I have read several threads on Yamahas and Kawais (as well as Larry Fine), but would still appreciate comments. Here is my dilemma:
I am deciding between a 20-year-old 5'10" Kawai KG-2 (new strings, new tuning pins, new hammers, refinished walnut) and a 2-year-old 4'11" Yamaha GA1, in polished ebony. Price is about $1K different between the 2 (Kawai ~$8K; Yamaha ~$7K). I am looking for a baby or medium grand piano; space is not necessarily a big concern. I haven't played the piano in over 20 years (and even then only for a few years), so I would basically be relearning. Thus, you can see that I am not a real "pianist," and a lot of the things that are very important to others may not register with me yet. We are adding a QRS player system to whichever of these we purchase. As far as priorities, we want a piano (1) for me to pick back up with, but more as a side hobby, maybe playing a few times a week; (2) to use the player piano feature during parties; (3) to look nice in a rather large living area; and (4) to offer good resale (read trade-up) possibilities. I am also concerned about quality. The advantage of the Yamaha is mainly that I think it will be much easier to resell because of name recognition. If I got this one, I would use it as a starter, maybe stay with it or maybe trade up after becoming a better player and knowing more of what I want, but I want to minimize the investment loss when I trade up. It's also newer and maybe a better value??? What I am having a hard time with is the comment that I keep hearing along the lines that a grand piano under 5 feet is simply not worth purchasing. Is this necessarily true with the Yamaha GA1, which I understand to play much better than some larger pianos? Ideally, it would be great if I could find a (used) Yamaha that is larger and of better quality but still within the $7-$9K price range. I have read that the Yamaha 5'3" GH1/GP1 were not so hot, so don't feel that would be any better than the GA1. I guess what I am asking is whether the Kawai KG-2 is that good a deal that I shouldn't pass it up, or conversely, whether the Yamaha GA1 is a safe enough buy that I could reasonably purchase it and, if I later decide I want a bigger and better piano, I will not suffer a big loss? (Also am aware that the GA1 was replaced with a "new & improved" model but question how significant the improvements). I have "played" both, thought the Kawai sounded better, but am not obsessed with that part of it because I am afraid that my tastes will change as I develop and then I'll want a certain tone, action, etc., and will be stuck with a piano that I can't resell without a loss. Any comments?