yamaha, Mason and Hamlin, etc.), or should I be looking for a more beat-up, but serviceable grand? I've played on plenty of instruments in less-than-perfect condition but with a beautiful tone (in particular, a very bruised old Mason and Hamlin baby grand at school), so is it worth it if I buy a piano that hasn't been reconditioned but sounds all right? Does anyone have suggestions for old grand models that tend to carry their age well?

This is my first post on this forum (which I've read for a while now), it's been wonderful reading the old posts and soaking up all this collective knowledge!

Thanks,
Rick M.

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#1425585 - 04/27/10 10:17 PM Re: New State, New Piano! [Re: PianoDude2010]
sanrioyt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/25/10
Posts: 31
You are voicing my questions *exactly*.

I don't have much advice, and will be watching this thread
to find out what most would recommend.

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#1425589 - 04/27/10 10:25 PM Re: New State, New Piano! [Re: sanrioyt]
Brandon_W_T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/10
Posts: 1940
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
Someone mentioned to stay away from steinway 1098s, as they are not the best. Look for a K series, a step up definitely from a 1098.

As for the other ones, I would choose a U3 over most uprights, except a steinway K, or pre 1900 steinway (personal preference)
_________________________
______
Home -
1905 Story and Clark Art Case smile

--NEW!--- 1964ish Conn 640 vacuum tube theatre organ! (with leslie!) smile

Grandmas- New Hyundai petite baby grand

Church (the organ I practice on)-
1998 Bedient (Built about 45 minutes from me!) 2m/pedal 24 rank Cavaille-Coll style pipe organ

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#1425633 - 04/27/10 11:50 PM Re: New State, New Piano! [Re: Brandon_W_T]
terminaldegree Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 3352
Loc: WI --> GA
I've had nice experiences in Austin at the Steinway Gallery and Strait Music, though I didn't end up buying there. Don't know if they're still there, but Matt Bird (Steinway) and Doug Row (Strait) always treated me well. While I was there a Kawai dealer opened up north of Austin (after Brook Mays folded), but I don't know if they're still around nor did I have a chance to drop by and see them. I don't think he has a showroom, but would recommend stopping by Bernard Mollberg's rebuild shop in Blanco just for fun-- they do good work, and many pianists/institutions in the area use him for comprehensive rebuilds of nice grand pianos.

I don't know much about the piano store scene in Houston, sorry. Ended up buying mine in Dallas.
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer

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#1425839 - 04/28/10 11:18 AM Re: New State, New Piano! [Re: terminaldegree]
mahermusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 356
Loc: U.S.A.
Don't count out the Walter. For around the $6,000 range, you could end up with a NEW Charles Walter 1500. While in a studio cabinet, and not as glamorous at the 1520 series, it's the same piano inside. (I actually was getting a quote for my school, but needed a 1500 with the lock pre-installed. The Walter factory in Indiana had two 1500's available, one oak satin and one walnut satin, that I was quoted $5,950 for either. 12-year full warranty, weighted keys, quality workmanship.)
_________________________
Charles R. Walter 1520 QA Mahogany #531739 w/ High Polish, Renner and Quiet Pedal

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#1425850 - 04/28/10 11:31 AM Re: New State, New Piano! [Re: mahermusic]
NoctuGranes Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/22/07
Posts: 285
Loc: Northeast USA
When I had $6000, I went with a high-quality upright. With some patience for the used piano market, you should be able to land a fantastic upright for that price. For me it was 20yrs ago, and I got a new Baldwin 6000. So today's dollars don't quite equate. Even _more_ reason to get a great upright.
_________________________
-Nocty
Not in the piano business.
1906 Baldwin C rebuilt 2008

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#1425934 - 04/28/10 01:26 PM Re: New State, New Piano! [Re: NoctuGranes]
PianoDude2010 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/10
Posts: 33
Loc: Rochester, NY
Thanks for the suggestions and comments! Re. Charles Walter, I actually played on a pretty beat-up old Charles Walter a few weeks ago during some opera outreach work in local schools, and it wasn't bad! I'll definitely look at that brand when I start my official shopping.

Does anyone have opinions on older (smaller) grands?

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