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#82991 - 09/30/06 11:35 PM Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
artemov Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/06
Posts: 22
Hello everybody, this is my first post \:\)

Please don't scold me. I have used the search function and most of the postings on Singapore are quite dated.
So here goes.

I am an adult beginner hoping to learn classical piano. I will be 33 soon, so I hope it's not too late for me.

Currently I am shopping for my first upright piano. Initially my budget is S$5000, but now I don't mind paying a bit more to get something better that can last a decade or two.

I am a bit lost and confused at the many varieties of piano available: different brands, models, countries, factories, ... So I hope that someone can recommend a good and decently priced upright piano for a beginner.

I am quite interested in the new Kawai K series (K3), or a Yamaha (U1 amd M112T), but someone mentioned somewhere here that Kawai in Singapore is overpriced and the pricings are not very transparent. Are the Korean made, or the Indonesian or the Chinese clones (U1J) any good?

Also I don't mind getting a used piano, but don't even know how to play the piano (yet), let alone evaluate one.

I would appreciate if the replies are more relevant to Singapore, but all replies are welcome lah!

Please help, as I really want to learn the piano. Been thinking about it since my high school days!

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#82992 - 09/30/06 11:53 PM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
Wzkit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 1005
Loc: Singapore
I think both Kawai and Yamaha are pretty safe choices, and it will ultimately boil down to your own preferences for tone and touch. If you do not feel comfortable with evaluating tone/touch, then get an experienced player to come along with you. In general, I like Yamahas for their action, although I must say the Kawais have caught up more recently.

That said, for the amount you are willing to spend, which I would presume to be no more than S$7-8K, there are many many other options you could consider. Try Gramercy at Tg Katong Road, to try out their Bohemia (Czech made), and Wilhelm Tell (China made). They both seem reasonably priced and nice sounding instruments. You could also try the Petrof uprights (Czech made) at Music Lodge, at Bukit Timah shopping centre - they sell used Yamahas and Kawais too. And at Bukit Timah Plaza, there's the Pianoman's shop, that sells Nottingham (China made), alongside Ibach . Don't forget to visit Chiu Piano at Thomson Plaza for the Cramers and Kembles, which might be within your budget. And lastly, I think Perzina is great value, very affordable with a nice silky action and deep bass - certainly enough to give Yamaha and Kawai a run for their money! You can find them at Sonata Music House (at Singapore SHopping Centre and Teck Whye).

While you're at it, you might also want to try out some higher end German pianos at these shops (Ibach at the Pianoman, Schimmel, Wilhelm Steinberg at Chiu Piano). I would also strongly recommend a visit to Raffles Piano at Victoria Concert Hall, which sells only Sauter and provides outstanding service - I bought my grand from him. While these German pianos are likely to be out of your budget for now, they do provide a benchmark for comparison. Downside of course, is that you could get too spoilt by too much of a good thing!

The bottomline is, just keep your mind open and explore all the available options. Singapore is a small place and you should be able to visit all the abovementioned shops within a couple of weekends.

Hope this helps
_________________________
Sauter 185 Delta with accelerated action and burl walnut fallboard

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#82993 - 10/01/06 11:32 AM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
mendo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/06
Posts: 65
Loc: Singapore
you can't go very wrong with yamaha or kawai here. the more open your mind is, the deeper you'll have to dish out from your pocket. however, enjoy your shopping and learn more about other piano makes and what sets them uniquely apart from each other.

there's only one dealer selling new kawai in s'pore... so how could the price be not transparent? the only variance could be due to their occasional promotion prices. prices for yamaha is also controlled by their hq and they too goes up and down few times a year...

search my posts and do your own recce.

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#82994 - 10/02/06 10:21 AM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
cmk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/06
Posts: 91
Loc: Singapore
First stop, give a call to Alvin and make an appointment and listen/play with the Sauters. That should be your benchmark. After that, your hunting process will be more meaningful, at least you know what to aim for.

At that budget, your best bets would be a good 2nd hand, or a Petrof/Bohemia if you don't mind East European, or a Yamaha/Kawai. These are grouped together for the type of sound they offer.

Next is to get a good teacher, who can nuture your interest.
_________________________
Sauter 130 Competence with burl inlay (S/N: 112 291)

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#82995 - 10/03/06 09:01 AM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
artemov Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/06
Posts: 22
Dear all,

Following the advice of Wzkit, I went piano shopping all over Singapore these few days.

First stop Robert Piano to look at the Kawai K3, which is exactly what I did, just look only. The service is courteous, but a bit cold. The guy didn't really say much. He didn't lift the cover or ask me if I want play the piano (which I can't of course).

Then off to Katong to look at the Bohemias and the Wilhem Tells. The service is quite nice, warm and informal. But I didn't quite like the sound of the Bohemia. Seems a bit bloated and fat, like it's a bit muddled or muted and you couldn't quite hear the individual notes clearly. Is this the European sound I wonder? Maybe I enjoy a crispier, brighter sound?

Lastly the Perzina at Orchard. The action feels very good, quite light and very smooth. The sound is quite nice too, but seems to differ substantially from set to set. The nice lady told me the sound can be changed by tuning to my liking. Really? The price is quite good too.

Maybe will go down to see the Sauter \:\)

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#82996 - 10/03/06 12:21 PM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
Wzkit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 1005
Loc: Singapore
Definitely go see the Sauter. I think it will be quite a different experience playing a piano of a different league altogether. At least for me, Sauter was initially way out of my budget, but over a period of 7 months of continuously playing that piano, Alvin convinced me to nearly double my original budget!
_________________________
Sauter 185 Delta with accelerated action and burl walnut fallboard

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#82997 - 10/03/06 12:46 PM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
cmk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/06
Posts: 91
Loc: Singapore
Wzkit, who's the guy who refurbishes 2nd hand pianos? Pass the contact to artemov.
_________________________
Sauter 130 Competence with burl inlay (S/N: 112 291)

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#82998 - 10/03/06 09:13 PM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
Wzkit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 1005
Loc: Singapore
Yes. Its Emmanuel and Sons at Little India, opposite Mustafa Centre. I think it is possible to get a great deal on a used piano there, and some of them are still in good shape!
_________________________
Sauter 185 Delta with accelerated action and burl walnut fallboard

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#82999 - 10/07/06 09:20 AM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
artemov Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/06
Posts: 22
Can't seems to contact Alvin, maybe he's overseas?

Is this Emmanuel and Sons any good?

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#83000 - 10/07/06 01:09 PM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
Wzkit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 1005
Loc: Singapore
Alvin's in Bali at the moment..should be back next week. Try next Thursday.

Emmanuel and Sons has very reasonably priced used pianos. At your budget, you might even be able to get a used Yamaha grand, in reasonable condition.

Btw, I went to Pianomaster at Geylang East, to try out their Wendl & Lung pianos. Pretty good for a Chinese piano, with a very deep bass. If you liked Perzina, you might just like this piano.
_________________________
Sauter 185 Delta with accelerated action and burl walnut fallboard

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#83001 - 10/07/06 10:21 PM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
artemov Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/06
Posts: 22
Just wondering, is it possible to find any used German piano (Sauter, Bluthner, Bechstein , ...) in Sg?

Will try Alvin again next week. Really want to listen to the Sauter \:\)

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#83002 - 10/07/06 10:25 PM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
Wzkit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 1005
Loc: Singapore
Yes, in fact, there is a 8 year old used Sauter on consignment at Alvin's place. Amazing piano with an amazing bass. I would grab it myself if I had the room for it.
_________________________
Sauter 185 Delta with accelerated action and burl walnut fallboard

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#83003 - 10/19/06 04:48 AM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
snoopycar Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/06
Posts: 976
Loc: Singapore
Hi guys,
I'm from Singapore too!!

Every tried looking around at Christofori at Bedok or Asia Piano or Zadok piano? They are all well prep and tuned. Some shops doesn't tune thier piano on display.. always say .. just arrived. Yeah, Piano Master has very nice sounding Baby Grands.
_________________________
Hailun dealer in Johor Bahru base in Ulu Tiram
Genio Silent system installer
Piano Tuner tech +65 90228720 Singapore & JB 012 7702587

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#83004 - 10/20/06 04:24 AM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
mendo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/06
Posts: 65
Loc: Singapore
hi snoopycar,

where's zadok, haven't heard of it before.
which brand do they carry?

i've visited asia piano and they do bring a lot of old jap models, 2nd hand schimmel. the old seasoned yamaha ux series sure do give even some new german ones a run on their money.

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#83005 - 10/20/06 01:09 PM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
snoopycar Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/06
Posts: 976
Loc: Singapore
Hi Mendo
It's at Balestier shopping or complex.. Shaw something.. I forgot. They have Imported Yamaha, Kawai ... Can freely test there, very good pricing too.

Asia piano, very helpful and friendly guys - no pressure sales. Highly skilled tuner. Have Grand piano there - frequently, 1 or 2pcs.
_________________________
Hailun dealer in Johor Bahru base in Ulu Tiram
Genio Silent system installer
Piano Tuner tech +65 90228720 Singapore & JB 012 7702587

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#83006 - 10/20/06 03:04 PM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
piano shopper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 72
Loc: Singapore
Hi Artemov,
there is a new piano dealer at bukit timah beauty world shopping complex, 2nd floor.
selling Krakauer and Sun.Tenor, both chinese pianos if i am correct.
never tried the pianos but if my memeory is correct, says in advertisement that Sun.Tenor features Steingraeber action.
don't know if that means the "rolling knuckle" action of Steingraeber.
visited the shop twice, it was closed. you have to call the dealer through the number on display.

I strongly support the suggestion that you should visit Alvin and try the Sauter pianos. it will be a most enriching trip.
_________________________
Truthfulness,Benevolence,Forbearance

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#83007 - 10/20/06 05:41 PM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
mendo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/06
Posts: 65
Loc: Singapore
sauter...
only if i have S$30k to spare. year end coming and my wife hinting we go japan for tour....

have been making sacrifices these years, that's why also looking at used piano shops like pianoman, asiapiano, music lodge....

however i also accidentally stepped into places like the chiu piano, raffles, galleria .....

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#83008 - 10/20/06 06:28 PM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
RazrV3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/05
Posts: 41
I had a Yamaha U5 (I think it was the tallest upright at that time). It served me well for a number of years until I had to get a grand for my diploma. I really liked Yamaha for all-around quality/price.

Have to disagree with artemov's comment about Robert Piano. We went in first asking to see Steinways (and they gladly obliged when I asked to try, even letting me try the B when we told them that it was way out of our range). Their demeanor did not change when we asked to see the Kawais.

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#83009 - 10/21/06 06:27 AM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
mendo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/06
Posts: 65
Loc: Singapore
i will out-of-topic on robert piano for a while for the benefit of artemov and i don't work for them.

this i what i had gather after a few rounds of visits at their various outlets.

1. the salespersons don't earn any commission unlike yamaha sales. that's why you get the different enthusiasm.

2. different salespersons have different persona.
but if you wanna try most of the units, go to millenia. but the salesguy have rooms for improvement. luv his ties anyway. look for the boss, robert if you have lots of questions. he's a master technician.

3. you really have to open your mouth to get what you want! that includes trying the piano. if you don't play the piano, ask one the experts there. each outlet has one each. the one over at centrepoint have over 35yrs teaching experience.
the millenia has one young guy.

you also have to be upfront with them what type of piano you are looking for, who is using, what level. otherwise you get a lost or blur response from them too.

with more enthusiasm and interest in certain models, and i don't mean buying, on your side, you will get a reciprocrating response. it works for me, all the time.

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#83010 - 10/21/06 07:20 AM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
artemov Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/06
Posts: 22
Hi all,

Thanks for all the replies.

Done a few more visiting this past week. Also learnt to open my mouth and use my fingers a bit more ;P

So far, my impression of piano dealers in Sg are pretty positive, almost all of them are professional, courteous and knowledgeable. Much much better than electronics, electricals and renovation!

Went down to Asia Piano today. Really tempted by their two used Kawai K50. Music Lodge also has at least 1 used K80. Hmmmm ....

Will visit Pianoman and that Zadok place soon.

Actually I have visited Alvin twice already. Fantastic guy. Learnt so much from him. Sauter is so nice, but also very expensive *sigh*

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#83011 - 10/21/06 08:41 AM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
mendo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/06
Posts: 65
Loc: Singapore
being professional and courteous is the only way they could survive in this small island. i believe strong reputation and strong referral are fundamentals to their survival. it's not everyday people walk to buy a piano. when they do, they must make a sum out of the customer, or else they have to close their shop. think, when's the next time you will buy another piano?

the economy of scale from the supply chain aspect does not exist here and that's why you see these high prices. i hate it some begin to badmouth another make or shop when i ask their opinion. guess, they are aiming on the fundamentals of their competitor's survival and that's a fact of life for some dealers over here.

one dealer even told that his main income comes from ignorant parents buying piano for their child and believing a cheap one is good enough. so in 3-5 years time they come in again to trade-in and buy a more expensive one. the dealer says this is what most parents prefer in case the child's interests died and that's the way it is and good for both parties.

i love to discuss about pianos with technicians who plays the piano and technician who doesn't.
so far i've only met one who plays. have you come across any?

they do give important factors to consider when buying a piano that may sounds like below,

1. level of piano proficiency you have
2. pieces you like to hear on your piano and you want them to be on your piano
3. cheap to own, but may be costly to maintain
4. what are these costs?
5. nice to own, but may be too extravagant for even serious amateurs
6. how long you need this piano for?
7. warranty
8. important note you need to differentiate: do you like the sound or can you live with that sound?

i'm seriously thinking of importing a german piano over as i strongly believe they are overpriced here for reasons i'd mentioned above. anyone had done this before and saved an arm and leg?

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#83012 - 10/21/06 09:28 AM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
mendo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/06
Posts: 65
Loc: Singapore
hi artemov,

before you move so quickly on your 1st purchase, please find out where and who you will be learning classical piano from. most likely you'll get yourself a personal one whom will vist you every week so that you are using the precious piano that you proudly own. they might give you some good advice on your needs (not piano, but piano playing). thereafter you may plan to buy the piano yourself unless you are absolute sure they are not getting commision from the sales too and giving you a lemon since you are a newbie!

i'm also a serious photographer and i liken piano playing like phototaking. it's the person behind the camera that makes the difference, not the camera. any good player will find a workaround whichever piano he or she plays.
in photo forums, people say a steinway under the hands of incompetent player is ****!

believe me, photographers a more particular on nitty gritty details than most concert pianists.

as such, please focus primarily on your real target, which is actually you know what.

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#83013 - 10/22/06 11:43 PM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
snoopycar Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/06
Posts: 976
Loc: Singapore
For 1st time buyer...

1 factor to consider is resale value. Try ... oops(censored) to stick to Yamaha or Kawai - $3000~$4200 should be able to get a good Japan imports. The actions should be in good condition too. Use a torchligh to inspect for worn-out buckskin hammer butt , if necessary.

But I have tested 1 brand called Victor at cristofori bedok. It sounded mellow and responsive. price was ~$2900. It's a good-buy. But that was few months back...

Also, some shop offer garantee buy-back scheme. This is useful when you finds you need to upgrade.

Wah, I'm discovering more and more Piano shops !!!
Some located at warehouse 7th level !!
Some spray paint with newspaper masking even while customer browsing around.... hehehe

Did anyone tried the Schimmel Grand at Asia piano 2 months back? It can melt :3hearts: my ears.... so nice, so powerful.. is it still there? out of my pocket's reach. But I regretted i didn't consider a Kawai grand there a year ago .. \:D
_________________________
Hailun dealer in Johor Bahru base in Ulu Tiram
Genio Silent system installer
Piano Tuner tech +65 90228720 Singapore & JB 012 7702587

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#83014 - 10/23/06 06:07 AM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
mendo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/06
Posts: 65
Loc: Singapore
hi snoopycar,

yup i did. it sounded real powerful but lacking the overtones that i'm particularly picky about. however i couldn't get used to the actions in my short visit there. i believe it's still available in the shop.

i wonder what is it doing there in that shop? 2nd hand piano dealers can give sellers a better price and still make from the new buyers?

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#83015 - 10/23/06 10:35 AM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
snoopycar Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/06
Posts: 976
Loc: Singapore
Hi Mendo.
Yep, was it like medium heavy? i also recalled the inertia was also on the high side - good for strong fingers, perhaps good for expression. Wonder which type of music does pure tone piano suit? Richard Clayderman pop pieces? Mozart K545?

Hmmm.. overtone notes. Is it like Steinway sound? muddy but colourful? Nice. I hear this kind of sound often on the radio- international station, when it plays piano music and others. I can hear the overtone of the after-notes, especially when the player pause for a while and lets the piano sings....

I heard its on consignment. Has the woodgrain finished G2 been set up yet?? oohhh ... Anyway, it's a nice shop where you can talk about piano stuff(technical) casually with the owner and learn some tips too ..
_________________________
Hailun dealer in Johor Bahru base in Ulu Tiram
Genio Silent system installer
Piano Tuner tech +65 90228720 Singapore & JB 012 7702587

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#83016 - 10/23/06 06:40 PM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
mendo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/06
Posts: 65
Loc: Singapore
hi snoopycar,

that schimmel grand sure is different from the ones tried elsewhere. to me, it definitely sound very full and mellow while losing its bit of the clear, calm sounds i normally have no problem associating with schimmels. its good for jazzy or ragtime pieces where i personally would prefer tne heavier inertia. that would definitely increase the lifespan of the felt and hammer from the way i play.

it won't do for my mozart or chopin or even bach pieces. imho. you can try these pieces again on that unit and the ones at thompson plaza. i can't describe the overtone features in words for you.

you can invite some of your friends to listen which one they prefer. they may make very sound judgement even they don't play the piano.

i normally comment a piano at its face value, knowing that just voicing and regulation and slight tweaking can do magic.

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#83017 - 10/24/06 10:16 AM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
snoopycar Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/06
Posts: 976
Loc: Singapore
Ok... I was incline to think that it was more suitable for classical pieces. \:\) - I need more exposure

artemov: How's the piano shopping going? Narrow down to any particular piano yet?
_________________________
Hailun dealer in Johor Bahru base in Ulu Tiram
Genio Silent system installer
Piano Tuner tech +65 90228720 Singapore & JB 012 7702587

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#83018 - 10/25/06 11:02 PM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
artemov Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/06
Posts: 22
Hi snoopycar,

I am still searching. Will be trying more models this weekend.

How's your own search? Any model in mind?

Cheers.

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#83019 - 10/26/06 03:25 AM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
snoopycar Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/06
Posts: 976
Loc: Singapore
Eyeing for a $7~9K 2nd hand good condition grand piano.... Although i'm an adult beginner, i'm dreaming of a GP just for fun. Anyway, i think i can't get a GP for this small sum of money. \:\(

Right now i'll have to be contentent with my Yamaha U1A. Would you be keen in my U1A??
Happy shopping.......
_________________________
Hailun dealer in Johor Bahru base in Ulu Tiram
Genio Silent system installer
Piano Tuner tech +65 90228720 Singapore & JB 012 7702587

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#83020 - 10/26/06 07:48 AM Re: Adult Beginner in Singapore: Buying First Piano
mendo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/06
Posts: 65
Loc: Singapore
way to go snoopycar!!
grand piano sure will lift your interests even more.

think you need to stretch your budget a bit more in order to get a good grand. otherwise you'll be better off with the cheaper good upright.
your present budget could get you a very good new 'professional' upright which easily gives better sound quality and maybe better action than very old grands. unless you are using your grand as a piece of decor. new stuff means better warranty coverage and better resale value.

if i'm more into classical, which you said you are more inclined to, i'll go for a slightly warmer and mellower sound.

what i did was to bring along with me a simple music piece on my mp3 when i visited the shops and play the same piece on the pianos and see if they match close to the sound i would like to hear. this piece was recorded when i played a while on a very expensive grand at one of the shop here. this sound was what i like best and its played on many notable piano recordings.

of course, if that sound is constantly in your head, then you won't need an mp3.

problem for me the last time was for every piano i tried, there is a piece of music which one piano do very well compare to others. of course the goal is to find one that could suit most of your entire repertoire. but after much comparison and deliberation, i still can't get over the sounds of a few pianos.

this is only for the sound category with respect to tone, texture, or whatever other people call.

then there are other factors like touch, action etc. no one knows what you would like best except yourself and that may take a while.

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