Baby Grand vs Full Size Upright

Posted by: TheAccompanist

Baby Grand vs Full Size Upright - 06/24/13 02:19 AM

Hello!
So I am planning on upgrading from my Australian built, and completely restored 48" Wertheim upright (when I say completely restored, I mean 14 years ago), so I am shopping for a baby grand, and along my search I played a few 52" uprights and now they are on my short list, which I have narrowed down to a Yamaha U3, Kawai US50 and a Toyama Baby grand.
(Yes, I am on a tight budget! frown )

The Toyama had a very nice action and the sound was actually quite impressive for a 5 foot grand- Better than the Yamaha and Kawai 'equivalents' (I also tried the Kawai GM10- the action was nice, but the sound was quite yuck and muddy, and every one I tried had a strange feeling pedal action. And after accompanying everyday all day for a week for a big singing competition on a Yamaha GB1K, I was sworn off them! sick ) I felt that the action of the Toyama was a little on the firmer side (which is what I prefer!) and like I said, the sound was quite good too! However, there is not much on the internet about Toyama so I am a little cautious in purchasing a piano that has not built a name for itself yet!

I also tried a few Yamaha U3s (I know some people say there is nothing wrong with Grey Market pianos, but I am trying to avoid them- better to be safe than sorry?) I really liked the action, as they were somewhat firm (Were not overly firm but had some resistance to them!) but the sound was not as good as I have read it to be... But that might also be due to the show room! I felt the sound of the piano I tried after to be a lot more full and round, and powerful, and that piano was the Kawai US50!
The Kawai has an awesome sound, however, the action was a little too light for my liking- it was extremely responsive, and it felt nice to play, its just a little too light for my liking... However I love the design so much more than the Yamaha!

Which is why I have come here! I am torn between the 3 and can't decide! I have read many threads on here and most people say "Go with the one you like the most" but I would like to get some other thoughts, and maybe your experiences too, and hopefully they will try and help me make my decision!

Also, I tried some Alex Steinbach baby grands (built by Samick) and I found the actions on them to be rather choppy and clunky! Anyone else feel this?
Posted by: michaelha

Re: Baby Grand vs Full Size Upright - 06/24/13 03:45 AM

I've never seen or heard of Toyama either. I say keep playing pianos until you find "the one." Are you in a hurry or something? It took me 6+ months of semi-casual shopping to find the one I wanted and could afford.
Posted by: williambonard

Re: Baby Grand vs Full Size Upright - 06/24/13 07:20 AM

Likewise, I too, have never heard of Toyama. I agree with michaelh, keep shopping until you think you've found 'the one'. Choosing a piano should not be a job that is rushed. I know everyone says it, and in some regard it is a bit of a cliché, but you should go with the one that you like the most - it speaks volumes.

It's a tricky decision. The Toyama is only 5' which is small therefore you run the risk of having a poor bass for a grand piano. A lot of the time, people suggest getting a large upright is better than a small grand because you'll generally get a better tonal palette and certainly stronger bass. I know grands are a lot more aesthetically pleasing but I think you'd rather a piano that plays nicer than it looks!

The Yamaha U3 will be a good piano. Yamahas are known for their well built actions. You say you didn't like the sound as much as Kawai; I generally find Yamahas to be too bright for my liking. When I find one that isn't, it's usually rather nice to play! - stay away from the GB1K though, on all levels. I know you say you were sworn off them anyway, but it's just a note.

Keep looking around and don't hesitate to try any piano that's offered to you. You'll be surprised as to what you may find.
Posted by: jdw

Re: Baby Grand vs Full Size Upright - 06/24/13 07:39 AM

I haven't heard of Toyama either. If I were looking to compare with the less expensive Yamaha or Kawai pianos, I would see if I could find a Hailun or Brodmann to play. Don't know if these are available in your area.
Posted by: TheAccompanist

Re: Baby Grand vs Full Size Upright - 06/25/13 11:00 AM

Thanks everyone for your thoughts smile

Originally Posted By: jdw
I would see if I could find a Hailun or Brodmann to play. Don't know if these are available in your area.

Unfortunately (unless I am looking in the wrong spots!) those brands are not available in Australia smirk

This short list has come together from 6+ months shopping around D: and the characteristics I speak of in the Yamaha U3 and Kawai US50 apply to pretty much every one around... I tried quite a few U3s and US50s!

Honestly, the Toyama was actually quite impressive- the bass was pretty good too given the size! Much better than the Yamaha GB1k and Kawai GM10! I got the "this is the one" feeling when I played it, and I would have bought it then and there! However, because there is not much information around about this brand, I am very hesitant to purchase one.
I can get one on a 12 month rental plan, and then at the end of the 12 months I can either give it back, continue renting for another 12 months, or purchase it with the 12 months rent payments being deducted from the price- this could perhaps be a good idea? Cause at least I can see how the piano holds up for 12 months, and if it starts developing problems, I can just 'give it back' at the end of the 12 months, or if I like it and its holding up well, I can purchase it... Thoughts?