Weber WG-51, 1988--worth a look?

Posted by: abcclio

Weber WG-51, 1988--worth a look? - 10/16/12 10:04 PM

Hello. I am planning a trip on Thursday to look at a 1988 Weber WG-51 baby grand (SN 036262). I would like to know if anyone can speak to the quality of this piano. I have seen only pictures taken with a phone and have been told it is in good shape. It is a satin finish and looks a bit worn. I understand 1988 was the first year this model was made(by Young Chang), I believe in Korea? And it was only made for a few short years? First, is this worth looking at, and second, what might it be worth if it is in good shape (maybe needs just a tuning)? I have been doing tons of research, but still feel like I don't have a definitive answer about the quality of this piano. I am looking in Colorado for a good medium-quality piano for my 8-yr-old son, who has been playing for 4 years. My budget is about $4000 and I'd like the most piano my money can buy in a baby grand.
Thanks for any advice!
Posted by: carey

Re: Weber WG-51, 1988--worth a look? - 10/17/12 03:21 AM

Here's a direct quote from the 2001 "Piano Book" by Larry Fine:

"At the beginning, all Weber pianos were identical to the Young Changs except for slightly cheaper cabinets. Later, however, the two brands were considered to be of the same quality and sold for about the same price. Weber officials said that, as a rough rule of thumb, Weber piano models that were of the same size as Young Chang models were probably of identical scale design, thought there were cosmetic differences that might attract buyers to one brand or the other. Two Weber grand models made in sizes not available in the Young Chang line, 5'1" and 5'7" were designed for Weber by Ibach, the company says. "

In 2001 Fine rated the Korean built Webers (which included the WG-51) as "good" (on a scale of Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor." He listed them under "Medium-quality consumer grade pianos.

Quite frankly, if the piano looks good to you, you should still pay a piano tech to look at it and give you an assessment before you purchase it. Also, I'm guessing that $4K would be a bit too much to pay for the piano unless it is in pristine condition.

Do try to find out as much as you can about the piano's past history, maintenance records, etc.

Actually for $4K you could purchase a much newer and probably higher quality upright for your son.

Best of luck !!
Posted by: abcclio

Re: Weber WG-51, 1988--worth a look? - 10/17/12 09:07 AM

Wow, thank you so much! That is the best info I've gotten so far. I will definitely have a tech look at it, especially given its age. I also came across a 1991 Kawai GE-1 last night. I spoke with a dealer in our area and was told the GE-1 is a poor piano in the Kawai line. I guess I was not aware that Kawai made a poor piano. Is this true? If it were a quality piano, I think I might be getting more for my money than the Weber. I actually don't yet know what the seller wants for the Weber, but the Kawai is at $4000.
Posted by: Jonathan Alford

Re: Weber WG-51, 1988--worth a look? - 10/17/12 09:31 AM

Depends on your definition of poor. I would say that in my piano search, the Kawais that were close to my price range (the entry level Kawais) were not as nice as their higher end models. I guess that was obvious.

Where in Colorado are you? Check craigslist - lots of choices out there.
Posted by: abcclio

Re: Weber WG-51, 1988--worth a look? - 10/17/12 10:43 AM

Yes, I keep an eagle-eye on Craig's list. I am looking for a mid-level piano, not an entry level, and I know with a budget of $4000, I am going to have to work hard to find it. Would a GE-1 be considered entry level or is it relative? Meaning, is an entry level Kawai a pretty nice piano, comparatively--because it a Kawai?
Posted by: carey

Re: Weber WG-51, 1988--worth a look? - 10/17/12 02:05 PM

Originally Posted By: abcclio
Yes, I keep an eagle-eye on Craig's list. I am looking for a mid-level piano, not an entry level, and I know with a budget of $4000, I am going to have to work hard to find it. Would a GE-1 be considered entry level or is it relative? Meaning, is an entry level Kawai a pretty nice piano, comparatively--because it a Kawai?


A GE-1 would be considered to be at about the same level as the Weber - i.e., a step above entry level. And again - much depends on how the piano has been used and maintained over the years. Even Yamaha makes entry level instruments - along with their higher quality models.

I would encourage you not to rush the process - and please don't hestiate to continue to ask questions here.

Also - use Larry Fine's Piano Buyer supplement (see link on this website) as a starting point.

Best -
Posted by: abcclio

Re: Weber WG-51, 1988--worth a look? - 10/17/12 07:18 PM

Thank you very much. I really appreciate the Piano World community! I am off to look at the Weber and the Kawai. Now I have to get over my fear of actually buying one of these if they turn out to be good pianos for our family. I'm always worried that something better will appear and I'll have spent my money!
Posted by: Jonathan Alford

Re: Weber WG-51, 1988--worth a look? - 10/17/12 10:06 PM

Originally Posted By: abcclio
Thank you very much. I really appreciate the Piano World community! I am off to look at the Weber and the Kawai. Now I have to get over my fear of actually buying one of these if they turn out to be good pianos for our family. I'm always worried that something better will appear and I'll have spent my money!


Easy way to make sure this does not happen, once you buy ..... Stop shopping!
Posted by: OG Ryder

Re: Weber WG-51, 1988--worth a look? - 10/18/12 01:47 AM

I bought my first piano in April, a Weber WG-57 and I love it. It's a 1994 and I bought it from the original owner who was moving back up north and was parting ways. I'll be the first to admit I wasn't even in the market for an Asian piano but when I sat down at this instrument it just blew me away (coming from playing my friends' early 1900s Knabe and Chickering) It's beautiful black polish and is quite stunning when you peek inside.

With so many options, I just trusted my gut feeling with this and realized at some point you just have to go for it! It was listed at 3500.00 and we "split middles" and walked away with it for 2900.00, including an artist bench, light, and caster cups.

I'm super happy with the overall value, and most importantly the way it feels and sounds.
Posted by: OG Ryder

Re: Weber WG-51, 1988--worth a look? - 10/18/12 01:50 AM

I forgot to mention it is addicting...now I want to buy a few more pianos and start a collection.
Posted by: abcclio

Re: Weber WG-51, 1988--worth a look? - 10/18/12 03:52 PM

Well, we bought the Kawai today, $4000. It is beautiful and in excellent condition. It has wonderful sound quality. Our son had a chance to go with us to look at it and he loved it, too. Thank you to all for your advice. This really is an awesome forum.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Weber WG-51, 1988--worth a look? - 10/18/12 04:17 PM

Congratulations on your new-to-you Kawai piano! I'm sure you and your family will enjoy many years of making beautiful music with it!

Post pictures when you can! :-)

Rick