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Pianist Lang Lang appointed UN Messenger of Peace

Ever since he founded the Lang Lang International Music Foundation in 2008, Mr. Lang has committed himself to raising the level of music education to a higher level. Capitalizing on the popularity of the pianist Lang Lang, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on October 28 designated the world-renowned Chinese as a United Nations Messenger of Peace with a special focus on global education. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Need Help Choosing An Upright For A Beginner  (Read 464 times)
mulsiphix
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« on: April 08, 2017, 08:07:04 PM »

I have a $1,000 and can go into debt up to another $2,000. I know it isn't much, but I'm still hoping to find the best bang for my buck. I'm just not sure what that should look like. I went to a piano store yesterday. They seemed like extremely nice car salesman. While I understand the prerogative of a salesman, I felt I was mislead about the piano they were trying very hard to get me to purchase.

They had it listed for $3,996. He immediately said he could sell it to me for $3,000. It was a Korean piano and the cabinet was marked up, but still very beautiful. The sound was alright, but I was hoping for a better tone. I had him demonstrate it and I noticed one of the keys kept going halfway down, but wouldn't come all the way back up until he played keys directly next to it.

He billed himself as a serious piano repair technician. He spoke with pride and vouched for the quality of the piano's current condition. After seeing the key I felt mislead or perhaps I simply lack education. Given my small price range, what should I be looking for in an Upright? This will be a starter piano and I intend to learn to play classic literature. Almost certainly, exclusively for a number of years.

I currently have no plans to get a piano teacher. It isn't a desire problem, but a financial one. I also homeschool five kids. Very homebound at the moment, but I'm just starting out so I'm hoping diligence will help make up for genuine experience. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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indianajo
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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2017, 12:27:26 AM »

As a beginner, you don't need anything special.  Almost any $50-$75 used piano will do, if the notes work and it can be tuned.  If your in South IN, I have one I'll give you, I've found a better free one for my summer property as soon as the ground dries enough to let a truck in.  
That is in the middle USA.  People in SE Asia have more troubles finding a console, because the frequent roof leaks & floods lead to a lot of damaged wood.  
You might consider even a spinnet at this skill level, they are slow but you won't develop the speed to need more for four or five years.  Spinnets are about 32" tall, and will fit in the trunk of a full size car if you slide them up on their back on some 2x8's.  They weigh about 280-300 lb, and can be handled up stairs usually by two strong people.  Even top quality spinnets like Baldwin Acrosonic go for $200 or less here.  I got my Wulitzer for $50 with a broken music rack, which I stole from a donor Wurli organ I was parting out.  The tone is slightly dull with the top on, these cheapest Wurlis had thick soundboards that kept the sound in. I'm dumping it for a free York 40" with cosmetic damage but the most beautiful tone.  
Brands to avoid, Winter, Kimball, Betsy Ross, Lester, LionHead(logo no name).  
For a more detailed account of what brands are the best (1941 to 1980 mostly, the globalized versions after the factories closed are low budget imitations of pianos)  see this thread: http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=58857.0
I also cover there how to inspect used pianos to find the ones you don't want to show the piano tuner for an opinion.  There is a list of superior brands.    The speed test won't apply to you until about grade 4 or 5.  I played a nice looking $75 cable-nelson console at Salvation Army last week, a little slow but decent tone, beautiful french case & bench. If you have to spend $200 to get your piano moved into your location, maybe it is worth paying $200-$600 for something really good.  
If you find a snooty piano tuner that won't tune a 50 year old piano, find another. The pro here was an idiot, and he worked for the dealer of the most prestigious brand.  There is a real cult around here of Yamaha or nothing.  I find Yamaha consoles have boring tone yet they draw the most money on the used market.  People go with the crowd, and don't start using their ears until they have 6 or 8 years of training.  
To hear a really good tone, listen to a CD or LP (not u-tube) of George Winston December  on headphones.  Beautiful Bosendorfer.  I own an 1982 Sohmer 39 and a 1941 Steinway 40, the console everybody copied their post war models after, IMHO.  Beautiful tones, especially the trebels.  
Have fun shopping.  

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richard black
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2017, 08:55:28 PM »

Actually I would recommend spending as much as you can possibly afford on a piano, even though you are a beginner - it will be much more inviting to come home to. That said, the piano you mention and indeed the dealer you mention are probably to be avoided. The fault on that piano, a key sticking down, is almost certainly trivial but for that very reason, if they have any real pride, they should have sorted it. Keep looking, and good luck!
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Instrumentalists are all wannabe singers. Discuss.
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