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Reliability, New and used
#3038224 10/22/20 07:34 AM
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What should I think about durability or maintenance of a decent (Yamaha/Kawai/Roland) digital piano or hybrid piano? Does hybrid/digital seem to differ in reliability? (Or do brands?....)

How should I weigh buying a new-ish model used (against buying unused), as it might have a history and lack the 10 or 5 or ? years' warranty? (Or are the warranties not limited to first purchaser? Do the warranties even seem to be useful?)

What might I anticipate of lifespan needing to do for repairs or maintenance or for keeping a good environment for a digital?

Thank you.

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Re: Reliability, New and used
winterflower #3038267 10/22/20 10:24 AM
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You'll likely get a variety of answers ... ranging from "my twenty-year-old piano hasn't needed any repairs at all" to "this piano broke down four times under warranty, but now the warranty is expired".

Lacking sufficient data for analysis I think I'd would not reach any conclusion.

Caveat: Certain models have exhibited problems seen by (and reported by) a number of people here. If you're interested in one of those models, the problems might be of some interest.
If you're not interested in those models, my earlier point hold. That is, don't reach large conclusions from small data.

Re: Reliability, New and used
winterflower #3038367 10/22/20 03:08 PM
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I have purchased “used” the Casio PX 310, Yamaha P 105, Casio PX 760, and my current Kawai VPC1. All have performed very well.

I would not buy Roland “used”, based on my limited experience. I bought a used Roland for my daughter. In a short while, the key counterweights started breaking, making it unplayable.

I took it apart and concluded it was purposely designed to fail. Each counterweight consisted of a plastic beam, approximately 7-8 inches long, 1/4” thick, and about 1” in height. At least 99% of its weight was provided by a 1 inch chunk of metal at the end of the lever opposite pivot point. So, the weight was out at the free end of a swinging lever.

The counterweight’s travel was limited by a hard stop. The lever swung upwards until the lever hit an immoveable piece of steel. Instead of locating the stop so that the weight would hit it, they instead had the steel stop hit the plastic beam inboard from the weight.

So, when the plastic beam crashed against the stop, there was no comparable device in the path of the weight to stop the weight. To make matters worse, the beam was severely narrowed down by at least half of its height at exactly the point where the stop hit it. This all but assured that the beam would eventually fail at the narrowed neck from the excessive force of that weight continuing to travel when the beam came to its abrupt halt.

There was not a single counterweight in the entire piano that was not completely or partly broken at that spot.

Lastly, no parts were available, no service was available. I came away with the impression that Roland was making pianos designed to fail and be thrown away after a handful of years.

My impressions of Casio, Yamaha, and Kawai are exactly the opposite. Designed to last for many years. I would stay away from used Rolands, and, not buy a new one if I needed a piano to last for more than a few years.

Last edited by Ralphiano; 10/22/20 03:10 PM.

Ralph

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Garritan CFX
Pianist since April, 2015
Re: Reliability, New and used
winterflower #3038381 10/22/20 04:02 PM
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Well, I guess Roland changed their mind as the more recent hammers don't break anymore.

(Of course if was never intentional. Just stupid design.)

Re: Reliability, New and used
winterflower #3038385 10/22/20 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by winterflower
What should I think about durability or maintenance of a decent (Yamaha/Kawai/Roland) digital piano or hybrid piano? Does hybrid/digital seem to differ in reliability? (Or do brands?....)

How should I weigh buying a new-ish model used (against buying unused), as it might have a history and lack the 10 or 5 or ? years' warranty? (Or are the warranties not limited to first purchaser? Do the warranties even seem to be useful?)

What might I anticipate of lifespan needing to do for repairs or maintenance or for keeping a good environment for a digital?

Thank you.

Digital pianos are quite like cars: they depreciate horribly, are produced via automated processes, and are now much more reliable than they were 20-30 years ago. I would anticipate at least a 10-15 year life span, with perishable part replacement costing you around £200 per decade (anecdotal).

My goal in both cars and digital pianos is to buy a fairly new unit (<3 years old if possible, certainly under 5 years old). One can inquire about whether it's been gigged with, what sort of home it's lived in (is the house a smokers property?), you can ask if they've ever had it fixed (always good to see if someone's honest, and reassuring if they are).

Nothing is better than a substantial test of a used instrument: make sure everything works, make sure the action is consistent across the 88 notes, know what functions to test in advance etc.

Bear in mind: often, if something is going to go wrong, it's likely to happen when the instrument is first used i.e., something escaped the attention of Quality Control, or, something damaged the instrument in transit. Therefore, if there is a good reason for someone selling an instrument, it's young etc., and it survives a full lengthy targeted test, then you've probably got a good deal.

On the other hand, it it looks in poor condition, has an uneven action, has issues with the damper, with the dynamic consistency etc., then you probably want to avoid.

I think if people felt confident that they would get a straight deal used, most people without a great disposable income would prefer used, as one doesn't lose anywhere near as much money on depreciation buying used.

For example:

An MP7 and now the MP7SE cost around £1300-1400 new.
I brought my MP7 (1 year old) for £750. I sold it for £700, 2 years later.
I brought my MP7SE (1 1/2 year old but hardly used) for £850.

One's losing £500 in the first year of ownership and taking the risk on the new instrument arriving broken.

I want to be cautious too though: I'm forming a relationship with the seller in advance by asking pertinent questions and getting to know a bit about them. I get a vibe for the seller and if it's a good one, I do my instrument research and ask to test with view to buying! I know what I'm doing in advance of testing an instrument. I'm not taking the wrong kind of chances/risks. Also, I'm aware I could lose out. When I test an instrument, even if I think it's going well, I go back to my list of things to test and make sure I get it all done.

Last edited by Doug M.; 10/22/20 04:20 PM.

Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7SE; Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000
Software: Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand: K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand

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