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Topic Options
#1862137 - 03/14/12 10:44 PM Kawai K8 or small grand?
sushifor5 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/12
Posts: 74
Loc: Northern Idaho
If you could choose, would you buy a new Kawai K8 upright or a 5'4" or 5'8" grand of good reputation like Brodman, Hailun, Boston....

Any thoughts/opinions? Why/why not? TIA!!!

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#1862158 - 03/14/12 11:07 PM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
dsch Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/08
Posts: 325
Loc: florida
I'd choose a 5'8" Hailun or a Brodmann PE 162 over a K8.

Way better action and better sound.

I got a Kawai K3 and I wish I'd waited a few months for a few more $Ks in the bank. I'd have gotten a decent grand instead.

It's better than nothing but not a day goes by when I don't wish for better.

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#1862159 - 03/14/12 11:09 PM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
Have you played them? If not, play them first. It's time consuming, but will probably rule some possibilities out simply because you don't like them or don't like them as well as you like something else. And since your personal opinion is by far the most important here, such information gathering is critical.

If you HAVE already played them, what do YOU think?

K8s are well respected instruments. Boston, as you may know, is also made by Kawai, and is considered by most (though not all, I've discovered) to be of about the same level as Kawai itself. However, if a small Boston grand is on your list, I'm wondering why a small Kawai grand is not. And if a tall Kawai upright is on your list, I'm wondering why a tall Boston upright is not. If I were interested in either, I'd make sure to play both. Any reason for these omissions?

In any case, getting a Japanese piano (whether Kawai or Boston or Yamaha for that matter) has the advantage of lowering the buyer's need to worry about variations from instrument to instrument. They all have a reputation for remarkable consistency and for coming out of the crate in far better than average level of preparation, even before the dealer preps them. This makes you somewhat less dependent on the dealer's prep work. Most other pianos do not have the same reputation--even many pianos deemed better (and, of course, vastly more expensive) than the ones you're considering. In any case, good luck!

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#1862229 - 03/15/12 01:11 AM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
gnuboi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 2349
Loc: USA
Small grands tend to be more popular than tall uprights. So for resale the small grand might sell better.

Haven't tried the K8 but my general feeling is that even with a small grand the sound surrounds you from all sides. A more immersive experience.

Then again, Kawai is popular, too. Its action is probably very good, too.

I think if it were me I'd either buy a less expensive upright, or one of those small grands.

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#1862397 - 03/15/12 09:18 AM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
In my own experiences, i have found the Boston small grands to have somewhat richer tone than a similar sized Kawai. And i'd get the grand, for Gnuboi's reasons.

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#1862814 - 03/15/12 10:21 PM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
Sparky McBiff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 1112
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
The Hailun or Brodmann grand, no question.
I was once where dsch was (the second poster in this thread).
I too had actually just bought a nice Kawai upright and it was a nice piano but afterwards I was not too happy because I always wanted a grand but thought that I would never really be able to afford one.
I realized though that there was no reason why I shouldn't treat myself to a grand piano since if I didn't get one now I probably never would. I also was not in debt for anything and since my 50th birthday was coming up I thought somebody should buy me something nice for it, even if that somebody would have to be me.
So I soon sold the upright to a friend and after much shopping I purchased my Hailun 198 (I would have loved to get a Brodmann if one was available) and have been thrilled ever since.
It has made me MUCH more serious about playing and I am improving much faster than if I had kept the upright, if only because I am playing WAY more often.

I went with a high quality Chinese maker because for the same price I could get a much larger piano than if I stayed with the usual Yamaha or Kawai grand. The quality of the Hailun has been impressive and every tech that has worked on it has been surprised and commented positively on various aspects of the build quality.

I tried a few Bostons (and Essex) but they never really did anything for me and I could get a larger piano with Hailun.
I fell madly head over heels in love with the Brodmann 212 but it was well out of my price range.

I've also never heard of anybody regretting they bought too good of a piano but I've heard lots of people express some regret that they didn't buy "higher".


Edited by Sparky McBiff (03/15/12 10:22 PM)
_________________________
Hailun 198







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#1862825 - 03/15/12 10:55 PM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
RJ10 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/12
Posts: 44
Loc: Chicago, IL
If you have the resources to purchase a decent grand, then that is the route to take. Not only is the sound richer and fuller with more power and longer sustain, but the action allows for faster repetition of notes and more control over the sound that is produced. Don't sacrifice quality for size - choose the largest of the best piano brand in your price range.
_________________________
“Music in the soul can be heard by the Universe.” ~Lao Tzu

Richard J Beebe, RPT
Piano Technician & Collaborative Pianist
Bb Piano Service
Chicago, Illinois

www.bbpianoservice.com
bbpianoservice@gmail.com

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#1862844 - 03/15/12 11:32 PM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: Sparky McBiff]
dsch Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/08
Posts: 325
Loc: florida
Originally Posted By: Sparky McBiff
I also was not in debt for anything and since my 50th birthday was coming up


Join the club! I'm only a few years away from that.

Quote:
I thought somebody should buy me something nice for it, even if that somebody would have to be me.


Hah Hah. That's me, too.

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#1862906 - 03/16/12 02:33 AM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
Rafterman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/12
Posts: 407
Loc: New York
If you have the room and the financial situation get the Grand even if you have to stretch. I am in the market for a larger residence. I went with the Kawai K8 for space reasons.

Once I am in the new place I am going to take my time and slowly find the best dealer + prep for a Grand piano I can find.
I want to play every brand of Grand piano......same model different stores....get deeply into them.....take my time and play ones I would walk by before. I played Yamaha C2 and C3...loved them. I played a Kawai Rx-2 and a Rx-6. Fantastic instruments....but I want to be 101% when I go for that Grand.


Edited by Rafterman (03/16/12 03:16 AM)

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#1863278 - 03/16/12 05:33 PM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
sushifor5 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/12
Posts: 74
Loc: Northern Idaho
THanks everyone, for your thoughts! Our internet cut out, so I was down for a little while. I enjoyed reading what you all had to share here. We have played a few grands now and uprights as well, but haven't played a K8 for a couple years. I do think if we can afford a grand we should "go for it," because as we've been auditioning instruments in the past few weeks we've noticed the significant difference in sound between grands and uprights. Space is tight, but we should be able to make a small grand work...we will move out other furniture and make a child sleep under the grand. LOL! smile

We don't think we'll ever sell the instrument unless we bought something with which we were disappointed. (Trying to avoid that...I appreciate the above words of caution on that front.) The way the path of our life looks, we need to invest now in the best instrument for the $$ that we can afford and be happy with it as our "lifelong" instrument...as the kiddos graduate into adulthood and branch out on their own, they can get whatever instruments they need/desire. So whatever grand we buy now will be ours until....well, who knows? It will be played upon by multiple children and mom, too. So resale value doesn't really factor into the discussion for us, but tone, touch and quality construction does.

So far we've got a list that includes small grands from Boston, Hailun, Brodman, Kawai...and I'm still thinking about a couple others. Not closed to anything, just choosing based on $$ and availability. Thanks again!

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#1863294 - 03/16/12 05:49 PM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
mikeheel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/10
Posts: 388
Loc: NC
I'd buy a 5'7" Ritmuller...... wink

More to the point of the question, I was in a similar boat and chose to target grands between 5-and-a-half to 6 feet. I think there are some nice small grands in that range, including the several you mentioned and the one I own.

However, personally, I would still buy a nice upright over a grand that was shorter than 5-and-a-half feet.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Mike


Edited by mikeheel (03/16/12 05:49 PM)
_________________________
Happy owner of a 5'7" Ritmuller GH170R.
If you're bored, try my blog (mostly faith & family): http://mikeheel.wordpress.com.

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#1863423 - 03/16/12 10:15 PM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
Rafterman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/12
Posts: 407
Loc: New York
I think I just shot myself in the foot the other day by playing a nice Kawai RX-6 at a dealer! What an amazing tone.
I still haven't taken delivery of my Kawai K8 as they are still tuning it.

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#1863470 - 03/17/12 02:16 AM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
sushifor5 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/12
Posts: 74
Loc: Northern Idaho
ouch, rafterman!! That's kind of what happened to me at the Steinway gallery. we were really "married" to the idea of an upright until we heard the small grands. now i don't think i could go to an upright...but i don't want to discount ANYthing, b/c life changes so fast....

thanks, mikeheel, for the thoughts...i actually have added that Ritmuller to our audition list. i have not had the chance to play many of these instruments yet, and i have a feeling that when i start comparing them in their larger sizes i won't want to go the "baby" grand route.... but i need to be open to what we can fit and afford, LOL. I am starting to think the 5'8"ish size would be better than the 5'4"ers....for sound, that is...space conservation is a different issue. but, i doubt those extra couple of inches would really be impossible to fit in our small space.

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#1863480 - 03/17/12 03:26 AM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
maurus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/11
Posts: 867
Be aware that in some small spaces a grand might sound rather different from a large exhibition room in a shop. Depending on the room an upright *might* be a better solution - and there are brilliant uprights out there...
_________________________
Shigeru Kawai SK-2, etc.

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#1863679 - 03/17/12 01:37 PM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
mikeheel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/10
Posts: 388
Loc: NC
There are some great uprights out there, and they deserve strong consideration if the room is going to be too tight.

I love my 5'7" Ritmuller. IMO, it sounded better than the other pianos I tried up to 6'1". But different ears like different tones. I like a rich, warm tone with a strong bass. One of the nice features on the smaller Rits is the wider tail that allows richer bass for the size. To my ear, this design helps them sound about 6-8 inches bigger than they actually are.

But there are plenty of excellent options out there these days. I hope you find something you love.

Good luck,
Mike


Edited by mikeheel (03/18/12 10:33 PM)
_________________________
Happy owner of a 5'7" Ritmuller GH170R.
If you're bored, try my blog (mostly faith & family): http://mikeheel.wordpress.com.

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#1863743 - 03/17/12 03:51 PM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: mikeheel]
Robert 45 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 1318
Loc: Auckland New Zealand
Does the shorter grand with the wider tail sound better than a similar length piano with the standard tail? It is a contentious issue.
Steinway and Sons made much of this feature in marketing Boston grand pianos. Possibly to make a further point of differentiation between competing Boston and Kawai models.

However, Steinway have not changed the tail width of their own grand pianos.

Just increasing the soundboard area by widening the tail in my opinion, may not enhance the sound.

It is my view that the quality of design and manufacture of the soundboard and the string lengths are more critical in effecting improvements in tone.

Regards,
Robert.




Edited by Robert 45 (03/17/12 04:03 PM)

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#1863870 - 03/17/12 08:16 PM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
mikeheel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/10
Posts: 388
Loc: NC
I would not dispute that those elements are more critical, but I tried many pianos in my search and my ears told me that when the manufacture and components were otherwise equivalent in smaller grands (below 6 feet), the wider tail did make an actual positive difference in the sound.

fwiw,
Mike


Edited by mikeheel (03/18/12 10:37 PM)
_________________________
Happy owner of a 5'7" Ritmuller GH170R.
If you're bored, try my blog (mostly faith & family): http://mikeheel.wordpress.com.

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#1863871 - 03/17/12 08:18 PM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
kdr152004 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/11
Posts: 88
k8, they're wonderful!
_________________________
"Play Bach constantly. That will be your best means of progress." -F.Chopin

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#1863930 - 03/17/12 11:25 PM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: Rafterman]
Robert 45 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 1318
Loc: Auckland New Zealand
Originally Posted By: Rafterman
I think I just shot myself in the foot the other day by playing a nice Kawai RX-6 at a dealer! What an amazing tone.
I still haven't taken delivery of my Kawai K8 as they are still tuning it.


Forgive me if I am totally confused, but I see on another thread that you have also ordered a Yamaha YUS5 so that you may be having two very nice pianos. Lucky man!

I certainly agree with you about the Kawai RX6 which can be a fantastic piano.

Regards,

Robert.


Edited by Robert 45 (03/17/12 11:34 PM)

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#1864099 - 03/18/12 11:25 AM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
eightyeight_keys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/08
Posts: 383
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
The Kawai K8 is an excellent upright, but the difference of touch the grand piano has is well worth considering a grand over the upright. The Kawai millennium 3 action is THE best I have ever played, and grand pianos have a more responsive action with a better feel. You can actually feel the escapement. Word of advice, the GE30 is a very sweet baby grand with a great tone for its size, but don't buy one any smaller. An RX 2 also is nice and has a more solid bass. If funds are stretched, you won't be disappointed with the GE30!
_________________________
Kawai RX6G Grand
Bernstien/Hailun Europa BH - 1EP Upright
Roland HP-335 Digital Piano
Yamaha W7 Synthesizer
Roland E09W Interactive Arranger

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#1864401 - 03/18/12 10:07 PM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
sushifor5 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/12
Posts: 74
Loc: Northern Idaho
I'm with mikeheel on tone: rich and warm with strong bass...

I am certainly no expert, but after playing a few instruments I think the wider tail design does allow the smaller grands to have a "bigger" sound...i very much like the Boston, and I've played others in similar size categories without the wide tail design and felt the sound coming from that wider tail (which allows longer strings and I guess more soundboard, too) made a difference. just my opinion, though, and we're not finished auditioning yet. this is a tough decision!

on size, we aren't planning to live in this current dwelling place permanently (or even another year if I can help it), so i don't want to buy small now and regret it for the years to come.... I don't imagine we'd ever seek/need a grand bigger than 6' anyway, so the 5'4" to 5'10" seems to be the sweet spot for our purposes right now...

Thanks all!

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#1864418 - 03/18/12 10:45 PM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
Rafterman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/12
Posts: 407
Loc: New York
I hear you Sushifor5. I am glad I went with the upright for now because it will give me time to go all out on the Grand when the time comes. I probably would have sold myself short on a Grand at this time in my knowledge.

After finding this forum and getting all this information.......I feel better about decisions I would have otherwise missed altogether. I almost bought a Yamaha U3 and almost overlooked the Yamaha YUS5 & Kawai K8.
Thanks to all on here for helping out.

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#1864652 - 03/19/12 10:52 AM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: Robert 45]
eightyeight_keys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/08
Posts: 383
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Robert 45
Does the shorter grand with the wider tail sound better than a similar length piano with the standard tail? It is a contentious issue.
Steinway and Sons made much of this feature in marketing Boston grand pianos. Possibly to make a further point of differentiation between competing Boston and Kawai models.

However, Steinway have not changed the tail width of their own grand pianos.

Just increasing the soundboard area by widening the tail in my opinion, may not enhance the sound.

It is my view that the quality of design and manufacture of the soundboard and the string lengths are more critical in effecting improvements in tone.

Regards,
Robert.


String length is one of the most important parts of making a grand piano sound great. Other things of course help, but the longer they are the more lush and resonant the sound is and the bass is deeper.
_________________________
Kawai RX6G Grand
Bernstien/Hailun Europa BH - 1EP Upright
Roland HP-335 Digital Piano
Yamaha W7 Synthesizer
Roland E09W Interactive Arranger

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#2013644 - 01/12/13 08:19 PM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
PianistInJapan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/13
Posts: 32
Loc: Japan
Tried the K8, the RX-2, and the RX-3 at my Kawai dealer yesterday, and I was disappointed with the K8. It felt a bit heavy and non-responsive in its touch, and I actually preferred some other (cheaper) vertical pianos of Kawai.

The RX-2 and RX-3 are in a different league, though, and they imposed much less of a limitation technically than my Kawai digital does. Truly amazing! Suffices it to say that I am hooked now. Today it is off to the Yamaha dealer!


Edited by PianistInJapan (01/12/13 08:23 PM)
_________________________
Kawai RX-2
Kawai PN390 digital

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#2013875 - 01/13/13 11:11 AM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
j&j Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 445
Loc: Southwest
You've gotten great advice so far but,
Quote:
just choosing based on $$ and availability.
Choose for sound, feel, and quality construction above all. Most of us had to draw the line for size and budget (if money and room were no object, I'd have a Bosie Imperial or a Yamaha CFX sitting in my livingroom). From my own and my friends' experience, if the piano will be played by several family members, especially children, get something built like a tank.

Also, no matter how consistent the build quality is on a piano, it's a very complicated "musical machine" with hundreds of parts, so you want to buy one that has been carefully prepped by the dealer. If the salesman or dealer tell you otherwise, go somewhere else. After shopping around, you should be able to hear and feel the difference between a piano that's been prepped and one that's just been unboxed and put on the floor.

As was said before, take your time, shop around, and have fun. Keep us posted on your choice.

Good Luck!
_________________________
J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." Pablo Picasso

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#2014178 - 01/14/13 01:07 AM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
rlinkt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 320
Loc: CA
Whatever you buy, make sure to buy from a dealer who will stand behind the product. As j&j said, a piano is a pretty complicated machine, and you may have to deal with small things while a new piano settles down. I put in a fair amount of research and legwork prior to buying a piano for my daughter (a Ritmuller GH170R). I really liked the sound when I was going around comparing the different pianos. Now six months later, I still love the sound of the piano, but I have no idea how it compares to other pianos any more. I am just used to that sound now. What I am really glad about is that I got it from the dealer that I did. The piano had required some tweaking beyond the usual tuning, and I have received nothing but stellar support from the dealer that I got it from.

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#2014287 - 01/14/13 08:35 AM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12216
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
When I was shopping for my first piano, I was under a very tight budget. I was teaching off of a digital piano at a music store, and my upright at home was someone's cheap cast-off if we could move it. One of the dealers I went to tried to convince me that an upright was just as good as a grand. While it was nice and within my price range, I was not convinced. I went to another dealer and played a Sammick grand and fell in love with it. And it was within my price range. I never regretted getting the Sammick and was able to trade it in a few years later with the same dealer for only $1500 less than what I paid for it as downpayment for my current Petrof concert grand. I know that if I had bought an upright I would have regretted it immediately.

Go for the grand!
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2014875 - 01/15/13 11:09 AM Re: Kawai K8 or small grand? [Re: sushifor5]
PianistInJapan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/13
Posts: 32
Loc: Japan
The Kawai dealer I went to gave me good after-sales support some 8 years ago: when our digital piano had problems (three times), they fixed it without any claims. So that is why I started my shopping there for an acoustic. Reading the comments here, I come to the conclusion that the K8 was probably not prepped. It felt completely different from the Grands and other cheaper verticals. I will take a look at another Kawai dealer to cross-check this.

So, how was the Yamaha dealer? The first piano I tried was a YUS5. As it was in a special sound-proof room, it is probably played on a regular basis. It felt fine, though I prefer the touch and sound of the Kawai Grands. It definitely was better than the Kawai K8. The Yamaha Grants in the showroom were a different story, though, all of them out of tune. Even the C6x they had on display was horrible. What do these people think? Then I noticed a Hygrometer on the wall and a quick peek revealed a humidity of 30%. Suffices it to say that I won't buy my acoustic there...

What will it be, a good upright or a Grand? Not yet ruling out an upright completely, I am positively inclined towards a Grand. Our living room has 6 foot available (but not much more), so that suggests an RX-2 or RX-3 (or their equivalents of different brands). These Grands are above the USD 10,000 budget I initially had in mind, so some negotiation in combination with an modest increase in budget may be necessary. Alternatively, I may have to go for a second-hand.

Some background of the players in my household. I have played piano for some 40 years, of which 8 years lessons at a young age, followed by decades of on-and-off practice. My 16-yo son also plays regularly, though he is too busy for lessons, and my 10-yo daughter continues to amaze me with her musical talent. I have never been able to play a piece after having it heard once, but she is just doing that (within her technical ability). So, lots of fun in my family with our digital piano, but I feel we are ready for something better. I will not throw out the digital, because of its volume control and its harpsichord and church organ sounds.

I will continue to post my experiences of my search on this forum. I gave myself 1 year, but hopefully I hit upon something earlier.
_________________________
Kawai RX-2
Kawai PN390 digital

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