Robert Estrin - piano expert

Yamaha Pianos Vs. Kawai Pianos - Which is Better?

A not-easy answer to a pretty common question

In this video, Robert talks about the differences and similarities of the two most famous Japanese piano brands.

Released on January 18, 2017

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, and welcome to and I'm Robert Estrin with a timeless question: Which is better piano, Yamaha or Kawai? You see two instruments right here, and this is the perfect opportunity to discuss the merits of these two pianos.

Now, to give you a little background, these are two Japanese manufacturers that go back over 100 years. And they are the number one and number two largest piano manufacturers in the world by dollars. So, there's something to be said about these companies. The longevity and the sheer output is incredible. Both of them have factories in several countries, so they both actually make pianos on many different levels.

So, the first thing to realize is that you have to compare apples to apples. You wouldn't wanna consider an Indonesian-made Yamaha compared to a handmade series Shigeru Kawai, for example. So, if you compare apples to apples, which one is better? Well, honestly, it really comes down to personal taste to a great extent, but let me give you some guidelines so you can determine what feels better for you.

Many people feel that Yamaha has a tone that's very clear, sometimes even bright. That's why it's the choice of many pop and rock artists, because it really cuts through a mix beautifully. The clarity, the actions are beautiful on them, as well.

Now, what about Kawai? Well, Kawai also has wonderful actions. They have their Blackjack, the new composite actions, many technologies that many people appreciate. Some people feel that the Kawais have a warmer tone than Yamaha, in general.

Realize that a tremendous amount is up to voicing of the piano, that is, the shape and the hardness of the hammers. So, brightness is really a subjective term, but there definitely is an overall difference. Just like looking at these two pianos, there are some who would look at this Yamaha, look at any black piano like this, and say, "That's what a piano should be. I love that look of that piano. That's what I'd love to have in my living room." Other people will look at an ivory piano and go, "Oh, that is the most beautiful piano I've ever seen."

Is there a right or a wrong? Absolutely not. There's really personal preference. Both Yamaha and Kawai make pianos on just about every level, from very inexpensive Indonesian pianos up to hand-built pianos of the highest level. So, the determination comes to the kind of sound that you like. Listen to recordings of Yamaha and Kawai to see what appeals to you, and ultimately, that's the best piano.

Thanks so much for joining me, Robert Estrin here at and
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Fulvia * VSM MEMBER * on January 18, 2017 @2:49 pm PST
Hi Robert! Thanks for this video! Maybe you got the idea from my current dilemma? :
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