Australian Piano Fair

I went to the Australian Piano Fair at the Perth convention center this weekend as I heard of it from some piano related email subscription.

Recently I’ve been rather dissatisfied with the fake piano sound that my digital pianos use, so I have been quite tempted with the prospect of buying a real piano. The main problems I had with the digital pianos were that I wasn’t able to appreciate the songs I was playing as the sounds didn’t sound right (e.g. chords when playing blues songs) and I was not able to play on my teacher’s piano without having to spend a bit of time at the beginning getting used to the difference in the key action.

Anyways, since I have a holiday planned later in the year, I figured it wasn’t such a good idea to go to the piano fair, but I wanted to try playing on various brands and types of pianos (like the expensive grand pianos), so I ended up going. 😛

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It was quite easy to find the Australian Piano Fair location as there was a lot of musical noise coming from one particular exhibition hall which had a Yamaha grand piano that was playing by itself.

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Although my teacher owns a baby grand piano, I never really got the chance to check out the internals of it, so I decided to take this opportunity to take a few closeups of this Yamaha grand piano.

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Anyways, I quickly entered the piano showroom and was greeted to a lot of pianos mixed in with some fancy cars and fancy furniture from the sponsers of the event. I t looks like the pianos are all sold by Sound Centre, the same music shop that I bought my digital piano from previously.

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There were also some famous pianists at the event, but I didn’t know any of them and was too busy checking out the pianos there to take too much notice. I think the photo below is a photo of one of them.

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The Yamaha section for their digital pianos. I checked out their top of the range of their digital pianos, and honestly it could only compare to one of their cheaper models yet at twice the price in terms of piano sound and piano action. It seems they are marketing more on the features it has such as the “Styles” function, voices, auto-accompaniment, Mic input, TV out, internet connectivity, direct to wave file recording and similar other features on the high end digital pianos.

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A look at some of the other pianos. There were many brands including Yamaha, Petrof, Story and Clark, Kayserburg, Richard.Lipp & Sohn, Kurzweil and Casio. Since I was only really looking at uprights I was only really looking at 5 of the brands.

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Initially I wanted to try out the Story & Clark pianos because they were cheap and had PNOscan which enabled you to connect the the piano to a PC to record your performance or use it with MIDI software.

Unfortunately, I found quickly that I didn’t really like the action of the keyboard. It felt a bit too heavy for me and since all the Story & Clark pianos had the same type of key action, I ended up passing on all of those.

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The next brand I tried was the Richard.Lipp & Sohn piano and I found that I liked it quite a bit. The sound and action was nice and the keys looked quite good too.

I also tried the Kayserburg and found I liked that brand too. I liked both the sound and action although I found the keys felt too plastic and cheap to me compared to the other brands.

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I did play around on some grand pianos, and have to say that it indeed has a significantly better tone than the upright pianos, but I have to admit that the price difference doesn’t seem to be worth it for me. There were many cheap grand pianos around too about the $10,000AU mark, but there were some really expensive Petrof ones too that were really nice to play.

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I really liked the Petrof brand, but their upright pianos started from $11,000AU which was more than I’d consider to spend on an upright piano.

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I tried the Yamaha pianos last. I quite enjoyed playing on the U3 upright piano which I couldn’t spot any nagging problems with although that was also over $10,000AU. I did have an interesting episode with a couple who made me play a few more tunes on it when I was about to stop playing because they wanted to know how it sounded. (^^;

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I tried out the various Yamaha pianos, and was quite interested in the cheapest one, the Yamaha C109, that was around only $4000AU. The keys felt right but after a bit of comparing with other pianos and trying various songs on it, I realized that the sound on it really sucked.

I then tried the next one up. the C113T which I also didn’t like the tone of, but the next one up from that, the Yamaha T121 sounded perfect and seemed to be just right. As for pricing, it was significantly cheaper than the next one up which was the U1 that only sounded a bit better but would of cost about $3000AU more.

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So, although I wasn’t really planning on buying a piano, after playing this one piano for what seemed about an hour, I decided to buy it.

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It will arrive on Tuesday! I can’t wait till it arrives.
Also, since I’m  VIP member of the Sound Centre store, I was able to use my VIP card and get a discount on this already heavily discounted piano and get it for $5,995AU instead of the listed $6,295AU. Although I am thinking the real reason they gave me the discount is because I paid in full rather than just putting a deposit down.

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I now feel so poor but I’m also so happy!

Comments (10)

SteveJuly 12th, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Nice purchase! I know from experience that music isn’t a cheap hobby, but when you consider that buying a quality instrument is a lifetime investment it’s not so bad. I wish you and your piano many happy hours of practice and play.

Akiba-KidJuly 13th, 2010 at 8:53 am

Those pianos are well worth few Japan trips, mama mia @_@

AnonymousSeptember 6th, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Hi, can you tell me what brand was the 10,000 baby grands?
ta

TimSeptember 7th, 2010 at 10:23 am

The brands that had baby grands in the 10,000 price range were Story & Clarke, Richard.Lipp & Sohn and Kayserburg. There was quite a selection.

The Yamaha and Petrof grand pianos were much more expensive and didn’t have any in that price range.

AnonymousSeptember 11th, 2010 at 8:46 am

Thanks..
Not sure if Storey and clark is a good brand?
never came across one before, but just browsed ebay and a second hand one is only $3000… must not be that good?

TimSeptember 11th, 2010 at 9:45 am

Story & Clarke is a Chinese owned brand, so their prices are lower. As for sound quality, the one i played sounded okay, but the more expensive vertical pianos from other brands sounded almost as good as the cheaper priced Story & Clarke grands.

$3000 for a baby grand sounds very cheap, but i wouldn’t buy until I’ve tried playing it first and gotten someone to check it out.

They do have a feature on all of their pianos so you can connect it to a computer like a digital piano, but i already have a digital piano, so just use the digital for stuff like that.

DarrenSeptember 24th, 2010 at 8:49 am

I’ve recently purchased a Lipp and Sohn Baby Grand (LG-150S) and it’s a beautiful sounding piano. I bought it from a place caled Pianomax in Adelaide. (www.pianomax.com.au)
I did have a few issues with the piano initially with sticking keys but it’s new and tight and I can understand it can take a couple of goes to get it sorted. There was no hassles, they sent the tuner/maintenance guy out and he sorted it.
$8999 including a stool, delivery and tuning!! Can’t go wrong at that price. I also liked the Kawai GM-12 but it was out of my price range but I do prefer the mellower sound of the Lipp and Sohn. The Yamaha was too “bright” for my taste.

TimOctober 3rd, 2010 at 12:22 am

Wow! That sounds like a nice deal!
Glad you are enjoying your grand piano. For me, since I don’t have the space for a grand, so I decided to settle for a good upright. I do often read about people saying that they are too “bright” for their tastes, but I don’t seem to mind it. Perhaps it’s because my digital piano before that was also a Yamaha. 😛

If decide to upgrade, I’ll definitely check out the grand you bought and see if it suits my taste. But given i only recently bought my piano, that would be a lot later on in the future.

NanJuly 2nd, 2011 at 11:38 am

Hi Tim,
I am new to Perth and looking to buy a good (not big and not too expensive) piano for my 10 year old girl and 6 yr old boy who learn piano….could you suggest a model and which is the piano shop here in Perth that offers a good selection and a good deal?
Would love to know ur thoughts on this.
Thanks
Nan

TimJuly 3rd, 2011 at 8:22 am

Hi Nan,
Thanks for your comment.

The Australian Piano Fair held by Sound Centre will be happening again this year in the Perth Convention Centre on July 15-17.
Their website is http://www.australianpianofair.com.au/

They should have a large selection of acoustic and digital pianos that you can try out and compare at a sale price.

From my previous experience, they had a large selection of acoustic pianos with various brands including cheaper made in China pianos as well as the more expensive brands. For me I already had a digital piano when I attended, so I was looking to upgrade to an upright piano.

As for deciding on a piano, I would recommend deciding on what sounds and feels best when playing it whether you decide on an acoustic or digital.

Feel free to take your time when shopping and to check out other music shops like piano magic too.

I hope this helps.

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