Acoustic Pianos

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GoldenGoose
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Acoustic Pianos

Post by GoldenGoose » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:11 am

Hi Bogleheaders.

Anyone on here knows about acoustic pianos? We are in the market for a piano and of course the wife likes to buy new so don't even bring up the buy-used topic. We have 2 kids just starting to take piano lessons and we eventually would like to learn as well. So I wonder any brands you would recommend. We went to a music store and were introduced to the Kawai brand. We almost made the purchase until I realized we haven't done DD yet. Last weekend we were introduced to the Schiller brand. Of course whichever salesperson we talked to, their brand would be the brand to buy. So we are looking for an upright piano for $7000 or less. Any inputs are appreciated.

TIA

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:21 am

Sorry, but I have to say it. Craigslist free section and pay movers. Go check out that the piano plays and can be tuned. There are tons of free pianos around. Heck.....my father in law tried to give us his and we stiff armed him. If you gotta buy new, then I got nothing.
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Jags4186
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:22 am

Kawai is a reputable brand that will serve your children well. Schiller is a "private label" knock off of the much more expensive and reputable Schimmel (almost identical font and logo...). Looks like you can get "Schillers" online delivered new for under $3000. Also look at Yamaha and Baldwin. There is also Boston and Essex which are made by Steinway, but they might be out of your price range.

livesoft
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by livesoft » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:26 am

We've had two Yamaha upright pianos for decades.
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yohac
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by yohac » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:29 am

As a general rule, you can't go wrong with any Yamaha instrument.

getthatmarshmallow
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:30 am

Go here: pianobuyer.com. It will have all the information you need and then some, as well as recommendations by price point and value. MSRP are usually huge markups and the site will help you figure out what's reasonable.

You'll find a wide range of responses. If your kids are just starting you may want to look at an inexpensive digital piano with weighted keys while you figure out if they stick with it. We did this with my four-year-old but found that once we purchased our acoustic piano his interest in playing took off.

Lots of people also recommend used and as cheap as possible. I think sometimes that works, and sometimes it's a mistake if you end up with something unplayable. I wouldn't expect that one will able to resell it later to recoup much of the cost (unless you're thinking of buying a Steinway); there's a reason people are giving away uprights on Craigslist.

Yamaha and Kawai are reliable names, but can be a little pricier new, but with a budget of $7K, you'll be able to get something solid. (K300?) After searching the used market (lots of consoles, which I didn't want) and playing nearly every piano within 100 miles, we settled on a new Brodmann (PE 124V) and we're very, very happy with it, and the piano tuner was impressed with its quality when he came out earlier this year.

mrgeeze
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by mrgeeze » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:33 am

Danger Will Robinson!!!

my background
I have played music for 45 years.
I have instructed many students.
Some are pretty good.

I feel a quality instrument is in order for someone committed to music.
At this point get a small grand piano at a price point you can afford.
There really is no substitute.

$7 grand for an instrument for beginner kids and those who "eventually would like to learn" is, imo, a terrible waste of money.
Would you pay 7 grand for a large piece of furniture you may or may not like.
Odds say that's what your 7 grand will turn into.
Most those who take up instruments (especially at the behest of their parents) leave them after a short while.

I believe AFTER a year or two of dedicated lessons (no yelling at them to practice) a quality instrument purchase may be in order.
Someone who digs playing music is easy to spot. They are sitting on the piano bench till it drives you crazy

First I would suggest you buy a used upright. They are a dime a dozen. You can probably get one for free if you look around.
The reason is a lot of people buy them, but very few people actually play more than chopsticks.
They help fill up peoples basements.
Pay a piano tuner look at it before you buy. He/she will tell you whether it junk. They can also recommend a good piano mover
Pay them to move it.
Then pay the tuner again after its moved to tune it up.

Alternatively purchase an electronic fully weighted 88 key keyboard. A decent one will go 2-3 grand.
A nice Klavinova will go 6-7 grand which I feel is overkill till somebody shows they have the dedication by actually doing the work.
Also the electronic ones have headphone jacks- a great bonus if you have someone dedicated.

You stand a better than average chance of wasting your money and ending up with a large piece of furniture.

Do you really want to do this???

getthatmarshmallow
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:36 am

livesoft wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:26 am
We've had two Yamaha upright pianos for decades.
Why two?

GoldenGoose
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by GoldenGoose » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:39 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:21 am
Sorry, but I have to say it. Craigslist free section and pay movers. Go check out that the piano plays and can be tuned. There are tons of free pianos around. Heck.....my father in law tried to give us his and we stiff armed him. If you gotta buy new, then I got nothing.
I know. You're preaching to the choir here. But I'm a spineless wuss when it comes to preserving world peace.

GoldenGoose
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by GoldenGoose » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:42 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:22 am
Kawai is a reputable brand that will serve your children well. Schiller is a "private label" knock off of the much more expensive and reputable Schimmel (almost identical font and logo...). Looks like you can get "Schillers" online delivered new for under $3000. Also look at Yamaha and Baldwin. There is also Boston and Essex which are made by Steinway, but they might be out of your price range.
Really? The salesperson said Schiller is German company. I looked at a 48-inch Concert Series (whatever that means) upright model and its MSRP was like $11K. Offered $4.5K. Your price of $3K must be for a lesser model.

Jags4186
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:50 am

GoldenGoose wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:42 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:22 am
Kawai is a reputable brand that will serve your children well. Schiller is a "private label" knock off of the much more expensive and reputable Schimmel (almost identical font and logo...). Looks like you can get "Schillers" online delivered new for under $3000. Also look at Yamaha and Baldwin. There is also Boston and Essex which are made by Steinway, but they might be out of your price range.
Really? The salesperson said Schiller is German company. I looked at a 48-inch Concert Series (whatever that means) upright model and its MSRP was like $11K. Offered $4.5K. Your price of $3K must be for a lesser model.
Schiller is a private label of a company called Jim Laabs Music. They are all made by Irmler (a German company) in their Chinese factory. The original Schiller company is a defunct American manufacturer. I've never played these and they may be fine instruments, but just making sure you are aware that it is not a "name" brand and if you think you're getting a Schimmel, you are certainly not. A Schimmel upright new is a $15k-$25k instrument. I would guess the resale value of a Schiller is zero. Kawai, Boston, Yamaha, Essex, Baldwin will likely be able to be resold.

Image

Image
Last edited by Jags4186 on Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:57 am, edited 3 times in total.

GoldenGoose
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by GoldenGoose » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:51 am

mrgeeze wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:33 am

I feel a quality instrument is in order for someone committed to music.
At this point get a small grand piano at a price point you can afford.
There really is no substitute.

$7 grand for an instrument for beginner kids and those who "eventually would like to learn" is, imo, a terrible waste of money.
Would you pay 7 grand for a large piece of furniture you may or may not like.
Odds say that's what your 7 grand will turn into.
Most those who take up instruments (especially at the behest of their parents) leave them after a short while.

First I would suggest you buy a used upright. They are a dime a dozen. You can probably get one for free if you look around.
The reason is a lot of people buy them, but very few people actually play more than chopsticks.
They help fill up peoples basements.
Pay a piano tuner look at it before you buy. He/she will tell you whether it junk. They can also recommend a good piano mover
Pay them to move it.
Then pay the tuner again after its moved to tune it up.

Alternatively purchase an electronic fully weighted 88 key keyboard. A decent one will go 2-3 grand.
A nice Klavinova will go 6-7 grand which I feel is overkill till somebody shows they have the dedication by actually doing the work.
Also the electronic ones have headphone jacks- a great bonus if you have someone dedicated.

You stand a better than average chance of wasting your money and ending up with a large piece of furniture.

Do you really want to do this???
Trust me, Craiglist was the first place I looked when searching for a piano. But then the wife's plan is to put the piano in the foyer so it also serves as a piece of furniture/decoration as well so it has to look decent. We did considered digital piano but the sound didn't measure up to an acoustic piano (speakers vs natural). I love listening to Clayderman but I can't play. I would love to be able to play somewhat like him though. So yes, it will be a de-stress activity I would like to do in the evening when I have time.

Dottie57
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:52 am

GoldenGoose wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:11 am
Hi Bogleheaders.

Anyone on here knows about acoustic pianos? We are in the market for a piano and of course the wife likes to buy new so don't even bring up the buy-used topic. We have 2 kids just starting to take piano lessons and we eventually would like to learn as well. So I wonder any brands you would recommend. We went to a music store and were introduced to the Kawai brand. We almost made the purchase until I realized we haven't done DD yet. Last weekend we were introduced to the Schiller brand. Of course whichever salesperson we talked to, their brand would be the brand to buy. So we are looking for an upright piano for $7000 or less. Any inputs are appreciated.

TIA
I just have to reply. Going to a used piano warehouse ( from a large piano seller -trade ins). Is an amazing experience. All kinds of pianos in various states of disrepair. I was in the market 30 years ago. There was a beautiful Steinway console from the 1940’s there. It cost 4 times my budget, and I nearly cried. Gorgeous, stylish, beautiful wood. Needed tuning which would have been included in the purchase. Even untuned it sounded good.

GoldenGoose
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by GoldenGoose » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:55 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:50 am
GoldenGoose wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:42 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:22 am
Kawai is a reputable brand that will serve your children well. Schiller is a "private label" knock off of the much more expensive and reputable Schimmel (almost identical font and logo...). Looks like you can get "Schillers" online delivered new for under $3000. Also look at Yamaha and Baldwin. There is also Boston and Essex which are made by Steinway, but they might be out of your price range.
Really? The salesperson said Schiller is German company. I looked at a 48-inch Concert Series (whatever that means) upright model and its MSRP was like $11K. Offered $4.5K. Your price of $3K must be for a lesser model.
Schiller is a private label of a company called Jim Laabs Music. They are all made by Irmler (a German company) in their Chinese factory. I've never played them and they may be fine instruments, but just making sure you are aware that it is not a "name" brand and if you think you're getting a Schimmel, you are certainly not. A Schimmel upright new is a $15k-$25k instrument. I would guess the resale value is zero. Kawai, Boston, Yamaha, Essex, Baldwin will likely be able to be resold.
Interesting. Yes it was a Jims Laabs Music store we visited and saw the Schiller. No wonder the salesperson said that his company is the only one that carries Schiller. If it is a private label for them, then it makes sense. Schimmel Dremel, I don't even know what a Schimmel is or have that kind of $ to buy one.

livesoft
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by livesoft » Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:24 am

getthatmarshmallow wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:36 am
livesoft wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:26 am
We've had two Yamaha upright pianos for decades.
Why two?
My spouse was a music major and bought a piano before we were married. Then we inherited another piano.
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Greenman72
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by Greenman72 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:24 am

yohac wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:29 am
As a general rule, you can't go wrong with any Yamaha instrument.
+1

Once upon a time, someone asked me "Why would you ever buy a musical instrument from a motorcycle company?"

I asked him if he knew what Yamaha's corporate logo was. FYI - it's a pair of tuning forks. In fact, Yamaha was making musical instruments long before the motorcycle was ever invented.

psteinx
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by psteinx » Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:42 am

OP, think hard about this decision:

Our quick history with pianos.

Family of 5 - 3 kids. Youngest of these, when she was circa age 6-7, developed an interest in piano. I think first step was her fooling around with an iPad piano app.

Next step was a cheap digital piano and bench. Total cost, around $180-200. Got it circa June, all 3 kids fooled around with it for a few months. (Maybe a piano book or two, plus a "lighted key" feature built into the piano.

That youngest daughter, plus her older sister, started lessons that fall. Fairly quickly we were pushed to get a better piano. The cheapie didn't have pedals, and not sure if it was weighted key. So we did get a much better piano for Christmas that year. So the cheapie was only used for ~6 months. But was it a waste of money? Not really, IMO. It allowed the kids to confirm their interest in piano - lots of other things have passed quickly.

So, for Christmas we got a nice Roland digital piano, and a better bench. Total cost maybe $1200-$1350ish? I/we looked at most of the digital brands. Also looked at non-digital (both cheap used, and one or two new). The problems with a conventional piano? Size, cost, and need for regular tuning.

Now it's 6-7 years later. Older sister stayed with piano for 2-3 years, and got fairly good, IMO, but lost interest. Youngest daughter is still going. Not a passion, perhaps, but she's still going to the lessons, still practices some.

My mother has an upright, conventional piano, that my daughter occasionally plays. I do like the richness of the sound - the vibrations all around the instrument, that can't really be replicated by a digital (unless I suppose it had a dozen plus speakers - impractical). But the digital has its own virtues. It's also compact. When youngest daughter goes to college, and eventually gets an apartment, it will be possible to ship this piano off with her, relatively easily (if she wants it), and it will fit into the compact spaces of youth.

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prudent
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by prudent » Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:15 pm

Topic moved to Personal Consumer Issues.

Not Law
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by Not Law » Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:35 pm

College music departments sell slightly used good quality pianos annually. Usually well cared for and treated with respect by budding virtuosos. The acoustics of your foyer might leave something to be desired.

Dottie57
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:52 pm

Not Law wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:35 pm
College music departments sell slightly used good quality pianos annually. Usually well cared for and treated with respect by budding virtuosos. The acoustics of your foyer might leave something to be desired.
+1. It will likely echo.

texasdiver
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by texasdiver » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:08 pm

Amateur pianist here and parent of 3 kids who have taken many years of lessons over the years.

My advice? Buy a decent digital piano as a starter piano. Something mid-range from Kawai or Yamaha like one of these in the $3k range: http://kawaius.com/product/ca58/

Then after a couple of years if you are certain your kids are going to continue and actually master the instrument you can move on to something like a gently used baby grand from one of the better brands and you will have plenty of time to wait until the right one shows up for between $10-20 grand in your area.

Pianos are not like violins that get better with age. There are a LOT of old upright pianos floating around that are basically junk. A good quality new digital that has properly weighted keys will be the nicest budget instrument you can put in front of your kids without spending a ton of money.

Of course if you just want to spend $20k now for a nice piece of living room furniture knock yourself out.

dknightd
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by dknightd » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:22 pm

I agree, no speakers will every reproduce the sound of a real piano.
But some come pretty close, and can also be used for other music.
I'd divide your budget. Put some towards an amp and decent speakers.
Put some towards an electric keyboard with good touch feel.
It will be easier to move around. It will sound nearly as good. It will be easier to sell if everybody loses interest.
Edit: If one of you already loves music you might already have a good stereo. Use that for now.
We kept the stereo and sold the keyboard. Turns out none of had the aptitude or interest to keep playing it. But we all like good music ;)

montanagirl
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by montanagirl » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:34 pm

I have a 40 yo kawai upright and I love it.

Yamahas sound harsh to me. kawai always seems to have a mellower tone but heavier touch.

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gasdoc
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by gasdoc » Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:49 pm

Can I recommend a book to you- it is an easy read and will enlighten you as to the process of buying a piano and of the piano selling industry?

The Piano Book: Buying & Owning a New or Used Piano
by Larry Fine and Keith Jarrett

It was published in 2001, and there is a recent supplement which lists actual prices for pianos and if I recall, it has recommendations. We used this when we bough a grand piano many years ago, and I recall it was quite helpful. The book is $15.00.

gasdoc

kevinpet
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by kevinpet » Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:58 pm

GoldenGoose wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:11 am
Hi Bogleheaders.

Anyone on here knows about acoustic pianos? We are in the market for a piano and of course the wife likes to buy new so don't even bring up the buy-used topic. We have 2 kids just starting to take piano lessons and we eventually would like to learn as well. So I wonder any brands you would recommend. We went to a music store and were introduced to the Kawai brand. We almost made the purchase until I realized we haven't done DD yet. Last weekend we were introduced to the Schiller brand. Of course whichever salesperson we talked to, their brand would be the brand to buy. So we are looking for an upright piano for $7000 or less. Any inputs are appreciated.

TIA
I just bought a Yamaha U1 manufactured in 2011 for $3k. This took a month of checking Craigslist. Paid $400 for moving it. The cost of movers makes the free pianos worthless. For Yamaha and Kawai, those made in Japan hold their value, those made in the US, Indonesia, or China do not. The U1 or similar Kawai K-3 / K-300 are professional quality and you can always resell them.

The price on these used pianos is much lower than the entry level models new.

Check the serial number to make sure that "bought new five years ago" wasn't actually a 40 year old refurb.

I share the view of those surprised you're buying a piano before getting them started on a keyboard. We bought once the kids got to the point that it would be beneficial.

texasdiver
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by texasdiver » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:33 pm

kevinpet wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:58 pm
GoldenGoose wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:11 am
Hi Bogleheaders.

Anyone on here knows about acoustic pianos? We are in the market for a piano and of course the wife likes to buy new so don't even bring up the buy-used topic. We have 2 kids just starting to take piano lessons and we eventually would like to learn as well. So I wonder any brands you would recommend. We went to a music store and were introduced to the Kawai brand. We almost made the purchase until I realized we haven't done DD yet. Last weekend we were introduced to the Schiller brand. Of course whichever salesperson we talked to, their brand would be the brand to buy. So we are looking for an upright piano for $7000 or less. Any inputs are appreciated.

TIA
I just bought a Yamaha U1 manufactured in 2011 for $3k. This took a month of checking Craigslist. Paid $400 for moving it. The cost of movers makes the free pianos worthless. For Yamaha and Kawai, those made in Japan hold their value, those made in the US, Indonesia, or China do not. The U1 or similar Kawai K-3 / K-300 are professional quality and you can always resell them.

The price on these used pianos is much lower than the entry level models new.

Check the serial number to make sure that "bought new five years ago" wasn't actually a 40 year old refurb.

I share the view of those surprised you're buying a piano before getting them started on a keyboard. We bought once the kids got to the point that it would be beneficial.
There are a LOT of refurbished Yamaha U1 and U3 upright models that are imported to the US via the gray market. Old used pianos are bought up by the hundreds in Asia and refurbished by 3rd parties and then imported to the US outside the normal Yamaha distribution channels. So you need to be cautious about what you are getting. Here's information on the issue: http://www.total-piano-care.com/yamaha- ... ianos.html

kjvmartin
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by kjvmartin » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:37 pm

GoldenGoose wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:11 am
We have 2 kids just starting to take piano lessons
Spend $200-$400 at most on a keyboard and see if they are still playing in a couple years.

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Misenplace
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by Misenplace » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:41 pm

gasdoc wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:49 pm
Can I recommend a book to you- it is an easy read and will enlighten you as to the process of buying a piano and of the piano selling industry?

The Piano Book: Buying & Owning a New or Used Piano
by Larry Fine and Keith Jarrett
+1
The piano industry is not unlike the used car industry, with a few extra quirks (e.g., fake academic sales that were really kick-back situations). That book paid for itself many times over when I bought it several years ago.

mrgeeze
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by mrgeeze » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:14 am

GoldenGoose wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:51 am
mrgeeze wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:33 am

I feel a quality instrument is in order for someone committed to music.
At this point get a small grand piano at a price point you can afford.
There really is no substitute.

$7 grand for an instrument for beginner kids and those who "eventually would like to learn" is, imo, a terrible waste of money.
Would you pay 7 grand for a large piece of furniture you may or may not like.
Odds say that's what your 7 grand will turn into.
Most those who take up instruments (especially at the behest of their parents) leave them after a short while.

First I would suggest you buy a used upright. They are a dime a dozen. You can probably get one for free if you look around.
The reason is a lot of people buy them, but very few people actually play more than chopsticks.
They help fill up peoples basements.
Pay a piano tuner look at it before you buy. He/she will tell you whether it junk. They can also recommend a good piano mover
Pay them to move it.
Then pay the tuner again after its moved to tune it up.

Alternatively purchase an electronic fully weighted 88 key keyboard. A decent one will go 2-3 grand.
A nice Klavinova will go 6-7 grand which I feel is overkill till somebody shows they have the dedication by actually doing the work.
Also the electronic ones have headphone jacks- a great bonus if you have someone dedicated.

You stand a better than average chance of wasting your money and ending up with a large piece of furniture.

Do you really want to do this???
Trust me, Craiglist was the first place I looked when searching for a piano. But then the wife's plan is to put the piano in the foyer so it also serves as a piece of furniture/decoration as well so it has to look decent. We did considered digital piano but the sound didn't measure up to an acoustic piano (speakers vs natural). I love listening to Clayderman but I can't play. I would love to be able to play somewhat like him though. So yes, it will be a de-stress activity I would like to do in the evening when I have time.

I feel your pain.
Sounds like the piano's role as a piece of furniture in the overall decor of the house rides pretty high on the priority list.
Have you considered who will actually practice on a piano sitting in a foyer?
Doesn't sound like the best practice space.

Respectfully I suggest you buy what goes with the drapes?

gvsucavie03
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by gvsucavie03 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:50 am

I agree with others who have said to go pick up a free piano. We have a nice upright that only took back pain and Advil to move. Works great. If you have disposable funds, Yamaha is the best bang for your buck, but seriously, why waste (word chosen aptly) your money on something that will have zero monetary value later on and there is a strong chance the kiddos will not play beyond a few years anyway?

GoldenGoose
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by GoldenGoose » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:58 am

Thanks. Just reserved that book at the local library. Will pick it up and read up on it.

GoldenGoose
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by GoldenGoose » Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:03 am

The kids are playing on a 64 keyed keyboard right now. The teacher asked us to get a 84-key piano. My wife is going to start to take lessons next week too.

Maybe we should take a look at a near top-of-the-line 84-key keyboard for now instead of a piano. Is there even such a thing? At least I'm thinking we'll pay less than $1000 for it and it will be portable. Hmm.

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Cycle
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by Cycle » Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:10 am

Used is the way to go if you know what you are looking for. If you don't, then you probably shouldn't be buying a piano... And new used pianos are readily available in Craigslist for a couple k. I got my 1920s studio upright for free and wouldn't trade it for a fazioli. I agree a good resource on pianos is The Piano Book by Larry Fine. Also, piano shop on the left bank is delightful.

GoldenGoose
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by GoldenGoose » Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:15 am

I searched Craiglist and didn't see anything I like. Remember, this also has to be a piece of furniture too so it can't be some vintage piano or with in-your-face blemishes. I will have to keep an eye out for a used Yamaha or a Kawai.

In the mean time while waiting for something suitable to come by, how about this one?

https://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-88-Key-We ... le_ce?th=1

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gasdoc
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by gasdoc » Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:15 am

GoldenGoose wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:58 am
Thanks. Just reserved that book at the local library. Will pick it up and read up on it.
I hope it helps. I would order the most recent supplement, though, for up to date information.

gasdoc

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Cycle
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by Cycle » Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:21 am

One can set up an alert in Craigslist to email you when your desired model shows up. I'm not a fan of the sterile sound and feel from a new piano, I've got a digital Yamaha p-80 for that.

I like to quantity the cost of my piano. If I move every 5 years, that's $60 per year for the move plus $50 per year for tuning. I play it ~5 days a week, so that's .40 per time... Not including childhood lessons for 8 years. It can be a spectacularly inexpensive hobby, if you want.

My piano tuner tunes the piano for a guy who built a wing off his house for a concert bosendorfer with 8 octives. That piano costs more than my house. I wonder what his cost is per song... Probably in the hundreds.

hightower
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by hightower » Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:44 pm

GoldenGoose wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:11 am
Hi Bogleheaders.

Anyone on here knows about acoustic pianos? We are in the market for a piano and of course the wife likes to buy new so don't even bring up the buy-used topic. We have 2 kids just starting to take piano lessons and we eventually would like to learn as well. So I wonder any brands you would recommend. We went to a music store and were introduced to the Kawai brand. We almost made the purchase until I realized we haven't done DD yet. Last weekend we were introduced to the Schiller brand. Of course whichever salesperson we talked to, their brand would be the brand to buy. So we are looking for an upright piano for $7000 or less. Any inputs are appreciated.

TIA
I agree with the suggestions to start with a weighted key digital piano first. Make sure that you and your kids are actually going to play before spending big bucks on a real instrument.

Unfortunately your wife is sadly mistaken in assuming used pianos are no good. If you want the most bang for your buck in terms of build quality, sound quality, etc. look for a restored or semi-restored Baldwin or Steinway from the 1930s or 40s. Modern pianos (brand new) in that price range don't even compare to the quality and sound of a vintage instrument from the golden era. Look for a good local piano store that sells restored pianos. Here's an example of a store in my area that sells excellent used pianos. http://pianopros.biz/ You need to go and try them out or ask an associate to play them for you to hear the difference in sound quality. Look for one with a good mix of excellent sound and a nice action.
I have a 1936 Baldwin Baby Grand that I bought with original strings and sound board, restored exterior and I had the action rebuilt and it sounds absolutely fantastic. It's as good as modern day Steinway baby grands and would cost $60k+ to buy new today. I paid 8k total for mine after the action rebuild.

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Elsebet
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by Elsebet » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:15 pm

I see pianos and pool tables being given away all the time on Craigslist. I would get a used one first and if the interest remains after a year or so upgrade to a nicer model at that point.

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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by gvsucavie03 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:23 pm

Elsebet wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:15 pm
I see pianos and pool tables being given away all the time on Craigslist. I would get a used one first and if the interest remains after a year or so upgrade to a nicer model at that point.
+1

UncleBen
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by UncleBen » Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:45 pm

I don't think you'll find an 84 key keyboard ;-).

I'm partial to my Yamaha. Kawai would be a second choice.
For an weighted key, 88 key electronic, I have a Kurtzweil PC88.

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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by lightheir » Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:49 pm

The only reason I see you buying a real furniture-level acoustic piano is if you seriously intend it to be a decorative piece in your house that you will not mind having there even if nobody plays it at all, (which is highly likely.)

If you want to otherwise have a perfectly excellently functional piano that your kids can play at all hours of the day, something on the lines of a Casio Privia or Yamaha Arius will be more than up to the task.

Sure, the piano snobs will rightfully say it does not fully replicate an acoustic piano, but the reality is that it's over 90% of the way there, and you have to be an advanced piano player to really notice the difference. I play a fair amount of piano nowadays (upwards of 7hrs/wk as an actively improving adult) and I still have to get wayyyyy better before I can truly claim that the Arius is stunting my growth. Don't worry whatsoever about key hammer quality - it's super realistic and will definitely not limit you one bit as even an advanced intermediate piano player.

It also sounds really good, both acoustically and through headphones. Far better than a not-well-maintained acoustic.

The #2 reason why I absolutely think you should start with one of these low-cost digitals: Even if you or your kids become so good that you can easily justify the Steinway grand piano (or similar!), you will STILL find good use for the digital piano, esp the compact carryable 25lbs Privia. You can plug in headphones to not wake up the household, take it on trips to practice, take it college and put it in the closet, bring it to a band that needs a piano player, or even easily sell it very quickly as they're so small and manageable.

Seriously, you cannot go wrong with a high quality $700-$1200 digital piano.

lightheir
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by lightheir » Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:55 pm

GoldenGoose wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:15 am
I searched Craiglist and didn't see anything I like. Remember, this also has to be a piece of furniture too so it can't be some vintage piano or with in-your-face blemishes. I will have to keep an eye out for a used Yamaha or a Kawai.

In the mean time while waiting for something suitable to come by, how about this one?

https://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-88-Key-We ... le_ce?th=1
That would serve perfectly well for current and future practice and playing needs - it's in the Privia/Arius class pianos that I described above.

Note however that it probably NOT serve as a 'furniture grade' piece that you will proudly display to enhance your living space. It's not ugly at all, and looks like a legit piano, but the frame is made of cheap glued wood paste.

That said, if I were you, I'd buy that one immediately and call it a day. You'll know far more after a year or two whether you are the right person to drop the big money on a furniture-level multi-thousand $$ piano.

brajalle
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Re: Acoustic Pianos

Post by brajalle » Sun Sep 30, 2018 4:42 am

A member of my immediate family has owned a piano repair/tuning/etc business for 30+yrs. Does not do retail sales of any sort. I grew up helping move quite a few of those pianos, but that is about the limit of my direct involvement.

There are many, many good brands of used pianos out there. Some of the better used labels (Steinway, Baldwin, Kimball etc) produced pianos under several other labels. Unless you are in a larger city, you're going to have trouble finding good used storefronts nowadays I'd imagine. There are also - not usually a ton, but enough to watch out for - people out there who do hack job tuning/repairs. The good news is that it can be pretty easy to find out who the better piano tuner/repair people are in an area. Start calling local schools and churches. Each school in our area's music teacher hires separately - so you may not find a corporation-wide person FYI. Some places - universities for example - may buy new pianos frequently and may just use someone from the factory. Based on what I've heard over 30 years - many tuners start as factory people, but that in and of itself isn't necessarily a shining endorsement, nor is some big resume, ie - tuned for the Boston Symphony! A person I know used to advertise that, due to doing so once when they were a factory person, but my family member got called in to fix/redo their work from time to time.

Depending on the size of the area you live in, you could end up with 3-8 names. Our County of about 80k only ever had 1-3 that were local (and that was in the 90s), combined with another 1-3 in surrounding areas that sometimes did business in the area. A tuner/repair person may have a few used pianos on-hand (my family member has largely gotten away from this), be aware of some selling, or could be called into evaluate a used piano. They'll be able to rattle off a bunch of good brands if you tell them what you're looking for (ie Steinway and Baldwin made XYZ brands - theyre ok) and give you some very rough year guidelines most likely (ie stay away from turn of century, square grands, etc). Look for ones who can do some reconditioning work - I'd be surprised if many do full rebuilds or refinishing (my family member doesn't do refinishing anymore and very rarely does full rebuilds) - but they should be able to recondition an action, etc. They can probably also point you to a refinisher if they don't do it themselves - it's possible this may all be cheaper (good used+refinish+recondition/rebuild) than a new piano. I'd probably ask them how they'd handle a string they snapped or a slipping (tuning) pin. Among the answers (you might get a few scenarios/answers) I'd expect from those are to tie the string or replace (sort of depends string/situation/etc), and to potentially replace the pin with an oversized pin. The guys who can't tie or replace a string if need be, and the guys who wouldn't be able to do an oversized pin if need be, probably lack some technical skills (or could cut corners/be lazy/etc). They're also the ones who may not tune a piano quite true for fear of breaking a string or such. Ie, tuning a 100 year old upright that hasn't been tuned in awhile could be a nightmare for many tuners given some of those issues. Don't get me wrong though, you may be charged more by good tuners in that situation and a good tuner may still leave it down half a pitch or whatever for various reasons (although they'd probably discuss it with you - ie too many slipping pins/reconditioning/rebuild work needed). It's not necessary for a tuner to play btw, but they'll probably know some chords or a riff. There is a tuner guild/association of sorts called the Piano Technicians Guild where you can even search for a member in an area. It, by itself, is no guarantee of a great tuner/repair person, but they do have some testing required to become a member (and associated fees/etc). Many good tuners/repair people won't be members - my relative isn't because they've never lacked for business and because they require an ear-tuning test to be passed. They have always used a good electronic tuner - which is more accurate. They also said they've never been asked by anyone if he's a member, so didn't feel it was helpful business-wise.

Pianos generally come in about 7 sizes. Spinet, consoles/studios, and uprights - the old uprights can weigh 800lbs easy (pita to move). Consoles or studios are a good mid-size, and are what I'd probably want in my house if I were serious and did not want a grand or player (fuller sound with console/studio imo than a spinet, the studios have a full-size action). Grands are typically baby grands (4-5 ft), grands, and then there's the huge concert grands (ie like 7+ to 9ft). I won't even discuss square grands - they're nightmares for being playable.

For movers...ask the tuner guys. Some of them may do it also. Don't be surprised if they don't do full flights of stairs, piano size depending. We stopped taking almost all pianos out of basements 20 years ago, excepting some easy circumstances or spinets - even then I'd be surprised if they'd do a full basement. In those situations, we'd typically tell people to arrange local movers with good reputations, and that they can hire us to supervise/assist/use our equipment, but not to do much of the heavy lifting. For piano moving - you'll want the right equipment. Four guys and a pickup can move a piano, but I'd not recommend it. I've seen the insurance estimates photos my family member has done where they've snapped legs off (or the entire keyboard console side), had them flip out of the back of pickups, etc. Even something as simple as moving a piano from room to room can be a problem - I can't tell you how many times I've seen snapped legs (local hotel was infamous for this). Grands, for example, you need a specialized skid-board for the side (they get moved on their side).

Tuning cost - depending on the environment inside the house, how much they get played (and how hard), etc - you may need tuning 1-2x/yr on average (humidity changes are the big thing that throws pianos out of tune environmentally). I want to say my relative's prices are in the $150-200 range nowadays, travel distance and piano size/age being a variable. It usually takes 1-2hrs - a mostly in tune spinet in good condition may even take less time, an old upright that hasn't been tuned in awhile could be 2hrs with a few broken strings. My family member usually gets an idea of how often it is played and how serious of a musician the person/family is - then does reminder calls. The 1x/yr families may get 6mo and 12mo calls to ask if they want it tuned, the more serious families may want it more often. Tuners are busiest before the christmas season (every church in the area waits till the last minute to tune the piano for the holiday services).

For families starting out and you're not sure of the amount of use a piano would get - buy a keyboard unless you're also wanting a furniture piece. For a serious musician I'm not sure a keyboard quite matches a piano, but it's hard to argue the price.

I will say that a new or refinished/rebuilt player upright or grand piano is a truly amazing sight. Of course, having a piano in the household, I picked another musical instrument, so cant play myself. Go figure.

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