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#1962636 - 09/22/12 03:25 PM (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick
smyrna Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 20

Greetings,

Over a month ago, I posted in a separate thread about three uprights that I have found at a piano shop (in Turkey), and received some very, very useful comments about them (I've copy pasted its link below)

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1933801/upright%20Ibach,%20Rieger-Kloss,%20B.html (Upright Ibach, Bohemia, Rieger-Kloss)

I am very grateful for the great comments that I received in the previous thread, which have also encouraged me to write a brief follow up of my story, and ask for some further advice. As I have stated in the earlier thread, I live in Turkey, and my knowledge is limited to the stuff I have learned on the web from sources like Larry Fine's website and here. I am basically on the hunt for an upright for my son, who is in first grade, and has been taking private lessons for a couple of months now.

I have been to the same store I had mentioned in the earlier thread the other day with my son's piano teacher, who has picked two pianos as her favorite. One of them is a brand new Samick upright, 120 cm (something like 47in.?) and costs approximately $4,250. The other is a lightly/briefly used Rieger-Kloss 110 cm (around 43in.), which costs about $4875. Upon my request, the teacher also checked the Ibach from the other thread, and liked it a lot, but told me that it would be like handing over a Harley Davidson to him at the moment--and by the time my son learns to appreciate its subtlety, it'll be oldish. So I gave it up.

The seller claims that the R-K is only a couple of years old, and he was its original seller. It did look new to me, too--even the shrink wraps on its pedals are there.

Meanwhile, although the teacher did not know about R-K, when she checked it out, she said that it sounded like 'German pianos' and had that 'European feel' to it. She also said that the keys were a little harder than the Samick, but not in a bad way.

As for Samick: she has a Samick, too, and seems to have a soft spot for it herself. She said that it's not the best brand there is, but it serves its purpose for most students, and better than some of the junk stuff out there.

Ok, now, here comes my questions:

1) The Samick she liked was the tallest one in the store. We live in an apartment, and I don't want to get into a conflict with my neighbors over noise, but she kind of dismissed my concerns, stating that the muting pedal would take care of it. Would it? Or should I just go ahead and pick a shorter one, just to be on the safe side?

2) The Samick she liked had uneven keys (some of the keys felt stuck, others seemed half depressed, etc), and the seller (also a technician) told me that this is normal for pianos that just came out of its box. Apparently he did not have time to work on it yet. He said that it's a simple problem about some board (I don't know how to explain it really), and he would take care of it by the next time we go back to the store. Should I be concerned?

3) The Rieger-Kloss sounded nice and great, but there seems to be awfully little information about it on the web. From what I could garner from L.Fine's online source (under Bohemia title), it is a part of the latter, but when I go to Bohemia's website, it does not mention R-K at all. After Bechstein took over Bohemia, did it put an end to R-K line? If so, should I be wary about buying something that is extinct? The seller here claims that they can no longer bring new R-K here, as it is too pricey.
I wish I had some more information about this brand!

Any advice is very much appreciated..

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#1962650 - 09/22/12 03:51 PM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
Kurtmen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 632
Loc: San Mateo, CA
Quote:
Upon my request, the teacher also checked the Ibach from the other thread, and liked it a lot, but told me that it would be like handing over a Harley Davidson to him at the moment--and by the time my son learns to appreciate its subtlety, it'll be oldish. So I gave it up.


I disagree with your teacher for the following reasons:

A) A higher quality instrument will help your son understand those subtle differences that cannot be reproduced by an inferior piano.

B) For many people a piano is a one in a life-time purchase or at least something that will be kept for many years before replacing it.

C) It is likely that the better piano has a better action (Key-Touch); this is a very significant advantage you can provide to a beginner.

D) Tuning stability maybe superior as well.

E) The better piano also will have a higher re-sale value if you relocate.

I really don't understand why a teacher will discourage anybody from buying a better piano. When first of all you like it and you have the financial means to buy it.

However if it is between the two pianos go with the new Samick.
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#1962720 - 09/22/12 06:22 PM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi Smyrna - Welcome Back,

As you can probably see, nothing much has changed. The big problem is that manufacturers target different names, in different markets/countries/continents, and they are the same piano, sometimes with different in cabinetry styles to accommodate local taste. Their websites seem to be purposefully confusing and the info seems to be deliberately hidden.

If you can locate the actual distributor of C. Bechstein, Bechstein Academy, and/or W. Hoffmann in Turkey, you might be able to get straight answers about R-K. It is a large tangle and totally confusing. The Reiger-Kloss name, other than very fine pipe organs, is virtually unknown in the USA. I hope that a member from Europe will see this and can offer info on the R-K piano in that market.

If the sonic volume of the piano is of concern because of your housing situation, then it is a concern and shouldn't just be dismissed out of hand. There are manufacturers who produce "silent" pianos, but these would add to the cost. They are acoustic pianos which employ an electronic system to play the instrument without the hammers contacting the strings.

Any piano, fresh out of the box, will need some attention. The amount you indicate would cause me pause about that specific piano. I would worry it had been dropped or tipped during shipment.

I have no clue about the Harley Davidson comment. If unlimited funds were available, there is no reason that a young student shouldn't start on a Steingraeber, either.

As an idea, you might start a thread targeting piano buyers/owners specifically located in, or familiar with, the piano market in Turkey.

Good Luck!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1962775 - 09/22/12 07:39 PM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7199
Loc: torrance, CA
Quote:
The Reiger-Kloss name, other than very fine pipe organs, is virtually unknown in the USA.


Translation: I know virtually nothing about these pianos, so no one else does either. grin

Smy,

When exactly it was that Bohemia changed fallboard names in your market and what exactly Bechstein's opinion might be of the two fallboard names in terms of marketing potential really doesn't matter. At 110 cm, the R-K is not a find even if it's only a few years old. Actually, I'd have more confidence in that piano if it pre-dated Bechstein's acquisition.

The Samcik? Who knows. Samick has more fallboard names than most piano companies have models. Usually only the lowest lines are branded Samick due to the company's modesty.

Unless this shop is the only source of pianos available to you, I would strongly encourage you to look elsewhere.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1962932 - 09/23/12 12:59 AM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2381
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
I located an R-K 5'8" baby grand for a close friend about a year and a half ago. The piano was ten years old and in immaculate condition. I was astounded by the quality of the build throughout, and wager that piano would trounce any other piano of similar size ina side-by-side comparison. It's a beautiful piano. Sounds great, and a pleasure to work on.



Edited by OperaTenor (09/23/12 10:17 PM)
_________________________
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#1962948 - 09/23/12 01:35 AM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21587
Loc: Oakland
On your first two questions:

1. A bigger piano will not sound much louder than a smaller one at full volume, but it will give much finer control over the entire range of dynamics. If you are concerned about the neighbors, the volume is likely to be less most of the time, because the smaller piano is more likely to be played more loudly most of the time.

2. If the dealer takes care of it, that should last for many years.
_________________________
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#1963265 - 09/23/12 04:47 PM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
smyrna Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 20

Thank you all for taking the time to respond to my questions--your input, as always, is very much appreciated. I agree with Minnesota Marty that asking these questions in a forum where people are more knowledgeable about the piano market in Turkey is the right thing to do. The problem is, no such place exists to my knowledge. Tentative as they are, my observations while searching for a piano here showed me that most, if not all, of the buyers here have no inkling of what they are getting, or what they want, for that matter. Most of the time they seem to pick the first piano that's shown to them within their price range (and compatible with their furniture).

Kurtmen: Since you have advised me to pick Samick over R-K, if possible, I would love to hear about your general opinion about Samick uprights.

Turandot: You advised that "[a]t 110 cm, the R-K is not a find even if it's only a few years old. Actually, I'd have more confidence in that piano if it pre-dated Bechstein's acquisition." Would you mind clarifying it a bit for me? Do you mean that 110 cm. is too short and therefore undesirable for an upright (for the reasons that BDB stated)? And should I be wary of any Bechstein association of the R-K brand? To my limited knowledge, Bechstein is one of the giants in the field, but have they had any troubles recently? I know very little about pianos, so any kind of clarification would mean a lot to me..

BDB: Thank you for putting my mind at ease regarding the problem with the keys on Samick.

Before sending you my first message, I was leaning toward the Rieger Kloss, but I guess I might end up with the Samick now..

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#1963308 - 09/23/12 06:42 PM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Smyrna,

Actually, my suggestion was to use Piano World. The difference would be using a different subject line. "Calling all Pianists in Turkey" would get a different response than a piano comparison thread.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1963779 - 09/24/12 04:06 PM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
smyrna Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 20

Marty,

Many thanks for the suggestion. I'll try it..

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#1963816 - 09/24/12 05:19 PM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7199
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: smyrna


You advised that "[a]t 110 cm, the R-K is not a find even if it's only a few years old. Actually, I'd have more confidence in that piano if it pre-dated Bechstein's acquisition." Would you mind clarifying it a bit for me? Do you mean that 110 cm. is too short and therefore undesirable for an upright (for the reasons that BDB stated)? And should I be wary of any Bechstein association of the R-K brand? To my limited knowledge, Bechstein is one of the giants in the field, but have they had any troubles recently? I know very little about pianos, so any kind of clarification would mean a lot to me.


A 110 cm vertical can be a pleasant piano, but usually it is at or close to the bottom of the company's range of products. The smallest vertical I ever tried from Bohemia / R-K was a shorter model named the Menuet. It was either 112 or 114 cm. I've forgotten exactly. It was not a bad piano, and would certainly be more than adequate for a beginner, but it was limited. Some of the limitations were in line with what BDB posted. There were also some faults in the cabinetry.

The reason I wrote that I would have more confidence in a pre-Bechstein model is that those pianos were on the market quite a while with few if any significant changes. They in no way dominated the market because Bohemia had a pretty small annual production which was portioned out to many markets. But those pianos did compete well musically with comparable models from Petrof, Yamaha, and Kawai. Also, those pianos had a tone which was more similar than different in all of the models I had the chance to try. IOW there was consistency.

Bechstein has now replaced all of these pianos with newer models. Those models may me better, equal, or not as good. I don't know. I really don't have any idea where the components and sub-assemblies of those pianos come from. Bechstein's position is not to disclose that kind of information so that it can maintain flexibility in its global sourcing.

You mentioned that Bechstein is an industry giant. If that is the case, then Bechstein did not buy Bohemia to learn the secret of making better pianos. It seems clear that the acquisition was strategic in terms of the geographical proximity of the two factories, the lower cost of labor, and a marketing plan to eventually differentiate Bohemia pianos from its own W. Hoffmann product. I don't feel that a giant reputation means much under these circumstances. I don't think we can assume that Bechstein made a gigantic effort to put all of its best resources and expertise into a 110 cm R-K piano. So personally, I would pay little attention to the company's historic pedigree.

I'll ask you again. Does it have to be one of these two? Is this shop the only place you can possibly sample pianos.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1963880 - 09/24/12 06:46 PM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
smyrna Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 20

Turandot,

Thank you very much for the clarifications about the dimensions and the association with Bechstein. I must say that I had never thought of these things prior to your post--very interesting thoughts that make lots of sense.

As for choosing between Samick and R-K: Where I live, there are not that many piano shops. There is a Yamaha dealer, which I have come to intensely dislike, and another one selling primarily Korean and Chinese pianos (Young Chang, Hailun, etc.). The few Chinese pianos I have checked (Canary, Marshal, etc) felt too tinkly for my taste. There are also a few shops here and there selling second hand stuff (mostly Chinese).

The technician who's selling those two pianos in his shop is known his skills, and so I plan to work with him after buying a piano for tuning etc. purposes. I could still use his services after buying from elsewhere, but if another shop will not offer me a better quality piano for the same price range, shopping from him seems simpler to me. Of course, complicating the matter is the fact that I am not a player at all, and know very, very little about pianos. I would have to rely on the goodwill of piano players like my son's teacher to check out any instrument, and I don't want to bother her too much.

In that store, there were also other brands/models: a 118 cm R-K, a Yamaha P22 and a Hoffmann. All of them are above the budget limit we have set at the moment, which is something around $4,500. I have also checked the Turkish distributor of Bohemia's website, and found that a new Bohemia (R114) goes for 6,500 Euros and R-121 is 7,250 Euros--way beyond our budget, and perhaps unnecessary at this point, too. frown

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#1963882 - 09/24/12 06:47 PM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
smyrna Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 20

After sending my message, I have just found out about this post:

http://chicagopianos.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/so-long-bohemia-pianos-we-will-miss-you/

frown

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#1963905 - 09/24/12 07:35 PM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7199
Loc: torrance, CA
Smyrna,

I don't have much time to post now, but I just wanted to let you know that the information in that link is specific to the US. In this market, Bohemia was distributed through a channel that Bechstein does not control. In getting rid of the distributor, Bechstein assumes control of the distribution channel to go with its controll of the Bohemia name..

Also, remember that the purpose of the article is to sell off remaining inventory of a piano retailer.

Finally, there are some factual inaccuracies in the blog report.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1964366 - 09/25/12 04:51 PM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
smyrna Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 20

Turandot,

Thank you for the clarification. I am glad to hear that Bohemia still exists. Needless to say, I am glad I don't live anywhere near that retailer. O.o

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#1964380 - 09/25/12 05:22 PM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7199
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: smyrna
I am glad to hear that Bohemia still exists.


Yes, but exists in what form?

The blogging retailer on your link pointed out that there were no heroes and no villains in this situation. Bechstein bought the company and is entitled to do what it wants with the production and the branding. The blooger also refers to the Kemble situation in 2009. In that case, Yamaha controlled the Kemble company, had controlled it for a while as part of Yamaha UK, and ultimately decided to shut the whole Yamaha UK operation down. However, Yamaha is using the Kemble name to manufacture pianos in Indoensia, so the brand name goes forward even though fans of the traditional British models wouldn't find that much of a consolation.

Maybe I'm unnaturally suspicious, but my gut tells me that if your dealer is also a W. Horrmann dealer and is offering a recent 110 cm Bohemia piano branded Rieger-Kloss, that piano may have never seen the light of day in any Czech Republic piano factory, but was in fact built in Asia to offer yet another Asian piano that attempted to trade off a European brand name and heritage. But that's only a suspicion. I really don't know.

There are at least a couple of members here who are in the biz and might know more. Ori Bukai, who posts as Ori, stocked and sold traditional Bohemia vertical pianos for years both before and after the Bechstein purchase. Norbert Marten, who posts as Norbert, flirted with the line for a while recently, but then dropped it. You could send them private messages to find out what they think about a 110 cm Rieger-Kloss of recent manufacture.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1964420 - 09/25/12 06:32 PM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: Kurtmen]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19375
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Kurtmen
Quote:
Upon my request, the teacher also checked the Ibach from the other thread, and liked it a lot, but told me that it would be like handing over a Harley Davidson to him at the moment--and by the time my son learns to appreciate its subtlety, it'll be oldish. So I gave it up.


I disagree with your teacher for the following reasons:

A) A higher quality instrument will help your son understand those subtle differences that cannot be reproduced by an inferior piano.

B) For many people a piano is a one in a life-time purchase or at least something that will be kept for many years before replacing it.

C) It is likely that the better piano has a better action (Key-Touch); this is a very significant advantage you can provide to a beginner.

D) Tuning stability maybe superior as well.

E) The better piano also will have a higher re-sale value if you relocate.

I really don't understand why a teacher will discourage anybody from buying a better piano. When first of all you like it and you have the financial means to buy it.

However if it is between the two pianos go with the new Samick.
I agree with all this, especially the next to last sentence.

If the piano was some 50K instrument one could perhaps argue that it's not appropriate for a first grade beginner under any circumstances, but this is not the case here right? If the difference in cost is a non issue or close to it for you, I think you should not reject it for the reasons your teacher gave.

I think the teacher's comment about the piano being oldish by the time your son could appreciate it is silly. Even if it takes 10 years for him to appreciate it, 10 years in the lifetime of a piano doesn't make much difference no matter how old the piano is now. The only exception might be if the piano was already in very poor condition which I assume is not true.

Perhaps the teacher is leery about having you buy an older instrument, but if you can find a good independent tech(who is comfortable about telling you if there are issues with Ibach)then you can eliminate most of the doubt about the piano's condition.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/25/12 06:40 PM)

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#1964882 - 09/26/12 04:37 PM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: turandot]
smyrna Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 20

Turandot-- You give lots of food for thought for sure smile I actually did find the websites for Rieger Kloss and Bohemia, and have already sent both places an email asking for the date of the R-K I have mentioned here based on its serial number. The R-K website currently seems to be totally devoted to pipe organs, but perhaps something will come out of it. And perhaps I can also hear from Bohemia, too.

I think the seller/technician here is basically ok. I am sure he has to make a living just like any of us, but he really did not steer me to the R-K in the first place; it was me who saw it and expressed interest in it first. I had never heard of the name before, and I was going through his inventory, and I am one of those naturally curious people who just likes to ask questions and learn more all the time. smile I did not know anything about Ibach at the time either (which was right next to the R-K). When I told him how much I liked rounded sounds to tinkly ones (does this description make sense? It's the best I can manage as a lay person though), he did recommend them to me (over the Chinese ones like Canary, Marshal, Offenbach etc.) I listened to both, and I really liked their sounds.

I am rather shy about sending pm to other members here, so I guess I will wait for a bit to see what comes up. If not, I will make a decision based on what I've learned in this forum and what we have here. Whatever I end up with, I really thank you folks for all the input that you have offered-- y'all are truly an amazing bunch.. smile

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#1964890 - 09/26/12 05:01 PM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: pianoloverus]
smyrna Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 20

Pianoloverus-- I really did think about Ibach hard. I mean, it's not something that I can find here everyday (or, I guess for that matter, anywhere). Even to my uneducated ears it felt good. It may well possibly be the best piano in that store, too. It is not cheap for us, but it is not out of our reach, either. In short, it really did make me think hard. It certainly made me wish I could play it for sure! smile

What made me defer to the teacher's decision in the end, however, was a number of reasons. But mainly, whatever piano we're buying is ultimately for our kids--one of them a first grader, and the other one less than a year old. My son still thinks of piano as a fun thing to tinker with--he has recently asked us to buy one that makes the most boing boing sounds--whatever that means! smile And although I hope he'll grow out of it in time, he still is a little kid who judges a book by its cover. I hope to keep him interested in his lessons and his piano for a while, at least until he gets old enough to appreciate the music itself. Several people around us upgraded their kids' pianos once they showed remarkable progress. We hope to be able to do that in the future, too. So, who knows, depending on the progress of our kids, we may well end up with an Ibach or something similar on our journey in the long run.. smile

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#1967197 - 10/01/12 07:22 AM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
smyrna Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 20

Um, I am not sure if anyone is following this thread any longer, but I have just received a reply from Bohemia/Bechstein regarding the production details of the R-K. The letter says that "Rieger Kloss piano, model Attractive 109 (Mahag. pol.) with serialn° 70542 was produced in the year 2000at former Bohemia factory in Jihlava, Czech Republic." So it is definitely a pre-Bechstein production. Given the comments of some of the forumites here, I guess this may be a positive factor.

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#1967213 - 10/01/12 08:18 AM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi Smyrna,

So is the R-K back in the running or has it been sold?

What seems to have come together is that the kinship is with Bohemia Piano, rather than with Bechstein after the purchase in 2006. The fact that it came from the factory in Jihlava, rather than Hradec, is further confirmation. This is all good.

The piano is from an era when the Bohemias/R-K's were very good instruments and very well built. I would certainly give it strong consideration.

By now, you know all of the buying a used piano advice.

Please, do keep us posted.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1967435 - 10/01/12 05:30 PM Re: (Upright) used Rieger-Kloss vs. brand new Samick [Re: smyrna]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7199
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: smyrna

Um, I am not sure if anyone is following this thread any longer, but I have just received a reply from Bohemia/Bechstein regarding the production details of the R-K. The letter says that "Rieger Kloss piano, model Attractive 109 (Mahag. pol.) with serialn° 70542 was produced in the year 2000at former Bohemia factory in Jihlava, Czech Republic." So it is definitely a pre-Bechstein production. Given the comments of some of the forumites here, I guess this may be a positive factor.


It's always good to know how old a piano is and where it was manufactured. The unfortunate thing here is that you had to learn from the manufacturer that the information the seller provided was incorrect. Obviously, there's a big difference between 2 years old and 12 years old.

At $4875, a 109 cm entry level Bohemia product from 2000 would be a little rich in the US market. You need to determine from what else is available if it's an acceptable market price in your limited market. I don't know the answer to that. You also have to determine if you still have the same confidence in the seller.
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