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#1765477 - 10/05/11 09:55 PM Ritmuller vs yamaha
Sherrymm79 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/01/11
Posts: 6
Loc: Clovis, Ca, USA
Hi everyone,

I'm looking for a piano for my 6 yr old son. I was always thinking about Yamaha U3 because it is a very popular model and has very good resale value. But when I stopped at a piano store in San Jose, I was attracted by the powerful sound of Ritmuller. The sales person also strongly recommended the Ritmuller UH121R even they also carry a few Yamaha models (but not U3, I didn't tell him I'm interested in U3). He is a Yamaha certified technician, and was a big Yamaha fan before he met Ritmuller UH121R as he said. In his opinion, Ritmuller UH121R is much better than Yamaha U3, no only the sound but also the materials used to build the piano. I don't know anything about piano, but not sure if I should trust the sales person's recommendation either.

Because Ritmuller UH121R is so new in market that I couldn't find many reviews online, I'm not sure if I should take the risk to buy it, or I should buy the popular Yamaha U3. If you have any experience with the Ritmuller UH121R, I would like to hear it from you. Also, how much are current market prices for Ritmuller UH121R and Yamaha U3?

Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you.

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#1765553 - 10/05/11 11:44 PM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
terminaldegree Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2555
Loc: western Wisconsin
Hello,

Try typing "Ritmuller 121" into the search box at right, for some other peoples' observations. The Piano Buyer site (free) has information about retail pricing for everything in the US market. The negative barbs from a salesperson about a competing brand they don't sell are often half-truths and "noise" that can best be ignored.

Size-wise, the proper competing Yamaha model would be either the U1 or T121, as the U3 is taller.
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#1765558 - 10/05/11 11:54 PM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
Sparky McBiff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 1112
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
I've only played a Ritmuller upright once and I was extremely surprised at how good it sounded.
_________________________
Hailun 198







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#1765561 - 10/06/11 12:04 AM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13965
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Superior quality in a piano is harder to prove but sound is not.

As dealers we have been sold out on all Ritmueller 121 and 132 uprights for quite a while now, not because of our incredible salesmanship but because people seem to increasingly discover Ritmueller's fundamentally different tone.

It is important that you make the same experience or giving you any advice here would be pointless.

If you cannot identify this tone or feel more confident with the Yamaha, than this perhaps is the better way to go for you.

Perhaps ask for another opportunity whereby both pianos can be played and listened to one more time, ideally side-by-side.

You'll be the judge - who else?

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

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#1765572 - 10/06/11 12:28 AM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Norbert]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2173
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
Originally Posted By: Norbert
Superior quality in a piano is harder to prove but sound is not.

...

You'll be the judge - who else?


Excellent advice! It's good to sdeek the input of others, but your opinion is what counts. If you like the tone and touch of the Ritmuller best, then there is your answer.

Trust yourself. You really can't go wrong with either of those pianos.
_________________________
Gary Schenk

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#1765598 - 10/06/11 02:05 AM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Sherrymm79

The sales person also strongly recommended the Ritmuller UH121R even they also carry a few Yamaha models (but not U3, I didn't tell him I'm interested in U3). He is a Yamaha certified technician, and was a big Yamaha fan before he met Ritmuller UH121R as he said. In his opinion, Ritmuller UH121R is much better than Yamaha U3, no only the sound but also the materials used to build the piano. I don't know anything about piano, but not sure if I should trust the sales person's recommendation either.


The new generation Ritmuller pianos do sound good, especially when compared to earlier Rimullers and other Pearl River products.

However, a fair comparison to a Yamaha U-3 is not to be found at an authorized Ritmuller dealer who is not an authorized Yamaha dealer, has no U-3's in stock, and deals in grey market Yamaha imports to take sales away from new Yamaha products. (I'm assuming you're shopping at Silicon Valley Piano.)

You really should evaluate Yamaha U series pianos at your San Jose authorized Yamaha dealer and then decide what you think.

The line about the salesperson being a big Yamaha fan until he met Rittmuller should not be taken seriously. The line that the Ritmullers are better built than a Yamaha U3 is bunk. I would have more faith in the piano than in that salesperson. He has neither a new or a used U-3 to offer you. He wants to sell you what he has.

_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1765731 - 10/06/11 10:01 AM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2173
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
Quote:
I would have more faith in the piano than in that salesperson.


More great advice!
_________________________
Gary Schenk

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#1765763 - 10/06/11 11:03 AM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
painter55 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/11
Posts: 101
Loc: New Mexico
I have a U3 and never considered anything else. Yamaha is a solid brand. My piano was so close to a Steinway in sound that I couldn't tell the difference.

Money is important, but considering how long we keep our instruments, it shouldn't be the most important factor in selecting a piano. Concentrate on the sound and feel of the piano. Nothing else really matters.
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Painter55 (Bobby in New Mexico)
Yamaha U3

Working on:
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#1765798 - 10/06/11 11:52 AM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13965
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
The line that the Ritmullers are better built than a Yamaha U3 is bunk. I would have more faith in the piano than in that salesperson.


Perhaps yes, perhaps no.

Let me be a bystander on this one and learn from others.

As Ritmueller dealer I admittedly prefer the tone of Ritmueller pianos in comparabe sizes to virtually all Yamahas pianos but let's talk about the other aspect commonly referred to as "quality". I'm serious about it - hope all others are.

Who here can make a credible case of one piano over the other?
Especially interested how a conclusive comparison of quality is being made between 2 makes and on what exact basis these "conclusions" are being made.

Sitting on school desk awaiting lecture. Hoping many willing to join me. Serious. This should be a most insteresting course in piano design, quality of components and piano manufacture.

Let's hear from the experts with specific experience hopefully involving both makes and models. Tuners, techs, rebuilders, dealers. Larry Fine and piano designers.

Let's be open and make constructive contributions.Here and eager to learn on this one.

Norbert


Edited by Norbert (10/06/11 12:19 PM)
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#1765807 - 10/06/11 12:08 PM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: painter55]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2630
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: painter55
My piano was so close to a Steinway in sound that I couldn't tell the difference.
Nothing against a fine U3 or Yamaha, but the only Yamaha that even occasionally gets compared to Steinway sound is the concert grands.

I am glad you are happy with your piano, but in your case, I wouldn't use a Steinway comparison as justification with others. Steinway makes apples and Yamaha makes oranges.
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, 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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#1765887 - 10/06/11 02:52 PM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: PianoWorksATL]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
Originally Posted By: painter55
My piano was so close to a Steinway in sound that I couldn't tell the difference.
Nothing against a fine U3 or Yamaha, but the only Yamaha that even occasionally gets compared to Steinway sound is the concert grands.


Ahem...

I might be an idiot saying this in this particular thread, but I think my C7 sounds just as good (or if not better) than a hamburg D I played in competition about 4 months ago! laugh More than comparable, IMHO.

But then, as you mention, I am in that "occasional" group, so that's that, there you go!

Re: ritmüller, I think you should go with the one you like better. Build quality, quite good, but probably consistency better in Yamaha. Sound quality and tone to personal taste.

Good luck!

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#1765897 - 10/06/11 03:05 PM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Norbert]
gnuboi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 2349
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Norbert
Quote:
The line that the Ritmullers are better built than a Yamaha U3 is bunk. I would have more faith in the piano than in that salesperson.


Perhaps yes, perhaps no.


There's initial quality and then there's track record. Rit has little track record where as Yamaha, especially the U series, has a long and stellar record.

As for initial quality, it's hard for the common shopper to tell. Paper specs can be misleading. Construction flaws and compromises may not be obvious. It would take a piano builder to really judge the build quality.

That said, I haven't heard anything about Rit having poor build quality. It might not be a Steinway but there certainly haven't been any dire warnings from the techs and owners out there.

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#1765917 - 10/06/11 03:33 PM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13965
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
It would take a piano builder to really judge the build quality.


Well, when in Germany last time I did talk to some of Germany's piano builders about exactly that, one of them being a Steinway dealer.

The guy [very nice man..] stated openly that pianos on the whole are more bought on image than *quality*, Steinway taking the cake.

In his case he didn't compare Steinway to Ritmüller but certainly to some other top German makes he also carried.

The question left unanswered was how one determines "quality" in those cases where sound of one piano appears to be equal or even preferable to another.

Think about it: food is judged by "taste", ingredients for sure, instruments by "sound" and their materials & specs perhaps - so where does the factor of "quality" independent from all this weigh in - all others things being equal?

Reputation, track record, pricings all aside, let's talk for a moment discernible quality in building a piano.

With at least some variable outcomes in tone and touch.

Allowing us to perhaps then to make at least some kind of comparative analysis in the end?

If reputation or "track record" were taken at all into consideration here, perhaps there should be no "rating" of pianos for the first 20 years at all - only perhaps "opinions" or observations based on individual experiences?

With the Euros trumpeting that reputations are established in hundreds of years, not only decades...

So, on what basis do we place a judgement of *quality* outside the touch and tone of a piano?

And how would this relate to the case of Ritmüller and Yamaha?
Or any other "roughly similar" pianos?

Very interested to learn what others have to say.

NORBERT


Edited by Norbert (10/06/11 03:59 PM)
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#1765963 - 10/06/11 05:06 PM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Norbert]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Horbert
Let me be a bystander on this one and learn from others.

As Ritmueller dealer I admittedly prefer the tone of Ritmueller pianos in comparabe sizes to virtually all Yamahas pianos but let's talk about the other aspect commonly referred to as "quality". I'm serious about it - hope all others are.

Who here can make a credible case of one piano over the other?


Norbert,

No slight to Ritmuller. I believe I have a favorable impression of these pianos on record here even before you decided to carry the line. I guess from your comments here that you're out of stock now, but if you are noticing that each container received is as good or better than the last, you have reason to be optimistic going forward.

All the same though, it's kind of hard for you at this point to be a bystander.

My basic advice to the OP was to form his impression of Ritmuller at the authorized Ritmuller dealer and to form his impression of the U-3 at an authorized Yamaha dealer. I certainly don't think he should rely on the sales spiel of a Ritmuller salesman who can't even offer him a grey market U-3, much less a new one.

As to the question of who can make a creditable case for one over the other, the onus is on that Ritumller salesperson. He indicated that the sound and build quality of the Ritmuller was "MUCH BETTER" than that of the U3.

In light of Yamaha's decades of U-3 production, the consistency of delivered product which Fine himself clearly states to be that to which all makers (not Asian makers) aspire, and in light of the opinions of techs who service pianos for issues large and small, it seems pretty ambitious to make this statement.

So how does that salesperson in your words "make a credible case" for Ritmuller quality being much better than Yamaha U-3 quality? I don't know. You tell me.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1765974 - 10/06/11 05:32 PM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Rotom]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2630
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: Rotom
Ahem...

I might be an idiot saying this in this particular thread, but I think my C7 sounds just as good (or if not better) than a hamburg D I played in competition about 4 months ago! laugh More than comparable, IMHO.
This is the misunderstanding. Sounds like is idea I was commenting on. There are instruments that share design philosophies and elements that will sound more alike. A U3 and a Steinway K do not share those design elements that would make them sound similar. Between a C7 and a D, not so much. I'm not talking comparisons of condition, quality, etc. I'm just talking about Sounds like.

"As good as..." is a reasonable subjective assertion. Regardless of which you prefer, on the spectrum of piano sound design, they will not be neighbors.
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, 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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#1765999 - 10/06/11 05:59 PM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
I actually meant that they sounded very, incredibly similar, very hard to tell the difference in tone/touch. But in saying that my piano sounds just as good, I meant that I liked my own piano better, as the small noticeable differences that could be identified made the difference to me. Hope it clarified a bit!

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#1766030 - 10/06/11 06:38 PM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: turandot]
master88er Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/07
Posts: 789
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Originally Posted By: turandot
Originally Posted By: Horbert
Let me be a bystander on this one and learn from others.

As Ritmueller dealer I admittedly prefer the tone of Ritmueller pianos in comparabe sizes to virtually all Yamahas pianos but let's talk about the other aspect commonly referred to as "quality". I'm serious about it - hope all others are.

Who here can make a credible case of one piano over the other?



My basic advice to the OP was to form his impression of Ritmuller at the authorized Ritmuller dealer and to form his impression of the U-3 at an authorized Yamaha dealer. I certainly don't think he should rely on the sales spiel of a Ritmuller salesman who can't even offer him a grey market U-3, much less a new one.

As to the question of who can make a creditable case for one over the other, the onus is on that Ritumller salesperson. He indicated that the sound and build quality of the Ritmuller was "MUCH BETTER" than that of the U3.


So how does that salesperson in your words "make a credible case" for Ritmuller quality being much better than Yamaha U-3 quality? I don't know. You tell me.



I hate to, but I somewhat agree with Turandot grin - the only fair evaluation can be by comparing the pianos at either the authorized dealers for both products, or at least by having them side by side.

In my shop, I have both an excellent 1992 U3 in stock, as well as a U1 and so the comparison can easily by made. However, a more accurate comparison would probably be to compare the U3 to a 132 Ritmüller since they are similarly sized instruments. The 121 is more comparably in size to the U1.

IMHO, the U1 does not have the depth of tone or performance capability that the U3 demonstrates, and although the size is actually a small factor, there are obviously substantial differences (either in components or craftsmanship) that make the difference in these two VERY large. In the Ritmüller lineup, I don't think you will find that the differences between the 48" and 52" are as great as between the U1 and U3. Again, just my shaded and biased opinion.

So, to the OP, I would compare the U3 to the 121 and 132 and see which you prefer.
_________________________
Russell I. Kassman
R.KASSMAN, Purveyor of Fine Pianos
Berkeley, CA

FORMER US Rep.for C.Bechstein

SF Area Dealer: Steingraeber•Grotrian•Sauter•Estonia•Kayserburg•Baldwin•Brodmann•Ritmüller
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#1766074 - 10/06/11 07:46 PM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: master88er]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: master88er

In my shop, I have both an excellent 1992 U3 in stock, as well as a U1 and so the comparison can easily by made.


That certainly provides a comparison, and it's very kind and thoughtful of you to place those pianos in your shop for the purpose of one-stop shopping easy comparison. grin

However, at the risk of being repetitive, I still think that the best advice for the OP is to "to form his impression of Ritmuller at his authorized Ritmuller dealer (or the one up the road a bit grin ) and to form his impression of the U-3 at an authorized Yamaha dealer.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1766138 - 10/06/11 09:45 PM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2173
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
I stopped in at one place and the salesman was telling me what a bad piano the U1 is. And he had a U1 that proved it! Amazing.

I have not returned to that store.
_________________________
Gary Schenk

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#1766146 - 10/06/11 09:57 PM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
What was it like? And did hé say what pianos there were GOOD?

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#1766211 - 10/07/11 12:46 AM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2173
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
The U1 was some old neglected piano. Probably detuned!

It was a piano liquidator operation. He had a bunch of stuff from closed dealerships in the midwest. He was pushing Perzinas and a bunch of stencils. Strangely enough, the piano I liked the best there, was this hideously painted blue Starr baby grand.
_________________________
Gary Schenk

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#1766212 - 10/07/11 12:50 AM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13965
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
I vividly remember a headline article about 15 years ago in the "Frankfurter Allgemeine", a major German newspaper, addressing the purported differences between some Germany's top piano makers.

The article started with the question:
"Hoerst Du den Unterschied"? [do you hear the difference?]

After 2 long pages, the conclusion was that few if any people can hear the difference and when they *do* - or *think* they do - it had nothing to do with quality of the instrument.

Now Tur asking, IMHO hits the point:

"So how does that salesperson in your words "make a credible case" for Ritmuller quality being much better than Yamaha U-3 quality? I don't know. You tell me".

Perhaps he can't.

But nor could the Yamaha dealer.

Or could he?

We already know [and agree..] both pianos sound very nice.

What then could one say on a fact based comparative basis re the "quality" of these two pianos?

Either one of the pianos is built better - or it isn't.

In other words, which one is lacking something the other one doen't - vice versa?

Without a clear answer *no answer at all* - may be best?

Norbert


Edited by Norbert (10/07/11 01:04 AM)
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#1766233 - 10/07/11 01:34 AM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
MetalMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 79
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Sherrymm79, I grew up playing on a U1. My parents had the foresight to buy it before I was born. Most other kids in my area were subjected to clanky Heinztmans or worse (although I've seen some awesome reconditioned ones since).

I've played dozens of U1 and U3 pianos, and found that the difference between the two varies considerably with vintage. I had a U1H (~1978-80 or so) a few years ago, and I currently own a U1D (~1972). The U1H was a gray market instrument with a boring bass, stunning tenor - mezzo range and sparkling treble. A great piano for Debussy. It had the stereotypical Yamaha tone, but it was also ridiculously unstable with respect to tuning stability. The U1D was intended for this market and withstood a move across town in -40 C/F move and a subsequent 18 months of 20 to 60% humidity in a new house with very little effect on its state of tune (no dampp chaser either).

My relatives all have the U1 as well (varying vintages); in my experience, if they're seasoned for this market, they hold their tune really well. The U1D does not sound like any of the others. It is much darker and warmer sounding, very un-Yamaha. I would take the bass on this instrument over a new U3 any day. I can see how someone could mistake the tone for that of a Steinway upright. This isn't just my piano either, my parents have the same model and it has the same characteristics.

I haven't played a Ritmuller, although I'm sure they're fine instruments. I have been suspicious of the tuning stability of the Chinese and Korean made instruments in the past, but I will admit that my experience with them is at least 5 years out of date, so perhaps they're as good as Yamaha now.

Tuning stability is of critical importance here. If you have even the slightest reservation about the stability of the Ritmuller, go for the Yamaha.

Best of luck!

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#1766267 - 10/07/11 03:41 AM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
MetalMan, you are very right indeed on this point!

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#1766363 - 10/07/11 09:43 AM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Norbert]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10340
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: Norbert

What then could one say on a fact based comparative basis re the "quality" of these two pianos?

Either one of the pianos is built better - or it isn't.

In other words, which one is lacking something the other one doen't - vice versa?

Without a clear answer *no answer at all* - may be best?

Norbert


Perhaps part of the answer should be that Yamaha has been making the U1 for over 50 years. They have an outstanding track record, and Yamaha extensively stocks parts for their models in the US. Also, Yamaha has an outstanding reputation for standing behind their products and providing excellent consumer and dealer support.

This isn't to say that Ritmuller is not a good piano or a good value, but being time-tested and having an extensive history of stability, service, etc. are still factors that shoppers should seriously take into consideration.

In many "newer" brands the advantage of thier lower selling price should be weighed against the higher risk that potential owners assume. And their should add calculate the "cost" over the expected lifttime of ownership.

Fortunately, based on the quality of the construction of those newer brands, ritmuller included, the risk is relatively low.

Time will tell.
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Since 1937.

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

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#1766377 - 10/07/11 10:29 AM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
adamp88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/24/09
Posts: 90
Loc: Omaha, NE
I've had my Ritmuller UH121R for just a little over 2 years now (bought it from Russell, actually), and I still find myself falling in love with its tone and musicality. It has a depth and subtlety of tone that quite frankly I just don't find in most other uprights of it's size and/or price. I did have some concerns with tuning stability in the first year of ownership, but the piano has since stabilized (as has the humidity control in its home, which probably was the greatest contributing factor to stability in the first place).

I have very limited experience with the Yamaha U1 or U3 (played a U3 a couple times but didn't find the experience particularly compelling - but a couple times for 5 minutes doesn't exactly produce a well-informed opinion), but if I was going to buy an upright all over again - and I've played a lot more of the Ritmuller's peers since owning mine - I'd buy the Ritmuller again.


Edited by adamp88 (10/07/11 10:30 AM)
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#1766388 - 10/07/11 10:47 AM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: MetalMan]
Hop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 654
Loc: Hudson, FL
Originally Posted By: MetalMan
...It had the stereotypical Yamaha tone, but it was also ridiculously unstable with respect to tuning stability.
...My relatives all have the U1 as well (varying vintages); in my experience, if they're seasoned for this market, they hold their tune really well. The U1D does not sound like any of the others. It is much darker and warmer sounding, very un-Yamaha.
...I have been suspicious of the tuning stability of the Chinese and Korean made instruments in the past, but I will admit that my experience with them is at least 5 years out of date, so perhaps they're as good as Yamaha now.
...Tuning stability is of critical importance here. If you have even the slightest reservation about the stability of the Ritmuller, go for the Yamaha.


I think MetalMan is getting to the heart of the issue of quality. Touch and tone are the two aspects that define quality for me (appearance too, but that's a more straightforward issue). For tone, the ability to tune (including issues of false beats), the stability of the tune, and the quality of the tone (here we get subjective), and the stability of the quality of the tone seem to be at issue.

For touch, the appeal (mostly? subjective), the stability of the touch over time seem important.

Assuming a regular measurement of these over a long time period, say 20 years, perhaps we would know which pianos are of the highest quality. But the information would be too late to be helpful. Perhaps it is possible to inspect the piece parts and assembly to make an educated estimate.

Hop
_________________________
HG178, Roland FP-5, Casio PX 130

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#1766401 - 10/07/11 11:24 AM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13965
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
I think these are all reasonable observations.

What they do not tell a buyer however, is how pianos of same current productions really compare "quality-wise" especially when it comes to latest, up-to-date production of models in same or similar class.

For me it's been interesting to listen to the likes like Udo Steingraeber who recently referred to some Kayserburg pianos his company is co-opting with as "scary"

It's interesting when factors such as grey-sand casting, Renner hammers, and other high end features are pointed out as hallmark of some high end pianos but when lower strata pianos adopt same, it's becoming quickly discounted.

Not that components by themselves make a premium piano of course, but it can certainly show a manufacturer's intent

One also can't go back 5-10 years to compare a Kia of that vintage to a present day Toyota nor is "track record" a totally conclusive issue.

Let's not forget that Fazioli has only a "track record" of about 25 years with some other makers inventions such as carbon-fibre actions,etc even less....

Personally I have come to believe that tone & touch of a piano is the ultimate give away or factor to be considered.

Again ,we're not talking high end concert type grands but everyday type pianos.

In my mind it's hard to skid around this: once you like a piano's tone & touch everything else can only be based on individual assessment and opinion.

It'll be a hard thing to measure or extrapolate "quality" as an independent entity from there.

Perhaps it time to have some mutual respect rather than propagating a sense of endless superiority. It's obviously becoming a mixed bag with blurred boundaries out there leading to many new opportunities for consumers today.

There are no longer "winners" or "loosers" - only "choosers".

You'll be the judge!

Norbert smile


Edited by Norbert (10/07/11 03:03 PM)
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#1766569 - 10/07/11 06:08 PM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Norbert]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Norbert

Now Tur asking, IMHO hits the point:

"So how does that salesperson in your words "make a credible case" for Ritmuller quality being much better than Yamaha U-3 quality? I don't know. You tell me".

Perhaps he can't.

But nor could the Yamaha dealer.

Or could he?

We already know [and agree..] both pianos sound very nice.

What then could one say on a fact based comparative basis re the "quality" of these two pianos?

Either one of the pianos is built better - or it isn't.
Norbert


Norbert,

If you go back to the opening post, the OP was confronted with the fact that a Chinese piano appealed to him. He then questioned whether that momentary impression would hold up over the course of ownership. The salesman assured him that the Chinese piano he liked was built much better than a Yamaha U3. The onus is on that salesman to prove his point.

All piano makers operate with a measure of assurance, or consumer confidence if you will. Yamaha operates with a large surplus in its column. Pearl River, because of its decade of offering 'pure price' as a strategy in the US market and its seeming contentment with being the entry-level doormat at retail shops, operates at a deficit. Were we having this discussion four years ago, you wouldn't have Pearl River pianos in your inventory and you would not be so engaged here in carrying their banner. You know that. Remember that warehouse filled to the rafters? grin

Times change, but perceptions change slowly. The consumer may feel that at the moment of audition the Pearl River product shines, but still be encumbered with doubt about whether the lustre is only a surface polish that will slowly disappear. I had that feeling myself when I sampled a couple of Ritmullers, and that's despite the fact that a good guy in the industry who works for Pearl had clued me in a year before to what was on the horizon, and I had no doubts about Pearl's in-house ability if it applied itself to making better pianos instead of making the cheapest pianos.

The difference in accumulated assurance / consumer confidence is so great that it benefits Pearl River simply to have its pianos compared seriously to Yamaha's pianos. That is true whether they are perceived as equal, better, or even come up a little short. Just being under consideration is a step up. I think you know that, and I think that's why you're here in this thread. I also think it's the reason you're forever taking sideways swipes at Yamaha.

There is no advantage to Yamaha in duking it out with Pearl River either on this forum, or in its promotional literature, or in showroom sales spiels. If a Yamaha sales pro sought to wow his customer by saying: "Our pianos are better than those of Pearl River"_, the customer's reaction would probably be "So what?". Yamaha has achieved the status to treat Pearl as if Pearl didn't exist, to be above it all. This may certainly change over time, but it is certainly reflected in this forum where Yamaha retailers, if they are here at all, are here as quiet observers (much like Steinway retailers).

I don't think that Pearl can close the gap by having salesmen state that its pianos are better than Yamaha's. I think that's stupid. A pearl/Ritmuller guy can point to the good news -- to better reviews in Pianobuyer, to Pearl's initiative to raise quality across the board, to guest designers, to component upgrades, to the Steingraeber affiliation, and most of all, to its state-of-the-art production facilities which give the lie to substandard working conditions and slave labor. Pearl doesn't have to stoop to a cheapshot against Yamaha. That strategy is counter-productive.

As Steve Cohen pointed out, if spinning all the good news still doesn't win the day, there's always price. If his margin permits, the retailer can sweeten the deal to the point that the reward outweighs the risk. In this respect you personally are fortunate. Since Yamaha prices are controlled pretty tightly in Canada through the presence of a big chain operation, you can sweeten the deal quite a bit on any of your Chinese alternatives. Plunk yourself down in San Jose, the epiicenter of Yamaha price-cutting cannibalism and the OP's backyard, things would not be so easy. Maybe that's why the San Jose Ritmuller guy made those outlandish statements. I don't know, just guessing.
_________________________
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The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1766597 - 10/07/11 07:44 PM Re: Ritmuller vs yamaha [Re: Sherrymm79]
MetalMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 79
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Sherrymm79, do you play the piano yourself? If so, the following doesn't apply, but if not, consider that this instrument (depending on how much your son takes to it) could wind up with him when he moves away from home 12-24 years from now. 50 years of legacy is working in Yamaha's favor, as so well put by Steve Cohen. I guess he could also turn out to be a wunderkind, in which case we may very well find ourselves debating the merits of Yamaha vs Steinway concert grands a few years from now while you try and sell whatever you end up buyin to trade up. Your son is fortunate to have a parent who is trying to get the very best for him, that is without question!

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