Kawai BL61 Upright Piano Review


Kawai BL61 Upright Piano

When people come to think of Kawai’s upright series, the BL series is always first comes into their mind. Yes, Kawai BL series are one of the most successful line up in Kawai History that succeeded the K series which is the first generation of Kawai. The Kawai BL61 is the same size, same height as Yamaha U3, a direct competition of Yamaha U3 series and over the last 30 years, Kawai has found its way into most practice rooms at schools and conservatoires of music, studios, concert halls and home. The reason for this mass appeal is because of the ” No-nonsense” approach to design, keep pushing its limit in terms of innovation and quality of production to meet the demands of Affordability & Performance. 

1. Affordability and Performance 

Kawai is undoubtedly one of the best Japanese piano makers that earns it’s fame through quality and affordability. Unlike its rival Yamaha, Kawai focus double the effort in R&D, to make sure you get what you pay for. To give you a clearer picture, Yamaha is like Apple, its U1 and U3 has the same design throughout the span of 50 years. Only a little of exterior differences and in terms of specification, Yamaha focus on stability and choose not to alter too much of the inner parts. On the other hand, Kawai is like Android, user friendly, partner with many piano makers that come out with lots of different version such as BL61 SPECIAL with Louis Renner Germany Hammer, BL61 Custom that allowed their customer to custom what they want in their pianos and also BL61 Deluxe. In terms of price, BL61 is more affordable compare to yamaha u3 which easily cost more than RM10K. Performance wise, some say U3 is better but dont forget, we have to compare apple to an apple. If you compare that way, to me personally, BL61 is way better than any U3 of its range. 

2. Specification

Size 132 x 153 x 65 cm
Action Millennium 1
SoundBoard Material Solid Sitka Spruce
Back Post 6
Tuning pin Blued Pin (Nickel)
Key Surface Neotex
Hammer Mahogany
Year of Making 1980s
Center pedal practice pedal
Music Rack Grand Style
Fallboard Grand Style

Kawai BL61 is a huge upright piano with the height of 132cm, the string length is much longer compare to other 121cm and 125cm pianos.

6 back post

The action uses Millennium 1 action which feature abs carbon and no longer using wooden parts. Kawai design engineers realised that using only wood for the mechanical parts of a piano action was risky due to the parts would continually shrink, swell and warp with changes in humidity. 

3rd generation iron frame

Mahogany hammer

Upright Book rak and fallboard 

3. Tonality and Voicing

The Kawai BL61 offers great value to a pianist who wants a piano with rich dynamic sound. The height of BL61 is responsible for a rich and colorful tone. The 132cm heights gives plenty of room for longer bass strings, which provide an abundant sounding bass register. The sound from BL61 is sometimes better than 5ft baby grand. 

Kawai use the best of their timbers to build their pianos. The heart of the piano is the solid sitka spruce soundboard, which is used to amplify the tonality of the piano. Unlike Indonesia Made Kawai, the Japanese uses solid timber for the soundboard rather than a laminated soundboard, which gives the piano a fuller and complete sound. 

We fine tuned this Kawai BL61 to play to a high concert standard – one of our full time technicians is a factory trained Yamaha Concert Technician and this expertise has been greatly utilised to present one of the finest Kawai Pianos you will ever play and hear. 

4. Long Working Life = High Resale Value 

Pianos are like watches, it was mean to be passed down to the next generation. Due to the high build quality from Kawai, you can expect to get another 20 to 30 years use out of KAWAI BL61. What you only need is a regular yearly maintenance with right stand of work. All the parts on a Kawai BL61 are available to exchanged at any point of time so you dont have to worry about it becoming obsolete or without spare parts. All issue that might ever arise are very very easy for our technician to address.  We offer a 60% T&C buyback within 10 years policy for this model so you dont have to worry if your children gave up learning or future upgrading. Check out the photos and  videos below for our review and we regretted that its only available in Mandarin but rest assure we will be covering in English in the future. 

Regulation done by our in house master technician

Replaced new Bridle Strap, string and also polish every single chrome part.

Piano body respray with 1 layer of undercoat to cover scratches, 2 layer of black coat to make it looks super black and 2 layer of clear coat to protects it from scratches and mirror effect. All our piano paints were sourced from Japan.

5. Conclusion

BL61’s are very popular choice for established musicians or absolute beginners, the cabinets are in good condition but still have a very affordable price point. For under half the price of the equivalent new model you are able to purchase a
full height, top of the range professional upright piano with a 8 years warranty. For a similar price point to a new entry level piano you are able to purchase a long term instrument that your children will be able to do all of their exams on and then pass it on to their children.

Our Customer Who Bought KAWAI BL61

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