hi everyone, a while back i posted asking for advice on buying a piano.  i can't find that thread so i'm starting a new one (sorry!).
so, i found a guy selling a yamaha c3 for under 8k.  to me, that's a great deal.  a new c3 costs a little over $20k now, and most of the used ones in good condition range from $10-15k.  so let me tell you what i know about the piano:
it has only two pedals.  to me it's not a big deal, i only used the sustain.  but i've heard others make a fuss about that.  the piano looks in great shape.  it's black and has a mirror finish all the way around minus some very minor scuff marks here and there.  it sounds very good to my ears, and feels good to my fingers.  i've played a lot of c3's before and i couldn't tell anything obviously wrong with it compared to the others.  it's not perfect sounding and feeling, but again, it's only $7k.

so what do you guys think?  i initially braced myself for up to $15k.  but the way i'm thinking is that this price is so low that even if there are a couple of things that aren't perfect, is it worth the $5k price difference that i'd get with another c3?

also, many of you recommended that i look for some of those other eurpoean brands, and i may be able to get better deals that way.  the thing with that is the only brand i am familar with is yamaha.  i wouldn't know where to begin with other pianos.  and i've been happy with yamaha.

i guess i want to know what you guys think of a 8k c3?  to me, it sounds like a good deal, but i'd like to know if some of you who are more knowledgeable are thinking, "man, i would never spend $8k on a c3.  you can get [whatever] for the same price and it would be way better."  if you are thinking that, please let me know.  thanks so much.
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any time you're planning to drop 7k on something, it's probably well worth a little extra gold to have an expert check it out first, especially if it's a used piano, regardless of what brand name it might be.  

i also would recommend  checking out many pianos in that price range, especially other well known brands such as, steinway, baldwin, kawai, mason & hamlin, chickering, etc...
you know, i think i will take a little more time to purchase.  dr. whack, i'd like to check out those brands, if they are around me somewhere.  i'll spend some time looking more.
i've been thinking about these past few minutes and reading on the net a little more...i think i actually want  yamaha c7.  if i can find one in the 10-15k range, i think i would prefer that.  a lot of people say great things about it.  i have played several and have been consistently pleased.  i haven't played a lot of other brands simply because they are nowhere near as common in jazz club and church circles.

could someone point on in some kind of general terms, the distinguishing characterestics of the other brands?  i don't know this stuff very well, so that would be helpful.

i may be able to say about yamaha c- pianos...they tend to have a light feel, but sturdy (feel well made).  when i compare them to the grand pianos that people who don't care about pianos might have in their living rooms, the yamaha's always have a better feel to me.
i think you should give some consideration to the size of room where your piano will live.  the c7 is a large piano (7' 6", if i'm not mistaken)  i have a small baldwin m in a 12/15 room and it sounds great.  i was originally planning to get a c7.  now i'm glad i didn't.  i recently played a gig on a c7, but found i like my m better
  
i think you would really benefit from consulting a good piano tech or tow or three.  if you do not know any, just ask around or go to https://www.ptg.org/  they are not only knowledgeable, but they sometimes rebuild pianos or know others who do, and you might find a great deal that way.

good luck.  please let us know what you end up getting
my primary concern is that is at this stage of the game you are asking for advice in this forum.   spending that kind of coin on fine piano and close to closing the deal you should be consulting in real life someone who knows what they are doing not people in this forum.  
   personally i reccomend sticking with american made pianos.  the quality of the wood and the quality of the craftmanship is almost always superior.  i would never buy anything but an american made.  but i also would never spend 500 dollars nevermind 8,000 without havine my tech who is an expert about pianos in every way look it over and give me his opinion and estimate of value.
yes, dr. whack.  that's good advice, i remember you telling me that a while back.  i just spoke to a piano tech.  he talked me out of that c3...he was right on.  it's old, from the early 80's, and it has only two pedals.  it's not worth much.  i wasn't completely satisfied with the sound and feel.  hopefully, i can find something better.  i'm in no big rush.
he is selling a c3 himself, for about 11k, which is still in my price range.  i'm going to check it out this week.  one thing he confused me with...i thought new c3's retial for aroun 20-25k, but he claimed that they retail for 40-45k...which i found shocking!  that's way out of my price range.  i thought i could surely afford a c3.  anyway, that's part of the stuff i need to figure out.

one thing i like about the yamaha's is the quick action.  they all have it that i've played, minus a couple of really beat up ones.  i don't have much experience with other brands.  just about all the clubs and churches here in southern california use yamahas.

dr.w, i've heard you talk about your baldwin before.  what is it that you like so much about it?  i love the c7's that i've played.  simply loved them.  i have the room for it, i have plenty of room for it, but it may be a bit much for my house.  i've played good c3's before also, and i've been satisfied.  my piano teacher has a c7 at his house, but he's a big namer jazz pianist, so that's different.

i'll keep you guys informed on my search.  please send me your thoughts as i go along.
i've played a few well maintained yamahas that play like dreams. there are some that i've played that were really bright, with actions that were different than i've used to, and i didn't really like that as much. even within a brand, things can vary greatly. the studio get called for sessions sometimes in has a yamaha that's got a really beautiful warm sound; it's a phenomenal, soulful instrument. but the big jazz club here has got a yamaha that is very bright. just goes to show you how you should get a really wide range of options, even within a certain brand. i'd check out 5 or 6 c3s if it was me.

the piano tech might be misleading you about the retail price -- he's trying to sell you his c3. if something retailed at 40k and he was selling it to you for a quarter of the price, doesn't that sound fishy? i mean, what would be wrong with it? it's a yamaha, not a toyota. they don't crash in value when they're "driven off the lot," especially if they've been maintained by a knowledgeable tech.

hm
retail prices for pianos are ridiculous and i doubt anyone actually pays those prices.  i played a mason & hamlin that to this day is the best piano i've ever played and the price was $65,000.  the guy said if i really wanted it i could have it for $40,000 - makes ya wanna go "hmmm"

as for what i like about my baldwin?...the sound and the action.  it has a beautiful resonant tone with lots of sustain, when playing softly, and the peaks do not jump out of control when i play into it.  basically it sings for me.  i don't feel like i'm playing it at all.  

i have played some wonderful yamahas but they do tend to be on the bright side (which is why recording engineers like em so much) but the peaks jump out too quickly for me and when they do, they have a sort of "splat" sound to me.
if you were buying a used car for $7000.00, would you have a mechanic you trust check it out? i would. anything used that has a significant price should be checked out by an independent expert. i don't care what it is. seven thousand may not be a lot of money, mere pocket change to me (yeah right, that's the most bs i have ever said), it is a significant sum especially to a musician. when you buy something new i assume you check it out thoroughly, i suggest you have an expert with no vested interest check it out. any reservation on the seller's part would be a big red flag and i would walk away.
thanks for the concern guys.  of course, i will have a tech check out the piano before i buy it, i always planned on that.  i should correct myself--i'm not about to buy a piano, i guess i've just begun seriously shopping for one.  before, i was just thinking about it.  now, i will buy one if i like it.
about the 2 pedal c3, i've decided not to buy it, and coincidentally, it's not for sale anymore.  also, i'm not committing to anything right now.  i'm going to take my time.
i guess i need to keep shopping and playing pianos until i find something.  is it like love?  do you just "know" when you find the right one?  the hard part is that the prices are all over the place.  so it's very hard for me to be able to tell if a used piano is a good deal.  i have no idea what the difference between a $7000 piano and a $15000 is.  i know i've liked yamaha's, but that may be because the only good pianos i've played are yamahas.

i don't quite know what to do.  i can comfortably spend up to 15k i think.  maybe the most helpful thing i can ask for from you guys is to tell me your detailed story about how you purchased your grand pianos.  don't just tell me what you have.  tell me how you got educated, how you knew what action/sound you preferred...the learning process.
1. any piano can sound good. for example, some people think yamahas are too harsh- that's just because a good technician hasn't put his touch on it.

2. depending on who you buy it from, a $15k piano and $7k piano could be worlds apart, or the same, or anything in between.  so the real deal with that is, if you find a piano you like, no matter what the price (in your range), bring your technician in and have him check it out. make sure the store doesn't recommend him :)

3. get on facebook and contact dave p. carlson (big guy, blue jacket, bald head) and tell him i sent you. he's my technician and super smart about this stuff.  he can give you some ideas on what to beware. he is especially good at knowing the idiosyncracies of various makes of pianos, so if you're interested in a 6.5' mason and hamlin, he'll tell you what to look for and not in that piano.

bottom line, do you like playing it?  how does it sound when you record it?  and lastly, when you are doing your think on it, do you get lost in the music?

good luck!!!
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
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i'm not sure i agree with scot's #1.  some pianos will never sound good.  there are many reasons a piano can sound bad or play poorly, which is why you need to have a good tech take a look.  you cannot for example, assume that a bad sounding c3 will sound good if a tech works on it.  or you may find out that to correct the "splat" sound i was talking about will be very expensive.

although i disagree with scot's #1, i wholeheartedly agree with his "bottom line" and of course his "good luck!!!"
ok, ok, i admit that not all pianos can be made to sound good :)  what i meant with that statement that any piano that sounds pretty good can be adjusted to sound the way you want (hopefully "good").  

i say this because my grand piano is a 7' chinese knockoff (dong bei or something like that) of a steinway/yamaha.  when i got it it sounded... ok, but after my piano technician got done with it (and several hundred dollars later, ugh) it now sounds like a concert grand.  the harmonies ring, the action is amazing (a renner action came with the piano), and i just love it.  but i didn't love it before my tech got to it.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
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