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#201880 - 08/25/08 05:53 AM Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
Cassandra Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/24/08
Posts: 1
Hello,

I am beginning my search for a piano for my 5 years old daughter. She has always loved music and has been taking piano lessons for almost half a year now and seems to really enjoy it. She is presently struggling every week at lessons because of having to adjust from practicing on a small keyboard at home to playing on an acoustic piano in class.

I have absolutely no knowledge of pianos and so have asked a friend who has some knowledge to accompany me to a few piano stores. I did not like any of the entry level pianos presented to me though at the end of the day, I may just end up with one.

One step up from the entry level piano, it seems, are some that I am interested in, namely the Boston UP-118E and the Yamaha U1.

A lot of information and opinions (usually all very positive) are available regarding Steinway & Sons pianos on the internet, but do they necessarily apply to Boston pianos? Particularly those that are now being manufactured by Kawaii?

I have heard that Yamaha pianos may not be as well constructed today as they were 20 years ago, and that some of the current pricing is inflated due to their unique marketing costs. Are there any facts substantiating any of these?

Of these two pianos, which is the better built?

Of these two pianos, which is the better value for the money if their prices are comparable?

Thank you in advance for all information and tips.

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#201881 - 08/25/08 06:33 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
Konzert Patrick Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 791
Loc: The Netherlands
Yamaha has the best quality for the price and a very good reputation, the U1 is an excellent professional upright piano and will last you a life time, the construction is better these days because of better technology. Boston is a good piano but over priced because of the Steinway name involved.
Ultimately the most important is the sound and the feel of the piano, take your daughter to the store and let her play them both, then evaluate.
Quality / price the Yamaha is the best deal.

Good luck,
Patrick
_________________________
Schimmel Konzert 189 Tradition

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#201882 - 08/25/08 08:16 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
Rank Piano Amateur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1788
Steinway never made Boston pianos--I just wanted to point that out, given that you referred to Bostons "that are now being manufactured by Kawai." If you like Bostons, you might want to try out Kawais directly.

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#201883 - 08/25/08 08:19 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
Louis H. Bousquet Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/08
Posts: 350
Loc: Stratford, Ontario, Canada
Im with Pat, Kawai is a great name but only if thats the name on the front of the piano. I would go with Yamaha, a great starter piano. I also agree with Rank, they are direct competition so try Kawai out as well.
_________________________
Louis Bousquet

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#201884 - 08/25/08 08:20 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
TheCaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 224
Loc: Simi Valley, CA
Welcome Cassandra,

Unfortunately, there are no absolute answers to your questions. It's your subjective answers that count. If you can, I might also add Kawaii pianos to the mix. They are similar to the Boston, and will likely be less expensive.

All of these pianos will last a virtual lifetime and provide you with a wonderful experience. Don't worry for a second about Yamahas not being made as good as 20 years ago. It's not true.

As for the Boston piano, it is part of Steinway, but is not a Steinway (or a Kawaii for that matter). It's a unique piano designed by Steinway and manufactured by Kawaii. It shares some, but not all components. It's quality is excellent.

So the bottom line is that you have to decide which piano you like and feel most comfortable with. Do you want to be part of the Steinway family, with support from a Steinway dealer? Then the Boston is a good choice.

Is price the more important factor? Then consider a choice between Kawaii or Yamaha. If you like Yamaha's brighter sound, you might also look at the T118, which has a lot of similarities to a U1, but for about $2K less.

In the end, if price is really important, don't turn your nose up at the entry level pianos from respected dealers. They too will give you years of excellent service, and are far better than having no piano at all.

Good luck in your search, and above all else, have fun.

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#201885 - 08/25/08 08:24 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
Louis H. Bousquet Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/08
Posts: 350
Loc: Stratford, Ontario, Canada
Amen to what theCaz said.
_________________________
Louis Bousquet

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#201886 - 08/25/08 09:00 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10386
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Cassandra,

As GC1Patrick notes, there is certainly some mileage in letting your daughter try the different makes, and you may indeed factor what she says into your decision. I would caution, however, against letter her choose. Kids often prefer the lightest action, even if a piano with a more precise and responsive action gets vetoed as a result.

The Yamaha U1, and the various Kawais and Boston Kawais are all fine pianos. We have argued at length about who designed this or that, and whether one is overpriced or not, but at the end of the day they are all fine machines. Let your ears and hands help you decide. Even if you yourself do not play, your friend can instruct you (if they are knowledgeable enough) in what to look at in terms of tone and action differences and then you can experience it for yourself. Just play notes and chords. Run your hand up the keyboard one note at a time to hear and feel how the beast responds to your touch.


Louis,

I know you are looking for a grand piano, but have you played any of these verticals? If so, what did you think?
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#201887 - 08/26/08 02:25 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
 Quote:
I have heard that Yamaha pianos may not be as well constructed today as they were 20 years ago, and that some of the current pricing is inflated due to their unique marketing costs. Are there any facts substantiating any of these?
Can one assume that this statement was made by the Boston dealer.? For the Boston dealer to make a statement like that one would think he was describing his own piano.
\:D
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Largest selection in the USA
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#201888 - 08/26/08 04:39 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
crispin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/17/08
Posts: 80
Loc: france
The list price for a black Boston UP 118E is 9,950 euros in France (11,800 euros in other finishes). Maybe one should be able to get 10 to 20 % discount. I have ho idea of the american price - but I find this european price relatively high.

The Boston was on our original list of pianos... but we were side tracked by the Zimmermann uprights (these may be called Bechstein Academy in the US). We never managed to find a Boston until after a Bechstein Academy A124 decided that it had found its new owner (I am not sure this model is available in the US). Later we found and tried a Boston - and this made us even happier with our Bechstein.

Anyway - I don't want this to be a Bechstein advert... the point is that if you are looking at Bostons ... in this price range you have a big choice of high quality pianos to chose from.... take your time and get a knowledgeable friend or teacher to help you when you have a short list!

Regarding getting a piano with a light touch for children - by chance we went the other way and my son started with an old second hand Rosler (pre Berlin wall coming down) that has a very heavy touch... excellent for starting on since it forces a big emphasis on articulation... however after some time (3 years in our case) I could see that this heavy touch was preventing development - everything he played with this heavy touch in mind. Now with the new Bechstein I can already see the improvement. So for starters a heavy touch really helps with developing articulation - but then may hinder development of musical expression- but I do not think a super light touch is the solution - you need a 'piano of expression' as they say over here.

As an aside - the old Rosler has yet to find a new home so it sits next to the Bechstein - there is such a difference in sound quality and touch that one understands why getting a good/excellent piano is worth it.

Finally I do not want to knock present day Roslers (made by Petrof). In our search for a new piano - we tried the new Rosler ... and these are excellent pianos (good tone and pleasant touch at a very good price)... but the Bechstein we liked more.

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#201889 - 08/26/08 05:08 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
Barbara G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 495
Loc: N. Texas
Since you are asking several things:

I agree with crispin. You also stated that a U1 seems to be a step up from entry level. Actually it is several steps up. It is truly a piano which is a "professional upright" and is good enough for college training and practice. As the discussion above talks about heaviness of touch. The Yamaha has a lighter touch and is preferred by children and people with smaller hands. The truth is that you do not want your daughter developing pain and problems from a heavy touch.

If you do not like shopping for a piano, then just buy the U1. If you like shopping then expand your list to other very nice uprights which are made in the far east and central Europe. (Kawai, Young Chang, Samich, Hailun, Petrof, Bechstein Academic, Bohemia, Kanabe, Vogel, etc.) plus the very nice US made brand of Charles Walters. For well under $10,000 you can get a wonderful Charles Walter that most people consider better than the pianos that you are looking at. www.walterpiano.com

If you are concerned about maybe having to sell the piano in the future, then the Yamaha will be the easiest to resell. And it should still look and play great in 35 years like our 35 year old U1 which has been played a lot.
_________________________
Master of Music, School Teacher, Church Musician- See "Our Adventure to a New grand" thread... http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/18212.html

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#201890 - 08/26/08 06:17 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
Starting Over Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 1290
Loc: Toronto
Both Boston and Yamaha are fine pianos in general with excellent build quality. As for which is the better value, that's more difficult but the U1 might have a bit of edge on resale value if only because they are so well known and have such high market acceptance. I have owned one since 1976 and it still sounds like a Yamaha U1 and holds it's tune perfectly.

Also, I have seen absolutely no evidence that the quality of the Japanese built Yamahas (U1 and C Series grands) has slipped in recent years. None. The new ones are top notch. I am not suggesting at all that their Asian built pianos have quality issues but I have never looked at them so I simply have no opinion.
_________________________
Buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it.
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#201891 - 08/26/08 07:26 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14141
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
 Quote:
A lot of information and opinions (usually all very positive) are available regarding Steinway & Sons pianos on the internet, but do they necessarily apply to Boston pianos? Particularly those that are now being manufactured by Kawaii?
They always *have*.

Regarding your other question you are obviously *brand* driven in your search - Yamaha,Kawai and Boston are some of the best known pianos in the industry and it's anybody's guess *what* if any major difference may there be between them...

Basically it's become a simple matter of budget, and sometimes - hehe- sometimes I say... "personal preference"...

[Hard to do for parents perhaps not playing themselves... \:o ]

Your search would perhaps be a bit different if you were perhaps more "sound" or "tone"- driven -something easier to do for players themselves - as there would be several other "as good" or even 'better' - definitely "more interesting" options on the market today.

Bear in mind that "built quality" is rapidly approaching very similiar levels in the industry today involving more noticeable differences pertaining rather to specific *models* by same maker today than amongst comparable 'brands' as a whole.

[Of course some want you to believe that Olympic Stadiums built in one country will always be much better than in another... ;\) ]

For this reason people in today's market can and often do choose also among some other brands, brands which have put a lot of focus on 'tone quality' - new boys on the block need to sometimes go the extra mile to establish themselves after all...

But now I must stop as I'm getting into rather hot territory and my accusers are getting ready to load their rusty howitzers... ;\)

Good luck in your shopping!

Norbert
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#201892 - 08/26/08 10:56 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
Louis H. Bousquet Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/08
Posts: 350
Loc: Stratford, Ontario, Canada
No Piano dad, but I have had a dealer or two tell me that bostons are only OK, even though he was selling Bostons himself. Then again, he was trying to sell me a redone $42000 1927 Steinway B. And I have tried to find a good comparison online but can anyone tell me the differences between Bechstein Academy and C. bechstein. The website does'nt say much. I heard that they just cut back on the finish and exterior features but retain the same performance and quality of the C, can anyone help me on that?
_________________________
Louis Bousquet

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#201893 - 08/26/08 06:04 PM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
schwammerl Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/06
Posts: 2012
Loc: Belgium
 Quote:
And I have tried to find a good comparison online but can anyone tell me the differences between Bechstein Academy and C. bechstein. The website does'nt say much.
Louis,

This forum talked about it, e.g.:

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/21277.html#000000

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/22024.html#000000

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/22058/2.html#000035

schwammerl.

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#201894 - 08/27/08 01:13 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
Louis H. Bousquet Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/08
Posts: 350
Loc: Stratford, Ontario, Canada
Also, is there any where to get good information on Bosendorfer and its conservatory model differences? Thanks for the hepl though Schwammerl, very informative.
_________________________
Louis Bousquet

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#201895 - 08/27/08 01:34 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
Louis. You are claiming to be 14 (though I am wondering f you are younger) and hence the dealer wasn't trying to sell YOU anything.

Any Bosie dealer would be happy to explain the differences to you, although he will quickly conclude that he is wasting his time.
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#201896 - 08/27/08 02:17 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3334
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
 Quote:
Originally posted by AJB:

Any Bosie dealer would be happy to explain the differences to you, although he will quickly conclude that he is wasting his time. [/b]
Which makes your theoretical Bosie salesmen smarter than many on this forum.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
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#201897 - 08/27/08 02:36 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
wavelength Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 340
Loc: Vermont, USA
I would reccomend Yamaha over Boston. I own a Boston. Yes, Bostons are overpriced because of the Steinway connection. No, the "Steinway Promise" that they hype in the sales pitch doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

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#201898 - 08/27/08 08:43 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
Louis H. Bousquet Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/08
Posts: 350
Loc: Stratford, Ontario, Canada
I read a book called blink about the way people's minds work, by Malcom Gladwell, and he makes an analogy about that kind of thing AJB. If a teen comes into a car dealership that you should'nt push them a side because they could come back with their parents and a check, as long as I did'nt look to " impoverished" and I was knowledgeable about buying a piano they would'nt make snap judgements and they would answer my questions happily.
_________________________
Louis Bousquet

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#201899 - 08/27/08 10:53 PM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
Louis - I think you have, perhaps unsurprisingly, missed my point. It is not your age that is the main issue here, it is the absence of maturity evident in your questions. Your style of posting at times indicates that you seek confrontation rather than polite and intelligent discourse. You do not, I am afraid, come across as anything remotely resembling "knowledgeable".

However, at this point I shall stop feeding the troll.

Kind regards

Adrian
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#201900 - 08/28/08 04:04 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
terminaldegree Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2738
Loc: western Wisconsin
 Quote:
Originally posted by Cassandra:

One step up from the entry level piano, it seems, are some that I am interested in, namely the Boston UP-118E and the Yamaha U1.

I have heard that Yamaha pianos may not be as well constructed today as they were 20 years ago, and that some of the current pricing is inflated due to their unique marketing costs. Are there any facts substantiating any of these?
[/b]
I would consider both pianos a serious step up from entry-level. The comment about the quality of construction in the Yamaha is a total lie. The pricing being inflated is possibly an issue with both pianos: Yamaha is a well-known trusted brand, and Boston is associated with Steinway (where things are never inexpensive). I have always been pretty partial to the U1: I had to learn my final doctoral recital on one not too long ago, and it held up to hours upon hours of being thrashed with the Rachmaninoff Sonata #2 surprisingly well. It will handle a 5-year old beginner just fine!

Of course, there are other brands worth consideration in your price range (though harder to find) if you want to venture into good-quality lesser known makers. Some of them are more musically interesting, but resale would be more difficult because they are not names that everyone knows...
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#201901 - 08/29/08 04:14 PM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
Rich Galassini Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9310
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
There are some good comments here so far, but I should add that although the Yamie U1, Boston 118, and Kawai verts. are marketed at similar price points, there are different designs between them, therefore different, if not better or worse, performance.

IMHO, the Boston 118E would be at the bottom of my list simply because I have seen them age in an institutional situation. They seem to be built to compete more with Yamies T series than their U series.

Between the larger Kawai K series and the Yamaha U series, I say choose the one you love.

One thought - Jordang mentioned the Walter piano, which has a warmer sound and higher build quality throughout. Because of the present global economic situation they may be found for about the same as a Yamie U1. They are worth a gander. \:\)

Good Luck with your choice,
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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#201902 - 08/29/08 06:07 PM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14141
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Rich:

How much is a 'gander'?

Norbert
_________________________
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Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#201903 - 08/31/08 06:43 PM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
TheCaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 224
Loc: Simi Valley, CA
Norbert,

An American gander is the same as a Canadian look-see. \:D

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#201904 - 09/01/08 03:32 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha
Bear 1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/06
Posts: 1348
Loc: Hillsboro Beach South Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by Norbert:
Rich:

How much is a 'gander'?

Norbert [/b]
Oh, about the same as a good old fashion 'goose.' \:D

Bear
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46 Years in the Piano Industry
Retired Kawai/Shigeru Kawai Regional Manager
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#1156919 - 03/04/09 01:12 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha [Re: Barbara G]
Chris G Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 737
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Before you invest so much money on an instrument for your daughter you may want to understand more about why she is struggling. The most important things to learn during the first 6 months would be how to read music, the names of the notes on the staff, how to find those notes on the piano and how to read rhythm. None of this requires a $10,000 piano although having a fine instrument certainly would not hurt. I would suggest looking at instruments at a lower price point, including used pianos (but not too old) from reputable dealers. In the meantime you might want to understand why she is struggling. There are any number of possible reasons, maybe she feels under pressure to learn too quickly, maybe her teacher is pushing her too hard or maybe she finds it harder to perform in front of other people.

As she gets older and starts playing faster and more technical passages having a high end instrument will make a big difference but for a five year old there are many less expensive instruments that could work just as well.

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#1157010 - 03/04/09 08:30 AM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha [Re: Chris G]
dglo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/30/09
Posts: 103
Loc: New York
From my limited experience, I've been very UNimpressed with Boston pianos.....or Boston piano, to be exact. An old friend bought a Boston baby grand, and I couldn't wait to try it out since it was associated with Steinway. An incredible disappointment. My Knabe studio upright actually sounded better, and was easier to play. And my restored Sohmer grand has a depth of tone that the Boston couldn't even approach.

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#1157217 - 03/04/09 02:08 PM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha [Re: dglo]
Jeff Bauer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/03
Posts: 1718
Loc: Los Angeles
To LHB - regarding your questions, I suggest a new thread of your own (but research what others have posted first by using the search function).

To Cassandra: I owned a U1 for 10 years until late last year - it served me VERY well, and was a satisfying musical instrument. There is no substance to any claim that Yamaha better quality instruments 20 years ago - such an idiotic statement can only be made by two types of individuals:
1) Someone trying to sell you a used Yamaha
2) Someone trying to get you to forget a new Yamaha
_________________________
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Yamaha | Schimmel | Bösendorfer | Knabe | Seiler | Restored Steinway

BauerHouse Productions

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#1157240 - 03/04/09 02:44 PM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha [Re: Jeff Bauer]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
***OLD THREAD ALERT***

grin


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Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1157280 - 03/04/09 04:13 PM Re: Steinway Boston vs. Yamaha [Re: Horowitzian]
Jeff Bauer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/03
Posts: 1718
Loc: Los Angeles
Awwwww.... dang it. I am usually so good at avoiding that trap too..
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Yamaha | Schimmel | Bösendorfer | Knabe | Seiler | Restored Steinway

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