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OK, the title doesn't exactly reflect my actual question, but couldn't come up with a short enough title.

Assuming one has a budget of around €7-8k (in Europe) for a grand piano, I have discovered basically three categories of grand pianos:

- Brand new Yamaha/Kawai baby grand
- Brand new 6" stencil brand (e.g. Samick)
- 100-year old grand pianos from Bechstein, Blüthner, etc.

Which one would you choose?

I'm not sure why those pianos that are from the 1920-s and 1930-s still hold such a high price in Europe. Are they really very good? I imagine most of them may need an expensive restoration.

And I've heard that a longer piano (even if no-name) is better than the best baby grand. Is that true?


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Having grown up with a grand from the 1880's, I know and love the sound cultivated back then more so than the contemporary sound. You might find restored (German: "generalüberholt") grands for the given price.

But I'm really curious about how you would find new Yamaha's, or Kawai's for 8000 EUR; everywhere I look they start at 10000 EUR.


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Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
But I'm really curious about how you would find new Yamaha's, or Kawai's for 8000 EUR; everywhere I look they start at 10000 EUR.

Ahh, you're right! I was recently researching the upper-end Kawai/Yamaha uprights such as K500/800 and U1/U3 which were in that price range. The baby grands are indeed more in the 10k Euro range. Well, so, let's add to the question those uprights too, and then a little bit of a stretch to the budget to 10k for those baby grands then.


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Does it have to be a grand?

With a little more you might consider a 130 cm (51") upright with a silent function.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/kawai_k_500_atx_3_e_p_piano.htm

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Originally Posted by Hakki
Does it have to be a grand?

With a little more you might consider a 130 cm (51") upright with a silent function.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/kawai_k_500_atx_3_e_p_piano.htm
I prefer a grand piano action but haven’t excluded uprights. And I won’t need a silent function, it’s a prospective piano for a house where I won’t need to be silent.


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Well, the older instruments were better. Whether one of those instruments is still better depends on the instrument.

If you can find one that has been little used, you are in with a chance. Still you will probably have to spend some time or money, or both, on it to make the most of it.


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Well, the older instruments were better. Whether one of those instruments is still better depends on the instrument.

If you can find one that has been little used, you are in with a chance. Still you will probably have to spend some time or money, or both, on it to make the most of it.


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If you search on klaviano there are full-sized Yamaha grands from the 1970s and Schimmel from a decade prior or so. But availability depends on country (I looked at Gernany).

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Originally Posted by cygnusdei
If you search on klaviano there are full-sized Yamaha grands from the 1970s and Schimmel from a decade prior or so. But availability depends on country (I looked at Gernany).

Yes, I use Klaviano a lot and have seen those Yamahas but wondered if they are any good? I believe I may have read on this forum or somewhere else that old Yamaha grands are responsible for the widespread notion that Yamaha pianos are bright and suitable for jazz only, and that Yamaha improved upon that only after they purchased Bösendorfer and adopted some of their know-how. How about these older Schimmel pianos, why are they cheaper than the big names? Were they supposed to be a more affordable brand at the time?


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I know next to nothing about piano prep but I think brightness has to do with the hardness of the hammer, which can be 'voiced down'. More knowledgeable folks can tackle this.

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Originally Posted by cygnusdei
I know next to nothing about piano prep but I think brightness has to do with the hardness of the hammer, which can be 'voiced down'. More knowledgeable folks can tackle this.

I've read that some pianos are inherently brighter, not just for the hammers and even softening the hammers is a temporary solution that may revert itself in just a few weeks... Not sure about that though.


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Here is an example of a 1912 Steingraeber grand available in Germany, apparently "generalüberholt" 13 years ago.

There is sound sample (actually video) demonstrating what I think sounds like rather worn hammers, and a very bright sound.


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Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
Here is an example of a 1912 Steingraeber grand available in Germany, apparently "generalüberholt" 13 years ago.

There is sound sample (actually video) demonstrating what I think sounds like rather worn hammers, and a very bright sound.

Something like that is a good offer I think. Although I'd prefer 88 keys since I've already had some problems with my Cybrid that was built with a 85-key keyboard and I struggled with a few Scriabin pieces frown And indeed the demo sounds a bit brighter for my taste.

I'm wondering if K300 or K500 would actually be the best option for me. I've tested a K3 many years ago and loved it, the sound was very rich and warm, closer to a grand piano than an upright and the keyboard felt fantastic.


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I'm wondering if K300 or K500 would actually be the best option for me. I've tested a K3 many years ago and loved it, the sound was very rich and warm, closer to a grand piano than an upright and the keyboard felt fantastic.

If you loved the K3 you will probably adore the K500 (which is perhaps a fairer comparison to a grand and still within your budget).

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There are so many things that this decision depends on that it is impossible to say.


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
Here is an example of a 1912 Steingraeber grand available in Germany, apparently "generalüberholt" 13 years ago.

There is sound sample (actually video) demonstrating what I think sounds like rather worn hammers, and a very bright sound.

Something like that is a good offer I think. Although I'd prefer 88 keys since I've already had some problems with my Cybrid that was built with a 85-key keyboard and I struggled with a few Scriabin pieces frown And indeed the demo sounds a bit brighter for my taste.

I'm wondering if K300 or K500 would actually be the best option for me. I've tested a K3 many years ago and loved it, the sound was very rich and warm, closer to a grand piano than an upright and the keyboard felt fantastic.

The only way to decide would be to set up an appointment and try the Kawai uprights and whatever grands fall into your price range. The post pandemic piano market has changed things somewhat and I can only guess what differences there are in availability in Bulgaria versus the US. You should have some lovely used Petrofs to try?

Best Wishes on your search and please keep us posted!


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Just imagine if there are 9 more people like you ....

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I'm not sure how you came up with just these three categories. Having to choose between brand new and very old isn't a great choice.

You're missing good used pianos, and at least in the US there are plenty of them. My go-to recommendation for clients who want a good investment is a good used Yamaha or Kawai. I would stay away from an old piano unless a technician goes over it, regardless of past glory.

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Originally Posted by Scott Cole, RPT
I'm not sure how you came up with just these three categories. Having to choose between brand new and very old isn't a great choice.

You're missing good used pianos, and at least in the US there are plenty of them. My go-to recommendation for clients who want a good investment is a good used Yamaha or Kawai. I would stay away from an old piano unless a technician goes over it, regardless of past glory.
Well that is the popular way to go.There may some incredible old pianos out there.So I would say search for them and play them first.Then of course with any used piano have them checked by an independent technician.


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I'm wondering if K300 or K500 would actually be the best option for me. I've tested a K3 many years ago and loved it, the sound was very rich and warm, closer to a grand piano than an upright and the keyboard felt fantastic.
I played the K uprights a lot when I bought my GL10. The sound of the K500 is much better than the GL10. If it had not been for the fact that i preferred a grand action I would have bought the K500. As I recall the K500 and GL10 were nearly the same price.

What I really wanted at the time was a digital with a really good action. If the NV 5/10 had been available I probably would have bought one. If the local piano store ever gets an NV in to try, assuming I like it I will think about selling my GL10.


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