Kawai BL31 Special Upright Piano Review



If you are looking for a piano that can last you for a life time and not burn a hole in your pocket, look nothing more than a KAWAI BL31 SPECIAL EDITION. BL series is the 4th Kawai generation pianos which were manufactured in the early 1980s. It is also one of the most popular series ever produced by Kawai with the most models under a series, BL11, BL12,BL31,BL51,BL61,BL71 and BL82. Today we are reviewing this BL31 special. 


After the success of K series, Kawai has made a bold move on the 4th generation production which gives the BL series a major upgrade in terms of action, hammers, iron frame, tuning pin and also a more modern design. Kawai not only uses their own technology in building BL series, it also releases many different version such as SPECIAL EDITION, MITSUKOSHI EDITION, MATZUKAYA EDITION, DELUXE EDITION, CUSTOM EDITION and many more ! This has given pianist their choices to customize their need. Lets get into the spec real quick. Before that, lets take some time to appreciate the exterior of BL31 special. 

2. Specification

Size 122 x 151 x 59 cm
Action Kawai Ultra Responsive Action 1
SoundBoard Material Solid Spruce
Back Post 6
Tuning pin Stainless steel (Special Edition)
Key Surface NEOTEX
Hammer Louis Renner, ABEL 
Duplex Scale
Center pedal practice pedal
Music Rack & Book Rak normal
Leg Stick to the body

In terms of specification, Kawai BL31 Special has got many version, we will list down the following that we have seen throughout our years of restoring pianos. 


The BL31 Special is the most commonly seen special edition in the piano market. The exterior is almost identical with the normal edition except the piano leg is sticking with the body. The only way to tell the difference is to check out the iron frame that has the logo “SPECIAL” on it. Additionally, we found that most of the BL31 special uses LOUIS RENNER USA Hammer instead of Kawai’s hammer. This is a very unique crossover,  as Louis Renner supplies the piano actions and components to the world’s leading piano makers over 80 countries, LR is also the largest piano action manufacturer in the world, their clients were STEINWAY &  SON, FAZIOLI, HAILUN & PETROF, the most reputable piano makers in the world. Consider yourself lucky to get one of the BL31 SPECIAL pianos. 




These versions are the even more premium than BL31 special, in terms of rarity and exclusiveness, i would say its a collectible piano for most piano lovers. ( this is the piano i kept at home). I have research online regarding these versions and also consulted with my piano SIFU in Japan, Mr Narushima Sensei, a 70 years old experience Piano Technician. According to him, MITSUKOSHI models are exclusively sold by Mitsukoshi corp Japan as their 90th years company celebration. I have no idea why would a company put their names on a piano to celebrate their company success, and Mitsukoshi is like a departmental store in Japan. The Mitsukoshi edition has a architectural features infront of the front board in the front cover and the logo “MITSUKOSHI” on the iron frame. Same goes to MATSUZAKAYA, which i cant find too much information online. My Japanese supplier told me both models were introduced in the 1980s and only 100,000 units made in the world. I have only sold Matsuzakaya model twice in my piano careers but i came across more Mitsukoshi. Both were seen using Louis Renner hammer and Abel Hammers. 

3. Tonality and Voicing

I cant really tell the difference between the special editions, but one think i can assure you, the hammers definitely makes everything sound better as these hammers were also used on Steinway pianos. The good felt on the hammers create a rounder tone and huge dynamic range. BL31 is taller than Yamaha u1 and taller upright offers a richer sound. It also has a more substantial feel making it a good practice instrument. 

The bass part offer a fuller tone and the rest of the pianos sounded warmer compare to Yamahas. BL series offer a longer key sticks length which make it more responsive and combined with the stability of Millennium action, this allows the pianist to play with more expression and ease. Our master technician regulated this piano scrupulously and make sure keys were uniformly aligned. Lets take some time to appreciate the sound of this wonderful piece of art. 

4. Grab it and no regret. 

For a fraction of price, you get one of the greatest Kawai model that can last you easily another 15 to 20 years. Normally, special edition sells RM1K more than normal edition and its hardly seen in Malaysia Market. Fortunately, we kept our piano stocks up to 300 units all year long and you might find one or two special editions in our  factory if its fated to be yours. These special editions are one of the best deal that you shouldnt missed in your life as the first owner already helps to pay the extra cost of customizing. Their loss is your gain. 

5 . Conclusion. 

 The combination of Kawai’s good value, craftsmanship and Louis Renner, Abel’s embrace of technology in making piano hammers, has made KAWAI BL31 Special the piano choice of many teachers, students and schools. Call us at 017-3497139 to checkout if we still have these specials in stock today ! 





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