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Hello wise ones. Am new here and a piano parent, not pianist. We have arrived at the moment where we are considering a new vs used small to medium grand that will be a significant step up from the old Henry Miller that has served our son well for 8+ years. He plays mostly classical, is not conservatory-bound, but we are hopeful that this next purchase may be a long term instrument for him.

In the new piano category, we are probably down to Yamaha C2X vs a Boston 163 or 178. He has played the Yamaha, will soon try out Boston. Would love to hear from anyone who has made a decision that involved serious consideration of either of these. Thank you.

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If budget is a consideration, don't forget to give Hailun a look.

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I think you should choose based on tone, touch, price, appearance, and dealer experience/support. These models are roughly comparable. I would consider the C2X and the 178 the closest two competitors. You could also throw a Kawai GX-2 into the mix, should there be a nearby dealer, as the Boston and Kawai are assembled at the same factory.


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I bought a used Yamaha C2 (20ish years old) so of course the C2X is different in various ways, but I absolutely love my piano!

When I was piano shopping, I played several new Boston grands, including the 163 and 178, and really really liked them! If I had the budget for a new instrument, I am sure I would have seriously considered one of those (probably the 178).

I was unable to find a Boston grand on the used market that fit my criteria, and the other used pianos I found were either a little older than I wanted, or too big for my space etc. I got very lucky with the C2 in terms of timing etc.

But I will say that the Yamaha and Boston differ in terms of their "character" rather than quality. What I mean by that is that the sound and tone are radically different. So choosing between a Yamaha C2 and Boston 178 is like choosing between two different flavors of ice cream -- ok, maybe that's a horrible comparison... whome But if you were comparing a Yamaha to a piano of lesser build quality, then your choice is determined by the qualities of the piano as a machine. When it's Yamaha vs Boston, I think your choice (or your son's choice really) is going to be determined by taste, personal preference, tonal color...

I also played a variety of new and used Kawai grands, and I second TD's suggestion to include those in your search. I personally didn't find one I liked enough to consider as an option, but a lot of people like them a lot and they are very well-regarded in terms of reliability etc. Also, again, I think the Kawai and Boston will sound different, character-wise, so focus on taste, preference etc. in comparing.

Good luck and keep us posted!


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Hi all - Thank you for your input. Here's my update: We visited a Boston dealer, where the pianist in question got to play a GP-193 that he loved, but it's too big in size and $$. Re: flavors of ice cream mentioned by ShiroKuro, the tone of the Boston was preferred by the player. Touch was great. However, our primary interest prior to making the dealer visit was in the 178. Dealer said he had one but it had not been prepped yet, which was immediately evident on playing the piano. (Normally, I doubt the dealer would let anybody play something that was not ready, but he understood how hard it was going to be for us to come back, so we appreciated the opportunity to look at the piano that day.) At this point, we are leaning toward Boston rather than the Yamaha CX2 -- though I should say again that, though the tone is different, wow, both player and parent thought it was fantastic. We live way out in the sticks; making multiple trips to re-visit dealers is not an option. So, about the 178: Would it be reasonable to trust that the dealer will do an excellent job with prep, and commit to this, or do we ask them to complete the prep, then have a technician of our choice assess it before finalizing purchase? Am thinking the latter, but not sure the whether this is accepted practice with the purchase of a new piano. This is a Steinway dealer in a major US city, has an excellent reputation. Thoughts?

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Is the 178 new? And did you like the way the 193 was prepped? It might be ok to purchase the 178 w/o playing it post-prep.... But I wouldn't. I totally get the driving issue. We drove all over the place on weekends and a few weekdays for probably 3-4 months while I was piano searching. It's a huge time-suck and frustrating, esp. for me when I was comparing pianos that not only were not in the same store, they were 2-3 hours drive away from each other!

Just how far of a drive is it? This is a huge purchase, can you make one more trip?

That's what I would recommend. It seems a small price to pay to make sure your son *loves* the one you get.

But having said all of that, the dealer is going to work really hard to prep the piano well and given their reputation etc., they will probably take very good care of you as customers and of the piano as product. Ultimately, you have to do what works best for you...

If you do purchase without playing post-prep, would the dealer be willing to come to your house after delivery if there were concerns?


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Hi - The 178 is also new, apparently just unboxed (we went to the warehouse location of the dealer to see it). LOVED the way the 193 was prepped. We live 3.5-4 hrs from the dealer, there is no closer option for the Bostons. Definitely a huge purchase; we may be able to make one more trip, but it's daunting. And, though this should not really figure into the situation, our current piano is really 'end of life.' We should have embarked on this search a year ago but, you know, 2020.

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What did you not like about the unprepped piano? Was it out of tune? Was the touch uneven or too heavy? If you definitely can't make it to the dealer again to try the piano after the dealer preps it, I would hire a very good tech independent of the dealer to inspect it. Relative to the cost of the piano the cost of a tech inspection is very small and worth the peace of mind. Perhaps you can arrange to be on a cell phone with him during the inspection so you can discuss anything with him and listen to the piano.

You could also ask the dealer to try to prep the smaller Boston so it sounds and feels as close to the larger one as possible. Other posters on this forum may know if the different models in the Boston line up sounds quite similar. This is often but not always true for the different models for a particular make.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 04/22/21 09:55 AM.
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If both the larger and smaller pianos are prepped and at the dealer you could ask the inspecting tech to tell you how close they were in terms of tone.

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Did not seem out of tune, touch was even, B flat 3 (or somewhere thereabouts; can't remember) gave a 'twanging' or rattling sound, source of which was not obvious. Unfortunately, this made it hard to really focus the larger experience of playing and listening to the piano. Was thinking along the lines of what is proposed above re: cell/FaceTime with independent technician post-dealer prep -- thank you for this advice.

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Originally Posted by GraceTuraco
Did not seem out of tune, touch was even, B flat 3 (or somewhere thereabouts; can't remember) gave a 'twanging' or rattling sound, source of which was not obvious. Unfortunately, this made it hard to really focus the larger experience of playing and listening to the piano. Was thinking along the lines of what is proposed above re: cell/FaceTime with independent technician post-dealer prep -- thank you for this advice.
If it was only a few notes that sounded bad and the tone of the piano was pleasing, that's a good sign because there is a very good chance that can be easily fixed. Plus you have a very specific thing a tech could check.

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Yamaha seems to be doing well with its CX series.

Even this C1X with its 5'3" limited size.

C2X will have a better bass.

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Originally Posted by GraceTuraco
Hi - The 178 is also new, apparently just unboxed (we went to the warehouse location of the dealer to see it). LOVED the way the 193 was prepped.

Hmm, well, if the dealer is willing to work with you, maybe in some creative ways, like Facetime etc., and maybe if you can get an independent tech out there after the prep, to play and compare it to the 193, you could do it without making an additional trip. Because:

Quote
We live 3.5-4 hrs from the dealer, there is no closer option for the Bostons. Definitely a huge purchase; we may be able to make one more trip, but it's daunting.

Yes! A 7-8 hour drive, round trip, is definitely daunting!!

During my piano search, I didn't play as many different brands of piano as I would have liked, because of the distance to bigger dealers. So I definitely get that.

Good luck!!


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I’m more of a Yamaha fan. If it’s a brand new Boston 178 and your son liked both the bigger and smaller new Boston, I think it’s fairly safe to go for the Boston 178. It would be safest to arrange a follow up visit with your son trying the piano to be sure. If a 2nd visit is impossible then ask the dealer about a virtual testing over FaceTime or Zoom. Have the dealer play the piano, demonstrate the pedals, and play it with the lid in all positions. Since it’s a new piano it should not have any problems after being fully prepped. From your experience it seems the dealer does good prep for the pianos they sell.

I’m less risk adverse when buying pianos than many of my colleagues who would never buy a piano that they haven’t played several times. Keep us posted on your decision and please post pictures when it’s delivered!


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I'm a Yamaha fan too and I am very very very happy, satisfied and in love with my new C3x. That's all I have to say. =)


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Originally Posted by navi9187
I'm a Yamaha fan too and I am very very very happy, satisfied and in love with my new C3x. That's all I have to say. =)

That’s all you need to say. I had a C3 for 7 years. If it were me, between the two options I woulda bought the C2X but I already have my piano.


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I love Boston grands and, as per your situation, I think it would be fine to go for the 178. Prepping makes all the difference, the dealer already proved he’s capable by prepping another Boston that sounded and played great. That’s a looong drive, don’t stress yourself out, I’m sure FaceTime or Zoom would be sufficient after it’s prepped. 😊👍


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This is probably one of those extremely, extremely rare times when buying the piano without playing again will be perfectly fine and very low risk.

You only read that once a year or so around here.


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Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp
This is probably one of those extremely, extremely rare times when buying the piano without playing again will be perfectly fine and very low risk.

You only read that once a year or so around here.
That's mostly true because the OP has already played the piano once and main complaint was just about a few notes.

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So, here’s a twist: It turns out there is a 1949 Steinway M available literally 5 minutes from us. Private sale, seller asking 15K. Some issues with the satin ebony finish. Sounds unexpectedly bright. Hammers grooved throughout. My impression is that it was played regularly but not too heavily, tuned regularly throughout its life, but not at all clear that anything significant has ever been done. I can get it surveyed but, before that, if it is likely that hammers should be replaced, am I right in thinking that this may be the tip of the iceberg in terms of work to be done? The player thought the touch was even throughout, but did not like it as much as the new cars....oops, I mean new Boston or C2X!

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