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#1754640 - 09/18/11 11:58 AM Charles Walter Pianos
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
Hello,

I am a new poster on this forum but have been lurking for several weeks. There is so much great information out here - thanks to all!

I am shopping for a quality upright piano in the $5K range for both myself (lapsed adult player with 10 years of piano lessons as a child/ teen) and my 1st grade son who is interested in learning. I have played several (Boston, Essex, Knabe, Kwai, Hallet and Co.) and have settled on Charles Walter (LOVED the sound and the touch!). I cannot afford a new one, so I am going used. Apparently they are very rare, and the ones I can afford are 20+ years old. I am wondering if that would be an issue. What should I look for and be wary of? I plan to take a RPT with me wherever I go.

Any comments on this brand of piano would be greatly appreciated. If there is anything else of similar quality I should consider, I would appreciate the education.

Thank you.




Edited by Me123 (09/26/11 10:35 AM)

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#1754665 - 09/18/11 01:01 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
I also read Larry Fine's book and the supplements before venturing out. I can see why the book is so highly recommended here!

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#1754818 - 09/18/11 05:00 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
Kurtmen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 632
Loc: San Mateo, CA
CW’s are quality well-built pianos. 20 years plus is a 50/50 without knowing what kind of environment this piano has been living in and also the type of care the piano had received.
Hopefully if the piano is in good shape you probably get another 20 years if you take care of it.

Now something to think about is the fact that this piano is a CW does not guarantee that will perform as good as the new piano in the store. Perhaps you'll be better off with a new less expensive piano by a different brand.
_________________________
San Mateo Piano
Purveyors of:
Kawai, Wilh. Steinberg.
Kawai Digital Piano, Pianodisc.
<a href="http://sanmateopiano.com" style="color:#FF0505;font-size:10px;font-family:Times New Roman;text-decoration:underline;" target="_blank" >http://sanmateopiano.com</a>

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#1754871 - 09/18/11 06:21 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
Thanks, Kurtman.

I spoke to a CW dealer near my home and he said that new CWs, if cared for properly, would last 75 - 100 years. Anyone able to comment on this? Just wondering how much life would be left in a 20+ CW if it was lovingly cared for.

Thanks again.


Edited by Me123 (09/26/11 10:36 AM)

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#1754893 - 09/18/11 07:11 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
If it was very lovingly cared for, gently played, regularly tuned, adjusted, and kept at a stable temperature and humidity, it will probably have lots of life still smile

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#1754985 - 09/18/11 09:15 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
Thanks, Rotom!

Your post has me second thinking a 20+ CW, since a high energy 6 year old will be practicing on it frown. No gentle playing here.

I really love the sound of CWs. Anyone else know of uprights with similar sound and touch? My local piano dealer just recommended a 1978 or so Sohmer upright. It seems so old that I'm not sure it is worth the cost of the RPT's inspection.

I am in much need of help here. I only want to buy a piano once - I'm not the upgrade/ trade up type.... and grands will never be allowable due to space constraints.

Thank you.

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#1754988 - 09/18/11 09:28 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
No, I'm not saying that it has to be cared for really well for it to be still good. It will be good for a beginner anyway as he doesnt have the strength to be banging out complicated, loud, etc, of the sort smile

No, no, pianos are very durable ,musical instruments, it will be fine. And even if there is heavy use, it will stand up to it, and if it's maintained, it will be even better. The main thing isi that you keep it maintained, tuned, regulated and voiced to keep it on good shape and sounding good.

It should be fine really, it's just better to have kept it well, as it will have more life than one that has been banged in and played every day of it's life.

And since you love it, there is not much reason (other than money) not to go for it!

All the best, keep us posted!

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#1754993 - 09/18/11 09:37 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
Thanks again, Rotom!

Any other brands I should consider if the used CW falls through? Sohmer, perhaps?

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#1754997 - 09/18/11 09:48 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
Baldwin uprights come to mind. Yamaha, Kawai, are good for working/practicing. New Chinese are not bad choices, the quality is improving quite well. In this category, there is Hailun, pearl river, Ritmüller.

Good luck!

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#1755002 - 09/18/11 09:56 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
ChasT Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/09
Posts: 649
Loc: Georgia
I like most of Tom's list. I'd add Perzina. In my opinion (for what that's worth), it's a pretty nice piano in the price range. Perhaps a Brodmann. And I agree that Charles Walter uprights are pretty special.

Charles

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#1755018 - 09/18/11 10:24 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
Hi,

Thanks, everyone! I must say that I have tried several Asian- made pianos (Boston, Yamaha, Kwai) and I just don't like the sound (too bright, too light of a touch). Which means I would not want to sit down and play one and I may not want to hear my child practicing for hours and hours on one. I really enjoy the rich sound of the Walter. The only pianos I have played with a sound that comes relatively close were (1) a random new Knabe that I found at a local dealer (wasn't expecting that), (2) a really old beat up used Baldwin at that same dealer, and (3) a $2K used piano that began with the letter "b" (sounded german) at yet again the same local dealer, and (4) a used British Kemble (once again at the same local dealer).

I know that many on this forum have fun shopping for pianos. I wish I could have that same fun, but I am an analytical type and I just want a rich, warm-toned family piano for $5K. Any suggestions on pianos that I should audition/ consider/ play would be greatly appreciated smile

I cannot thank you enough for your help...



Edited by Me123 (09/18/11 10:26 PM)

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#1755090 - 09/19/11 01:42 AM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2634
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Knabe is one of the few new brands that designs to a similar complex sound along the lines of Charles Walter, Steinway, Mason & Hamlin. However, that has recently been made much more complex by the expanded, multi-tiered Knabe line.

There is an affordable Knabe model WMV 247 that is worth a look. Not in the class of a Charles Walter, but new, within your budget, and a sound "cousin" to the others.
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bsendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Weber & Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta

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#1755396 - 09/19/11 03:18 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
Kurtmen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 632
Loc: San Mateo, CA
The dealer is exaggerating. Quality pianos last performing properly about 40 years more or less. It doesn't mean that a piano can't be played after 50 years but it is very likely that the instrument will require probably new bass strings, bushings, some work on the hammers. Also the chances of loose bridge-pins or tuning pins are obviously higer to name a few of many potential problems.



Edited by Kurtmen (09/19/11 03:26 PM)
_________________________
San Mateo Piano
Purveyors of:
Kawai, Wilh. Steinberg.
Kawai Digital Piano, Pianodisc.
<a href="http://sanmateopiano.com" style="color:#FF0505;font-size:10px;font-family:Times New Roman;text-decoration:underline;" target="_blank" >http://sanmateopiano.com</a>

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#1755401 - 09/19/11 03:23 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
mahermusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 332
Loc: U.S.A.
Me123: Where are you located??
_________________________
Charles R. Walter 1520 QA Mahogany #531739 w/ High Polish, Renner and Quiet Pedal

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#1755443 - 09/19/11 04:14 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Kurtmen]
Pianolance Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 1178
Loc: Nashville, TN
Originally Posted By: Kurtmen
The dealer is exaggerating. Quality pianos last performing properly about 40 years more or less. It doesn't mean that a piano can't be played after 50 years but it is very likely that the instrument will require probably new bass strings, bushings, some work on the hammers. Also the chances of loose bridge-pins or tuning pins are obviously higer to name a few of many potential problems.



While I understand Kurtmen's post I would say that it is an over generalization that pianos don't usually perform well after 40 years. It's true that after 40 years many pianos are worn out, but it is equally true that after 40 years many well made pianos are still going strong with plenty of life, plus you are talking about a 20 year old piano, not 40. I had a Knabe piano that was made in 1927 and it was going strong until about 4 years ago, at which time, it was still pretty darn good, but I decided to put some significant work into it. Now at 80 years old, it was still a player, not just "playable". And I wasn't easy on it by any stretch of the imagination. I gave lessons on it, my two kids practiced on it every day, I played it and recorded on it in my studio. That piano performed to a high level. In some respects, I'm sorry I had work done to it, because I think it played better before the work. I do, however, think it sounds better with the new strings and hammers, but even with a brand new WNG action, I liked the action better before it was replaced.
_________________________
Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.

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#1756450 - 09/21/11 08:37 AM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Pianolance]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
Update - the used Charles Walters are still in the running, although I don't really like the look of the Queen Anne style cabinets. Those seem to be the most abundant in the used market.

I am seriously considering the Wm. Knabe WMV245 that I played at a local dealer. As someone else pointed out, the sound is close to a CW - different, but close. I really liked the sound and the touch, and the piano can be bought brand spanking new within my price range!

Anyone have any feedback on the Knabe WMV245? This particular model number doesn't seem to be listed in Larry Fine's book. How does it hold up as the years pass? Worth the $$?

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#1756453 - 09/21/11 08:39 AM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: mahermusic]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: mahermusic
Me123: Where are you located??


I am in NJ. Lots of great dealerships here and in the tri-state are for me to visit.

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#1756597 - 09/21/11 12:59 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2634
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: Me123
I am seriously considering the Wm. Knabe WMV245 that I played at a local dealer. As someone else pointed out, the sound is close to a CW - different, but close. I really liked the sound and the touch, and the piano can be bought brand spanking new within my price range

I mentioned in an earlier post, move up one step to the WMV 247. To compare more favorably with the CW, the Knabe needs a little extra height found in the 247. It should still be within your range for "brand spanking new."

I'm not knocking the 245, but remembering it as a Kohler & Campbell, it's more an entry level studio...the 247 is just a whole lot better.
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bsendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Weber & Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta

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#1756696 - 09/21/11 03:03 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
mahermusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 332
Loc: U.S.A.
Originally Posted By: Me123
Originally Posted By: mahermusic
Me123: Where are you located??


I am in NJ. Lots of great dealerships here and in the tri-state are for me to visit.


Check out Worldwide Piano in Edison. They're NJ's Walter dealers. Might be able to get a NEW Charles Walter if you up your budget a tad.
_________________________
Charles R. Walter 1520 QA Mahogany #531739 w/ High Polish, Renner and Quiet Pedal

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#1756733 - 09/21/11 04:02 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4395
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...a CW dealer... said that new CWs, if cared for properly, would last 75 - 100 years."

You might be better off buying from someone who is more inclined to tell you the truth. "If cared for," for 100 years, certainly would involve some rebuilding that would cost more than the piano cost, new. In any case, that is a very big "if" to gloss over so easily, for condition is everything when it comes to used pianos, and it takes an experienced piano tech to read the story inside the case. "If" is a little word that could mean anything from "like new, purchased for a student slacker," to "gently used and carefully maintained," to "beat to death in a church, nightclub, or music school and tuned every ten years whether it needed it or not," to "dragged from the floodwaters after the hurricane."

The maker's full warranty (transferable), is solid if not so spacious, at 12 years.

You should hire a tech who is not a party to the sale, and who is paid for solely by yourself, to inspect any serious candidates and tell you the real story about their condition, life expectancy, local market value, and cost of repairs. It could be a hundred bucks well spent.

My suggestion is, save up a little more while you keep looking. I like the CW 1500 (with the more plain case, and the wide music desk) very well. They may not come on the used market that often, but they are out there. Who knows, you may find a motivated seller, perhaps with an older but unsold unit (or perhaps B stock from some minor blemish). Someone may be moving, have a child who has stopped playing, has passed away and the estate wants to liquidate... there are lots of situations. Let regional dealers know what you're looking for, scan the ads, save up; the CW factory showroom http://charleswalterpianos.com/profile.html also carries used pianos, and it could be worth giving them a call.

For example, one PW member shopped very vigorously across a multi-state region for a new Steinway grand, and got a heavily-discounted new unit, from a dealer who had lost the franchise. It set off a 30-page firestorm here, fed mostly by disgruntled folks who had paid full price. You can still Search it up, if you want to. I'm just saying, it can happen.

As for that "Like new after 100 years" dealer, it is not entirely a bad shopping strategy to let such sellers keep believing you fell off the turnip truck yesterday... as long as you didn't. You can keep pumping them for information simply for the entertainment value, and who knows what they'll give up without even knowing it. It could even be the truth, though we'll have to wait until 2075 to find out for sure. My guess would have been "around 50 years and still quite playable," but Kurtmen's 40 years is a believable estimate from a person who has no motive to mislead you. I suggest you try to buy a piano no older than 15 years... though I've played and loved pianos older than that by many multiples.
_________________________
Clef


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#1756748 - 09/21/11 04:39 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
My brother owns a Knabe.. i don't know the model altho it's pretty small. It has the most beautiful tone and he never tunes it. It's a pretty nice piano. the action is very light.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1756749 - 09/21/11 04:40 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
that said... i ADORE Charles Walters.. they have the most bang for the buck in my opinion.. great action and tone and very sturdy.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1756937 - 09/21/11 09:46 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13976
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
First off, C.W are quality built pianos: if you find a used one in good condition you surely can't go much wrong.

However, when I read this:

" must say that I have tried several Asian- made pianos (Boston, Yamaha, Kwai) and I just don't like the sound (too bright, too light of a touch)."

You are major restricting your search to just a few "Asian" made specimen.

First of, not all of the above are exactly the same, secondly there are a few Asian-made pianos today that could take you by surprise.

The irony is that some of the most musical, even European sounding pianos today *are* actually made in Asia.

As are pianists coming from that part of the world.

Time doesn't stand still.

You just gotta find the right, i.e. "best ones" ones among them...

Norbert


Edited by Norbert (09/21/11 09:53 PM)
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
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#1757027 - 09/22/11 12:21 AM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
4education Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 17
Loc: Rhode Island
I just bought a beautiful 2002 CW (it is the Queen Anne)from a CT craigslist posting for $2500. After that I saw one (a '98 I think) listed for something like $1800 - (the person was moving and as the move date got closer the price kept going down until it was 1800 OBO!) Here is a current listing from the RI area: http://providence.craigslist.org/msg/2589946860.html

While I was looking I did see a few listed in the MA,CT, RI area. I don't know how soon you need/want to buy - but they did seem to crop up. My daughter absolutely LOVES the one we got for her - and I agree with you - it has a lovely sound. I hope you can find one that you like within your price range! Happy shopping.

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#1757164 - 09/22/11 09:10 AM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
Hi 4education!

Thanks and congrats on your CW! I am agressively scouring Craigslist postings on the east coast as well as calling dealers and I am hopeful I will find a CW 1500. I don't need the piano until mid-November, so hopefully something will work out.

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#1757170 - 09/22/11 09:21 AM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
Well, very good luck to you on your quest to find your future beloved CW!! heart laugh

Keep us posted in the meantime. But what's with the "aggressively" scouring the Craigslist postings? wink

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#1757174 - 09/22/11 09:25 AM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Rotom]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
But what's with the "aggressively" scouring the Craigslist postings? wink [/quote]

I just don't want to miss one - they are hard to find!

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#1757426 - 09/22/11 02:42 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
Guapo Gabacho Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/11
Posts: 430
Loc: Rio Grande Valley of Texas
Here is where I go to aggressively search craigslist, just enter "charles walter piano" and you will get a national search.

http://for-sale.yakaz.com/
_________________________
'86 Baldwin SF-10

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#1757612 - 09/22/11 06:55 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
Thanks, Guapo Gabacho!

I just found black CW 1500 that is relatively nearby! I contacted the seller and am waiting for a response (and a hopefully a negotiatable price!)

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#1757663 - 09/22/11 08:47 PM Re: Charles Walter Pianos [Re: Me123]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 805
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
So the Sohmer didn't live up to hopes? just curious (I know that was the other thread).
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R

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