Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy?

Posted by: sunnyday

Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/26/13 10:14 PM

I came across a 12-year-old Kawai RX3 for $10k. The piano itself looks gorgeous. It hasn't been played, or maintained for at least 6 years. Sure I'll get a technician to inspect the piano. If everything looks decent enough other than multiple tunings for the first year, is $10k a good price?
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/26/13 10:17 PM

Is 10K a good price in rural Minnesota or downtown Chicago? Value varies with geographic location. What's yours?
Posted by: sunnyday

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/27/13 09:39 AM

Indianapolis.
Posted by: Steve Chandler

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/27/13 11:37 AM

If I was in the market for a 6' piano I'd take it very seriously. It's certainly worth a look. RX3s are nice instruments, this one will IIRC have the Millenium II action, my only issue is that when new the hammers sounded very mellow. If it's been played they will have been compressed a bit and the sound could be quite nice. Please let us know what you find.
Posted by: sunnyday

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/27/13 08:53 PM

We had the technician over today. The piano is in a "good" condition not "excellent". The tone is 1/4 flatter than it's supposed to be. Sine it hasn't been played for years, it requires a lot tunings and pitch has to be raised. A couple of notes have string buzzes. The tech said it could be possibly be eliminated as time goes by. Today the owner said someone else is interested in the piano. He asked for $12,500 and it would be ours. What do you think? What's the maximum do you think I should fork out?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/27/13 09:15 PM

Originally Posted By: sunnyday
We had the technician over today. The piano is in a "good" condition not "excellent". The tone is 1/4 flatter than it's supposed to be. Sine it hasn't been played for years, it requires a lot tunings and pitch has to be raised. A couple of notes have string buzzes. The tech said it could be possibly be eliminated as time goes by. Today the owner said someone else is interested in the piano. He asked for $12,500 and it would be ours. What do you think? What's the maximum do you think I should fork out?


The buzzes "might be eliminated" sounds awfully vague. Did the buzzes bother you?

You didn't mention why the tech thinks the piano is only in "good" condition. The fact that the piano is presently out of tune or the number of tunings needed in the near future is not usually considered part of the piano's condition.

The price went up by 25%? It almost sounds like the owner is having two interested parties bid against each other.
Posted by: sunnyday

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/27/13 09:59 PM

We're buying this for our five year old. She has asked several times that she wants to learn piano. She started daily reading/math homework a year ago and spends at least 30 minutes everyday. She is persistent. That's why we've been looking for a baby grand/grand piano. We don't know anything about the piano, neither do we have the ears for it. We figure the brand and the model will give us some confidence.

Having given the background, we're not bothered by the buzz. And yes the technician is not sure whether the buzz can be eliminated completely. It can go away as time goes by based on what he said. And at the same time he said even the buzz cannot be completely eliminated, it won't pose any problem for my daughter until many years down the road when she's really good at the piano. He did say changing the string should fix the problem.

I guess the buzz could be the reason why he referred the piano as only in good condition.

Yes it seems another party is also interested in the piano. So should we pay $12,500 for it?
Posted by: Dustin Spray

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/27/13 10:04 PM

$10K might be more reasonable...... Its gunna cost some money for tunings and what not.....
Posted by: sunnyday

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/27/13 10:45 PM

Thank you all for the inputs. Believe it or not we first thought the $10k would be a steal.
Posted by: rlinkt

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/28/13 02:03 AM

The RX3 is a lovely sounding piano. There is a concept of grey market pianos for the Japanese pianos, i.e. pianos that were imported from Japan after the initial buyer in Japan decides to sell off their piano. I understand that the grey market pianos are priced significantly lower than pianos initially sold in the US. The claim is that the humidity levels in Japan are vastly different from the US, and that may affect a piano that has spent some years in Japan. I have no idea if the claim is material or not, but if you do not have that information already, you may want to find that out. I assume that your tech has already checked that.
Posted by: sunnyday

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/28/13 08:35 AM

Thanks Rlinkt. The piano is from a private owner. He said he bought it 12 years ago from a dealer in the US, brand new. He did have the receipt but I didn't take a close look. I assume the piano was made for the US market since he bought brand new here in the US. The serial# is 2407332. I know Yamaha website would tell you whether the piano is made for the US market based on the serial#, but not Kawai. Kawai only tells origin of the manufacture and approximate production date.

Can you or anyone tell whether this piano was made for the US market based on the serial#? I only offered the owner $10k.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/28/13 09:13 AM

I would say to the owner "$10k cash, take it or leave it" and see if he bites. Mention to him the issues that your technician found and that you will have to put in $x to get it up to playing condition.
Posted by: sunnyday

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/28/13 10:25 AM

Thanks Morodiene. That's what I told the owner. $10k is our budget and we can't go higher than that. The technician told us privately that as long as the price is under $12k it is a bargain. Now we're more concerned whether the piano is made for the US market. The original and only owner bought it brand new in the US. Does it simply mean the piano is made for the US market?
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/28/13 11:10 AM

My opinion would be that a Kawai, purchased new through a Kawai dealership 12 years ago, would have been built for the North American market. Maybe Kawai Don would offer his expertise on this situation.

If my memory is correct, the wood moisture content problem was more with Yamaha instruments, than with those built by Kawai.
Posted by: Steve Chandler

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/28/13 01:33 PM

Originally Posted By: sunnyday
Thanks Morodiene. That's what I told the owner. $10k is our budget and we can't go higher than that. The technician told us privately that as long as the price is under $12k it is a bargain. Now we're more concerned whether the piano is made for the US market. The original and only owner bought it brand new in the US. Does it simply mean the piano is made for the US market?

I'm surprised no one's taken the serial number you provided and looked it up. I just checked the Kawai site and the serial number does seem to indicate an instrument made in 2000, but I couldn't find a way to verify what market it was made for. However, if it's been in the USA for more than a few years it'll probably be okay. OTOH, given the circumstances I'm pretty sure it was made for the US market since it was bought new from a dealer. The only question is was the dealer an authorized Kawai dealer?
Posted by: sunnyday

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/28/13 02:30 PM

Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler

The only question is was the dealer an authorized Kawai dealer?


If I remember it correctly, the owner said he bought it from Southern Pianos Atlanta. I Googled it and found out the joint is being closed out. But I did find Southern Pianos listed on Kawai website. Then I guess they were an authorized dealer for Kawai.

So If the seller comes back willing to accept our offer for $10k, we should just take it, right?
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/28/13 02:52 PM

Hi Sunnyday,

Everything seems to be checking out and falling into place. An RX-3 is a very nice instrument and if they accept your $10K offer, you are getting a good deal.
Posted by: sunnyday

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/28/13 03:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Hi Sunnyday,

Everything seems to be checking out and falling into place. An RX-3 is a very nice instrument and if they accept your $10K offer, you are getting a good deal.


Thanks Marty. What you said absolutely boosts our confidence on this deal. We'll keep our fingers crossed
Posted by: ClassicU3

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/30/13 10:47 AM

I wouldn't think too much on the whole gray market/humidity/wood seasoning issue. For the most part, the pianos that were affected by this were those that were located in the southwestern US, where it is very dry all of the time. Those conditions aren't going to be good for any instrument that is located in a non-humidified environment, seasoned or not. I own a gray market Yamaha vertical piano that was built in 1963 (before they began seasoning the wood for the US market), and my piano sounds and plays fantastic. The humidity levels in most parts of Japan really aren't that different than what would be experienced in most areas of the US from season to season. Plus, over the course of 12 years, the piano would have acclimated to the point that it will not likely suffer any major changes if kept in the climate that it's in now. If it plays and sounds good now, then it stands to reason that it will continue to do so if you maintain a good environment for it.

This piano sounds like a nice deal. If you can get it for your price, I'm sure you will enjoy it! A $10K piano is a very nice gift for a 5 year-old just starting out!
Posted by: Jeff Clef

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/30/13 07:00 PM

"...We had the technician over today. The piano is in a "good" condition not "excellent". The tone is 1/4 flatter than it's supposed to be. Sine it hasn't been played for years, it requires a lot tunings and pitch has to be raised. A couple of notes have string buzzes. The tech said it could be possibly be eliminated as time goes by..."

This is the missing piece I was looking for: the inspection report. It does not sound like the piano has been in a fire or a flood, or has lived in a pool house or a garage or on the back porch. Oh yes, it happens.

A good piano, living in a residence--- not a university practice room, or a bar--- which has been neglected but not grossly mistreated, with no glaring defects, according to the tech's report. These things can be set right by a competent technician. With used pianos, condition is all-important.

Ten grand, cash or bank draft in hand with the truck and movers standing ready, could be the proverbial 'bird in the hand.' It will cost some money to bring the piano back up to its best, but it will be adjusted with several regular service visits over time.

Your child is lucky. I hope it works out for you. If it gets away, you might look at what Charles Walter has to offer in your price range.
Posted by: sunnyday

Re: Is $10k for a used Kawai RX3 a good buy? - 01/31/13 10:41 AM

Thanks for all the advice. We didn't get the piano. WE're on the hunt again.