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:
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.