How To Choose A Grand Piano

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Are you wondering how to shop for a baby grand piano? View this information presentation and quiz to help determine what type of instrument might be right for you! Is Steinway, Kawai, Yamaha, Shigeru, Mason & Hamlin, Bechstein, Bosendorfer, or Baldwin right for you? Find out here!

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How To Choose A Grand Piano

  1. 1. Quiz: Choosing A Baby Grand Piano THE MAJOR COMPONENTS, THE MAJOR BRANDS, AND HOW TO FIND VALUE
  2. 2. If they all look the same, how do I know what’s right for me?  Professional Baby Grand  Hobbiest-type Piano  5’5” in size  5’3” in size  $22,500  $8,750
  3. 3. Baby Grand pianos Can Be Broken Down By Their major Components: • Their Rim (the frame/structure) • Their Action (the moving parts that connect the keys with the hammers) • Their Soundboard (where the sound comes from) To learn more about how pianos are made, visit Merriam Music's "Learn about Piano"s section
  4. 4. Before understanding what those three components means to your purchase, consider these questions. It may help a lot! 1. Who will the piano be used by, and how advanced a player are they? (beginner / intermediate / advanced / multiple players) 2. How long is this purchase intended to perform well for? (the range is between 25 – 125 years) 3. How large a room is the piano going to be placed in? (this relates to the size of the piano, and how much volume you require) 4. Are their finish / cabinetry preferences? (many manufacturers offer colours other than black, however most are at a significant premium)
  5. 5. Start The Quiz! (Write Down your answers) 1. Who plays the piano? A. No one plays seriously, it will get played occasionally B. We have one somewhat serious player in the house C. We have a very advanced player in the house D. We have someone who is very passionate about music and/or sound (who is also an intermediate – advanced player)
  6. 6. 2. What is your prior experience? 20% Complete A. This will be our first instrument B. We have a digital piano we’re upgrading C. We have an acoustic piano already, but the quality isn’t sufficient D. I’ve owned a piano in the past, but I want to purchase something again
  7. 7. 3. What style of music will be primarily played? 30% complete A. Some light pop or classical – nothing too serious B. Some hits from today, with maybe some classical music lessons C. Advanced classical music D. I enjoy a wide and eclectic range of music, intermediate difficulty or higher
  8. 8. 4. A. 40% complete When you hear “investment” when it relates to a purchase, does it mean: Making a large purchase on an uncommon or a discretionary item B. Spending money so that people can continue progressing (sports equip., instrument, computer etc) C. Purchasing the best you can afford D. Spending more, to achieve a lasting or increasing benefit in value / performance
  9. 9. 5. How do you normally establish your price range on purchases? 50% complete A. I ask friends how much I should be spending, and do a little online research B. I ask professionals or retailers how much I need to spend C. I usually already know the approx price before I start shopping D. I look at a full range of options at several price points, and select based on value
  10. 10. 6. How important are aesthetics to your purchase? A. 60% complete I would like it to look ‘classy’ and feel it will augment the look of my home B. I would like it to look ‘ok’, but function is just as important C. It’s important, but I wouldn’t want to pay extra for looks D. I’m open to interesting aesthetic options, as long as they’re not ‘fads’ or too trendy
  11. 11. 7. How important is brand to your purchase? A. 70% complete I’d prefer a brand that I recognize, but look and price are more important B. I feel brand is important to resale, so I prefer something I recognize already C. Going with a well-known name is the best way to ensure high quality D. As long as the company and construction have good reputations, I’m open to looking at several brands
  12. 12. 8. Do you collect anything, or do you have hobbies you invest in? 80% complete A. I like to keep a few nice things around the house B. Life’s too busy and expensive for collections right now C. I have hobbies, which I do invest in D. I have a couple of passions which I enjoy exploring
  13. 13. 9. When you listen to music on a stereo, what EQ setting do you normally use? 90% complete A. I have a number of presets on my stereo, I pick the one that sounds the best B. I never really noticed, my stereo sounds fine to me C. I usually turn up the bass and/or the treble D. I don’t normally adjust the EQ too much, sound quality comes from components
  14. 14. 10. Do you have a preference of country of origin? A. 100% complete I hear that German pianos are the best B. As long as the quality is good, I’m open C. I know they cost more, but I will be looking at Japanese or European because of their performance D. I’ve heard that there are some good options from a number of countries, and I’m open to options as long as there’s a good track-record, reputation, and quality.
  15. 15. Chances are, you’re looking for a consumer grade piano that has very nice finish qualities, and a entry-to-medium design/construction level. There are several good options from Asian manufacturers to consider, and at this price point and quality range, the choice of retailer will be as (or more) important than the piano itself, since there are not significant differences in many of the instruments in this category. Also, due to the small differences between new and used (in this quality range), new will likely be a better option, since your experience with pianos is less. Did you pick “A” 5 times or more? These instruments are known by their efficient construction, using many newer lower-cost construction methods like MDF’s, plywoods, and synthetic wood products. • Possible Brands: Gerh. Steinberg* | Baldwin | Pearl River | Essex | Hailun | Heintzman • Price Range: New - $6800 – 8500 | Used - $5000 – 7000 * Off-brand of higher rated piano
  16. 16. You may be in a trade-in position, or certainly an upgrade. Perhaps you’ve got children who are in lessons, or someone in the house has ‘tasted’ piano lessons and wants to pursue it more seriously. Used and new should both be considered, as value is going to be paramount here. With used, Japanese makes are normally the most productive to look at in this price range which would be $10,000 – 15,000. A new piano in this range is nearly the same, about $9000 – 15000, however they’ll be smaller, and slightly lower-grade brands. Did you pick “B” 5 times or more? These instruments are known by their Solid-Spruce soundboards (not aged), good-quality actions, and solid-wood construction (minimal MDF’s and ply’s) • Possible New Brands: Gerh. Steinberg* | Kawai GM | Yamaha GC | Knabe Artist • Possible Used Brands: Kawai KG, RX, GE | Yamaha G, C • Price Ranges New: $8000 – 15,000 • Price Ranges Used: 6000 - $12,000 * Off-brand of higher rated piano
  17. 17. Chances are you’ve got someone in the house that’s a pretty advanced player, and you’re looking for a high-performing instrument, but still not an ‘over-spend’. These pianos are known as professional / performance instruments, and use high-quality materials. They are still mass-produced though, which is what makes them accessible to a lot of budgets. Did you pick “C” 5 times or more? These instruments can be identified by thicker, hard-wood frames, faster, sometimes synthetic actions, high-quality hammers, and aged soundboards. • Possible New Brands: Perzina or Hoffman Tradition Series| Kawai GX | Yamaha CX • Possible Used Brands: Steinway | Mason & Hamlin | Yamaha C | Kawai RX • Price Ranges New: $16,000 - $35,000 • Price Ranges Used: $12,000 - $40,000
  18. 18. Value will be important to you, but not necessarily price. You may be open to spending more, if you knew you were getting a very good value. There are many brand ‘pairings’ (a la Coke vs. Pepsi, Duracell vs. Energizer) in the piano world, and two of the most famous are Yamaha vs. Kawai (both Japanese), and Steinway vs. Mason & Hamlin (both American). In both cases, Kawai and Mason has received more favorable reviews and ratings over the last 10 years, however the brand premium on Steinway and Yamaha is a residual of past domination of the market. In addition to these four brands, other options to investigate might be Bosendorfer, Fazioli, or C. Bechstein. Did you pick “D” 5 times or more? These instruments, particularly Mason & Hamlin and Fazioli, are known for over-built design and construction, 100% authentic materials, hand-made processes, and extremely high levels of performance and longevity. • Possible New Brands: Steinway (New York or Hamburg) | Mason & Hamlin (after 2010) | Shigeru Kawai | Yamaha CF | C. Bechstein | Fazioli | Bosendorfer • Possible Used Brands: Same, except: Mason (pre 1929) • Price Ranges New: $40,000 – 100,000 • Price Ranges Used: $25,000 – 50,000
  19. 19. 2 Toronto Locations Hours of Operation (Oakville): Monday: Closed Tuesday: 10 – 9 Wednesday: 10 – 9 For more information on Baby Grands and more, Visit Toronto’s Piano Store at MerriamMusic.com Thursday: 10 – 9 Friday: 10 – 9 Saturday 9 – 6 Sunday 11 – 5 Hours of Operation (Vaughan): Or call us at 905 829 2020 Monday: Closed Tuesday: 12 – 9 Wednesday: 12 – 9 Thursday: 12 – 9 Friday: 12 – 9 Saturday 9 – 6 Sunday 11 - 5 2359 Bristol Circle, Oakville ON 3175 Rutherford Rd, Vaughan ON

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