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Going down the rabbit hole of searching for new baby grand


cedar

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What year ? The older Masons are excellent. But the new ones I've played are terrible, they have nothing in common, except a shared nameplate, with their classic predecessors.

 

If the AA is in good condition and even needs some minor restoration - hammer set, etc. - that would be a good way to go.

 

Maybe not in the budget, but again, I'd think you'd have less issues with a late model Yamaha C3 - 2000 or newer.

 

You don't want to have to throw too much dough at the Mason to get it where you want it. ;)

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What year ? The older Masons are excellent. But the new ones I've played are terrible, they have nothing in common, except a shared nameplate, with their classic predecessors.

 

Not sure of the year. I know the soundboard is 20 years old and many other parts were just restored. If I am reading the serial number from the photo correctly, the piano itself dates back to pre-WWI.

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My son and I played a Yamaha C3X at a store in Montreal while on vacation a few months ago.

 

He's a legit jazz player: I'm a hack.

 

We both agreed: its was a GREAT sounding piano. I'd buy it in a heartbeat if I were in the market.

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On another topic: how important do you guys think it is to get a warranty? I've been considering that an important advantage of buying through a dealer, as opposed to a private seller. But if I have a technician confirm that the piano is in excellent condition, maybe the warranty shouldn't matter much?

 

The retailers I've been talking to tend to offer a 5 or 10 year party on "action parts." Perhaps those are unlikely to have issues anyway.

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Generally, I agree that warranties have limited value. Just wondering whether they have enough value (in the context of grand pianos) to warrant taking into account when deciding whether to buy from a private seller or retailer.
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I agree on the self-insuring strategy. Nobody would offer insurance if it didnt make them money on average. Theres one exception in my mind: if you literally cant afford the worst case scenario and it would be devastating, insurance will result in paying more money on average while theoretically guaranteeing that the worst case will be covered.

 

Just watch out for that theoretically bit. Insurers love finding reasons not to pay out, so understand what they will and wont cover as written down contractually. You can safely ignore whatever the salesperson is telling you it covers, because thats not actually binding.

Acoustic: Shigeru Kawai SK-7 ~ Breedlove C2/R

MIDI: Kurzweil Forte ~ Sequential Prophet X ~ Yamaha CP88 ~ Expressive E Osmose

Electric: Schecter Solo Custom Exotic ~ Chapman MLB1 Signature Bass

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Ooh, I got a "personal invite" to attend a "pianos of distinction sales event" at the Steinway factory, where they promise "substantial discounts."

 

https://www.steinwayhall.com/news/pianos-of-distinction?utm_source=vr&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=181018c

 

Anyone ever attend one of these events? I'm tempted to go just to see the factory, though I have to assume that the prices will still be pretty outlandish.

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I know I dissed the under 6' ers earlier but here's a pair of Masons - one total rebuilt A and a 2002 A near the end of the glory years.

 

Cedar has already seen these in a PM but I thought people might like to hear what kind of quality rebuild work Sam Bennet is doing at Piano Works in Atlanta.

 

I'd like to play these in person but based on the videos, they sound excellent for a 5' 8" piano.

 

1914 A rebuild:

[video:youtube]

 

2002 A :

[video:youtube]

 

And a Mason 1926 AA 6' 3" rebuild

[video:youtube]

 

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It's been about 10 years since I was in the market for a sub-6'er. Playing a lot of different grands certainly helps finding your focus on what moves you - I was surprised at the substantial differences in touch between M&H, Steinway, and other brands. I ended up with an Estonia 168 which I came back to again and again until I realized that it was "the one". Played some really nice M&H AAs, but they were out of my price range. Never found a Steinway in my price range that spoke to me. +1 for Larry Fine's materials - I found their ratings quite consistent with my experience.
"You'll never be as good as you could have been, but you can always be better than you are." - MoKen
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I owned a M&H A for over 10 years. Wonderful piano, but not perfect. It provided the full and rich American sound and can be a very warm tone if voiced. For new pianos, the best made pianos these days are from Yamaha. Quality has gone down for many manufactures as they try to reduce production costs. However, Yamaha is currently making the best pianos probably ever made. Yes, I am saying that. Of course, I am specifically talking about the higher end models (CX, SX, CF, etc). The sound is more European/Austrian, like (Bosendorfer, etc.). The newer Yamahas are not as bright as the older ones. I currently have an SX7 and the action is the best I have ever experienced. Steinways are hit and miss. Find a good one and get a good technician/tuner and can be heaven. Get a typical one, and eventually learn you should have saved your money ;)

 

The M&H AA can be a great piano with a wonderful tone. It will never have the perfect action of a Yamaha, but it can be very good. I found there was a lot of variation in them, so you need to try several and pick the one that sounds best to your ears.

 

In general, I think if you like the full American tone, then get a M&H. Nothing better in that category in my opinion. If you like the Steinway sound, shop around until you find a great one. Get help from an independent technician/tuner. If you like the Austrian/European sound get a Yamaha or spend the money to get the Bosie (although Yamaha is better made and has better action, imho).

 

Strong opinions always abound when it comes to pianos. Of course, I'm also a fan of owning one of each ;)

 

NS3C, Hammond XK5, Yamaha S7X, Sequential Prophet 6, Yamaha YC73, Roland Jupiter X

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Here's an interesting video of the top of the line, handmade Yamaha CF6 and a NY Steinway B. Both 7' ers.

 

The recording is low-fi Zoom quality mics but you can still hear the difference in tone between the two pianos on the the pair of Grieg pieces.

 

The Yamaha sounds excellent (although is a bit out of tune), very clear and precise. But I prefer the Steinway B because of the more complex and thicker sounding tone. Steinway starts at 4:10

[video:youtube]

 

An aside but this fellow has the 2015 CF6 for sale on Piano Mart for 70K. Heck at that price, I'll take two.. :cry:

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You guys have persuaded me to spend some time looking at Yamahas.

 

Local retailer has this C2x at the moment. This place in general is pricey, but how does this price strike you? They are asking $$23.5 for a 2012 C2x. (I realize it's smaller than some of you recommend, but I'm asking anyway.)

 

https://faustharrisonpianos.com/product/yamaha-piano-model-c2x-2012/

 

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It is definitely a matter preference when it comes to tone. A Yamaha is not trying to sound like a Steinway. Just like a Bosendorfer is also not trying to sound like a Steinway. Those tonal differences go back more than 100 years when the Austrian vs. German vs. American sound differences were established. Now we can add the Japanese sound to the list, but it is essentially the Austrian sound with the newer premium pianos. Also, just about every Steinway sounds different. A good one is more rare than an average one. I do love the good ones! The Japanese are much better at creating consistent instruments. Tone preference aside, in regards to build quality and piano action there is no comparison - the recent Yamaha premium pianos are in a league of their own. I think there is good justification for us all to own at least 3 grand pianos...but where to put them and how to pay for them? Darn!

 

NS3C, Hammond XK5, Yamaha S7X, Sequential Prophet 6, Yamaha YC73, Roland Jupiter X

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I found the Yamaha models simply too bright for my taste, so Im glad to hear theyve mellowed somewhat in more recent years. I really should play something current in their line. Then again, once I found my Shigeru Kawai the urge to check out other pianos has essentially evaporated. Fourteen years and two nail biting moves later and shes still my girl.

 

Im absolutely delighted that for a little over $40k we were able to get the 76 SK7. The last time I checked the street price seems to be closer to $90k and rising.

Acoustic: Shigeru Kawai SK-7 ~ Breedlove C2/R

MIDI: Kurzweil Forte ~ Sequential Prophet X ~ Yamaha CP88 ~ Expressive E Osmose

Electric: Schecter Solo Custom Exotic ~ Chapman MLB1 Signature Bass

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My advice is to have patience.

 

I gave up on my search several times, but eventually went back to it. I tried a few candidates that I wanted, but they had already sold (someone else was interested first and the seller still showed it in case that one fell through, I knew that going in) or weren't sure and decided to not sell. I tried some dogs, like one where the keys had "blocked" because of a warped piece in the action that was common to that model. And of course, plenty that just didn't move me. I drove all over the region to try these pianos. One was even two hours away.

 

Then one day, I found it. It was nearly an hour drive for me, but he sold it for the amount he still owed on it. The tech I had check it said it was worth thousands more (like six thousand). In total, I made three trips up there. The first was to check it out, the second was to have the tech check it, and the third was to hook up the delivery guys with it. It was completely worth it. Despite the stuck up snobs in this thread saying they wouldn't go under 6' (just :poke: you guys! ;) ) my Kawai RX-2 is 5'10" and it's awesome. I love it to bits.

 

I highly recommend Larry Fine's stuff on buying pianos. His info on brands, history, where they are made, recommendations, sizes, prices for new and used, are invaluable.

 

BTW, Boston are designed by Steinway and made by Kawai. Their Essex brand are made by Pearl River.

 

It takes time. You'll know when you find it.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Local retailer has this C2x at the moment. This place in general is pricey, but how does this price strike you? They are asking $$23.5 for a 2012 C2x. (I realize it's smaller than some of you recommend, but I'm asking anyway.)

 

https://faustharrisonpianos.com/product/yamaha-piano-model-c2x-2012/

 

It seems high but like I mentioned, Faust corresponds with major Yamaha dealer pricing on used Yamahas. From a private party I would think closer to 20K, maybe even 19K if the seller was in a hurry to sell. That is IF you can find a CX piano used.

 

If you go through Faust inquire into if they at least can cover your sales tax-- sometimes dealers have promos where they do this to offset their higher pricing.

 

C2s are pretty nice. The C2X is even nicer. I would rather see you go that route then that rebuilt Mason that's local. ;)

 

Also the C2X would have much more value, then the local M&H A, on a trade or selling outright, in case you wanted to upgrade to a larger piano in the future. :thu::keys:

 

A '96 C2 from Piano Works:

[video:youtube]

 

This was recorded in June of 2011 with a brand new C2 at a club I was playing at. I believe this might have been the last year before the CX models were introduced in 2012. Low-fi recording.

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I tried a Yamaha C2x today, and actually didn't like it that much. For me, it was too bright. On a side note, the salesperson also told me that the piano - if anything - was likely to get brighter over time, especially if played frequently.

 

On the other hand, I really liked a piano from a brand I was utterly unfamiliar with: W. Hoffmann. The model was P188 (which is 6' 2"). I consider this one a real contender, provided I can find a reasonable price.

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I don't know about their newer offerings, but 20 years ago I bought a 6'10" Young Chang. They weren't even on my radar, but I happened to visit my parents, who are old friends of Emanuel Ax. He told me about his experience with YC pianos, and convinced me to look at them.

I've been extremely happy with mine. The 2 piano techs I've had taking care of it were both surprised at the sound - and the fact that it has never gone out of tune with itself. It has needed to have the pitch raised a bit several times, and some minor work on the action, but I've had no complaints from anyone who's played it.

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I played at a club in NYC (I.e. Swing 46 I think) that had a Young Chang and really liked how it played and sounded.

 

Cedar, I think you plan on playing acoustic jazz. If so, its important that the piano can project well while playing with drums. This is reason I have a Yamaha C3. As others have mentioned its bright and not for everyone. I had the brightness tamed by a piano tech. It wouldnt be my first choice for classical but its great for jazz. Other pianos, like Steinway, could have satisfied my needs but Ive played several mediocre Steinways over the years which made me uneasy going the route (not to mention the higher price!). Yamaha manufacturing quality is very consistent. Theyre masters of manufacturing and, therefore, theres very little risk of getting a lemon. So, for me it came down to C3, C5, or C7. I almost went for the C7 but it has such a big sound that I thought it would overwhelm the space in my music room. A friend has a C7 in her living room and it sounds great. Im not sure that I made the right choice, but Im still very happy. The C3 sounds wonderful. I bought it before that CX was available and havent played a CX yet.

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Lots of love here for the non-China asian brands: Yamaha, Kawaii, SK, Young Chang, etc. And I would agree with everyone's assessments: great instruments, consistently excellent manufacturing, great value and known quantities in the grand piano world.

 

Can't go wrong with any of them, really.

 

That being said, when I was on my journey several years ago, I kept getting pulled in by the better european brands: Hamburg Steinway, C. Bechstein, Blunther, Steingraber, Fazioli, etc. and ultimately landing on a Bosendorfer.

 

The reason essentially boiled down to the tone: the better europeans tended to be deeper and richer with more nuance, layers and blooming. Ear candy to me, really. But everyone's ear is different.

 

My thinking was -- if I ever should get into a recording situation with it -- there's plenty of EQ available to do whatever, and I have an army of digital samples if needed.

Want to make your band better?  Check out "A Guide To Starting (Or Improving!) Your Own Local Band"

 

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Two different philosophies between European and Japanese brands. Japanese factory setups are the best. Kawai and Yamaha load their pianos onto the boat as close to being ready to play as possible. Steinway leaves the factory not close to setup. The dealer's local tech is critical. Which ... Shouldn't be a problem. The market is so brutal I would hope all the last Steinway galleries left standing are excellent and would regulate and setup your piano to your needs.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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CEB, just to be clear -- the Steinways most people are familiar with in the US are made in the US, not Europe. That's why they're often referred to as NY Steinways.

 

The Hamburg Steinways are completely different. Indeed, every European piano I played during my search (50+) was properly set up, voiced and an immediate joy to play.

 

That being said, you're right about walking into a Steinway dealership and the instruments usually not being properly set up -- except for the used ones. During my search, I visited three such dealers, and vowed not to visit a fourth.

Want to make your band better?  Check out "A Guide To Starting (Or Improving!) Your Own Local Band"

 

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I tried a Yamaha C2x today, and actually didn't like it that much. For me, it was too bright. On a side note, the salesperson also told me that the piano - if anything - was likely to get brighter over time, especially if played frequently.

 

Was that the C2X from Faust ? If so, I'd be very surprised if they didn't voice it down for selling used. That seems to be a very discerning shop. With a 2012 piano, any piano is going to sound bright without voicing, even Steinway.

 

And again , with regard to what the salesman said, ANY piano will get bright over time if it's played frequently.

 

The C2X is a different tone then a NY Steinway or M&H but the CX pianos I've played are anything but too bright on the ones I've played.

 

Even that older '96 C2 doesn't sound overly bright in the video I posted.

 

And Al has a good point - it wouldn't be my first choice for Classical, but for Jazz, Yamahas cut over bass and drums for your playing space. Again refer to the audio track I posted of the C2 from 2011.

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Yes, it was the one at Faust.

 

You guys make a good point about playing jazz. 90% of the time I will be practicing jazz, alone. The rest of the will be mostly jazz trios or quartets, with the occasional duet.

 

Testing out the pianos. I am obviously playing alone. So I probably should try to imagine how the pianos would sound with a combo.

 

I think what I really want is something in between the brightness of a Yamaha and Steinway. Of course, people are also right in pointing out that voicing can make a difference. Having owned a Story and Clark for the past decade, I am predisposed against overly bright pianos now.

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