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As you may know from my posts, I am looking for a grand piano. I am kind of narrowing my choices down to a <20 yo Kawai rx3 or Yamaha c3. (I did own a late 1980's C3 many years ago)

The problem is there are very few decent pianos to be had here in New Mexico. I also prefer not to buy from the local dealer, between high prices and sales tax, is it not worth it.

Anyway, I have found a couple mid 2000 (2005/2006) rx3's located in CA and other places. It seems that I could find a local tech to go check out the piano. The logistics of moving it worry me.

Have any of you done this and how has it worked out? Do you have piano movers you would recommend to pick up/pack and deliver the piano safely and at reasonable cost?

it seems that it might be the best solution and buying a more recent Japanese made piano seems fairly reasonable as far as risk.

I am really just looking at all my options.


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Oh, I guess another concern would be if the piano was acclimated to a very different climate/humidity level from Santa Fe (very low humidity here). . .


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One thing to also consider is the possibility or even probability that it will take some time to get your new piano to you.

I purchased a grand piano recently in Arizona (made the deal on August 5th.) This coming Wednesday will be 7 weeks, and I still don't have the piano yet - and the delay is because of availability of a suitable mover. (I reside about 950 miles from the place of purchase.)

My piano is scheduled to be delivered between October 1st and October 9th.

Perhaps when you get to the point of a purchase, you'll be able to arrange a more timely delivery of your piano.

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I guess my first concern, before all the logistical stuff, is whether you will be happy with a piano you buy sight unseen. While it does seem that these days, the piano shortage might be increasing the number of pianos sold this way, I’d be worried about this. The technician will tell you about the instrument’s condition, but they won’t tell you if you’re going to like the touch and tone. I’m sure some people are not very particular about how a piano sounds and feels, but many people are. It is a big purchase to make without first playing it.

There have been some threads about arranging piano moves of significant distance, so you may want to search for these. I don’t think it will be cheap to transport the piano 1000 miles.

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Walter Piano Transport moved mine from Oregon to Texas. They handed it off to a local mover to do the final delivery. No issues with the move, other than it took some time.

You really should try to play the piano you plan to purchase. And I suggest a humidifier for your room in NM to keep the humidity at a proper level. If you use a evaporative cooler in the summer, that should provide adequate humidity.

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Multiple reputable Southern California piano dealers Ive talked to use Kelly Mayfield (714-615-1517) for cross country moves.

He has delivered 2 pianos for me from CA to TX. Both were bought from Knauer piano shop in Los Angeles. One was a 2002 RX3 and the other was an older Grotrian 200.

They were both seamless transactions and very good deals.

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My experience with Walter Piano Transport was an entirely different one. I arranged the move through the Steinway dealer that is local to me here where I live now. The piano was to be moved from St. Louis to Boise Idaho (about 1800 miles or so.) The Walter Piano people picked the piano up in early July. I did not receive it until mid-October. The piano in question was a Steinway model S in immaculate condition. When it was delivered to me, it had significant cosmetic damage - deep scratches in the lid, the fall board, and on the sides of the cabinet. I was absolutely sick about it. Fortunately since the Steinway dealer had arranged the move for me (and had made the choice to use the Walter people), they felt obligated to repair all of the damage - which they did. Unfortunately the piano never really looked as good or right again. I would definitely never use the Walter Piano Transport people again.

Regarding the advice to see / assess / and play a piano prior to purchase - I completely agree with that. Prior to making the purchase of my new piano (a 1994 Steinway model B), I took a two-hour flight to the piano dealer (they had several model B's and a nice A3) and spent the day there. It was a great experience. I ended up purchasing a really nice instrument, saved thousands of dollars on it (it was priced much more competitively than anything here locally).

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thanks for the recommendations for movers. I find that even within the same company, some movers are good, some not so good. Also agree that I need to try before I buy. I am just trying to figure out the best way to proceed so I do appreciate hearing your personal experiences.

I do wonder though with something like a recent Kawai, wouldn't you feel the action would be quite consistent across the pianos? That carbon fiber action is reported to be quite reliable.

I am trying to arrange through a private seller so going out an individual piano is somewhat different from going to a dealer and trying many pianos.

Last edited by drewhpianoman; 09/20/21 12:16 PM.

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Originally Posted by drewhpianoman
thanks for the recommendations for movers. I find that even within the same company, some movers are good, some not so good. Also agree that I need to try before I buy. I am just trying to figure out the best way to proceed so I do appreciate hearing your personal experiences.

I do wonder though with something like a recent Kawai, wouldn't you feel the action would be quite consistent across the pianos? That carbon fiber action is reported to be quite reliable.

I am trying to arrange through a private seller so going out an individual piano is somewhat different from going to a dealer and trying many pianos.
You may want to try Pianomart. I was able to sell an RX-2 through that service. They put the buyer's funds in escrow and the money is released to the seller once the piano is delivered. The piano was shipped by Adamski/Lloyd Moving and Storage the company that moves all of Eastman School of Music's pianos. They moved the piano from Tampa, Florida to Rochester NY. The buyer never directly looked at my RX-2 but went by my advertisement on Pianomart. They hired an independent piano technician in the Tampa area to come to my home to evaluate it. The buyer's technician was against the idea even though he thinks highly of the RX series he just didn't think the move was feasible. The buyer went through with it anyway and she called me to tell me how ecstatic she was over her new to her family piano. The entire transaction was pretty smooth and painless. When you think about it all pianos have to move great distances before they reach the dealer so as long as you hire a reputable mover and you have a good technician look it over before you purchase it, the move itself shouldn't be a factor.

Last edited by Jethro; 09/20/21 12:28 PM.

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Thanks Jethro. You had good experience. And yes these pianos start out in Japan so . . .

I am on pianomart. An 2011 rx2 just came up for for 11k. Might be a good deal.


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Echoing what sgisela wrote, I would not buy a piano I had not played. Yes, a qualified technician, can give you a "health report", but cannot ensure that you are buying a piano that you will like.


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I wonder if you could ask them to send you a video recording of someone playing the piano.Still you will not know how it plays.(responds to your playing)


My piano's voice is my voice to the great unknown, out there..in other words a hymn.That is all but that is enough.

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Hi Drew. While I agree it's always best to try the piano first, I bought my piano long distance off Ebay. First I had my eye on a sweet RX3 on Ebay, but it was sold before I could get it. Then a similar sized Petrof showed up on Ebay and it checked all the boxes, but I had never played one before. I knew Kawais and liked the Kawai sound, so that was what I was after. But upon agonizing thinking about it some more, I realized that I've played many good pianos of other brands that also sound good, even if different than the ideal Kawai sound I had in my head. I then had to decide if different really meant worse. I then researched Petrofs and listened to as many of them as I could on YouTube, and decided it was a reputable brand with a sound I liked. Also, I liked how the logo looked, which oddly matters a lot to me.

I had three main criteria: 1) I wanted decent bass, 2) I didn't want an overly bright piano as I preferred the more rounded tone of my old Kawai, and 3) I preferred a lighter touchweight. A piano of at least 6 feet should address #1. Voicing could address #2, and regulation and hammer weight changes could address #3. Therefore I decided that there wasn't any reason I should have issues with a piano of a decent make and of sufficient size and in good condition. The Petrof seemed to fit the bill.

I corresponded with the seller about the history of the piano (he bought it new and it was only used by his kids for piano lessons, who were now grown and away). I hired a local tech to check it out, and he tuned it and recorded it for me. I also asked him to report on the items that mattered to me. Things checked out and I liked the sound in the recording. So, I bought it. I called Walter Piano Transport to do the move, and they did a good job. They do the interstate transfer and rely on local movers on each end to move it out and in.

Fast forward a year: I love my Petrof. I'm sure I would have loved the RX3 as well. I did have to voice my Petrof's hammers down a bit as it was a little bright at first. I also tweaked the action to lighten it a bit. But since then I've switched my silent practice piano from a digital to a Yamaha hybrid, and my fingers have gotten used to a heavier action. I may return the Petrof's Renner action to how it was before. Sure, there will always be tweaks to try to improve this or that, but my experience makes me believe that a good piano in good condition, and of the right size, should be just fine. I wouldn't be afraid to buy sight unseen again, just make sure you have a good tech to check it out and give you accurate feedback.


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Ps: have you tried Stilwell Pianos? They're in AZ and always seem to have a selection of nice used grands. They also ship cheap.


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Originally Posted by tre corda
I wonder if you could ask them to send you a video recording of someone playing the piano.Still you will not know how it plays.(responds to your playing)

Nor will a recording give you the true sound


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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Ps: have you tried Stilwell Pianos? They're in AZ and always seem to have a selection of nice used grands. They also ship cheap.
So that's interesting to know.I mean that they ship cheaper.I hope it's safe though.It is so dry in AZ.I could not buy without trying though..


My piano's voice is my voice to the great unknown, out there..in other words a hymn.That is all but that is enough.

Just sold my old C2 and am thinking of replacing it with a CBechstein124, Schimmel K132 or a YUS5.
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Stilwell primarily uses two movers that utilize Mercedes Sprinter vans that have climate controlled cargo areas. Their advertised shipping prices are not cheap - however they have been known to be open to working with customers with that cost.

Regarding my recent piano purchase from Stilwell, they did not charge me for the (900+mile) move.

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Originally Posted by drewhpianoman
I do wonder though with something like a recent Kawai, wouldn't you feel the action would be quite consistent across the pianos? That carbon fiber action is reported to be quite reliable.

A lot of people do describe Kawais and Yamahas as very consistent. But I will say that when I was looking at pianos this spring, I went to a place that had several new Kawais on the floor (GX2, GL40, GL50). Yes, these were different models. But I was honestly quite surprised at how different they felt to play. The GL50 had by far the heaviest action of any piano I tried this spring. The other two were not such outliers, but one had a noticeably heavier action than the other. It is certainly possible that the pianos were not prepped to play similarly, but my conclusion from this experience was that there are no guarantees about the consistency between pianos, even for brands like Kawai that have something of a reputation for consistency. I would think this is more likely to be the case ‘out of the crate’ than from dealers who spend some time preparing the piano prior to putting it on the showroom floor.

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Originally Posted by tre corda
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Ps: have you tried Stilwell Pianos? They're in AZ and always seem to have a selection of nice used grands. They also ship cheap.
So that's interesting to know.I mean that they ship cheaper.I hope it's safe though.It is so dry in AZ.I could not buy without trying though..

Is AZ drier than where you are in NM? Here are their piano shipping prices. Guess they're not really cheap, but I think they're less than most national movers because you're buying from them.

Another vendor that sells used Kawais, and I think they do ship cheap, is Jim Laabs in Minnesota. They have a lot of good recordings of their pianos on YouTube. I think a lot of their used Japanese pianos are grey market, which may or may not be a bad thing.


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Originally Posted by tre corda
Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Ps: have you tried Stilwell Pianos? They're in AZ and always seem to have a selection of nice used grands. They also ship cheap.
So that's interesting to know.I mean that they ship cheaper.I hope it's safe though.It is so dry in AZ.I could not buy without trying though..
You'd be surprised how well pianos hold up here. I use an old Sears humidifier to keep the humidity between 30% - 40% year round. My pianos are happy. Stilwell has a good collection of affordable used instruments, and I've helped a couple of folks shop there in the past - but I agree one should never purchase a piano without trying it in person. Never.


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