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Hello fellow Piano World Fans!



New to this forum and would very much appreciate some feedback here.

I have owned my Yamaha P121 (P125 just a 73 key) for some time now... As I am becoming more advanced in my playing, I want to move to either:

1. A more advanced digital piano (with better sound quality, but most importantly a better action - similar to that of an acoustic)

OR

2. Go straight for an upright acoustic

Digital models that come to mind are the Yamaha CSP-150/170 or the Kawai CA78/98 (the Kawai I lean more towards because I appreciate a warmer tone while playing)

Although, when it comes to finding used acoustic uprights (in good condition), I am completely lost. Does anyone have recommendations for brands/models I should consider in the $2000-$4000 price range? Should I just jump straight for an acoustic if I can fit it in my home? If so, is there any good reference/research material I can use before scouting used uprights in person?


Thank you in advance!


Connor

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At that price range you can get a really good used acoustic upright. To give you an idea, here is an ad for a Boston UP-118S, an excellent piano!

https://www.pianomart.com/buy-a-piano/view?id=45889


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Upright pianos hold their values over the years but not digital piano.



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Originally Posted by Serge88
Upright pianos hold their values over the years but not digital piano.
All pianos lose value over time. It's possible acoustic uprights lose value at a slower rate than digitals.

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Originally Posted by cygnusdei
At that price range you can get a really good used acoustic upright. To give you an idea, here is an ad for a Boston UP-118S, an excellent piano!https://www.pianomart.com/buy-a-piano/view?id=45889
And you can get a very good new digital also.

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Connor5522- take a look at PianoBuyer.com. They have a number of excellent articles that will be of interest, including Acoustic or digital: what’s best for me?

The best decision for you will depend on a number of things. What kind of music do you play? Do you play a lot with headphones? Do you use the recording feature on your DP or use it to interface with an electronic device (for learning purposes or other?) Basically, how much do you use features on the DP that are not available on an acoustic piano? Or are you primarily using it as an acoustic piano surrogate?

If you are using a lot of the digital technology, then I think there will be compelling reasons to look for a DP upgrade. If not, I think you will really want to consider changing to an acoustic piano.

If you have piano showrooms in your area, I’d start by going around and exploring the pianos/showrooms. Play as many acoustic pianos as you can, and take notes. If you can find DPs (they are apparently scarce these days), play them, too. See what you think.

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Originally Posted by Sgisela
Connor5522- take a look at PianoBuyer.com. They have a number of excellent articles that will be of interest, including Acoustic or digital: what’s best for me?

The best decision for you will depend on a number of things. What kind of music do you play? Do you play a lot with headphones? Do you use the recording feature on your DP or use it to interface with an electronic device (for learning purposes or other?) Basically, how much do you use features on the DP that are not available on an acoustic piano? Or are you primarily using it as an acoustic piano surrogate?

If you are using a lot of the digital technology, then I think there will be compelling reasons to look for a DP upgrade. If not, I think you will really want to consider changing to an acoustic piano.

If you have piano showrooms in your area, I’d start by going around and exploring the pianos/showrooms. Play as many acoustic pianos as you can, and take notes. If you can find DPs (they are apparently scarce these days), play them, too. See what you think.

I stick to classical music and contemporary. I do not use headphones nor do I really get much out of to 20+ different sounds that come from my P-121. So no use of digital technology really.

Knowing I eventually want to transition to an acoustic, I think the path is clear. I just want to be careful I don't get stuck with an upright that ends up just being a piece of furniture (i.e., broken soundboard, other problems, etc). And of course want to limit my amount of risk.

Do you suggest facebook marketplace as a source to find used pianos? Any models or brands of acoustics you recommend (I was reading up on the Yamaha U1 and Kawai K300). I almost pulled the trigger on a used Henry F Miller, but read on this forum they were manufactured by Pearl River and they are known to not be reputable/dependable in the long term.

Thanks!

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Conner - Can you give us a general idea of where you live?


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Originally Posted by Carey
Conner - Can you give us a general idea of where you live?

Hi Carey - I live ~30 minutes northwest of Philadelphia.

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I think you answered your original question! It really seems like if you’re going to upgrade, it should be to an acoustic (as long as you have the space). It seems like what you want to do, and given that you don’t use the digital features and you are playing classical repertoire, I think that you will probably enjoy a good acoustic instrument. It won’t hurt to try out some good digitals while you are shopping. If you find you like them, then you can avoid a lot of the maintenance issues associated with an acoustic. But from your response, I sense you will prefer acoustic instruments.

I don’t have much experience seriously shopping for used pianos. When I decided to buy a piano this spring, I opted for a new one. But these are some impressions I have, from other posts here on PW and from my limited experience looking at some used pianos.
1. Many (perhaps most?) private sellers do not really understand the condition or quality or value of their instrument. So you really cannot trust posts that say ‘like new’ or trust that the seller has a good grasp of what their instrument is worth. I don’t mean this in a malicious way. I just think people don’t know these things.
2. Many private sellers will not have tuned their pianos before trying to sell it. If a piano is out of tune, it is really hard to know if you like how it sounds.
3. For any serious contenders, you will want to have a piano technician inspect the instrument. This should be someone you hire, who has no relationship with the seller. The technician can tell you what kind of issues the piano may have and/or what kind of work the piano needs.

For private sales, you will usually need to arrange the piano transfer. If you buy from a dealer, they will take care of this and will likely also include a tuning as part of the sale. I hope this helps!

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Connor -

I did a quick search of the Philadelphia Craigslist and Pianomart listings for upright pianos in your area. I don't know what might be available from local dealers.

However, this one looks promising assuming the piano is in good shape:

https://philadelphia.craigslist.org/msg/d/philadelphia-yamaha-u1-professional/7369698778.html

And if you are willing to make the drive to New Jersey.....

https://philadelphia.craigslist.org/msg/d/morristown-yamaha-upright-piano/7371668860.html

Note: Serial number dates this U3 to around 1981` - but it obviously has had work done to it.

All of the advice you've been given above is excellent.

I would strongly encourage you to look for an acoustic. thumb thumb

As you continue your search please don't hesitate to come back with any questions.


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Also - as for dealers, you apparently have several to seek out in the Philadelphia area. Whether they have high quality used uprights in your price range may be another matter. In terms of quality you should probably keep an eye out for Yamaha (U1, U3), Kawai (K series) and Baldwin Hamiltons - all of which can be very nice home instruments.


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Also you may want to consider the Yamaha B series, e.g. the B3. This is a step more inexpensive than the U series.


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Cunningham Pianos in Philadelphia is very well regarded by many people on this forum. I have not been, so I can’t give a personal testimonial. But I would definitely consider contacting them to discuss their inventory and whether they have pianos that may be of interest to you. I’d also consider a visit just to start playing acoustic pianos and see what you like.
I found it very helpful to visit a number of piano dealers. I had been playing a DP when I started my search, and it was really exciting to play acoustic pianos.
At a dealer, you will get the opportunity to play a variety of pianos. This will help you understand some of the differences in pianos and will help you to define some of your preferences.

It also sounds like you’re not too far from NYC, and there are a number of piano dealers there, as well.

I would not write off all pianos manufactured in China, but I would be quite cautious about older Chinese-made pianos. Here is an excerpt from PianoBuyers’s article about the new piano market:
Quote
Pianos made in China now dominate the North American market, constituting more than a third of all new pianos sold in the U.S. A decade ago, most were just barely acceptable technically, and musically undesirable. Over the years, however, both the technical and musical qualities have taken big leaps forward. While some remain at the entry level, others rival the performance of more expensive pianos from other parts of the world. Reports sometimes suggest less consistency than with pianos from other countries, and a continuing need for thorough pre-sale preparation by the dealer, but otherwise few major problems. The prices of the better models are rising, but for entry- and mid-level buyers, many Chinese brands are still good value.

If you look at the PianoBuyer staff picks, they do list the Pearl River EU 122 as one of their ‘good value’ staff picks. The Kawai k300 and Yamaha U1 are usually very reliable and consistent pianos, but the condition of the individual instrument will still be important to ascertain.


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