Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

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Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by classic-keyboard » 10 Jun 2013, 11:45

My piano search has narrowed down to two pianos, both from the same dealer. As I said elsewhere, I adored the C3 - but the KG-2 was pretty nice too. What I didn't like so much was the slightly heavier touch on the Kawai. They're both old-ish (mid '70s) and both low-mileage ex-domestic use. The Kawai is one-owner, originally supplied by the same dealer. Subject to an independent check, they both look well cared for and are very clean inside with shiny strings and felts and hammers that don't look particularly grooved. However, neither has been refurbished at any time.

The best prices I've been able to squeeze out of the dealer makes the C3 about £900 more, both including the usual delivery, tuning, warranty etc - and it's £900 I can ill-afford. The C3 is a better piano, all things being equal, yes? But is it £900 better...

Because I haven't played properly for years and all my recent experience has been on a beaten up very old piano it makes sense that I would be sensitive to a heaver touch - but now I'm wondering whether a somewhat heavier touch would be better for me in terms of getting those muscles back up to spec. I'm seeing a piano teacher tomorrow and I'll take her advice.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by mdw » 10 Jun 2013, 15:29

The best piano for you is the piano you like. Buy the piano you like. £ 900 either way is nothing in the long term. Yamaha is the default for those who don't like to think for themselves. The Yam may be the best for you but you need to try lots and find out what you want. Buy a good piano once as its not like a car where in 4 years is knackered and you need a new one. If you buy the Kawai just because its £900 cheaper, every time you sit and play it will niggle you and you will wish you had the Yam. Wait 6 months until you have the extra money. Don't worry about missing either ( especially the Yam) as theres hundred of them out there.
Im not saying one is better than another you just need to find what you like.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by classic-keyboard » 10 Jun 2013, 15:36

Thanks for your thoughts. Do you have any comment about the question of firmer touch being a good idea?

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by mdw » 10 Jun 2013, 15:59

Depends how often you are going to play other pianos. Some customers say if their piano is too heavy they tend to sound like they are thumping a light touch piano. On the other hand if the touch is very light then when you go to a heavy touch instrument its hard work. On that basis go middle of the road and try and play lots of pianos rather than just one make through out your piano playing life. I think its a bit like driving different cars , you soon get used to it.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by classic-keyboard » 10 Jun 2013, 16:13

Point taken. Chances are the only time I will be playing other pianos (when it will matter) is when I take grade exams.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by mdw » 10 Jun 2013, 16:39

classic-keyboard wrote:Point taken. Chances are the only time I will be playing other pianos (when it will matter) is when I take grade exams.
From when I did those you can be faced with anything from knackered old village hall pianos ( was along time ago) to 9 foot grands in music colleges. As an example we hire out a small Yamaha and a Kemble Oxford for those doing exams around here.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by classic-keyboard » 10 Jun 2013, 16:54

I'm probably not being very clear (typical of me). If I was buying a piano for 'fun and relaxation' only, I'd want the lightest action 'cos it's easier to play the way my hands are right now. But, since I'm determined to go back to lessons, take exams etc. I'm wondering if should choose a firmer touch 'cos it'll do me good and help me develop my technique.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by NewAge » 10 Jun 2013, 19:43

mdw wrote:The best piano for you is the piano you like. Buy the piano you like
.......If you buy the Kawai just because its £900 cheaper, every time you sit and play it will niggle you and you will wish you had the Yam.......

How true that is! Excellent advise.
Imho if it were me I'd try damn hard to prefer the C3 over the KG-2. :wink:
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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by joe » 11 Jun 2013, 13:36

Without the benefit of playing and inspecting the 2 grand pianos if both around the 30 year old mark the Yamaha as a rule of thumb is a far superior instrument than Kawai at that time.If it was 2 new pianos in today's market in my opinion would be the opposite,Steinway piano knowledge has transformed Kawai grand pianos since they formed their alliance on some production methods.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by classic-keyboard » 11 Jun 2013, 14:25

Actually Joe they're both 40 years old. Your opinion is noted - and I think you're right. I'm going to take the Yamaha.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by classic-keyboard » 13 Jun 2013, 16:22

I'm going to visit the dealer one more time on Saturday, expecting to make a final decision on the day. Apart from the obvious (getting my head examined) can anyone suggest any physical/visual checks to carry out that I might not have thought of?

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by mdw » 13 Jun 2013, 18:06

At 40 years old its a pretty old piano even if it is a Yam. So a thorough check of everything is in order. You either need to trust the shop or take a tech. Whats the guarantee, devil is in the detail here. Things you want to cover are the bits that might happen, broken strings sticky notes, rattles, buzzing notes , soundboard, tuning plank.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by classic-keyboard » 13 Jun 2013, 18:30

You're right about that - and I will be going over the warranty terms with them.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by joe » 14 Jun 2013, 13:28

Will be interested to know what warranty you will be offered ?,the points mdw making are as valid on new cheap grands as well as 40 year old instruments if I was still retailing it would be 1 year warranty no more,due to the fact no matter how well checked and prepped before and after delivery,even the most expierenced tuner/tech cannot predict how the instrument orginally made for the Asia market will react in its new environment.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by classic-keyboard » 14 Jun 2013, 13:53

Joe, I'm not expecting miracles warranty-wise - I know it's an old piano. But the dealer has to back up his confidence in the instrument - and it's not just the length of the warranty, what he's promising to cover during that period matters.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by NewAge » 14 Jun 2013, 13:59

As it's a 40 year old piano which you say has never been refurbished, and given that you wish to get back into lessons in a serious way and take grade exams, if it were me I would expect to have to invest some money into this piano over the next few years to enable it to perform accordingly. One often overlooks this when operating to a tight budget, so forewarned is forearmed.
Good luck.
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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by classic-keyboard » 14 Jun 2013, 14:18

Point taken, but to be fair I don't actually know it hasn't had any work done to it. All I know is that the dealer isn't claiming that it's refurbished.

I just had a reply to a message I sent to another well-known dealer about a (somewhat younger) C3 for sale on eBay for £1,500 more than I'm contemplating. The piano is described using the eBay parlance as "manufacturer refurbished". I asked (1) what did "manufacturer refurbished" mean in this case (2) what warranty was included and (3) would delivery be included. The answer was (1) it was reconditioned in Japan and later imported, sold 10 years ago and now taken back in part-ex (2) no response (3) yes if I paid cash outside eBay.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by joe » 14 Jun 2013, 15:54

The used Yamaha pianos to my knowledge are not reconditioned in Japan,they are done in China and the ones i viewed few years back where awful,you are better the buy instrument that only needs basic action running repairs,I would never dream of fully rebuilding or restringing a full Yamaha piano they are just not well enough built for that purpose,the reason they claim "Factory Refurbished" is so you get the impression they are done by Yamaha and they are not,just people looking to cash in on the good name Yamaha have gained in the last 40 years,rebuilt Yamaha ,NEVER !!!.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by classic-keyboard » 14 Jun 2013, 16:09

Exactly, Joe. The fact that 'my' dealer is not trying to tell me his piano is 'refurbished' 'reconditioned' 'serviced' etc. is a point in his favour to my mind. I like this Yamaha - the rest is up to me and my conscience... I could walk away from the KG-2 without a second thought. Mind you, if I could afford his '99 RX3 I might have more of a dilemma!

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by classic-keyboard » 15 Jun 2013, 15:05

Well I've just come back from a final trip and for better or worse I'm about to be the new owner of a Yamaha C3. Yes it's old - but it's in pretty good nick. As far as we can tell it has not been worked on at all, and the dealer has done nothing to it apart from tuning it. With my limited knowledge I can only go by the state of the hammers, which don't look very worn to me - suggesting the piano hasn't been in a high-use situation, and the action, which seems nice and tight. Only time will tell and in the meantime you'd all better avoid any negative remarks about 40 year old imported Yamahas - my blood pressure is high enough as it is! This is the most money I've ever spent in one place in my long and spendthrift life...

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by NewAge » 15 Jun 2013, 19:45

Now that you've decided that the C3 is really for you, your last post is a little confusing; e.g. you say, "for better or worse", "with my limited knowledge" etc. Having been given a lot of sound buying advise on this and related posts, including the essential prior inspection by an independent piano tech not affiliated with the seller - for complete peace of mind, if that checked out ok you should be over the moon in anticipating the delivery of your new Yamaha. Or have I missed something :?:
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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by classic-keyboard » 15 Jun 2013, 20:08

NewAge,

No, I'm sure you haven't missed something. And I've taken on board everything I've read here and in many other forums, and everything I've heard elsewhere from professionals and punters alike. This includes being told that all grey import Yamahas are rubbish; that all Japanese-market Yamahas will dry out and implode on my living room carpet; that no Yamaha piano is well-made enough to ever justify re-building; that all grey import Yamahas are worn-out and tarted up to look like they're OK; and so on and so on. I've done everything I can think of to minimise the risk in this purchase. I've also learned that there is always a substantial built-in risk to buying a used grand piano.

Thing is, there are an awful lot of used pianos out there but I only have the money to buy one. My head and heart tell me this piano is my new best friend and we will have a lifetime of happiness together - but if I just obeyed Google I wouldn't buy it - or probably any other used grand piano either.

Yes, I'm happy. Yes, I'm over the moon.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by joe » 15 Jun 2013, 20:45

Well Done !,hope you have many years of practise and enjoyment on your chosen piano,and you are spot on with the comments regards "GOOGLE",long established expierenced brick and mortar dealers selling the correct pianos at reasonable prices is always the way to go,Google adds nothing to this journey,best of luck.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by classic-keyboard » 15 Jun 2013, 22:25

Thanks Joe. It's a gorgeous bloody piano. The dealer has been in the business for 35 years and he comes highly recommended.

I'll bore you all some more about it when it arrives. Meantime I'm going to deliberately forget everything the nay-sayers told me and think about what I'm going to achieve with it.

The time for technical analysis is over (thank goodness). It's time to flex my fingers...

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by classic-keyboard » 24 Jun 2013, 14:17

I'm enjoying my first few days with the C3. The tuning is moving very very slightly out; my 'climate' is quite a lot different to the warehouse where it came from. The tuner's coming for the first time in about 10 days.

The thing that really strikes me about the piano (apart from the fact that it looks fabulous obviously) is that there are so many timbres to choose from. On digital pianos, they boast that you can have 3 or 4 different piano sounds instead of just one. Ah, but I've got half a dozen to choose from. With everything shut and the una-chorda pressed, I've got a quiet, woody, calming sound just perfect for some late-night doodling with a glass of wine. Without the una chorda it's still quiet but just a little more talkative.

Open the front part of the lid and everything changes - and it sounds different again when the full lid is open... I'm still feeling this sense of anticipation whenever I walk into the room to play. Thanks to all who responded to my posts while I was agonising over my choice; I think I made the right one (and I'm very glad I didn't buy the Young Chang...).
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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by NewAge » 24 Jun 2013, 15:16

A nice piano in a very pleasant environment.
Congratulations on your purchase.
Please let us know how it lives up to your expectations a short while after stabilisation and first home tuning.
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by joseph » 25 Jun 2013, 09:44

YOU SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT THE KAWAI! because the yamaha's downbearing is set to cause the piano to implode after 25 years, so that you HAVE to buy a new piano, and the Kawai has three pedals, and it's IMPOSSIBLE to play a piano with only two pedals since manufacturers started to put three pedals on their pianos as a matter of course, and the lead in the yamaha's keys will eat through the wood, and the top lid is actually made of plasticine!

Naw I'm just pullin' yer leg! You've got yourself a fine piano there, enjoy it, it'll sound great. These pianos are pretty much proven to be amongst the most reliable and best in their price range (and many other price ranges...), and you'll get a lot of years from it! Well done. Now, go get your Art of Finger Dexterity out and practise. :piano;

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by classic-keyboard » 25 Jun 2013, 10:03

Thanks Joseph, you had me going there for a moment.

Naturally, I've been keeping a cloth over the lyre so people can't see my embarrassing missing pedal problem.

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Re: Yamaha C3 v. Kawai KG-2

Post by joseph » 26 Jun 2013, 14:28

In my entire life I think I've used the sostenuto pedal in performance once. Even then it wasn't actually needed.

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