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#2008144 - 01/02/13 06:36 PM Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made
boyonahill Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 90
Loc: Europe
There's no guessing why grand pianos are expensive. Just think of the costs of buying, building and maintaining the materials, factories, tools and labor that go into them.

I think it's interesting to compare how differently Yamaha and Kawai go about building their grand Pianos. Now, it might be that Yamaha have different production lines and that they show us the most manual (expensive?) one in the video below.

But Kawai seems to be more into automation than Yamaha. Yamaha has some miles to walk, for example yamaha.co.uk doesn't take you to their homepage, you have to write www.yamaha.co.uk, how many corporate webpages hasn't got that sorted in 2012, err, 2013!

Still, I would rather own the Yamaha if all that manual labor gives equal or better performance than Kawai.

Kawai
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiPFEqHogQY

Yamaha
http://www.yamahapianocenter.se/video?video=7

Steinway
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6gumj9EWWE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAInt7hIZlU

Fazioli
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmLkRyxgh1U

Schimmel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em3oOJLTMks


Comparos
(Japanese ones that sadly does not have the exact same camera position and acoustics when he changes instrument, but still somewhat interesting)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXLa-zNv8_Q
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY_SyDHi2hY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUzBdVeWb7g
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0scesOGWo4





Edit, adding Steinway and Fazioli
Edit, adding Schimmel and comparos


Edited by boyonahill (01/07/13 06:27 AM)
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Current: Casio SA-46 + looking for a nice electronic piano
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#2008160 - 01/02/13 07:09 PM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: boyonahill]
Robert 45 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 1222
Loc: Auckland New Zealand
As these are both promotional films produced by Yamaha and Kawai, I would not draw any firm conclusions on the superiority of one brand over the other.
Both Yamaha and Kawai make excellent pianos. Yamaha and Kawai grand pianos have, respectively, a different voice which is more a design feature rather than the superiority of one maker's components and build quality over the other.
Play the pianos, listen to them and decide which particular instrument you prefer rather than make a generalisation from advertising material.

Kind regards,

Robert.

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#2008162 - 01/02/13 07:11 PM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: boyonahill]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1528
Loc: Danville, California
I think you have added 2+2 and have come up with a sum much greater than 4.

Said another way - what does all this prove??

I can tell you about brand new hand-made pianos that are rubbish. And expensive.

Only the end result counts. Period.

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#2008177 - 01/02/13 07:37 PM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: boyonahill]
PaintedPostDave Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/09/10
Posts: 540
Loc: Upstate New York
Thanks for the two videos. Interesting. thumb
_________________________
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Yamaha M1A console
1927 Knabe 7' 8" grand
https://sites.google.com/site/analysisofsoundsandvibrations/

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#2008182 - 01/02/13 07:50 PM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: boyonahill]
Gatsbee13 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/03/10
Posts: 505
Loc: So Cal
save up and get both. thats what im trying to do.. although i have owned both (not at same time).. as far as uprights, i like the yamaha better. i played a 1992 u1 and once owned a 1997 kawai NS-20a..the u1 had a better action and seemed to hold tuning stability better. as far as grands, its a toss-up.. the high-end yamahas and kawai's are both very excellent. mid-range grands, im leaning toward the new kawai rx's.. but its a close one..

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#2008200 - 01/02/13 08:34 PM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: boyonahill]
Kurtmen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 632
Loc: San Mateo, CA
Always wonder if these promotional videos have any influence in the decision process of the consumer.


Edited by Kurtmen (01/02/13 09:04 PM)
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<a href="http://sanmateopiano.com" style="color:#FF0505;font-size:10px;font-family:Times New Roman;text-decoration:underline;" target="_blank" >http://sanmateopiano.com</a>

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#2008250 - 01/02/13 10:27 PM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: boyonahill]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Those videos are way over the top. They have no informational value. This video is better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeMab58WDF4. It's still is self-serving, but is far less promotional.

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#2008254 - 01/02/13 10:35 PM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: boyonahill]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14138
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
Always wonder if these promotional videos have any influence in the decision process of the consumer.



Thinking same.

Consumers buy for many reasons, often contradictory in nature.

From my own observation "sound and touch" as the direct result of "everything else happening" within piano are still tops.

Whatever that "everything" exactly is, can easily become or 'remain' a mystery.

Without liking sound of the instrument first, it would certainly be of no or very little interest to me..

Norbert
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Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
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#2008259 - 01/02/13 10:56 PM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: boyonahill]
Entheo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 1111
Loc: chicago, il
love my C7, would not trade it for a steinway B.

here's a good video of yamaha grand build process, in spanish but you'll get the idea:

pt1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OICs5IiyNCs
pt2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVsaVeYnLVo
_________________________
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#2008265 - 01/02/13 11:12 PM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: Entheo]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Of course, that's the way they make a concert grand, but certainly not how they make your C7 or my C3. I am guessing the vid I posted is more like the way they make a C-series though they probably put a bit more effort on a C-series than an upright.

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#2008435 - 01/03/13 09:22 AM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: 4evrBeginR]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19277
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
Those videos are way over the top. They have no informational value. This video is better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeMab58WDF4. It's still is self-serving, but is far less promotional.
I found them fascinating and among the best videos of this type( where a piano maker shows their production methods). I see nothing over the top and a lot of useful information in them. It goes without saying that any video like this will be self serving but that doesn't mean it has no informational value.

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#2008497 - 01/03/13 12:00 PM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: boyonahill]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Originally Posted By: boyonahill
I would rather own the Yamaha if all that manual labor gives equal or better performance than Kawai.

Manual labor in and of itself does not necessarily make for a better product. I remember TV commercials in the sixties for a make of televisions. The manufacturer was behind the times and hadn't moved to printed-circuit technology, so their ads proudly proclaimed their sets to be "hand made," with video showing women carefully soldering hundreds of connections on an assembly line. Anyone who works with electronics knows that reliability drops with each manual solder connection, and for generations now, one goal of electronic engineering has been to reduce the number of components and especially of connections.

The equation is different for products like pianos that are made largely of wood, but it's still often true that a machine-guided tool will produce a more reliable part.

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#2008793 - 01/03/13 11:57 PM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: pianoloverus]
boyonahill Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 90
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
Those videos are way over the top. They have no informational value. This video is better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeMab58WDF4. It's still is self-serving, but is far less promotional.
I found them fascinating and among the best videos of this type( where a piano maker shows their production methods). I see nothing over the top and a lot of useful information in them. It goes without saying that any video like this will be self serving but that doesn't mean it has no informational value.


Thank you! This was my main reason for posting the videos. Many of the manufacturing steps was presented in surprising detail. I liked the Kawai sanding machine.
_________________________
Current: Casio SA-46 + looking for a nice electronic piano
Sold: Yamaha M5J Walnut
Playing ability: Absolute Beginner(s)

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#2008812 - 01/04/13 01:17 AM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: boyonahill]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
You should realize that the two videos you found, one from Yamaha, the other from Kawai, represent two completely different class of products. Both Yamaha and Kawai produces hand-made grand pianos and standard grand pianos, so the difference in the two videos shows more to the fact that one is a hand-made line and the other is a standard line. It does not show the difference between Yamaha and Kawai. I suspect the manufacturing process of both companies are very similar.

It's like watching videos of Toyota racing division building a race car then Honda passenger car factory building a passenger car, then draw some conclusion about Toyota versus Honda. It's the wrong comparison.


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#2008848 - 01/04/13 05:08 AM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Gregor Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 434
Loc: Münster, Germany
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR


What is she doing at 5:50?
_________________________
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Münster, Germany
www.weldert.de

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#2008853 - 01/04/13 05:38 AM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: boyonahill]
joe80 Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1166
You know, the kind of 'hand-made vs automated production' argument is over-stated. Sometimes a hand-made piano is better, sometimes an automated production piano is better. All pianos take a degree of hand building, and most pianos take a degree of automated production these days, although perhaps some are still made in the same ways as they were 100 years ago.

Steinway in Hamburg anyway (I don't know about NYC instruments) boast about their instruments being hand built, but using automated production when it improves their instrument. Most people would say that they are amongst the best pianos available.

Yamaha have consistently high standards throughout their product range. Personally I prefer the S6 to a C6, although I've played some fine examples of the C6 that I'd be happy to own. I guess it just depends on how the instrument turns out.

The actions on Kawai pianos, with all that ABS carbon-fibre would have to be made by injection moulding, automatically. They are excellent actions to play on, so responsive and fast. I don't know whether I would say they are better than Yamaha or Steinway etc, but they are beautiful in their own right.

I'm more concerned with how the piano sounds, and whether it will last. The second question is harder to answer I suppose.

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#2008951 - 01/04/13 12:51 PM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: Gregor]
boyonahill Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 90
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: Gregor
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR


What is she doing at 5:50?


Seems as she is aligning the hammers to strike the strings correctly? With the tool she might be bending or perhaps rotating?
_________________________
Current: Casio SA-46 + looking for a nice electronic piano
Sold: Yamaha M5J Walnut
Playing ability: Absolute Beginner(s)

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#2008952 - 01/04/13 12:54 PM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: joe80]
boyonahill Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 90
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: joe80
You know, the kind of 'hand-made vs automated production' argument is over-stated. Sometimes a hand-made piano is better, sometimes an automated production piano is better. All pianos take a degree of hand building, and most pianos take a degree of automated production these days, although perhaps some are still made in the same ways as they were 100 years ago.
...


Well spoken!


For sure. If I hand built a grand piano it would without doubt be worse than any grand piano sold today. Given time and training I might improve, but my first one out of the "factory" would probably be full of failures which one had to learn about to improve in the future.
_________________________
Current: Casio SA-46 + looking for a nice electronic piano
Sold: Yamaha M5J Walnut
Playing ability: Absolute Beginner(s)

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#2009566 - 01/05/13 05:13 PM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: boyonahill]
j&j Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 444
Loc: Southwest
Enjoyed the videos of both. As a novice consumer, I would guess promotional, sales-oriented videos would stress the many hours of painstaking craftsmanship that went into making the piano to help "justify" the asking price. Let's face it, acoustic pianos are expensive, even consumer-grade.

So we'll buy what sounds and plays the best, that's still in budget, but it's cool to watch those brilliant craftsman at Yamaha and Kawai work putting the final touches on their concert grands. And yes, we're well aware that there's much less handcrafted work in a professional series piano than a concert grand. Considering that few of us can afford to keep a piano tech on stand-by for those minor adjustments and tweaks, I'll look for consistency, durability, and stability in my piano. My C3 has delivered that so far in it's first year.....hallelujah. Both Kawaii and Yamaha have that reputation, so no matter which one the OP chooses, it's a great choice.

I just had my C3 tuned and the tech did some voicing and adjusted the damper on E6 and D5. Strange....but it's like Christmas all over! Guess that makes me a total piano-geek! Thank heavens I don't fly-fish. No one normal could understand a word of my gibberish. cool
_________________________
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Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." Pablo Picasso

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#2010414 - 01/07/13 05:44 AM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: boyonahill]
boyonahill Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 90
Loc: Europe
Another three factory tours

Steinway
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6gumj9EWWE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAInt7hIZlU

Fazioli
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmLkRyxgh1U


Very similar building still very different sounds (I've heard!)! It's all in the details I guess.


Edited by boyonahill (01/07/13 05:45 AM)
_________________________
Current: Casio SA-46 + looking for a nice electronic piano
Sold: Yamaha M5J Walnut
Playing ability: Absolute Beginner(s)

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#2010429 - 01/07/13 06:26 AM Re: Yamaha vs Kawai - how grand pianos are made [Re: boyonahill]
boyonahill Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 90
Loc: Europe
Schimmel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em3oOJLTMks


Comparos
(Japanese ones that sadly does not have the exact same camera position and acoustics when he changes instrument, but still somewhat interesting)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXLa-zNv8_Q
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY_SyDHi2hY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUzBdVeWb7g
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0scesOGWo4



Edited by boyonahill (01/07/13 06:28 AM)
_________________________
Current: Casio SA-46 + looking for a nice electronic piano
Sold: Yamaha M5J Walnut
Playing ability: Absolute Beginner(s)

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