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Estonia Pianos
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Hey guys I'm new to this forum and I'm not sure if this topic was posted before but I've been looking at a second hand Yamaha C3 imported from Japan. I was told that it was manufactured for the Japanese market and wouldn't suit the Australian climate.

Just wondering if this is true and whether it is a good buy or not. The dealer said it's been used for around 20 years and the serial number is around 3,200,000.

Also would anyone suggest a good grand piano that I can look into? Thanks in advance.

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Japan is kind of like...Mars or Venus. The climate there is so unique in the world that once any wood leaves their many, MANY islands, it spontaneously explodes (unless Yamaha insists otherwise) only minutes after some poor unfortunate soul like yourself buys it. Should you ever choose to visit Japan and experience their climate first hand, be sure to pack a spacesuit.

This is one of the longest running arguments in the business. Search for past discussions of "gray market" here and hold on to your chair.

As with any used piano purchase, if you are unsure about its condition, the most reasonable thing to pay someone to inspect its condition. A good tech can review its structural condition and assess the wear.

On the other side of things, at 3,200,000 serial number, the piano is closer to 30 than 20 years old. If whoever is selling this piano is misrepresenting the product, that would bother me more than the age or origin.

Yamaha C3 is an excellent piano (if its condition is good). As for other brands, I've heard that Bernstein (made by Hailun) is sold in Australia. These pianos have had excellent reviews here and elsewhere and are an affordable, excellent choice. An owner actually submitted a review of their piano to my website after 1 year of ownership. They were just spontaneously happy about their purchase and wanted to share with others. They even sent me a picture playing in their studio. I thought that was pretty cool.


Sam Bennett
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Japan is kind of like...Mars or Venus. The climate there is so unique in the world that once any wood leaves their many, MANY islands, it spontaneously explodes (unless Yamaha insists otherwise) only minutes after some poor unfortunate soul like yourself buys it. Should you ever choose to visit Japan and experience their climate first hand, be sure to pack a spacesuit.



Although I agree that Yamaha makes extreme emphasis on the climate difference, this topic is often misunderstood or twisted. The preparation of the wood is not for the outdoor’s environment, obviously this makes no sense.
Yamaha's intention is to condition the wood for the average in-home environment.
Based on their research they believe that in general the environment in Japanese buildings usually contains higher levels of moisture than places where homes are usually larger, well ventilated or with climate control in general.

It is understandable that Yamaha is trying to protect their market and therefore they try to create a bit of fear in consumers. On the other hand that What IF?? Is in my opinion enough reason not to buy the piano just because usually this is a purchase that most people won't repeat twice in a lifetime, therefore the risk is sometimes not worth it.

However there are more important reasons to avoid these pianos.
One is the price; most of these pianos are sold for about 50% to 60% of the cost of a new one. This is a very high price to be paid for pianos that in average are 20 to 35 years old. At this stage these pianos are way passed their peak performance.
Another very common problem with these pianos is action and keyboards. Usually bushings are quite deteriorated and key-stick felt worn-out.

My advice, don’t throw good money after bad. You won’t regret purchasing a new Yamaha or at least no older than Ten years old.

Last edited by Kurtmen; 04/18/10 05:16 PM.

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It is understandable that Yamaha is trying to protect their market and therefore they try to create a bit of fear in consumers.


If this is actually true it wouldn't be necessary to rely on 'fear' but simply build a piano today that clearly outperforms anything built 20, 30 years ago.

Audi did - why can't a world class piano company?

Norbert


Last edited by Norbert; 04/18/10 05:30 PM.

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Do a search on this forum for "Gray market" or "Grey market."


Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
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My experience with gray market pianos has been positive; however I'm sure there are cases where that is not the case. As with much of the advice on this forum, the key is to have a good tech check out the piano before you buy it and if it has been reconditioned, they should be able to spot any inadequencies with the refurbishment.


Jack in TN

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In my experience, the problems with gray market are reflective of the problems with used pianos in general, statistically no better or worse. Many used pianos are fine and many have small to major problems. A reputable dealer or technician and some homework are your best ally if looking at used pianos.

Most of the objections occur because there have been many instances where these pianos are sold under false pretenses, or camouflage heavy use or poor condition, or mis-representing the true age, and claiming the old ones are actually better than the new ones. But then this problem plagues used piano sales in general and are not specific to gray market.


Sam Bennett
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I was told that it was manufactured for the Japanese market and wouldn't suit the Australian climate.


That's also being said about the vastness of Canadian and American climate.

Didn't know our climates were so similiar....

Norbert


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For heaven's sake!!!

A load of nonsense is spouted on this forum about 'grey market' pianos. It does not matter where a piano has come from. ANY piano should be inspected by your technician to determine its condition. Whatever you buy, you should keep it in a proper environment, regardless of the your climate, whether Queensland tropics, Sydney wet, or central desert.

There is no reason why a 32... serial number Yamaha should not be a good buy. I had a 1985 G3E import. It was immaculate inside and out, and backed by a reputable dealer.

If you like the piano, get it checked over by your own tech. If he gives it a clean bill of health and the price is right, buy it.




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I agree with maserman1 and PianoWorksATL on this one. If the piano checkes out technically, is at a good price, and backed by a reputable dealer with 5-10 year warranty then the gamble is not greater than buying new.

For instance years ago, our church bought a brand new Baldwin L that would not stay in tune. Two of the best techs in our area fought with the piano but it would not stay in tune more than a few weeks at a time. When we finally approached Baldwin (with their 10 year on some parts, lifetime on others) about the situation they would not consider doing anything about it unless we absolutely could prove that the piano was in a consistent temperature (60-80 degrees) and humidity (40-60%), even though the piano techs swore the problem was not due to environment fluctuation. So, Baldwin did nothing about the problem. We sold the piano and bought a gray market Yamaha C6, just a few years old that had not been reconditioned and it was a fantastic piano at a reasonable price. That piano has done great in that church and is tuned twice a year.

All that to say there are no absolute guarantees even when buying new. The main factors with any sale should be: condition of piano, reputation of the dealer, some kind of warranty, and price. Of course when you purchase from a private party, there is more of a gamble; however, as you can see from our experience above buying from a reputable dealer doesn't help when the manufacturer does not stand behind their product.


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Thanks alot for the replies everyone after doing abit of research, piano shopping and of course your advice, I am reconsidering into buying a brand new piano. Not because I'm against grey market from all the reviews (maserman1 have a really good point about that) but I think that if I were to start playing the piano again I would rather have the feel and touch of a brand new piano. I will let you guys know when I do purchase one but in the meantime I'm looking at a Yamaha GC1 and a Kawai GM12, any advice? lol and those are my options since my budget is around $15,000. Thanks again

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If this is actually true it wouldn't be necessary to rely on 'fear' but simply build a piano today that clearly outperforms anything built 20, 30 years ago.

Audi did - why can't a world class piano company?

Norbert


Norbert I respect you for your knowledge and expertise. But sadly your contributions to this forum often are oriented to promote your brands or take a chance to beat on others as you are doing with Yamaha.

Yamaha clearly outperformed many many brands over the years and this is why they have such a good reputation.
This is not a fly by night name like for instance Premium Steigerman heavily promoted by you a few years ago.
Why don't you carry the brand anymore?



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Kurtmen, I didn't take it that way at all. If anything, it speaks to Yamaha's credit that their 20-30 year old models ARE competing and stealing market share from brand new models sold today... unfortunately for them, they are competing against their own new instruments as well.


"Practice, practice, practice... then make a left."
-Demitri Martin

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