What brands of upright/spinet pianos to look for/avoid?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Cuthbert, May 3, 2016.

  1. Cuthbert

    Cuthbert Member

    Messages:
    2,308
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    It's crazy how people can barely give away pianos nowadays. Unfortunately my upright piano cannot be tuned for longer than a week so I'm going to get rid of it. I would like a tunable piano and I'm thinking spinet for size. Does anyone know of the brands to look for and the ones to avoid? Any reason not to get a spinet size?
     
  2. slybird

    slybird Member

    Messages:
    6,011
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2014
    If you own your home it's great to have a piano, but for recording and ease I prefer a software instrument. They are really good now days.

    I see pianos on CL all the time. Just answer ads that fall under your budget and go play them. If you like the sound and feel rent a truck and take it home.
     
  3. desertrat07

    desertrat07 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    965
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2011
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    I recently picked up a Hamilton by Baldwin studio model from the 70's in really good condition for $1,000 on Craigslist. It's a solid piano, built like a tank. It was mostly in tune with itself although needed to be brought up in pitch quite a bit. It's sagged just a bit since then, but one more tuning and it should be good to go. Having a piano in the living room is a lot of fun, and my daughter is practicing much more than she had been on our keyboard. As far as a spinet, versus something a bit taller, it all depends on the sound. Go with your ears. Also, do a little bit of research before you buy a used piano so you know what to look for...soundboard, bridges, etc...
     
  4. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

    Messages:
    20,254
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    My wife wanted to take up the piano again last year. We looked at the analog options and went with a Yamaha digital thing. The hassle of a "real" piano just didn't make sense. The Yamaha sounds and feels fine and weighs about a hundred pounds and never needs tuning. For me, until you get to a baby grand, it's not worth the hassle.
     
  5. cubistguitar

    cubistguitar Member

    Messages:
    5,398
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Location:
    Augusta GA
    skip the spinets, the low notes don't work right, strings are too short, and no parts for repairs, nobody makes them anymore
     
  6. lespaulreedsmith

    lespaulreedsmith Member

    Messages:
    3,531
    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    Location:
    where the wind comes sweepin' down the plains
    Baldwin Acrosonic. Short upright with tiered strings. The strings are the same length as those in their baby grands but doubled over for the short upright height. Big booming sound from a short upright. Yes, I own one. :)
     
  7. frdagaa

    frdagaa Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,800
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    I own a great Kawai upright, excellent tuning stability and -- here's the best part-- it's an actual piano. I recommend the biggest soundboard you can afford. Mine is the size of a baby grand and the instrument sounds very good. Little spinets sometimes sound way to thin and plinky. One feature on mine that I haven't seen in a lot of other pianos is a bona fide practice pedal. When depressed, the pedal inserts a felt pad between the hammer and the string and the sound becomes wonderfully mellow Yamaha also makes excellent pianos.
     
  8. stevel

    stevel Member

    Messages:
    13,332
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Location:
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    There are about 1,000 reasons not to get a piano instead of an electronic instrument.

    Our university has a deal with a local (the only local now) piano store who supplies us with pianos for our classrooms, offices, and practice modules aside from the Steinway the department already owns.

    They are generally a mixed bag of "made in china" pianos. There are no "made in USA" and there are no "Made in Japan" except the upper level Yamahas or Kawais, etc.

    Each year, they do a sale, and sell of the old stock and replace it with new stock. Of course, they also try to sell off some new pianos too.

    I don't know how many they sell each year, but it's the one time when people know they're going to get a piano that was kept in a humidity controlled environment, and that was properly maintained (we have a piano tuner on staff who takes care of the instruments continuously).

    But buying one, used, from anyone else? No way. People will not have maintained them. Even the people who know better - like me - I haven't had our home piano tuned in years - and I can call up our tuner from the university and have him come over any time. Costs money. Have other bills. I have 3 synths. Don't need to take care of the piano.

    Honestly, it's a crap shoot. You're going to have to luck into a deal. Anyone with anything decent is going to think it's worth more than it is, just like guitars. Most people can't afford anything decent anymore, and wouldn't know it in the first place, so most of what's out there that's new enough that age hasn't destroyed it for lack of maintenance is going to be a cardboard Young Chang or something.

    I'd contact your local Piano Teachers groups, or any local universities with a music department, and see if anyone knows of anyone who's offloading a piano.

    Otherwise, you're going to get crap. You might luck into something, but otherwise, no.

    But it also depends on your expectations. I used to sell pianos and 99% of the people who bought them didn't play - they bought them as furniture/status symbols. And very often, they didn't care how they were made or sounded, so they bought cheap Korean pianos.

    But if all you want is something to tink around on, then yeah, a Spinet would be fine. Just find one that sounds OK for the price you can afford.

    If the brand name sounds Asian, I'd avoid it.
    If it sounds German, make sure it's not an Asian manufacturer who's slapped a German name on it.

    Good luck.
     
  9. Cal Webway

    Cal Webway Member

    Messages:
    9,597
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Larry, ND
    If used:

    Avoid stored in garage or a funky-semi funky basement

    The used Baldwins are often nice, even spinets. Use your ears, eyes and hands- to open up and check the innards.

    .
    .
     
  10. JPF

    JPF Member

    Messages:
    8,640
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    New England
    Pianos are like women: when they're not upright, they're grande...
     
    justabubba likes this.
  11. rhp52

    rhp52 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,886
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    Metro Detroit
    You don't want a spinet. If you're going upright get an institutional model as they have the largest soundboard available for an upright and the longest strings.. Kawai, Steinway pianos are good. Some people like Yamaha.... Don't buy an old used upright unless you know what you are doing and know what to look for. Even then it's a crapshoot.
     
  12. Northerner

    Northerner Member

    Messages:
    1,133
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Location:
    PNW
    Agreed.
    They also have a differen't kind of action that's hard on the hands.
     
  13. Cuthbert

    Cuthbert Member

    Messages:
    2,308
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Thanks! I see a lot of Baldwin Acrosonic spinets on CL. Did they also make a bigger size upright?
     
  14. Sigmund Floyd

    Sigmund Floyd Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,145
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Location:
    Mass
    I'd get a decent one, we had a Kawai UST-7 that was good. We have a Yamaha U1 now and it's excellent but pricey, much better used. I think the Yamaha P22 is decent. There's nothing like a real piano for sound. My recommendation is be patient and get a decent one, have a local good piano tech go look at it with you, most will do it for a small fee. They can end up being the tuner for it.
     
    dsimon665 likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice