COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT KAWAI PIANOS
What is the Difference Between a Grand Piano and an Upright Piano?
There are many ways to describe the differences between a grand piano and an upright piano.
- Visually, grand pianos are positioned horizontally and stand on three legs; they are longer than they are tall. Upright pianos have a vertical orientation and are taller than they are deep. The width of grand and upright pianos are roughly the same.
- Physically, grand pianos are much heavier than upright pianos. Grand pianos can range in weight from around 600 pounds for a “baby grand” to over 1100 pounds for a 9-foot concert grand. Upright pianos typically range from around 400 pounds to 600 pounds.
- From a sound perspective, grand pianos are usually capable of producing more volume than upright pianos. When the lid on a grand piano is fully open, the sound can project much farther than an upright piano.
- From a tonal perspective, grand pianos can create much deeper, richer tone quality than uprights. The vertical design of an upright piano can limit the size of the iron plate, strings and soundboard which, in turn, can limit the production of bass tone and overall volume. Tone projection and volume are further limited because the soundboard is covered by the cabinet of the piano. The horizontal design of a grand piano allows the plate and strings to be longer and the soundboard to be larger to facilitate the production of deeper, more resonant tone (although some taller upright pianos 50” and taller have longer string lengths and larger soundboard areas that allow them to provide greater depth of tone than some small grand pianos).
- From a touch perspective, grand pianos typically offer greater playing control than upright pianos. The design of a grand piano action mechanism is more efficient than an upright action, allowing for more direct transfer of energy to the piano strings and greater touch control.
- From a cost standpoint, grand pianos are usually more expensive than upright pianos due to the cost of materials and labor required to make a larger instrument. In some cases, however, upright pianos over 50” tall can be more expensive than smaller baby grands. That is because the workmanship involved in crafting taller uprights for professional use can require a greater investment of labor and materials than does a smaller, inexpensive baby grand piano.
How much does a Grand Piano Cost?
Kawai grand pianos range from our smallest baby grand, the 5’0” GL-10, to the world-renowned 9-foot Shigeru Kawai SK-EX Concert Grand. Apart from the SK-EX, there are two series of instruments – the GL Professional Series and the GX BLAK Performance Series. Because the GX BLAK Performance Series pianos are designed for high-end studios and performance stages, their relative costs are higher than GL Series instruments.
GL Series Grand Pianos
The five GL Series grand pianos were named “2016 Global Music Industry Product of the Year” by the readers of MMR (Musical Merchandise Review), one of the industry’s top trade magazines. Each year, this award recognizes the top product among all music industry offerings across all product categories (including digital keyboards, guitars, string instruments, band instruments, recording equipment, amplification equipment, accessories, etc.), not just pianos. The elite “Product of the Year” award from MMR pays tribute to the superb quality of the GL Series instruments and the outstanding value they represent for the piano buyer. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices on GL Series grands (as of June 2019) range from $16,295 to $39,795.
GX BLAK Performance Series Grand Pianos
The Kawai GX BLAK Performance Series instruments are among the finest grand pianos in the world. They are designed for the performing artist and the performance stage with enhancements in materials and design that allow the pianist to reach a higher level of personal artistry. One of those enhancements is NEOTEX™ key surfaces that absorb the hand’s natural perspiration to reduce slipping while practicing and performing. This added level of control is just one aspect of the GX BLAK Series that enhances the overall playing experience. One notable model in the GX Series, the 5’11” GX-2, received the prestigious “Product Excellence Award” (given annually to just 30 products in the entire global music product industry) from Music Inc. Magazine in 2017. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices on GX BLAK Series Performance Grands (as of June 2019) range from $39,495 to $85,195.
SK-EX Concert Grand Pianos
Our acclaimed 9-foot SK-EX concert grand piano stands at the pinnacle of the premier Shigeru Kawai Grand Piano line described at www.shigerukawai.com. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price on the SK-EX is $256,495.
The most accurate and updated pricing on all Kawai instruments can be obtained by visiting an authorized Kawai piano dealer in person. Click HERE to find the authorized Kawai piano dealer nearest you.
Baby Grand Pianos Cost
The term “baby grand” refers to smaller-sized grand pianos that typically range between 4’11” and 5’4” in length. The cost of a baby grand piano normally increases in direct proportion to its size (i.e. longer length equals higher price). But other factors such as special cabinet finishes or the type of wood used for the case can affect cost and sometimes make a smaller baby grand more expensive than a larger grand piano.
Kawai baby grands – the 5’0” GL-10 and the 5’2” GL-20 – are part of the award-winning GL Series line of grand pianos described in the Grand Piano section above. These models are available in a variety of finishes including Polished Ebony, Satin Ebony, Polished Snow White, Polished Mahogany, and Polished Brown Sapeli Mahogany. Their Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (as of June 2019) range from $16,295 to $25,395 depending on size and finish.
What is the Best Piano?
The piano that is best for you is the one that sounds and feels like your partner. When you play, it seems to understand exactly what you’re wanting to communicate – with its vast range of emotion and nuance – and has the innate ability to transform your cognitive intention into a musical reality that moves both you and your listener. In other words, the best piano responds to your will as though it was an extension of yourself. Such a piano is not easy to find. And a piano that can be “all things to all players” may be even more elusive. To help in your quest to find the perfect instrument, here are some things to keep in mind.
Because all players are different, the “best piano” for one person may be quite different from the best piano for another. If you’re a seasoned player, always listen to your own feelings and intuition first before heeding the advice of others. Ask yourself whether the piano speaks “to you” and “for you” in a personal way. If you are not yet the player you aspire to be, ask someone who is a “musical role model” to provide advice on the piano you’re considering.
Keep in mind that the “best piano” for playing Mozart may not be the best for playing Rachmaninoff. From this perspective, there may be no “perfect” instrument. Consider the type of music you will be playing most – and let that preference help to guide you.
The issue of affordability may also come into play. The “best piano” may be the one that comes closest to your “ideal” within realistic budget constraints. The path to your “dream piano” may include relationships with several instruments along the way. So, the phrase “best piano” might be interpreted as “best piano for this season of life” based on your budget.
Be careful not to be overly concerned about “brand.” People sometimes think that the most expensive piano must be “the best” – which is simply not true. Choose a piano that “fits” you, one that can be your best partner regardless of the brand and the cost.
Lastly, remember that all pianos change over time. The piano you “love” in one moment of time may not be the same piano in a couple of years. If you’re choosing between two or three instruments that all “speak to you” equally, the “best piano” may be one with the proven ability to maintain its tone, feel and character over time – not just in that moment. This may require “looking under the hood” to see how the different instruments are made – but that effort will be extremely valuable. Ultimately, your perfect piano may be the one with the greatest potential to stay “true to your heart” for years to come.
Find the perfect Kawai piano that best speaks to the type of piano player you are.
How Many Keys are on a Piano?
Most modern pianos have 88 keys – a number that was not standardized until the late 1800s. The predecessor of the piano, the harpsichord, had only 60 keys – equal to five “octaves” each containing 12 notes. For centuries, five octaves seemed sufficient for composers writing music suitable for that instrument. But the harpsichord had musical limitations. Because it “plucked” the strings (rather than “strike” them the way a piano does), the harpsichord offered little ability to adjust the volume of a note (through finger pressure) or increase the audible length of a note. These limitations frustrated composers who longed to create music with greater dynamic range and emotional intensity.
The piano was the solution to these issues. As its popularity increased, composers began to write more music for this emerging instrument. In their quest for more musical colors and tonal options, composers urged piano makers to create instruments with a wider range of notes. Pianos grew gradually to 85 keys (7 octaves) and eventually reached 88 keys. This became the de facto standard when piano makers and composers realized that any additional notes (above or below the established 88-note range) lacked the tonal clarity to make them useful for musical compositions.
There are some notable exceptions, however. Stuart and Sons offers a 9-octave, 108-key piano. Bösendorfer makes both a 92-key piano and an 8-octave 97-key piano. Since very little music is written for the additional keys, those notes are seldom played. But the makers of these instruments suggest that the extra bass strings add harmonic resonance that contributes to the instruments’ overall sound.
Other types of keyboard instruments feature varying numbers of keys. Inexpensive “portable keyboards” normally contain 61 notes. The smaller number of keys helps these instruments remain lightweight and portable. Because they are designed primarily for beginning players who start learning with the “center octaves,” 61-note portable keyboards are often purchased for the early learner. As the student’s skills improve, an upgrade to an 88-note instrument is universally recommended.
Digital Piano Keys
Digital pianos began to emerge in the 1950s. Most early digital instruments were designed for the professional player and ranged in size from the 64-key Wurlitzer Electronic Piano to the 73-key Fender Rhodes Stage Piano. By the 1960s, most makers were offering 88-key versions of their professional instruments. When many companies began to offer digital pianos for home use in the 1980s, early models ranged from 76 to 88 keys. By the mid-1990s, nearly all manufacturers were producing only 88-key digital pianos for the home.
White Piano Keys
On a standard 88-note keyboard, 52 of the keys are white (also known as “naturals”) and 36 are black (also known as “sharps”). A grouping of seven white keys and five black keys together make up the 12 notes called an octave. Each key is identified by its note name and the octave in which it resides. For example, the first “C” from the left is called C-1; the 2nd C is called C-2, and so on. Because the first few notes on the left side of a standard 7¼-octave keyboard (A, B-flat, and B) do not comprise a full octave, they are considered part of the “zero octave” and are called A-0, Bb-0 and B-0. The first full octave begins with C-1. Middle C, the most common reference point on a piano, is C-4. The rightmost note on the keyboard is the eighth C called C-8.
Black Piano Keys
One might wonder why there are black keys on a piano. From a technical standpoint, the black keys allow for consecutive “half-step” intervals as the player moves up the keyboard. The “chromatic scale” is built upon these half-step intervals. From a practical standpoint, black keys serve as “reference points” for the pianist. As visual markers, they allow a player to find the locations of notes on the keyboard. Chords and scales are easily identified by their positions with respect to the black notes. If no black notes existed (only naturals), it would be extremely difficult to identify where one scale starts and another begins.
Ivory Piano Keys
On a related topic, the key surfaces on early pianos were made from natural ivory. Ivory had two primary advantages for the player – (1) it had a slight texture that helped the fingers control the keys, and (2) its porous character absorbed moisture in the fingers to prevent slipping. But ivory had many negative attributes. It would “yellow,” crack and chip over time – and its use was unkind to wildlife. Laws protecting elephants made the use of ivory for piano keys illegal by the mid-1970s.
Piano makers turned to plastics to replace ivory key surfaces. But the desire among pianists for the texture and moisture-absorbing properties of ivory remained. In the 1990s, Kawai became one of two piano companies in the world to develop “synthetic ivory material” for key surfaces. Kawai’s proprietary NEOTEX™ key surfaces offer the understated texture of natural ivory and ebony, and a semi-porous surface to absorb the hand’s natural oils and perspiration. NEOTEX™ is found on selected Kawai grand and upright pianos.
Where are Kawai Pianos Made?
The origin of a Kawai piano depends upon its type. There are three distinct classifications of Kawai instruments – (1) Kawai traditional acoustic pianos that produce their own tone without an external energy source, (2) Kawai digital pianos that require electricity to operate, and (3) Kawai hybrid pianos that combine the best attributes of both acoustic and digital pianos and require electricity to function. Browse Kawai Pianos to determine which type of Kawai piano is ideal for you.
Where Are Kawai Grand Pianos Made?
With only two exceptions, all Kawai acoustic grand pianos are made in Kawai’s renowned Ryuyo Piano Factory located near Hamamatsu, Japan. The Ryuyo factory is one of the most advanced piano-building facilities of its kind. It combines the values of “old world craftsmanship” and “leading-edge technology” to create instruments of exceptional quality that provide the best of both worlds. The entire range of GX Series Performance Grands and three of the GL Series Professional Grands (GL-50, GL-40 and GL-30) are built at the Ryuyo facility. Only two Kawai grand piano models – the 5’ GL-10 and 5’2” GL-20 – are built at Kawai’s Karawan factory in Indonesia. The Karawan plant was designed to replicate perfectly the philosophy, culture and technologies of the famed Ryuyo Factory. Because these attributes of fine craftsmanship have been successfully reproduced at Karawan, the Kawai GL-10 and GL-20 have become two of the best-selling grand pianos in the world. (Note: GL-20 grands were produced at the Ryuyo Factory in Japan until the spring of 2019.)
Where Are Kawai Upright Pianos Made?
The majority of Kawai’s line of K Series Professional Upright Pianos – the K-800, K-600, K-500, K-400 and K-300 – are crafted in the Ryuyo Piano Factory in Japan. Among the K Series instruments, only the 45” K-200 is built at the Karawan plant in Indonesia. All other Kawai upright pianos (the ST-1 and 506N Institutional Pianos, the 508 and 608 Designer Pianos, and the K-15 continental-style upright) are built at the Karawan facility.
Where Are Kawai Digital Pianos Made?
All Kawai digital pianos are made in Kawai’s digital piano factory which is also located in the Karawan region of Indonesia. This includes the CA Series, CS Series, CN Series, ES Series, MP Series, CE Series, and KDP Series digital pianos and the VPC1 Virtual Piano Controller.
Where Are Kawai Hybrid Pianos Made?
There are two types of Kawai Hybrid Pianos: (1) Acoustic Hybrids – instruments built as traditional acoustic pianos with digital piano attributes (e.g. digital sounds and features) and (2) Digital Hybrids – instruments built as digital pianos with added acoustic piano attributes (e.g. wooden soundboards or acoustic piano keys or actions).
Because Kawai Acoustic Hybrids begin as traditional acoustic pianos, they are built in the location where their acoustic piano counterparts are made. For example, the standard K-300 upright and GL-30 grand pianos are built in the Ryuyo Factory in Japan – therefore, their hybrid counterparts (K-300 AURES and GL30-ATX2) are also built in the Ryuyo Factory. Because the K-200 professional upright piano is built in the Karawan Factory in Indonesia, its hybrid counterpart, the K200-ATX3, is also built at the Karawan facility.
There are three Kawai Digital Hybrids – the NOVUS NV10 (with the Millennium III Hybrid Action) and the CA98 and CS11 (both featuring wooden soundboards at the heart of their exclusive Soundboard Speaker System). Like all Kawai digital pianos, these hybrid models are built at Kawai’s Karawan Factory in Indonesia.
How much do Kawai Grand Pianos Weigh?
Kawai’s grand pianos range from 5’5” to 9’0” in length, with grand piano weights ranging from nearly 700 pounds to over 1100 pounds. Due to their considerable size and weight, we strongly recommend hiring professional movers to transport or relocate pianos in this size range. Using professionals can avoid injury to yourself or damage to the instrument.
Kawai offers two 5’5“ Classic Grands, the GL-30 Grand Piano (688 pounds) and the GX-1 Grand Piano (692 pounds). Our 5’11” Classic Salon Grands, the GL-40 Grand Piano and GX-2 Grand Piano, both weigh 714 pounds. The 6’2” Kawai Conservatory Grands, the GL-50 and GX-3, both weigh 736 pounds.
Only the Kawai GX BLAK Performance Series offers grand pianos in larger sizes than those described above. The 6’7” GX-5 Chamber Grand weighs 774 pounds. The 7’0” GX-6 Orchestra Grand weighs 842 pounds. The 7’6” GX-7 Semi-Concert Grand weighs 880 pounds.
The largest Kawai grand piano is the regal 9’0” EX Concert Grand that weighs 1103 pounds. Only one other Kawai grand rivals the EX in terms of weight. The 6’1” CR-40 Crystal Grand, with its striking outer cabinet made of clear acrylic material, weighs 935 pounds.
How much does a Digital Piano Cost?
There are several types of Kawai digital pianos that cover the spectrum from home console pianos to portable digital pianos, professional stage pianos and our unique virtual piano controller.
Console Style Digital Pianos
The industry-leading NOVUS NV10 is a console-style digital hybrid piano that stands at the pinnacle of our digital piano line. With outstanding tone and a piano action that mirrors the design and technology of actions found in our world-renowned grand pianos, the NV10 provides an amazingly natural piano playing experience that is unparalleled in the digital piano category. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price on the NOVUS NV10 (as of June 2019) is $15,999.
The Concert Artist (CA) Series line of Kawai digital pianos is composed of four console-style models – the CA98, CA79, CA58 and CA48. All models feature our celebrated wooden key actions that faithfully reproduce the authentic “feel” and motion of a grand piano action. The top model in the CA Series – the multi-award-winning CA98 digital hybrid – also features our proprietary “Twin Drive” Speaker System with a wooden soundboard activated by transducers designed by Onkyo. The CA Series digitals have Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (as of June 2019) ranging from $2,499 to $7,699.
The strikingly beautiful CS11 digital hybrid piano is the internal equivalent of a CA98 housed within the same stunning cabinet used for our K-200 Professional Upright. For those who desire the class-leading features of the CA98 in an attractive cabinet that adds cultural ambiance to the home (in Polished Ebony or Polished Snow White), the CS11 is an outstanding choice. Its Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices range from $8499 to $8999 depending on choice of finish.
The Kawai CN Series is extremely popular among those who need outstanding digital piano performance at a moderate price range. The CN Series instruments (CN27 and CN37, and their predecessors) have won MMR Magazine’s “Home Digital Keyboard Product of the Year” and Music Inc. Magazine’s “Product Excellence Award” multiple times. Their Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices range from $2,299 to $3,399 (as of June 2019) depending upon model and finish. CN37 is available in Premium Rosewood, Premium Satin White and Premium Satin Black.
Portable Digital Pianos
Kawai portable digital pianos – the ES110 and ES8 – are made for easy transport on the road or within in the home. They are the leaders in tone quality within their respective classes, both featuring our unique Harmonic Imaging sound technology with 88-note sampling. They also offer optional stands and pedal assemblies that allow them to be converted into console-style instruments when they remain in one place over an extended period. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price on the ES110 is $999, while the MSRP on the ES8 is $2199.
Professional Stage Pianos
Our two professional stage pianos – the MP7SE and MP11SE – were selected “Pro Digital Keyboard Line of the Year” by MMR Magazine in 2018. They are road-worthy instruments that provide optimum tone and touch for any professional performer. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (as of June 2019) on the MP7SE is $2199, while the MP11SE with its wooden key “Grand Feel” action has an MSRP of $3299.
Virtual Piano Controller
The unique VPC1 Virtual Piano Controller is the finest instrument in its class with its magnificent wooden-key, graded hammer action with counterbalancing. It was made specifically for the MIDI professional who wants and needs the best keyboard touch possible in digital controller for the studio. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price on the VPC-1 is $2149.
How much does a Upright Piano Cost?
Kawai upright pianos are divided into four different categories – K Series Professional Uprights, Designer Series Furniture-Style pianos, Institutional Uprights, and our entry-level K-15 Continental-style upright.
K Series Professional Upright Pianos
Kawai K Series Professional Upright Pianos continue to be among the world’s most popular upright pianos. K Series Instruments have been selected “Acoustic Piano of the Year” by the readers of MMR Magazine four times over the past 12 years. They range from the 45” K-200 to the 53” K-800 and feature the revolutionary Millennium III Upright Action with Carbon Fiber Composites that provides a long-term consistency of touch and tone that far exceeds all comparable instruments. K Series Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (as of June 2019) range from $7,995 to $24,995.
Designer Series Upright Pianos
Kawai Designer Series furniture-style uprights are known for their impressive beauty and style that add cultural elegance and ambiance to any room. The 508 and 607 models are available in striking mahogany and cherry finishes with Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices ranging from $6,695 to $7,995.
Institutional Upright Pianos
The 46” ST-1 Institutional Upright Piano is one of the finest institutional pianos ever built. Like the K Series Professional Uprights, it features the exclusive Millennium III Upright Action for superb touch and consistency of tone. But its exceptional combination of sturdy construction, intelligent design (including a 47” raised music desk and Soft-Fall fallboard closing system) and graceful beauty in four classic finishes allows it to stand out prominently among its peers. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price on the ST-1 (as of June 2019) is $8,695.
Continental Style Upright Pianos
The K-15 Continental-Style Upright is an excellent introduction to Kawai upright piano quality. The “continental” design features a simple, sleek cabinet with clean lines. The K-15 produces a rich, clear tone and performance that rivals larger uprights. Available in three different finishes (Polished Ebony, Polished Mahogany and Polished Snow White), the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price on the K-15 ranges from $5,895 to $6.195.
How much do Kawai Hybrid Pianos Weigh?
Hybrid pianos are instruments that combine the attributes of acoustic and digital pianos. Kawai offers Acoustic Hybrids (acoustic pianos with digital elements) and Digital Hybrids (digital pianos with acoustic elements).
Kawai offers three Acoustic Hybrids called “AnyTime Pianos” – the K200-ATX3 (459 pounds), the K300 AURES (515 pounds), and the GL30-ATX2 (688 pounds). Although these are fully acoustic pianos, they offer the “digital” ability to play with headphones and avoid disturbing others. The K200-ATX3 and GL30-ATX2 are the same weight as their acoustic piano counterparts. However, the K300 AURES (at 515 pounds) is slightly heavier than the standard K-300 Professional Upright due the transducers that power its innovative Hybrid Soundboard technology.
Kawai Digital Hybrids – the CA98 (197 pounds), CS11 (218 pounds) and NOVUS NV10 (218 pounds) – are fully digital with acoustic elements. Their acoustic attributes (wooden soundboards on the CA98 and CS11, and Millennium III Hybrid Action on the NV10) are part of their design. So, they have no counterparts for comparison.
What is the Significance of “K. Kawai” on Kawai Pianos?
Over the years, many people have wondered why some Kawai pianos say “K. KAWAI” on the fallboard while others say only “KAWAI.” The “K.” in “K. KAWAI” stands for “Koichi,” the first name of Kawai founder and genius inventor Koichi Kawai. Koichi Kawai was the son of a wagon maker who had an immense talent for innovative design. Having entered the piano business as a young apprentice for Torakasu Yamaha (of the Yamaha company) in the early 1900s, Koichi Kawai led the research and development team that introduced pianos to Japan – and later became the first to design and build a complete piano action in Japan, receiving many patents for his designs and inventions. He established the Kawai Musical Instrument Research Laboratory in 1927.
There is no difference in product quality between Kawai instruments labeled “K. KAWAI” or “KAWAI.” The difference is the “type” of instrument on which these logos are found. The “K. KAWAI” brand logo is used only for Kawai grand pianos. The logo “KAWAI” (without the initial “K.”) appears on the fallboard of all Kawai upright and digital pianos. Why? When the company first began, Koichi Kawai announced to his staff, “I want to put K. KAWAI on grand pianos and KAWAI on the uprights.” That was his preference from the beginning. His wishes have been honored for over 90 years.
How to Measure a Grand Piano?
The various sizes of grand pianos are described by their length. This measurement allows the player or purchaser to distinguish the exact size difference between one instrument and another. It is often difficult to discern visually the difference between a 5’11” and 6’2” grand piano – but identifying the 3-inch size differential can help to explain the tonal difference between the two instruments. Knowing the exact length also helps purchasers know whether an instrument will fit into a particular room or space.
To measure a grand piano, close the lid completely. Then, measure the distance from the front edge of the piano in front of the keys to the back edge of the lid. According to industry practice, that measurement is “rounded up” to the nearest inch. This rounding practice ensures that a piano is never described with a measurement shorter than its actual length, which could cause problems for those trying to fit a piano into a very tight space.
Note that the space required for the piano bench is never included in a piano measurement. Therefore, always include an additional 24-36 inches (beyond the piano’s stated length) to provide enough room for the player and bench. Having the full 36 additional inches will make it easier for a technician to remove the piano action for service.
Where is the Model Number on a Kawai Piano?
The location of the model name/number on a Kawai piano varies by type of instrument:
- For Kawai grand pianos, the model number can be found on the iron plate under the music desk on the right side of the instrument (near the tuning pins). You may have to “slide out” the music desk to see it. The instrument’s serial number will also be in this location.
- For Kawai upright pianos, the model name/number is located on the top right side of the iron plate (near the tuning pins). You can normally find it by lifting the piano lid. This also applies to Kawai acoustic hybrid pianos, the K200- ATX3 and K300 AURES. The instrument’s serial number will usually be seen to the left of the model number.
- For Kawai “console” digital pianos (KDP, CN, CA, CS, and CP Series), the model name/number is printed in small letters on either of the side panels next to the keys.
- For Kawai ES Series portable digital pianos, the model name/number is printed on the left side of the case just above the keys.
- For the MP Series Professional Stage Pianos, the model name/number is located on the right side of the case just above the keys and also on the back of the instrument.
- The model name of the VPC1 Virtual Piano Controller is displayed on the back of the instrument only.
- The NOVUS NV10 Hybrid Piano model name can be seen in the color display when the instrument is first turned on. Emulating the design concept of the Kawai acoustic pianos mentioned above, the NV10 model name is not printed anywhere on the cabinet.
How to Arrange a Grand Piano in a Room?
The placement of a grand piano in a room is an important part of caring for the piano. Correct placement can help achieve the best performance, the best possible sound and the longest life of the instrument. For that reason, placement is a serious topic that should be carefully considered with your piano technician.
Grand pianos have the best placement within a room when the long straight side (opposite the curved side) is placed near to and parallel with an inner wall – away from direct sunlight, windows, fireplaces and air vents.
- Avoiding direct sunlight helps to keep the finish from fading, the soundboard from becoming cracked and the glue joints from being weakened. Even a few hours of direct sunlight each day will affect tuning stability and may cause significant cosmetic and other operational problems for a piano.
- Avoiding windows, fireplaces and air vents reduces the airflow that causes changes in temperature and humidity. These environmental fluctuations negatively affect tuning stability and lead to poor mechanical performance of the piano action. Wooden action parts are particularly vulnerable to humidity fluctuation which makes them shrink and swell – a serious problem that produces instability in the action and negatively affects the piano’s touch and tone.
- Having the “long straight side” against a wall allows the piano’s sound to reflect off the wall and project into the room for greater fullness of tone.
- This placement allows the pianist to “look into” the room, rather than face a wall. Unless the player prefers the “enclosed feeling” of a wall view, the ability to look into the room can help the pianist feel more connected with listeners, the piano’s environment and the natural reverberations of the space.
- Since every acoustic situation is different, one could also experiment with other types of piano placement to maximize piano tone, including one that places the piano diagonally across the corner of a room with the straight side at a 45° angle to the walls. In this scenario, the straight side and the two walls form a triangle so that the lid opens toward the opposite corner of the room. This type of placement can create a pleasing balance of tone depending on the acoustic properties of the room. However, it requires much more floor space than some rooms will allow. It can also require some experimentation to determine whether adjustments in piano angle and distance from the corner of the room can further optimize tone quality. This placement, like the suggested one above, should still avoid direct sunlight, windows, fireplaces and air vents for the reasons cited.
Some rooms may not allow for ideal grand piano placement. They may have windows on too many walls or air vents pointing toward the only “non-windowed” walls. In such cases, a piano owner should consider investing in options such as a piano cover or a climate control system to protect the instrument. UV-ray and heat-blocking window covers, drapes or blackout curtains can also help make the best of challenging situations. As a general rule, be sure to take all necessary precautions to place your piano in an optimal and sustainable environment. This will help to ensure that you enjoy your piano for many years to come.
What does Kawai Mean?
“Kawai” is a family name. It is the surname of master piano builder Koichi Kawai, who was in his young teens when he first entered the piano industry in the early 1900s as the apprentice of Torakasu Yamaha (during the early years of the Yamaha company). The ensuing years revealed Koichi Kawai’s genius for design and innovation. Koichi led the research and development team that introduced pianos to Japan – and later became the first to design and build a complete piano action in Japan, receiving many patents for his designs and inventions. When it became clear in the 1920s that the Yamaha company was widening its interests to build other non-musical products, Koichi Kawai left to focus on his own dream of building the world’s finest piano. He and seven kindred colleagues established the Kawai Musical Instrument Research Laboratory in Hamamatsu, Japan in 1927.
The early years were challenging for the fledgling company as it endured continual shortages of qualified craftsmen and the scarcity of quality materials. But the determined company prospered. By the early 1950s. Kawai had grown to over 500 people producing over 1500 pianos per year – and Koichi Kawai had received the prestigious “Blue Ribbon Medal” from the Emperor of Japan, becoming the first person in the musical instrument industry to receive such an honor.
When Koichi Kawai died in 1955, his son, Shigeru Kawai, assumed leadership at the young age of 33. Shigeru Kawai devoted over 50 years of his life to the art of the piano. In 1989, Hirotaka Kawai (the grandson of the founder) was appointed president and led the company together with his father, Shigeru Kawai, who served as CEO. After Shigeru Kawai died in 2006, Hirotaka Kawai assumed full leadership as President and CEO of the Kawai Musical Instrument Manufacturing Company, a role he continues to fulfill today.
What is a Kawai Piano?
A Kawai Piano is a piano designed and built by Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing, a company based in Hamamatsu, Japan. Established in 1927 by genius inventor and master craftsman Koichi Kawai, the company is known for producing many of the finest acoustic grand pianos, acoustic upright pianos, digital pianos and hybrid pianos in the world.
Kawai Grand Pianos
Kawai acoustic grand pianos are known for their warm, rich tone and their ability to produce “pianissimo” (soft) tonal character with greater ease than other instruments. They are regarded as the most advanced acoustic instruments in the world having embraced modern materials and technologies in the design process. Kawai’s revolutionary Millennium III Grand Action utilizes carbon fiber and other composite materials that are stronger and more stable than conventional wooden action parts. This allows the Millennium III Action to provide a playing experience that is more stable and consistent over time than any other pianos.
Kawai Upright Piano
Kawai acoustic upright pianos are respected for their rich tonal presence and playing consistency. Kawai upright pianos are divided into several categories – Professional Uprights (the K Series), Institutional Uprights (ST-1 and 506), Designer Consoles (607 and 508) and AnyTime Pianos (K300 Aures and K200-ATX3). The K Series Professional Uprights and the ST-1 Institutional Piano feature the Millennium III Upright Action with carbon fiber composites that provides the same stability of tone and touch over time as Kawai grand pianos.
Kawai Digital Pianos
The term “Kawai Piano” can also describe Kawai digital pianos that cover a wide range of electronic instruments from home-style console instruments (the CA, CS, CN and KDP Series and NOVUS NV10), to portable digital pianos (the ES Series), professional stage pianos (the MP Series) and virtual piano controllers (VPC1). Kawai digitals are best known for their outstanding tone and superb touch that distinguishes them from any other digital pianos on the market. While digital pianos as a category may never match the infinite range of tonal expression and control offered by acoustic pianos, they do have some valuable advantages over acoustic pianos. In particular, digital pianos offer a wide selection of instrumental sounds, never need tuning and can be played with privacy through headphones. There is a Kawai digital piano that will meet the needs of every player at every level of experience. One must play them in person to fully understand why they are among the most popular digital instruments in the world.
Kawai Hybrid Pianos
Kawai hybrid pianos are instruments that combine the best qualities of acoustic and digital pianos into a single instrument. Kawai “acoustic” hybrids are instruments built as traditional acoustic pianos with the addition of digital piano attributes (e.g. digital sounds and features). Kawai “digital” hybrids are electronic instruments that incorporate “acoustic” features which help to reproduce the tonal and tactile experience of playing a traditional acoustic piano (e.g. wooden soundboards, wooden keys and genuine acoustic piano actions).
Explore the full range of instruments collectively described as “Kawai Pianos.”
How much do Kawai Baby Grand Pianos Weigh?
In general, baby grand pianos can weigh between 500 and 700 pounds and can measure from 4’6” to 5’4” long. While the historical size range for a baby grand goes as low as 4’6”, there are very few baby grands built smaller than 4’11” today. And while some online technical resources state that baby grands can be as long 6-feet, Kawai uses 5’4” as the upper limit for baby grands. Kawai’s two baby grands are the 5’0” GL-10 Grand Piano (622 pounds) and the 5’2” GL-20 Grand Piano (661 pounds). Although these are smaller grand pianos, they are still quite heavy. One should assess the risks carefully before trying to move or lift any baby grand piano without professional assistance.
How much do Kawai Digital Pianos Weigh?
The weight of a Kawai digital piano depends on its type. There are several types of Kawai digital pianos that cover the spectrum from home console pianos to portable digital pianos, professional stage pianos and our unique virtual piano controller. Portable digital pianos are known for their mobility and designed to be much lighter than console pianos that normally stay in one place.
At 279 pounds, the industry-leading NOVUS NV10 digital hybrid piano is the heaviest Kawai digital instrument. The lightest is our portable ES110 at 27 pounds. In between is a wide selection of well-designed instruments that can meet the specific needs of players at every level of ability.
Our award-winning CA Concert Artist Series console digital pianos range in weight from the CA48 at 125 pounds to the CA98 at 187 pounds. The best-in-class CN Series consoles range from 95 to 119 pounds. Other digital consoles range from the petite KDP110 at 86 pounds to the beautiful CS11 “Classic Series” console at 218 pounds.
Portable digitals range from the aforementioned ES110 at 27 pounds to the professional-quality ES8 at 49 pounds. Our line of award-winning professional stage pianos includes the MP7SE (46 pounds) and the MP11SE with wooden-key action at 72 pounds. The distinctive Kawai VPC-1 Virtual Piano Controller weighs 65 pounds.
How much do Kawai Upright Pianos Weigh?
In general, the weights of upright pianos range between 400 and 650 pounds. The weight of a Kawai upright piano is dependent upon several factors including its height, depth, and primary purpose. The information below will explain why some instruments are heavier than others.
Kawai uprights designed for professional use typically have longer scale designs that provide richer tone and more powerful bass response. The use of these longer scale designs makes many professional uprights taller (up to 53”) and, therefore, heavier than other upright pianos.
Kawai uprights built for rigorous institutional use have specific components (e.g. back posts, toe block, side panels) that are designed with larger dimensions for greater strength and rigidity to maintain stable tuning amid frequent moves. These larger components add to the weight of institutional pianos.
Many Kawai uprights are also designed with greater depth (from front to back) to accommodate longer key lengths. Longer keys provide more consistent touch response from the front to the back of the playing surface for better control and more accurate touch. This added depth can also affect the instrument’s overall weight.
Kawai upright pianos range in weight from the 44” (height) Model 506 upright at 424 pounds to the tallest 53” K-800 Professional Upright at 626 pounds. The K Series Professional Uprights range from the 45” K-200 at 459 pounds to the aforementioned K-800 at 626 pounds. The 46” ST-1 Institutional Piano weighs 520 pounds.
How much does a Hybrid Piano Cost?
Hybrid pianos combine the attributes of both acoustic and digital pianos in a single instrument. Kawai offers two distinct types of hybrids: Acoustic Hybrids (fully acoustic pianos with added digital piano elements) and Digital Hybrids (digital pianos with added acoustic elements for authenticity of touch or tone).
There are three Kawai Acoustic Hybrids called “AnyTime Pianos.” The K200-ATX3, K300 AURES and GL30-ATX2 are all fully acoustic pianos that offer the digital ability to play with headphones to avoid disturbing others (allowing them to be played “AnyTime”) and utilize digital sounds and features that expand the instruments’ capabilities. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices on Kawai AnyTime Pianos range from $12,495 to $32,295.
Kawai Digital Hybrids – the CA98, CS11 and NOVUS NV10 – are fully digital instruments with acoustic elements for greater authenticity of tone or touch. The NV10 has a piano action that is nearly identical to those found in our world-renowned grand pianos to provide an amazingly natural piano touch. The CA98 and CS11 hybrids offer exceptional tone made possible by our proprietary “Twin Drive” Speaker System with a wooden soundboard activated by transducers designed by Onkyo. Kawai hybrids have Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (as of June 2019) ranging from $6,699 to $15,999.
The most accurate and updated pricing on all Kawai instruments can be obtained by visiting an authorized Kawai piano dealer in person. Click HERE to find the authorized Kawai piano dealer nearest you.