kawai ks-2f, yamaha u1 or wendl & lung

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PieterB
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kawai ks-2f, yamaha u1 or wendl & lung

Post by PieterB » 30 Aug 2009, 14:42

Selecting a study piano for my young daughter, I came across two used pianos from two dependable dealers here in Belgium, both sounding great to my admittedly untrained ears:

Yamaha U1 (1981) €3500 (but I think I can negotiate it down towards, say, €3300)
Kawai KS-2F (1981) €2750

Both revised and repainted.
My question is: Is there a justification for the higher price of the Yamaha in terms of build quality, life span, resale value, or not?

- Or should I not be considering these used ones at all and go for a new piano? One thing that could make me choose a new piano is that I am afraid these quite tall pianos (121 and 125 cm high respectively) would produce a too high volume (we have fairly thin walls and wouldn''t want to disturb the neighbours too much). If this would make a considerable difference I might consider some smaller models that I have not yet found in the second hand market, e.g. a new Yamaha P114 (but way more expensive at around €4500) or a Wendl & Lung 110 or 115.

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Re: kawai ks-2f, yamaha u1 or wendl & lung

Post by joe » 30 Aug 2009, 15:14

Would stay way from the "grey imports"and Chinese pianos,should be able to get better deal on new Yamaha or Kawai k15 keep to the brands that are new and offer manufacturers warranties,better quality and better residuals if ever looking to upgrade.

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Re: kawai ks-2f, yamaha u1 or wendl & lung

Post by sussexpianos » 02 Sep 2009, 08:23

joe wrote:Would stay way from the "grey imports"and Chinese pianos,should be able to get better deal on new Yamaha or Kawai k15 keep to the brands that are new and offer manufacturers warranties,better quality and better residuals if ever looking to upgrade.
What utter rubbish. The "grey imports" are great value for money and offer a quality piano for much less than a new one.Go for one late 70's onwards.Music Brokers in Holland offer very good reconditioned imported Yamaha pianos so your dealer should be able to get one from there. Chinese pianos are getting better every year and have the build quality( on some brands) to be the same or better than the Japanese brands like Yamaha and Kawai. Irmler, Perzina, Wendle are some brands making a name for themselves. They have good warranties and a track record in the market. You will always loose money on anything new, going secondhand will be better if you want to change later on but most people hang on to their pianos so choose what you like the sound/touch of.
The bigger the piano, the more control you have and richer sound.I would go for something 115-121 and if your worried about neighbours, put a thick rug under the piano and place an acoustic absorbing board behind the piano.
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Re: kawai ks-2f, yamaha u1 or wendl & lung

Post by PianoGuy » 02 Sep 2009, 08:38

sussexpianos wrote:
joe wrote:Would stay way from the "grey imports"and Chinese pianos,should be able to get better deal on new Yamaha or Kawai k15 keep to the brands that are new and offer manufacturers warranties,better quality and better residuals if ever looking to upgrade.
What utter rubbish. The "grey imports" are great value for money and offer a quality piano for much less than a new one.Go for one late 70's onwards.Music Brokers in Holland offer very good reconditioned imported Yamaha pianos so your dealer should be able to get one from there.
Agreed, but for best results go for mid 1980s onwards. Look for a serial number above 4 million.

There are some stinkers of grey imports around, and these have made people wary of the good ones.
PG

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If you're buying a piano, try as many as you can and buy the one you like, not a similar one of the same type.

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Re: kawai ks-2f, yamaha u1 or wendl & lung

Post by chrisvenables » 02 Sep 2009, 09:49

Taller is better and will not necessarily disturb the neighbours more than a small piano. Rubber based castor cups are a good sound insulator as a large amount of the sound is transferred through the floor and walls to your neighbour, rather than through the air.

Steer clear of the smaller Wendls and Yamahas, in fact avoid any small piano if you can accommodate something larger. The Wendl 122cm is good if it has been well prepared by the dealer and in my view better value than a 28 year old import. Ditto the new Yamaha B3 121cm if you are working to a tight budget.
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Re: kawai ks-2f, yamaha u1 or wendl & lung

Post by PianoGuy » 03 Sep 2009, 07:40

chrisvenables wrote:Taller is better and will not necessarily disturb the neighbours more than a small piano. Rubber based castor cups are a good sound insulator as a large amount of the sound is transferred through the floor and walls to your neighbour, rather than through the air.
Absolutely.
chrisvenables wrote: The Wendl 122cm is good if it has been well prepared by the dealer and in my view better value than a 28 year old import. Ditto the new Yamaha B3 121cm if you are working to a tight budget.
Hang on! Some grey imports really aren't that bad. I would rate a good used U1 more highly than a b3 which is far less resonant and has less structural integrity in its flimsier casework. The real trouble is actually finding a good import, and with so many Thomases, Richards and Henries selling them these days it can be a riskier business finding a good one than buying new.

Chris's favourite, the Wendl 122-Universal sounds and performs great, but the casework integrity is once again a bit on the slack side in spite of appearances. It's not the materials used but it's how they're screwed together. The Brodmann BU-121 is better in this respect, and the Perzina GP-122 better than both if equipped with the Renner hammer option. All these will cost you around the same price of a good s/h Yamaha U1.

No substitute for trying a few!
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If you're buying a piano, try as many as you can and buy the one you like, not a similar one of the same type.

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Re: kawai ks-2f, yamaha u1 or wendl & lung

Post by chrisvenables » 03 Sep 2009, 12:09

Yes, definitely try as many as you can. But Yamaha B3 and Wendl 122 with flimsy casework, structural integrity and casework integrity? I don't think so.

Firstly, most new Yamaha pianos are better than old. U1s built after 1999 had an improved scale and are around 3cm wider than the old models, (hence the bass string length as this section of strings are angled), is greater than an old U1 and almost the same as an older U3. A B3 benefits from this design too.

Not that you should judge a piano's quality by its weight, but:

New Brodmann 121 (121cm) - 216kg
New Yamaha U1 (121cm) - 228kg
New Yamaha B3 (121cm) - 237 kg
New Wendl 122 (122cm) - 240Kg

So B3 and Wendl 122 are hardly 'flimsy'.

Structural integrity - B3: casework on a piano is more cosmetic in its function than structural. It's the iron frame, tuning block, soundboard and backposts which are the real foundations to a piano's build quality.( I've seen some Steinway uprights in the 80's with chipboard side panels). The B3 has 5 backposts and 2 frame-to-backpost bolts just as in the new U1. The B3's laminated soundboard, although not quite as effective musically, is reputed to be more resilient. Incidentally, Yamaha's Indonesian plant now makes the actions for new U1s. Also Kemble & Co are shortly to have their upright pianos made in this same factory which makes the B3.

Wendl 122 - nice piano but certainly not my favourite! Structurally solid with a metal keybed for a more stable keyboard and action foundation. Case parts are as thick and as heavy as on the U1 and B3, glued and screwed where necessary - as I said in my first post, good dealer prepping is vital to check (in terms of case parts amongst other things) screw tightness which I don't consider a structural deficiency. It's just something which can come with the territory of a budget piano which some dealers may overlook when prepping.

Brodmann 121 - another good choice, but I think PG should take a look at the strung back of a Brodmann 121 and a Wendl 122. Although the pianos are from different factories, and Brodmann uses agraffes in the bass, there are, let's say, extraordinary similarities regarding the soundboard, backposts and iron frame...

Perzina - nothing wrong with the handful I've seen, so in my view means not enough to pass serious judgement, but I'd still prefer one to a grey import.
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Re: kawai ks-2f, yamaha u1 or wendl & lung

Post by PianoGuy » 03 Sep 2009, 12:19

chrisvenables wrote:
Wendl 122 - nice piano but certainly not my favourite! Structurally solid with a metal keybed for a more stable keyboard and action foundation. Case parts are as thick and as heavy as on the U1 and B3, glued and screwed where necessary - as I said in my first post, good dealer prepping is vital to check (in terms of case parts amongst other things) screw tightness which I don't consider a structural deficiency. It's just something which can come with the territory of a budget piano which some dealers may overlook when prepping..
It's not the structure per-se, but the bits of cheapo wood they use for the non-structural bits under the keybed and plinth which are terribly rough and splintery. The pedal trapwork is als a bit on the budget side and rocker-spring retaining cups are made of the most inappropriate brittle plastics. I've been out to a good few where clients have complained about buzzes. creaks and extraneous noises.

Can't deny the excellent value and great sound though. I find the Brodmann not quite up to the Wendl in terms of tone quality, but at these prices they're all bargains.
PG

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If you're buying a piano, try as many as you can and buy the one you like, not a similar one of the same type.

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Re: kawai ks-2f, yamaha u1 or wendl & lung

Post by joe » 03 Sep 2009, 14:08

Excellent boys!!! a real piano discussion how would you rate new Kawai K3 alongside the others,and lets say there is no price.Kawai K3,Yamaha B3,Wendl 122, Broadman 121 and last but not least the Venables & Sons 122,taking all self interest and profit out of the post what piano would you buy and why?.

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Re: kawai ks-2f, yamaha u1 or wendl & lung

Post by chrisvenables » 03 Sep 2009, 18:22

On the public forum, dealers and techs are here to help readers make an informed choice. The public knowing which one we would buy wouldn't really help them. If I said 'Yamaha' they may understand that to mean I think all Yamahas are great when some are not so great.

Choosing a piano is an individual and personal thing so you can't always say maker A is better than maker B. Some people want a bright clear sound, some want a soft tone, or a powerful bass, some have responsiveness of touch as a priority and some are more interested in the aesthetics. Dealer prepping can also make a massive difference.

Sorry, but price has to come into the equation - I've never had someone walk into my showrom and say 'I'll take that!' without asking 'How much?' (Especially those from north of the border Joe).

I would rate the K3 alongside the others you mentioned, (there's no Venables 122, there's a 120, 123 and 125) as well as the Perzina mentioned by PG. I'd recommend people to go out and try them all to see which they prefer. All of the above are good middle of the range pianos.
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Re: kawai ks-2f, yamaha u1 or wendl & lung

Post by joseph » 03 Sep 2009, 21:12

. . . . . if money wasn't a consideration, we wouldn't be looking at any of those pianos would we!

My choice would be made by trying individual pianos from each maker. Honestly I might prefer one Wendl over one Kawai, but then find another Kawai I love.

I've played some Yamaha C3's that I much prefer over certain Steinway model A's. Of course, they are the exception and I usually prefer a model A.

Perhaps that answers one part of the question, which one has the most brand consistency? Well I guess at the moment that is Kawai. However that wasn't always the case and in the past Kawai made some awful pianos.

For me, I'd choose a Steinway, B, C or D depending on the situation.

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Re: kawai ks-2f, yamaha u1 or wendl & lung

Post by joe » 04 Sep 2009, 10:59

We are not the ones advertising "low internet prices"our website shows full rrp,and you are correct in thinking most clients want a deal and will travel to achieve that,our policy regards Yamaha is to match prices quoted elsewhere to keep the business local.

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Re: kawai ks-2f, yamaha u1 or wendl & lung

Post by joseph » 04 Sep 2009, 15:08

I guess what people want from an instrument is the best sound and touch, the best build quality/durability and the best after sales service at the best possible price. I think all of the dealers on here can offer that.

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