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Joined: Oct 2021
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Hello,
I am looking for feedback on three pianos I’m considering - I just moved, and I’d like to get back into playing the piano. I studied for a long time when I was young. I’ve gone to look at buying a new or used piano from a dealer, but I’d like to avoid that big a purchase right now if I can. The dealer I went to here in Northern Virginia, showed me a Boston upright, a Yamaha P 22, and a Christofi upright (which was the cheapest at $5300). I’ve found some pianos on marketplace, and they seem to be great buys.

One is a 20-30 year old Samick Upright for $250. The person selling it said it belong to her father. And he was the only owner. The other is a Yamaha M500 QA upright which I think the owner is willing to sell for around $1200. She said it was a gift from her boss who purchased it around 1999 and had it as the family piano for his kids.
The third is a J. Strauss and Son 3/4 Upright for $300 that was made in 2003 and was with a university music program for a year and then current owner purchased it.

Of course I’ll also need to pay for a piano mover. All three pianos are local to me. And I’ll also be planning to pay for someone to tune it. I have not played any of them yet, but intend to before I purchase to see if I like the sound.

Any advice is welcome!

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Considering that you already studied piano for a long time, I'd say that the #1 consideration is what kind of tone you prefer. A piano's tonal quality is truly subjective and has little to with the price - you could have a cheap piano with a sound that you love, and at the same time there would be expensive pianos that sound repulsive to you. If you already have a preference then you can narrow the choices down to what's available locally - used pianos in excellent condition may be a good buy, but with new pianos, the 10-year+ warranty would give you have a peace of mind.

At any rate, having a budget range at least will help you focus on fewer choices to ponder.


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The three pianos mentioned in your second paragraph are entry-level instruments. And I doubt the veracity of literally everything said about the third of those...


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If you want to avoid laying out a lot at this point, the Samick is probably your best bet. But you need to try them.


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https://www.pianomart.com/buy-a-piano/view?id=46463

Check This Out - Not sure if it's near you!
I'd get a technician to see it ASAP - something like this, at that price, will sell fast


brdwyguy

Last edited by brdwyguy; 10/03/21 12:40 PM.

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Erm…I’d have to disagree in this case. 125+ years old, all original, and seller states it has “touch problems”. I imagine it would be tough to sell above “free”.


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Welcome, Jennifer! About a year ago, I was in a somewhat similar position to you. It had been many, many years since I last played, but I had taken lessons through high school. For several years, I had been thinking of starting to play again, but looking for an instrument felt rather overwhelming. It seems like you’re not particularly overwhelmed, but I thought I’d share some of my experience.
I ended up deciding to look for a digital piano. They’re much better than they were 20 years ago. Initially I was reluctant to go this route because of memories I had of digital pianos I played 20 years ago. But a friend recommended trying them out. While current DPs are not the same as acoustic instruments, they definitely have some advantages, including lack of maintenance, smaller footprint, portability, and ability to practice silently. About 6 months after I bought a DP, I decided I really wanted to look at acoustics. But the DP really helped me get back into playing, and was a good choice at the time.

I’m assuming you’re in the DMV given the reference to northern Virginia. Check out this thread for a partial list of dealers in the area; there are a lot of places to visit, although you won’t get pianos priced as low as you would find for private sales. Be aware that private sellers often have a very poor understanding of the condition of their instrument, and most buyers also do not have the knowledge to assess the condition of the instrument (although your perception of touch and tone will be important). I think even if you buy something that’s a few hundred dollars, it will give you peace of mind (and may save money in the long run) if you have a tech look it over before purchasing. You’ll have a better sense of what you may be getting into (if there are any issues that may cost considerable money to rectify) and avoid a situation where your technician comes for a first tuning visit, only to find a major problem with the piano. Good luck!

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Typical lifespan of a piano is around 40-60 years, depending on usage, care, and the environment it’s been in. I too suggest a piano tech inspection to establish the current condition of this piano and the work needed to bring it up to a satisfactory shape. The clicking sound implies it probably needs some regulation at least. Depending on what else s needed, it could end up being an expensive purchase even if the initial price might be attractive compared to your budget. I would keep looking because I personally would rather go for something a lot newer than 100 years old. Do take your time and try different pianos both within and outside of your budget to find out about your preferences. It’s a fun and educational experience to shop for a piano. Your wife’s ideal piano is out there somewhere. Good luck!

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I have had P125 from Yamaha, it's pretty good a digital piano, i believe touch wise, a good digital piano can mimic an acoustic.

Sound wise, i guess they are "recorded" for the different notes? And i can imagine that in a pub, music sounds so good, when we have woofer, subwoofer, Equalizer, speakers, these are digital sound, produced by stereo system, and how can digital being not good?

If a digital piano has no good "acoustic" sound, can one of the reasons being somehow due to the built-in speaker? What if we plug the sound output to a good stereo set? And digitally modify it?

Shall we worship to much on the term "acoustic"? Afterall, it's simply vibration of air caused by the vibration of strings, and we resonate our eardrums with the vibrated air.

And digital stereo produces vibration too to the air.

In fact, i type these to ask myself questions.

^^

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Originally Posted by Halogen
I have had P125 from Yamaha, it's pretty good a digital piano, i believe touch wise, a good digital piano can mimic an acoustic.

Sound wise, i guess they are "recorded" for the different notes? And i can imagine that in a pub, music sounds so good, when we have woofer, subwoofer, Equalizer, speakers, these are digital sound, produced by stereo system, and how can digital being not good?

If a digital piano has no good "acoustic" sound, can one of the reasons being somehow due to the built-in speaker? What if we plug the sound output to a good stereo set? And digitally modify it?

Shall we worship to much on the term "acoustic"? Afterall, it's simply vibration of air caused by the vibration of strings, and we resonate our eardrums with the vibrated air.

And digital stereo produces vibration too to the air.

In fact, i type these to ask myself questions.

^^

The problem (in a nutshell)(from someone who hangs out in the Digital Piano forum, mostly):

. . . Nobody has brought to market a DP that plays, and sounds, quite as good as an acoustic piano.

It's hard to simulate a soundboard (really well) with loudspeakers, and it's hard to record (or model) hammers hitting strings, and dampers quieting strings, so that they sound "just like an acoustic piano". And it's hard to design an action (and make it at a reasonable price) that feels just like wooden keys, on felt washers, lifting dampers and hammers into the air.

The makers are working on these problems, but they're not quite solved, yet.


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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Originally Posted by Halogen
I have had P125 from Yamaha, it's pretty good a digital piano, i believe touch wise, a good digital piano can mimic an acoustic.

Sound wise, i guess they are "recorded" for the different notes? And i can imagine that in a pub, music sounds so good, when we have woofer, subwoofer, Equalizer, speakers, these are digital sound, produced by stereo system, and how can digital being not good?

If a digital piano has no good "acoustic" sound, can one of the reasons being somehow due to the built-in speaker? What if we plug the sound output to a good stereo set? And digitally modify it?

Shall we worship to much on the term "acoustic"? Afterall, it's simply vibration of air caused by the vibration of strings, and we resonate our eardrums with the vibrated air.

And digital stereo produces vibration too to the air.

In fact, i type these to ask myself questions.

^^

The problem (in a nutshell)(from someone who hangs out in the Digital Piano forum, mostly):

. . . Nobody has brought to market a DP that plays, and sounds, quite as good as an acoustic piano.

It's hard to simulate a soundboard (really well) with loudspeakers, and it's hard to record (or model) hammers hitting strings, and dampers quieting strings, so that they sound "just like an acoustic piano". And it's hard to design an action (and make it at a reasonable price) that feels just like wooden keys, on felt washers, lifting dampers and hammers into the air.

The makers are working on these problems, but they're not quite solved, yet.
It certainly is better to practice on a reasonably good digital piano than an accoustic instrument with major problems.

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Kitten pictures for illustration

[Linked Image]

There was a time when photos looked like the the first kitten on the computer monitor. You can tell it's a kitten from the shapes, but not much else. A few years later computer monitors could display images like the second kitten: color depth (8-bit, 256 colors) vastly improved the definition of the image, but it's still limited in terms of color palette and image resolution. It didn't take long for the technology to sprint through the 16-bit phase (65536 colors), to the now standard 24-bit, 16.7 million colors and full high definition resolution (third kitten). And the technology doesn't stop there, as now even higher resolutions (4k) and higher bit depth (30-bit, 1 billion colors) are gaining adoption. Historically, similar development occurred in digital photography as well.

With digital piano (or virtual piano if one focuses on the software side) I see an analogous story in that although the current technology has limitations, the path forward is very clear. Even if we were to set aside possible groundbreaking innovations, a mere continuous improvement in the depth/resolution of the sound (i.e. velocity layers) would ostensibly be the one thing that brings marked improvement to the realism. And as with the digital imaging example above, depth/resolution need not be infinite as our human senses themselves do not have infinite sensitivity - there will be a threshold at which our ears won't be able to tell the difference. So as we ponder digital vs acoustic pianos, try to see what the future holds.


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Originally Posted by K8KT
Typical lifespan of a piano is around 40-60 years, depending on usage, care, and the environment it’s been in.

Which pianos are you referring to?

I've never owned a piano that was younger than 60 years of age when I purchased it.

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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by K8KT
Typical lifespan of a piano is around 40-60 years, depending on usage, care, and the environment it’s been in.

Which pianos are you referring to?

I've never owned a piano that was younger than 60 years of age when I purchased it.

Your post made me smile! My piano is 47 and I love it dearly. But sometimes on this forum I feel a little embarrassed by its age - seems everyone has a NEW piano. Thanks for the mood booster!
smile


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