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#624621 - 01/29/09 11:46 AM Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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Morodiene Offline
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Boynton Beach, FL
I had purchased a "gray market" Yamaha without realizing that there would be an issue with humidity (I live in WI, so winters are very dry). I wasn't even aware of such a thing as "gray market" at the time, all I knew it that it was refurbished. I was not able to return it to the dealer I purchased it from, and even had them try to sell it on consignment for me for a while with no luck.

So anyways, I have my piano tech tune it 3-4 times per year (this is my teaching instrument), but it seems I can never keep it humid enough in my studio. It's a wide open 1500 sq. foot space, and so when someone opens a door, in rushes cold, dry air. I get little clicks that happen on certain notes as a result of a loose screw, and certain other notes will not repeat, so if I play the note 4 times in a row, I'll get 2 to sound.

I've had a humidifier right under the piano that I keep running constantly, but it's not helping, and so I asked my tech to install the Dammp-Chaser unit to help.

Does anyone have any other suggestions on how to deal with this? Also, would it be rude to ask my tech how I could fix those little clicks and issue with non-repeating keys myself? It seems that the piano is good for about a few weeks after tuning, then they come back. It's very aggravating, and I can't have her coming every 3 weeks to fix this.


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#624622 - 01/29/09 12:06 PM Re: Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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Given your situation, I don't think it would be at all "out of line" for you to learn how to keep your piano functioning. It may be more than you really wanted to know, but this is your livelihood.

The Dampp-Chaser should help, especially with covers. Another, maybe more drastic, plan may be an airlock added to your studio door. That could be as ugly as you can put up with (poly "box" enclosing the door erected temporarily each winter), or as hoity-toity as you want to go (walnut panelled vestibule with leaded glass?).

Or, you can "donate" the beast, write it off (it IS your business), and get another. On this note, pianos are routinely taken as "trade-in" when you purchase a new one. I would have no further dealing with a store that would sell you something they wouldn't take back in trade. I don't care if I had to drive five-hundred miles to find another store...they'd never see another cent from me...


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#624623 - 01/29/09 12:11 PM Re: Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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I have a gray market Yamaha UX3 with a Dampp-Chaser that was installed the same day I received it. I live in the northeast and have forced hot-air heat, i.e., DRY. I haven't had any issues with the piano related to the humidity. Also, I honestly believe that much of the talk about gray market pianos is marketing hyperbole.

If this same piano were in Florida, would it still be a "bad, bad, bad" gray market piano?

The repetition issue is probably only peripherally related and is an issue that a qualified tech can look at and fix. Might I suggest trying a different technician as yours is in there 3-4X per year and you are still having trouble?

edit: I suspect the D-C works better on uprights than on grands (unless covers are used).

Good luck with your piano.

Meta

#624624 - 01/29/09 12:20 PM Re: Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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By covers do you mean the plastic underneath the whole thing? I think she will be putting that on there. I also have a cover on the piano itself at all times except once a month for a few hours for group lessons.


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#624625 - 01/29/09 12:23 PM Re: Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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Morodiene Offline
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JDelmore, There is a Yamaha dealer nearby that I would do business with (but not this other dealer!). Other teachers have had the same issue with this particular dealership, and so unfortunately we learn the hard way. You *do* get what you pay for! But that is true, I could trade it in, and perhaps I will do that, and get a new one instead. I may need a write-off again this year wink .


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#624626 - 01/29/09 12:28 PM Re: Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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JDelmore Offline
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You don't want plastic, you still want it to be able to "breathe". But it sounds like your tech is on top of it!

Ain't it grand to "need" a write-off???


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"There is always room above; there is only the ground below."....F.E. Morton (with props to Del F.)
#624627 - 01/29/09 01:07 PM Re: Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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Morodiene Offline
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Haha, that's only because of my husband's business doing so well! Mine is usually in the red to help counter that! Still, it is a blessing his business is doing well in this economy.

By the way, what piano would you recommend? If a Yamaha grand (mine is a C3), what model is comparable in size? Also, what should I expect to pay for something like that?


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#624628 - 01/29/09 03:47 PM Re: Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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Under cover (fabric) AND string cover (wool)

Both designed to keep the innards as stable as possible and allow the D/C unit the best chance of keeping up with the indoor humidity shifts.

Once it is stabilized, then have the tech adjust the action properly. It should stay put much longer. Depending on the use your piano gets, it may need more frequent action service. (think college pianos...)

Ron Koval

#624629 - 01/29/09 05:56 PM Re: Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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My experience here with grey market instruments is that the wooden rails shrink with the moisture loss and then the action screws usually strip out the hole. This requires a larger diameter (fatter) screw to be installed to hold the part in place. For this area, the “drying out” process has created problems of this type in many of the grey market products that have come to Vancouver.

But it also has created much more serious problems with broken sounding boards, loose tuning pins and cracking bridges. The grey market C3’s here are usually priced at 12-13K for my area…don’t know the pricing in your neck of the woods.

Also if you are playing a note 3-4 times and then you get two notes sounding it sounds like the whippen is swimming around under the hammer knuckle and then lifting two hammers simultaneously…just a guess on the last part. If the rails are aluminum, a larger screw will cut the threads as it goes in the first time. Sheet metal screws will work as a patch until you work out what it is you decide to do there…

Can’t help you with the new instrument pricing I am not involved in the new piano market…..

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#624630 - 01/29/09 05:59 PM Re: Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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Hmm, what type of fabric underneath? The last time my piano tech installed a Dampp-Chaser for me(which was oh, 8 years ago?) she used a heavy plastic underneath. Over the strings she suggested I buy some felt and cut it to size, which I did for that instrument. I teach a full studio on the piano, but no children play on it without my supervision. They know better than to "bang" on it! laugh


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#624631 - 01/29/09 07:22 PM Re: Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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D/C sells a cloth for the undercover...

It has been tested to breathe, so as to prevent mold, yet keep the environment as stable as possible. To me, it seems like a stretchy speaker cloth.

Ron Koval

#624632 - 01/30/09 10:48 AM Re: Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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Ah, I see. I'll give her a call and perhaps she can order the cloth to do with the humidifier unit. This particular tech doesn't use the humidifier portion anymore (only the heat bar) because she says too many people forget to keep the unit full of water and they don't move the pads, and that most people keep the humidity levels stable in their home so it's unnecessary. So perhaps it's best to be very clear as to what I want. This is my last-ditch effort to save this piano, but if it doesn't work, I'll trade in (and keep the Dampp-Chaser for the new one, of course!).


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#624633 - 01/31/09 03:32 AM Re: Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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Sounds like the butt plates need to be tightened. Takes about 10 minutes. I come across that problem even in my climate (Pacific NW) which is on the humid side.


Ryan Sowers,
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Olympia, WA
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#624634 - 01/31/09 03:42 AM Re: Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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Ry, can you tell me where I can find the butt plates on a C-3?
thumb laugh

#624635 - 01/31/09 08:55 AM Re: Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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A question - a dc (with covers) would undoubtedly be good for the soundboard, but do you feel that it would also help the action, which seems to be Morodiene's problem? I have heard conflicting views on this.

#624636 - 01/31/09 11:37 AM Re: Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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Quote
Originally posted by Supply:
Ry, can you tell me where I can find the butt plates on a C-3?
thumb laugh
Only true masters know where the butt plates are on C-3's.

Thanks for the correction Jurgen. I should be better about reading the entire thread! [Linked Image]


Ryan Sowers,
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Olympia, WA
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#624637 - 02/10/09 10:20 PM Re: Coping with a gray market Yamaha  
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Just a follow-up...
my Yamaha now has the DC installed since last Thursday. My tech did some things to help stop the clicking (caused by loose hammers or screws) and also the non-repeating notes, so I think that I can try a few things if they go out of whack again. Anyways, it has improved the issue with the piano dramatically. We also got hit with some warmer weather, and so the humidity went up, but even before that the piano was much more stable. Even with the adjustments she was making, they were very minute. So hopefully this was the solution! laugh


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