Is this true?

Posted by: pianoloverus

Is this true? - 12/12/12 06:09 PM

Although I am one of the most prolific posters at PW this is my first post on the Digital Pianos forum!

I know almost nothing about digitals, and I am curious about the claim of a tech that was posted on the Piano Forum.

"If you believe that is a false negative then it would be best to have a conversation with the companies that produce the digitals. New models come out every few months or years, the producers claim the older models are now obsolete and parts become suddenly unavailable."

Do you think this is "true"? An exaggeration?

Do parts typically need replacement on digitals? How often and how soon on average?

Can one purchase any kind of hardware insurance for a digital if parts need replacement?

Does the truth of the statement depend on the quality and price of the digital? I find it hard to believe that if one purchases a reasonably expensive digital for more than say two thousand dollars and it needs a replacement part in the first five years(or more)the company just says there are no parts available. If the digital was 5K-10K I find it even harder to believe.
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: Is this true? - 12/12/12 06:19 PM

Models come out every so often, but for the most part they use the same parts (at least, the moving ones). For example, it appears that Yamaha's GH/GHE/GH3 actions have not changed in eons--well, at least a decade. There aren't that many parts that need replacing (a broken key, perhaps, here and there). You can certainly get replacements for several years if you need it, though that is pretty rare.

The bigger issue is that as technology moves forward, people don't make the choice to replace parts. For the most part we just replace the piano if it has been enough years because the replacments out there are significantly better than what we had. Digital piano technology has been stabilizing in the last decade or so (in my perception), so this may not be as true going forward.
Posted by: mitzysman

Re: Is this true? - 12/12/12 06:22 PM

i think that is an exaggeration - at least from my dealings with Roland and Yamaha - i had a 25 year old Roland that I could still get keys for. My yamaha had a new keybed put in when 10 years old.

electronics are probably another issue - but they usually don't have that issue from my experience.
Posted by: spanishbuddha

Re: Is this true? - 12/12/12 06:32 PM

It's true that new models are usually available at least yearly, but often for a different target audience or market opening, with modest improvements in technology. Model ranges may be typically available for 2 to 4 years before being replaced by new versions.

My previous two digitals had warranties for 3 years and 2 years, but I replaced them both before the warranty ran out. Both of them had a manufacturer life cycle of about 2.5 years and they became yesterdays models and no longer sold!

I replaced them anyway, and I suspect many do because the cheaper ones are IMHO regarded as technology rather than instruments, and the chase is often for the latest.

Similarly I would imagine the quoted cost of repairing a digital that was, say $1000 new, five years ago, would be greater than its current resale value.

Whether there is a deliberate withdrawal of parts by manufactures I could not say. There is in the UK a third party business doing repairs, the most common being the keyboard action. The success of this business of course depends on the manufactures supplying parts.

You do hear of the better high end instruments being kept by owners for much longer. 10 years or more. Still a minuscule compared to many pianos!
Posted by: pianoxcape

Re: Is this true? - 12/12/12 07:04 PM

This is an exaggeration. New models don't come out nearly as often -- at least not for the companies I've worked with. Also, I believe there's a law somewhere that holds manufacturers accountable to provide replacement parts for a minimum period of time (3 years?) from manufacture.

That said, sometimes the original equipment manufacturer (for example a LCD-display manufacturer) changes their design, and the digital piano manufacturer must update their parts build. I think most companies try to use similar parts for cost efficiencies - but it's not always possible.

Any case, I hope this helps!

Kind regards,
Posted by: MacMacMac

Re: Is this true? - 12/12/12 07:36 PM

Key replacement may be among the commonest of repairs. There are You Tube videos demonstrating the process. The Yamaha service manuals show the same part numbers for the keys today as were used in the late 90s. And they're not expensive, just a few dollars each. And, it seems, they're easy to replace. It take more effort to open up the piano than it does to do the actual key replacement.

The electronics run at low-power and seems to last a long time. It's not clear how long Yamaha makes replacement parts available. I've not yet had to go down that path.

Not much changes over time.
Posted by: BeccaBb

Re: Is this true? - 12/12/12 10:03 PM

There is a thread in the Piano forum that prompted this question. I've stayed out of it but thought you all might want to read and giggle: Digital advice
Posted by: PianoWorksATL

Re: Is this true? - 12/12/12 11:22 PM

In the US, console digitals from all major brands carry 3 year or 5 year warranties. Parts are covered for the duration and the labor coverage varies.

If a very old instrument fails, the cost of the labor to repair will often exceed the value of the instrument regardless of the status of parts. In that case, what's the point?

The digital repair shops around Atlanta stay backed up for weeks with minor repair items, either warranty or user error. In addition to polling this forum, a quick call to your local repair shops would be the best way to see how long from production before manufacturers start to phase out replacement parts.

Even though we don't service digitals, we certainly get a few drop-in customers and hopeful phone calls. Nearly all are for a damaged or lost power cable, not for a defective or broken part.
Posted by: EssBrace

Re: Is this true? - 12/13/12 07:35 AM

Originally Posted By: BeccaBb
There is a thread in the Piano forum that prompted this question. I've stayed out of it but thought you all might want to read and giggle: Digital advice


Wow. The OP in that thread was simply lied to in the most disgraceful fashion by a salesman.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Is this true? - 12/13/12 11:19 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
If a very old instrument fails, the cost of the labor to repair will often exceed the value of the instrument regardless of the status of parts. In that case, what's the point?
If by value you mean the cost of a similar digital purchased new there would be no point. If you mean value of the digital if one wanted to sell it there could easily be a point if this was still less expensive than buying a new instrument. It would also depend on how much improvement had been made in digitals since one bought the one that needs new parts.