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#1450020 - 06/04/10 09:40 AM Buying a new piano
Stereomatrix Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Singapore
I am planning to buy a new piano, but i am a novice at buying pianos, and i don't really know what to look out for when i buy a piano. Basically, i just look out for clear and rich sounds (in the bass).

Presently, i am looking at this few brands/models: Schimmel's Classic, Kawai K-8, and Wilhelm Tell, but i have a few queries about them.

Schimmel's Classic: It is really short (or rather, the model that i am looking at), and i have heard from somewhere that the bigger/taller your piano is, the better it is, though the salesman told me that that is only true when comparing between pianos of the same brand, like for e.g., a tall china-made piano might not sound as good as a short european piano.

Kawai K-8: Originally, i was totally convinced to buy this piano, what with it being a grand-piano built upright, but my piano teacher and other piano dealers that i have been to said it wasn't advisable to buy it.

Wilhelm Tell: The sound is very nice, and clear, and it is very affordable, but the fact that it is made in China leaves me questioning about its durability, even though i have heard that China-made pianos are getting better and better.

Reviews from people with first-hand experience about these pianos will be much appreciated smile

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#1450106 - 06/04/10 12:13 PM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: Stereomatrix]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21660
Loc: Oakland
On of my base comparisons has been two small grands, one by a famous German maker, and another by a Chinese manufacturer. The Chinese piano sounds a lot better to me, probably because it had been designed better. People have learned things since the German piano was made.

For the question of durability, there is another topic on that very subject.

If saving money means that you will feel better about spending money on maintenance, then the cheapest piano may be the best. If, on the other hand, you feel better about spending more money maintaining an expensive piano, then the expensive piano is better. The best way to keep a piano sounding better for the longest amount of time is to find a good person to maintain it.
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#1450146 - 06/04/10 01:01 PM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: BDB]
fj_s Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/09
Posts: 171
Loc: Singapore
1. Are uprights your only option, i.e. do you have space for a grand? There are pretty nice baby grands for the price of those pianos that you are considering. Frankly, you can get a decent used grand (e.g. GE30 or RX1-type) or a Hailun 178 for that price, and for slightly more even a Wilhelm Tell 190. They sound (and look) a lot better. Indeed, the Samick grands are cheaper and sometimes sound better.

2. The Schimmel has a clear tone, but slightly thin for the shorter ones. Decent buttery touch. Someone on the adult beginner thread was looking to sell his C124 though, which I think is quite nice.

3. Actually I quite like the K8, more so than the Wilhelm Tell. It's partly a tonal preference, but primarily because of the touch. (The Petrof/Bohemia 132 at the same place on the other hand, which is at a similar price, is another story.)

4. As for durability, they all last for a while... (typically longer than your interest in them...)
_________________________
In progress

Mozart: Sonata in D Major, k576
Chopin: Polonaise in A-flat major, Op 53
Berg: Sonata in B minor, Op 1
Bach: Partita in C Minor, BWV 826

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#1450220 - 06/04/10 02:54 PM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: fj_s]
gnuboi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 2349
Loc: USA
Would an RX-1 really beat a K8 in sound?

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#1450526 - 06/04/10 11:13 PM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: gnuboi]
fj_s Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/09
Posts: 171
Loc: Singapore
Gnuboi,

Singaporeans live in small homes. In generally, I find that as a result, there's a pretty good chance you would prefer every segment of an RX-1 in sound except for the lowest bass, and with a better touch. Even then, unless you spend some money on acoustic treatment, the bass isn't always that advantageous.
_________________________
In progress

Mozart: Sonata in D Major, k576
Chopin: Polonaise in A-flat major, Op 53
Berg: Sonata in B minor, Op 1
Bach: Partita in C Minor, BWV 826

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#1450653 - 06/05/10 07:33 AM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: fj_s]
Stereomatrix Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Singapore
Well yes, regrettably, uprights are my only option, because i simply don't have the space for a grand (i live in an apartment). Now i am debating between the schimmel and the kawai, but the schimmel is slightly out of my budget, and i am hesitating on the kawai because of all the negative comments that i have heard about the brand, though i like the sound/tone of both pianos... confused

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#1450684 - 06/05/10 08:57 AM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: Stereomatrix]
fj_s Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/09
Posts: 171
Loc: Singapore
Err what negative comments have you heard? Kawai's actually an excellent make. And the Japanese pianos are as durable as they come; non-trivial in Singapore's extremely humid and hot environment.
_________________________
In progress

Mozart: Sonata in D Major, k576
Chopin: Polonaise in A-flat major, Op 53
Berg: Sonata in B minor, Op 1
Bach: Partita in C Minor, BWV 826

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#1450804 - 06/05/10 01:10 PM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: fj_s]
Roxy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/19/08
Posts: 478
Loc: Whittier, Calif
Schimmel's are great piano's and would be my choice between the two pianos but if they are slightly out of your price range and you are hesitating on the Kawaii have you heard or tried a Perzina piano? They have a phenomenal bass sound and are great upright pianos. You might try them before making your final decision.

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#1450811 - 06/05/10 01:15 PM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: fj_s]
Stereomatrix Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Singapore
Well, according to my piano teacher, she said that the Kawai pianos used for the piano exams which her students went for all produced painful-to-the-ear kinda music... shocked

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#1450813 - 06/05/10 01:17 PM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: Roxy]
Stereomatrix Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Singapore
ok, thx for your advice! smile

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#1450903 - 06/05/10 03:54 PM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: Stereomatrix]
gnuboi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 2349
Loc: USA
What piano does your teacher have? Go try out the Kawai K8 like you mentioned elsewhere and judge for yourself if it is painful.

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#1450918 - 06/05/10 04:17 PM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: BDB]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Originally Posted By: BDB
On of my base comparisons has been two small grands, one by a famous German maker, and another by a Chinese manufacturer. The Chinese piano sounds a lot better to me, probably because it had been designed better. People have learned things since the German piano was made.


Off topic but I gotta know.
Was the German piano and the Chinese piano both brand new?
Designed better may be not the issue as many German and non German makers do change designs as R&D allows and I don't believe they are behind in that area.
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#1451012 - 06/05/10 08:12 PM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: Rod Verhnjak]
fj_s Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/09
Posts: 171
Loc: Singapore
Stereomatrix,

That typically suggests out-of-tune or pianos that have been excessively used. Entirely plausible under exam situations. (For the same reason why Robert Piano sells their ex-Academy model cheap - those pianos take a real beating!)

But do consider the Yamahas, Bohemias (Gramercy at Tanjong Katong), Petrofs (Bukit Timah SC), Seiler and W Hoffmans (Cristofori)as well. Play a whole bunch and see which one you like! They are all quite nice. Given your tonal preferences (clarity), you may want to see if you like the W Hoffman or Seiler.

(I liked the Seiler Impuls, reasonably cheap, very clear bell like treble, really smooth touch and fast repetition, but somewhat more exp than the K8. A little on the loud side, but so's the K8!)
_________________________
In progress

Mozart: Sonata in D Major, k576
Chopin: Polonaise in A-flat major, Op 53
Berg: Sonata in B minor, Op 1
Bach: Partita in C Minor, BWV 826

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#1451810 - 06/07/10 10:00 AM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: gnuboi]
Stereomatrix Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Singapore
Well, actually before my teacher's review, i have already tried out the k-8 and i like the bright sound (i prefer a brighter sound to a mellower one), but today, when i returned to the same shop, another k-8 has replaced the previous (it was sold out), and i didn't like the sound of the new piano

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#1451813 - 06/07/10 10:05 AM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: Rod Verhnjak]
Stereomatrix Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Singapore
Quote:
Was the German piano and the Chinese piano both brand new?


yea, it was both brand new, or so they (the salesman) say.

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#1451818 - 06/07/10 10:11 AM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: fj_s]
Stereomatrix Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Singapore
thx for the advice. Can u give me the address as to where the Petrofs are sold? Btw, i heard from a salesman that Seiler pianos are now made in China. Is that true?

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#1451828 - 06/07/10 10:43 AM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: Stereomatrix]
fj_s Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/09
Posts: 171
Loc: Singapore
Errr I don't think so.

Singapore salesmen are not exactly the most honest of the lot, so I'm generally not inclined to trust them. Don't trust any sales person - they would prefer you not to know too much and do a quick sale (for example, I was recently berated by a sales person for having the temerity of suggesting a customer try a few more pianos at the same shop before deciding instead of just trying a 10 year old used piano which presumably had a higher margin. Confusing the customer, I was told.)

However, I believe Seiler has been bought over by Samick. But nowadays many companies have shares owned by a giant conglomerate - Bosendofer (Yamaha), etc etc. Heard news previously also that Samick owns a stake in Bechstein. Typically ownership also helps to provide technology transfer. The question you should ask yourself is whether that compromises quality.

I suppose more knowledgeable forumers can give a better answer.

Petrof can be found at Bukit Timah Shopping Centre.


Edited by fj_s (06/07/10 10:48 AM)
_________________________
In progress

Mozart: Sonata in D Major, k576
Chopin: Polonaise in A-flat major, Op 53
Berg: Sonata in B minor, Op 1
Bach: Partita in C Minor, BWV 826

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#1451831 - 06/07/10 10:46 AM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: fj_s]
fj_s Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/09
Posts: 171
Loc: Singapore
Oh on space side, it depends - it's surprising how grands can squeeze into little corners (though I only own an upright myself).

One forumer has 2(!) 6-ft grands in a small 900sqft apartment, while someone else I know has a 7ft grand tucked under a staircase.
_________________________
In progress

Mozart: Sonata in D Major, k576
Chopin: Polonaise in A-flat major, Op 53
Berg: Sonata in B minor, Op 1
Bach: Partita in C Minor, BWV 826

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#1453220 - 06/09/10 09:46 AM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: fj_s]
Stereomatrix Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Singapore
Well, today i have been continuing my search for pianos, and i found a W.M. Knabe & Co. piano. It has a really deep strong bass and clear sound quality, but on the down side, it is stated, on the piano, that it was made by Samick in Korea. I like it, but i am not sure whether I should buy it because i do not know if i should "trust it", given that it was made in Korea.

Any opinions?

By the way, i had checked out the Seiler pianos, and they are really clear and nice and all, but they are way out of my budget (it cost S$25,000, and my budget is S$14,000).

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#1453224 - 06/09/10 09:53 AM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: Stereomatrix]
Stereomatrix Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Singapore
Oh, and by the way, the piano which i had mentioned in my previous post is a WKV131. I also searched for a description of the piano (not that i understand most of it, what with its special terms and such) which can be found here: http://www.knabepianos.com/ (its under the "verticals" section)

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#1453245 - 06/09/10 10:32 AM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: Stereomatrix]
fj_s Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/09
Posts: 171
Loc: Singapore
Oh there used to be an Ed Seiler Impuls that was selling for around $15k, but I suppose it's all sold out by now. (It's a more modern, shorter one than the Seiler 132 SMR which you probably saw).

W.K. Knabe seemed of good quality too. Other forumers have said good things about them (in other countries.) I only tried their grand though, which I thought was really quite nice.

By the way there's nothing wrong with pianos made in Korea either (even if Yamahas have a reputation for being close to indestructible). They too are decent at manufacturing. I think you could read the thread on what it means for pianos to break to find out more.

Did you also try the W Hoffmans at the same place?
_________________________
In progress

Mozart: Sonata in D Major, k576
Chopin: Polonaise in A-flat major, Op 53
Berg: Sonata in B minor, Op 1
Bach: Partita in C Minor, BWV 826

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#1453365 - 06/09/10 01:05 PM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: fj_s]
ChasT Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/09
Posts: 649
Loc: Georgia
Wm. Knabe makes very nice pianos. They're Samick's top line. Pianobuyer.com rates them equal in quality to Yamahas and Kawais. I think they feel and sound pretty nice. A WKV-131 would make plenty happy. If the Knabe feels, sounds, looks and is priced right for you, I think it'd be a great choice.

Charles

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#1454549 - 06/11/10 10:24 AM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: ChasT]
Stereomatrix Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Singapore
Well... after going around reviewing so many pianos, i have finally decided on my piano! Its the kawai k-8 smile You may find me very... contradictory, but there were a number of reasons that made me finally decide on the kawai k-8.

Firstly, shortly after my teacher discouraged me from buying the K-8, she actually said that it would be advisable to buy either from kawai or yamaha, because the weather here in singapore (high humidity) was not really suitable for european pianos, and thus japan made pianos are the best options.

Also, i have found out that, many of the self-proclaimed german pianos are really made in China, and besides, i couldn't afford those pianos that are really made in Germany (steinways?).

Next, I have tried out the Kawai pianos again, and i have found that this time, the piano sounded much more similar like the first time i tried on it - clear, but not too bright, and loud (unlike the 2nd time i have tried the piano - too mellow and dull for my taste (it really sounded like the piano was having a really bad cold)). (oh and if you are wondering what could change the sound so drastically, it was because the first piano(which i liked) was sold, and replaced by a second piano(which i didn't like), and the third piano (which i tried on today), was in another shop.

Also, i considered the aftersales service which i can expect, and decided that reputable (and long lasting) shops like Robert's piano or Yamaha would provide better aftersales services.

So, all things considered, i bought the Kawai K-8, and it was due to be delivered next wednesday. I asked for a new one (from the ware house), instead of the one from the showroom, but i am actually rather worried that the sound will be different, and it will sound like the 2nd piano (with the dull sounds). Now, i am eagerly awaiting the K-8 which will replace my yamaha clavinova's place in the living room (i have decided, since its so hard to sell a digital piano, i just gonna keep it in my bedroom XD)!

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#1454554 - 06/11/10 10:28 AM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: fj_s]
Stereomatrix Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Singapore
Originally Posted By: fj_s

Did you also try the W Hoffmans at the same place?


I didn't see any W Hoffmans, there were only Cristoforis, Samicks, Seilers, Eduard Seilers, W.M. Knabes, and 1 second-hand Ronisch.

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#1454556 - 06/11/10 10:29 AM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: Stereomatrix]
Stereomatrix Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Singapore
Oh and thank you all for your advice! It really helped when i am deciding on my piano! smile

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#1454557 - 06/11/10 10:30 AM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: Stereomatrix]
Plowboy Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2333
Loc: SoCal
Congratulations, but you should have purchased the piano you like. Is it too late to switch?
_________________________
Gary

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#1454638 - 06/11/10 01:01 PM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: Stereomatrix]
Steve Chandler Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2758
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Originally Posted By: Stereomatrix

So, all things considered, i bought the Kawai K-8, and it was due to be delivered next wednesday. I asked for a new one (from the ware house), instead of the one from the showroom, but i am actually rather worried that the sound will be different, and it will sound like the 2nd piano (with the dull sounds). Now, i am eagerly awaiting the K-8 which will replace my yamaha clavinova's place in the living room (i have decided, since its so hard to sell a digital piano, i just gonna keep it in my bedroom XD)!

This is why we generally recommend that you buy the piano you tried out and note the serial number to insure that the piano that's delivered is the one you played. I've heard there's a mindset among many Asians that "new in the box" is best. That would certainly be the case with electronic equipment, chairs or toilet seats. However, with pianos, the small differences between individual instruments adds up and can make significant differences in the performance between instruments of the same make and model. If you're worried I'd call the dealer and ask them to deliver the one you played off the floor.

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#1454675 - 06/11/10 02:06 PM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: Steve Chandler]
gnuboi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 2349
Loc: USA
With Kawai I would suspect differences to be due to prep and not manufacturing. Both the store piano or the crate piano will sound different from where they were once they arrive in your living room. Tune the piano, voice it if necessary, read the Piano Buyer about how to adjust your room to adjust the piano sound, etc.

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#1456201 - 06/14/10 03:10 AM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: Plowboy]
Stereomatrix Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Singapore
Yes, it is too late to switch now, actually, cause i have already placed my deposit beforehand.

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#1456204 - 06/14/10 03:12 AM Re: Buying a new piano [Re: gnuboi]
Stereomatrix Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Singapore
They said they could provide me with free tuning services if i wasn't happy with the sound laugh

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