Mid range grands - price and advice

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Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by osborne1 » 27 Jan 2011, 00:02

I would be grateful for any advice on prices or general comments on the following pianos:

Kawai RX3,5, SK3, SK5 - Understand RRP is £21.5k, £25k, £31k and £35k respectively. No idea what discount might typically be offered?
Schimmel 189 - No information although I suspect the RRP is c £30-35k? Any idea on typical discount available?
Boston 193,215 - No idea of RRP, I have seen an advert for a new 193 for £19k
Yamaha C3, C5 - I believe these can be obtained for 20% off RRP at £17k and £21k respectively


My budget is around £15k-£22.5k, so I suspect new Kawai Shigeru and Schimmel are out of my range. I would ideally like to focus my search based on the likely price after discount and suspect I may be looking at comparing RX, Yam C and Boston.

I played both Bostons about 4 years ago and thought both were fantastic even after playing immediately after Steinway A. I liked the depth of sound and solid touch then. I think Boston have released new models in the last year or so but I have no idea what changes have been made.

Due to my location in Manchester, I have access to the Schimmels. All models very impressive (consider getting rid of all living room furniture and sell body to accommodate/buy 7 foot model!?). I found the top end a bit bright on the smaller models but I suspect voicing could bring it down a bit.

I previously owned a U3 (happily, although I thought it was somewhat brash?) and feel that whilst Yamaha offers a solid build and decent pianos, I haven't been inspired by the couple of C3's I have played. I guess I haven't explored the handbuilt range (S4, S6) for this reason and also given the big increase in price.

Finally, I have not been able to try the range of Kawai's. I played an second hand RX2 and was not overwhelmed but compared to the Schimmels in the same showroom (including the 7 foot one mentioned above) this was clearly a smaller and more limited instrument. Plus unsure of age/work done.

I would be interested for info on where I might try the range of Kawai's and opinion on Kawai vs Boston. My tuner says that Boston is virtually identical but more expensive but unless you can get decent discounts on Kawai's it seems the prices might be similar. I live in Manchester but work in Leeds and London occasionally.

Ultimately I'd like to buy a Steinway if I can afford it in time. Any opinion on the value of the cash-back offer provided by Steinway on the Boston? Presumably you would not be eligible to receive the c5% discount which I think is possible on new Steinway prices, which would be around £2.5k loss on a Steinway A model.

Apologies for such a long post and thanks so much for any info or opinions you may have!
Thanks!

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by mdw » 27 Jan 2011, 10:40

AFAIK the Boston is made by Kawai for Steinway. As a tuner ive found the 4-5 boston grands ive tuned to be 2nd rate compared to the Kawais of the same size. That might just be grotty prep from the dealer but I think you are paying over the odds for the Designed by Steinway sticker. Just my opinion though!!

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joseph » 27 Jan 2011, 18:10

A well prepped C3 or RX3 is an excellent piano indeed. In my experience the S series are streets ahead and worth paying for if you can afford it. Bostons are good solid instruments that have a pleasing action and sound. The buy-back scheme is good if you think you'll be able to afford a Steinway within 10 years. Don't buy one just for that reason though, buy it if you love it.

I don't know much about Schimmel but the ones I've played haven't really inspired me at all, but then they were cracking on a bit in years and not the best maintained instruments so its not a fair comparison.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joe » 27 Jan 2011, 18:52

Boston new GP range are in a league of their own,yes they are made by Kawai but to strict Steinway guidelines.Kawai RX3 is also excellent would forget the other 2 brands quality lacking on their newer ones in last 5 years.Buy back is a factor but having a guarantee by the worlds premier piano maker Steinway would sell the Boston for me.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by osborne1 » 27 Jan 2011, 20:33

Thanks for responses so far...some interesting and varied opinions so far. Keep em coming! ;)

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by Johnkie » 27 Jan 2011, 20:53

In the price range you are talking about, my recommendation would be the Yamaha C3 C5 - Chris Venables down at Ringwood does great deals, and is well worth getting in touch with to save yourself loads of money. Too many people get caught up with the Boston being designed by Steinway thing .... they're not Steinways by a long chalk ! They're ok ... but nothing at all special. The Yamaha C series that I deal with have never given me cause for concern ... and when said and done ... are used just about everywhere one would need a good reliable Grand. If money is no object then of course there are better grands like the Fazioli if a genuine Steinway or Bosendorfer is just that little too much to pay ... but in my experience with Boston, Yamaha and Kawai grands, I would recommend Yamaha every time.
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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joe » 30 Jan 2011, 16:47

Yamahas are overpriced now and the newer ones are not as well built as the older instruments,Kawai or Boston these pianos have improved in last 10 years have better tuning stability and are tonally more pleasing to the ear,promoting a discount merchant and saving money hardly offers the customer the best impartial advice unless there commissions available.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by Johnkie » 30 Jan 2011, 19:37

promoting a discount merchant and saving money hardly offers the customer the best impartial advice unless there commissions available
Now just hold on a minute Joe ..... How dare you imply the above comment :evil:
Honest , impartial advice is something that I would always give ... both in business and and my private life.
If you think making utterly wild and stupid comments helps anyone seeking advice when looking for a piano, then I seriously doubt your intentions are anything but to wind people up

I stand firmly by what I previously said .... and have the skill, experience and expertise to back it up ... you on the other hand .........don't!!
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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by NewAge » 30 Jan 2011, 20:27

For what it's worth, I for one certainly read nothing sinister in JOHNKIE's comment. To me it was purely a professional giving good, helpful advise.
In fact I found it refreshing to see this, as whether one likes it or not, it's true that with many of the piano buying public there is a perception that many piano dealers are tarred with the same brush and reputation given to used-car salesmen, liable to tell them anything to make a sale, and frequently putting-down brands that they don't stock. One could say that's human nature, but one thing I do believe is that the good reputation of a dealer once recognized by the public, generally follows him for a long time.
On one piano related site that I follow regularly, there is a section on the forum for piano buyers, piano shop browsers or piano-lovers in general to provide comments on the piano dealers in the area they live. An eye-opener to say the least........
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: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by Johnkie » 30 Jan 2011, 22:31

Thank you NEWAGE - I've calmed down now, and whilst I appreciate everyone has a right to express their views, the implication that I had pecuniary motives for recommending an establishment where excellent discount prices were to be had .... left me dumbfounded. I am so pleased that you took my post in the spirit that I intended to convey, in answer to Osborne1's request for advice.
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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by lucia » 31 Jan 2011, 13:08

joe wrote:Yamahas ... the newer ones are not as well built as the older instruments.
What evidence do you base this claim on?

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by Johnkie » 31 Jan 2011, 14:12

lucia wrote:
joe wrote:Yamahas ... the newer ones are not as well built as the older instruments.
What evidence do you base this claim on?
lucia wrote:
joe wrote:Yamahas ... the newer ones are not as well built as the older instruments.
What evidence do you base this claim on?
Welcome to the forum Lucia - I too, would like to learn about anything that would indicate that Yamaha pianos are now not as well built these days! Everything that the Japanese manufacture, as far as engineering goes, is hard to beat. They may not be innovators, but when it comes to copying and improving a product, they tend to leave the rest of the world standing. To them it's a pride thing, anything less than perfection, is constantly improved on. Whilst Yahama pianos haven't got the status of Steinway, they nevertheless do make pianos that many a top international pianist would use for a performance. The most common complaint seems to be one of the Yamaha being too bright in its tonal quality. The toning of a piano is a very personal thing .... some like it very bright, others not, and some would prefer something inbetween. Yamaha do send their pianos out to the dealers generally on the bright side. It's not a fault in any way - the dealer should be able to listen to what the customer wants, and then re-voice the hammers to suit. The fact of the matter is ... it is far easier to soften than brighten a piano's overall tone ... but only the best dealer/suppliers have the nous and skill required to customise the instrument to the client's taste.
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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by athomik » 31 Jan 2011, 15:39

Johnkie wrote: Welcome to the forum Lucia - I too, would like to learn about anything that would indicate that Yamaha pianos are now not as well built these days! Everything that the Japanese manufacture, as far as engineering goes, is hard to beat. They may not be innovators, but when it comes to copying and improving a product, they tend to leave the rest of the world standing. To them it's a pride thing, anything less than perfection, is constantly improved on.
Yamaha have a system in place where any potential quality problem found by a subsidiary anywhere in the world is reported straight back to Japan and investigated.
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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joe » 31 Jan 2011, 18:41

The orginal thread is asking for advice on what piano to buy not where to go get a new Yamaha as that was only one of the brands they where looking at,secondly why would a guy in Newcastle send a client to the south-east is the purpose of this forum not to keep the business local when possible.As to my credentials have 30 years experience in all facets of the piano trade as a tuner/tech and retailer and have Yamaha top dealer awards in the past .In last number of year have found the grands typically C3 have a tendacy to break too easily in lower bass regions,i am familar with all the makes and Kawai and the Steinway designed Boston are the best pianos in the mid-range they have improved in last 10 years.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by Johnkie » 31 Jan 2011, 19:05

Have never had a bass string break on a Yamaha C series grand yet and I work on them every other day ... the odd treble string from time to time ... but there again Steinway D's are just as likely to have the same.
Why would someone from the North East suggest a supplier down in Ringwood ..... why not if the supplier has a good reputation and can offer a great customer deal .... oh .... and I have no idea where Osborne1 lives .. it could be right around the corner from Venables for all I know.
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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joe » 01 Feb 2011, 14:36

There are plenty other dealers who offer good customer service and prices Music Box Manchester,Chappells London,Chamberlains Surrey etc and they tend to be cheaper than your pal without compromising service.Again the orginal thread has asked for advice on a number of other makes and strangely enough they are not supplied to your friend in Ringwood as the choice there is limited to Yamaha and other brands he has made in China and puts his own name on to preserve profitably margins,not arguing about that.Yamahas where my !st choice also at the price range they sold at,but since about 1995 have found the quality not to be up to their earlier standards and have sold and serviced too many to remember.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by mdw » 01 Feb 2011, 16:24

joe wrote:There are plenty other dealers who offer good customer service and prices Music Box Manchester,Chappells London,Chamberlains Surrey etc and they tend to be cheaper than your pal without compromising service.
One of those 3 supplied 2 B1s to a secondary school near me, no lock, no safety castors, no tuning after delivery. 2 bolt on leg stools supplied and already broken ( what a suprise) 3 months after delivery. I think they were pretty much concentrating on bottom line in that case and not bothered about what was right for the customer. Its not all bad news though as my guess is the Yam B1s wont last 5 years in that school and will need replacing.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joe » 01 Feb 2011, 17:18

You are spot on Yamaha B1 pianos are the wrong piano for school use,use to supply education and its alway the bottom line would advise fitting safety brackets but 9 out of 10 times they declined to pay the extra and you will find the stools where most likely supplied flat pack and built by the teacher or a pupil.Usually the local authority demand a years warranty,but as long as the pianos are supplied problem free its the tuners job if contracted to maintain the pianos as that is what he is paid or contracted to do,but too often they shriek the responsibility and because the pianos have been supplied by a DISCOUNT MERCHANT outside their area or no commissions has been forthcoming there is a tendacy to want to give the supplier problems no matter how good or bad they are.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by mdw » 01 Feb 2011, 17:51

I dont do contracts with my schools, then if they dont like me they dont call me back ( hasnt happened) and if I dont like them..................... New school to tune at to they dont owe me anything and I dont owe them anything either. I just think its a shame that they got taken for a ride by a chancer and offered slack service. I dont have a problem with it as its more work for me. I think joe you need to check up on the sales of good act if you belive the sellers job ends on delivery or even after the 5 guarantee ends ( think 7 years if the customer knows his stuff). Its simply that most customers dont know their rights that stop there being more problems going back to retailers.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joe » 01 Feb 2011, 18:24

The retailer only supplies the pianos the schools order and cos the B1 is the cheapest Yamaha thats what they go for,they dont listen to tuners,sensible retailers or teachers price is the key.When we supplied it was a year guarantee how can you offer more when pianos are thumped,bumped and generally abused,had many incidents when schools would wait to just before the 5 year warranty was up and try jump on the bandwagon to get a free new piano citing faults and flaws which where wear and tear not mechanical or structural faults,and also private customers singing from the same hymn sheet.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by mdw » 01 Feb 2011, 18:45

joe wrote:The retailer only supplies the pianos the schools order and cos the B1 is the cheapest Yamaha thats what they go for,they dont listen to tuners,sensible retailers or teachers price is the key.
The the retailer should say no I will not supply that product. I personaly will not supply any stool other than a fixed braced leg tozer to a school. When we supply pianos to schools we only supply Kembles but thats because its the correct kit and I am going to be tuning it for the next 20 years therefore dont want any comebacks. I can see why people are happy to sell B1s to the other end of the country.

Re SOGA. My sons Apple I touch packed up 24 months after purchase. Apple shop said 1year guarantee, tough now bugger off. Went to Argos ( the retailer) with quote for repair and said the magic words Sales of Goods Act to the manager. 5 mins later we walk out of the shop happy punters with a new I touch. The manager knew I had his family jewels in the palm of my hand and he also knew that i knew I had them there.
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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by A440 » 02 Feb 2011, 00:26

Sorry to bring this interesting thread back to original topic. Nobody has mentioned the Kemble grand yet. We have one in Yorkshire Pianos which sounds superb. With your budget you could even try a Bechstein or even the 160 Sauter (yes we have one! They are pretty rare in uk may even be the only one?).

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joe » 02 Feb 2011, 18:08

SK Kawai pianos are only avaialble at one retailer in the U.K.and the reason for this is to keep prices at RRP without discounts,they are basically the same as the RX-series with am improved soundboard action is the same not worth the extra.Schimells nice grand piano but very pricey and again same pricing policy as the SK Kawai.Yamaha as you said 20% off but overpriced to start with so no real saving there.Kawai RX-series nicely prepped as good as a SK,and you can shop around for a price.Boston with the latest technical improvements implemented by Steinways a delight to play and you have the guaranteed buy back and in house tuning and warranty network by the U.K. top techs.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by Barrie Heaton » 02 Feb 2011, 20:38

lucia wrote:
joe wrote:Yamahas ... the newer ones are not as well built as the older instruments.
What evidence do you base this claim on?
I have found that the B range has improved in quality in the last few batches that I have worked on, However, the U1 and U3 not so, they may have speeded up the production belt or something. Nothing major, just niggles like practices peddled set to low, keys not a level as they could be.

Something else's I have noticed, Grands seem to be coming in a tad above or on pitch, they use to be 15 to 20 cents sharp. Uprights on the other hand are way to sharp about 35cent and rising sharp and both ends

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joe » 03 Feb 2011, 12:57

Hi Barrie,your are spot on regards Yamaha,this is due no prep work being done in Milton Keynes before been delivered to dealers a few years ago they where offering money off if you where able to prep pianos yourself which to me was something we always did anyway,and the dealers who needed to wait for Yamaha in house team to prep pianos would wait weeks for delivery.Their standards have falling due to penny pinching and many off the DISCOUNT MERCHANTS send them direct from Milton Keynes without ever laying eyes on the piano they have sold no names mentioned here the trade know who they are.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by athomik » 03 Feb 2011, 14:58

joe wrote:Hi Barrie,your are spot on regards Yamaha,this is due no prep work being done in Milton Keynes before been delivered to dealers a few years ago they where offering money off if you where able to prep pianos yourself which to me was something we always did anyway,and the dealers who needed to wait for Yamaha in house team to prep pianos would wait weeks for delivery.Their standards have falling due to penny pinching and many off the DISCOUNT MERCHANTS send them direct from Milton Keynes without ever laying eyes on the piano they have sold no names mentioned here the trade know who they are.
I'm not sure I can spot a single accurate fact in this post. :?
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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by lucia » 03 Feb 2011, 16:47

athomik wrote:
joe wrote:Hi Barrie,your are spot on regards Yamaha,this is due no prep work being done in Milton Keynes before been delivered to dealers a few years ago they where offering money off if you where able to prep pianos yourself which to me was something we always did anyway,and the dealers who needed to wait for Yamaha in house team to prep pianos would wait weeks for delivery.Their standards have falling due to penny pinching and many off the DISCOUNT MERCHANTS send them direct from Milton Keynes without ever laying eyes on the piano they have sold no names mentioned here the trade know who they are.
I'm not sure I can spot a single accurate fact in this post. :?
As a potential customer, I wish to upgrade my piano soon, I find this discussion worrying. I am not sure I wish to spend a considerable amount of money buying an instrument from a trade which acts in an unprofessional manner as described above. The term "discount merchants" brings to mind a stereotypical used car salesman (apologies to any used car salesmen who may be reading this). Do piano shops now have bunting hung outside and "manager's weekly special" posters in the window in order to tempt in the unsuspecting punter?

I had hoped that this forum would provide professional and objective advice. Please, someone put my mind at rest that this is so.

Meanwhile back to the subject matter: Joe you are very enthusiastic about the Boston pianos. Are these more expensive than the Yamahas and if yes then:

1. How much more expensive?
2. Is the extra cost, in your professional opinion, really justified?

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by athomik » 03 Feb 2011, 17:23

lucia wrote:I had hoped that this forum would provide professional and objective advice. Please, someone put my mind at rest that this is so.

Meanwhile back to the subject matter: Joe you are very enthusiastic about the Boston pianos. Are these more expensive than the Yamahas and if yes then:

1. How much more expensive?
2. Is the extra cost, in your professional opinion, really justified?
I can't speak for other manufacturers, but all Yamaha pianos arriving in this country via Yamaha Music Europe GmbH (UK) (the official distributor for Yamaha in the UK) are thoroughly checked, tuned, regulated and, if necessary, have their voicing adjusted before they leave the warehouse in Milton Keynes. This obviously doesn't apply to secondhand pianos, whether they were originally official UK imports or they are grey imports. (Unless it's one of the official Yamaha refurbished ones from Japan)
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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by Barrie Heaton » 03 Feb 2011, 18:00

lucia wrote:

As a potential customer, I wish to upgrade my piano soon, I find this discussion worrying. I am not sure I wish to spend a considerable amount of money buying an instrument from a trade which acts in an unprofessional manner as described above. The term "discount merchants" brings to mind a stereotypical used car salesman (apologies to any used car salesmen who may be reading this). Do piano shops now have bunting hung outside and "manager's weekly special" posters in the window in order to tempt in the unsuspecting punter?
I wouldn't be concerned about the quality of Yamaha piano they are very good for the money. The small problems that are referred to above by me can be found on best of makes even much more expensive ones than Yamaha. Those sorts of niggles are taken out by the retailers any way. You just get uses to not normally having to do it with Yamaha.

As to tactics of sales persons that will never change no matter what you are selling that is their profession they use what ever enticements are available to get a sale discounting just being one of them.

As to "discount merchants" one thing that no one has said about some of them there "discount merchants" . They are giving a 10 Year Guarantee, were as the rest are just giving the normal Yamaha 5 year one. To give a 10 year Guarantee you have to be very confident in the product you are selling .

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joe » 03 Feb 2011, 18:16

The comments regards the Yamaha are true as i used to manage a main dealer outlet for 20 years and have hands on experience jn the sales,tuning, delivery and after-sales service of these instruments am not implying they are bad pianos if fully preped and time spent doing whats required they are still a better instrument than the rebranded pianos coming out of China.No offence to ATHOMIK as i find your threads both helpful and informative are you not a Yamaha employee whose remit is to keep an eye on what said here.Regards Lucia comments the car salesmen syndrome you have mentioned is spot on.Shop around and play Yamaha,Kawais,Kemble and Boston pianos and make your own judgements try and keep the business local where possible and dont always be blinded by price.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by athomik » 03 Feb 2011, 18:26

joe wrote:No offence to ATHOMIK as i find your threads both helpful and informative are you not a Yamaha employee whose remit is to keep an eye on what said here.
As it says on the bottom of my posts, anything I do or say on here (or anywhere else on the internet) is purely a personal comment and has nothing to do with any official capacity or connection to any company. - any official connection to any company merely means that I have to try to make sure my comments are as accurate as possible.
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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joe » 03 Feb 2011, 18:36

Retract comments that i dont know my facts,they may have went back to prepping pianos in last year or two due to piano sales downturn but previously what i mentioned was the norm.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by mdw » 03 Feb 2011, 19:17

Barrie Heaton wrote: They are giving a 10 Year Guarantee, were as the rest are just giving the normal Yamaha 5 year one. To give a 10 year Guarantee you have to be very confident in the product you are selling .

Barrie
The 10 year and even 5 year guarantees seem to cover the things that never go wrong. Ive seen a reasonable number of pianos ( many makes) from net or bricks and morter shop with the odd sticky note, pedals, dampers need adjusting etc. The customers seem suprised that their 10 year guarantee only seems to cover the thing exploding or some other major failure. Has any other tech ever had a major structure failure thats detailed in the guarantee? You dont have to name the make, just interested as its never happened to me.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by A440 » 03 Feb 2011, 19:31

I've had a couple of customers unhappy with Kemble pianos just "it doesn't sound like it did in the showroom" or "this note sometimes sounds a bit funny" and after we have done our best to rectify the situation, Kemble have gone out and in both cases replaced the piano! They give real 5 star service and have even upgraded a model for a customer with ongoing problems.
The best part is they seem to have the same level of attention now as ever. They are a genuine caring company.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by lucia » 03 Feb 2011, 20:46

Barrie[/quote]

The 10 year and even 5 year guarantees seem to cover the things that never go wrong. Ive seen a reasonable number of pianos ( many makes) from net or bricks and morter shop with the odd sticky note, pedals, dampers need adjusting etc. The customers seem suprised that their 10 year guarantee only seems to cover the thing exploding or some other major failure. Has any other tech ever had a major structure failure thats detailed in the guarantee? You dont have to name the make, just interested as its never happened to me.[/quote]

Of course the guarantee never covers things that go wrong, it same with one's cooker or freezer :roll: . However, in all fairness presumably some of the things that go wrong are due to wear and tear, how well the customer actually looks after the instrument etc...

@Joe I do intend to shop around and try out lots of different instruments when the time comes. However, whoever I buy from I will expect to be competitive on price and offer full prepping and after sales service, if not I can always take my money elsewhere. I want to deal with the piano dealer equivalent of John Lewis "never knowingly undersold". John Lewis manages to offer both competitive price and good service and certainly can't be accused of being a "discount merchant". In fact their commitment to offering a good price does not seem to have done them any harm on the contrary the partnership is doing very well - mind you that could be down to all the money I spend in Waitrose :oops: .

However Joe, I find it hard to believe that Yamaha would not prep their pianos properly. It is a large company with a reputation to uphold. Moreover, a company such as Yamaha will be investing huge amounts of money in technology, research and development and manufacturing systems in order to improve both production techniques and their products. Why would the company then waste this investment by not prepping the pianos properly? If what you say is true, and thus far the balance of opinion seems to be against you on this point, one could argue that the company is cutting corners as it is relying on its reputation. However, reputations are hard to come by and easily lost, surely Yamaha must know this.

I currently own a Kemble upright which I purchased from new about 9 years ago. I love it :D . I have never had any problems with it (and I don't let my teenage children or their friends bash about on it :evil: ). More importantly for all you tech guys my piano tuner loves it too. :D :D . I am pleased to say it does "what it says on the box". Ok so it is not a Steinway but I can always pretend... :wink:

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by Barrie Heaton » 03 Feb 2011, 21:17

mdw wrote:
Barrie Heaton wrote: They are giving a 10 Year Guarantee, were as the rest are just giving the normal Yamaha 5 year one. To give a 10 year Guarantee you have to be very confident in the product you are selling .

Barrie
The 10 year and even 5 year guarantees seem to cover the things that never go wrong. Ive seen a reasonable number of pianos ( many makes) from net or bricks and morter shop with the odd sticky note, pedals, dampers need adjusting etc. The customers seem suprised that their 10 year guarantee only seems to cover the thing exploding or some other major failure. Has any other tech ever had a major structure failure thats detailed in the guarantee? You dont have to name the make, just interested as its never happened to me.
Yip
3 years ago collapsed bass bridge on a Kemble.
Back in the 80s the back came away from the case on a Bentley

The problem can be the serial number if you don't have the original receipt they use the number and as we all know.....

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by Johnkie » 03 Feb 2011, 23:33

It seems to me that there are many different views about the quality of various mid-range grands here on this particular topic. We all know that every single piano is different, each having it's own good and bad points, but why all the hostility from certain posters ..... "PALS ... DISCOUNT MERCHANTS etc etc"? It could be viewed that some comments are coming from the very people that have a vested interest in promoting their particular stock, but not having the honesty to declare it, or even reveal that they are in fact dealers at all. Un-biased advice, and the best possible deal, is surely what is being asked for here. If profit margins and distance to a piano shop are relevant, then I have to have doubts over the "impartial" advice proffered. I have always found that a good quality dealer/supplier will always listen to a customer's problem, and if not able to rectify it themselves, will get someone who can. Indeed many new pianos that I see for the first time need some slight adjustment, which I'm happy to do as part of my job .... at no extra cost ( I know ... it's not good business), unless of course, the work needed, involves considerable time spent putting things right. Any client of mine that is looking to buy, or upgrade their piano is directed to where I think they will be able to get the best possible service, and if that customer then has a problem, I wouldn't think twice about taking the customers side ( if justified ) above that of the dealer. Every manufacturer, or dealer that I have ever dealt with over new piano faults have been only too pleased to have faults rectified and the resultant invoice sent to them for payment. Lets all just give our best considered advice based on openness and honesty, and leave the final decision regarding the original question, up to the person to decide on, having taken everyones comments into consideration.
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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by mdw » 04 Feb 2011, 08:42

I understand your view Jonkie but im pretty sure you are coming from this as a tuner only.

Look at it as if it affected your business. How does your response go if a tuner from the other side of the country comes to your area undercuts you big time due to their lower fixed costs etc and does a slightly slack job. This after you have gone to check over the customers piano free of charge and not once a year but monthy by many customers. The customer then expects you to pop back in and pick up the pieces 6 months later. You see 20% drop in turnover on tuning over 3 years due to this. Would you still be a happy bunny?

I am quite happy to say if you by a piano from me ( Kemble , Kawai and Reids stock) you have my showroom, home and mobile nos and you can ring at any time. If you have a problem im out to you within 24 hrs as I only sell where I can look after and tune it. If you brought from one of the usual suspects you dont get special treatment. I do a lot of tuning for other shops, dealers etc and 1 in 4 pianos still have the polysytrene packings in the action, sticky notes, pedal problems. This covers load of makes including Yams.

1 last point, if you bought from us we pay a lot more for it if you selling it back to us than if you didnt buy from us. A wierd thing is a number of dealers will NOT buy back any stock they have sold at any price.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by Johnkie » 04 Feb 2011, 10:44

Thank you MWD - You make a good valid point to which I, on reflection, totally agree with. Yes you are correct, I'm not a dealer and only ever have to take my clients interests into account. This obviously is an area that doesn't affect me, and I'm sure that all the good, professionally trained tradesmen who deal with piano sales are totally fair and honest with their customers. It must be annoying to have price wars, and as a result ... a drop in profit. I admit to being totally biased toward my client base rather than the standpoint of the dealer, and now that you make the point of rougue dealers, who undercut prices, only then to wash their hands of any future problems, I see your very valid point. Thanks once again for throwing light on this subject, in a way that was in no way hostile or rude like certain others throughout this thread .... I appreciate your valuable, and polite input.
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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by lucia » 04 Feb 2011, 12:31

mdw wrote:I understand your view Jonkie but im pretty sure you are coming from this as a tuner only.

Look at it as if it affected your business. How does your response go if a tuner from the other side of the country comes to your area undercuts you big time due to their lower fixed costs etc and does a slightly slack job. This after you have gone to check over the customers piano free of charge and not once a year but monthy by many customers. The customer then expects you to pop back in and pick up the pieces 6 months later. You see 20% drop in turnover on tuning over 3 years due to this. Would you still be a happy bunny?

I am quite happy to say if you by a piano from me ( Kemble , Kawai and Reids stock) you have my showroom, home and mobile nos and you can ring at any time. If you have a problem im out to you within 24 hrs as I only sell where I can look after and tune it. If you brought from one of the usual suspects you dont get special treatment. I do a lot of tuning for other shops, dealers etc and 1 in 4 pianos still have the polysytrene packings in the action, sticky notes, pedal problems. This covers load of makes including Yams.
I agree with Johnkie, this is a fair point. I can now see where you and Joe are coming from with the advice to use a local supplier. Please will you clarify what exactly you mean by "local". Just how far are you prepared to travel? I am asking this because the piano shops which are "local" to me are, in fact, quite some distance away. The one nearest to me I wouldn't use anyway because they stock and sell cheap, very old pianos - selling at £200- £1500 - which is not the sort of thing I am looking for.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joe » 04 Feb 2011, 13:53

IF YOU LET THE FORUM KNOW WHAT COUNTY YOU RESIDE AND PIANOS YOU WANT TO TRY WILL GIVE YOU A LIST OF DEALERS I WOULD RECCOMEND,NO VESTED INTEREST HERE AS I HAVE RECENTLY RETIRED FROM THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE OF THE PIANO TRADE.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by lucia » 04 Feb 2011, 14:18

Wiltshire, close to the border with Hampshire and West Berkshire, Oxfordshire is also fairly close. Like the original poster of this topic I too will be looking for a mid-range grand piano - 6ft 3 preferably but if necessary 5ft 11ish. I am inclined towards new rather than a rebuilt piano; a new piano feels "safer" to me (not sure whether I am correct in this assumption of course) and I presume is less likely to go wrong.
Last edited by lucia on 04 Feb 2011, 14:23, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joe » 04 Feb 2011, 14:23

A440 wrote:I've had a couple of customers unhappy with Kemble pianos just "it doesn't sound like it did in the showroom" or "this note sometimes sounds a bit funny" and after we have done our best to rectify the situation, Kemble have gone out and in both cases replaced the piano! They give real 5 star service and have even upgraded a model for a customer with ongoing problems.
The best part is they seem to have the same level of attention now as ever. They are a genuine caring company.
Dealt with the Yanaha/kemble alliance and this is my opinion regards Kemble as a company.For over 30 years sold Kemble pianos never moaned or complained but the prep work and tuning was non existant and we would spend 3 hours per piano to get right,which cut in to our profits,always paid their 7 day invoice prompt.Few years ago customers plinth seperated from piano and was covered by guarantee,piano was situated on a 4th floor flat we removed piano loaned her another instrument sent Kemble to MIlton Kenes for repair took 7 Months returned piano and removed loan piano.Sent Kemble our bill for expenses incurred and was told they only are liable for cost of delivery to and from dealers premises and cost of repair,following year when came round to renewing dealership contract they never bothered to inform us they where offering dealershio to another company.A point for ATHOMIK they also would send pianos at the time thru Butlers Piano Movers direct to an end user who enquired thru their website and would not give the business to the local stockist who would have a good deal of money tied up with their stock.Aye for one are delighted they went under as all they where was a Yamaha pianos in a different cabinet pretending to be a bastion of U,K manafacturing.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joe » 04 Feb 2011, 14:34

Would try Cambridge Piano Forte excellent range of new and quality used pianos.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by lucia » 04 Feb 2011, 16:31

Ummm, Cambridge is miles away - seriously.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joe » 04 Feb 2011, 17:34

Steinway Hall Marleybone Lane London.

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by lucia » 04 Feb 2011, 18:05

joe wrote:Steinway Hall Marleybone Lane London.

Now you're just being silly... :D Unless of course you are thinking of Bostons. Getting it back on the train could be a problem though - ha ha ha

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joe » 04 Feb 2011, 19:30

Since travelling seems to be an obstacle and you have no where local to buy why not rent a new grand for say 3 months to see what one you prefer will be a charge for doing this but you will end up with what yo want without all the stress. :roll:

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by lucia » 04 Feb 2011, 20:50

Travelling isn't an obstacle, although Cambridge is quite a distance - probably 3 hours, but I thought the idea was to go to a local dealer.

As a matter of fact London is really easy both by train and car, especially Steinways as we are usually in that area every couple of months for an appointment at UCH, very handy for making a detour to Steinways. We went to London when we were looking for my current piano. Although we didn't buy from London in the end.

Nearest major towns are Reading - and others along the m4 corridor such as Bracknell, Wokingham etc.., Salisbury, Oxford, Bristol, Southampton, Bath, Winchester. All of these are about an one hour drive away.

PS What I meant by "now you're being silly" is that "proper pianists" go to Steinways - not rubbish ones like me :oops: .

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Re: Mid range grands - price and advice

Post by joseph » 05 Feb 2011, 22:58

when buying any piano what you need to think of most is, do you like the sound of the piano. Whether it is a Boston, Steinway, Schimmel, Kawai, Bluthner, Bosendorfer or whatever is actually not relevant. Personally my favourite pianos are, in any price range, Steinway, Yamaha S series, Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Kawai. Even Yamaha C series are excellent instruments and my only criticism of them is that they seem to be voiced a little too bright. That can be changed.

Buy the piano you feel most comfortable with, within the budget you have. If money was no object I'd go out and buy a Steinway. My own piano, a Brodmann 187, has lots of flaws in its build quality but it has a lovely sound. I can extract lots of different colours from it. From a technicians view its not in the same league as Boston or Yamaha etc, but in a way that doesn't matter to me when I'm working on it.

There are even some quirky pianos that I love for different reasons - Welmar and Challen uprights from the 1950s can be so sweet, but I wouldn't buy one for heavy use. My Bluthner from 1910 is beautiful but its not right for the work that I do. Incidentally its in original condition, a rebuilt one is a different matter.

Joe is right about Bostons. Lovely pianos. Like any instrument tho, it has to match the pianist. Perhaps you wont like a Boston. Maybe you'll prefer the more direct sound of the Yamaha or the Kawai. Every piano has its own sound. I love lots of pianos. Having tried the latest Bostons I'd be happy to have one, but I also think the same of many other makes.

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