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Recommended Baby-Grand Models (Read 4430 times)

Offline jasperknight

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Recommended Baby-Grand Models
« on: September 25, 2015, 09:54:55 AM »
Hi All,

I'm a new member here, based in the UK and currently studying for my ATCL.

I've been playing on a Yamaha U3 1984, for the past year and have been having increasing difficulty adapting to playing on my teachers Steinway B.
The action feels significantly heavier and when I've had a few friends play on my U3 they've all had a lot of difficulty controlling it with such a light touch and bright tone. Unfortunately the technician said it's just been well used and there's not much he can do to adjust the touch only soften the tone a bit.

Now I'm looking for a piano with a touch closer to that of a Steinway grand. Now the obvious option is a Steinway S but that's out of my budget (10,000 MAX). I'm heading up to London to visit several piano stores to play on as many pianos as I can to get a feel for what I like.

I'd just like some recommendations; Currently these models are what I'm intent on trying, and additions would be greatly appreciated.

Steinway Boston 156 PE
Kawai KG1, KG2, RX1 or RX2
Yamaha GB1k, GA1, GM10 or C1 (I've played on two C1's which have felt really bright)

Or any Bluthner, Bechstein model under 6ft.

Many thanks!

Jasper
ATCL Programme
Scarlatti Sonata in B Minor K27
Hadyn Sonata in F Major Hob. 23
Beethoven Sonata in G Major, Op. 14, No.2
Rachmaninoff Elegie, Opus 3, No .1

Offline visitor

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Re: Recommended Baby-Grand Models
«Reply #1 on: September 25, 2015, 10:16:31 AM »
There is nothing all that special about the bostons. They are fine and well made but i do not feel they justify the premium. If you get a bargain on a uswd one thst has been babied then great, you are buying somethlike like a decent kawai. But try out yiy may be impressed just dont fall for the steinway designed sales pitch. Eval it as a piano only not due to a tie to the steinway by name only

The kawai rx w millenium action is incredible. Hard to beat the quality and performance from those. Love these pianos.

No comment on yamaha. The japan made ones are good. Just not my thing. Have never loved a single yamaha i have played

Please find time to play the estonia pianos.  They are a sleeper and feel are among the finest small grands you can buy.  Dollar for dollar pound for pound euro for euro i cannot see how one would or could say a ss is better or worth the premium. Make sure they are recent ie post dr laul

If you will try the germans make time to find august forster.  About a good a german piano as can be had

If you look at kawai rx, try to see if you can find a motivated seller looking for a good home for a shigeru ie sk2. Probably the best bargain in a worldclass high end piano. These are my dream instrument. I have spent time with bosey ss america ss germany bluthner pleyel etc and the shigeru remains unmatched in my opinion.

Another good option are steingraeber they are also world class german and the few i played blew me away

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Recommended Baby-Grand Models
«Reply #2 on: September 25, 2015, 10:31:35 AM »
Just so you know, last I knew Kawai was building the Boston pianos for Steinway. I'm sure they are specified out by Steinway. Generally speaking Kawai action runs a bit heavier than Yamaha action in my experience .

Any piano key set can be re weighted FWIW. It's not a matter of just regulation. However it is not done as part of the standard regulation charge. It's an operation of it's own involving installation of physical weights ( I did my own about 30 years ago). Whether this is advisable is another matter, especially where it sounds like your tech has indicated that  your piano's action is worn. In that case it starts with a costly rebuild, regulation and weight to within reason of your liking .

The Steinway S can be a beast when the regulation gets off, I played on one like that. It takes a good tech to regulate them properly too. It's not a job for Joe Bloe the fly by night tech..
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline jasperknight

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Re: Recommended Baby-Grand Models
«Reply #3 on: September 29, 2015, 02:25:04 PM »
Thanks for the recommendations.

So I spent some time in Steinway Hall playing the Bostons. Overall they seemed to be nice pianos, quite responsive but very warm. Definitely lacked a clarity in the treble area. Way too expensive for me...

Next was Jacques Samual's where I tried out several Kawai's
GM10 - Nice piano, treble felt very thin.
GE30 - Much nicer, the treble sang a lot more, I think this is due to the Duplex scale. Also the Millennium III action was fantastic.
GX1 - Even better, the same size but a much richer tone overall. Somewhat out of my price range though.
SK2 - my ideal piano, everything about it worked for me. It was brighter and harder to control but that definitely seemed like a good thing. Far more similar to playing on a small Steinway. Just wish I could find a used one somewhere!

The gentlemen I met in the shop was also kind enough to let me spend about 15 minutes on a Fazioli concert grand... which was a dream come true! That thing is something else....

I also popped into Bluthner. Wasn't that impressed with their grand pianos but the uprights are probably the best uprights I've ever played. Would even say it was as good as the Steinway K.

So, overall I've decided whatever I buy must have the Duplex and Millennium III action.
Leaving a choice of the RX1-2 (If I can find one) GE30, the new GL30 or GX1. None of which I can find second hand in the UK.

ATCL Programme
Scarlatti Sonata in B Minor K27
Hadyn Sonata in F Major Hob. 23
Beethoven Sonata in G Major, Op. 14, No.2
Rachmaninoff Elegie, Opus 3, No .1