New Kawai K5 or used Petrof 135K

Posted by: usywliu

New Kawai K5 or used Petrof 135K - 12/14/09 09:44 PM

Hi, I'm looking for an upright piano for my son who started about a year ago on a Casio P-800 and picked up quickly. We find a floor model Kawai K5 at a local dealer and an used 5 year old Petrof 135K from a professional pianist from other state. The price difference is about $1.5K.

Since we don't play piano, the only source of information is by reading reviews and comments on the internet. But there is not a direct compare between Kawai K5 and Petrof 135 (or may be 125/131). Hope any of you who know both pianos can give us some recommendation and advice. You help will be highly appreciated. Thanks
Posted by: turandot

Re: New Kawai K5 or used Petrof 135K - 12/15/09 02:31 AM

I'll assume that you don't give the specific prices because you don't want to.

The Petrof 135 is basically the Petrof 131 in a taller cabinet. It is outfitted with a sostenuto pedal instead of a practice pedal. A sostenuto pedal used to be available in the 131, but was discontinued in that model when the 135 came on the scene. It's really all about marketing.

For a player in the early years, the sostenuto pedal is no big deal. It might never become a big deal either. It is used in some classical music, but little else. The practice pedal might actually be a more useful feature in a home piano.

The cabinet of the 135 is kind of oddball. If you've seen one, you'll know what I mean. The piano is so tall it seems a little top-heavy by modern standards and the rounded edges at the top somehow don't come off well (IMO).

If the new Kawai has a verified maker warranty from Kawai and happens to be the cheaper of the two pianos, I think that it's the way to go. I like Petrofs. I own one. But for your child's needs I would go with the K5. It's an excellent piano. It's touch may seem very stiff to a young child transitioning from a digital, but young hands develop strength quickly when they need to.

Another point is resale. You never can be sure how long a child's motivation will last. All you can do is hope for the best. Should your child give up the piano after a couple of years or develop to the point where you want a grand piano, the Kawai will surely be a very desirable used piano that someone will be happy to buy. I can't say that with any certainty about the Petrof. The company is not in a particularly strong position in the market these days even though it also makes excellent products. The oddball styling wouldn't help resale either.

If you do go with the private sale Petrof, get it checked out by a technician. These days everyone and his cousin claims to be a professional pianist. It doesn't mean much.

Posted by: usywliu

Re: New Kawai K5 or used Petrof 135K - 12/15/09 10:05 AM

Hi turandot, thank you very much for your advice and agree with your points!

But 135 is 52 inch inside and k5 is 49 inch, from the piano's "performance" point of view (such as tone, base, balance etc), under normal tuning/regulation/prep conditions, should 135 be better sounding than k5, or not very big deal.

This is the point where I'm flipping and flopping back and forth. 135 costs more plus shipping. But it's bigger... A better sounding piano gives some kind of incentive to kid to keep playing and practicing.
Posted by: turandot

Re: New Kawai K5 or used Petrof 135K - 12/15/09 05:44 PM

Yikes, you ask tough questions!

First of all, the inches. I would judge the tone as you find it to be and ignore the inches. The simplistic [taller=better] answer doesn't work within one maker's models and certainly doesn't work comparing brands.

The balance. IMO both pianos are pretty well balanced.

The bass. Kawai pianos have a buildup of texture in the bass that appeals to many. To others some clarity is lost in that cumulative effect. I'm in the second group, but it's a personal taste thing, and in the K5-6-8 models I think it's not really an issue at all. Again, you be the judge

The action. Like I said, the transition from a Casio digital would be rougher with the Kawai. You do want to get your child's reaction to the action. (Action reaction.....how about that? grin )

Incentive for a child. Most children should be thrilled with either piano. I think the Petrof has a delicate musical quality that is different from what the Kawai can offer, but the K5 is no slouch.

If push came to shove, I might personally opt for the Petrof if the prices were equal. However, a new K5 is a loaded piano with so much great stuff built into it and, provided that you have a clear warranty, it is protected by a company that really makes an effort to satisfy customers. Since I'm not saying that about Petrof, you can draw your own conclusions.

New K5 + $1500 + tech inspection cost + moving expense - warranty = used Petrof 135.

I don't like that equation.
Posted by: usywliu

Re: New Kawai K5 or used Petrof 135K - 12/15/09 11:22 PM

Hi turandot, Thanks a lot for your inputs! Today I talked shortly with my kid's piano teacher, I think she feels that my kid has certain potential and deserves the investment of a baby grand. Our room is small for baby grand (a 6' will occupy half of the room) and it's too pricey for us. I thought I was close at the end of the tunnel...looks like there is still some way to go.
Posted by: terminaldegree

Re: New Kawai K5 or used Petrof 135K - 12/15/09 11:38 PM

How old is your child?
I had played piano consistently for about 9 years before my family invested in a used grand (I was 15). That sort of request after 1 year of playing is more than a little unusual- not that there's anything wrong with buying a grand piano.

What does this teacher feel is appropriate? Have they tried either of the uprights you mention?
Posted by: turandot

Re: New Kawai K5 or used Petrof 135K - 12/15/09 11:48 PM

Ditto Terminal's reaction. I just hope that the teacher didn't tell you a place were she could get you a discount or that she knew of a great grand for sale.

A teacher whose student is moving from a Casio 800 to a professional grade upright should be more than satisfied.

Do not strain your finances or space. Your child's talent will develop best with your support, praise (when warranted), and encouragement.

Your child's talent will not be held back by either of the terrific pianos you were considering
Posted by: WhiteBear

Re: New Kawai K5 or used Petrof 135K - 12/16/09 12:09 AM

May I ask a related question:
this really excellent choice of professional uprights vs. a budget baby grand (e.g. Kawai GM-10K or 5-feet Samick or Young Chang) what are the pluses and minuses for developing child's talent's?
Posted by: gutenberg

Re: New Kawai K5 or used Petrof 135K - 12/16/09 12:16 AM

I don't know what your financial situation is. IMO you would have to spend substantially more to get a used grand that exceeds the K5 or the 135. If no one else in the family plays, and money is a little tight, it makes very little sense to me to look at grands.

Several years ago when I was looking at uprights, it came down to the K5 and the Petrof 131. (As Turandot points out the 135 is basically a 131 in a larger cabinet with a different pedal). I went with the Petrof for several reasons. Mainly I liked the darker sound of the Petrof (at the time I had only 1 of each to play and I went back and forth between stores). Also I'm not a fan of the little folding music desk of the K5. Its small and low and I kept hitting it with my fingers.

But both have an action that I have found superior to many grands I have played. Either one will serve your son well for many many years.
Posted by: gutenberg

Re: New Kawai K5 or used Petrof 135K - 12/16/09 12:44 AM

WhiteBear, imo, when it comes to developing a child's talent, budget baby grands have no action benefits (or pluses) over quality uprights such as those mentioned. Nor, imo, do they have sound benefits.