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#1537062 - 10/17/10 04:47 AM Poll: Which comes first in choosing a 2nd hand piano
rainlily Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 47
Loc: Australia
Hi guys, I've been seeing so many pianos in the last week it's now driving me crazy. I did some research online which certainly helped but when it comes to the real thing it's hard to make decisions. I'm wondering, which comes first in choosing a used piano - name, age, sound, touch, warranty, where it's made, or degree of wear & tear. So I'm doing a manual poll here.

I have the following senario (same price):

A: Kawai CX-5, made in Japan 1989; nice touch and beautiful sound in the treble; clean leveled keys; but the first octave of bass is vastly out of tune and flat. (I don't know if a tuning will solve the problem or if it needs more work such as restringing.)Clean inside with no rust or dust but the hammers are grooved deeply. Haven't been tuned in 2 years. Private sale so no warranty.

B: Victor W.H. Paling, made in Australia 1970; Touch OK. Treble a bit dull but bass sounds rich. A little dusty inside but no rust. The hammers don't look much grooved but they do look small so I think they might have been reshaped in the past? Dealer offers 10 year warranty.

What whould you choose? Just vote A or B and if you like you can write more about your reasons!

Best regards to all forum users.
rainlily

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#1537066 - 10/17/10 05:03 AM Re: Poll: Which comes first in choosing a 2nd hand piano [Re: rainlily]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5261
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
rainlily, why not ship both pianos to me and I can give you a better opinion. I personally find it better to play the pianos in question before I give my opinion.

Which one do you like best?
_________________________
website

mp3\wav files

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#1537076 - 10/17/10 05:27 AM Re: Poll: Which comes first in choosing a 2nd hand piano [Re: rainlily]
rainlily Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 47
Loc: Australia
Dave Horne, I appreciate your honest opinion; But you see, I'm a complete novice and I can't play! All I did was pressing the keys one by one and the sellers played them for me. If budget allows I would like best a new piano with brand name and every perfect feature one could desire. I was just hoping to learn from other people's thoughts on what's more important to them when it comes to choosing pianos.

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#1537086 - 10/17/10 06:38 AM Re: Poll: Which comes first in choosing a 2nd hand piano [Re: rainlily]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5261
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: rainlily
Dave Horne, I appreciate your honest opinion; But you see, I'm a complete novice and I can't play! All I did was pressing the keys one by one and the sellers played them for me. If budget allows I would like best a new piano with brand name and every perfect feature one could desire. I was just hoping to learn from other people's thoughts on what's more important to them when it comes to choosing pianos.


If you can't play, take someone who plays for a living, perhaps your new teacher(?), to try the pianos for you. That way you have an opinion that might have some real weight.

Why are you limiting yourself to just those two pianos?

What's your budget?

Have you thought about renting since you have no idea if you will stick with it.

One more thing, don't study with someone through the internet. You'll need someone standing next to you to teach you correct technique; think golf pro.
_________________________
website

mp3\wav files

AvantGrand N3, CP5

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#1537095 - 10/17/10 07:14 AM Re: Poll: Which comes first in choosing a 2nd hand piano [Re: rainlily]
danz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/23/09
Posts: 25
Loc: Canberra, Australia
Which comes first? Well a worn out piano is a worn out piano, regardless of age or make. Unless they are potentially something special it is usually not worth spending a lot of money to rebuild them, at least not nowadays with the cost of labour and considering the price you can get decent pianos for.

The two scenarios you mention:

The Kawai - sounds like it has had some heavy use at some point, and if one section is significantly more out out tune could indicate serious problems. Kawai might be a good 'name' but a worn out piano..... In good condition this is certainly the better piano of the two.

The Paling - when made was a sound, though not outstanding piano. The fact that hammers have been reshaped is not in itself a problem, so long as the action has also has at least some basic regulation. The Paling is unlikely to have has the use that a Kawai has. A warranty on a 1970 piano is probably not worth much, except that if it is a reputable dealer you can probably be reasonably confident that there are no serious problems like loose pins.

I doubt I would buy either of these pianos.... but would look for a newer Yamaha in good condition.

What is important? Touch and tone, and to appreciate either the piano must be in tune. Both should be evenly graduated from bass to treble. What is 'good' touch and tone is much more subjective. A beginner needs a decent piano with even touch and tone to develop an appreciation of what the instrument is capable of. As you become more accomplished one learns to find much more nuance, and start to find out what speaks to you.

As one becomes more experienced, individual preference can become more and more refined..... Other things being equal, Glen Gould seemed more concerned with touch than tone, and he really only found one particular Steinway model D to his liking....

Danz

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#1537127 - 10/17/10 09:11 AM Re: Poll: Which comes first in choosing a 2nd hand piano [Re: rainlily]
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8076
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi Rainlily, and welcome to the Piano World Forums!

You have gotten great advice here so far, and I don’t know if I can add anything more.

For you not to be able to play a piano, you seem to know a good bit about them… i.e. the hammer groves and possible re-shaping, the bass notes being out of tune, etc…

You have not mentioned price. To me, if something is cheap enough to be able to invest in some repairs, piano-tech work, the pianos you mentioned still may be a decent buy. However, it sounds like you are buying from a piano dealer, and that means top retail prices, usually.

The bass notes being out of tune on the Kawai is not necessarily a bad thing. Pianos do drift out of tune, especially with temperature and humidity changes. Have you ever played any brand-new pianos at a store? Some are grossly out of tune, and that has always been a turn-off to me.

In my opinion, if those are your only options for the moment, and you are ready to buy a piano, I’d have an independent piano technician to examine the pianos and see what they say.

Best of luck to you, and let us know what you decide!

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1537135 - 10/17/10 09:36 AM Re: Poll: Which comes first in choosing a 2nd hand piano [Re: rainlily]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19099
Loc: New York City
You need to hire a good tech to evaluate what needs to be done to the Kawai. It could be something simple to fix the bass or the piano could be kaput or something in between. Some people here might be able to speculate what the problem is but I doubt they could be sure without looking at the piano.

Your question about the order of importance of various factors is interesting, but I don't think there's an answer. Maybe sound and touch, but all the things you mentioned come into play and it's a matter of balancing them when one makes a decision. For example, what if you saw a newish Tier one piano with beautiful sound and touch with the veneer was peeling off the case? Older Steinway vs. newer Kawai? etc.etc.


Edited by pianoloverus (10/17/10 09:38 AM)

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#1537266 - 10/17/10 01:23 PM Re: Poll: Which comes first in choosing a 2nd hand piano [Re: rainlily]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
paramount for me would be 'working order'. Everything should function perfectly hopefully. Appearance, name, and even sound is not as important to me.

Perhaps if you visited a store a technician or salesman could explain how everything works. The dampers should completely stop the sound of the notes when they come down upon the strings. the pedals should work. the keys should be even and the notes should sound at the same volume as you play them.

I would find a piano friend, read the online edition of the piano buyer (you should learn a lot).

a no name piano.. is likely to be a cheap one. The case should be sturdy.

here is an informative little movie..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkG29pIBPuI
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1537649 - 10/17/10 10:53 PM Re: Poll: Which comes first in choosing a 2nd hand piano [Re: rainlily]
rainlily Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 47
Loc: Australia
Thank you all for your opinions and advices. They're spot on and valuable to me.
My budget was initially $3000 and I started out in the biggest piano shop near me. With this price I could buy a pretty good digital piano, a brand new Beale 108cm or some of the 2nd hand ones. I couldn't decide so I brought a piano teacher with me. She did pick some she preferred. (She didn't like any of the lower range new ones, all the ones she picked were 2nd hand.) However they are more expensive being in a shop.(like what Rick said) So now I'm open to private sales hence scenario A. But I can't bring a piano teacher or tech with me each time or I will be throwing too much money on appraisals. I agree with danZ that neither seems satisfatory. But what Rick said is also true. With ths price ($1000) maybe it's worth some money on repairs?

Now going to watch the video clip apple provided (thanks).

rainlily

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