The GL-40 occupies an important spot in Kawai’s lineup, as the less expensive, utility version of their hugely popular GX-2. Despite the lower price point, the GL-40 incorporates many of the same premium features found in the GX-2, such as extended length keysticks for superior touch control, full perimeter rim design, and of course, Kawai’s now-legendary Millennium III Carbon Fiber action. At 5’11”, this Japanese-built, classic grand is a true institutional quality instrument, available for the price of an instrument traditionally meant only for home use.
The Kawai GL-40 Grand Piano was introduced to the piano world along with the full lineup of the GL Series Grand Pianos in the mid-2010s. Like the RX series before it, the GL series was instantly met with fanfare and positive reviews, leading to huge worldwide popularity.
The GL40 boasts many modern and upgrades features including Kawai’s Exclusive Millennium III Action with abs-carbon technology (now on every Kawai grand piano), extended length keysticks (back of each key feels equal to the front of the key), and concert-length key buttons (this means maximum energy transfer).
Some other special features that Kawai’s that you’ll be hard-pressed to find in other pianos in this price category include solid brass agraffes for optimized string spacing, dual duplex scaling for enhanced harmonics, plus an 11-ply multi-grip pin block for better tuning stability than the Kawai’s of the past.
Probably the biggest revelation with the GL series was the inclusion of the Millennium III Action with carbon fiber reinforced ABS. While this action started exclusive to the handmade Shigeru Kawai instruments, it can now be found all throughout Kawai’s lineup, including the Kawai GL-40, along with many of their upright pianos, and even a few select digital pianos. This is a high-end action that will satisfy accomplished pianists.
This piano action has revolutionized the entire industry and is one of the very few actions that has made the jump to abs-carbon composites from wood. Longer key sticks and concert-length key buttons make this 6 foot piano feel a lot closer to a full 9-foot concert grand.
Kawai’s also upped their game by including multi-laminated keybeds, resulting in optimum energy transfer, strengthening the connection between musician and piano.
The GL40 also uses a steel-reinforced key slip to prevent warping over time. This type of myopic attention to detail is clearly emblematic of the overall craftsmanship applied here.
The Millennium III action inside the GL-40 features the same scale, geometry, and design as in Kawai’s other 5’11” grand pianos – the GX-2 and the hand-made Shigeru Kawai SK2, which puts the touch of the GL-40 at the very top of its instrument class by a wide margin!
The Kawai GL-40 has a deep, dark tone that expresses a wide range of harmonics, with greater bass resonance than many similar-sized instruments in the class. There is also a great sense of clarity in the GL40s sound, and its tonal presence fills both homes and studios.
Some critical contributing features include extra long strings in the bass register, solid spruce precision tapered soundboards, double felted maple hammers, and not to mention a robust Matoa cabinet to ensure the piano continues to perform at a high level for decades.
Duplex scaling is also present here, which brings out more of the treble and improves the brilliance of the tone.
The sound of Kawai’s GL-40 is super versatile for a piano of its class and has found a home in a wide variety of musical settings. If you enjoyed the tone of the RX-2, then you’ll love the GL-40!
Kawai is proud to be among a very exclusive group of manufacturers who still make their own hammers. The GL40 uses double felted maple hammers, which are then stapled in a T pattern to ensure optimum strength.
Kawai takes great pride in their soundboards, and the GL40 speaks to this with a AA solid Sitka spruce soundboard. The soundboard is also tapered to improve its acoustic properties, which is quite remarkable for the price point considering the fact that many manufacturer’s only taper the soundboards of the pianos in their absolute top quality lines.
Another nice trickle-down feature from the GX series is the presence of a hardwood rim. While the GL-40 does not have a multi-laminated rim of differing hardwoods like the GX2, it does nonetheless feature a hardwood rim of Matoa, another rarity for a price point filled with softwood rims.
The GL40 also boasts Kawai’s Stretcher Over-Lap Integrated Design (SOLID), which essentially means that the stretcher bar and pinblock are conjoined and fastened to the rim as a singular piece. The ‘double width stretcher bar’ is as the name would suggest, double wide for max strength.
The Kawai GL40 has additional cabinet and case upgrades including their V-Pro Plate with Crossbone design (vacuum molded for extra strength) soft fall fallboard, triple backposts, multiple lid props, and large casters as well as a music rack with a total of 5 distinct positions.
|Size||Length||5''11" (180 cm)|
|Width||60" (152 cm)|
|Height||40" (102 cm)|
|Weight||714 lbs. (324 kg)|
|Touch||White Key Surfaces||Acrylic|
|Black Key Surfaces||Phenol|
|Action||Millennium III Action with Carbon Fiber|
|Sound||Soundboard||Solid Spruce, Tapered|
|Duplex Scaling||Fore & Back|
|Exterior Design||Pedals||Damper, Sostenuto, Soft|
|Fallboard||"Soft Fall" Closing System|
|Music Rack||Position||5 Positions|
|Other Features||Stretcher Over-Lap Integrated Design (SOLID)|
|Steel-Reinforced Keyslip & Keybed|