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#2047124 - 03/12/13 05:33 PM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Rafterman]
Steve Cohen Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10490
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Has anyone here who is experiencing overtones that they find objectionable tried muting the duplex scale?
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My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#2047542 - 03/13/13 09:13 AM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Steve Cohen]
PianistInJapan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/13
Posts: 32
Loc: Japan
The tuner in the Kawai shop tried that on a second-hand RX-2 of which I found the overtones objectionable (muting by putting felt in between the strings in the duplex scale). It didn't work out.
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#2047551 - 03/13/13 09:36 AM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Rafterman]
Radio.Octave Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 441
I can't say that I've had a lot of trouble with the RX-2 and RX-6. Although, back when I had the GM-12, there was this ringing overtone in the bass ( a G-note, I think) and several techs just couldn't get rid of it. They eventually concluded that it was inherent in the piano. I heard it on other GM-12s, too.

I guess the overtones are just a part of the Kawai sound?
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#2047558 - 03/13/13 09:58 AM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Rafterman]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4425
Loc: San Jose, CA
Not my RX.
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#2047653 - 03/13/13 12:48 PM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Steve Cohen]
Jethro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/07
Posts: 236
I've heard of these purported offensive "overtones" by one other member on these boards a couple of years back. I did an internet search as suggested and the google search came up with one thread on PW about Kawai overtones, he blasted Estonia pianos with the same claim- it all seemed like a bunch of nonsense to me at the time and I never heard about em since. My RX-2 doesn't appear to generate any offensive overtones, I think the overall tone is fabulous- but that doesn't make it an infallible piano. We have an accomplished pianist above who pointed out some registers on his piano that could be more stable.

Norbert brought up a point in his thread on how one measure improvements. I think was very difficult to "improve" upon the RX-2 to begin with, at it's price point IMO it's probably the best piano out there. How do you improve upon something that's nearly perfect for the people it was designed for? The improvements will only be slight and incremental.


Edited by Jethro (03/13/13 12:49 PM)
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#2047659 - 03/13/13 01:01 PM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Rafterman]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14138
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Instead of discussing the pros and cons of "redesign" the magic bullet to noticeably improve a pianos tone [and touch..] IMHO is often a first class technician.

People forget that, with very few exceptions, pianos are not complete products when shipped from factory.

It's nice to have a "new design" but the underlying question is always what exactly has been "improved".

Unless one starts out from a pretty scrappy base,the increments of improvements are not always universally noticeable.

If it was otherwise, a discussion like the above would not be necessary.

My 1 1/2 cents.

Norbert smile
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#2047679 - 03/13/13 01:43 PM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Norbert]
Radio.Octave Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 441
Originally Posted By: Norbert
...

People forget that, with very few exceptions, pianos are not complete products when shipped from factory.




One of the few products I can think of that are like that. It's pretty sad when the manufacturer expects us to buy their (incomplete) product for anywhere from $1K - $100+K.

I agree, a good tech can do wonders.
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#2047871 - 03/13/13 08:44 PM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: KawaiDon]
Jethro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/07
Posts: 236
Originally Posted By: KawaiDon
The touch difference is quite noticeable, especially in the smaller grands. The added inch (approx) in the key length has more affect in the smaller pianos.

The keys are the same amount longer than the equivalent RX of the same model. So the GX-6 keys are about an inch longer than the RX-6, etc. The way you can feel the improvement is to play the keys repeatedly (not especially fast, just repeat at a comfortable speed) and move your finger from front to back on the key. There is always a difference in touch resistance in piano keys from front to back, but with longer key lengths the difference becomes smaller. This is one reason pianists prefer to have a 7-foot sized grand for practice if possible. So in the smaller grands (GX-1, GX-2, GX-3) you get the most benefit of the longer keys. If you do this test on an RX, then move to the equivalent GX you can feel the difference.


Just to elaborate my last post. I felt the change from my 2005 RX-2 to the current RX-2 Blak was an incremental change- so I was not interested in upgrading to the blak series.

But as Don describes the changes to the GX line IMO appear substantial- which is why I asked if anyone who has owned the RX-2 got to compare the GX and RX so I can make a better informed decision whether or not to consider upgrading. From Don's post above they are not going to be available in showrooms until late March.

I'm interested in the longer key lengths in the new GX line. The way I see it Kawai kept the action pretty much the same but by extending the key length an inch they are giving the pianist a substantial mechanical advantage by lengthening the lever arm so the pianist can generate more torque as he strikes the key. In physics class we learned that Torque= Force applied X lever arm. In this case the lever arm is the length of the key. A good analogy is trying to loosen or tighten a nut with a socket wrench that has a 10 inch handle versus the 14 inch handle. The 14 inch handle gives you mechanical advantage of a longer lever arm so the force required is less. As Don also pointed out above, it is also true that most graduate students prefer to play the larger grands during practice- simply because it more closely approximated the feel of the larger grand once in concert. All things being equal the touch should be lighter and more even with the piano with longer keys. (Correct me if I'm wrong, but is this not the basic concept or have I simplified it too much?)

I see the GX line as (possibly) a welcoming addition for the serious pianist who wants or needs the action of a concert grand but doesn't have space (or maybe money) to house a 7 or 9 foot grand. The lengthened keys may IN THEORY make it easier for a pianist to play more physically demanding pieces. They already had a phenomenal action there was no reason to "reinvent the wheel" just to produce a lighter action. Yet at the same time by lengthening the keys it gives the added advantage of replicating the feel and dimensions of the keys a performer might feel while on stage. Pretty forward thinking if you ask me.

And very intriguing, but at the same time kind of risky eh? - for a line of pianos that have been so successful? Seems like its kind of a radical change if anything- thus the new name? Questions remain: will most pianists like the "improved" touch- playing a 5'11 grand with the illusionary feel of a 7 foot grand. I'm sure Kawai did extensive marketing research with professional pianists or at least I hope so. While not necessarily as revolutionary thinking as utilizing carbon fiber in their actions this again represents Kawai's commitment to innovation- hopefully in the right direction. I can't wait to try one of these babies out!
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#2048028 - 03/14/13 03:38 AM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Rafterman]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
As a very happy pre-Millenium III RX-2 owner, I really don't see any reason to upgrade to another RX. My piano holds its tune extremely well, has a wonderful tone with an amazing bass for such a short piano, has a firm and wonderfully responsive action that allows you to articulate whatever you want and can, looks great and is paid for. Why would I want to trade and wind up with something that is potentially less satisfying? I find myself more and more attached to my instrument.

Is my RX-2 ownership experience such an exception to the rule?

I would think that the market for these things is more people looking for their first grand rather than obsessive-compulsive gear acquisition and replacement syndrome based on incremental improvements. Maybe I'm wrong.

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#2048129 - 03/14/13 10:37 AM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Jethro]
Radio.Octave Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 441
Originally Posted By: Jethro
Originally Posted By: KawaiDon
The touch difference is quite noticeable, especially in the smaller grands. The added inch (approx) in the key length has more affect in the smaller pianos.

The keys are the same amount longer than the equivalent RX of the same model. So the GX-6 keys are about an inch longer than the RX-6, etc. The way you can feel the improvement is to play the keys repeatedly (not especially fast, just repeat at a comfortable speed) and move your finger from front to back on the key. There is always a difference in touch resistance in piano keys from front to back, but with longer key lengths the difference becomes smaller. This is one reason pianists prefer to have a 7-foot sized grand for practice if possible. So in the smaller grands (GX-1, GX-2, GX-3) you get the most benefit of the longer keys. If you do this test on an RX, then move to the equivalent GX you can feel the difference.


Just to elaborate my last post. I felt the change from my 2005 RX-2 to the current RX-2 Blak was an incremental change- so I was not interested in upgrading to the blak series.

But as Don describes the changes to the GX line IMO appear substantial- which is why I asked if anyone who has owned the RX-2 got to compare the GX and RX so I can make a better informed decision whether or not to consider upgrading. From Don's post above they are not going to be available in showrooms until late March.

I'm interested in the longer key lengths in the new GX line. The way I see it Kawai kept the action pretty much the same but by extending the key length an inch they are giving the pianist a substantial mechanical advantage by lengthening the lever arm so the pianist can generate more torque as he strikes the key. In physics class we learned that Torque= Force applied X lever arm. In this case the lever arm is the length of the key. A good analogy is trying to loosen or tighten a nut with a socket wrench that has a 10 inch handle versus the 14 inch handle. The 14 inch handle gives you mechanical advantage of a longer lever arm so the force required is less. As Don also pointed out above, it is also true that most graduate students prefer to play the larger grands during practice- simply because it more closely approximated the feel of the larger grand once in concert. All things being equal the touch should be lighter and more even with the piano with longer keys. (Correct me if I'm wrong, but is this not the basic concept or have I simplified it too much?)

I see the GX line as (possibly) a welcoming addition for the serious pianist who wants or needs the action of a concert grand but doesn't have space (or maybe money) to house a 7 or 9 foot grand. The lengthened keys may IN THEORY make it easier for a pianist to play more physically demanding pieces. They already had a phenomenal action there was no reason to "reinvent the wheel" just to produce a lighter action. Yet at the same time by lengthening the keys it gives the added advantage of replicating the feel and dimensions of the keys a performer might feel while on stage. Pretty forward thinking if you ask me.

And very intriguing, but at the same time kind of risky eh? - for a line of pianos that have been so successful? Seems like its kind of a radical change if anything- thus the new name? Questions remain: will most pianists like the "improved" touch- playing a 5'11 grand with the illusionary feel of a 7 foot grand. I'm sure Kawai did extensive marketing research with professional pianists or at least I hope so. While not necessarily as revolutionary thinking as utilizing carbon fiber in their actions this again represents Kawai's commitment to innovation- hopefully in the right direction. I can't wait to try one of these babies out!


I think this is a very complex problem. There are so many variables in play, it's hard to say how much of an effect a 2cm increase in key length will have. What is the the original key length? Is the fulcrum in the same place? The lever arm is not the total key length; it's the length from the fulcrum to the applied force. Also, longer keys (presumably) mean more mass, so more inertia to overcome.

You mean to tell me it took all these years of piano making to realize that the keys should've been 2 cm longer? Maybe there is a significant difference, but maybe not. With it's 10,000 moving parts working in harmony, a piano is a very complex mechanical device. How does one know that by changing key length, other aspects of the piano aren't affected? Hopefully Kawai put a lot of research into this, but in our "bigger is better" society, you have to be a little skeptical.
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Kawai RX-6 BLAK

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#2048132 - 03/14/13 10:39 AM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: theJourney]
Radio.Octave Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 441
Originally Posted By: theJourney
As a very happy pre-Millenium III RX-2 owner, I really don't see any reason to upgrade to another RX. My piano holds its tune extremely well, has a wonderful tone with an amazing bass for such a short piano, has a firm and wonderfully responsive action that allows you to articulate whatever you want and can, looks great and is paid for. Why would I want to trade and wind up with something that is potentially less satisfying? I find myself more and more attached to my instrument.

Is my RX-2 ownership experience such an exception to the rule?

I would think that the market for these things is more people looking for their first grand rather than obsessive-compulsive gear acquisition and replacement syndrome based on incremental improvements. Maybe I'm wrong.



Agree.
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Kawai RX-6 BLAK

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#2048136 - 03/14/13 10:46 AM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Radio.Octave]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Radio.Octave
You mean to tell me it took all these years of piano making to realize that the keys should've been 2 cm longer?

Key lengths have varried greatly throughout the history of piano building. It is not that the concept was just figured out, it just was a manufacturer who decided to provide a longer key in shorter models of grands, to match the action of their concert grands. The physics of the modern piano action have been understood for a long time.
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It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2048247 - 03/14/13 02:53 PM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Rafterman]
Hakki Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2662
Here is a recording of my RX-2 problem notes:

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#2048268 - 03/14/13 03:31 PM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Hakki]
Radio.Octave Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 441
Originally Posted By: Hakki
Here is a recording of my RX-2 problem notes:





Did you have it voiced? Tell your tech to really have at it. When I had an RX2, my tech did quite a bit of voicing.

I've actually had a lot of voicing done on my RX-6. The entire upper half of the keyboard needed it. The first few times, it didn't seem to last long at all. Not sure if it is the Kawai hammers, or what, but my tech was needling away last time, and he noticed some brightness returning right after he worked on them. He also commented that some of the hammers were very hard. Every time I've had it tuned, I've also had him voice down large sections in the treble. When I had an RX-2, it needed a lot of voicing at first, too.


Edited by Radio.Octave (03/14/13 03:32 PM)
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#2048271 - 03/14/13 03:36 PM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Rafterman]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10490
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
This sounds like a tuning and voicing problem to me.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

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

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#2048278 - 03/14/13 03:46 PM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Steve Cohen]
Hakki Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2662
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
This sounds like a tuning and voicing problem to me.


A problem unsolved since 2005 shocked
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#2048284 - 03/14/13 03:53 PM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Hakki]
Radio.Octave Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 441
Originally Posted By: Hakki
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
This sounds like a tuning and voicing problem to me.


A problem unsolved since 2005 shocked


Time for a new tech or tuner? cool
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#2048362 - 03/14/13 06:28 PM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Radio.Octave]
Jethro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/07
Posts: 236
[/quote] You mean to tell me it took all these years of piano making to realize that the keys should've been 2 cm longer? Maybe there is a significant difference, but maybe not. With it's 10,000 moving parts working in harmony, a piano is a very complex mechanical device. How does one know that by changing key length, other aspects of the piano aren't affected? Hopefully Kawai put a lot of research into this, but in our "bigger is better" society, you have to be a little skeptical. [/quote]

I thought the same thing- in principle it all seems like a pretty straight forward concept, but people also thought the only thing man needed to fly was a pair of wings. It took the Wright brothers and possibly some obscure Brazilian to actually make it work. Maybe Kawai figured out how to make- what on the surface appears to be an easy concept- actually work. They're betting their top piano lines on it, so I imagine they're pretty confident it will take off.
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#2063923 - 04/13/13 09:50 AM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Rafterman]
PianistInJapan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/13
Posts: 32
Loc: Japan
So, did anybody already try out a GX? They should be in showrooms in the US too by now, I suppose?
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#2063958 - 04/13/13 10:53 AM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Hakki]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2187
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
This video shows that your piano need phasing of hammers and strings (fitting hammers to strings so all three are struck at the same time), and a good solid tuning. Then some judicious needling of the hammers.

Some of what you are hearing though is inherent to the state of the art of duplex scales. You might be interested in searching for my PW posts about my new invention called the "Fully Tempered Duplex Scale" which solves these issues.
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#2064228 - 04/13/13 08:58 PM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Rafterman]
Justplay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/14/05
Posts: 237
Ed. if I wanted you to service my piano with your "Fully Tempered Duplex Scale" invention... how do I go about it?

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#2064318 - 04/14/13 02:00 AM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Justplay]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2187
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I would have to replace your strings and modify the casting at a minimum. I have only done it on pianos receiving extensive rebuilding so far. Where are you located?
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#2064593 - 04/14/13 05:21 PM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: PianistInJapan]
patH Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 578
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: PianistInJapan
So, did anybody already try out a GX? They should be in showrooms in the US too by now, I suppose?
I was at the Musikmesse yesterday. Kawai had a GX-3 and a GX-6 at their stand.
I tried them both (briefly), and I liked them. I haven't played on a Kawai for a year, but if memory serves, the GX series is an improvement over the RX.

I liked the action and the feel of the keys. The sound was not too mellow (something I didn't like on the RX-2).
What I don't know is if there will be a GX with Anytime option. There were three Anytime models at the Kawai stand; the GE-30, GM-10, and an upright, but no GX.

Another thing: Kawai has not updated its webpage. The GX models are not listed. Pity.
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#2097757 - 06/07/13 10:41 AM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Rafterman]
Enrico Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 72
Loc: NJ
Ok I know I haven't played any gx series Kawais yet, but I do see a marketing aspect to this of course. Yamaha comes out with cx series so kawai has to come back with something hence the gx series. I also see a way for Kawai to charge more for less. This thicker stretcher bar and longer key will ultimately give you a shorter piano. right? If the stretcher bar is 2 inches thicker then before, then the pinblock starts back further thus giving you a smaller piano. A 5'5" becomes a 5'3" which could explain why some of the testers did not like the gx1 tone very much. Are we sacrificing tonal quality for a slightly lighter action? If so, and if I wanted to buy a Kawai, I would quickly go out and buy an RX series instrument and get a couple inches more piano for my money. Kawai actions have always seemed light to me, so lighter in my opinion is not a good thing. Many times coming off of a Kawai and then playing a Steinway in concert requires quite a bit of adjustment that quite frankly I don't like to have to make. This is my 2 cents and no I have not seen one yet.
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#2097856 - 06/07/13 12:55 PM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Enrico]
Voltara Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/09
Posts: 127
Originally Posted By: Enrico
Ok I know I haven't played any gx series Kawais yet, but I do see a marketing aspect to this of course. Yamaha comes out with cx series so kawai has to come back with something hence the gx series. I also see a way for Kawai to charge more for less. This thicker stretcher bar and longer key will ultimately give you a shorter piano. right? If the stretcher bar is 2 inches thicker then before, then the pinblock starts back further thus giving you a smaller piano. A 5'5" becomes a 5'3" which could explain why some of the testers did not like the gx1 tone very much. Are we sacrificing tonal quality for a slightly lighter action? If so, and if I wanted to buy a Kawai, I would quickly go out and buy an RX series instrument and get a couple inches more piano for my money. Kawai actions have always seemed light to me, so lighter in my opinion is not a good thing. Many times coming off of a Kawai and then playing a Steinway in concert requires quite a bit of adjustment that quite frankly I don't like to have to make. This is my 2 cents and no I have not seen one yet.


I guess that's one way to look at it, but different people have different priorities. My wife and I tried several examples of the Kawai RX-BLK series including the RX-2, and we both agreed that while we liked how they sounded, the action was much too heavy for us. So for us, the lightened touch of the GX series would actually be a welcome change.

The idea that the redesign gives you less piano for your money seems just a bit absurd. Schimmel uses the same keyboard and action in their 7' model as in their 6'3" and 5'7" models - are they guilty of depriving us of precious piano inches as well? Maybe so, if we were in the market of "an A0 speaking length" rather than "a musical instrument".

Of course, if Kawai did indeed overly compromise the musical qualities of the GX pianos by adding two inches to the front-end, well... there's no shortage of competition out there.

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#2097983 - 06/07/13 04:13 PM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Voltara]
Robert 45 Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 1258
Loc: Auckland New Zealand
I have neither seen nor played any models of the new Kawai GX series and I do not know if the length of the strings has been shortened to accommodate the longer keys and the stronger stretcher bar.

However, we must also consider that the composition of the rim has been changed, which according to Kawai, gives more tonal power. There is also the strengthening of the stretcher bar and pin block which Kawai also claims enhances the tonal response of the piano.

Of course, one can say that this is just promotional or marketing talk from the manufacturer. Will the changes in design in the new GX series compromise its tonal qualities? I would think not, especially from a company with the nous and reputation of Kawai. String length is indeed one of many critical aspects of piano design, but does the longer string itself make a better sounding instrument? Good piano design is in the skill in balancing many compromises for the best total result.

I am really looking forward to playing one of these new Kawai GX grand pianos to see and hear for myself.

Robert

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#2105272 - 06/20/13 10:16 AM Re: New GX Kawai Pianos and Shigeru from NAMM 2013 [Re: Rafterman]
ZBGM0 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/07/11
Posts: 97
I don't think that strings were shortened. New GX are little longer then old RX overall, GX-2 is not 5'10" but 5'11", GX 3 is not 6'1" but 6'2" etc. GX-2 is now also official grand (180 cm is the line)lol

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