Piano Brands Of The World:
HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
To trace the history of Kawai, one must look roughly 20 years into the past before Kawai’s 1927 founding, to a fateful day when a struggling Japanese organ builder, Torakusu Yamaha, met a very young Koichi Kawai – a child prodigy in engineering. This day marked the beginning of a partnership that would forever change the shape of piano manufacturing. Koichi Kawai would go on to head Yamaha’s R&D department and become the first person in Japan’s history to design and build a complete piano action. After the death of Torakusu Yamaha and the onset of new management in 1927, Koichi Kawai and seven like-minded individuals set out on their own, forming the Kawai Musical Instrument Research Laboratory with a singular goal in mind – to one day build the world’s finest piano.
Fast forward 90 years, and Kawai is one of the largest piano manufacturers in the world today. Still a family run business under third-generation ownership, Kawai is widely regarded as one of the most innovative piano manufacturers today. Chief among Kawai’s innovations is undoubtedly their pioneering of composite action parts to replace more traditional wooden action parts.
Wooden action parts have been problematic for piano manufacturers since the birth of the piano, as wood is prone to swelling and shrinking with humidity fluctuations, which can result in frequent maintenance requirements. Kawai’s use of ABS Styran plastic in place of wood greatly reduces this problem, and Kawai’s current generation action, Millennium III, available in all grand piano and most upright models are now reinforced with carbon fiber, resulting in an action that is 10x stronger than wood. Carbon fiber is also lighter than wood which has the potential to speed the action up and offer greater responsiveness to the player. Although the piano industry as a whole was initially resistant to such a fundamental change in design and manufacturing, and Kawai was heavily criticized, Kawai has since been vindicated, as the superiority of composite action parts is widely accepted today.
Kawai makes several sizes of upright pianos, assembling their lower-priced options in Indonesia, and several sizes of grand pianos in 3 differing lines of quality (*See Shigeru Kawai profile for more information).
Popular Indonesian assembled uprights include the K-15 (44”), ND-21 (48”, a reissue of the famous K-25 model), and the smallest K series model, the K-200 (46”). The remaining K series uprights starting with the K-300 are completely built and assembled in Japan.
Some of the K series most notable features include Millenium III action (carbon fiber), extended length keysticks (greater control, closer to a grand piano action in feel), tapered solid sikta spruce soundboard, extended bass strings, and mahogany hammer mouldings. Since its release in 2014, the K-300 has extended the legacy of its predecessor the K-3 as one of the most popular upright pianos in Canada, garnering extensive recognition and numerous industry accolades.
The GL and GX series grands represent Kawai’s production version grand pianos. All models with the exception of the 5’0 GL-10, are entirely manufactured in Japan. The GL line features 5 sizes of grand pianos from 5’0 to 6’2”, whereas the 6 GX grand offerings start at 5’5” with the GX-1, and proceed up to the GX-7 at 7’6”. The GX line, which is the recent upgrade to the RX line, is essentially the premium version of the GL line, though the two lines share several important design features. Some of the notable overlaps include Millenium III action, extended length keysticks, duplex scale (excluding GL-10), and a stretcher overlap frame (increased tuning stability). This trickle-down effect of design features led to the GL line being named the 2016 product of the year in MMR magazine – the first time an acoustic piano has ever won the award.
The most meaningful differences between the GL and GX lines can be found in the rim and bridge designs. The GX rims feature alternating layers of open and closed pour maple and mahogany hardwoods for better tonal projection and sustain, whereas the GL line features a single variety hardwood rim. With regards to the bridge, the GX line features a vertically laminated bridge with cap, as opposed to the solid capless bridges of the GL line.
Renowned for their high build quality, innovative design, and warm sound, Kawai pianos should be strongly considered by those seeking a professional instrument for a fraction of the price of a European alternative.
KAWAI ACOUSTIC PIANOS
KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS
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KAWAI MODELS & PRICE
|607||44.5″||French Renaissance Satin Cherry||$7,495|
|Queen Anne Satin Mahogany||$7,495|
|K-200||45″||Satin and Polished Ebony||$7,495|
|Satin and Polished Mahogany||$8,195|
|K-200NKL||45″||Satin and Polished Ebony with Nickel Trim||$7,895|
|K-200 ATX-CA||45″||Polished Ebony w/CA Sound||$11,695|
|907N||46.5″||English Regency Satin Mahogany||$10,695|
|French Provincial Satin Cherry||$10,695|
|K-300||48″||Satin and Polished Ebony||$11,195|
|Satin and Polished Mahogany||$11,995|
|Polished Snow White||$12,195|
|K-300NKL||48″||Satin and Polished Ebony with Nickel Trim||$11,595|
|K-300 ATX-SS||48″||Polished Ebony w/Soundboard Speaker||$16,495|
|K-400NKL||48″||Polished Ebony with Nickel Trim||$12,195|
|K-500||51″||Satin and Polished Ebony||$14,695|
|Polished Sapele Mahogany||$16,495|
|GL-10||5′||Satin and Polished Ebony||$15,095|
|Polished Ebony with Nickel Trim||$15,995|
|Polished Mahogany/Snow White||$16,795|
|French Provincial Polished Mahogany||$17,895|
|GL-20||5’2″||Satin and Polished Ebony||$20,395|
|Polished Sapele Mahogany||$23,895|
|Polished Snow White||$22,895|
|GL-30||5’5″||Satin and Polished Ebony||$27,295|
|Polished Sapele Mahogany||$32,895|
|Satin Dark Walnut||$32,895|
|Polished Snow White||$31,595|
|GL-30 ATX-SS||5’5″||Polished Ebony w/Soundboard Speaker||$30,195|
|GX-1 BLK||5’5″||Satin and Polished Ebony||$36,695|
|Polished Dark Walnut||$42,995|
|GL-40||5’11”||Satin and Polished Ebony||$32,295|
|Polished Sapele Mahogany||$38,095|
|Satin Dark Walnut||$38,095|
|GX-2 BLK||5’11”||Satin and Polished Ebony||$42,495|
|Polished Walnut/Sapeli Mahogany||$48,995|
|Polished Snow White||$45,195|
|CR40-PL||6’1″||Plexiglass Crystal Piano||$231,495|
|GX-3 BLK||6’2″||Satin and Polished Ebony||$54,495|
|GX-5 BLK||6’7″||Satin and Polished Ebony||$61,695|
|GX-6 BLK||7′||Satin and Polished Ebony||$69,195|
|GX-7 BLK||7’6″||Satin and Polished Ebony||$80,195|
|SHIGERU KAWAI GRANDS|
|Polished Sapele Mahogany||$73,800|
|Polished Sapele Mahogany||$85,800|
|Polished Pyramid Mahogany||$99,500|
KAWAI PIANO SERIAL NUMBERS
|DATE OF MANUFACTURE||SERIAL NUMBER|
|KX MODELS CANADIAN PRODUCTION|
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