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#671860 - 12/30/07 11:52 PM Service and support for Digital Pianos
Sergoni Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 2
Loc: South Hampton Roads
I am interested in purchasing a digital baby grand piano and found a couple for sale out of state for about $2000 less than my local dealer. The sellers are from reputable piano stores and the Pianos are brand new, reported to be in original un-opened packaging. I know that the Piano manufacturer will provide 1 year of warranty for service and 3 years for parts (or somthing like that). My local dealer is really pushing the whole issue of service and support in an effort to sell me his piano but I'm curious if I wouldn't already get the same service and support from who ever contracts with the manufacturer to live up to the warranty terms. Does it really make that much of a difference to buy from a local store?...is the service any better or longer than the manufacturer's warranty? I would think that since the local store is the local dealer they are obligated to service a piano that I buy from anywhere. I know I can simply ask them but I thought I'd get some opinions. Thanks for your help. Not that it matters but the piano of interest is a Kohler KD-165.
Sergio
_________________________
Thank you
Ciao!

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#671861 - 12/31/07 12:28 PM Re: Service and support for Digital Pianos
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Digital pianos are designed to be maintenance-
free and very reliable. A digital should
last indefinitely without maintenance or
repair--the main thing is to keep liquids
away from them. My first digital piano,
bought in 1989, is still in perfect condition
after all these years. I've owned three
digitals since 1989 and have never had
any problem with any of them. This is why
digitals can be sold online with just
an address in the owners manual to send
the unit to if anything goes wrong; the
chances of this happening is so remote
that digital manufacturers can get away
with this. In fact, if a local dealer has
an in-house repair faciltiy for the
digitals they sell, that might actually a bad
sign, because that would mean their
digitals have an untypically high failure rate.

If you bought that Kohler out-of-state
and something went wrong with it, you'd
probably have to take it back to the seller
or ship it to the national repair facility, but
the chances of this happening is remote.
If you bought it locally and something
went wrong, you'd take it back to the
dealer, and he would probably ship it to
the repair facility; it's unlikely
that he'd have a full-time repair
staff for digitals since they are so
reliable. There is really no "service
and support" for digital pianos; this
is the type of item (like stereos) that
you cart out of the store and that's the
last you see of them.

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#671862 - 12/31/07 05:28 PM Re: Service and support for Digital Pianos
MarkL Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/07
Posts: 728
Loc: Chicago Suburban
I was surprised when I researched this when I bought my Yamaha. More authorized service centers were electronics places rather than music stores, at least around here. It turned out one of the biggest repair centers was a place I used to buy high end phonograph needles when I was a kid. All they do now is repair all kinds of electronics, from video cameras to TVs to Yamahas, they don't sell anything. So I would go to the web page for Kohler and see what's close, you might not need to see the dealer again even if you do have a problem.
_________________________
Yamaha P90

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#671863 - 12/31/07 06:55 PM Re: Service and support for Digital Pianos
Music Major Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/04/06
Posts: 301
Loc: Tampa, FL
We have a Sam Ash and a Guitar Center locally to me. I got my Yamaha S90 at the local Guitar Center. When I needed some technical questions answered regarding the S90 Sam Ash could not answer at all and GC, while I was there, just picked up the phone and dialed Yamaha support. They asked for my phone number and called me a bit later at home. I think Yamaha itself has very good support, but my experience with the local "music stores" is that they really only sell them, they do not support them at all.
_________________________
Kevin


Yamaha S90 --------------- SS-69 Grand
The most important thing in music is what is not in the notes.

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#671864 - 01/01/08 10:13 AM Re: Service and support for Digital Pianos
SPOFF Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 72
Loc: Derry NH
A comment on buying online versus dealers. I’m looking at a very big box in my studio: a Kawai MP8ii that shipped in unplayable condition. I picked the box up at a local dealer and it appeared to be factory sealed, but the unit had been dropped hard enough to crack the right end cap and completely jam three middle octaves of white keys.

(The MP8ii is a rugged stage piano designed for roady handling. They must have dropped it six feet to concrete. At the factory! And then shipped it! I expect this from Detroit, Michigan, not Hamamatsu, Japan.)

The short of it, if I had purchased this $2,000 box of junk from an anonymous web page, I’d be even more upset and possibly screwed. My initial call to the dealer wasn’t encouraging, I got referred to the service department... Who left me to stew over this long holiday weekend.

Since I bought this locally (I don’t believe you can buy a Kawai online) I have the option of loading the box back into my SUV and nicely asking for a replacement in person. Or a refund. Or a stop-payment on the VISA. In any case the keyboard goes back: I won’t accept this unit even if it is repaired.

Now to get this coffin-sized box out of my sight, it's really beginning to annoy me...

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#671865 - 01/01/08 11:09 AM Re: Service and support for Digital Pianos
Sergoni Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 2
Loc: South Hampton Roads
Thank you all for your advice and previous experiences.

Sergio
_________________________
Thank you
Ciao!

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#671866 - 01/01/08 04:00 PM Re: Service and support for Digital Pianos
MoodyBluesKeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 258
Loc: Trent Woods, NC
Most of the manufacturers have some form of Authorized Service Center program (frequently, you can locate closest from a link on the manufacturer's web site).

When I was in the business full time, I provided service for a number of companies (then there were the companies who would NOT sell to my firm any replacement parts or diagrams unless I became an autoorized center). My firm was Authorized for the Yamaha company.

Yamaha routinely sent me service information on EVERY product included in my authorization. Their dealers within a reasonable range usually contacted me when they had a customer with a problem.

Travel was not provided - either the customer had to bring it to me, or on the larger instruments, the dealer would normally pick up the unit and carry it to their dealership. On my next area visit, I would service it.

I was authorized to spend up to 1.5 hours on any repair - anything more than that, I called Yamaha service and got a specific authorization. They did NOT want to pay me for a prolonged disassembly and repair (for instance fixing a broken clavier -the actual keyboard) - they preferred sending me a complete replacement assembly, I changed it out, and was responsible to return the original - otherwise, my shop got billed for the assembly.

This method very likely is still the primary way that companies handle ther service issues.

Most repairs that were needed on very close to new instruments were either due to some form of shipping damage (crushed box leading to a bent frame, etc.) or a circuit board failing prematurely. The nature of solid-state electronic equipment is that it generally either quits working very quickly or it lasts for a good while.

AFTER the warranty runs out: In many cases, it is not feasible to do field repairs to a component level. Modern Integrated Circuits are surface mount components with leads spaced 1/100 of an inch apart. Just the special soldering device needed to change them is serveral thousand dollars, PLUS the stereo microscope and jigs needed to properly place the new part. Therefore, most circuit board type repairs now are a matter of getting a price from the manufacturer for a complete board (sometimes, they will provide an exchange price, and then they fix the old board).

Also (and I don't blame them a bit for this) most dealers would positively NOT go to any significant expense to solve warranty problems on products that were not purchased from them.

When I purchase keyboards and other equipment myself, I will spend somewhat more on the purchase to deal with a vendor that provides exceptional service when needed. In some areas, this means buying from the local dealer (but in other areas, some of the national companies that use catalogs and the Internet provide better service than the local dealers).

HTH,

Jim
_________________________
Jim Cason
Promised LAN Computing, Inc.
Howard C171 Grand, Kurzweil PC3X, PC3, PC361, PC2X, PC2.
JBL 10&15 EONG2s, EV SxA100+s QSC K10s, HP & ThinkPad DAWs, eMu 1820M & 1616M.
Epi Les Paul & LP 5str Bass, Trace amp-cabinets.
Formerly in electronic keyboard repair trade - semi-retired

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