Kawai KG3E by tomvette
Kawai and Yamaha are by far the 2 largest Japanese piano manufacturers. For those that have followed manufacturing, Japan's quality movement and indeed the resurgence of quality in general was in full swing in the late 80s and 90s until the global economy slowed in 2000.
The KG line of pianos were released in the early 70s and produced through the mid 90s. They were made in Japan and by far the most popular grand piano instrument line made by Kawai. There are apparently many of these on the market.
Mine was made in 1990 so its almost 30 years old. KG3E was a later model, essentially a 6 foot grand with a 1 inch overhang on the lid (hence 6'1").
Kawai often added innovations to their pianos and as I understand it, the E model had a more modern (less heavy) action. My piano's action is silent and precise requiring moderate but not heavy effort. The tone is big and warm with a very strong substantial bass. The mid and higher octaves have excellent sustain. The crown of the sound board is supposedly spot on and the strings are free of dust and dirt indicating that the prior owner and I have kept the piano closed when not played.
I still occasionally shop for new and "newer" pianos. I'm a gadget guy. I take my Tascam DR 40 recorder with me and record a consistent passage on pianos I like which I later compare to mine. As the mic placement is "near field" with an isolation pad, the room acoustic variations are somewhat minimized. The KG3E's tone is warm, not bright, and compares favorably with the new line of better Kawai's. My piano seems bit warmer than the current line of Yamaha CX series. This is likely a function of my technician's voicing. The KG Kawai has good projection and dynamics and is competitive with new pianos. I keep the gain consistent on the recorder.
From my vantage point, it appears that Kawai has removed most promotional material regarding the KG product from the internet. I've not found any old brochures that describe their marketing perspectives for the line and would love to have a KG brochure, especially the E series.
My tech has advised me that well made pianos (Yamaha and Kawai) really can last a very long time if they are well cared for meaning: no drinks anywhere near the piano as spills will destroy the pin block, good climate control, isolation from kitchen grease and dust, and frequent tuning and regulation along with moderate playing. It appears that pianos made in the 80s and 90s had far better finishes and glues than older models and many have been maintained in climate controlled homes so they should outlast the current crop of 50 plus year old pianos.
My Kawai KG has served me well and hopefully will continue to do so. My thoughts are that many dealers downplay these models as the volume of piano sales in the 80s and 90s far exceeded sales today and these are very low cost competitors to their new pianos.
Personally I think a well maintained KG3E piano can be an excellent buy. I purchased mine used from a long standing dealer in my area that took the piano on trade and knew the history. The price of a well maintained KG seems to make them a real bargain compared to later models and the longevity of a well maintained KG appears to be much longer than many articles indicate. Condition appears to be everything. I hope this is helpful.