Kawai pianos was founded in in 1927. It is the second largest piano manufacturer in Japan. Kawai is reputed for its quality and innovation.
In Singapore, Kawai is the main competitor of Yamaha pianos and offers choice in this similar price range. It is sold by Robert Piano Co. Many teachers find Kawai to have a sweeter tone than Yamaha pianos of the same range though I find that after-sales service at Yamaha generally is excellent and difficult to match.
1. ABS Styran plastic
Kawai is known for using ABS Styran plastic in the action components of their pianos. ABS Styran plastic is not affected by humidity changes and is stronger than wood used in other brands. Hence, its pianos are more likely to maintain good regulation. Regulation refers to the action of the piano, the mechanics of striking a key.
2. Millenium III action
In the Millenium III action found in some models, the ABS Styran plastic is strengthened with carbon so that it is stronger and lighter. This makes the action of the piano more responsive to the pianist.
3. Variable-touch piano
Kawai invented a variable-touch piano. It is useful for practicing purposes to build finger strength using lighter or heavier keys when required. A sliding lever allows the touchweight of the keys to be varied between 48 to 70 grams. Usually, the touchweight is 56 grams.
Piano technicians think highly of the quality of the Kawai make. Based on Larry Fine's survey conducted in the US, most Kawais do not require any post-sales service besides tuning. The service if required is usually limited to the occasional buzz or squeak. In general, the tone is versatile musically and the touch is very good.
To read more from Larry Fine's book, click here.
I tried a Kawai recently and was surprised at the tone quality. A medium upright had quite a beautiful tone. Years ago, the Kawai did not sound like that at all. It was not something I would have taken note of. I have come across the occasional squeaky or loud key in a Kawai but that said, it can be corrected easily with the help of a good technician.
Kawai in Singapore
Kawai has been sold by Robert Piano Co. as long as I know. I have heard mixed reviews on the after-sales service and would appreciate those with direct piano-buying experience to share your experience below.
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