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#1986562 - 11/14/12 09:10 AM Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru
LynnieGC Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 4
Hi everyone, I am new to this forum, but have read some recent posts and they've been helpful. I'm hoping you can help us with a decision. I am the choir director for a large high school with high quality choir, band, and orchestra programs. We are a new high school with a great performing arts center, but NO piano for the stage. It's totally ridiculous, but for the past 5 years, we've been performing with a Yamaha upright practice room piano. The quality and size of our performing ensembles have far surpassed that piano and we are going to buy a semi-concert grand. Fortunately we have some sponsors lined up and our Boosters are ready to support us in this purchase.

We went out to obtain three bids on 7' (ish) grand pianos and visited a Steinway dealer, a Yamaha dealer, and a Kawai dealer. We absolutely fell in LOVE with the Shigeru Kawai. It sounds amazing, it's beautiful, and we appreciate some of the forward thinking with the construction, etc. We are convinced, but the problem is, the band, orchestra directors, and I don't really play. I mean, we "play" but we don't play. I would love to hear from some piano soloists and those musicians who have experience with many pianos.

Our bids are for the Yamaha C7X Semi-Concert Grand, a 2002 Restored Steinway B, and the Shigeru Kawai Semi-Concert Grand. We were not really moved by the Yamaha or impressed with the support that the dealer would be willing to provide so we're not really considering that. The Shigeru people were AWESOME and the Steinway people are pushy and extremely negative about the Shigeru (but they're salespeople, right?). Kind of a turnoff, but obviously Steinway pianos are amazing. We just loved the Shigeru...

My real question is, is there any reason to NOT purchase the Shigeru? Any warnings you have for us?

Thank you so much for your advice!

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#1986565 - 11/14/12 09:19 AM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
Keith D Kerman Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3314
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
There is no reason not to buy that Kawai if it is what you prefer. It is a very well made and reliable piano with a quality company behind it. I wonder what they mean by "restored" with a 2002 Steinway. Or do you mean it was restored in 2002 and is an older piano?

If those are your only options, I think the Kawai is fine for your purpose, and you obviously didn't enjoy your treatment in the sales process by the people who are selling the Steinway. I would assume that how you are treated in the sales process will reflect how you will be treated by that company for service and for anything else as well.

However, since you, as you say, "play, but don't play", for peace of mind, why not get a really serious and accomplished player to help you with your choice? If this piano were just for accompanying a choir, any one of the three ( assuming there isn't something strange going on with a "restored" 2002 piano ) would be fine. If the piano will also be used as the featured instrument for concerts, you may want to get the opinion of someone who is more accomplished as a pianist.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
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keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#1986566 - 11/14/12 09:20 AM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10468
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Based on what you have described I'd guess that no one here will even try to talk you out of the Shigeru.

It is an excellent piano and well suited your your situation.
_________________________
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Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

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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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#1986573 - 11/14/12 09:53 AM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1528
Loc: Danville, California
"My real question is, is there any reason to NOT purchase the Shigeru?"

No. None whatsoever. Congratulations.

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#1986579 - 11/14/12 10:16 AM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2704
Loc: Atlanta, GA
I'm not talking you out Shigeru, but I want another point to reach you. Trying a Steinway, a Yamaha and a Kawai is still nowhere near the variety of representative pianos out there to try. Clearly for you, the Shigeru was the standout of that group, however what else is in your area to consider?

You should seriously see what the European makers have to offer before you wrap your decision. I believe there would be several in your budget range.
_________________________
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
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#1986582 - 11/14/12 10:22 AM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
Wound up Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/12
Posts: 65
I would look at Estonia too.. My favorite in it's price but nothing wrong with the Kawai__ Good Luck!

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#1986588 - 11/14/12 10:38 AM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1938
Loc: Suffolk, England
The Shigeru may well require less maintenance due to the composite materials in its action. As I guess many people will play the instrument, individual preferences for one brand or another should not be a major factor.

Good luck.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1986602 - 11/14/12 11:29 AM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3321
If you're happy with the Shigeru and the people selling it, there's no reason to pass. It's not really my cup-o-tea, but as a pianist and technician, I recognize it as a top-tier instrument... and of course it comes with a 10 year warranty.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1986646 - 11/14/12 01:25 PM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: PianoWorksATL]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1742
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
I'm not talking you out Shigeru, but I want another point to reach you. Trying a Steinway, a Yamaha and a Kawai is still nowhere near the variety of representative pianos out there to try. Clearly for you, the Shigeru was the standout of that group, however what else is in your area to consider?

You should seriously see what the European makers have to offer before you wrap your decision. I believe there would be several in your budget range.


I agree. The Shigeru is a very fine piano, and you won't go *wrong* with it, but in that price range there are other fine pianos.
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#1986657 - 11/14/12 01:43 PM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: ClsscLib]
LynnieGC Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 4
Thanks everyone!

We did look at Boesendorfer and Estonia as well. The Boesendorfer is way out of our price range (obviously), but the only Estonias that are around us right now are the 5' models...we weren't able to get as good of an idea because there are no semi-grands around for us to play....

The maintenance piece is big for us. We are a public school with a little budget and the hope of less maintenance fees for the Shigeru vs. the Steinway is appealing.

Regardless, the fact that we'll be performing on something OTHER than a little brown yamaha upright is very exciting.

Thanks for your thoughts! Any others are welcome!

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#1986660 - 11/14/12 01:55 PM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
gnuboi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 2349
Loc: USA
I don't think you'll really save a big deal on maintenance. The composite action might only have an edge 30+ years down the road as it wouldn't shrink or expand. You'd still have to treat your precious Shigeru baby like you would a very expensive Steinway or Bosie with regular tuning, cleaning, regulation, etc., etc. You'll still need to replace the non-carbon-fiber strings, felts, and bushings eventually.

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#1986664 - 11/14/12 02:07 PM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: gnuboi]
LynnieGC Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 4
Originally Posted By: gnuboi
I don't think you'll really save a big deal on maintenance. The composite action might only have an edge 30+ years down the road as it wouldn't shrink or expand. You'd still have to treat your precious Shigeru baby like you would a very expensive Steinway or Bosie with regular tuning, cleaning, regulation, etc., etc. You'll still need to replace the non-carbon-fiber strings, felts, and bushings eventually.


Absolutely, yes, we will treat our new piano with supreme care, but it is good to know that you think the maintenance costs will be the same. Perhaps our Shigeru salesperson was overstating that benefit smile

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#1986667 - 11/14/12 02:12 PM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21431
Loc: Oakland
If you want to get an estimate of the cost of maintenance, you should ask your technician.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1986674 - 11/14/12 02:48 PM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
scepticalforumguy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
Originally Posted By: LynnieGC



The maintenance piece is big for us. We are a public school with a little budget and the hope of less maintenance fees for the Shigeru vs. the Steinway is appealing.

Regardless, the fact that we'll be performing on something OTHER than a little brown yamaha upright is very exciting.

Thanks for your thoughts! Any others are welcome!


Shigerus are absolutely great pianos. I had one for 4 years, and it never gave me a problem. From day one the action was impeccable and remained that way until I sold it. The only reason for the sale was I wanted a bigger piano, and I couldn't afford the SK6.

For your purposes I'd venture to say there is nothing in the price range that would come close to what you are looking for except the Mason & Hamlin BB with the new WNG composite action. The SK6 and the Mason BB would have very different sounds, but would both perform superbly.
_________________________
Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.



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#1986701 - 11/14/12 04:56 PM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1337
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
It sounds to me as if you have just started looking, and want this wrapped up quickly. That's certainly one way to make a big purchase. And you wouldn't go wrong with the Shigeru. But as others have suggested, you are in the big leagues here with a 7-foot high-end piano search, and there are now potentially dozens of worthy choices, especially if you include used instruments (which could save you some serious money).

Why not hire a local pianist and a local piano technician to do some sleuthing for a few weeks and give you a report? Tell them each they can skip visiting the local Steinway, Shigeru, and Yamaha dealers, since you've already hit those places, but to please source at least a handful of other instruments for you within your budget.

I've done such piano consulting here in Toronto, both for students and outsiders, and I like to think I've matched people and instruments with more success than had they done this unassisted. I'm a music educator with a zest for high-end pianos, coupled with a fair bit of knowledge and an obsessive nature. There's probably a similar nutbar sleuth right in your own community. Just make sure they are independent, and won't take kickbacks from dealers.

Also, if you can't find an Estonia locally, widen your search. Get on a train or an airplane, or make a road trip. Or get your consultant to do this for you.

One further thought, which might be controversial on this board: get rid of your ideas about a cosy post-sale relationship with the dealer. You just want to buy a great piano. What you need after the sale is a fine independent piano technician - a technician *not* beholden to the dealer. If the Steinway folks are jerks, you might still hold your nose and buy from them if they have a good instrument. (We haven't heard yet what year that Steinway B is.)

Good luck!


Edited by Peter K. Mose (11/14/12 05:02 PM)

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#1986705 - 11/14/12 05:14 PM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
Jim Frazee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 392
Loc: Westchester County, New York
Well, you shouldn't buy the Shigeru because the world's going to end December 12, how's that? Other than that, I can't think of any possible reason why not.

As a matter of due diligence, at least take a look/listen/play at a Bechstein. It's quite a monster . . . ! Best of luck, and good for your team AND your booster sponsors. smile
_________________________
PianoPerfection
Teacher, performer, technician
Westchester County, NY

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#1986707 - 11/14/12 05:15 PM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1938
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: LynnieGC
Originally Posted By: gnuboi
I don't think you'll really save a big deal on maintenance. The composite action might only have an edge 30+ years down the road as it wouldn't shrink or expand. You'd still have to treat your precious Shigeru baby like you would a very expensive Steinway or Bosie with regular tuning, cleaning, regulation, etc., etc. You'll still need to replace the non-carbon-fiber strings, felts, and bushings eventually.


Absolutely, yes, we will treat our new piano with supreme care, but it is good to know that you think the maintenance costs will be the same. Perhaps our Shigeru salesperson was overstating that benefit smile

I suggest you read what Ed Foote says about actions made from composites:

Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Greetings,... I am more interested, right now, on the level of maintenance needed with the WNG parts. With a school full pianos, (58 grnds, 90 uprights), having parts that don't warp or twist, or pinning that doesn't change, can make a huge difference in how much time is available to see that everybody is kept up. Freedom from straightening things up will allow more time for tuning and voicing, which are always in short supply in school situations.
So far, players feel like these actions are tremendously "precise". I may be getting too old to get the maximum out of the voicing, but in terms of control and consistency, I think these composite parts are going to do to wooden ones what carbon fiber did to wooden golf clubs and tennis rackets.
I think we have a clear choice between tradition and performance, here...
Regards,
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1986733 - 11/14/12 06:30 PM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
Tom Burgess Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/10
Posts: 46
Loc: Norman, OK
Originally Posted By: LynnieGC

Absolutely, yes, we will treat our new piano with supreme care, but it is good to know that you think the maintenance costs will be the same. Perhaps our Shigeru salesperson was overstating that benefit smile

Whichever instrument you buy, please make sure that your budget will allow for a NICE cover, preferably with a perimeter cable locking system, and a heavy duty truck for moving it around the stage. These are 2 of the best things that you can do to preserve your schools investment. If the hall is not climate controlled 24/7 and/or you're in a predominately dry climate you may want to consider a humidifier as well.
_________________________
Gilliam Music - Norman, OK
Full Line Retailer Featuring:
Steinway, Kawai, Martin, Taylor, Fender, Soundcraft, JBL, Crown, etc.

Opinions expressed by me on this forum are my own and not necessarily that of the company for which I work.

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#1986744 - 11/14/12 06:59 PM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: Peter K. Mose]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
One further thought, which might be controversial on this board: get rid of your ideas about a cosy post-sale relationship with the dealer. You just want to buy a great piano. What you need after the sale is a fine independent piano technician - a technician *not* beholden to the dealer. If the Steinway folks are jerks, you might still hold your nose and buy from them if they have a good instrument. (We haven't heard yet what year that Steinway B is.)
I agree. The post service sale from a dealer is only important if there is a serious problem to deal with that the dealer should make good on or if there are no other good independent techs available.


Edited by pianoloverus (11/14/12 07:00 PM)

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#1986759 - 11/14/12 07:24 PM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
thetandyman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 443
Loc: Indiana
The benefit of the Steinway, for a private home, would be quality, status, and resale value, however, in my useless opinion, the dealer and service friendliness, and the pleasing tone alone should be the key. A Steinway that will be a commercial institution piano will not appreciate in value noticably. I like the idea of the new Kawai. Their track record seems to be very fine. Many posters suggested using a pianist to determine the playability, I would concur. There are many fine pianos available, but the Shigeru is very highly respected as I understand.
_________________________
Marriage is like a card game, you start with two hearts and a diamond, later you wish you had a club and a spade!
Yamaha G7 Yamaha CVP75 digital, Allen 3500 theater organ

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#1986784 - 11/14/12 08:30 PM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2704
Loc: Atlanta, GA
I think it would be a mistake to approach any piano in a performance venue with the thought that one brand or another (among the better instruments out there) would save you money on maintenance.

Which tech you use is up to you, but our after sale relationship, service & technical resources are of huge value to the customers who choose us. We're even a frequent resource for the best independent techs in our area, offering behind-the-scenes support for the variety of things that arise in the field. Techs helping techs is good karma.

I won't speak for your dealer, but it may be a point of pride for them, too. I see this thread turning a little...while competing dealers are adversaries, you and your dealer shouldn't be. The comment about holding your nose and buying the piano is funny but rarely the best approach.

Certainly, pianos like the Estonia L225 can be harder to find, but worth searching/waiting for. I see that and other suggestions starting to roll in.
_________________________
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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#1986823 - 11/14/12 09:57 PM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3321
Originally Posted By: LynnieGC
but the only Estonias that are around us right now are the 5' models...we weren't able to get as good of an idea because there are no semi-grands around for us to play....


Estonia only recently started making a 225cm (7'4") grand piano, so there are not many around. I do know there is one in Chicago, though.

Originally Posted By: LynnieGC
The maintenance piece is big for us. We are a public school with a little budget and the hope of less maintenance fees for the Shigeru vs. the Steinway is appealing.


I am hesitant to suggest that the Shigeru will require less maintenance. True, the action parts are ABS-carbon composite, but there is still felt in the action that will change with humidity. My advice is to spend less money a less expensive instrument (i.e. Shigeru vs. Steinway, etc.) and use the saved funds for tuning and maintenance. You will need it, as properly maintaining a concert instrument is expensive, especially for institutions!

I also suggest keeping it covered, in an environment with controlled humidity, and locked at all times. Do not let students move it unsupervised, and don't use it except for dress rehearsals and performances.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1986887 - 11/14/12 10:55 PM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 635
Loc: NY and NC
Not knowing your area, it is hard to know which brands and models are available close by, but if your budget allows for a 7 foot Shigeru Kawai grand, you should be able to find a large variety of great semi-concert pianos to consider. I have a strong feeling for the Mason-Hamlin BB which should be within your budget, and I would suggest you try a lot of pianos if possible before choosing, but the Shigeru is a world-class instrument so if you like it best, your should go for it. As you know, a master tech even comes out from Japan to do the final in-home prep, and I think the action in the Shigeru is great.
_________________________
2004 Mason-Hamlin polished ebony BB.
Working on jazz standards and Chopin nocturnes, preludes, and mazurkas (the easier ones.)

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#1986900 - 11/14/12 11:56 PM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3562
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I'm going to go against the grain a little here. I've found that there are times when trying everything on the market leads to a certain fatigue and increases the difficulty in making a decision. There are times when your instincts tell you, "yes, this is the one!". I think it's important to listen to your instincts sometimes. I had the impression from the OP that the Shigeru was exactly this kind of moment. It really spoke to him/her. I think it's quite likely that no other piano is going to make the same impact as the Shigeru did. I'm not advocating rash decisions or poor research in general, and if I'm unsure or ambivalent, then the only way to resolve that is to research the heck out of the matter. But if something just screams "yes!", and you have the money, I think it's better to just go for it and enjoy the magic of this revelation. I don't expect this will be a popular suggestion, but I found that the more pianos I looked at the harder it got to work out what I would like.

So, I'm not going to convince you to not buy the Shigeru - I'm going to say go with your gut.

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#1986903 - 11/15/12 12:16 AM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
Lakeside Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 07/04/12
Posts: 107
Loc: Beijing China
My warning is: do not buy Shigeru Kawai SK-7, you will regret it.
In March 2011, I purchased SK-3, I think if I left SK-3, it must be in order to exchange for SK-5, or SK-7!


Edited by Lakeside (11/15/12 12:22 AM)
_________________________
Shigeru Kawai SK-3
Kawai CA95

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#1986939 - 11/15/12 02:33 AM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1938
Loc: Suffolk, England
Two good reasons to buy a Mason & Hamlin are its WNG action and patriotism.

If everyone in your position were to follow the advice in this thread then American piano manufacturing will go bust.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1986943 - 11/15/12 02:56 AM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: Withindale]
gnuboi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 2349
Loc: USA
American pianos seem to do ok, but tend to be on the high end. For mere rabble like me, it's the same as having no American piano manufacturing.

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#1986946 - 11/15/12 03:24 AM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: Withindale]
maurus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/11
Posts: 796
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Two good reasons to buy a Mason & Hamlin are its WNG action and patriotism.

Patriotism is the last thing I'd consider as a reason to choose a piano. (I'm saying this as a citizen of a European country with a proud piano industry.) If a company wants to do well it must compete, not appeal to heterogeneous (non-musical) reasons for buying its products.

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#1986951 - 11/15/12 03:50 AM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: maurus]
xentis Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Munich, Germany
For my opinion its not fair to compare the SK-7 with the C7X. The Yamaha S6 is playing in the same league.

The SK-7 is a nice instrument, but I am not shure, if there really is a difference in maintenance costs lets say for the first 10 years.

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#1986958 - 11/15/12 04:45 AM Re: Convince us NOT to buy the Shigeru [Re: LynnieGC]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1938
Loc: Suffolk, England
Lynnie asked for reasons NOT to purchase a Shigeru and said the Boosters are prepared to support the purchase.

Imagine the Stars and Stripes draped over the M&H at the unveiling ceremony. You couldn't do that with a Shigeru.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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