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Opinions on these two options are welcome.
Which would you choose?

I tried both and we would likely trade the P22 I've been using.
The budget is very limited and I am the pianist.

I liked the action better on the GB1K and the tone better on the U1....will likely test them out again soon. I will not be considering other brands at this time. Neither compares to my C3, so I have to keep in mind that this is a low budget piano.

The church music style is modern hymns and contemporary praise and worship....from Keith and Kristin Getty to Hillsong.

Does anyone here have an opinion?


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Normally for a church I'd recommend a grand - even a 5 footer over an upright.

Are the pianos you are considering new or used?

How large is the room they will be placed in? How many parishioners does the space seat?

Did you use amplification with the P22?

How does the sound of the GB1K compare to the piano in this video?
Pretty much the same?



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Originally Posted by Carey
Normally for a church I'd recommend a grand - even a 5 footer over an upright.

Are the pianos you are considering new or used?

How large is the room they will be placed in? How many parishioners does the space seat?

Did you use amplification with the P22?

How does the sound of the GB1K compare to the piano in this video?
Pretty much the same?


Considering new. The room is quite large, seating about 150....but the services are never even close to full. The piano will be amplified just as the P22 is. The piano I played is a bit more mellow than the piano in this video. I prefer my sound to be on the brighter side.


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Originally Posted by I. Bruton
Considering new. The room is quite large, seating about 150....but the services are never even close to full. The piano will be amplified just as the P22 is. The piano I played is a bit more mellow than the piano in this video. I prefer my sound to be on the brighter side.
Regarding sound....the sound in the video was a little too bright for my taste at times, but not off the charts. Of course, any piano will brighten with use, therefore starting with something a bit more mellow wouldn't be a bad thing.

I can understand why you find it necessary to amplify the P22, but I'm guessing the baby grand won't need any amplification with the lid fully raised, particularly when your space is only half full. Of course, the acoustics of the space will play a factor, but when my own church began in 2007 in a sanctuary that seats 400, the 4'11" 70 year old no-name baby grand that came with the space did not require amplification, and the 7 foot Baldwin grand we now use in the space definitely doesn't require it, even with the lid down.

Also, you say that the action of the grand is better than that of the U1. I think anyone playing your piano in church - for any style of music - would appreciate the grand action.


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I’ve went to churches with some digital pianos and none of the other churches I’ve went to have acoustic pianos. The digital ones sound fine with other instruments. cool

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I’d go for the piano that provided a better sound in the space. Honestly though maybe you should consider an AvantGrand or a clavinova gp795?


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I initially wanted to suggest a digital but didn't post because of the amplification needed.

Since speakers and amplifiers are already in place a digital imo is the way to go.

No tuning needed, doesn't care about humidity or temp swings.


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Uprights and small grands are designed for smaller venues, such as living rooms, teaching studios, etc.

You would be much better off with a used grand that is close to 6'.

Used:

Young Chang G185

Yamaha G3

Kawai KG3

etc...

I too, would consider a good digital.


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Originally Posted by Learux
I initially wanted to suggest a digital but didn't post because of the amplification needed.

Since speakers and amplifiers are already in place a digital imo is the way to go.

No tuning needed, doesn't care about humidity or temp swings.
Our church raised $80K five years ago and had a digital organ designed specifically for our space. It sounds terrific. But when it came time to replace the original 4'11" ancient baby grand piano that came with the space, everyone insisted it should be another acoustic and not digital. Our services are very traditional (Anglican) and we incorporate a lot of classical music. Somehow performing solo works by Schumann and Brahms or accompanying a cellist in a movement from a Boccherini concerto doesn't cut it on a digital piano. The acoustic gives us much more flexibility in our musical offerings - and a once per year tuning is no big deal.

And I agree with Steve that a larger (slightly used) acoustic would probably work better in the space.

Last edited by Carey; 03/22/22 12:22 PM.

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I have been to a number of classical concerts in churches which is fairly usual in Europe (must also be the case in US ?).

Indeed with the lid open and the reverb, you really wont need any amplification. So if the sound is fine with you, I would go for the baby grand or even a slightly bigger grand. That said, you will have to deal with tuning and other issues.


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Originally Posted by Sidokar
I have been to a number of classical concerts in churches which is fairly usual in Europe (must also be the case in US ?).

Indeed with the lid open and the reverb, you really wont need any amplification. So if the sound is fine with you, I would go for the baby grand or even a slightly bigger grand. That said, you will have to deal with tuning and other issues.

We will use the piano amplified when with drums.
We do not have guitars to compete with.
Tuning is no problem, we are already having the piano tuned.
I enjoy the action and feel of an acoustic, hence the decision.
If amplification were my only object, I would just bring the Roland RD-800 back.

I play with expression and really enjoy asking the piano to perform. I guess the issue boils down to which piano will allow me to be more expressive. But then there is cost as well. I agree that at 5'8" or larger would be best, but that is not an option unless I go used. Not sure if I want to do that or not. Decisions decisions....


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Update:

I stopped by to play the GB1K today...again.
It is voiced more mellow than I prefer, but I could definitely notice the action is not the same as my C3.

I have this feeling that there is more in the GB1K but I couldn't really get it out...if that makes more sense.

I also played the GC1 right next to it, and I could tell the action was better than the GB1K...still voiced more mellow.

I did not play the U1 today.

Have I become so used to my C3 that I can't appreciate the "lower tier"? Is it the key length, the mellower voicing, or the overall size? For kicks, I also noodled for a moment on the CF6...my dream. Thing is, I can appreciate the CF6 and the C3 and have no problem there. But something is missing in the lower tiered pianos and I can't quite put my finger on it.

Still, I have to consider the lower budget. But, I have plenty of time.


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Well, talking specifically about the Yamaha range here, the lower tiered pianos are good for the price but they are smaller, and they have a lower grade of materials. This is noticeable in the hammer heads specifically, but even then a good technician can get a lot out of the lower tiered piano.

The question often comes up on the forum of whether a mid range upright is better than a lower tiered grand, and I suspect that in this case the U1 is probably the better instrument all round. There's a slight compromise in going from a grand to an upright but a good upright action is better than a lower-end or compressed grand action. The U1 is still a professional upright designed for teachers and performers who maybe don't have the space for something bigger, but the GB1 is the entry level piano, and while it can be serviced, it probably doesn't have the depth of sound or response you're wanting.


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Originally Posted by I. Bruton
I stopped by to play the GB1K today...again.
It is voiced more mellow than I prefer, but I could definitely notice the action is not the same as my C3.

I've felt this exact same thing between these two pianos. It was a few years ago and I was shopping for an AvantGrand, hoping it would have a C3-feeling action. Instead, it felt just like a GB1K (or GA1) to me. At the time, I had played both quite frequently, and felt pretty certain about the action characteristics.


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Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
Well, talking specifically about the Yamaha range here, the lower tiered pianos are good for the price but they are smaller, and they have a lower grade of materials. This is noticeable in the hammer heads specifically, but even then a good technician can get a lot out of the lower tiered piano.

The question often comes up on the forum of whether a mid range upright is better than a lower tiered grand, and I suspect that in this case the U1 is probably the better instrument all round. There's a slight compromise in going from a grand to an upright but a good upright action is better than a lower-end or compressed grand action. The U1 is still a professional upright designed for teachers and performers who maybe don't have the space for something bigger, but the GB1 is the entry level piano, and while it can be serviced, it probably doesn't have the depth of sound or response you're wanting.

Can I just add that much might depend on how large and how 'posh' the church is. Some places might suit a grand while others might prefer the humbler image of an upright.

For what it's worth we are rather blessed in that a local church has a beautiful if small Grotrian that they keep in tune and haven't objected to us playing when we visit. That piano is sufficiently loud for the smallish church although they do bring in a Fazioli grand for concerts, something like our own K800 would be sufficient for quite a large church I suspect.

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Echoing Joseph Fleetwood, I'd go for the U1. The action is robustly made, stands up well to institutional use. The GB1K is, IMO, what used to be called a "parlor" grand - a piano that sits in a parlor and is rarely played, and when it is played, is not played very loudly or for any length of time. It can NEVER feel or sound like a C series Yamaha grand, because, it isn't one.

Looking at current prices, I'd also strongly recommend looking at an N2. I've played one in concert, and IMO it felt and sounded better than many an out of tune, poorly regulated, acoustic grand, or a petite like the GB1K.


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One thing to consider is tuning stability. Though I do prefer the touch and tone of a GB1K over a U1, the GB1 is significantly less stable when it comes to tuning longevity (particularly in the lower end of the plain strings), and since most churches don't keep their sanctuary at a constant temp (usually turning it down during the week and then up for weekend services), you can count on the GB1K to get much worse between tunings than the U1. The bolts that secure the pinblock and plate also work themselves loose much faster than any other model of piano I service (the tightness of those screws also affects tuning stability). I have a couple church clients with GB1s, and they are always so far out of tune that they need a 2 pass tuning (pitch adjustment pass then regular tuning pass), even if I've tuned them within 6 months.

Once in tune, they're actually decently capable musical instruments with nice actions and good tone (when regulated and voiced properly), but because of their tuning stability issues, I can't recommend them.


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I had not heard about tuning stability issues...interesting.


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If you have time, I would definitely say aim for a gently used grand piano, 5'8" or more. And you might be able to find a good C3 even... I have no idea how much the new GBK1 retails for, so I don't know what your budget is. But if you're not in a hurry, I am sure you can find a good instrument.

In your area, and if you can branch out to include Asheville, Charlotte, and maybe the guy who sells used grand pianos in Irmo SC, also maybe Columbia SC, the one in .. Rock Hill SC?? Is Atlanta too far? (probably...)

Anyway, you should have tons of options.

Actually, I think you should contact the guy in Irmo and see if he will "keep an eye out" for you. Let him know it's for your church. He's a businessman but also may have a soft spot for this purpose, so he may be a good resource for you.


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Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
The question often comes up on the forum of whether a mid range upright is better than a lower tiered grand, and I suspect that in this case the U1 is probably the better instrument all round. There's a slight compromise in going from a grand to an upright but a good upright action is better than a lower-end or compressed grand action. The U1 is still a professional upright designed for teachers and performers who maybe don't have the space for something bigger, but the GB1 is the entry level piano, and while it can be serviced, it probably doesn't have the depth of sound or response you're wanting.

I went back to play the U1 today, and I think you are 100% correct. I was really able to get the expression I wanted from the U1. There is a huge difference for me and I think after today, the U1 may be my choice.

It certainly felt very robust, and with the lid propped open, I could get the full sense of being enveloped by the sound. The action gave me all the responses I was looking for. The 48" isn't too tall that I can' t see over the piano either.

I can see this piano working well in the services.


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