Jump to content


Photo

Piano buying help please


  • Please log in to reply
23 replies to this topic

#1 Minstrel

Minstrel

    Prodigy

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1289 posts
  • Member: 9268
    Joined: 29-January 07

Posted 05 April 2021 - 20:08

Apologies for revisiting this topic -  which I know comes up from time to time -  but to save me scrolling through lots of old threads, can you wonderful forumites please give me your recommendations for helping someone who has unexpectedly been given some money to buy the best piano they can for approximately £7000-9000 ? 
 

I’m a string player rather than pianist , so this is uncharted territory for me. Some advice on recommended good and reliable dealers ( UK -  currently London-based but prepared to travel for best advice ) would be especially welcome. 
 

This is for one of my former students who is also a grade 8+pianist and who has asked me for ideas.
 


  • 0

#2 jim palmer

jim palmer

    Prodigy

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1633 posts
  • Member: 28959
    Joined: 15-April 08
  • South London

Posted 05 April 2021 - 20:39

Here is a useful website, though more interested in a Clavinova myself!

 

https://www.robertspianos.com


  • 0

#3 fsharpminor

fsharpminor

    Maestro

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 18642 posts
  • Member: 7089
    Joined: 07-June 06
  • Heswall, Wirral (originally Keighley, Yorks)

Posted 05 April 2021 - 21:00

For a new upright piano at that price level I''d be looking at some Kawai's. Or Schimmel .  I personally don't like Yamaha, but others do.


  • 0

#4 maggiemay

maggiemay

    Maestro

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 20365 posts
  • Member: 413
    Joined: 12-January 04
  • S E England

Posted 05 April 2021 - 21:14

https://www.morleypianos.co.uk/


  • 0

#5 Clovis

Clovis

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 273 posts
  • Member: 892962
    Joined: 10-February 15

Posted 06 April 2021 - 10:13

I can seriously recommend Coach House Pianos, who now have a London showroom. I bought my grand from them second-hand and was very pleased.

 

https://www.coachhousepianos.co.uk/


  • 0

#6 BadStrad

BadStrad

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4473 posts
  • Member: 88756
    Joined: 28-January 10

Posted 06 April 2021 - 12:54

Ooooh!  I didn't know Coach House had opened a London show room.  We've used them twice and have been very impressed with their levels of knowledge, service and after sale support.


  • 0

#7 Minstrel

Minstrel

    Prodigy

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1289 posts
  • Member: 9268
    Joined: 29-January 07

Posted 06 April 2021 - 13:12

Thank you everyone, that’s a really good start. Please keep the comments and advice coming  :)


  • 0

#8 corenfa

corenfa

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 7095 posts
  • Member: 95861
    Joined: 28-March 10
  • Here

Posted 06 April 2021 - 13:15

I have a Kawai K6-AS which was within that price range. I have had it for 8 years and it has only gotten better as the years went by. My tuner tells me it's a great piano, when I bought it I thought it was good, but he seems to really like it.  https://www.hampsteadpianos.com/ sold me it. They have been in the piano business for decades and in my opinion are quite  trustworthy.


  • 0

#9 BadStrad

BadStrad

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4473 posts
  • Member: 88756
    Joined: 28-January 10

Posted 06 April 2021 - 13:29

I forgot to say - after visiting the showroom and settling on what we wanted Coach House then sourced us what we wanted at the price point we wanted (which basically came down to the age of the model - the one they had in was newer and out of our price range).


  • 0

#10 Yet another muso

Yet another muso

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 414 posts
  • Member: 103420
    Joined: 22-May 10

Posted 06 April 2021 - 15:21

Two obvious considerations:

1. Have they decided if they want an upright or grand?

2. Do they have a strong preference for new or something older? Some people have strong preferences for what will look best in their house!

 

If they are shopping for an upright, that is a great budget that will give them a really wide choice of fine instruments old and new. Any of the good piano shops will only sell you something good at that price - you won't get a liability that will need lots of repairs in the future. So you have freedom to simply have fun trying things out and going for what suits you best. Good shops that immediately spring to mind in London are Jacques Samuels, Peregrine's and Markson pianos.

 

As a matter of curiosity, it's interesting to try second hand pianos in the price range that might be on sale in these shops. The style of piano and sound is often very different to modern instruments, so it's a matter of personal preference, but at that price you could get something really wonderful second hand. It's down to luck with that though - older instruments are very individual and you never know what you might see. Buying an older piano from a top shop isn't much of a risk - they will always ensure the pianos are in great condition, and in some cases will have reconditioned them, but it's rare to find an older piano that holds its tuning as well as a brand new instrument, so anyone buying one needs to be prepared not to skimp on regular tunings. 

 

For new instruments, I would second the Kawai recommendation. It's worth a visit to Jacques Samuels as they have many Kawais, but also specialise in Hoffmann pianos - also very worth trying. A little known make that I like is Venables, but you can only buy them from Venables Pianos in Ringwood, Hampshire. 

 

Mainly though, at any good shop, try as many new pianos as you can in the price range. Each piano is a bit different from each other as well, so the more you can test, the better.

 

One thing worth considering is covid piano testing rules. Presumably, piano shops will be on an appointment only system for now. It's worth checking if they limit the number of pianos you can test. That's fine if you kind of know what you want, but if you want to test as many as possible, it might be worth waiting until rules relax more before shopping. That may not be an issue - they may let you test as many as you like, but I think it's worth checking before you go.


  • 0

#11 ejw21

ejw21

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 589 posts
  • Member: 820271
    Joined: 18-July 13
  • Skipton, N Yorks

Posted 07 April 2021 - 14:11

How about having a look at the Pianist Magazine buyers' guide? It's at https://www.pianistm...om/buyers-guide though if you or your student download the app (android or apple) it's available as a free download. There are some lesser known makes in there alongside the big names. Quite a few of the big European makes have a second line/second brand that would come in at under £9000. I have a Petrof that would fit your price bracket - I'm also not a Yamaha fan (but I have played some very nice Kawai instruments).

 

All of the above are excellent points and I know a few people who have purchased from Coach House Pianos (who do not leave near London). Forsyths of Manchester also gets good reviews. 


  • 0

#12 EllieD

EllieD

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 978 posts
  • Member: 897806
    Joined: 04-June 17

Posted 08 April 2021 - 08:49

Interesting thread - I too am in the market for an upright piano, broadly the same price range. I already have a Yamaha clavinova which will still be useful for practice, but I would like the real deal now and feel I can justify it.

 

Just wondering:

 

1. What differences would you expect to find between a piano costing around £5k and one costing £10k? 

 

2. When you're in the shop trying out pianos, what sort of things do you do? Scales? Chords? Any tips?


  • 0

#13 corenfa

corenfa

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 7095 posts
  • Member: 95861
    Joined: 28-March 10
  • Here

Posted 08 April 2021 - 09:09

Not sure I can answer 1. specifically but what I look for when getting a piano is the ability to have lots of different sounds. Admittedly that depends on the ability of the person trying it out. I was lucky in that when I was trying pianos in a shop, a family was as well and had clearly borught their piano teacher along. So I listened as he played Kawais of different makes- he played the same stuff and on some of the more advanced models, he just sounded better, like there was more depth to the playing and more variety of sounds. It's hard to describe. 

 

When I am trying pianos I will play as many different genres as I can over a wide range of dynamics and speeds.


  • 0

#14 Clovis

Clovis

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 273 posts
  • Member: 892962
    Joined: 10-February 15

Posted 08 April 2021 - 09:37

I think 1) is answered by just trying loads of different pianos and makes. I had a great time pre-Covid going round all the showrooms and trying out as many instruments as possible. You learn a lot that way. Most of the pianos were way over my budget, but I really enjoyed myself.

 

For 2) Corenfa is absolutely right. A range of dynamics is what you should look for, so take the quietest piece you know and play that – much of Debussy is a very good test and it doesn't have to be a difficult piece at all. Try it at different registers too to make sure the range is consistent. And then play a loud piece, but again, one with gradations of tone. Scarlatti is good for deciding whether you like the touch – some pianos are much lighter than others.


  • 0

#15 Norway

Norway

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5530 posts
  • Member: 452922
    Joined: 05-May 12

Posted 08 April 2021 - 13:41

I got my Yamaha U3 2nd hand upright from Horsham Pianos, and they restored my old piano too - all good. I'd shopped around to look at three other shops, and Horsham were the best one for me.


  • 0