When to look for a piano?

Posted by: Cassiesmom

When to look for a piano? - 02/11/13 10:19 PM

Hey Folks,

I just returned to the piano as an adult since the New Year.. Love it and I'm looking for a teacher. I also know that I want/will need an acoustic piano.( currently have an old Roland digital). However, I really was thinking of giving myself about 6 months to look and decide what I want.

However, with lessons looming, I'm starting to think of getting one sooner rather than later. Realistically (in your opinions) will I have any more knowledge of the touch and tone I want after just 6 months of playing, than I would by looking now?... I can tell pretty much what i Don't like right now, and more or less what I do. But, when I get into more difficult classical repetoire will my opinions or needs be likely to change?


Thanks for any advice.
c
Posted by: BDB

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/11/13 10:27 PM

Well, you can start looking at any time. You could go to stores and try several out. That would give you an idea of what your tastes run to. You could also check out used pianos that become available.

Eventually, you will come to a decision. That could be sooner or later. Your options are better if you start sooner.
Posted by: Steven Y. A.

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/11/13 10:29 PM

you will need a budget first...
Posted by: Cassiesmom

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/11/13 10:49 PM

I have visited 2 stores in my area. I'm really only looking for a vertical (no room for anything larger). IN my limited shopping experience thus far I was drawn to the Yamahas (U1) in particular (NOT every used one though), and the T118 sounded/felt very nice as well. I did see one used Kawai K5 that I like as well. There were plenty I didn't really care for.

Another thing that makes me worry that I don't really know what I'm looking for is that there were some higher end grands/baby grands that I didn't even think had a very nice touch/or even sound. (at least nicer than the Yamaha U1 I looked at).

I wanted my budget to be about $5k. Although, i will take it up to $7k as my total max. In the big scheme of things I realize this isn't a great sum of $$ to some folk (some of the prices I have see thrown about are jaw dropping), but it's a huge investment for me. It may well be the only piano I buy so I want to be sure it will take me as far as I need it to.

Thanks
c.

Posted by: ju5t1n-h

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/11/13 11:02 PM

Try out the Essex 123S made by steinway - I've put my deposit down and going to pay the rest of it tomorrow. I'm paying $5788 for the piano and it has a lovely sound and touch
Posted by: Thrill Science

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/11/13 11:06 PM

Originally Posted By: ju5t1n-h
Try out the Essex 123S made by steinway - I've put my deposit down and going to pay the rest of it tomorrow. I'm paying $5788 for the piano and it has a lovely sound and touch


Don't you mean "sold by Steinway dealers?" It's a little deceptive to say "Made by Steinway" for this. Even Steinway just says it's "designed by Steinway" and not "made by Steinway." Latest information is that they're made by Pearl River in China, but Steinway will change this depending in which supplier is cheapest at any given time.

To answer the Original Poster's question, you may want to see if your Piano Teacher will come with you and play the pianos that you like. You can offer to pay the cost of a lesson for this service, etc.

Posted by: ju5t1n-h

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/11/13 11:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Thrill Science
Originally Posted By: ju5t1n-h
Try out the Essex 123S made by steinway - I've put my deposit down and going to pay the rest of it tomorrow. I'm paying $5788 for the piano and it has a lovely sound and touch


Don't you mean "sold by Steinway dealers?" It's a little deceptive to say "Made by Steinway" for this. Even Steinway just says it's "designed by Steinway" and not "made by Steinway." Latest information is that they're made by Pearl River in China, but Steinway will change this depending in which supplier is cheapest at any given time.

To answer the Original Posters question, you may want to see if your Piano Teacher will come with you and play the pianos that you like. You can offer to pay the cost of a lesson for this service, etc.




Theres no need to be pedantic. Whether someone says 'designed' by Steinway 'sold' or 'made' has no bearing on that it's still a great piano, and well worth looking at as being in the budget of the original poster.

Note - Steinway wouldn't put their name on it if they didn't have any overlooking on the build process.
Posted by: RealPlayer

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/11/13 11:34 PM

Hi, Cassiesmom.

You don't state what your present skill level is, but I think a decent skill level is important when assessing pianos.

But regardless, one of the better strategies I've heard as a shopper is to develop "piano consciousness" -- take every opportunity to try out different pianos. Keep your antennae out. In addition to the stores, check the classifieds, ask piano technicians, watch bulletin boards, hang around music schools, browse the internet (with critical eye).

That's more or less what I did when searching for my present piano. It took me many years, but that's just picky old me, and I already had a good instrument in the meantime. I realize your time window is narrower.

Very best of luck in your search.
Posted by: Mark...

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/11/13 11:48 PM

The longer you wait the better you will be able to evaluate a piano. Historically most people give up piano within a year or two, so it might save you some expense if you make sure the piano bug sticks.
Posted by: Plowboy

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/11/13 11:51 PM

You won't go wrong getting a Kawai or Yamaha. If you get a chance check out Charles Walter and W. Hoffmann, both are very fine pianos.

Whatever you do, don't buy a Steingraeber. I hear you'll regret it.
Posted by: Steven Y. A.

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/12/13 12:07 AM

my recommendation would be Yamaha U1/U3 or Kawai K3/K5...
I feel U3 and K5 are significantly better than U1/K3...
Posted by: HalfStep

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/12/13 12:28 AM

Originally Posted By: Plowboy
You won't go wrong getting a Kawai or Yamaha. If you get a chance check out Charles Walter and W. Hoffmann, both are very fine pianos.

Whatever you do, don't buy a Steingraeber. I hear you'll regret it.


I heard the same about Steingraeber! I'd love to regret it, if I could afford it that is!

Cassie's mom, go with whatever feels right. I've been happy with my last 3 pianos based solely on what I felt when trying them out. At the end of the day, it's a personal choice...
Posted by: 4evrBeginR

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/12/13 12:29 AM

I think it would be inaccurate to characterized the Essex and Boston pianos as "sold by Steinway dealers". These are Steinway products. The fact that Essex is made in China by Pearl River does not make them non-Steinway products. Everything is made by a contract manufacturer in China these days. I generally never say my Apple iPhone or iPad, is made in China by Foxconn, so it's a Foxconn phone; who does that? Or perhaps all iPhone and iPad are not really Apple products because they are only designed by Apple and not made by Apple in an Apple factory in the USA. Foxconn, just like Pearl River, makes every brand of electronics, not just for Apple, but for HP, DELL, just about everyone else. The Essex EUP123 is completely different from other Pearl River pianos, and just as different from the Ritmüller pianos even though they all came out of the same factory. This is the same situation with Foxconn products.
Posted by: HalfStep

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/12/13 12:31 AM

Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
I think it would be inaccurate to characterized the Essex and Boston pianos as "sold by Steinway dealers". These are Steinway products. The fact that Essex is made in China by Pearl River does not make them non-Steinway products. Everything is made by a contract manufacturer in China these days. I generally never say my Apple iPhone or iPad, is made in China by Foxconn, so it's a Foxconn phone; who does that? Or perhaps all iPhone and iPad are not really Apple products because they are only designed by Apple and not made by Apple in an Apple factory in the USA. Foxconn, just like Pearl River, makes every brand of electronics, not just for Apple, but for HP, DELL, just about everyone else. The Essex EUP123 is completely different from other Pearl River pianos, and just as different from the Ritmuller pianos even though they all came out of the same factory. This is the same situation with Foxconn products.


Nice analogy!
Posted by: DMT3339

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/12/13 12:38 AM

Might want to wait until you have found a good teacher and have him / her go with you to help evaluate the pianos you have found that you like.

Dave T.
Posted by: 4evrBeginR

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/12/13 12:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Cassiesmom

Realistically (in your opinions) will I have any more knowledge of the touch and tone I want after just 6 months of playing, than I would by looking now?... I can tell pretty much what i Don't like right now, and more or less what I do. But, when I get into more difficult classical repetoire will my opinions or needs be likely to change?


Basically, yes. The longer you play, the more you can judge one piano from another. Right now, you might as well stick with you old Roland for 6 months before acting on your impulse to buy something immediately. What's nice to you now may not be so nice to you in 6 months, a year, or two. Take your time to get through the initial phase of piano lessons, get used to your teacher's piano, then start looking later.

As you get into more difficult piano repertore, your need will change, and you will more than likely want a grand piano, or the best upright you could get, so even more reason to resist buying right away.

Posted by: Cassiesmom

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/12/13 01:16 AM

Thanks for all your responses folks !

My present skill level is probably a low intermediate. In addition to the advice to take more time, I think the suggestions to perhaps take a teacher (when I get one) along to advise on something appropriate for my current skill set and goals is very sound. I was starting to tempted to be impusive, but I think I do need to step back for a while.

Thanks all, and for the piano suggestions ! Maybe I should just continue to save until I can get the Steingraeber grin


Regards,
C.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/12/13 07:19 AM

I've played a few Essex verticals recently and I was impressed with them in their price range.

If you ever get to Philadelphia, the Cunningham verticals are definitely worth checking out.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/12/13 07:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark...
The longer you wait the better you will be able to evaluate a piano. Historically most people give up piano within a year or two, so it might save you some expense if you make sure the piano bug sticks.


I disagree with this statement. Perhaps if the OP waits loner, they will lose interest in piano because they're playing on a clunky old DP? Nothing is more inspiring than investing in a beautiful instrument that you love the sound and feel of.

To the OP: I know you said that you wanted to buy a piano that would last so you wouldn't have to get another down the road, but understand as you grow pianistically, your tastes will change and develop. So the best advice is to buy the biggest piano that you can afford - all other things being equal (quality, age, maintenance, etc.).

For uprights, for example, you will want to find the tallest one you can afford. If you are looking for used pianos you might be able to swing something a bit larger, and not pay top dollar for it. This makes it a bit easier when you wish to upgrade down the road. However, the trade off is that you don't have a warranty, and there might be a bit of maintenance to catch up on if the previous owner didn't have it tuned regularly.

At any rate, take your time, try out a bunch of different pianos, write down your feelings on each, and when you find the right one, you'll know.
Posted by: Supply

Re: When to look for a piano? - 02/12/13 12:34 PM

I would not ignore the used (private) market. Used pianos are quite cheap these days. With people giving away pianos that actually play for free, it pulls the price downward on any decent used pianos.

If you are not in a rush, you can keep an eye on local listings and there is little doubt that within a few months you can come across a really great deal.

Not only will someone else have taken the depreciation hit, if your piano interest subsides after a year or two, you don't have a $5000 piano sitting there that you can hardly sell for $2800.

If your piano interest really fires up, you can re-sell your used piano for what you paid for it and upgrade from there.

Talk to a local piano technician for some guidance and advice.
Posted by: Cassiesmom

Re: When to look for a piano? - 04/19/13 12:38 AM

Hey Folks,

Just wanted to thank everyone for all their helpful thoughts and advice on this thread a couple of months ago. I DID decide to buy a piano sooner rather than later as I recently found a teacher (Super Excited-we're about 6 weeks into lessons) who will only teach students who have an acoustic piano. Anyway, it was a good enough reason to push me into buying one now. smile

I went with the Kawai K5 as I liked the touch/tone better than anything else I tried. In addition to the Yamaha U1's that I tried and like very much (both new and used), the other considerations were a used Charles Walter, and a used Petrof, but when I went back to the K5 each time, it felt like "AHHH, this one's just right".

It was delivered 2 weeks ago and i LOVE it....it's been an adjustment from my old digital, but WHAT a difference to play.. LOVE LOVE LOVE

I'm very happy with my decision, and, as a result of the extensive research on these boards (along with the recommended Piano Buyer/Larry Fine piano books) I felt confident that I also received a reasonable purchase price.

Thank you all,

Regards,
c.
Posted by: ClsscLib

Re: When to look for a piano? - 04/19/13 05:45 AM

Originally Posted By: Plowboy
You won't go wrong getting a Kawai or Yamaha. If you get a chance check out Charles Walter and W. Hoffmann, both are very fine pianos.

Whatever you do, don't buy a Steingraeber. I hear you'll regret it.



Non, je ne regrette rien.

Almost, anyway.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: When to look for a piano? - 04/19/13 08:32 AM

Congratulations on your new piano!

Enjoy!

Rick
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: When to look for a piano? - 04/19/13 09:14 AM

Congratulations!

Sometimes a piano just fits and calls to you. It's the best way to find the 'right' piano.

Enjoy - Enjoy - Enjoy!
Posted by: Cassiesmom

Re: When to look for a piano? - 04/21/13 03:37 AM

Thanks guys ... I am loving it !!! And my new teacher even mentioned I am now playing more legato!!!! Yay! (After practicing on my digital, I was having a hard time playing on her grand during lessons)