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#196456 - 09/22/06 10:17 AM Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
lisared Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 4
This forum has been really helpful in my search for a new piano. I have come across a Kohler & Campbell KC 647 that was a rental from a piano store. It is one of the bigger Millenium series uprights. It was only used for a few months and the store claims it is a 2006 model. The List price is close to $6K an they are selling it for $3620. The price seems good and the piano is beautiful and has a nice sound but I am hesitant based on all the information our there about these big Asian companies buying up American piano names and manufacturing them overseas. Is a Kohler and Campbell (i.e. Samick) a good piano name these days? How do they compare with the Yamahas? Also can anyone can tell me about the Essex that the piano stores are marketing as a inexpensive Steinway? How do they compare. I'd appreciate any and all advice. Thanks!

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#196457 - 09/22/06 10:41 AM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14051
Loc: Louisiana
Try the search function on this site.

I think you'll find quite a bit about both the Millenium pianos, and the Essex.
_________________________
www.coffee-room.com

Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#196458 - 09/23/06 05:19 AM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
Ivorytreasures.com Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/12/06
Posts: 25
Loc: Orange County, CA
The Essex is not an inexpensive Steinway. It is a piece of junk. Don't buy it please.

Kohler Campbell are very very poorly made instruments, trust me. Stay away from them as well.

At your price range (mid to high 3000's), I would try to get a used Yamaha U series, or even a Pearl River. That will be your best bet.

I have written a piano buying guide on my website where I compare each brand to a car brand:
www.ivorytreasures.com/pianobuyingguide.php
Enjoy.
_________________________
www.Ivorytreasures.com
The "itunes" for pop piano music lovers

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#196459 - 09/23/06 11:39 AM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
canonball Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 95
Loc: Austin, TX USA
Ivorytreasures, Excuse me, but how do you justify calling an Essex a piece of junk and then turn around and recommend a Pearl River?

When you state that Kohler and Campbell are very, very poorly made instruments, on what do you base your statement? Give us some facts if you please.

FYI,I am an Essex and a Kohler and Campbell dealer and would be happy to answer any specific questions regarding these lines. I'm not going to pitch them here, but I would be happy to help if I can. I am not a Yamaha dealer, but I have played them for years. The U series is a good upright. Depending on the piano, they can be very good, or very disappointing. If you are considering a used one, hire a tech to check it out for you.
_________________________
Mark Goodwin
Musician
Voice/Piano/Hammond B-3

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#196460 - 09/23/06 02:16 PM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
Craigen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/05
Posts: 1815
Loc: West Coast
Worked on K&C pianos for years. This is just one of the lines Samick Music Corp. makes. Kind of a middle of the road line. They have improved over the years like most others. I have recommended them to my clients on a budget. That 647 series is nice. They are no Yamaha, but faced with the alternative of a new K&C or a 20 yo Yamaha, I would go with the new K&C. According to Larry Fine's new suppliment, $3500 would be a better price. I don't know your market. If you like the tone, go for it.
_________________________
Piano Technician, member Piano Technicians Guild.

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#196461 - 09/23/06 02:42 PM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
ftp Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Philadelphia
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ivorytreasures.com:
The Essex is not an inexpensive Steinway. It is a piece of junk. Don't buy it please.

Kohler Campbell are very very poorly made instruments, trust me. Stay away from them as well.

At your price range (mid to high 3000's), I would try to get a used Yamaha U series, or even a Pearl River. That will be your best bet.

I have written a piano buying guide on my website where I compare each brand to a car brand:
www.ivorytreasures.com/pianobuyingguide.php
Enjoy. [/b]
Steve Siu

Welcome to PianoWorld-- always good to hear a pianists perspective. May I gently suggest that it is enough to make your commercial interests known in the byline on your thread and not in the body of your posts. We all appreciate passion around here and we all know people have different vested interests but are the plenty of venues to promote products on PW.

You can also be assured that Steinway holds no sacred ground on PW. Steinway is trashed early and often so opinions on less discussed matters from a pianist's perspective would be very valuable.

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#196462 - 09/23/06 05:01 PM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10479
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ivorytreasures.com:
The Essex is not an inexpensive Steinway. It is a piece of junk. Don't buy it please.

Kohler Campbell are very very poorly made instruments, trust me. Stay away from them as well.

At your price range (mid to high 3000's), I would try to get a used Yamaha U series, or even a Pearl River. That will be your best bet.

I have written a piano buying guide on my website where I compare each brand to a car brand:
www.ivorytreasures.com/pianobuyingguide.php
Enjoy. [/b]
You are WAY off in your opinions of K&C and off about Essex as well.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#196463 - 09/23/06 05:47 PM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
Frank Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/01
Posts: 379
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
lisared,
I have to agree with the above other posters.
K&C is actually quite a good value amd I represented both the Samick lines ( various names) and also had used Imported Yamahas when I was in retail a few years ago.
I looked at his ivorytreasure site!!
I suppose anyone can write a book but, that does not mean what is in it is so.
I sold many used Yamaha and Kawai to a certain segment of the population that revered Japanese and famous name associations rather than " A good piano and $ value" because they would look no further than what they believed the Brand name meant.
I sometimes have the same situation with my wife (of a certain segment of the population)when she says " But it's by... and famous"
He posts it on the forum.
Buy Larry Fines book, you will get some actual facts.

Frank Woodside
Heintzman Pianos
_________________________
Frank Woodside
www.hzmpiano.com

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#196464 - 09/24/06 06:26 AM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
Ivorytreasures.com Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/12/06
Posts: 25
Loc: Orange County, CA
Let me just say that I am not here to make enemies. What I write is true from the heart. And it just came to my attention that in this forum, there are usually three kinds of people. Normal people that wants to buy a piano and looking for advice. Dealers. and Technicians. I rarely see a single professional pianist here - and please just know that my opinions here is based on a performer's perspective, not a technical one. And my opinion is based on playing on multiple instruments of each brand. For example, I've play K&C at the dealer, trade shows, and also private homes. I also have done the same for Pearl River.

With that said, It is no surprise to me that almost all who disagree with my Statement is a dealer either for Essex or Kohler & Campbell.

Just becuase Steinway designed a piano for Pearl River or Young Chang to build, it doesn't mean any thing to me. In fact, when you say you own a Steinway at your house, it doesn't say anything to me - well, may be that you have a mediocre piano, that's about it.

Steinway also designed the Boston and is build by Kawai. I personally prefer the Kawai much better. The Boston seems to be a different animal, even though it is build by the same manufacture.

That explains why I prefer the Pearl River over the Essex - from a player's perspective. At this price point, PR is really not bad. I am surprised by their progress in the past few years!

As for the Kohler and Campbell - let me just say that I did a little house concert on one a few years ago on a 3 year old instrument . It was a 6 foot piano. I was playing with my usual force - nothing too dramatic or heavy. During the concert, suddenly one of the G5 string broke, and when I was done after an hour of playing, some of the unisons, which was perfectly tunned just hours before, were out. That tells me tuning stability is not up to par. Even at this price range, it could do better.

I have a philosphy when purchasing a piano. It is all about "price point" - get the best piano that you can buy with that budget.

For example, I recently helped a friend who has $15,000 for a 6" grand. Most normal consumer would go to the store to buy a K and C or a Essex. I found him an 8 year old Yamaha S4.

I may be a little harsh on my language and I apologize. But for close to 4 grand, I truly believe this person can buy a better instrument than her two alternatives. That's all.
_________________________
www.Ivorytreasures.com
The "itunes" for pop piano music lovers

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#196465 - 09/24/06 06:27 AM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
Ivorytreasures.com Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/12/06
Posts: 25
Loc: Orange County, CA
Let me just say that I am not here to make enemies. What I write is true from the heart. And it just came to my attention that in this forum, there are usually three kinds of people. Normal people that wants to buy a piano and looking for advice. Dealers. and Technicians. I rarely see a single professional pianist here - and please just know that my opinions here is based on a performer's perspective, not a technical one. And my opinion is based on playing on multiple instruments of each brand. For example, I've play K&C at the dealer, trade shows, and also private homes. I also have done the same for Pearl River.

With that said, It is no surprise to me that almost all who disagree with my Statement is a dealer either for Essex or Kohler & Campbell.

Just becuase Steinway designed a piano for Pearl River or Young Chang to build, it doesn't mean any thing to me. In fact, when you say you own a Steinway at your house, it doesn't say anything to me - well, may be that you have a mediocre piano, that's about it.

Steinway also designed the Boston and is build by Kawai. I personally prefer the Kawai much better. The Boston seems to be a different animal, even though it is build by the same manufacture.

That explains why I prefer the Pearl River over the Essex - from a player's perspective. At this price point, PR is really not bad. I am surprised by their progress in the past few years!

As for the Kohler and Campbell - let me just say that I did a little house concert on one a few years ago on a 3 year old instrument . It was a 6 foot piano. I was playing with my usual force - nothing too dramatic or heavy. During the concert, suddenly one of the G5 string broke, and when I was done after an hour of playing, some of the unisons, which was perfectly tunned just hours before, were out. That tells me tuning stability is not up to par. Even at this price range, it could do better.

I have a philosphy when purchasing a piano. It is all about "price point" - get the best piano that you can buy with that budget.

For example, I recently helped a friend who has $15,000 for a 6" grand. Most normal consumer would go to the store to buy a K and C or a Essex. I found him an 8 year old Yamaha S4.

I may be a little harsh on my language and I apologize. But for close to 4 grand, I truly believe this person can buy a better instrument than her two alternatives. That's all.
_________________________
www.Ivorytreasures.com
The "itunes" for pop piano music lovers

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#196466 - 09/24/06 07:31 AM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
Ivorytreasures.com Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/12/06
Posts: 25
Loc: Orange County, CA
Since my language was a little harsh (I was half a sleep, 4 a.m. in the morning, trying to express myself), please allow me to rephase my thoughts again, since I just now realize that a lot of you guys are dealers for these entry level brands, which accounts for a majority of your sales (pretty much your bread and butter), I am sure.

Essex is not a piece of junk and K and C are not very very poorly made instruments. They are simply entry level pianos for a very important market segment - perhaps I should not even participate in this kind of discussions in this segment because my expectations/needs is totally different from the typical buyers of these entry level pianos. With that said, I shall keep myself from commenting on the entry level segment of the piano market from now on this forum, since I am truly not here to create enemies or to be contraversial just for the sake of contraversia.
_________________________
www.Ivorytreasures.com
The "itunes" for pop piano music lovers

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#196467 - 09/24/06 08:01 AM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
mamma2my3sons Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/03
Posts: 746
Loc: Midwest of the great USA
Lisared, I've owned my Kohler & Campbell KCG600 for 2 years now. Bought it brand new. I've been very pleased. It is from the New York series. The millenium series you're considering is their top of the line K&C with upgraded specs.

Best wishes.

PS.In so far as recommending Pearl River (as someone did above) It is considered a very entry level Chinese offering. It uses a laminated soundboard which is typical of very low priced pianos. Think its disengenuous to recommend it over the Essex and Kohler and Campbells!

Happy shopping!

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#196468 - 09/24/06 09:58 AM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
gingersnapperus Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/20/06
Posts: 8
Loc: South Carolina
I don't play professionaly. I am not a dealer. I am total ignorant
about the quality of one piano or the next. BUT I have to defend IVORYTREASURES for his early morning remarks. Any guy who plays day in and day out on dozens of differnt pianos is bound to form some strong opinions about quality. And he's probaly the most objective of all because of that. Thank you IVORYTREASURES for your opinions!
And everyone who hasn't should visit his website to read his wonderfully written and informative guide to various brands... and listen to the gorgeous music! You da man, Steve!

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#196469 - 09/24/06 01:50 PM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
lisared Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 4
Wow! What an interesting series of responses. Just to add more info. to my original posting - I did some more research on the piano I was looking at and found out that it is not a Millenium K&C but the standard 47 1/2 vertical. I am purchasing it as a entry level piano for my husband (who hasn't played in 15 years) and my 7 year old daughter who is just learning but shows great promise. I liked the sound of K&C and realize that it does not have the full sound of many others but this is for my living room, not Carnegie Hall. The salsman helping me with the piano is a professional jazz pianist. He said it sounded good but can I trust him?

I am concerned about the price. The Blue Book listed it at $4300 and the dealer lists it for $6500 new. I thought $3600 was a good deal but your posts have made me question this. Is it commonplace and in proper form to negotiate a price? My next step if to get Larry Fine's book. I need to decide soon whether to pass on this piano. Any help is appreciated.

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#196470 - 09/24/06 03:05 PM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
ejsauter Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 564
Loc: Michigan
lisared, I played a couple of different Nordiska uprights yesterday which had very nice tone and touch. Not sure how they would hold up over time but the price is pretty good. They were next to a UX5 and although I like the tone of the UX5 better, if I was on a tight budget, I would probably give the Nordiska a solid look. You might search through the archives (which I have not) to see what others have said. This only bears out what is often said around here, look far and wide and play as many as you can.
_________________________
"The creative mind plays with the object it loves." -- Carl Jung

http://www.sauter-pianos.com

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#196471 - 09/24/06 03:14 PM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
terminaldegree Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2679
Loc: western Wisconsin
Hi lisared,

I would strongly recommend you get the most recent Fine pricing supplement. It is highly informational and entertaining, not to mention it elicits a wide range of reactions if you bring it with you to the dealerships... With regard to the "millenium" vs. standard series, make sure your decisions about what you prefer come from you and not the sales personnel/brochures. I admit that I don't really know the differences in your specific case.

Ivorytreasures.com,

I have read your guide. It's entertaining. It's not the last word in piano buying by a long shot, though (nor should any of our opinions replace the actual experience of going out and playing specific pianos). It doesn't get into enough specifics to be authoritative [example: well known makers producing in different factories, or the obvious difference in sound between a Steinway A vs. a B, or the fact that all Renner actions aren't the same], and I disagree with some of your points flat-out. [example: you don't like post-1980 steinways. But wait, those horrendous quality-controlled CBS/Fender Steinways also were built through the 1970's, right? not to mention the teflon action fiacso which dates back even further...]

There are more "professional" pianists on here than you think, granted many of them are more active in the "pianist corner" part of the forum. Some of the regular forum posters who don't identify themselves as "professionals" can and do play at a professional level. Most of the highest-echelon performers only play a few makes and models of piano on a regular basis, so their input is often useful in the realm of concert grands, but not at all helpful in the area of, say, uprights.

I wish you luck with your business and career. Please be humble.
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#196472 - 09/24/06 03:34 PM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
Jazzbo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 136

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#196473 - 09/24/06 04:45 PM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
lisared Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 4
Thanks, Jazzbo,
Your comments were helpful. I think I may go for it. It is being sold through a reputable dealer, with the full warranty and a 100% buy-back for 25 years as long as the next piano I purchase is at least twice the selling price of my current piano. Since I am only paying $3600 if I do want to trade up, it is likely that my next piano will be at least $7200 (Hard to find much below that in mid-level pianos.) I will read Fine's book first. Any final thoughts?

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#196474 - 09/24/06 06:44 PM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
Jazzbo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 136

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#196475 - 10/07/06 04:50 PM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
Craigen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/05
Posts: 1815
Loc: West Coast
I agree with Jazzbo re. Larry Fines opinions. He seems to present his thoughts as hard research, rather than his opinions and those of his cronies. His is the difinitire work, and has great informative value. His perspective is that of a tech., not a player or a consumer.
_________________________
Piano Technician, member Piano Technicians Guild.

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#196476 - 10/07/06 04:58 PM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
piano cellar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/06
Posts: 147
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Lisared--I believe the Fine list price is correct, and you really should be able to get that piano brand NEW, never rented out, for at least 20% below list! Stick to your guns on this one, call out the dealer for inflating the list price to you, and then tell them what you are willing to pay! If it is the right piano for you, everything will be cleared out of the way for it to happen.

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#196477 - 10/07/06 05:18 PM Re: Should I buy a Kohler and Campbell?
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jazzbo:

Keep in mind that Larry Fine is a guy that used to make his living as a piano technician and now has discovered a much more lucrative occupation as a writer and publisher. The comments in his book are not absolute facts, as some here on the PW forums would believe, but merely his opinions, and the opinions of a dozen or so technician/rebuilder types that he collaborates with. Like any other opinion you will find here, Larry's statements are just that, opinions. [/b]
Jazzbo, I'm afraid I disagree with your characterization of Larry and his methods. I met him when I was in the Boston PTG Chapter. He had to set up his own publishing company to put out his books, and it only produces his two: The Piano Book and the Annual Supplement. Since the main book hasn't been updated for five years, I doubt very much that publishing is that lucrative (it's #12,457 on Amazon).

Larry takes pains to describe his methods, and is open about the problems of evaluating pianos (see "The Myth of Objectivity" on p.76). The main book's results are based on 1300 opinions, not a few dozen.

While Larry's own opinions feature strongly in both books, they are based on his 20+ years of producing The Piano Book, including more factory visits than even AJB. And bias doesn't benefit him; the less objective the book, the less it will sell.

Of all the opinions expressed here (including my own), I rate his among the most credible.

It's important to know someone's background when evaluating opinions. That's why people associated with the piano industry are asked to indicate that in their signatures:
Forum Rules for Industry Professionals

--Cy--
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
www.shusterpiano.com
www.facebook.com/shusterpiano
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Registered Piano Technician
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