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#3188710 01/26/22 02:16 PM
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Once again, I have a rookie question.

A 5'3" Bechstein came up for sale here which is likely very rare. Also very expensive. I have to wonder why, if I had the room, wouldn't I spend the 40+ grand on a larger, but lesser brand of grand? I also have to wonder why Bechstein makes such a small grand.
I could get a lot of piano in the 5'10" range for the price of this one. We're only talking seven inches of space.

What am I missing? Are they that good?

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Those last 7 inches in terms of design tradeoffs are really non-linear (every inch smaller has a disproportionate effect on the scale - [I.E. 5' 6" to 5' 10" usually results in a "large" piano sound for only those 4 inches, all else being equal of course]). The keys will also be quite short which I'm not sure can be avoided since the action geometry and strikepoints are relatively fixed within a given size/scale design, thus dictating the key lengths to a large extent.

Last edited by blueviewlaguna.; 01/26/22 02:39 PM.

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You need to try different brands that you can afford.Have you tried Estonia grands? Apparently much less expensive than Bechstein.There is also Schimmel (Classic and Konzert), August Forster, Seiler, Sauter and others.
Of course the Japanese pianos are good as well.You have to ask yourself if the tone and action of the small Bechstein is enough.(makes up for the fact that the sound is smaller, and perhaps that the bass is limited) Have you tried any of the taller European and American upright pianos.What is it you need in an instrument in this time in your life?
Perhaps a used American piano like a Baldwin, or Steinway? You need try as many pianos as possible till you find the one you love.


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Yea, definitely check out more pianos. You might end up liking a piano as much as the Bechstein with a price that is a fraction of the Bechstein. Good luck with the shopping, with that budget you're sure to get an awesome piano.


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Albertan, I'm not sure what your goal is... have you played the Bechstein?

Just as all pianos are not created equal, all 5'3" pianos are not created equal.

While piano shopping, I played some pretty underwhelming 5'3" pianos, and a few in that length which were really, really nice and did not seem limited by their length. FWIW I ended up buying a 5'8" piano

Back to the Bechstein.... people have small houses, they need small pianos.

Whether this is the piano for you is a totally different question.

In the absence of other information, the advice generally is "buy the biggest piano that you can both afford and fit" and I tend to agree with that.

So, have you played the Bechstein? What other pianos have you played?

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So...it depends...

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Thank you all for the generous replies. Firstly, I will say that my wife is the piano player and we are looking for a nice piano in a market with few nice ones for sale. We have looked at a few pianos so far- a Hailun 178, a Kawai RX2, a Zimmerman 160 and hope to see a Kawai RX3 shortly. Obviously these are not $40k pianos. The question arose simply because this Bechstein came on the market and my eyes lit up. Being new at this, we have been trying to find a piano that fits in the room (that's another story entirely- define 'fit') but is not too small or large.
The more we learn the bigger this piano gets. Hence the question- can a small expensive piano be worth it when you have room for something bigger. The answer, which most respondents nicely suggested, is to play it. That we have not done.
The biggest piano that we can afford and fit so far could be the RX3. We certainly liked the RX2, but couldn't agree on a price. This RX3 will likely come in cheaper and is a few inches larger. The plethora of other pianos mentioned simply aren't available here.
We are new at this and are rather overwhelmed by all the stuff we do not know. We also can't look at/play every piano out there, so we are trying to set some criteria. I had sort of eliminated anything under 5'5" or so.
We are also hampered by the real paucity of selection. Luckily, we are not in any hurry.

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I am a great fan of Bechstein and they are fine pianos. Having said that I don't think I would ever buy any piano as short as that. Blueviewlaguna is absolutely correct.


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I would look at the bigger pianos. Once you get to 6' and bigger, the bass and tenor start to stand out from their smaller siblings.

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Originally Posted by Albertan
We also can't look at/play every piano out there, so we are trying to set some criteria. I had sort of eliminated anything under 5'5" or so.
We are also hampered by the real paucity of selection. Luckily, we are not in any hurry.

My suggestion is not to adopt theoretical criteria but to go out and play every piano you reasonably can. You will find out what matters to you and what yoou actually like whether that is a particular size or a particular brand. Once you know what sort of pianos you generally like then you have your best criteria for hunting down a particularly good one.

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Albertan - you’re probably in a tricky position due to your location. I’m guessing a lot of the private sales ‘around’ you are from hours away. One of the other members, metta, was from West Kelowna, which I know is in BC, but it’s the closest to you that I recall. She definitely had issues with limited availability and having to travel a lot to see pianos. At one point, she went to Vancouver to visit dealers there. She ended up with a private sale piano from 4 hours away. Here’s one of the threads related to the search, but you may also want to look at her other posts to read about some of the issues she had.
https://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthr...yr-old-c3-vs-kawai-gl40.html#Post3139460

Good luck, and try as many pianos as you can (whatever that means for you). Also, for used pianos, you will want to get the piano inspected by an independent technician (someone you hire that is not associated with the seller). However, if you’re trying to get meaningful information before seeing a piano, you can ask the seller for the contact information of their technician. This will hopefully give you a little information about how the piano has been maintained and if there are any major issues… Hopefully. Particularly for older instruments, the condition could be highly variable and is very important.

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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
In the absence of other information, the advice generally is "buy the biggest piano that you can both afford and fit" and I tend to agree with that.
Not really. The advice is everything else being equal buy the biggest piano you can afford and fit. There is always a trade off between length and quality to consider unless one has unlimited funds.

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Originally Posted by Albertan
The question arose simply because this Bechstein came on the market and my eyes lit up.

There's definitely no reason not to go and play it. Especially now that I understand your situation better.

Having a limited selection is frustrating, so IMO, that's all the more reason to play lots of pianos, even ones that you couldn't afford or that literally are too large. Playing as many pianos is just a really good way of educating yourself (or your wife, in this case).

Quote
Being new at this, we have been trying to find a piano that fits in the room (that's another story entirely- define 'fit') but is not too small or large.

Right, so this is the hardest part. I have a 5'8" piano in my piano room. I probably could have squeezed a 6'1" piano in that spot, but I'm glad I didn't, for reasons that include how the room looks, how the piano sounds, and logistically, also my ability to get behind the piano on all sides.

Have you tried to get a piano template and lay it out on the floor? These are sort of limited because it doesn't really show you how much space the piano takes up. But having the foot print there is really helpful.

In terms of small pianos, I agree, it makes sense to maybe rule out anything under 5'5" -- But having said that, again, never say never, go and play some smaller pianos if it's convenient to do so. A piano like the Boston 163 with the fat tail is quite nice, and 163cm is about 5'4".

Good luck and keep us posted!!


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Wow! Lots of good, helpful information. Thank you, thank you!

We see another RX2 has come on the market today and is fairly new. They seem to be suddenly coming out of the woodwork. Maybe third time is lucky. The last one, played by a professional pianist, sold in less than a week. Didn't even get to see it.

We have a masking tape outline on the floor of the area the piano will be in. Open to living room and kitchen. Hardwood floor. There is room all around, but not three feet on all sides.

It seems that Yamaha and then Kawai are the volume pianos here, with all sorts of unheard of brands littering Kijiji (our sort of Craigslist). Boston is on my watch list, but I have never seen one for sale. I'd love to see an Estonia as well, but I will never likely ever see a used one. I should add, we have been looking for under a year, so not a long time I don't think.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the RX3. The RX2 my wife played was very nice and the bigger one should be nicer, fuller. The Hailun was disappointing. The Zimmerman played small.

We saw an older Howard/Baldwin in one of the new showrooms that sounded very nice. The age and look turned us off it though. Still there all these months later.

Our process for buying a piano is 1) we look at/play it.
2) if we are encouraged we come back with the piano teacher. $
3) if we are excited, we call in a tech. $$$

We've never reached stage 3. You can't do this with a great load of pianos. And for us, driving to town each time is a half day event.

So, there it is....

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I too would be curious about the RX3. There you're getting into a true 6 foot piano with all the advantages that size brings. RX3s are good pianos and I would take one over a 5'3" Bechstein unless you felt the Bechstein sounded better, which I would find hard to believe.

Let us know your thoughts about the RX3 once you try it. It's a great size and brand.


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klaviano.com isn't comprehensive, but it is worldwide and might turn up a few listings.

As for Estonia, there was a dealer in Vancouver not too long ago. No idea if his former customers are dying or otherwise trading up these days.

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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
I too would be curious about the RX3. There you're getting into a true 6 foot piano with all the advantages that size brings. RX3s are good pianos and I would take one over a 5'3" Bechstein unless you felt the Bechstein sounded better, which I would find hard to believe.

Let us know your thoughts about the RX3 once you try it. It's a great size and brand.

Thank you for the comments. Interesting you think the Kawai would sound better. This is what I was attempting to find out.

Hopefully we shall see it soon. It is getting to be almost 20 years old while the latest RX2 is only seven or eight. Would be still under warranty. Very desirable also as it would have the newer action. Hopefully will see that one on Saturday.

I've tried contacting the old Estonia dealer in Vancouver, but he has disappeared.(Died?) Was trying, as ML said, to see if I could hound out a used Estonia. Still, a long way from Calgary.

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Have you tried Pianomart.com?


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Try the Bechstein for experience, hear the sound of an exquisite brand, perhaps you could learn more about what you want in a larger piano.Also try a new GX2 or 3, the same for Yamaha, go listen, try a C or CX series.Part of the process is learning, playing and listening.


My piano's voice is my voice to God and the great unknown universe, and to those I love.In other words a hymn.That is all, but that is enough.Life goes on, despite pain and fear.Music is beautiful,life is beautiful.


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Albertan, you have my sympathies, I spent about 6 months casually looking, and then when I got serious, we spent another 6 months where my husband drove me all over the place, usually more than two hours one way. Ironically, in the end I bought a piano from a private seller in the same town!

Also Re brands, we saw tons of S&S (over budget), Yamaha, Kawai, Bostons that were out of my budget, Baldwin, old M&H … and then lots of brands I wasn’t interested in driving for … and then one Petrof grand, one Feurich, and one Seiler (which sounded great but was being sold by someone who literally made us run from the store… long story). So, no Bechstein, no Estonia… lots of brands I’d love to try just were not around.


Back to your situation…
It sounds like you’re in good shape re size, position and placement.

The RX3 sounds quite promising! And yes, that’s a great size.

Re age, my Yamaha C2 is about 20 years old and is a really great instrument, so I wouldn’t worry too much about 20 y/o… 40 years old then I have more questions.

One other thought… if you find a piano that’s promising, you might consider skipping the “piano teacher” step and go right to piano tech.

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 01/27/22 04:44 PM.

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