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#2068262 - 04/21/13 09:42 PM Rough Day Piano Shopping
Clearly Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/21/13
Posts: 4
Loc: Seattle, WA
Well, hello there. I have no idea why I haven't involved myself in these forums earlier, but here I am after a six hour day piano shopping.

A tiny bit about me: I am a Chopin girl who has completed a large chunk of his solo works, primarily Waltzes, Nocturnes, Polonaises and Preludes. Romantic period is my thing, though I have the most fun with contemporary composers. Which is primarily why I've decided to ditch the upright I grew up on (Bush and Lane, amazing piano) and finally buy a grand (something that has been a very, very long time coming). My current obsession is Prokofiev, I'm working on his Sonatas.

The advice I'm looking for is based on longevity: will the piano stand up to the test of time? With good maintenance, will the piano maintain it's clarity and tone? Also, will it maintain it's value?

I thought my path was clear: A Yamaha C-5. I was not looking to buy brand new, so I went to a few reputable stores in the Seattle area that buy or consign pianos.

After playing four different C-5's, I found each sounding muddy (range between 1988 to 2008). So on I went playing the many other names.

My max price range went from 15k to 25k, and I believe for the perfect piano, I may be open to a bit more. My requirements are that they meet the 6' range, as I have plenty of room and need the dynamic range with what I play. Action must be able to handle the Friska in Liszt's second hungarian with the repetitive C#'s early on (my upright cannot).

To my ear and to my fingers, the following agreed with me very well:

Schimmel 208 DE (1998) - 6'10" - 32k
(as mentioned, my max price went higher - I can talk this one down a bit as well, it seemed) The dynamic control on this full concert grand was magnificent, but I'm not sure I'm willing to go over 25k unless it is truly the best of the four I'm listing.

Petrof IV (NEW) - 5'7" - 25k
This one in particular felt best, second to the 40k Sauter I so severely wanted right beside it - while it's shorter than I was requiring in my head, it had the best feel. Unfortunately I see many, many, many mixed reviews on Petrof.

Hailun 198 (NEW) - 6'5" - 21k
Same strings as the Sauter I so enjoyed (wish that 40k was in my pocket), a price tag I won't wince over, but I know NOTHING about Hailun. It felt good, but it didn't blow my mind as much as the two above.

Kawai KG 5C (1977) - 6'8" - 15k
The closest I could come to the proper voicing and action to my ears and fingers while staying at the original price I'd set out for (which was only placed based on the Yamiha C5's hovering around 15k). I honestly don't know much about Kawai's longevity, and 1977 was a long time ago.

Forum members: if you feel like putting those into a hat and drawing for me, please do so! And while I don't need a piano this instant, my room for it is now empty of former furniture and I'm looking forward to sunny days with the windows open.

Thank you for making it through my wall of text, and thank you even more if you add your opinion on the matter.


Edited by Clearly (04/21/13 11:43 PM)

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#2068274 - 04/21/13 10:12 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17815
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Welcome to the forum, Clearly! smile

My main advice is to suggest that you take your time. You're obviously a serious pianist, and this is a purchase you want to last a long time. And $25K is a lot of money. So I wouldn't recommend choosing ANY of these pianos, at least not now, and not until you've had a chance to shop some more and play the final contenders multiple times.

That being said, I'd be leery of the Kawai. I'm assuming that, at that price, it hasn't been reconditioned or rebuilt in any way. Most pianos need a considerable amount of work (new strings, hammers, etc.) at the 30-40 year point, so I'd be worried that you would need to sink a lot of money into that piano in the near future.

Perhaps the most common advice heard here is that you should have an independent technician evaluate any used piano before committing to purchase it.

Are you open to traveling to other cities in your search? If so, that could open up a lot of possibilities.

When I searched for my grand, I created a shopping template where I would record information about any piano that I was impressed by. It had sections to record such things as the brand, model, serial number, asking price, and my impressions of the action and tone. I found these notes helpful to keep all the pianos I was trying from running together in my mind.

So, don't be impatient; have fun; and keep us posted. smile


Use the forum's search feature to look up some threads on Hailun. It receives high marks as a piano that offers a nice compromise between sound quality and price.




Edited by Monica K. (04/21/13 10:12 PM)
Edit Reason: typo!
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My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#2068286 - 04/21/13 10:37 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi Clearly - Welcome to Piano World!

The Schimmel is a lovely instrument. It becomes a truly fine instrument when you get in the Konzert Series.

The Petrofs can also be first rate, however their action options can get confusing. You need to read up on them if you are considering one. A few years ago there was a big mess with the distributor, causing ill feelings and confusion. However, that has well passed and they build fine instruments.

I would avoid any Yamaha or Kawai from the 1970's. Both builders have come a long way. You might try a new Kawai, as they might be contenders. Sorry, I'm just not a Yamaha fan.

Compared to the Schimmel and Petrof, your reaction to the Hailun is understandable. They are good pianos, however, and are an excellent intermediate step.

I would suggest you contact Rich Galassini at Cunningham Piano in Philadelphia and see if anyone is now carying their pianos in Seattle. I like the Cunninghams very much.

Are you familiar with the "Piano Buyer" by Larry Fine? You can click on the ad on this page to view the online version at no cost. It is very helpful when piano shopping as it gives lots of info about any company's instruments and the prices for the models. Very useful.

Have you looked for a used Estonia? Have you played Estonia? It is worth checking out.

Hope this helps and do keep us posted.

Happy Shopping!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2068287 - 04/21/13 10:38 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3372
Originally Posted By: Clearly


Schimmel 208 DE - 6'10" - 32k
(as mentioned, my max price went higher - I can talk this one down a bit as well, it seemed) The dynamic control on this full concert grand was magnificent, but I'm not sure I'm willing to go over 25k unless it is truly the best of the four I'm listing.


How old is this piano?


Originally Posted By: Clearly
Petrof IV (NEW) - 5'7" - 25k
This one in particular felt best, second to the 40k Sauter I so severely wanted right beside it - while it's shorter than I was requiring in my head, it had the best feel. Unfortunately I see many, many, many mixed reviews on Petrof.


Petrofs from the '90s are not as good as the ones made today, which are excellent. I quite like the new ones, but 5'7" is probably too small for you.

Originally Posted By: Clearly
Hailun 198 (NEW) - 6'5" - 21k
Same strings as the Sauter I so enjoyed (wish that 40k was in my pocket), a price tag I won't wince over, but I know NOTHING about Hailun. It felt good, but it didn't blow my mind as much as the two above.


These are the best pianos coming out of China, IMO. Try the 218 if you can find it. It's special.

Originally Posted By: Clearly
Kawai KG 5C (1977) - 6'8" - 15k
The closest I could come to the proper voicing and action to my ears and fingers while staying at the original price I'd set out for (which was only placed based on the Yamiha C5's hovering around 15k). I honestly don't know much about Kawai's longevity, and 1977 was a long time ago.


At that age and price, I hope it's received partial rebuilding (i.e. new block, strings, action). If not, I'd pass... $15,000 for an original condition KG5 from that era is just ridiculous.
_________________________
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M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
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#2068315 - 04/21/13 11:15 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1543
Loc: Danville, California
"Forum members: if you feel like putting those into a hat and drawing for me, please do so! "

OK

Get the Sauter.

You only live once.

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#2068329 - 04/21/13 11:42 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Monica K.]
Clearly Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/21/13
Posts: 4
Loc: Seattle, WA
Thank you to those who have responded so far.

To answer first, The Schimmel is a 1998. I'm altering my OP to reflect that.

Sounds like my instincts are good on the Kawaii. The reason that ended up on my list was because I was looking at pianos at the original price point I'd set out ready to pay. That seemed the most likely candidate simply based on feel.

Monica: I'll admit I'm a little antsy, though after a few months of some internet grinding once I had the money, I finally decided to go out and tickle a few. It is a lot of money, absolutely, but I now walk through an empty room just screaming at me to buy a grand already!

The template is a great idea - I did bring my tablet with MS OneNote and made very specific notes on how I felt about the action and voicing, and more importantly, how I *felt* while playing it, as just the feel of the keys can make or break the piano regardless of the inner workings.

I plan to sit on these for a week or so, I just figured I'd pop on here to get some opinions of other pianists. And I'm so glad I did!

M. Marty: I'm very interested in knowing more about the Petrofs, but I feel that every time I start to dig in, the information gets more gray. Those who have them absolutely love them, which is a great starting point, but I love my 80 year old Bush and Lane Upright too. Anyone knocks on that and them's fighting words. :P I'll do more research into Petrofs, but I'd be curious to hear more about what you mean with the complicated action. If you could provide me with a trustworthy link or some of your own words to explain, I'd very much appreciate it.

Beethoven: I'll see what I can find with the Heilun. I'd never heard of it before and was very very pleased.

Furt: If I could fly high, I'd already have a Fazioli in my living room.
And one in my bedroom.
One in the kitchen . . .
Bathroom . . .
Heck, outside under a tent for garden parties. :P


Edited by Clearly (04/21/13 11:43 PM)

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#2068434 - 04/22/13 03:02 AM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3710
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
The Petrofs are a fine piano and excellent value for money. They are very pure sounding and sustain amazingly well. Not having the duplex scaling in the models you are looking at is a bonus, IMO. I think duplexes are more trouble than they are worth and contribute a lot of noise to the sound.

Don't worry about the action being strange on current Petrofs. They are a perfectly sound design and any tech would be able to adjust them. In the price range you have specified, I would get the Petrof. Your instincts seem to be telling you the same thing. Don't worry about mixed reviews - that was pretty much just the hangover from the Soviet era Petrofs. The new ones are very sound.

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#2068544 - 04/22/13 10:05 AM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Clearly,

This is quoted from the book I recommended about Petrof.

http://www.pianobuyer.com/spring13/186.html

Here is a link, from the same source, for the Hailun. Make sure you read both pages.

http://www.pianobuyer.com/spring13/174.html

As I mentioned, this is a source that is available to everyone, and it will help you answer your questions about almost any brand available.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2068614 - 04/22/13 11:51 AM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Minnesota Marty]
dynamobt Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 739
Loc: NH
I'm probably not the person you should listen to. But, I have some thoughts. Maybe not realistic thoughts. But, thoughts none the less.

Yes, it's a lot of money. And for what you are willing to pay, the piano you buy should make your heart sing. I'm not telling you to buy on impulse. Read Larry Fine's book. Make it your bible as you go over pianos. I just think there is this intangible factor that is "you will know it when you play it".

When I bought my M & H, it was the only piano I looked at to buy. I thought the buying process would be long and drawn out looking and trying many pianos and trying to decide between them. I never thought the piano I would buy would be found in a small shop in the middle of nowhere NH. I went up there as a practice run for experience looking at future pianos. And then I played the the Mason & Hamlin I eventually bought. It floored me! I had never played on anything like it before! Granted, I had only played what some would consider only a few grand pianos. Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway, Bechstein. I knew more what I didn't like than what I liked. But, I knew from the first moment I played the Mason & Hamlin that this was "The One". And you should feel some of that too when you play the piano you eventually buy. You're going to play this piano a lot! It should be more than simply a piano!! It will be YOUR piano!!

Good luck searching. It's something you will likely only do once in this lifetime. Enjoy the process! Hope you find a piano that makes your heart sing!!!
_________________________
1918 Mason & Hamlin BB





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#2068627 - 04/22/13 12:04 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
Keith Keeler Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/25/12
Posts: 7
Loc: NYC
Hello Clearly,

The "rough day" was a great start for your purchasing adventure. Six hours of shopping for something of this nature (and expense) is not a large amount of time at all.

I have to agree that the Larry Fine book will be very helpful and may keep you from making a big mistake when spending this amount of money and I also agree that 1970's pianos, (unless you intend to rebuild) from any manufacturer is not a wise choice.

I suggest looking into some other new pianos in your price range. You will see a lot of Estonia lovers here on Pianoworld and of course I would recommend you try them as well. There are other new Tier 3 pianos that will suit your price point as well but again you will find that info in The Piano Book.

Keep searching, it is very important that you are completely happy with your selection so take your time and when you have narrowed down the playing field you should spend a little time playing each of the finalists and see which one lets your musicality shine.
_________________________
Keith Keeler
Sales Manager
Allegro Pianos
205 West 58th St
New York, NY 10019
Representing: New Bosendorfer-Bluthner-Estonia-Haessler-Kawai-Steingraber Pianos

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#2068638 - 04/22/13 12:26 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
Almaviva Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 626
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Clearly,

My family is in the throes of shopping for a performance-grade piano suitable for my 13-year-old niece, so I know what you've gone through. You are lucky in that you live in a major metropolitan area with a wide variety of piano dealers, makes and models to choose from.

First off, you mentioned that you were really impressed by a Sauter piano you saw. (Who WOULDN'T be impressed by a Sauter?) As you said the price was $40k, this has to be a used Sauter! (A new 6'1" Sauter grand has an invoice price of about $71k.) Find out the model (or size) and year of this instrument, and its condition. Have a registered piano technician check it out, and find out how much (if any) it will cost to get it in shape.

If this $40k Sauter is over 6 feet long, is only a few years old, and is already in excellent condition, you've found a real bargain! If it doesn't meet all three of the above criteria, negotiate with the dealer.

If the Sauter is still too rich for your blood, the 1998 Schimmel might be a good second choice PROVIDED it is in good condition AND you negotiate the price downward a bit.

A new Petrof would be another good second choice, but get one that is at least 6 feet long. A new 6'3" Petrof P194 grand has an invoice price of about $38k.

Hailun pianos have significantly improved their quality over the last few years, so a new Hailun 198 would be a good third choice. That particular Hailun model has an invoice price of $17k.

A new Kawai RX-3BLK (6'1" long), RX-5BLK (6'6" long) or RX-6BLK (7' long) grand would be an excellent instrument, but their invoice prices are in the $d33-42k range. That 1974 Kawai is too old for me to advise you on that, but $15k appears to be too high a price.

Good luck.

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#2068641 - 04/22/13 12:32 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
Scott Hamlin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 593
Originally Posted By: Clearly

A tiny bit about me: I am a Chopin girl...


Is that anything like a "Hooters Girl"? crazy
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#2068661 - 04/22/13 01:32 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1543
Loc: Danville, California
"First off, you mentioned that you were really impressed by a Sauter piano you saw. (Who WOULDN'T be impressed by a Sauter?) As you said the price was $40k, this has to be a used Sauter! (A new 6'1" Sauter grand has an invoice price of about $71k.) Find out the model (or size) and year of this instrument, and its condition. Have a registered piano technician check it out, and find out how much (if any) it will cost to get it in shape.

If this $40k Sauter is over 6 feet long, is only a few years old, and is already in excellent condition, you've found a real bargain! If it doesn't meet all three of the above criteria, negotiate with the dealer."


I think I know the Sauter she is referring to, and if so - it is new.

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#2068685 - 04/22/13 02:24 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
Clearly Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/21/13
Posts: 4
Loc: Seattle, WA
The Sauter is brand new, 6'1 (I believe). It took all I had *not* to make notes on it because it was just too tempting, and has been the most my heart has ached for something that felt like it was . . . just . . . out . . . of . . . reaaachhhh!

What I seem to be reading from you, Furt, is that the Sauter is exactly what I'm looking for when asking the questions of longevity. It was indeed a perfect piano, it was a piano that spoke to me and sang beneath my fingers.

Perhaps someday it will be an upgrade, but as of now, I don't see myself riding in that car without losing my house over it. :P

Dynamobt, I believe your post sang to me as well. I do believe that some things are meant to be, and I *will* know it. This is my kicking off point. I think I sat at over 100 pianos yesterday (though some only long enough for two measures before I rose and didn't look back). The Sauter shook my soul, but I also need to be realistic. The top two mentioned in my post were two pianos that sang to me. The petrof has left me interested in others.

Which brings me to my next point. Later last night I received a call from a private owner of a petrof and went to play it at his home. It's the Petrof III from 2008. There is not a scuff mark (he asked if I'd seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and likened his treatment to Cameron's dad; how his kids fear touching that piano). I have my tech out there tomorrow morning, as the price of 15k seems too good to be true. But playing it, I have more love for Petrof.

Almaviva, you are very correct in saying I'm lucky. Seattle's Craigslist for grand pianos has pages and pages and pages of postings, and there are enough dealers around a 60 mile radius to keep me busy for a few weeks.

I'm off for another 6 hours soon to hit up some stores I don't love simply to fine tune what I'm looking for and glean opinions from the sellers. One store in particular insisted to a student of mine to buy a Samick, so whatever he suggests I will do the opposite of (sorry I just offended every Samick owner, but I am just NOT a fan).

I'll be looking for Estonia's in particular, since they come so highly recommended by people on this forum. I should see what the hype is about!

OH! And PLINKY88 - More like a hooter's girl with class, IMO. And your post made me laugh. Then shudder. Then laugh once more. wink



Edited by Clearly (04/22/13 02:30 PM)

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#2068693 - 04/22/13 02:32 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Almaviva]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19644
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Almaviva
Clearly,

My family is in the throes of shopping for a performance-grade piano suitable for my 13-year-old niece, so I know what you've gone through. You are lucky in that you live in a major metropolitan area with a wide variety of piano dealers, makes and models to choose from.

First off, you mentioned that you were really impressed by a Sauter piano you saw. (Who WOULDN'T be impressed by a Sauter?) As you said the price was $40k, this has to be a used Sauter! (A new 6'1" Sauter grand has an invoice price of about $71k.) Find out the model (or size) and year of this instrument, and its condition. Have a registered piano technician check it out, and find out how much (if any) it will cost to get it in shape.

If this $40k Sauter is over 6 feet long, is only a few years old, and is already in excellent condition, you've found a real bargain! If it doesn't meet all three of the above criteria, negotiate with the dealer.

If the Sauter is still too rich for your blood, the 1998 Schimmel might be a good second choice PROVIDED it is in good condition AND you negotiate the price downward a bit.

A new Petrof would be another good second choice, but get one that is at least 6 feet long. A new 6'3" Petrof P194 grand has an invoice price of about $38k.

Hailun pianos have significantly improved their quality over the last few years, so a new Hailun 198 would be a good third choice. That particular Hailun model has an invoice price of $17k.

A new Kawai RX-3BLK (6'1" long), RX-5BLK (6'6" long) or RX-6BLK (7' long) grand would be an excellent instrument, but their invoice prices are in the $d33-42k range. That 1974 Kawai is too old for me to advise you on that, but $15k appears to be too high a price.

Good luck.
I know you are trying to be helpful but quoting these "invoice prices" from the Bluebook of Pianos is not a good idea. As I mentioned in another thread they are wildly inaccurate and/or out of date. But most importantly have nothing to do with the actual selling prices to either individuals or institutions(the Bluebook's claim that these invoice prices represent prices for institutions is outrageously incorrect). The correct source for piano pricing is the Piano Buyer.


Edited by pianoloverus (04/22/13 02:41 PM)

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#2068758 - 04/22/13 03:54 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
hotcat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 107
Clearly, for what it's worth, I just bought a new Estonia L190 about six weeks ago. I am very happy with it. I'm planning to post a recording of a Chopin nocturne later this week so that may help you, although I'm just an amateur player. It's had one tuning so far. My technician was impressed with it. Most importantly, it is a pleasure to play and romantic pieces in particular just sound fabulous. When I was piano shopping, one dealbreaker for me was muddled sound in the bass--I don't know the technical term for that but it really bothers me. This is not a problem with the Estonia. Also, the treble is clear and bell-like with nice sustain without being too bright.

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#2068783 - 04/22/13 04:43 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: pianoloverus]
Almaviva Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 626
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I know you are trying to be helpful but quoting these "invoice prices" from the Bluebook of Pianos is not a good idea. As I mentioned in another thread they are wildly inaccurate and/or out of date. But most importantly have nothing to do with the actual selling prices to either individuals or institutions(the Bluebook's claim that these invoice prices represent prices for institutions is outrageously incorrect). The correct source for piano pricing is the Piano Buyer.


I didn't know that, pianoloverus. Thanks for warning me.

Have any of you other bloggers experienced this problem with the "Blue Book of Pianos"? Are the Blue Book prices too high or too high?

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#2068794 - 04/22/13 05:03 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4381
Loc: Jersey Shore
I would slow your process down and not rush. Take your time. Try to enjoy the experience like a fine wine and sleep on your decision, no matter what.

I would not get the Hailun 198. It's long term quality is an unknown right now. And comparing it to some of the other brands you mentioned is like comparing a Ferrari to a Kia... smile
Based on your perceived taste, I would stay away from Chinese pianos.

Have you tried any big Baldwins? SF 10 or SD models?

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#2068795 - 04/22/13 05:03 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
patH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 602
Loc: Germany
I like Yamaha better than Schimmel, so maybe I'm not the right person to ask, but for what it's worth...

Are there any Seiler pianos in your area? If you like Schimmel and Sauter, then maybe there are affordable Seilers as well; I believe they are cheaper than Sauters but come close quality-wise. But if you are considering Hailun then you may consider Samick as well.
And no, I am not paid by Samick to endorse Samick and Seiler. wink I bought a Yamaha last year.

Another company I tried out last year which makes nice pianos in an affordable price range for high-quality instruments is August Förster. I don't know how common they are where you live; a new August Förster costs less than a new Schimmel Konzert.
However, until the 90s, August Förster was a GDR company; I don't know how good their older instruments are. But then, the same is true for Petrof.
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

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#2068803 - 04/22/13 05:20 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Almaviva]
terminaldegree Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2821
Loc: western Wisconsin
Originally Posted By: Almaviva

Have any of you other bloggers experienced this problem with the "Blue Book of Pianos"? Are the Blue Book prices too high or too high?


Hi Almaviva,

Based on my experience as a university piano faculty member, I can say that the prices on the bluebookofpianos.com site bear NO resemblance to the prices we've been quoted as an institutional buyer on pianos from Steinway, Yamaha, Kawai, Estonia, Schimmel, Mason & Hamlin, and Bechstein. For that matter, what is the purpose of publishing an "institutional" price in a consumer publication, since a typical retail buyer won't be able to purchase at that price? Institutions tend to develop long-term/high volume purchasing relationships with dealers and also have piano technicians on-staff to deal with prep/service issues, not to mention the exposure these pianos have to the public in a high-profile setting like a concert hall. All these factors tend to have an impact on pricing.
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#2068804 - 04/22/13 05:21 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
JohnSprung Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1660
Loc: Reseda, California

Hi, Clearly --

At your level of playing (far beyond mine), consider going with a used 9 ft. They can be had for surprisingly low prices sometimes. When they're no longer up to snuff for a major concert venue, the universe of potential buyers shrinks to just high end players such as yourself, and rich folks who need to fill up a big living room. Both are few and far between.

For instance, at livingpianos.com in Santa Ana, there's a 1970 Mason & Hamlin CC for just under $30k. You'll probably find some locally, there seem to be Baldwins everywhere. So, get out the tape measure, set out some dining room chairs, and visualize where a 9 ft. could go.

I got lucky. Though our house isn't big, we did have a perfect place for a 9 ft. So my wife let me get it.

Another recommendation: You'll probably get approximately bupkus for your upright, so don't even think of trading it in. Hang on to it for at least a few months after you get your grand. When you notice things that you remember being better on your former piano, you'll be able to check them out.
_________________________
-- J.S.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

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#2068807 - 04/22/13 05:26 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1543
Loc: Danville, California
Clearly

Up until now you have received some good advice.

However...as usual on this forum...

We are now beginning to enter the "Piano Twilight Zone"

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#2068811 - 04/22/13 05:29 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Furtwangler nailed it!

Earth to piano lovers.
Earth to piano lovers.
Calling Earth.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2068817 - 04/22/13 05:36 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Almaviva]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2772
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: Almaviva
I didn't know that, pianoloverus. Thanks for warning me.
Blue Book is not industry supported and is known within the industry for having many misleading errors. Unlike the car industry, there is no reporting of selling prices.

I take issue with their online appraisal service as having any validity; you cannot appraise a used piano without an in-person inspection of condition. If their appraisal costs 1/5th of a real appraisal, then I shouldn't be surprised if it is 1/5th as accurate. This common sense failure invalidates the rest of their assertions for me.
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bsendorfer, 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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#2068826 - 04/22/13 06:03 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: JohnSprung]
patH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 602
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: JohnSprung

Hi, Clearly --

At your level of playing (far beyond mine), consider going with a used 9 ft. They can be had for surprisingly low prices sometimes. When they're no longer up to snuff for a major concert venue, the universe of potential buyers shrinks to just high end players such as yourself, and rich folks who need to fill up a big living room. Both are few and far between.

BUT (@Clearly):
Keep in mind that 2m70 pianos were built to fill out a huge concert hall. So maybe it will make your room explode acoustically. wink
And: If you have neighbors who live wall to wall, then maybe a smaller piano is the better choice; or a grand piano with a silent system. The Yamaha C2 SG I bought last year is just 1m73 long (5 feet 8 inches), but it can be heard in the whole house. My neighbors told me so.

In the Piano Buyer's guide there's an article about how to make a piano room sound grand; where it is recommended that the length of your walls should be at least ten times higher than the length of the piano. So unless your living room is at least 6x8 meters large, I don't know if a 2,70m piano is the right choice.
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

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#2068849 - 04/22/13 07:02 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: patH]
LFL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/12
Posts: 72
I must agree with all the wise advice to take your time and resist the tempation to "settle" for something that you will not be happy with a few years from now. Don't assume that you will "trade up" in the future. I recently spent 6 weeks "shopping" and investigating, including travelling half-way across the country to check out a number of pianos. Consider maintenance costs that are to come. I will only add, as one of the above responders indicated, that a Kawai RX3Blak can probably be had (new) for around $25K and and RX5Blak for around $30K (very approximate figures). The Kawai you played is not appropriate for your apparent skill level and IMO is not a good value. Also consider finding a restored Steinway A, which can be had for around $25-30K in some locations. If you'd like, send me a PM and I can point you the right direction to investigate those.
_________________________
Shigeru Kawai SK5L

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#2068874 - 04/22/13 08:00 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Almaviva]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19644
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Almaviva
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I know you are trying to be helpful but quoting these "invoice prices" from the Bluebook of Pianos is not a good idea. As I mentioned in another thread they are wildly inaccurate and/or out of date. But most importantly have nothing to do with the actual selling prices to either individuals or institutions(the Bluebook's claim that these invoice prices represent prices for institutions is outrageously incorrect). The correct source for piano pricing is the Piano Buyer.


I didn't know that, pianoloverus. Thanks for warning me.

Have any of you other bloggers experienced this problem with the "Blue Book of Pianos"? Are the Blue Book prices too high or too high?
It has been stated almost every time that site is mentioned that it is virtually useless. If you read the PB you'll understand why. Besides the "invoice prices" in the Bluebook being useless some of the writing contains major and obvious errors about the piano industry.


Edited by pianoloverus (04/22/13 08:05 PM)

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#2068876 - 04/22/13 08:13 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Clearly]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
Well, Clearly, I'm a Kawai fan (enough to have bought one), but I agree that you can do better than 1977--- I think you can get one new within your budget. They have just discontinued the RX-series, and this could be a very good time to negotiate a good price on the model.

Poor bluebookofpianos! It's today's punching bag, it seems. But, they have brought their troubles on themselves. Possibly, there was a time in the past when it was more reliable.

You will need a piano with a lot of life left in it. Obviously, you are not getting one so you can have something else to dust. My personal suggestion would be, don't shop for anything older than fifteen years at the most, and always have any serious candidate inspected for condition by an experienced piano tech, before you make an offer. It's a hundred bucks well-spent.

As tempting as a retired concert grand might be, it's a lot like buying a retired racehorse. It's going to take a lot of stable space, and a lot of oats, and you might be surprised at how much good saddles run these days--- a piano is almost a bargain by comparison. Most residences would not be right for a nine-footer. You were right in the first place, six to seven feet will have plenty of voice for a home.

Shopping in a rush, succumbing to piano fever--- these things are your enemy. As they say, marry in haste...

You will have an inner feeling when you find the right piano. When you come back for that second and third audition, knowing the market and the vendors, you'll be in a good position to negotiate a good price, for a piano that's right for you. And the ones you turned down, you'll know why they weren't right. This is an opportunity for a very interesting education. Then you'll be sending us photos and recordings... so, try them all--- why not. It's not really such a burden, going around town, meeting people who share a common interest, trying out pianos, and doing a little reading-up.

None of us really knows what's out there, before we go out to see.

Good luck to you.
_________________________
Clef


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#2068888 - 04/22/13 08:44 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: Jeff Clef]
JohnSprung Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1660
Loc: Reseda, California
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
Well, As tempting as a retired concert grand might be, it's a lot like buying a retired racehorse. It's going to take a lot of stable space, and a lot of oats, and you might be surprised at how much good saddles run these days--- a piano is almost a bargain by comparison. Most residences would not be right for a nine-footer.


Well, having done it in reality rather than in theory, I beg to differ. Mine hasn't blown out the windows or deafened the neighborhood. My tuner/technician has no problem keeping it alive and healthy. There haven't been huge extra costs, though a damp chaser would be a couple hundred more. So, Clearly, if you encounter one, give it a try. It could be a very cost effective solution.
_________________________
-- J.S.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

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#2068905 - 04/22/13 09:15 PM Re: Rough Day Piano Shopping [Re: patH]
Clearly Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/21/13
Posts: 4
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: patH

August Förster.


Funny that you should say this . . . August Forster changed my world today. And probably ruined it.

The 190, never had an owner, but is about three years old. Thoughts? I told him 30k was my max, he said he could come near it.

I cried playing this piano. I cried listening to him play this piano. I'm currently looking around my house for things to sell. frown

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