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#299122 - 05/17/07 09:48 PM How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
ELVaughn Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/06/06
Posts: 9
We are seriously looking at a used KG-5, from around 1983. The current owner bought it about a year ago, and put on new Renner "Blues" hammers, new Mapes Gold Series Strings, new damper felts, new key rail bushings, refinished the cabinet, and re-weighted the keys.

It strikes me as odd that youd do all this to a piano of this age (would it really need all this this soon?), but the seller insists he fell in love with the sound of the piano, and felt it was a good enough instrument to justify these refurbishing steps.

I had a chance to talk to the restorer, and he said the piano had been "played hard" and needed the work, but the strings were replaced just because the originals were dirty. He likewise thinks it's a great piano.

The seller cant remember the name of the person he bought it from, but says he used it to teach on.

Seller is asking about $15,000, and says that will be at a loss after the work that was done.

Any cautions or advice?

Thanks!

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#299123 - 05/18/07 03:36 AM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Kawai KG-5 is 6'7" and is considered a semiconcert
grand but it is not Kawai's artist level series piano at that time. Kawai's GS series was a much better piano structurally and was more expensive. I always felt that the KG-5 and KG-6 (7'4") were oddball pianos in that they were semi-concert in size but Kawai's cheaper series grand.
As for the rebuild and the level of the rebuild you need to call me and I will give you a detailed assessment of it's true value with a little more info. Restoration depreciates immediately as soon as you take the piano home from the rebuild shop w the exception of Steinway. Restoring japanese pianos doesn't really make sense except for the restoration co. You can not recoop your 10k-12k restoration cost in a japanese piano plus you can never restore it to the same precision level as it was new. Very little hand work in Japanese pianos all cnc automated etc. Very complicated to discuss Feel free to call me if you like
By the way the piano is overpriced as to it's fair market value
Another issue, how did they refinish a Kawai piano it is polyester and really can't be stripped The case must have been thrashed and they shot over it with lacquer. Polyester pianos can be buffed out to look like new if there were nt chunks out of the case hmmmmm?
_________________________
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100+Steinway and M&H grands
Warehouse showroom Onsite Restoration
Preowned & Restored
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#299124 - 05/18/07 03:37 AM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Kawai KG-5 is 6'7" and is considered a semiconcert
grand but it is not Kawai's artist level series piano at that time. Kawai's GS series was a much better piano structurally and was more expensive. I always felt that the KG-5 and KG-6 (7'4") were oddball pianos in that they were semi-concert in size but Kawai's cheaper series grand.
As for the rebuild and the level of the rebuild you need to call me and I will give you a detailed assessment of it's true value with a little more info. Restoration depreciates immediately as soon as you take the piano home from the rebuild shop w the exception of Steinway. Restoring japanese pianos doesn't really make sense except for the restoration co. You can not recoop your 10k-12k restoration cost in a japanese piano plus you can never restore it to the same precision level as it was new. Very little hand work in Japanese pianos all cnc automated etc. Very complicated to discuss Feel free to call me if you like
By the way the piano is overpriced as to it's fair market value
Another issue, how did they refinish a Kawai piano it is polyester and really can't be stripped The case must have been thrashed and they shot over it with lacquer. Polyester pianos can be buffed out to look like new if there were nt chunks out of the case hmmmmm?
_________________________
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Largest selection in the USA
100+Steinway and M&H grands
Warehouse showroom Onsite Restoration
Preowned & Restored
Hailun dlr.818-255-3145
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voo0zumHGgE

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#299125 - 05/18/07 04:17 PM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
Christopher P. Smith Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 1306
Loc: Timonium, MD
I would first ask the seller why they are selling it.
_________________________
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Menchey Music Service
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#299126 - 05/18/07 04:47 PM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
Jeff Bauer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/03
Posts: 1718
Loc: Los Angeles
If possible, have an independant tech look over the piano to verify the work that has been done.

Sounds like the work that was done (with exception to refinishing) was done to make the piano a better playing & sounding instrument. This is good.

I would also suggest what Christopher mentioned - be blunt and concise when you ask the question, so you get the most candid answer possible.
_________________________
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Yamaha | Schimmel | Bösendorfer | Knabe | Seiler | Restored Steinway

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#299127 - 05/18/07 05:13 PM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19099
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobroker:
Restoration depreciates immediately as soon as you take the piano home from the rebuild shop w the exception of Steinway. [/b]
Even Steinways(new or rebuilt) depreciate as soon as you take the piano home, but probably at a slower rate than most other pianos. There have been countless statments on this board that say this.

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#299128 - 05/18/07 05:39 PM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
master88er Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/07
Posts: 789
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
I believe the posting from Pianobroker is not correct given the vintage (1983) that you identified on the KG-5. Kawai did not introduce the GS series until later in the 80's. At the time your piano was built, Kawai made only ONE quality of piano, and I (and other dealers) thought it was a mistake for Kawai to establish two different lines of pianos. The KG-5 was known as a well balanced and sonorous instrument. It had a great action (Renner-Type whippen, high tension scale design and cast plate (not V-Pro) which gave it, in my opinion, a warmth that distinguished it from other Japanese pianos of the era. If the piano was Satin Ebony it was not polyester coated and there should be no problem stripping the finish, as others have suggested. Naturally, the quality of the rebuilding will affect all of the above and I too would suggest you PAY a reputable technician to look over the instrument.
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#299129 - 05/18/07 09:32 PM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
masaki Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/02
Posts: 374
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
In my community, no one consider KG-series pianos are for concerts no matter what word(e.g., semi, quasi or would-be) is prepended. They are practice pianos that sounds more sonorous, as master88er says, than ones produced by the other japanese piano manufacturer. Consert pianos produced by Kawai in that era are RX-As.

One thing that bothers me is that ELVaughn had been told 'the the strings were replaced just because the originals were dirty'. This makes me the piano had been heavily used by studnes music major in humid country(like Japan), or in restaurants. If you do not mind these possibilityes, have the tech check if the tuning pins are holding appropriately or have been fully replaced and that nuckles are ok or have been replaced.

---
an amateur

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#299130 - 05/18/07 11:06 PM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
You purchase a steinway M brand new in 1940 for $4000 dollars. You recently restore it to it's original new condition for $12,000, The piano could be valued between 25K-35K in it's present remanufactured state. Did the $ spent on restoration depreciate as to the present value of the piano. Steinway is the exception to the rules for depreciation over the long haul. Even if you sold the piano in "as is" condition
needing complete restoration it is still worth 10k easy. Of course 4k is not worth the same monetary worth as it was in 1940 but tell me a piano manufacture that appreciates in value at all with age. Even the the high profile German pianos in need of full restoration are worth peanuts. Very difficult to remanufacture.

Kawai pianos in the early 80's were satin polyester not lacquer if they were factory satin. We in the industry refer to it as a "spray finish" or "gun finish in which they are shot flat or semigloss( low sheen or no reflection) They are not hand rubbed No need to satinize it because it is already satin.
Hand rub finish refers to a wet sanded high gloss finish usually lacquer then steel wooled w/ the stridation marks. If you see a recent new hand rubbed Asian piano (rare done in the US) it is still polyester and very difficult to "cut" look consistent. It is usually a high gloss finish originally which the dealer satinized it because it was too scratched. Hand rubbed finish is an American thing /Steinways, Baldwin, Mason & Hamlin to name a few. Asian and European satin pianos are polyester based and therefore can not be stripped w/lacquer thinner or remover. You have to heat it up and chip it off
We have a high end refinishing facility I know for a fact

Kawai KG series was in production simultaneous w/ the GS series I have a 1983 Kawai GS30 (6'1")predessesor of the GS40. How is that possible if they were not manufactured yet.
Kawai KG series evolved from the Kawai mdl.500,550,600 etc in the late seventies.True the GS pianos did not exist in the late 70's but existed in 1983 which is the piano issue in question. It is similar to Yamahas G series and C series which were always in production simultaneous even from the early 70's
_________________________
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Largest selection in the USA
100+Steinway and M&H grands
Warehouse showroom Onsite Restoration
Preowned & Restored
Hailun dlr.818-255-3145
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#299131 - 05/19/07 09:42 AM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
ELVaughn Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/06/06
Posts: 9
Thanks everyone, this is good information. As to why selling, he told me after he bought this that he decided he wanted a bigger piano, and has since bought another larger one.

I quizzed the restorer who did the work, and he recanted a bit on the earlier "played hard" comment. He said it had been used certainly, but not to a level where most people would do a restoration. He felt the customer was just more discerning than most and wanted it in top shape for his own use. He also said that at $15,000 he felt sure the seller is taking a loss.

Seller tells me he bought it a year ago from a guy who was the original owner, and a local piano teacher, but doesn't recall his name and he has since moved away. Seller indicates it is US model but has no documentation that confirms that. (So how does one make that claim, absent documentation?)

I'm tempted to take the seller at face value, because he seems a trustworthy sort, and he comes across more as a piano fanatic than as a con man.

On the other hand, here I am in discussion with a guy on a piano, and because of that I have his home address, phone number, and a ream of emails getting thicker all the time, so it baffles me how a person would buy the same piano only a year prior and not even know the guys name.

I checked with Kawai, and they indicate they dont track serial numbers to be able to name the buyer and the location before about 1990. They say not to worry about grey, versus US, provided it has been on US soil for at least two years, since any humidity related problems will show by then, and have an independent tech check it.

Im going to look at the piano today. Seems at best, the folklore surrounding this is true, and at worst, it was shipped from Japan sometime mid 2006 to fix and resell. If it's the latter, and I have a tech bless it, and the player in the family likes it, how wrong could it be if bought for a commensurate price?

Thanks all!

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#299132 - 05/19/07 10:26 AM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19099
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobroker:
You purchase a steinway M brand new in 1940 for $4000 dollars. You recently restore it to it's original new condition for $12,000, The piano could be valued between 25K-35K in it's present remanufactured state. Did the $ spent on restoration depreciate as to the present value of the piano. Steinway is the exception to the rules for depreciation over the long haul. Even if you sold the piano in "as is" condition
needing complete restoration it is still worth 10k easy. Of course 4k is not worth the same monetary worth as it was in 1940 but tell me a piano manufacture that appreciates in value at all with age. Even the the high profile German pianos in need of full restoration are worth peanuts. Very difficult to remanufacture.

[/b]
I wouldn't agree with some of your statements here. First of all, at least according to many dealer posts on the forum, to do a high quality complete rebuild of a Steinway would cost considerably more than $12,000 for the person wanting their piano rebuilt. The usual figure I've seen quoted many times here is closer to 2OK. And if it is not completely rebuilt it will not be worth 25-35K.

Also to the best of my knowledge Steinway M's in need of complete rebuilding don't usually sell for 10K, unless perhaps they are some very fancy case models.

I was talking about a different scenario also. If I purchase a rebuilt Steinway from some rebuilder for x dollars, are you claiming that in a few years I would be able to sell it for more than x dollars?

I thought it was a more or less established fact on this forum that no piano appreciates in price.

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#299133 - 05/19/07 03:30 PM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Of course a dealer would quote you 20K + to do the restoration. They don't do the restoration, they subcontract it out to a restoration firm like us. You think a dealer is not gonna mark it up considerably to you the customer.
The smart thing to do would be to deal directly with the restoration company, don't you think

I remanufacture 50-60 Steinway grands a year and personally own 85 Steinway grands. We are the biggest Steinway restoration factory operation on the west coast. I know Steinway in the marketplace . If you had an all original steinway M where the soundboard has not been tortured I would buy it for 10K any day of the week

Now if you held on to the restored Steinway in your scenario for lets say 20 years, of course the restoration would not be a fresh rebuild but the piano, the core piano would at minimum would double in value
Value is based on the replacement value plus other factors. If that Steinway grand sells for 80K new 20 years from now how much do you think the unrestored Steinway would wholesale for
_________________________
www.pastperfectpiano.com
Largest selection in the USA
100+Steinway and M&H grands
Warehouse showroom Onsite Restoration
Preowned & Restored
Hailun dlr.818-255-3145
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voo0zumHGgE

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#299134 - 05/19/07 04:22 PM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Grey market Yamaha and Kawai grands are available wholesale in their unrestored,worn out,ruff condition to dealers (institution pianos in Japan) It doesn't matter if it is a Grey Market piano because you are gutting it and it restoring the piano anyway. If you intend to repin and restring the piano ,who cares if the existing pins are loose and the strings are rusted, Hammers and action parts especially in humid climates harden like wood and the action gets noisey and klunky. Changing just the hammers does not remedy the noise in the wippens and the flat knuckles on the shanks. It just makes it sound better If the felt is hardened all the action parts need to be changed

I hope you can acquire this piano for way less than 10K If not forget it
_________________________
www.pastperfectpiano.com
Largest selection in the USA
100+Steinway and M&H grands
Warehouse showroom Onsite Restoration
Preowned & Restored
Hailun dlr.818-255-3145
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z8RvhXGKzY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voo0zumHGgE

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#299135 - 05/19/07 04:49 PM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19099
Loc: New York City
Pianobroker:

It seems as if you have been discussing Steinways that do not require complete rebuilding but if you read my posts I have been talking about complete rebuilding. And the prices for complete rebuilding I have mentioned are ones by dealers who do their own rebuilding.

If you claim that Steinways go up in value does that mean that if I buy a new Steinway or a Steinway rebuilt or partially rebuilt by you or anyone else for x dollars, you will buy it from me for more than x dollars? If the answer is yes then the piano has gone up in value; if no, it hasn't.

And if a piano is not completely rebuilt wouldn't any reasonably knowledgable consumer know that they shouldn't pay as much for it as a completely rebuilt piano?

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#299136 - 05/19/07 05:45 PM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Where did I mention "Steinways that do not require
complete rebuilding".I'm talking about complete restoration /remanufacture with exception to a new soundboard,bridges and ribs which can be done for additional $.
Please reiterate to me what you constitute as a complete rebuild since you seem like you're quite knowledgeable in this area of expertise. The more detailed the better
Did you understand my analysis of your scenario?

Any reasonable knowledgeable consumer would know that they shouldn't pay as much for a piano not completely rebuilt as for one that was completely rebuilt duh!
_________________________
www.pastperfectpiano.com
Largest selection in the USA
100+Steinway and M&H grands
Warehouse showroom Onsite Restoration
Preowned & Restored
Hailun dlr.818-255-3145
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z8RvhXGKzY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voo0zumHGgE

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#299137 - 05/20/07 09:33 AM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
ELVaughn Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/06/06
Posts: 9
Thanks. We are stacking it against a KG-2S, which is priced at $8500. The smaller piano has been in a single-owner home for 15 years.

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#299138 - 05/20/07 09:47 AM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Now ,you're talking much better value, The piano is much newer and should be all original and hopefully low millage. $8500 is considerably less than $15,000 I'd rather have the KG2S than the KG5 even if they were the same $
Good luck
_________________________
www.pastperfectpiano.com
Largest selection in the USA
100+Steinway and M&H grands
Warehouse showroom Onsite Restoration
Preowned & Restored
Hailun dlr.818-255-3145
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z8RvhXGKzY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voo0zumHGgE

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#299139 - 05/20/07 10:21 AM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
ELVaughn Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/06/06
Posts: 9
Thanks again for all the good info. I cant find any info on the "S" suffix variant. Is it any more than just a later model (ie not a higher end, or budget variant, of the KG2?)

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#299140 - 05/20/07 11:40 AM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Just a newer mdl. thats it
_________________________
www.pastperfectpiano.com
Largest selection in the USA
100+Steinway and M&H grands
Warehouse showroom Onsite Restoration
Preowned & Restored
Hailun dlr.818-255-3145
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z8RvhXGKzY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voo0zumHGgE

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#299141 - 05/21/07 01:43 AM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
gabytu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 1521
Loc: Portland, Or.
As the proud owner of a Kawai GS 60 (almost 7 feet), I am delighted to learn that Pianobroker rates it highly, and that it is considered Artist Level. It is indeed a wonderful piano--well built, structurally sound. Has a marvelous tone, keeps in tune, and everyone who plays it comments on the great action. Very responsive. Mine is 20 years old. I have it tuned twice a year, and it has been regulated once. My technician says it is a really fine piano, and in perfect condition. Gaby Tu

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#299142 - 05/21/07 04:34 PM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19099
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobroker:
I'm talking about complete restoration /remanufacture with exception to a new soundboard,bridges and ribs which can be done for additional $.
[/b]
The whole point is that if you don't replace the soundboard and do some work on the bridges you should never use the terms "complete remanufacture".

Also, I've asked(but you've never answered my question)about your claim that Steinways, unlike all other makes, go up in value. I specifically asked you at least twice in this thread if I by a new or rebuilt(by you or anyone else)Steinway for x dollars today if you would give me more money for it in the future?

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#299143 - 05/21/07 07:30 PM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
CozyWriter Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 789
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
 Quote:
Originally posted by gabytu:
As the proud owner of a Kawai GS 60 (almost 7 feet), I am delighted to learn that Pianobroker rates it highly, and that it is considered Artist Level. It is indeed a wonderful piano--well built, structurally sound. Has a marvelous tone, keeps in tune, and everyone who plays it comments on the great action. Very responsive. Mine is 20 years old. I have it tuned twice a year, and it has been regulated once. My technician says it is a really fine piano, and in perfect condition. Gaby Tu [/b]
ummm.....

How would you feel about your piano if pianobroker did NOT rate it highly? \:\)
_________________________
Inspiration is the act of pulling a chair up to the writing desk.
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#299144 - 05/21/07 09:25 PM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
gabytu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 1521
Loc: Portland, Or.
The same way I have always felt about it. That it is a superb piano. I fell in love with the sound when I first heard it, and was not in the least concerned about ratings. All I knew was that it was the piano for me.

Not only did I love the sound, but I loved its responsive action when I tried it out at the piano store. Even though it was more expensive than the other pianos I was looking at, I decided to make the purchase, and have never regreted it.

It is nice to know that a professional rates it highly. Gaby tu

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#299145 - 05/21/07 10:04 PM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
ELVaughn Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/06/06
Posts: 9
Thanks to all for the valuable input. We ended up going with the KG-2S. 1) Daughter, the primary player, liked it 2) a bit of a better fit for the budget and space 3) the history and provenance was a bit clearer as it was being sold by the original owner, who had really taken quite good care of it.

Thanks all.

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#299146 - 05/21/07 11:41 PM Re: How soon does a Kawai need rebuilding?
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Congratulations on a nice piano and great price to boot

Pianoloverus
The term "appreciation in value" to me means an increase or rise in the value of property or goods OVER TIME.
Most people relate the term to signify "long term" or "for the long haul". Evedentually your interpretation of the term signifies something different. I agree if you buy a Steinway at fair market today you probably can't double your $ tomorrow.
When the retail price of new Steinways go up the wholesale price increases. Steinway retail prices increase once if not twice anually.
Let's simplfy the scenario for you. You buy a used all original Steinway M today for 9k. In 20 years a new Steinway M sells for 80K ( presently sells for 50K depending on finish etc.)
How much do you think that steinway M then is worth on the open market. Also you're probably not aware that a restored Steinway in New York presently sells for 5% less than a new one.

Are you one to set the precedent in the trade/ piano industry as to what rebuild, restore, refurbish ,remanufacture,recondition denotes in the industry. I admit that is a problem in the restoration industry.
Please reiterate to me what exactly YOU denote as a complete restoration /remanufacture.
Try to be more detailed than for ex."do some work on the bridges" I'd like to know since you represent to be an expert in this field.
_________________________
www.pastperfectpiano.com
Largest selection in the USA
100+Steinway and M&H grands
Warehouse showroom Onsite Restoration
Preowned & Restored
Hailun dlr.818-255-3145
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z8RvhXGKzY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voo0zumHGgE

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