Tag Archives: piano

Shopping for Piano

We are looking for a baby grand piano for our new home. I know Steinway and Sons is the best piano, but it’s way over our budget. A Yamaha is more affordable, but Tom Lee gets a fat profit margin. So I have been monitoring second hand piano sales on Craigslist and Kijiji for the past few months. I saw a very good deal, 15 years old Yamaha C1 for just $6000. I call the seller and ask to check it out. It turns out the piano is storing at a piano store, I feel a bit suspicious, thinking it maybe a trick to lure in customers, but I figure there is no harm to take a look anyway.

When we were in the store, as I expected the store owner try to sell us other pianos on floor. The store mainly carries two little known brand, Brodmann and Hailun from Chinese. The owner try to convince me his pianos are as good as or even better than Yamaha. He keep saying the new manufactures learns their skill from Europe and their piano have a European tone and criticize the Yamaha has a sharp tone. He try to demonstrate his point by playing a few notes from each piano. However I caught him trying to mislead my perception. He played his piano with a very soft touch and hit it really hard on Yamaha’s key. No wonder his piano sounds better. Pat took her turn and play the same piece of Mozart in all these pianos. I can tell the difference with my untrained ears. Estonia is definitely has richer sound compare to the Yamaha, but the sound from two Chinese brands are quite murky.

To most of my disappointment, the Yamaha is actually not a C1 but a GH1. C1 is an entry level concert grade piano, GH1 is just a Yamaha knock off made in Indonesia that does not even have a proper sostenuto pedal. At this point, I no longer trust the integrity of that shop and decide to leave. At this moment, the owner of the piano called the store and said the piano is just sold. What a perfect timing. Later that day, I found the piano suppose to be sold shows up again in Craigslist under a new ad. I am 100% sure the piano is a bait to lure innocent customer to that dishonest piano store.

Even though the piano shopping trip did not turn out as I expected, but I still learn something new about piano. The most valuable of all is I discover the Piano Buyer Guide which is very informative on anything about buying a piano. As an engineer, I don’t feel comfortable buying things that I don’t understand. Since I am not a piano player and know nothing about piano, now I feel obligated to read the Piano Buyer Guide before making a purchase decision.

My last words to those who happen to come across this blog, stay away from Heritage Piano in Surrey. Piano is probably the most expensive purchase other than a house and a car. You gotta buy a piano from a reliable source. Never deal with a dishonest piano store.


Pat will have her piano exam next Monday, so she is practicing piano very hard. To encourage her, I bought sushi for dinner tonight and deliver to her place. When I arrived, she was watching a documentary on the history of piano. The internal mechanism of a piano is an art of engineering, I can’t believe each piano has more than 2000 pieces. The history of piano is not very long, only a few hundred years old. I also known that Bach is the first piano composer. I wonder how do the musician back then learn to play piano when it was still a prototype not commonly known. After the dinner, Pat make me listen to her exams rehearsal, It is my pleasure to listen to Pat’s rehearsal (changed due to censorship), which last about 30 minutes. It is quite relaxing listening to classical music after a big meal, so I fell asleep. Pat grumble about both me and her piano teacher sleep when she plays. Oh well, maybe her music has some magic power putting people to sleep. I would like to start listening classical music to improve my taste. I had already downloaded over 100 classical CDs in mp3. The only problem is that I can’t recognize the name of the songs or the composers. It is not fun when you don’t even know what you are listening to.