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#1710983 - 07/10/11 09:12 PM Technician's Perspective - Grey-Market Yamahas
pianoeagle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 218
Loc: Texas
I have a couple new students starting soon, and their parents are planning to purchase pianos. Being a staunch Yamaha fan, I have highly recommended that the parents purchase Yamaha pianos. The drawback to this is that the price for used Yamaha pianos in my area has increased since the tsunami, since there are fewer Japanese pianos in inventory - at least, this is what the sales rep at one of the local dealers told me. The cost of new Yamaha is too high for my new students.

Some of the local dealers (including the Steinway dealer) sell grey-market Yamahas, obviously at pretty attractive prices. The parents have inquired about these models (not having been told by the dealer that they're grey-market), and I'm unsure how best to address. Surely the cost difference makes these pianos more attractive, but I'm unsure of what the long-term disadvantages of using a grey market piano here in the U.S. are.

Can you shed some light on this? We live in a hot, very humid climate. I've read several contrasting articles regarding the effects - some saying that the pianos are of the same quality, some saying that parts are not readily available in the U.S., etc. Thanks!
_________________________
Children's piano instructor
Member NGPT, MTNA/TMTA/PMTA, NFMC/SJFMC

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#1710993 - 07/10/11 09:32 PM Re: Technician's Perspective - Grey-Market Yamahas [Re: pianoeagle]
accordeur Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1259
Loc: Québec, Canada
Encourage the parents to do their research, recommend a good tech. The piano market is very volatile right now, lots of opportunities.

The word "staunch" in this market is not a good idea for your students. Yamaha makes a fine piano, no doubt.

If the parents of your students are serious, they will research. That also means that they are willing to provide a piano worthy of their kid's music lessons. Win win.

Piano teachers are often the most.....
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#1711213 - 07/11/11 08:56 AM Re: Technician's Perspective - Grey-Market Yamahas [Re: pianoeagle]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3503
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Research the Indonesian made Kawai pianos. They are a good value.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1711564 - 07/11/11 07:18 PM Re: Technician's Perspective - Grey-Market Yamahas [Re: pianoeagle]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5372
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: pianoeagle
Some of the local dealers (including the Steinway dealer) sell grey-market Yamahas, obviously at pretty attractive prices. The parents have inquired about these models (not having been told by the dealer that they're grey-market), and I'm unsure how best to address. Surely the cost difference makes these pianos more attractive, but I'm unsure of what the long-term disadvantages of using a grey market piano here in the U.S. are.

Can you shed some light on this? We live in a hot, very humid climate. I've read several contrasting articles regarding the effects - some saying that the pianos are of the same quality, some saying that parts are not readily available in the U.S., etc.

For the words gray-market read used.

These are used pianos. They come from Japan (primarily) and they have all of the uncertainties of used pianos anywhere. Some of them have been heavily used, others not so much. Some of them have had some factory-like reconditioning. That is, they are sent to shops in some Asian country where they are repaired, reconditioned, rebuilt, refinished or whatevered. Some of this work has been done well, some has not. As a consumer you have no way of determining the condition of a used Yamaha—or any other used piano! The dealer will probably not be able to tell you anything of the history of these pianos; the dealer will probably know nothing of their provenance. Still, the buyer is at the mercy of the dealer so unless the buyer knows the dealer and has great confidence in the dealers ability and willingness to stand behind the piano the buyer should always—always—have the piano examined by a qualified technician not associated with the dealer (publically or privately) before signing on the dotted line.

Yamaha has decided that it will not support any used Yamaha pianos that were not originally sold in North America. This sounds like a bigger deal than it actually is. The parts that commonly wear out on pianos are readily available from aftermarket suppliers; often, as in the case of hammers, with components that outperform the originals. As far as I know Kawai has not taken this position and is willing to back up their pianos regardless of where they were originally sold.

ddf


Edited by Del (07/11/11 07:20 PM)
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1711633 - 07/11/11 09:57 PM Re: Technician's Perspective - Grey-Market Yamahas [Re: pianoeagle]
pianoeagle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 218
Loc: Texas
Thanks everyone! I appreciate the information. I will look into the Indonesian-made Kawai pianos as well.
_________________________
Children's piano instructor
Member NGPT, MTNA/TMTA/PMTA, NFMC/SJFMC

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#1711809 - 07/12/11 07:00 AM Re: Technician's Perspective - Grey-Market Yamahas [Re: pianoeagle]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2547
Loc: PA
My understanding is that "gray market" pianos are NEW pianos that are not sold by an authorized dealer, causing legal implication regarding warranties, etc.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1711834 - 07/12/11 08:02 AM Re: Technician's Perspective - Grey-Market Yamahas [Re: pianoeagle]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2481
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
The (used) grey market Yamaha's here in our area are hit and miss as far as condition goes. One dealer here that moves a large quantity of them refuses to sell them unless the tuning pins and strings are changed out. For this work the consumer is paying $2500-3500 more for the same piano but ends up getting a 10 year warranty instead of the usual 3-5 year warranty.

As a tech, I have often checked over grey market pianos for customers at the cost of about a tuning and this is cheap insurance on a typically $4K + piano. Rusty strings and loose pinblocks are common, actions often need regulating and sometimes some sound board issues/sticking keys ect...

There are some gems to be had among the rough ones but I find that most of the grey market pianos are well used and didn't sit in living rooms as furniture like many of the pianos here in N.A.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1711905 - 07/12/11 10:51 AM Re: Technician's Perspective - Grey-Market Yamahas [Re: pianoeagle]
David, Las Vegas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 211
Loc: Las Vegas, Nevada
The Gray Market pianos have a bad reputation here in the desert. Soundboards, pin blocks and most other components degrade in the dry environment. I'm sure a more humid location would be better.
_________________________
David Chadwick RPT
Las Vegas, Nevada
1923 Steinway "M"
1931 Mason Hamlin AA

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#1711915 - 07/12/11 11:21 AM Re: Technician's Perspective - Grey-Market Yamahas [Re: Loren D]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5372
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Loren D
My understanding is that "gray market" pianos are NEW pianos that are not sold by an authorized dealer, causing legal implication regarding warranties, etc.

While I have encountered one dealer who was presenting “gray market” pianos as new, a casual examination indicated that they were, in fact, reconditioned used pianos. I’m not aware of any “gray market” pianos—when the phrase is used in its most common form—that are actually new pianos.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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