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#2043917 - 03/06/13 12:38 PM grand piano size / selection question
dcb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 200
I'm looking for a grand piano in the 5'10" - 7-foot range for my home and struggling a bit with the decision. One of the brands I'm looking at is the Kawai RX and Shigeru Kawai SK lines but I've never been in a place that carried all sizes to compare.

If money were no issue (which unfortunately it is) should I just buy a 7-footer which is the largest piano I can fit, or are there any advantages to a smaller piano?

Once I add the fact that I do have a budget, then it turns into would I do better with a 7footer of lower quality or a 6-foot piano of higher quality. I know this has been debated before.

Then, I factor in that I've only been playing a few years so my repertoire is very limited. My confusion is making me think I should just keep my upright for a few more years.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom with this decision? Any advice would be appreciated.


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#2043929 - 03/06/13 01:15 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 14790
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
At 7 feet, you are talking about higher quality over all. Since budget is a concern, try to buy the largest piano your budget can allow. This is assuming, of course, that you love the piano you are about to buy as it is, and that its condition is of the same quality as a smaller, more expensive piano you are considering.

The RX line is excellent, and while I hear the Shigeru is wonderful (I've never played one), I think considering where you are in your development and budget, buying a Shigeru may be unnecessary added expense on your part.

Have you played the RX-7?
private piano/voice teacher FT

#2043930 - 03/06/13 01:17 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
dcb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 200
I've never played any RX larger than the RX3 but I'm hoping to in the next few months. I may also look for the new GX models as well.

#2043948 - 03/06/13 01:46 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
PianoWorksATL Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 3271
Loc: Atlanta, GA
In a home setting, a 6' of higher quality trumps a 7' of lower quality most of the time. For halls with budget constraints, the size advantage of the slightly lower quality 7' matters more to the people in the back row.

Thankfully, there are an increasing number of moderately priced larger pianos of high to very high quality.
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#2043952 - 03/06/13 01:51 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
dcb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 200
So, am I understanding your point correctly...it sounds like the larger the piano the more power/ volume you get and that is certainly more important in a concert hall vs. a home.

Do you think the touch is any better on a 7 footer with longer keys? How do you think the overall tone compares? I know these are generalities, but still useful as a starting point.


#2043956 - 03/06/13 01:59 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2511
Loc: Suffolk, England
As you seem to be happy enough with your upright for now, I'd suggest you give yourself time enough for the decision to take itself. Just go and play some pianos until you come across one you really want to buy. It works.
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm

#2043959 - 03/06/13 02:00 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 14790
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
My experience has been that playing on a 7' is much more satisfying than a 6' of the same quality in a home or small hall setting. The bass just sounds so much more clearer and dynamic. Not bashing 6' pianos, of course, but the strings just aren't as long, and I don't really know how you can get over it.

Also, the OP isn't comparing low quality /lesser brand 7' with higher quality 6' brand. I think the Kawai RX series is not "low quality" at 7'. It's comparing great with better or something like that.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#2043964 - 03/06/13 02:14 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
Steven Y. A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 292
Loc: Toronto
I think its a matter of preferrence. SK2 has superior tones. RX7 has better dynamics,bass and volume.
and i thought the MIII action are different from SK vs RX (besides key length).

#2043969 - 03/06/13 02:22 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
dcb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 200
I think comparing an SK2 vs. an RX7 is a perfect comparison. Both great pianos one bigger, the other more hand made..better materials.

I can certainly hear the tone difference between an sk2 and an Rx2 but I've never been able to compare an RX7 next to an SK2.

#2044003 - 03/06/13 03:32 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
PattyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/04
Posts: 624
Loc: Texas
Wow, dcb, what a dilemma to have: an RX or a Shigeru! They're both wonderful pianos. I've had the pleasure of playing both side-by-side at two different dealers and each experience was delightful.

I'd always shied away from the Asian-made pianos, much preferring the sound of the European-made instruments. The first time I tried an RX series, I was very surprised. The sound and overall quality pretty much upset everything I thought I knew about Kawai in general. The RX's rich tone was more to my liking than my previous experiences with Asian-made painos and the touch was nice. On that same visit, I discovered the Shigeru, which is now on my short list of acoustics. IMO, the Shigeru is more similar to European pianos, without the sometimes muddied bass. The treble is clear and sweet without being bright or shrill. I would highly recommend that you try to find a dealer that carries Shigeru, even if you have to drive a bit. Call them and tell them you're coming to test an SK and ask that it be properly prepped and tuned. I don't think you'll be sorry.

And, again IMO, a 7' anything is the sweet spot.

Keep us posted on your research and good luck!

disclaimer: this post is strictly my personal opinion and not meant to offend any piano owners/lovers of any make, ever. smile

A tired dog is a good dog.

#2044011 - 03/06/13 03:43 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
musicpassion Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1645
Loc: California, USA
In a home, the higher quality 6' piano would outperform the lesser quality 7' piano most of the time.

As you can already see on this thread not everyone agrees with my opinion on this matter. But if the decision is between a 6' Shigeru and a 7' RX... I'd take the Shigeru in a heartbeat.

Why? Well, let's evaluate what the larger piano gives you. Probably more volume. But in a home you don't need more than a good 6' can give you. Greater definition/tone in the low bass. This is a benefit of the larger piano, but it - IMHO - applies only to the very bottom of the instrument. How many pieces do you play that even use the very bottom notes of the piano extensively? It wasn't even there when Mozart was writing. I'm not saying it's unimportant, but keep it in perspective.

What are the benefits of the higher quality piano? Keep in mind we're talking about going from a consumer grade piano to a very respected top tier instrument. First of all, better sustain. In my experience comparing pianos, sustain is related to the quality of the piano, not the size. Better tone in the parts of the piano you play the most. Even very small grands can have good tone in the 4th and 5th octaves, and 6' certainly isn't a small grand. Better cabinet finish work - this may or may not be important to you, but some of those top tier pianos are a thing of beauty. Better resale. Better dynamic range - this is more related to the quality of the hammers, action, and voicing than to the size. More soul. The last one of perhaps the most important of all to me, and the one completely undefinable. But when you play a piano where the craftsmen have put their absolute best into the instrument - instead of watching a price point - the piano takes on it's own character.
Pianist and Piano Teacher

#2044021 - 03/06/13 04:29 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
UKPianoMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/13
Posts: 49
Loc: London, UK
I tried one of the new Yamaha C1X last weekend, they sound is astonishing for such a small piano. The bass was pretty much just as resonant as the high end with no break in registers and a lovely decay. Great quality for the price if you like Yamahas.
Currently play on Casio PX150
Hummingbird Bosendorfer.... Yeah, right!

#2044040 - 03/06/13 05:13 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
tend to rush Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 117
I'd drive the dealers nuts going back and forth playing both until you're sure. If you can't decide yet, I don't think you're ready to buy yet.

#2044096 - 03/06/13 07:18 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
I think 7 feet pianos look way better than 6 feet pianos, I would consider the 7 feet.
Casio Privia PX-150

#2044105 - 03/06/13 07:35 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
LFL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/12
Posts: 72
In my recent piano search, I was able to compare an RX5 with an SK5 side by side. I also played an RX6 (remember the RX/SK6 is 7' and the RX/SK7 is 7'6'"). The RX6 had remarkable overall sound in terms of tone and was easy to play. However, it (and all the RX's) do not compare to the SK's in terms of sustain and what I call "resonance". I will also say that there was a significant difference between the RX6 vs. RX5. I didn't think that 6" would make a difference, but it did.

But, in a home situation, unless you have a large (I would say about 30'x20'x10-12') I think the 7' and longer can become too loud. Stated differently, if it came down to an RX6 vs. an SK3, for example, I would consider the SK3 strongly and the prices might not be too different. You can get a better discount on the RX's vs. the SK's.

Can you tell us where you live (state) and we might be able to guide you to dealers that likely have multiple selections to compare side by side? It doesn't sound like you are ready to plop down money yet...those on this forum helped me greatly by reinforcing not to actually buy until one is REALLY happy with the choice. This is more important than the choice of what car to buy...
Shigeru Kawai SK5L

#2044137 - 03/06/13 08:36 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
dcb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 200
I actually found a dealer in NY that has the whole line so I'm going to try them out. In new pianos I really only have the budget for an RX3 so I'm also looking at the used market. I found a new SK2 that was almost within my budget and then my thoughts were whether or not it was worth it or if I should try to find a used RX6 or something similar.

I think your advice to not buy something unless I'm really happy with it is very solid. Thanks.

#2044152 - 03/06/13 08:52 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
PattyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/04
Posts: 624
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: dcb
I actually found a dealer in NY that has the whole line so I'm going to try them out.

I think you aught to take a lunch with you and spend the day. Have a blast! and report back. smile

A tired dog is a good dog.

#2044209 - 03/06/13 10:51 PM Re: grand piano size / selection question [Re: dcb]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
I had a sub 5 foot grand for decades, moved to a C2, which I loved, for a year and a half. I found it was limited sonically, which an effect on my enjoyment of the music on which I was working. I spent months playing every type of of 6+ foot piano and fell in love with a M&H BB. My living room is 17x18x8, not large by any standard for a seven foot piano. I had it voiced in and for the room. People now comment the sound is like being in a concert hall. I can play the piano with the lid fully open while people in the room are having a conversation. To be fair, it has taken me a while to learn how to play softly. The point is, voicing is everything. If you like the sound of the various registers in the piano, a good voicing will make it work in just about any room.


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