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I pretty much have my mind set on getting a Kawai grand, and wondering if ordering pianos directly from Kawai as a way to get them for a better price is something people do, instead of going through the dealer/distributor.

(Assuming prep and tuning by a private technician will still end up costing less than the dealer's margin).

Are such things done?

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Usually no, because they don't want to step on the toes of dealerships which are regional private franchises that assume the risk of their own inventory. Western piano market has crashed and it's accelerating. Here's hoping it does not turn into something like chess.

Last edited by EinLudov; 04/12/21 10:49 AM.
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No you can’t. Dealers have a contract with the manufacturer to be the lone retailer in their prescribed region. The only exception to this I ever seen is when a dealer goes bankrupt and remaining inventory is sold directly by the maker to the public. That’s how I bought my GB1K directly from Yamaha. Yamaha had to pay off the dealership bank loans.

From what I’ve heard the Yamaha dealer and my piano tech are having THE best year selling acoustics and back to back tuning appointments because of Covid. Everybody’s stuck at home by themselves.


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I've had a couple past students with Yamaha U1s that said they went thru a big box store in a group buy for a lower price. I was surprised to hear that. Wonder if they do grands. Not sure name of store, but like Sams club, Costco. Anyone ever hear of that?

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Originally Posted by joggerjazz
I've had a couple past students with Yamaha U1s that said they went thru a big box store in a group buy for a lower price. I was surprised to hear that. Wonder if they do grands. Not sure name of store, but like Sams club, Costco. Anyone ever hear of that?

In a different region from my area, I heard Costco was offering GB1K’s at typical member discount from the local Yamaha dealer. The dealer supplied inventory and delivery. I’m sure U1s would/could be sold by a discount Club.


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Originally Posted by EinLudov
Usually no, because they don't want to step on the toes of dealerships which are regional private franchises that assume the risk of their own inventory. Western piano market has crashed and it's accelerating. Here's hoping it does not turn into something like chess.
Both acoustic and digital piano sales increased very significantly in 2020 compared to 2019. Online highest level chess tournaments and online chess viewership also exploded in 2020.

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Originally Posted by j&j
No you can’t. Dealers have a contract with the manufacturer to be the lone retailer in their prescribed region.

I don't see how it can actually be like that because there are dealers who sell nationally, or even internationally (possibly not internationally for Kawai, I haven't checked that).

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Both acoustic and digital piano sales increased very significantly in 2020 compared to 2019. Online highest level chess tournaments and online chess viewership also exploded in 2020.

I'm on your side, I want this to be permanent, but evaluating why pianism has fallen out of popularity, those forces have not changed. Other entertainment products are cheaper, easier, more pleasure inducing.

It's similar to a market bull trap. What's likely to happen is, the dealer will load up on inventory, then the piano students quit after 1 or 2 years, the market is flooded with used inventory, and the dealer will face some steep interest charges from their bank. grin

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Thanks for clarifying

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Yes, I heard of group buy and you can haggle get more discount because of purchasing more instruments at one transaction. An experienced group buy person organizes this and the person will negotiate transact at a dealership and if the dealership agrees to the bid then the sale will push through.

I personally think if you're good in haggling /negotiating you can even beat the group buy price and that's what I did when I purchased my new Yamaha C3x. It just took me some time to do research and going to each dealer to see how competitive their pricing would be and negotiated from there. It's an extra work to do but I saved literally thousands and definitely happy with no regrets.


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I know that in the UK you can contact, for example, Kawai UK which is based in Milton Keynes, and/or Kawai Europe in Germany. They may allow you to go to a selection centre, but the actual sale will still go through an authorised dealer.

It's the same with other makes. You can call Steinway Hamburg and order a piano, but if the piano is going to the UK, they will sell the piano through London.

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The only exception that I'm aware of, and it's a "last I heard" sort of thing (although the source was reliable, and right here on PW), is that the Sauter factory has no distributor in North America and will sell directly to customers in that market.


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Originally Posted by EinLudov
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Both acoustic and digital piano sales increased very significantly in 2020 compared to 2019. Online highest level chess tournaments and online chess viewership also exploded in 2020.

I'm on your side, I want this to be permanent, but evaluating why pianism has fallen out of popularity, those forces have not changed. Other entertainment products are cheaper, easier, more pleasure inducing.

It's similar to a market bull trap. What's likely to happen is, the dealer will load up on inventory, then the piano students quit after 1 or 2 years, the market is flooded with used inventory, and the dealer will face some steep interest charges from their bank. grin
You said: " Western piano market has crashed and it's accelerating."

That's not factually true. There was an across the board significant increase in sales last year compared to 2019. And dealers have not been able to load up on inventory. In fact, the opposite is true because some major manufacturers thought 2020 was going to be a terrible year and reduced production.

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Have you played a new Kawai grand or are you buying it on its reputation alone?


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Last edited by marian91; 04/12/21 01:44 PM.
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
Have you played a new Kawai grand or are you buying it on its reputation alone?

Hi Steve,

It's somewhere in the middle.
I tried a GL40. Loved the action, tone was not quite refined enough. It was the closest thing the dealer had to a GX3 and in order to get to try one i'd have to travel abroad.
I know the GX line is supposed to be a little more refined, and the extra 8 centimetres of length should both contribute to that.
Also listened to some GX 2/3 sound samples on youtube.
I'm not 100% comfortable with ordering one blindly but since they are a production piano with a high degree of consistency, there would be less variability.

With the exception of Kawai, so far I did not like enough the action of other instruments that I have tried.

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Actually, it is quite easy to order a piano directly from the factory:

Become a dealer

Sign a dealer agreement with all that entails. Lease a space for the dealership. Purchase tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of inventory.

Hire the appropriate staff.

Etc etc etc

Easy.


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
You said: " Western piano market has crashed and it's accelerating."

That's not factually true. There was an across the board significant increase in sales last year compared to 2019. And dealers have not been able to load up on inventory. In fact, the opposite is true because some major manufacturers thought 2020 was going to be a terrible year and reduced production.

You are analyzing the wrong time frame. there was 100,000 sales as late as 2005, we were at 31,000 in 2019. An uptick for how long, and is it sustainable relative to the Other activities people spend money on.

The inventory issue is a blip relative to the general trend, as I've said in the other post, the underlying factors causing the decline in piano playing has not changed due to the pandemic.

Last edited by EinLudov; 04/12/21 02:01 PM.
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Originally Posted by EinLudov
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
You said: " Western piano market has crashed and it's accelerating."

That's not factually true. There was an across the board significant increase in sales last year compared to 2019. And dealers have not been able to load up on inventory. In fact, the opposite is true because some major manufacturers thought 2020 was going to be a terrible year and reduced production.

You are analyzing the wrong time frame. there was 100,000 sales as late as 2005, we were at 31,000 in 2019. An uptick for how long, and is it sustainable relative to the Other activities people spend money on.

The inventory issue is a blip relative to the general trend, as I've said in the other post, the underlying factors causing the decline in piano playing has not changed due to the pandemic.
I'm well aware of what you say in the first paragraph. But I can only go by what you said in your post not by what you might have been thinking about what time period to use vs. the time period I used. Neither time period is "wrong".

Your idea that dealers would load up on inventory either right now(not possible) or sometime in the future is speculation. And whether there will be a sustained uptick no one knows.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 04/12/21 02:37 PM.
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