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#168184 - 08/26/04 06:40 PM Diapason 1970's vs. Kawai
Sarah Baldwin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/19/04
Posts: 6
Loc: Midcoast Maine
Hi all,

I'm new to the list, in the market for a piano to replace a very old no-name brand (labeled "de Koven") 5' baby grand. My son and I are both progressing in our piano study and really need a better instrument. Unfortunately, $6,000 is our budget limit right now.

I am currently trying to decide between two pianos -- an 8-year-old 5'1" Kawai GE-1 (with two years left on the original warranty) being sold privately, and a 5'10" Diapason piano from the 1970's that I am told is different from a Kawai RX-2 in name only. The Diapason is being offered with a four year warranty from the dealer.

I've been able to come up with very little information on the Diapason on the internet, except to verify that were made (or at least marketed) by Kawai in the 70's. My piano technician and teacher knew less than I did.

Can anyone shed any more light on this mysterious brand name? Is it identical to a Kawai of the same period? Do they have the same plastic parts as the current Kawais? Any comments on the quality of the brand?

Many thanks,
Sarah

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#168185 - 08/26/04 06:43 PM Re: Diapason 1970's vs. Kawai
Jeff Bauer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/03
Posts: 1718
Loc: Los Angeles
 Quote:
Originally posted by Sarah Baldwin:
...5'10" Diapason piano from the 1970's that I am told is different from a Kawai RX-2 in name only.[/b]
You can tell about the plastic (ABS) parts by having a piano tech pull the action (anyone can do it, but it helps if you know what you are doing).

The Diapason, probably has far more in common with a Kawai KG2, which is not the same as an RX2. People on this forum more knowlegeable about the Kawai product can elaborate on that point.
_________________________
Jeff Bauer | Keyboard Concepts

Yamaha | Schimmel | Bösendorfer | Knabe | Seiler | Restored Steinway

BauerHouse Productions

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#168186 - 08/26/04 06:51 PM Re: Diapason 1970's vs. Kawai
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
a 5'10" Diapason piano from the 1970's that I am told is different from a Kawai RX-2 in name only. [/b]

Sarah, the salesman is lying through his teeth. He may not know any better though, many of them don't. Unless there is something drastically wrong with the 5'1" Kawai that you've not been told, this is a simple choice. The Diapason was built by Kawai, and in a lot of ways was similar, but it is most definitely *not* the exact same piano as an RX-2. The Kawai equivalent in the 70s was a KG2, and even *that* piano isn't exactly the same as an RX-2. It isn't even the same as a KG-2 for that matter. Personally, any salesman that told me a lie this blatant, I wouldn't give him the time of day on *anything* else.

The Diapason was a completely different scale design, and in my opinion slightly inferior to the Kawai design. Most of them I've met up with had a terrible weak spot in the exact same place, two octaves above middle C. Nothing you did seemed to fix the problem. Others may not have had that same experience, but that has been mine, and I've worked on at least a dozen of them.

Age alone is enough to rule out the Diapason. Don't let the bigger size cause you to think you're missing something by going with the smaller piano - in this example, smaller *is* better.

Before you buy the Kawai though, get us the model number and serial number. We can check the true age of the piano. If it's only 8 years old, it is a model GE-1.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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#168187 - 08/26/04 07:22 PM Re: Diapason 1970's vs. Kawai
Sarah Baldwin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/19/04
Posts: 6
Loc: Midcoast Maine
Thanks, Jazzer and Larry. The newer Kawai *is* a GE-1. The owner says it's in perfect condition, and I have no reason to suspect that anything is wrong with it. I've found a technician in the area who is willing to inspect it and give me a full report.

Thanks so much for your guidance!

Sarah

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#168188 - 08/26/04 07:28 PM Re: Diapason 1970's vs. Kawai
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3249
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
OK forumites, here is a good chance to cast your vote. Even though Sarah didn't ask ( sorry Sarah, I hope this helps rather than confuses )

First, I would say if the GE-1 gets a clean report, it is probably a good buy.

Now for the vote.

Lever 1: 8 year old 5' Japanese piano in good condition

Lever 2: Brand new 5' Nordiska, Hallet & Davis, or other Dong Bei product for same price.

Lever 3: 40 volts. no one asked about uprights
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
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keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#168189 - 08/26/04 07:36 PM Re: Diapason 1970's vs. Kawai
Sarah Baldwin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/19/04
Posts: 6
Loc: Midcoast Maine
Well, Keith, that might have been my next question. I have also been considering a brand new 5'3" Young Chang G157 for the same price as the other two used pianos.

Would a new, slightly bigger Chinese or Korean piano be preferable to an 8-year-old Kawai GE-1?

Further thoughts?

Confusing myself,
Sarah

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#168190 - 08/26/04 07:56 PM Re: Diapason 1970's vs. Kawai
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13961
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
P.S. For [almost?] same money you are within reach of 5'8" decent Chinese today.

It's always hard to give advice on pianos you don't get to see yourself.

Let alone play.....

Norbert
_________________________
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Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#168191 - 08/26/04 09:21 PM Re: Diapason 1970's vs. Kawai
Jeff Bauer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/03
Posts: 1718
Loc: Los Angeles
 Quote:
Originally posted by Sarah Baldwin:
Well, Keith, that might have been my next question. I have also been considering a brand new 5'3" Young Chang G157 for the same price as the other two used pianos.

Would a new, slightly bigger Chinese or Korean piano be preferable to an 8-year-old Kawai GE-1?

Further thoughts?

Confusing myself,
Sarah [/b]
FWIW, regarding Keith's Q, I am still not a huge advocate of Chinese: as a player, I have yet to come accross one I like (including all I have tried at NAMM) - I do agree, however, that the Chinese pianos are well built.

A Young Chang G157 is considered a "gold series" - Ever since Young Chang came out with the Pramberger designed models (1999ish?), I have not seen many G157s.. just PG157s (P stands for Pramberger). Young Chang still made G157s, and called them their "gold series", but for how long I don't know. They weren't that much less in cost, so we stuck with the Pramberger.

In fact, around that time Young Chang was also making something called a Bergmann (out of Indonesia? or China? I forget) - so there were three levels of piano, the TG157 (later to be called a Bergmann), the G157 (the gold series), and the PG157 (the Pramberger models)... If you really wanted to go for the best, they had a Pramberger Platinum known as a JP series (but I don't recall it being built any smaller than a JP175).

If you are considering a Young Chang, see if you can find a PG157 for comparison to the rest - pretty nice pianos IMO.

However, knowing what I know, in that price range, I personally would hold out for the new Yamaha GB1. 5' indonesian Yamaha, boasting improvement over an already pretty nice GA1E ( current model, soon to be replaced).

All the above is considering you can bump your budget by about 1,500 to 2,000 of course. ;\)
_________________________
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Yamaha | Schimmel | Bösendorfer | Knabe | Seiler | Restored Steinway

BauerHouse Productions

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#168192 - 08/27/04 06:57 AM Re: Diapason 1970's vs. Kawai
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
Stick with the 8 year old GE-1. It's a better piano.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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#168193 - 08/27/04 09:47 AM Re: Diapason 1970's vs. Kawai
Schiedmayer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/04
Posts: 21
Loc: france
Hi !!

I'm french and this is a question for Larry. Are there any differences between Diapason and Schiedmayer ? I own one and i find it close to Kawai sound. No problem execpt the A5 that seems to be a little husky !! It seems close to a kg3 (183 cm)

Thanx for your answer.

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#168194 - 08/27/04 12:21 PM Re: Diapason 1970's vs. Kawai
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
I've never compared them side by side, so I can't say. Both are built by Kawai, and that's about all I can tell you. It doesn't surprise me that they sound similar though, given that they are after all, all built by Kawai.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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#168195 - 08/27/04 04:00 PM Re: Diapason 1970's vs. Kawai
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10335
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
The G157 was discontinued several years ago. While the one you saw might be "new" (as in never sold before), it is older stock and should be discounted as such.

The current model is a PG157 which is a vastly improved design with very different tonal qualities. I beieve that it is one of the best buys on the market today.
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Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#168196 - 08/28/04 08:35 AM Re: Diapason 1970's vs. Kawai
Sarah Baldwin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/19/04
Posts: 6
Loc: Midcoast Maine
Okay, I am very close to making a decision to purchase the Kawai GE1, assuming it gets a clean report from the technician who is inspecting it today.

One last question though: For about the same price there is a two-year-old Korean-made 5'7" Weber that a dealer here in Maine has. It has been rented or used for demos (or some such thing), but has never been sold and comes with the new warranty. Might this be a better buy than the smaller, eight-year-old Kawai? I am torn between the quality vs. size question.

Thanks again,
Sarah

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#168197 - 08/28/04 07:28 PM Re: Diapason 1970's vs. Kawai
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
Go for the Weber. It's bigger, and it's a good piano. I think it is actually a little better built than the GE-1. Not to say they're not good pianos, but the GE series Kawais are their "lightweights" so to speak, built more to hit a price point than anything else. You aren't giving up much if anything in the quality comparison between the two, and you're gaining a larger, fuller sounding piano.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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#168198 - 08/29/04 04:51 AM Re: Diapason 1970's vs. Kawai
Sarah Baldwin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/19/04
Posts: 6
Loc: Midcoast Maine
Thanks again for the advice, Larry. The Weber in question is a WG57. I know this piano was made by Young Chang, but from my research I've gathered that it is equivalent to the Young Chang Gold series--not the PG series.

Knowing this, do you still think the quality would be comparable between the Kawai GE1 and the Weber WG57?

Anyone else have an opinion? I appreciate the help I've been getting here more than I can tell you. Many, many thanks for helping avoid a costly mistake.

Warm regards,
Sarah

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#168199 - 08/29/04 09:38 AM Re: Diapason 1970's vs. Kawai
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
While there are slight differences between the WG-57 (the "Gold series") and the WSG-57 (the Pramberger version) both pianos are just fine for the money, and yes, in my opinion it is very competitive with a GE series Kawai. Since the piano has been used some, request the action be regulated, and examine the case closely for any damage that might have been repaired. Small chips or dings that have been adequately repaired aren't important. I'm talking about any major repair work.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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