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1. Choose a retailer
The easiest way to select a reputable retailer is to find one on the manufacturer’s own website. Kawai and its retailers have a relationship designed to ensure that customers find the best instrument for their needs. You’ll also know that you’re buying from an authorised retailer. With Kawai, this ensures that the piano is thoroughly checked and set up properly before it is delivered to your home. Your Kawai retailer also ensures that your warranty is correctly registered and valid for you.
In the retail store itself, you will find Kawai pianos are presented in superb condition, fully prepared and tuned. It is impossible to work out if you like or dislike a piano when it is not in tune.
Another important point to consider is the range of brands carried by the retailer. Retailers that are not authorised dealers may only carry a top brand like Kawai as secondhand instruments. The brands they sell as new may be what are commonly called stencil brand pianos. These are mass manufactured instruments and the same piano may be sold under any number of different brand names. Stencil brands are often badged with brand names of yesteryear that have ceased business.
2. Delivery & servicing
Your Kawai retailer carries out a comprehensive pre-delivery service checklist to ensures your piano arrives in first class order. Once delivered, it needs to settle and acclimatise to its new environment. This takes approximately six to eight weeks. It is after this period that we recommend you utilise the follow-up tuning of the piano.
3. Do your homework
It is important to do some research into what’s available, and what it is you’re really looking for – what features must your piano have? What would you like it to have? Your piano teacher is a good source of information, but remember that pianos are constantly evolving, and technology may well have moved forward since she or he fitted out their studio.
A good source of information is your local retailer: they are trained to have up-to-date knowledge about what’s available right now, as well as the questions to ask you to understand your specific requirements. Things to consider include where in your home the piano will be placed and how suitable an environment that is. Depending on which part of the country you live in, factors like humidity or a cold climate may dictate how best to look after your piano. How often should it be serviced, by whom and at what expense?
4. Know your requirements
A piano is a probably the largest cultural investment you make, so you want to get one that is right for your needs now and into the future. Think about the playing level of the person who will be using the piano most. Remember, too, buying the cheapest available option may result in you having an instrument that over time doesn’t match the skill level of the player. People can get frustrated and give up on their dreams and aspiration to play the piano well. When you buy a quality piano, it will add to your growth as a performer well into the future.
The size of a piano will determine its tone, as well as its price. For a long term investment, purchase the size that gives you the tone and performance you want – and one that matches your room size, of course!
5. Why risk buying secondhand?
You may see a large 132cm secondhand upright piano from a reputable brand at the same price or less than a new 122cm piano. These secondhand pianos are often 25 years old or even older. Modern pianos are designed to last a long time, however, these pianos may be imported from overseas music schools, where the practice level of students can be more than twelve hours a day, seven days a week. The technologies found in modern pianos, such as the carbon fibre parts in Kawai pianos, stay stronger for longer and actually assist players to perform to their maximum skill. Purchasing an old secondhand piano can make learning to play well harder and result in poor playing habits that can take years to unlearn.
Over the years, technology has changed to the point where the string length in a 122cm upright piano is now longer than that of a 35 year old 132cm piano. Pianos evolve constantly and Kawai has been in the forefront of many of the changes that make a new Kawai piano an engineering and technical marvel – and a joy to play. It also comes with a full Kawai manufacturer’s warranty that gives you peace of mind you won’t get with a secondhand piano purchase.