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#2108336 - 06/26/13 11:50 AM Need advice in buying a Grand Piano
ProvingToaster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/13
Posts: 14
Loc: Wisconsin
Hi all,

I'm new to this forum so go easy on me.
I am a new Grad student and my parents recently bought a town home for my sister and me to live in (she's currently a grad student as well) and my grandmother wants to buy me a grand piano to put in our new town home (it will go in a room that is about 20x13 sqft, which is connected to our dining room in an open concept floor plan). I've been playing piano for about 3 and half years now (yamaha dgx-535 for the first two and a half years and now on a yamaha YDP-161). I'm currently the only one in my family who plays and knows anything about pianos. But there is still a lot that I don't know, so I come to you for help and advice when it comes to buying my first grand.

The budget I've been given is about 20,000 USD. So my parents told me to go out and look around at some of the local piano stores. I went to the local Steinway dealer and played a few Boston's, Essex's, and Pramerger's and I liked the Boston's but they are a little expensive. Correct me if I'm wrong, but are you paying a little more for the brand name of Steinway or "designed by Steinway and Sons"? I didn't care too much for the Essex and Pramberger models, I didn't really like the touch and the tone didn't sound that great to me for the Essex models. The sound was good on the Pramberger's, but the touch didn't feel very good.

The second piano store I went to was more into rebuilding pianos (old Steinway's in particular), but they were also a Kawai dealer. They had a beautiful new (well it was built in 2012) Kawai RX-2 listed for 18,000. I absolutely loved the touch and the sound of it. I liked it so much that the dealer was kind enough to leave me alone in the room to play on it for about 30 minutes. They had an older used Kawai KG2 model (1974) listed for 12.5k but I didn't like the touch as compared to the RX model.

I looked up the bluebookofpianos value for a new RX-2 and it is listed for about 25,500. So I asked the dealer why his price was so much lower and he told me that they are having a "sale" on all of the Kawai RX models to try and get rid of them so that they can get in the new GX models (that makes sense right?)Anyway I was just wondering if you guys had any thoughts on this? Does this sound like a good deal? Should I be more skeptical considering the dealer was a little "car salesman" like at first, but he backed off after a little while? OR should I take advantage of this opportunity considering that he said that once the RX models are sold from their store they will not be getting any more (well they will get them if someone trades one in)?

Willing provide more details about town home, dealers, pianos, etc. if asked.
_________________________
I sit in a cubical all day and sometimes I do work...

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#2108362 - 06/26/13 12:33 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
This is easy to answer.

The Kawai RX series is being replaced by the GX series. The RX pianos are very good, for all sorts of reasons, and an RX-2 is very popular. Bargains are available and the price you have been quoted is excellent, but of course, that is only where you start in the bargaining process. Prior to the GX introduction, that piano would have a "street price" of up to $30K.

If you love the piano, why not?
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2108368 - 06/26/13 12:41 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
shaolin95 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/11
Posts: 474
Indeed this looks like a closed case! You got a popular piano, below your budget and one you love how it feels and sounds..looks like a done deal to me. smile
_________________________
*Young Chang Y185 6'-1"

*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

*Young Chang Y150 (Del F design) (gone)

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#2108373 - 06/26/13 12:47 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1716
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
People obviously have their preferences and price ranges, but on this forum I've seen many good things said about the RX-2 (I can't recall anything bad said about it); you appear able to get it for a good price; and best of all, you really like it.

Sounds like you're good to go (except possibly for whatever further price negotiating you may care to try).
_________________________


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

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2108396 - 06/26/13 01:20 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
Almaviva Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 585
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
This is almost too easy.

Try to haggle the price down a little bit. If you can't, settle for the $18K price.

A friend of mine owns an RX-2, and he loves it. You probably won't find a better piano in that size range unless you are willing to pay Estonia prices or even higher.


Edited by Almaviva (06/26/13 01:25 PM)

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#2108397 - 06/26/13 01:22 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
Allan W. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/12
Posts: 371
Loc: Michigan
My local dealer was having a sale on RX-2 as well. It was about 20k here, but I didn't bother trying to negotiate.
_________________________
Recent adult re-starter... http://www.youtube.com/user/allanw
Kawai MP-10 + Ivory II (pic), Young Chang Y175, 2012 (renting) (pic)

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#2108410 - 06/26/13 01:43 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
michaelha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 784
Funny, two Kawai RX posts today demanding similar answers so I'll just copy/paste from the other one.

I bought a new 2012 RX-5 BLAK just about a month ago for $19.6K. Someone I know was offered a new RX-6 BLAK for about $22K.

Not sure what the adjusted discount should be from 5 to 2, but maybe $3-5K would be my guess. But of course there are other factors, local market, what he paid for it, etc.
_________________________
Casio CDP-100
2012 Kawai RX-5 BLAK

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#2108415 - 06/26/13 01:53 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
ProvingToaster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/13
Posts: 14
Loc: Wisconsin
Here's the real conundrum (hold onto your hats)... We don't close on the town home until July 19th (that's the projected date) so we can't get in there to take measurements to decide where the piano will go. I'm worried that the piano will be sold by then and I talked to the dealer about this and he said that they could "hold" the piano for us (for a few hundred dollars down payment) until the time we have the town home and could buy it knowing that we have a place to put it.
In addition, the town home is split into three levels and the piano will go up on the second floor so the real issue is contacting the piano movers to see if the piano will even fit (it has to go up about 16 stairs in a relatively narrow stairwell and there is about a 3 1/2 to 4 ft length landing at the top of the stairs with about 6 inches of that length beyond the doorway leading into the second floor).

So do you think I should put in the down payment even though there is the risk that the paperwork on the town home falls through and we don't get the place so we would be out a few hundred dollars? Does anyone have a decent estimate of what it would cost to move a 700 pound piano up stairs (like has anyone had this issue before)?

Pictures of the living space to follow
_________________________
I sit in a cubical all day and sometimes I do work...

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#2108418 - 06/26/13 01:56 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
ProvingToaster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/13
Posts: 14
Loc: Wisconsin










Any suggestions of where to put this piano? We live in Wisconsin and the town home is relatively new so the insulation is good so I'm not worried about outside temperature fluctuations.


Edited by ProvingToaster (06/26/13 01:58 PM)
_________________________
I sit in a cubical all day and sometimes I do work...

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#2108420 - 06/26/13 01:57 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1716
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
That space needs a 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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#2108429 - 06/26/13 02:05 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
Almaviva Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 585
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Any particular reason why you can't put the piano on the 1st floor?

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#2108434 - 06/26/13 02:10 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: Almaviva]
ProvingToaster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/13
Posts: 14
Loc: Wisconsin


This is the only room on the first floor which is right next to the stairs leading up to the second floor. As you can see the room is quite small and my sister and I were thinking of using that space for an office


Edited by ProvingToaster (06/26/13 02:11 PM)
_________________________
I sit in a cubical all day and sometimes I do work...

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#2108453 - 06/26/13 02:28 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2271
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
Why not the ground floor?
_________________________
Gary Schenk

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#2108456 - 06/26/13 02:32 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: Plowboy]
ProvingToaster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/13
Posts: 14
Loc: Wisconsin
The first floor is the ground floor and there is no basement in this town home.
_________________________
I sit in a cubical all day and sometimes I do work...

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#2108471 - 06/26/13 02:57 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
michaelha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 784
My grand went up one and a half set of stairs. It's no big deal. The dealer included the move, but I gave 3 guys an extra tip since it looked like a good workout. They were done in 30 mins or so.

No idea how fast pianos move, if you need to worry, maybe explain it to the dealer and see if he'll work something out with you that doesn't require you to risk losing a deposit. But I might be a little weird about buying a piano without a guaranteed home for it.
_________________________
Casio CDP-100
2012 Kawai RX-5 BLAK

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#2108515 - 06/26/13 04:09 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3509
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: ProvingToaster
Here's the real conundrum (hold onto your hats)...


I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that you've been handed a free house and a $20k check for a piano! I'd kill to have your problems! Half your luck!

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#2108518 - 06/26/13 04:14 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ando]
ProvingToaster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/13
Posts: 14
Loc: Wisconsin
Hahaha it seems that way doesn't it? My sister and I both have research assistance ships that include full tuition and a monthly stipend.A good majority of our stipends will be put towards paying the mortgage on this place. So in effect we are paying for this place and not our parents. We didn't have the money for the down payment and we weren't legally allowed to sign the paperwork so that's where our parents came in.
The 20k check is a gift. So yeah, that is luck.
_________________________
I sit in a cubical all day and sometimes I do work...

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#2108527 - 06/26/13 04:20 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3509
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Good for you. I'm sure you will have a lot of fun sorting out your conundrums! Are you necessarily wedded to the idea of a brand new piano? You might get further with your $20k for a rebuilt piano or a used, but well-preserved piano.

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#2108540 - 06/26/13 04:36 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ando]
ProvingToaster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/13
Posts: 14
Loc: Wisconsin
The first store I went to only had one used piano and it was a brand that I've never heard of and it didn't sound too good. The second store that I went to had a lot of used pianos. They had a nice 6'3" Estonia that I liked but I think it was above my budget. They had a lot of used Yamaha's but I found the sound on them quite irritating (especially in the higher notes). Plus all of the Yamaha's were like brown walnut or polished white finishes, which I found a little strange. All of the used/rebuilt Steinway's were out of my price range by about 10k.
As I said earlier, that second store had a nice Kawai KG2 from 1974 or 1970 for 12.5k. And it sounded nice but I didn't like the touch all that much.
I've also looked on craigslist and on pianomart to areas within 50-75 miles of where I am and there really isn't anything out there (I don't want to have to ship it that far). Plus I don't have a car to get there and look at the piano. So my hand are kind of tied in that respect...
_________________________
I sit in a cubical all day and sometimes I do work...

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#2108547 - 06/26/13 04:49 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
I think it would be hard to find anything better at that price. That is quite an exceptional value. I'd go with the $200 deposit and see how it all works out. Remember, on tight turns on a staircase, often a grand will be negotiated keyboard down. When that is the case, it is best to remove the action before transport.

Will the dealer be moving the piano or arranging the move? If so, let them figure out the details. They do it all the time!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2108550 - 06/26/13 05:00 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: Minnesota Marty]
ProvingToaster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/13
Posts: 14
Loc: Wisconsin
I believe that piano moving is one of the services that they provide. But the dealer told me that delivery is not included in the price. This worries me a little because if I am able to negotiate the price on the piano down a little bit, they could just tack on the price difference when they look at what they would have to do to move the piano into my town home so that they end up with the full asking price and then some.

Here is the website of the piano place

http://www.farleyspianos.com/pages/services.html
_________________________
I sit in a cubical all day and sometimes I do work...

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#2108559 - 06/26/13 05:13 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
Tim Farley is one of the most ethical dealers and rebuilders anywhere. The move will be figured separately and it won't influence your negotiations. If Tad is still heading up the moving department, he knows what he is doing. Are you in the Madison area? If so, the move won't be all that bad.

Say Hey to Tim and Renee for me! Tim rebuilt a S&S-M for me and it is spectacular.

They're good people.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2108600 - 06/26/13 05:58 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
patH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 550
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: ProvingToaster
Here's the real conundrum (hold onto your hats)... We don't close on the town home until July 19th (that's the projected date) so we can't get in there to take measurements to decide where the piano will go.

In addition, the town home is split into three levels and the piano will go up on the second floor so the real issue is contacting the piano movers to see if the piano will even fit (it has to go up about 16 stairs in a relatively narrow stairwell and there is about a 3 1/2 to 4 ft length landing at the top of the stairs with about 6 inches of that length beyond the doorway leading into the second floor).

So do you think I should put in the down payment even though there is the risk that the paperwork on the town home falls through and we don't get the place so we would be out a few hundred dollars? Does anyone have a decent estimate of what it would cost to move a 700 pound piano up stairs (like has anyone had this issue before)?

Pictures of the living space to follow
If you like the piano and have the money: Go for it! smile
About moving the piano: When I bought my Yamaha C2 (about the same size as a Kawai RX-2), I did not negotiate about the price with the dealer, but we made an agreement that the moving fee would be included in the buying price. Maybe you could do the same: Don't negotiate on the price, but have the moving costs taken by the dealer.

From the pictures you posted: The place in front of the window on the first picture seems like a good place for a piano. At least that's where I would try to fit it.
Is it possible to enter your piano through the balcony door? Maybe it would be easier than through a narrow staircase.
What you can do is invite the piano movers before the delivery; or send them pictures of the staircases and balcony, so they can decide what is best.
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

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#2108620 - 06/26/13 06:39 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
terminaldegree Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2629
Loc: western Wisconsin
I purchased my last piano and was able to negotiate a storage agreement with my dealer for 6 months, because I really liked the piano and the deal and couldn't house it immediately. Luckily, the dealer had the space and accommodated my request.
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Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
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Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#2108623 - 06/26/13 06:41 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: patH]
ProvingToaster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/13
Posts: 14
Loc: Wisconsin
Yes Marty, I am in the Madison area. I didn't get to meet Mr. Farley or Renee, I met a sales rep. But I will definitely say hi for you and say that you spoke very highly of them.
It is possible to get the piano in through the balcony door (there is also a back deck on the second floor and we would put it through there if it came to that). It probably would be easier than trying to get it up stairs, but it would be much more expensive and the dealer probably wouldn't even consider including that cost into the price. It definitely seems like a good idea to try and negotiate the moving cost into the price, considering they would only be moving it from their store two miles up the road.
_________________________
I sit in a cubical all day and sometimes I do work...

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#2108695 - 06/26/13 08:24 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
Allan W. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/12
Posts: 371
Loc: Michigan
Hi, looks like we're fellow grad students paid stipends looking for a nice piano. It seems like you're planning on staying in the local area after you graduate, since you're buying a house. I'm pretty sure I'll be moving cross-country, so under everyone's recommendation, I didn't end up buying a grand. I found a guy locally that was renting out pianos so that's what I'm doing. Only a $10k piano but it sounded good enough to me.

Good luck with your search! Maybe you can find some used pianos for $20k that sound better than the new RX2.
_________________________
Recent adult re-starter... http://www.youtube.com/user/allanw
Kawai MP-10 + Ivory II (pic), Young Chang Y175, 2012 (renting) (pic)

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#2108741 - 06/26/13 09:31 PM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: Allan W.]
ProvingToaster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/13
Posts: 14
Loc: Wisconsin
Well I'm just starting my PhD so I'll probably be here awhile. I definitely wouldn't mind remaining in the madison area, that's for sure. I thought about renting but I would much rather own it than rent it. The best used piano that I tried that came close to the Kawai was the 6'3" Estonia, but I felt it had a much quieter and mellower tone than the Kawai. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, it's just different I guess. Plus I think the price on the Estonia was more than 20k.
_________________________
I sit in a cubical all day and sometimes I do work...

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#2109530 - 06/28/13 09:00 AM Re: Need advice in buying a Grand Piano [Re: ProvingToaster]
Carbonblob Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/13
Posts: 260
Loc: Los Angeles, Ca.
I'll repeat what I've heard here as well, most RX2 owners love their pianos. I think it's one of their flagship designs as it's very popular worldwide. I recall some overtone issues in the higher register for some owners. You can search for that here. I played many RX2's and even the GX2 prior to my purchase. The RX2 is a great piano, period. I don't think you could possibly go wrong with this instrument. As for the move, in Los Angeles, you would have been charged by the step!

Since you asked, I would risk the $200 to hold the piano. If you pass, the next one to come your way might be a used one. I prefered the GX2 but now you're out of your price range. Sorry, I won't muddy the waters, the RX2 sounds like the one that spoke to you, so that's that.....blob
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KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1

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