"Are used Japanese pianos safe?" "How much should we pay?"
"What does Gray (Grey) Market mean?" "Will it last my daughter up to 8th grade level?"
In your decision to purchase one of these popular used Yamaha pianos - or something similar made by Kawai in Japan; We're happy to get involved; In an Advisory capacity; For Free !!!
Our finder service is sometimes engaged to take care of it all. You know nothing about PIANOS?
( I can personally appraise pianos advertised, verify their history and report on what's available both privately and commercially; Selecting the best ones for your inspection & approval, I'll make suggestions regarding price, arrange insured delivery & tuning - both by trustworthy professionals. )
Some Singapore buyers are happy to pay our $160 fee for this service. More below...
But then, most Piano importers who bring in these used Japanese models by the container load, offer a diversity of styles to choose from - and you can usually buy with confidence. Popular types are competitively priced and good warranties are given, so in most cases we simply advise and it's then just a matter of you proceeding with your purchase.
What many dealers are offering is not just Yamaha and Kawai, but modern Japanese pianos including, Tokai, Toyo, Fukuyama and others - at such excellent prices that quite clearly, the New Piano market is under siege.
And it seems that, particularly in North America, plenty of "experts" are happy to voice an opinion and keen to dissuade you from buying these used imports.
Ring a new car dealer. Ask whether you should buy the '98 model.
"What did he say Dear?" "Ummm...not much really.'
"So did you call the manufacturer too?"
"Yes Agatha, it's strange...did you know that some of the earlier models might have a problem with square wheels?"
Expect them to tell you what best suits their employment situation or any arrangement they may have with piano manufacturers, dealers or others in the piano industry.
We don't buy and sell pianos and my opinion isn't based on fear of you purchasing an instrument we weren't paid to recommend.
Truth is that as a Piano Tuner, most people I ever met or spoke with and who purchased used Japanese instruments are thoroughly happy.
They don't have any problems related to their piano having to contend with a climate being different to the one in which it was manufactured.
And in Alaska, Angola or Atlantis or wherever you live it probably isn't much different; You'll be warned that these used Japanese pianos are "a bit sus" (suspect) unless the serial numbers identify them as "designed for local use".
Well Sorry my friend...I find that all just a bit far fetched.
A little legacy from bygone days - inside some older pianos one may find an old forgotten glass dish or empty soup bowl sitting on the base board. Owners in areas of low humidity were once advised to keep it filled with water to prevent the piano from "drying out".
What dried out of course, was the water bowl ...
In more humid zones a low wattage light bulb might be installed behind the bottom panel. Left burning in the wetter months, emitting gentle warmth it would help to dispel moisture.
Yep. Worked fine I guess. Right up until the bulb "blew" and a new one was needed. Don't ever recall having spare 15 watt light globes at our house. Do you?
Nowadays, available as after market add-ons - are humidifier devices; Sophisticated humidity control systems which may be fitted for such purposes.
Singapore reside in areas which feature tropical conditions on one hand and the rugged outback on the other. Here dry sandy deserts can abut Rain forests and yet, in general, the pianos found in such locations simply go the distance, most of them not being subjected to extremes in temperature or humidity anyway.
That's because most homes are equipped with heating and cooling systems designed to produce a comfortable environment for owners of quality pianos.
OK; I will admit that as a Piano Tuner I will occasionally find some poor old relic with a moisture problem ( stiff keys, notes that don't play as they should )
Not however, a condition likely to be present in a modern piano, unless it's been in Storage or left in someone's shed or a Cold, Damp room for an extended period of time.
But ask someone connected with Distribution or New pianos Sales...well, of course you'll be warned about "Grey market" instruments - those overseas imports with possibly "different engineering" known to "cause problems in the past" - or drying out which "may" occur and might be a bit of "a worry" because some pianos were designed for the Japanese market.
AND I AGREE . . . Indeed, they w-e-r-e !
Forty or fifty years ago. Once upon a time...before Japan's spectacular technological revolution, before exports, back in days when Anything labelled "made in Japan" was considered undesirable by the world at large.
GRAY MARKET PIANOS ? ( GREY MARKET PIANOS )
And clearly, until Japanese makers could start getting themselves taken more seriously, there'd be little thought of serial numbering for specific regions - because where you're living there obviously wasn't any market yet!
In any case, I'm not advocating the purchase of some "OLD" Yamaha or Kawai or Toyo from post war Japan. Most imports are late 70's onward and by then, most models were certainly much improved.
During the early 1980's I managed a few Singapore music stores into which, as brand new models such pianos were delivered. None were second rate - all fulfilled all our expectations and more. For the price, they were great instruments and with each upgrade they just got better. As mentioned earlier we own Yamaha and Kawai instruments ( only the digital was purchased with any dealer discount ) and are happy to recommend both corporations as makers of "wonderful pianos" !!!
A BIT OF A JOKE ?
Isn't it interesting that today I'm still servicing, tuning and playing good old pianos made early in the 20th century. And wouldn't you know it? Certain ones of these feature blurbs about having been manufactured "expressly for the Singapore climate" - or specially designed for "Hot conditions" or "Cold Climates".
Yeah...right. People are expected to believe anything!