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#250884 - 03/10/07 07:19 PM my piano shopping experience and a new "old" Petrof IV
swampwiz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/07
Posts: 634
Loc: Louisiana, USA
Greetings all. This is my virginal posting on this forum.

First some background information. I used to have a 1989 Charles Walter console, but it did not survive flooding from Hurricane Katrina well \:\( , and as I plan to end my homeless period sometime in 2007, I am in the market for another piano. I am currently away from southeastern Louisiana (in Denver) and haven't checked out the stores there, but from some conversations with dealers, it seems to be a tight market with few pianos on site - except for, ironically, the dealer where I had originally purchased the Charles Walter, but who now seems to bad mouth that brand ("I heard that the console is now going to made in China") since the dealer took over the local marketing rights for Steinway ("The Boston uprights are far superior to that QUIRKY Charles Walter brand") :rolleyes: . So it looks like I am going to be buying this piano non-locally.

While I was satisified with the Charles Walter (easily the best console or studio around, and right up there with the best of any uprights, IMHO), I decided that this would be a good time to upgrade to a grand. I would like to keep the price in the range of $15K. The big problem with grand pianos is that price-wise, the sky can be the limit, and I just don't feel like spending any more than that order of magnitiude over than the Charles Walter console.

I have doing some research and finger shopping, and it seems that I would most happy with a grand of at least around 5-1/2' and rated as level 3 by "The Piano Boook".

The level 3 pianos would be:

Kawai RX
Young Chang Pramberger Platinum

I was not impressed with Yahama nor Boston, and would get a Kawai RX before any of them as the Kawai is not more expensive, yet sounded and felt better. I did like the Pramberger and could see the possibility of getting it instead of the Kawai RX. And while the fancy finish on the Pramberger is fluff, it does look quite nice. With that said, I've always considered Young Chang to be a semi-cheapy brand, so I am a bit cautious about going that route, although some of the deals out there make me think that it may be worth it. If I couldn't find the perfect piano and price, I would be content settling for the Kawai RX.

On a side note, I have talked to dealer who has a Young Chang Platinum (not Pramberger) who says it is the same design as the Pramberger Platinum (and would seem to be a newer than the Pramberger.) Can anyone comment on this?

Of course, I would like to get into the level 2 pianos, but it seems that the only brands that would be anywhere near my price range would be the eastern Europeans:


I have heard a lot of good things from Vogel, and really like the idea that it's managed by Schimmel, which I have a lot of respect for. But I've called around and can't find anyone that actually has a Vogel 177, so I can't make a determination. I have played a Petrof V and was impressed. Of course, at regular prices, even a Petrof V is a bit out of my range. And nowdays, the Estonia is well outside my price range.

In my search, I have found a dealer that has a Petrof IV that is going for $15K, and I plan to check it out (it would be along the way feom Denver to Louisiana.) It is piano that was "sitting in a crate" for a 6-8 months, and then a demo on the floor for another year or so. The dealer doesn't know the model year - and seemed a bit uninterested in getting me this information as he says that "at this price, I don't feel like doing a lot of research".

Update: It seems that the piano was acquired by the dealer in mid 2004.

The piano is being sold as new, but the way I see it, it's buying a car that is last year's model, so it's like a used piano with a full warranty. But that's OK so long as I would be getting a deep enough discount, which it seems that I am. But then again, I recall there being another poster on this forum who had encountered a dealer that had a IV for only $14K I believe (maybe I an wrong) in which case the $14K may not be all that great of a deal.

So I guess my questions are how should I handle a new "old" pinao, and also, are there any known issues with Petrofs of this vintage.

I have also considered some of the new premium pianos coming out of China whose engineering is overseen by the elite European manufacturers (Brodmann, Steigerman Premium, Breitman), but haven't played any yet, and in any case would be a bit reluctant about the quality of manufacture and eventual resale value.

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#250885 - 03/10/07 08:19 PM Re: my piano shopping experience and a new "old" Petrof IV
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 18116
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Hi swampwiz, welcome to the forum! It sounds like you've already done a lot of research and have a good sense of your criteria and budget.

The "buying a car that is last year's model" analogy doesn't really hold well with pianos, because the depreciation that happens with cars sitting on a lot and/or being demo cars doesn't really happen with pianos. A piano is new, period, until it is sold, no matter how many years it's been hanging around the dealership. And many of us would prefer a piano that's been at a dealer for a year than a brand new one out of the box, as it will have settled in during that time and will have greater tuning stability etc. All this is just a long-winded way of saying that you shouldn't be deterred by the fact that the Petrof IV was acquired in 2004.

However, you may want to be deterred by the fact that the dealer doesn't appear to be all that pleasant to deal with, and any salesperson who tells you that he doesn't "feel like doing a lot of research" (how much work is it to punch in a serial number at a website or look up the paperwork on it?), probably also didn't "feel like doing a lot" of piano maintenance and tuning. :rolleyes:

fwiw, I liked the Kawai RX series best of the models you mention. \:\)
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

#250886 - 03/10/07 08:34 PM Re: my piano shopping experience and a new "old" Petrof IV
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 15191
Loc: Surrey, B.C.

There are a lot of other quite interesting options out on the market today,
but I do not wish to become overly repetitive in terms where we ourselves see the perhaps strongest performers in your particular price range today.

Go and play as many pianos as you can find in your own area - what's available some place else and may or may not be superior, is a totally different question.....

Search nationally - buy locally....

Norbert ;\)
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642 www.eliteheritagepianos.ca Edmonton, Alta dealers for Estonia,
Brodmann 780-405-8908

#250887 - 03/10/07 08:45 PM Re: my piano shopping experience and a new "old" Petrof IV
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4683
Loc: San Francisco
When thinking about lower priced pianos, including those with aspirations to be considered premium instruments, the most important aspect is quality control - which you expressed as oversight. (I'd add Heintzman to your list.)

Many of these pianos use identical or very similar components.

The second thing is a pre-purchase inspection by an experienced tech who has no affiliation with the seller. The tech can alert you to potential warranty issues.

These are cautions, only, and cannot replace auditioning pianos until you find one(s) whose tone is pleasing to your ears.

Monica Kern used a journal during her epic, multi-state search. It might be a good idea to make notes about what you like and don't like about each piano you audition - and its serial number.

Doing multiple auditions is a good idea. This may sound strange, but we do react differently on different days.

Room acoustics matter. A piano that sounds mellow/muffled in a fully carpeted showroom will sound clearer and more powerful in a room with hardwood floors.

Take your time, post your impressions, be patient. You'll get what you want.

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