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#2143452 - 09/03/13 01:43 PM Yamaha GH1B vs. G1
A.Hsu Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/02/13
Posts: 3
Hello, I am looking into purchasing a baby grand piano for my daughter and myself (we are both just beginning to learn), and only have a $5000 budget... and my options locally are

1) 1988 GH1B for $4200, very lightly used over the years, has a humidifier/dehumidifier installed already, some superficial scuffs on the case but kept very clean in living room on 1st level of home, tuned regularly

2) 1984 G1 for $4800, heavily used (was previously owned by school, current owner is a music major), has been in a walkout basement level of a home for 10+ years, and the owner told me they just had a technician file down the hammers b/c the keys were getting stuck, it was very dusty and didn't really look like it was taken care of very well

So my questions for the experts are the following:

1) Is the difference in tone quality between a G1 and GH1B really going to be noticeable to our novice ears?

2) Are the issues with maintaining the tune of a GH1B really that bad? (even if only lightly used at home?) and does the dehumidifier/humidifier help with keeping it in tune?

3) How concerned would you be with the condition of the G1, with respect to maybe needing to replace the hammers in the near future, or if the sound board maybe damaged already because of the dampness of a basement?

4) Which piano would you recommend given the two choices?

I would greatly appreciate everyones thoughts and expertise, thanks so much!

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#2143468 - 09/03/13 02:14 PM Re: Yamaha GH1B vs. G1 [Re: A.Hsu]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2772
Loc: Atlanta, GA
The G1 as you have described it to us doesn't sound very interesting unless you plan to put some additional money into refurbishing. The design issues of the GH1B are often misunderstood. Because of the scaling, you cannot get a "clean" tuning. In other regards, it is mechanically solid and musically basic. How do you like the sound?
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#2143483 - 09/03/13 02:40 PM Re: Yamaha GH1B vs. G1 [Re: A.Hsu]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14271
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
A.Hsu:

None of the concerns you mentioned would either make a case "for" or "against" a choice of this piano.
While a grand may have a superior action to most uprights, its "sound" certainly does not.

If wishing to own a piano lasting much longer and giving joy for your kids to practice, you would need to look at some other model grands at higher cost, at least about twice.

About three times if wishing to stick with same brand.

best wishes,

Norbert
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#2143544 - 09/03/13 05:13 PM Re: Yamaha GH1B vs. G1 [Re: PianoWorksATL]
A.Hsu Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/02/13
Posts: 3
Hi, I do not plan on putting more money into it...
Re: the GH1B, what do you mean by a "clean" tuning? (sorry, I am not familiar with any of this)
And, yes, my husband and I liked the way both of them sounded... I couldn't tell the difference.

Thanks so much.

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#2143551 - 09/03/13 05:36 PM Re: Yamaha GH1B vs. G1 [Re: A.Hsu]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10529
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
I would pass on both pianos and keep shopping.

The G1 sounds significantly worn and the GH!, quite frankly, was not a well design nor a particularly well built instrument. It was an early (failed) attempt to market an entry-level grand.
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Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

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

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#2143563 - 09/03/13 06:06 PM Re: Yamaha GH1B vs. G1 [Re: A.Hsu]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2772
Loc: Atlanta, GA
The value of the GH1B is supported completely because the brand name Yamaha. They made it a long time, but among techs, it is the black sheep of the Yamaha family. By "clean", I mean a that a tuner must make some compromises in the tuning. Piano tuning isn't just about pitch but about the relationship of other notes. The GH1B cannot be resolved because the design creates inharmonicities in the tuning, one way or another. Other aspects of the build quality are as Steve said, entry-level. The GH1B corrected some of the issues from the GH1, which was just plain poor.

Being pragmatic about the grand pianos that exist in that budget range, it's certainly acceptable. To do better, you would need to expand your search to lesser known brands that can offer you better value. This requires study. If you don't want to do homework, hire a tech to inspect the GH1B and be done. There are better values in the market, but under $5k all grands require compromises.

You are in the right place if you wish to learn!
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, 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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#2143648 - 09/03/13 08:15 PM Re: Yamaha GH1B vs. G1 [Re: A.Hsu]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3712
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
If you only have $5000, why not consider a quality upright? In that price range you'd probably get something that's newer and sounds better than a low-level baby grand. Unless this is partly a furniture based decision.

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#2143693 - 09/03/13 10:13 PM Re: Yamaha GH1B vs. G1 [Re: A.Hsu]
JazzPianoOnline Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/07
Posts: 101
Loc: raleigh, nc
The gh1 would be a fine piano for you and your daughter to start on. True it may not withstand hard professional use but for a beginner it will be more than adequate and you will greatly appreciate the action compared to an upright.
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bill@jazzpianoonline.com
www.JazzPianoOnline.com

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#2143782 - 09/04/13 12:07 AM Re: Yamaha GH1B vs. G1 [Re: JazzPianoOnline]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3712
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: JazzPianoOnline
The gh1 would be a fine piano for you and your daughter to start on. True it may not withstand hard professional use but for a beginner it will be more than adequate and you will greatly appreciate the action compared to an upright.


Yeah, but a 30 year old GH1?

Soundwise, I think I'd prefer to play my U3 to be honest.

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#2144491 - 09/05/13 08:08 AM Re: Yamaha GH1B vs. G1 [Re: A.Hsu]
A.Hsu Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/02/13
Posts: 3
Hi, thanks for all of the comments and insight!

A quick update, I actually found another yamaha G1, from 1989 for $5000, owner is the 1st owner and essentially bought it as "piano furniture" in the living room, and it has not been played in a while (which I am assuming also that it has not been tuned in years...) I am going to see it this weekend. So my question for this G1 is does the lack of tuning over the years harm the piano? (am I going to need to get things fixed?)

Thanks so much!

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#2144503 - 09/05/13 08:57 AM Re: Yamaha GH1B vs. G1 [Re: A.Hsu]
terminaldegree Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2821
Loc: western Wisconsin
The lack of maintenance over several years will probably mean the piano will need additional service initially (tuning and regulation in particular) compared with a regularly maintained piano. If the piano checks out ok otherwise, figure this into your budget. I had one of these pianos in high school and it served me well in enthusiastic, teenage use (though the bass/tenor break wasn't the greatest, nor was the bass particularly musical).
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