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#241493 - 04/19/08 01:03 PM Buying a piano from overseas?
Jiade Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/06/08
Posts: 13
Loc: Australia
Hello everyone, I am a new member to the board but have been lurking (and benefitted) as an unregistered reader for a long time. Finally found the need to register and post.

I have been hunting for a grand piano over the last two months, and found that there aren't a lot of choices within driving distance. In fact, there aren't a lot of choices in terms of brands/models in my country (Australia) - both new and used. The recommended retail price for most brands also appear to be substantially higher than the USA prices listed in Mr Fine's book. Flying inter-State to another showroom would still give me similarly high price.

I saw posts here about visiting a manufacturer's factory overseas and buying from the factory direct. I am wondering whether it is worthwhile looking into buying a piano from overseas. As this would involve organising a trip to visit showrooms, I wouldn't want to arrange it without obtaining some information first.

A few questions popped into my head:

1) Are dealers in Europe or USA allowed to sell to overseas customers? If yes, would the shipping cost be astronomical?

2) I read a recent post about taking a piano overseas. Is any risk shipping a new piano from another country? I am guessing while it's "new" if it came from a dealership it may not come in a "sealed for dryness bag"?

3) Is there any difference in buying from an overseas manufacturer's factory compared to an overseas dealership? The warranty might work differently?

Would appreciate any information which might be relevant considerations. Even if I end up not extending my hunt to overseas at this time might do it at some later time...or make visiting piano showrooms part of the itinery of my next overseas vacation. :rolleyes:

Thank you in advance.

Current piano: Yamaha U1A (~25yrs)
Previously owned: Kawai GS-40
Currently playing:
Schubert - 'Wanderer' Fantasy, Hindemith - Sonata No.3, Bach-Busoni - Chaconne in D minor

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#241494 - 04/19/08 06:22 PM Re: Buying a piano from overseas?
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 18127
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Welcome to the forum, Jiade! \:\)

From what I've read here, there can be risk involved in shipping overseas if the piano is not in a climate-controlled container. Obviously that's something you'd have to look into. As for cost, I'm guessing it would be extremely expensive, perhaps even prohibitively so.

But it might depend in part on what you're looking for. What's your approximate budget and aspiration? If this was to be the Piano Of Your Life, and you were looking to buy one of the finest pianos in the world and cost be damned, then travelling widely to find The One and ponying up the shipping fees might be justified.

But I probably wouldn't recommend it until or unless I had ascertained that I couldn't find The One locally. \:\)
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

#241495 - 04/20/08 06:52 AM Re: Buying a piano from overseas?
Jiade Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/06/08
Posts: 13
Loc: Australia
Thanks Monica K.

I have a budget of roughly A$50k (~US$46.5k) and looking for something between 5ft6 to 6ft1. This is certainly not going to be the "Piano of my life".

Within that price range and within 4 hours driving distance, I can find and have looked at Yamaha up to C3s, Kawai up to RX3s, Bostons up to 178. I didn't like any of those.

At a lower price range (up to A$25k) I've looked at Yamaha GEs, the smaller Kawais, a George Steck, a bunch of Samick, Alex Bechstein, Beale, Kohler&Campbell, Knabe, Ritmuller, Niemeyer.

I have also looked at various used pianos of the size I want, but haven't found anything that I would want to buy.

That's pretty much all the brands I can find here locally, except perhaps Petrof which I haven't been able to find one to play on and I understand they start from at least A$50k.

You might think A$50k isn't a big budget to even warrant considering importing a piano from overseas. But being unable to find anything I like <$50k, the new Schimmels which are rare to find starting at A$74k for a 190, Steinway M at A$125k and C.Bechstein at similarly A$130k+, I wonder if I can find a mid-range piano that I actually like overseas when I go overseas for vacation next time, it might end up being a better deal subject to any relevant considerations against importing a piano. :rolleyes:

I am going to take however long it takes to find that that piano. I probably will go visit various dealers (not a lot out there) in another 6 months to see what's new on their showrooms. In the meantime, try to find-borrow-rent a grand to practice on
Current piano: Yamaha U1A (~25yrs)
Previously owned: Kawai GS-40
Currently playing:
Schubert - 'Wanderer' Fantasy, Hindemith - Sonata No.3, Bach-Busoni - Chaconne in D minor

#1643552 - 03/18/11 01:08 PM Re: Buying a piano from overseas? [Re: Jiade]
albynism Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 325
Hello, sorry for bumping this old thread back up. But I thought it's better put it in the same thread rather than create a new one.

Jiade: I am in the same situation as you. Did you buy a piano from overseas in the end?
Also what is the ballpark figure to ship a baby grand piano from the US to Australia? $1000? $2000, $5000???

And yes, why is that Steinway M cost $125K over here and in the blue book its around $50k??? does it make sense to buy it overseas, the shipping cost can't be more than $75k?

Thanks in advance for any advice anyone can give me.

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#1643588 - 03/18/11 02:35 PM Re: Buying a piano from overseas? [Re: Jiade]
Dave Horne Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5928
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Jiade, I sent you a PM.

website | mp3\wav files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones

#1880312 - 04/16/12 12:24 AM Re: Buying a piano from overseas? [Re: Dave Horne]
bone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 34
Hi, I am glad that I find this thread. I am in the same boat, as pianos in Japan are v. expensive. Could you tell me how much it cost you to ship your piano from overseas if bought it that way, and if you encountered any problems? Thanks.

#1880340 - 04/16/12 02:04 AM Re: Buying a piano from overseas? [Re: Jiade]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3489
Yes it's possible to do, and is sometimes much cheaper, even considering the shipping costs. Of course, there is risk with any piano move, and this is no different with an overseas move. If the piano in question contains ivory (or mammoth tusk) you need to follow protocol exactly, or face fines and possible forfeiture.

#1880450 - 04/16/12 10:01 AM Re: Buying a piano from overseas? [Re: Jiade]
PianoWorksATL Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 3323
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Shipping is expensive, but with exchange rates and markets the way they are right now, the US is pretty cheap compared to most of the world and on a higher dollar piano (< $40k) you may come out noticeably ahead. One thing to be aware of is that most manufacturers will only honor warranty to sale within the original territory, making any new piano carry essentially some of the same risks as used. You should factor in some additional prep for the piano even if it was fully prepped on a dealer's showroom elsewhere. Also, don't expect the local dealer to take your phone calls...line up your own technician in advance.
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
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#1880493 - 04/16/12 12:10 PM Re: Buying a piano from overseas? [Re: Jiade]
zerox61 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/12
Posts: 66

I had the same thought as you one month ago. I was looking for a new grand and my choices were mainly a: shigeru sk7, Yama C7 and Petrof Monsoon. The RRP for these piano are 115k, 79k and 140k respectively.

I can tell you that for these three brands, I could easily get the price around 80~90% off the SMP prices mentioned in pianobuyer. So buying overseas is not a smart move in my opinion and I think I'm lucky for being patient and negotiating with dealers and didn't shoot ahead and buy one overseas. (Im in australia too!) I am still in the dilemma stage of picking the piano. I am even considering a semi-rebuilt Yama CF (9") 1985 offered to me for $70k

Edited by zerox61 (04/16/12 12:11 PM)

#1880514 - 04/16/12 12:53 PM Re: Buying a piano from overseas? [Re: Jiade]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Why respond to Jiade? That person has not been active on this forum for four years.

Edited by Supply (04/16/12 12:55 PM)
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply

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#1880980 - 04/17/12 07:51 AM Re: Buying a piano from overseas? [Re: Jiade]
zerox61 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/12
Posts: 66
haha I didn't check that.


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