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#336800 - 01/17/04 11:09 PM Kawai vs. Story & Clark
lori2 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/17/04
Posts: 5
Loc: Orange County
Hello Everyone,

I'm in the beginning stages of research - looking for a baby grand (with electronic self-player). Please forgive my ignorance....

Does anyone know anything about Story & Clark? I have never heard of them. The baby grand that I saw was a 'Prelude'.

How do these compare to Kawai baby grands?

We are looking for a piano to enjoy the electronic player AND for beginning children.

Thank you!! I am glad to have found this board.


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#336801 - 01/17/04 11:28 PM Re: Kawai vs. Story & Clark
PIANOS007 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/04
Posts: 413
Lori, Story and Clark are made in Dongbei China and The pianomation systems are installed in their facility in Pa. They are an entry level piano. Not bad for the money but you can do better. Kawai is a different animal. Kawai makes several different levels of pianos starting with the GM series GE series and RX series. How to tell the difference? The price of course. There is no free ride with pianos. Entry level pianos are a small price and Top of the line pianos tend to cost a lot more money. So which Kawai are you looking at?

#336802 - 01/18/04 04:37 PM Re: Kawai vs. Story & Clark
Jim Volk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/03
Posts: 916
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
Also worthy of note...Dongbei is one of China's more reputable piano builders. In addition to the Story & Clark, they also make pianos under the names Suzuki, Nordiska, Hallet Davis & Co., Ridgewood, Everett, and several others.

We sell both Story & Clark and Hallet Davis, and aside from an occasional minor imperfection in the case poly or plate finish, we've had very positive results. Story & Clark fully preps the Prelude (tuning, regulating, etc.) in their factory, and you can save quite a bit of money by buying their factory installed QRS system rather than getting a tech to install their aftermarket kit.

They do a nice job of voicing, and you can tell the difference if you compare the similar Dongbei model Hallet Davis alongside the Prelude, right after unpacking. A little history...Melville Clark, who joined pianomaker Hampton Story in 1884, founded the QRS company as well (in 1901). Story and Clark made pianos continuously for almost a century until the mid 1980's, and resumed again in 1993 when QRS purchased back the Story & Clark name.

If you are comparing a 5' S&C Prelude to the 5' Kawai GM series, you may discover that you like the sound of the S&C more. It has a different scale design and over a hundred square inches more of soundboard area than the GM. As 007 indicates, Kawai's GM is their entry level piano, and not the same level of quality as their RX's.

Quality-wise, Story & Clark's Dongbei pianos do not have the track record that Kawai has, because Dongbei is a much more recent entry on the world piano market. But from my experience of almost five years, and based on the testimony of others even longer in the industry, I can safely say that the Prelude is a decent value (you should pay under $9K for the piano alone...always be prepared to negotiate!).

Another option is to find a used Kawai KG series (something close to 6' or larger if you have room for it), and retro-fit a QRS or PianoDisc player system on it. You may end up paying the same amount as if you had bought the system on a smaller, brand new piano, but you will be getting an appreciably better sounding and playing instrument. And remember, a 10 or 15 year old piano is still fairly "new", comparable to a 2 - 4 year old car.

Jim Volk

#336803 - 01/19/04 11:26 AM Re: Kawai vs. Story & Clark
lori2 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/17/04
Posts: 5
Loc: Orange County
Thank you so much for your posts!

Specifically, the 2 pianos I am asking about are:

1) a USED Kawaii GM-2 with a PDS-128+ player system installed by the dealer. Asking price $9,900.

2) a NEW Story & Clark, Prelude, with an QRS player installed by the dealer. Asking price $10,000 complete (including tax and delivery).

Thank you for your insight!


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#336804 - 01/19/04 11:33 AM Re: Kawai vs. Story & Clark
lori2 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/17/04
Posts: 5
Loc: Orange County
I should clarify that we would like to buy a piano to enjoy 'the player'. In addition, I plan to play for my own enjoyment and my children are beginners. We don't have an experienced 'ear' so while I would like a nice sounding piano at a good price, I am not worried about getting a top of the line one.

Thank you again!!

#336805 - 01/20/04 01:33 AM Re: Kawai vs. Story & Clark
Jim Volk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/03
Posts: 916
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
Tough call to make without seeing and hearing.

Your advantage is, both pianos have players, so you can listen to each one (turn down the volume on the speaker so you can focus on the piano only), and see which one sounds better to you.

I think Kawai's warranty is transferable, so it may be worth finding out whether it's still in force on the GM.

I'd probably tend to lean a bit more towards the new S&C. The player system alone retails for close to $5K, so you're saving quite a bit by having it factory installed. But I'd still let my ears help make the decision. Also, see which piano can play the softest using its player system, without starting to miss notes (i.e., the key goes down, but note fails to sound).

Make sure the PianoDisc system will be compatible with a CD player, so you can get live orchestral accompaniment like the S&C QRS system provides. Floppy disk operation alone will only allow you to have digital (electronic) accompaniment, which can get old after a while.

Jim Volk


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