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#699782 - 10/18/08 09:57 AM kawai es6
zyggystardust Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/06/06
Posts: 9
I've had a Kawai ES4 for a year now and very pleased with it.Now I see theres an improved version called the ES6 and would like to know if any ES4 users have tried it out and felt it actually is a better piano or not worth upgrading.I'm especialy interested in opinions on the newer action,the bigger speakers and the rhythm accompaniment...

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#699783 - 10/18/08 02:02 PM Re: kawai es6
frivolus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/03/07
Posts: 32
Loc: ne ohio
In the same situation as you with an es4, and wanting to know the same thing.

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#699784 - 11/03/08 04:12 AM Re: kawai es6
jim tulloch Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 7
Loc: Queensland Australia
Have owned a Kawai ES 6 for about 1 month.
My Review=
On board speakers produce poor sound quality
Amplification is weak
The few buttons are muli-funtion...lots of combinations which can become somewhat involved.
Weighted keys are sure weighted,you wish you had jack hammers for fingers after playing for 10 minutes or so using 8-10 fingers simultainously.
Cannot compare with the Technics P50 Stage piano of the past...that's all the negatives that I have experienced

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#699785 - 11/03/08 12:38 PM Re: kawai es6
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3021
Loc: Oregon
Jim, thanks for the insight. Can you comment on some of the positives, too?
Also, why did you decide to go with the ES 6?
Can you compare/contrast to the MP5, if you tried it?
Thanks!
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

https://soundcloud.com/richards-recordings/sets/strange-charm-waiting-for-the/s-ppGuy

"can hardly wait to hear what voxpox has to say..."
[HisKidd, May 2014]

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#699786 - 11/03/08 03:41 PM Re: kawai es6
frivolus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/03/07
Posts: 32
Loc: ne ohio
How much better, if at all, is it than the es4?

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#699787 - 11/03/08 05:35 PM Re: kawai es6
zyggystardust Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/06/06
Posts: 9
Sounds you're not impressed by the ES 6 Jim!Maybe not worth upgrading from my ES 4 although if I find one at a local dealer I'll still investigate...

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#699788 - 11/03/08 05:42 PM Re: kawai es6
jim tulloch Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 7
Loc: Queensland Australia
Reason for purchase: Was looking for the best acoustic piano sound in an 88 note Stage piano with inbuilt speakers,although certainly not brilliant, it was better then the Yamaha P140,Korg P250,& Roland FP4 which all had a very electronic sound by comparison.I do not use the likes of the rhythm function or other sounds as I have a Technics Kn7000 keyboard that caters for that style of playing. Have to admit that I was tempted by Yamaha's attempt of two instruments in one in the DGX series extended keyboard,but no onboard speakers.Just a very small point,Kawai has the two earphone sockets at the front which is a lot easier to access from your playing position.

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#699789 - 11/14/08 04:42 AM Re: kawai es6
Xavi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 4
Loc: Spain
Hi Jim,
As I said in other post I'm looking after several years without playing anything for a new digital piano and the Kawai CL35 is my best option but in Spain it's very dificult to find it and the CL35 has the same features as the ES6 so, I would know if the keys are too hard for playing or are good.
Thank you very much

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#699790 - 11/17/08 02:20 AM Re: kawai es6
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8871
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Hello chaps!

My apologies for not responding sooner - I had to return to the UK to attend a family wedding...

Xavi, as you are aware, the CL35 is a rather new instrument, and may not yet be available in Spain.
It shares the same keyboard and 88-key sampling technology of the ES6, but lacks the rhythm section feature, has less internal sounds, and a lower polyphony specification. However, it does include built-in lessons, and offers a stand and three pedals out of the box.

For more information, please refer to the respective brochures online at:

ES6 brochure: http://www.kawai.de/service/es6_catalog.pdf
CL Series brochure: http://www.kawai.de/service/cl2008_catalog.pdf

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#699791 - 11/23/08 10:05 AM Re: kawai es6
GTBannah Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 25
Loc: GuyBarTola
 Quote:
Originally posted by KAWAI James:
Hello chaps!

My apologies for not responding sooner - I had to return to the UK to attend a family wedding...

Xavi, as you are aware, the CL35 is a rather new instrument, and may not yet be available in Spain.
It shares the same keyboard and 88-key sampling technology of the ES6, but lacks the rhythm section feature, has less internal sounds, and a lower polyphony specification. However, it does include built-in lessons, and offers a stand and three pedals out of the box.

For more information, please refer to the respective brochures online at:

ES6 brochure: http://www.kawai.de/service/es6_catalog.pdf
CL Series brochure: http://www.kawai.de/service/cl2008_catalog.pdf

Kind regards,
James
x [/b]
Thanx for the response! We bachelors are a dying race, poor guy .... ;\)

Now let me put you on the spot here .... \:D

Which action is heavier, the ES4's or the ES6's?
_________________________
Derrkins

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#699792 - 11/23/08 09:43 PM Re: kawai es6
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8871
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
 Quote:
We bachelors are a dying race, poor guy ....
On the contrary, my sister is an incredible woman. ;\)

The physical weight of the ES4 and ES6 action is almost identical. However, the perceived touch weight (i.e. the weight of the keys) is 'heavier' on the ES6, although the extent of the heaviness differs depending on the area of the keyboard that is being played.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#699793 - 12/03/08 07:58 PM Re: kawai es6
GTBannah Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 25
Loc: GuyBarTola
I only saw this today. Thanx for the response.
_________________________
Derrkins

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#699794 - 12/16/08 12:14 AM Re: kawai es6
jscomposer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 537
Loc: The Boogie Down
Hey Kawai James,

Have you made the ES6 available to online retailers yet? Can't find it anywhere. And have you made it available to Sam Ash or Guitar Center?

PS - I sincerely hope the EP3 is not meant to replace the ES6. They look almost identical, except the EP3 has less voices, half the polyphony, and *gasp* no 3-pedal option!
_________________________
Joshua Seth plays Joshua Seth

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#699795 - 12/16/08 12:34 AM Re: kawai es6
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8871
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
jscomposer, the ES6 is a replacement for the ES4 - this line of instruments is sold through KAWAI dealerships only.

The EP3 is a replacement for the EP2 - this line of instruments is typically sold through pro-music stores such as Sam Ash, etc. as well as KAWAI dealerships who wish to stock the instruments.

As you note, the ES6 and EP3 are very similar in appearance, however (as with the ES4 and EP2), the ES6 has superior specifications.

I hope this information helps to clarify things a little.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#699796 - 12/30/08 03:19 PM Re: kawai es6
AlfieAlfredo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/29/08
Posts: 2
Loc: Ottawa, Canada
Hello,

I am new to the forum and I thought I would just post some of my impressions on some of the pianos that seem to be considered as alternatives for stage pianos.

I play jazz piano, either solo, or with duo, trio, or larger groups, and am actively gigging.

I have owned a Yamaha P80 for many years, and have gigged with it at least once a week for the past 16 months or so. It has stood up pretty well to abuse, but every so often I would need to have repairs made, or repair stuck keys myself. I finally decided to search for a replacement. Here is what I found in a nutshell:

Yamaha CP33 For my taste the action was too heavy, and the brilliance control too limited.

Roland FP-4. Great light weight piano for gigging, loud onboard speakers, lots of sounds, rhythms, and sound effects to play with. But in the end the action was too "spongy" for me. I could not do the trills and fast runs I am used to. Plus, I felt that the piano sound would change from brilliant to dull while I played (this was only really evident when wearing headphones, but I play a lot with headphones and could not bear that shifting sound). Maybe it was just that unit.

Kawai ES4. Great piano. But I decided to wait for the Kawai ES6.

Kaiwai ES6 - I think I bought one of the first ones to enter Canada. I hounded the dealer and he ordered two, and I bought one.

Terrific piano sound. The onboard speakers are well calibrated to reproduce the piano sound very well. Especially amazing is the upper range of the keyboard. Very much like a real grand piano. While not a loud as the Roland FP-4 I have played two gigs in restaurants (one with a duo and one a trio) and the onboard speakers were loud enough. But of course I play background jazz, so if you need foreground music, or rock etc. or have a large space to fill you will need external speakers.

Great feel. Some have complained it is too hard. I didn't find that to be the case. It is heavier than the ES4, but not terribly much more. Very expressive.

It is a bit heavy to carry around (45 pounds), but I think it is worth it.

The other sounds are good too, and the piano has some good rhythms, and other features.

The sound can be tailored quite a bit with brilliance, EQ, voicing, etc.

I did notice that some of the pre-programmed chord patterns are not entirely accurate, for example indicating major chords when the sound coming from the accompaniment is minor. But these are minor things, and with time you get to know the foibles of the piano.

But overall I am very happy with this purchase.

AlfieAlfredo

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#699797 - 01/04/09 07:06 AM Re: kawai es6
kaanengin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/19/08
Posts: 33
 Quote:
Originally posted by AlfieAlfredo:
Hello,
Roland FP-4. Great light weight piano for gigging, loud onboard speakers, lots of sounds, rhythms, and sound effects to play with. But in the end the action was too "spongy" for me. I could not do the trills and fast runs I am used to. Plus, I felt that the piano sound would change from brilliant to dull while I played (this was only really evident when wearing headphones, but I play a lot with headphones and could not bear that shifting sound). Maybe it was just that unit.

Kawai ES4. Great piano. But I decided to wait for the Kawai ES6.
[/b]
Yesterday I took a visit to the local keyboard store and played ES4 and FP4 side to side, and my impressions are totally different than yours.

While I was waiting the sales rep to hook up the FP4, I noticed that the keyboard next to FP4 was on. I played 5 minutes thru internal speakers, the sound was OK at best, but I did not like the action. It was sure "spongy". Than I played the FP4 for about an hour, man I never had this much fun playing a keyboard instrument. The sound is the best one I have experienced. The action is on the lighter side which I like, and faster than the ES4 for sure.
After the FP4 session, I played the ES4 again, an I can say that they are not even in the same ballpark. And funny enough they are equally priced!

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#699798 - 01/04/09 07:16 AM Re: kawai es6
Oblacone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 344
Loc: Norway :D
 Quote:
Originally posted by jim tulloch:
Have owned a Kawai ES 6 for about 1 month.
My Review=
On board speakers produce poor sound quality
Amplification is weak
The few buttons are muli-funtion...lots of combinations which can become somewhat involved.
Weighted keys are sure weighted,you wish you had jack hammers for fingers after playing for 10 minutes or so using 8-10 fingers simultainously.
Cannot compare with the Technics P50 Stage piano of the past...that's all the negatives that I have experienced [/b]
Well you sure are a pessimistic piano player...
_________________________
Kawai KG-2C - my 5'10" of sheer happiness and joy!

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#699799 - 01/13/09 07:36 PM Re: kawai es6
AlfieAlfredo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/29/08
Posts: 2
Loc: Ottawa, Canada
Everyone will obviously have different preferences. I did like the FP-4 for many reasons and was sorry to have to return it. But the action was the main issue. I have read many reviews of the FP4 and the owners seem to be very happy with it. I wanted to like it. But for me the Kawai has a better piano sound, more sound shaping options, and a better action.

I have to say that I like the jazz organ sound (organ #1), but only really as a soloing single note instrument. It is no good for chording. When I play jazz organ gigs I might just resort to using my old Yamaha P80, which I am used to, and which I can chord with.

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#699800 - 01/15/09 10:05 AM Re: kawai es6
OlTinEar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/09
Posts: 28
the ES6 is a replacement for the ES4 - this line of instruments is sold through KAWAI dealerships only.

I'd like to try out some of the KAWAI boards, but haven't been able to find anyone who carries them here yet. Guitar center is sort of the Wal*Mart of musical instruments, at least in my area. Their selection of digital pianos is spotty at best, but at least they usually have something by Casio, Yamaha, Roland and Williams. They don't carry KAWAI at all, and I haven't seen Kurtzweil unless they are in with the synths. Most of the other music store's I've found have even less. There is one KAWAI dealer not too far away, but they have mostly acoustic or furniture style digitals. I think they maybe had one ES3 or ES4. My thinking is that if I'm going to drop thousands on a piece of furniture, I'll get a nice acoustic which won't become obsolete. If I'm going digital then I want the connectivity and portability of a stage format at a price that won't be too painful to replace in 5 years or so.

The MP5 and MP8II sound nice, but I'm not going to order one from Musician's Friend just to try it out. I'm also wondering how they compare to the ES6 now that it has every key sampled and whether the MP5 is also due for an update. Since I use headphones or run it into a mixer and listen on stage monitors, the built in boom box speakers on the ES6 are superfluous. KAWAI never answered the email I sent to asking about other dealers in the area, so I'm still looking.

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#699801 - 01/15/09 07:43 PM Re: kawai es6
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8871
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
OlTinEar, if you send me a private message, informing me of your location, I should be able to recommend a dealer or music chain store that stocks these instruments.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#699802 - 01/18/09 01:56 PM Re: kawai es6
OlTinEar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/09
Posts: 28
I sent a PM, but I'm not sure if this forum implementation notifies you when you have one.

Now that the P155 has been announced, I'm thinking I should wait until they are available to test before getting serious about upgrading from my Casio PX310. It's still doing the job, except it isn't very expressive. Sometimes it seems like the keys only have about 3 or four possible volume levels, which makes learning dynamics a bit difficult.

I think the MP5 came out in mid 2007 and the MP8II not long after. What is the typical design cycle for KAWAI? It is likely there might be upgrades for these boards after 2 years?

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#699803 - 01/19/09 12:44 AM Re: kawai es6
Rolling Sly Stone Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/18/09
Posts: 4
Loc: England
Hello everyone, this is my first ever post in this forum.

I have recently joined the hunt for a decent digital piano to learn on and have been researching on the net for a couple of weeks as well as trying out a few models in local music shops.

I have managed to find what appears to be a gem of a source, a guy that repairs/refurbishes KAWAI pianos. I am hopefully going along tomorrow to meet him and to look at both a KAWAI ES-4 and a new ES-6 with a view to possibly buying one. They are both ex-demo units that have only been used at one show and are in perfect working order.

I can have the ES-4 for £525 (this apparently has two pin-sized scratches on the top) or the ES-6 for £660 (in mint condition). Any purchase would come with a 30 day money back guarantee and 1 years on site warranty.

These seem to be extremely good deals to me! The ES-4, although not so readily available (probably due to being discontinued now) still retails for around the £900 mark at places that still have stock, and the new ES-6, also not so readily available (probably due to being so new?) retails for over the £1,000 mark.

So I am going to have a play with the two models and will report back with my opinions/outcome (although I must admit that have little to no experience with pianos, I will do my best).

At this point, although the ES-6 will cost me more than I wanted to spend on my first digital piano, I'm kind of thinking that it would be a wiser investment in the long run as the ES-4 is already a couple of years old. Does anyone here have any opinions regarding anything I've said? Prices etc?

Phill

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#699804 - 01/19/09 06:44 PM Re: kawai es6
Rolling Sly Stone Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/18/09
Posts: 4
Loc: England
I got the ES-6 :-) I much preferred the key action - lower keys were heavier that the ES-4 and the higher keys were lighter than the ES-4's. Much more range of weight between low and high. Now it's play time! :-D

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#699805 - 01/20/09 01:37 PM Re: kawai es6
OlTinEar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/09
Posts: 28
I went to the one KAWAI dealer I could find and tried an ES4. They had an ES6 but it wasn't unpacked yet. The action seemed ok but a bit light compared to an acoustic and very light compared to my Casio PX310. I couldn't really form an opinion of the sound because I only heard it on the speakers and they all sound like toys to me on the built in speakers.

I asked about the MP5 and MP8II and was told that I would probably not find anyone who had them in stock. Special order only, but supposedly the MP5 had the same action and sound engine as the ES4, so it's just a different case and features. I'd have to confirm that since I never assume sales reps know what they are talking about. He said KAWAI doesn't use samples either, so I was pretty much discounting anything else.

I'll have to go back in a while and try the ES6. Maybe I'll bring my reference headphones so I can do a real sound comparison. I need to do the same for some Yamaha and Roland boards too.

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#699806 - 01/20/09 08:50 PM Re: kawai es6
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8871
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
OlTinEar, the sales rep is partly correct - the ES4 and MP5 utilise the same AHA IV-E keyboard action and both use Harmonic Imaging to generate the piano sound. However, I would suggest that the MP5 is a rather more versatile instrument, given the additional sounds and features (192 note polyphony, real-time control knobs, zone faders etc.).

The ES6 utilises the newer AHA IV-F keyboard action, with weight adjustments made to the playing zones. It also features an improved Harmonic Imaging sound technology, with 88-key piano sampling.

I hope this information is useful to you.

Kind regards,
James (big Sly Stone fan)
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#699807 - 01/20/09 10:17 PM Re: kawai es6
OlTinEar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/09
Posts: 28
It also features an improved Harmonic Imaging sound technology, with 88-key piano sampling.

Which is why I found it confusing when he said harmonic imaging is not sampling.

The feature set on the MP5 is definitely more suited to me than the ES6, but now I am more likely to wait until the MP5 is updated with the newer sound engine. I don't know if that is going to be this year, next year or the year after.

If there is any way to make suggestions that they might actually listen to, I would like to suggest they put balanced outputs on it. Whether they are XLR or TRS I don't really care. That's sort of a pet peave of mine. Roland, Yamaha and KAWAI all put balanced outputs only on their top of the line $2k+ pro boards (RD-700GX, CP-300, MP8II) and only unbalanced outputs on their $1k+ pro boards (RD-300GX, CP-33 and MP5). These are supposedly professional level boards and have no speakers, so the line outputs are how you get the sound out. I realize they want feature differentiation to get people to buy the top of the line, but balanced outputs are not a high end feature like wooden key action. You can find them on <$100 mixers/converters/etc. and they are a common sense way of keeping ground noise etc. from messing up your sound. IMHO any 'pro' level board should have them. Mini headphone jacks mounted in plastic on the front of the board where a 1/4" to mini plug adapter is a disaster waiting to happen is another problem, but it seems KAWAI got that one right.

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#699808 - 01/21/09 09:14 PM Re: kawai es6
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8871
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Yes, I am inclined to agree.

While I have never used the XLRs on an MP8/MP8II, I know that they are greatly appreciated by band and live stage technicians - both professional and amateur alike.

Cheers,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1172073 - 03/31/09 01:52 PM Re: kawai es6 [Re: Kawai James]
charlesg Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/25/09
Posts: 16
Loc: California, USA
Hello KAWAI James,
I have a question about sampled piano on the ES-6. I understand each key has been sampled just like on Roland FP-7.
My question is how many levels have been sampled for each key? It seems like this information is nowhere to be found for ES-6 nor any other KAWAI pianos.
I'd like to test ES-6 and see if I like it better then FP-7 before I decide on a purchase.
Thanks...

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#1172315 - 03/31/09 09:59 PM Re: kawai es6 [Re: charlesg]
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8871
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
charlesg,

KAWAI utilises its own Harmonic Imaging technology to reproduce piano sounds. We believe that this process achieves a smoother transition from pianissimo to fortissimo than the 1 layer, 3 layer, 5 layer approach adopted by other manufacturers.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1172378 - 04/01/09 01:28 AM Re: kawai es6 [Re: Kawai James]
charlesg Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/25/09
Posts: 16
Loc: California, USA
Thanks KAWAI James,
Well, the piano utilizing Harmonic Imaging Technology sounds really good. I was at a local store today and they had ES-4, near by there were Kawai EX, RX-5, RX-6 and RX-7. So I jumped around back and forth between RX-5 and ES-4. I was impressed.
In any case no local stores have ES-6 which now I really want to try. I'm in Southern California, a bit south of Los Angeles but ES-6 is hard to find, everyone carries Roland FP-7. I think Kawai should have their higher end models distributed by Guitar Center and Sam Ash... otherwise everyone ends up with FP-7.

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Music competitions are rife with corruption says JLWebber
by pianoloverus
07/30/14 02:51 PM
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