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#2052911 - 03/23/13 11:23 AM Buying without actual trying it, your thought?
ec168 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 8
Greeting to everyone and I am new here!

I am not a piano player and we are shopping for a piano for my son. We tried on a Boston PE178 which he likes and Kawai. He is ok'ed with a RX2 (a lukewarm feeling), RX3 is better but still likes the Boston more. Our next is to try on a RX5 because the dealer is offering us a screaming deal since Kawai is coming out with new models to replace the RXs and the 5 has extra promotion. Unfortunately this dealer does not have it in stock and need to order from Kawai from Southern Cal (we are in Northern Cal), I found another dealer 60 miles away who has a RX5 on the floor, so we are going to driver there today.

What it comes down is pricing and from what I read, Boston and Kawai are both fine pianos. The PE178 is substaintally more than a RX2 (it is already discounted to the bottom with no extra room to negotiate), and the RX5 is still much more price competitive than the PE178. It is hard to swallow the price difference and the Boston dealer starts telling me Kawai uses plastic parts (the ABS with carbon coating to be exact) and Boston doesn't, it didn't resonate too well with me. It seems that Kawai's "plastic" is a different technology and really isn't as bad it sounds. Any comment on this?

Assuming my son likes the RX5 today, if we buy from my local dealer, am I taking a high risk? This dealer is a very nice honest guy, I just would like to give him the business. Any advise will be great.


Edited by ec168 (03/23/13 01:03 PM)

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#2052917 - 03/23/13 11:39 AM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
patH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 550
Loc: Germany
Does your son like the Boston better because of the action or because of the sound?
The action of a Kawai RX-2 or RX-3 will probably be identical to the action of a Kawai RX-5; but the RX-5 will be more powerful.

So if your son prefers the Boston because of the action, he will probably still prefer a PE-178 over an RX-5.
But when it is a sound issue, then maybe you can compare different sizes of other brands; like Yamaha C3 vs. Yamaha C5, or Bechstein A.175 vs. Bechstein A.190 or A.208. The differences in sound between the longer and shorter models might give you an idea on what to expect from an RX-5 compared to an RX-3.

EDIT: Just read your post more carefully. Your son will try out an RX-5, so my previous advice does not apply.
I don't think you will take a high risk in buying the piano from your local dealer, as long as you have tried out another model of the same line.
Just one advice: Your son should also try out a smaller Kawai (RX-2 or RX-3) at the place where he tries out the RX-5; in case the two piano dealers have a different way of regulating their pianos. If the RX-3 will sound like from your local dealer, then there shouldn't be a difference between the RX-5 pianos either.


Edited by patH (03/23/13 11:47 AM)
Edit Reason: Clearing up misunderstanding
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

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#2052920 - 03/23/13 11:50 AM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
maurus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/11
Posts: 794
A well voiced RX5 can be a very nice piano and this person here would prefer it to a 178 Boston (*). But you should not make a choice without actually trying under suitable circumstances (e.g. both pianos properly set up in comparable rooms).

Both pianos are actually made in Kawai factories. So it's really about sound and action. - About the ABS carbon I would not worry at all. I love my little Shigeru Kawai SK-2 with a similar action.

*Actually, when looking around for my own grand, I compared with several (and larger) Boston pianos, and I did not like their sound.

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#2052926 - 03/23/13 12:04 PM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1716
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
My purely personal preference (others feel differently) is for the RX5.

It's a good piano, and I would heavily discount criticism of it coming from someone trying to sell you something else.
_________________________


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

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2052929 - 03/23/13 12:08 PM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1523
Loc: Danville, California
ec168

I sent you a PM

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#2052937 - 03/23/13 12:30 PM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
carey Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6212
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: ec168

What it comes down is pricing and from what I read, Boston and Kawai are both fine pianos. The PE178 is almost 50% more than a RX2 (it is already discounted to the bottom with no extra room to negotiate), and the RX5 is 20% less than the PE178. It is hard to swallow the price difference and the Boston dealer starts telling me Kawai uses plastic parts (the ABS with carbon coating to be exact) and Boston doesn't, it didn't resonate too well with me. It seems that Kawai's "plastic" is a different technology and really isn't as bad it sounds. Any comment on this?

Assuming my son likes the RX5 today, if we buy from my local dealer, am I taking a high risk? This dealer is a very nice honest guy, I just would like to give him the business. Any advise will be great.


Please don't buy that "plastic action" nonsense from the Boston dealer. The carbon fiber millennium action in the Kawai RX series has an excellent track record and is more stable than a traditional wood action.

Being built in the same factory by the same workers, the Boston and Kawai RX pianos are of comparable build quality.

When shopping for pianos - or anything else for that matter - I prefer to give my business to "nice honest" folks.

Good luck with your decision.
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2052946 - 03/23/13 01:04 PM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
ec168 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 8
Thank you for everybody's input and help. We will let you know after today!

Pls continue to provide feedback, more is better and more is welcome.

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#2052961 - 03/23/13 01:55 PM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
Bosendorff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 260
Hello ec168,

Often, the Steinway/Boston/Essex are more difficult to find so their prices are higher for that reason. But if budget is not a problem, then the most important is indeed that your son likes the sound and touch of the piano. So supposing he has good experience already playing pianos, unless he prefers the Kawai you will test soon, I would go with the Boston since he either prefers its touch or sound or both. Of course, another important consideration is how you feel with the folks at the piano store.

Also, there might be other brands and models you still haven't tried that could end up even better. Take your time to test many other pianos and happy shopping.

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#2052973 - 03/23/13 02:34 PM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...the Boston dealer starts telling me Kawai uses plastic parts (the ABS with carbon coating to be exact) and Boston doesn't, it didn't resonate too well with me. It seems that Kawai's "plastic" is a different technology and really isn't as bad it sounds. Any comment on this?"

Yes: the Boston dealer is a skank and a liar. You can read what Kawai has to say about their ABS and carbon-fiber action components from their own website http://kawaius.com/main_links/grands_09/grandmain_09.html

It seems legitimate to me to give the business to a dealer you like, and whose place of business is convenient. A 60-mile trip to try out the model you're interested in is worthwhile. Things being equal, it's more desirable to buy the piano you try... but, things are not equal. A good tech to see you through the first few years is probably more important.

I got the RX-5 because it played and sounded the best. I can't say what your son will like. It does have a big voice. But if I had it to do over, I'd get the RX-6 or -7--- not that I could fit them in my living-room. But, that long-string sound. All things considered, the RX-5 was a good choice for me. I've played and examined quite a few grands since, and I find that the build quality of the Kawai is better than most, particularly at the price point.

Speaking only for myself, I find that the action and the keyset of the Boston grand feels klunky compared to the MIII in the Kawai. Also, the Neotex keytops feel and look better than the slick plastic keytops of the Boston. But, there you are: I bought what I liked best.
_________________________
Clef


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#2053006 - 03/23/13 03:40 PM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: Bosendorff]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19227
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Bosendorff
Often, the Steinway/Boston/Essex are more difficult to find so their prices are higher for that reason.
Whether a certain piano is more difficult to find depends on the buyer's location and is not directly related to the price.

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#2053008 - 03/23/13 03:41 PM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
None of the pianos are considered entry level and I am assuming that your son already has decent playing skills. His opinion is very important in the selection of the instrument he will be practicing on. If he finds he likes the RX-5, it would be appropriate for him.

Kawai is one of the builders who provides very high consistency in a given model size, piano to piano. Amazingly so, IMO. The "test piano" will have very little variance from the "blind selection." The larger difference that will be noticed is the acoustical variation from any dealership to your home acoustics.

The composite action in the Kawai is a proven commodity. Don't fall for a sales ploy of a competitor. I consider the Kawai actions to be more consistent between "twins" than I do with the Boston. With a Boston, I would insist on the instrument that I had played. They are very good pianos, also.

If all things fall into place in the final selection, and you can purchase through a dealer that you know and trust, all the better.

Looking forward to the results of the shopping trip.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2053033 - 03/23/13 04:21 PM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: carey]
musicpassion Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 907
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: carey

Please don't buy that "plastic action" nonsense from the Boston dealer. The carbon fiber millennium action in the Kawai RX series has an excellent track record and is more stable than a traditional wood action.


Well said. Kawai's action is proven by now - it's not an unknown factor.

Buying a Kawai RX isn't a risky purchase at all.
Do they vary much from one to another? In my experience not really.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2053124 - 03/23/13 07:41 PM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
Steven Y. A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 291
Loc: Toronto
If the rx5 is new and price is hard to pass awat I dont see any problem.
I prefer kawai over Boston.
At 6'6 your looking at a full size highly regarded piano by professionals.
_________________________
PLEYEL P124

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#2053165 - 03/23/13 08:48 PM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
j&j Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 444
Loc: Southwest
If your son really likes the RX5 and you decide to order one through your local dealer, will the dealer prep it to your son's satisfaction? Kawaii is renouned for their consistency and quality, but every piano is a little different....and every dealer has their own method of prepping a new piano. Maybe I'm a little too cautious, but if you and your son decide to order the RX5, ask your local dealer about all the "what ifs". If your son still prefers the Boston, have him try that Boston on several different days to be sure. And of course, you could certainly expand your search and have your son try other brands in that size and price range.

Best of luck, let us know what you decide.
_________________________
J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." Pablo Picasso

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#2053246 - 03/24/13 12:57 AM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
ec168 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 8
Thank you so much for all of your valuable input, really appreciate it. All your respond put me at ease of getting a RX5 at the dealer who we trusts.

We did drive the distance to try out the RX5, it is a beautiful piano and my son does like the sound of it and interesting enough, the shop also has a 10 years old Boston 178PE, he played both and "finally" feel the same action on both of them.

Thanks again and I think I should start learning piano so that I maximize our spent. My son is a young kid and he is really fortunate to have a piano of his choice.

I will update all of you later.

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#2053320 - 03/24/13 07:57 AM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1716
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: ec168
We did drive the distance to try out the RX5, it is a beautiful piano and my son does like the sound of it and interesting enough, the shop also has a 10 years old Boston 178PE, he played both and "finally" feel the same action on both of them.

Thanks again and I think I should start learning piano so that I maximize our spent. My son is a young kid and he is really fortunate to have a piano of his choice.


In my opinion, he's fortunate to have a father who so much cares about and is committed to his son -- piano or no piano!
_________________________


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

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2053483 - 03/24/13 01:29 PM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...he's fortunate to have a father who so much cares about and is committed to his son..."

Right. I think the same thing--- actually, that you're both lucky. This is a strong foundation to build a life on.
_________________________
Clef


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#2053500 - 03/24/13 01:51 PM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 1986
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Originally Posted By: ec168
...Thanks again and I think I should start learning piano so that I maximize our spent. My son is a young kid and he is really fortunate to have a piano of his choice.



If you decide to change that to a Shigeru. Will you adopt me?
Seriously...Congratulations on getting your son a really good piano.
I think you'd enjoy learning. First thing is you'll be impressed at the sophistication of your nervous system to each and every finger. Your hands become a whole lot more. I think you'll just plain enjoy it. Especially with that piano.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2053516 - 03/24/13 02:14 PM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
ec168 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 8
Well, well.... relationship goes both way. I can say our son is lucky, but we are fortunate to have a decent kid (being my only one too!) and just hope that he will grow up this way.

I am fortunate to have very lovely caring parents and I think I do turn out to be quite "okay". As parents, we give and we appreciate and we all want to be a better person tomorrow than today.

Ron... if we change to a Shigeru, we will let you know. But adoption might be a stretch, LOL!!

As a matter of fact, he did try on a Shigeru (SK 3), it is a VERY NICE piano and that particular salesman was trying to sell it to us instaed of a RX5. Well, something for my son to work on to be his upgrade when he grows up becasue really loves that piano.

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#2053637 - 03/24/13 06:49 PM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
Your son seems to have very good taste!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2055026 - 03/27/13 09:36 AM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
ec168 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 8
Thanks to everybody's input. We ordered a RX5, our wonderful local dealer will prep the piano in his shop first with couple tunings. My son can be there after the first tuning and provides his "comments", then he will tune it for us again. This has been quite an experience for us in the past two months and I am glad that we picked the RX5.

Anybody interests in buying a Kawai or some sort of used pianos (which my local dealer has a lot on his floor) in SF/Bay Area/Silicon Valley areas, please PM me and I will give you the address in case you don't know yet.

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#2055399 - 03/27/13 11:31 PM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
BobInAZ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 46
Wow! Enjoy your son playing it! We love our RX-2. It's funny that a shop near Santana Row was instrumental in our acquisition of our Kawai here in AZ.

Post pictures when it arrives!

Bob
_________________________
Kawai RX-2 Blak
Casio PX-350

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#2055454 - 03/28/13 02:20 AM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
musicpassion Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 907
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: ec168
our wonderful local dealer will prep the piano in his shop first with couple tunings. My son can be there after the first tuning and provides his "comments", then he will tune it for us again.


Excellent - the dealer is providing a high level of service. I would suggest having your son spend some time with the piano when he goes to see it (1hour+ if you can). He's played a number of good pianos now, and so he might have some meaningful details to ask for from the technician.

Congrats on the piano!!!
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2055569 - 03/28/13 10:14 AM Re: Buying without actual trying it, your thought? [Re: ec168]
ec168 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 8
My dealer is located in the Bay Area, he is the best and most honest person you can ever found. If you don't know who he is, send me a PM.

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