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Several recent threads mention the shortage of pianos available in the market right now. People are saying the shortage is due to increased demand and long restocking times. I stopped by Guitar Center the other day, and was surprised to see the shelves pretty bare, as you can see from the photos below.

I asked one of the sales guys about it, and he offered up the same rationales: most instruments are coming from overseas, and there’s a supply chain backlog. Factories had shut down due to Covid.

FWIW, GC just went through a chapter 11 reorg, and related reports say that it was the first part of the “Covid year” that sort of crushed them. Stores closed and they were unable to service a huge debt. But apparently there was an upturn later, as stores reopened and were able to service pent up demand. (At least that’s my one paragraph summary).


You can see the the shelves are pretty bare. The acoustic guitar room usually has upper, middle and lower rows full of guitars hanging on the walls, and also along the beams on the ceiling, but on this day it was probably not even at 1/4 capacity. The electric guitar wall also usually has three full rows, and was probably 2/3 empty.


Anyway, to keep this on a piano track, the keyboard room looked pretty normal, but I didn’t go in because I didn’t want to mess with all the sanitizing stuff, and I didn’t want anyone to have to clean up after me (I was there just to grab some guitar strings and a guitar stand). But I suspect they keep floor models out, and boxed keyboards in a store room (which, if it’s anything like the guitar displays, is probably nearly empty).



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I don't know about guitars but for pianos some of the shortage/wait is because some manufacturers reduced production when the pandemic began because they thought 2020 would be a lousy year for piano sales. They turned out to be wrong.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I don't know about guitars but for pianos some of the shortage/wait is because some manufacturers reduced production when the pandemic began because they thought 2020 would be a lousy year for piano sales. They turned out to be wrong.

That's framing it incorrectly. Every year since the 1920s had been a lousy year for piano. They thought this year was going to be lousier than a lousy year, it turned out slightly less lousy, but with the shipping constraints and 6-9 months port delays going forward, Still lousy. grin

Last edited by EinLudov; 04/12/21 08:10 PM.
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Originally Posted by EinLudov
That's framing it incorrectly. Every year since the 1920s had been a lousy year for piano. They thought this year was going to be lousier than a lousy year, it turned out slightly less lousy, but with the shipping constraints and 6-9 months port delays going forward, Still lousy. grin

So that period in the 80s when Yamaha was cranking out well over 200,000 pianos a year were what, exactly?


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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
So that period in the 80s when Yamaha was cranking out well over 200,000 pianos a year were what, exactly?

The fall of giants. Cinematically slow, but a scene of gruesome demise nonetheless. grin

Last edited by EinLudov; 04/12/21 08:28 PM.
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Guitar Center was saddled with debt when Bain Capital (Mitt Romney) took them over in 2007. They have never recovered.

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Originally Posted by EinLudov
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I don't know about guitars but for pianos some of the shortage/wait is because some manufacturers reduced production when the pandemic began because they thought 2020 would be a lousy year for piano sales. They turned out to be wrong.

That's framing it incorrectly. Every year since the 1920s had been a lousy year for piano. They thought this year was going to be lousier than a lousy year, it turned out slightly less lousy, but with the shipping constraints and 6-9 months port delays going forward, Still lousy. grin
What I wrote was based on a conversation with a major industry insider and his exact phrasing. And it definitely wasn't "slightly less lousy". 2020 was a significant improvement over 2019 and was industry wide. The OPs question was about why pianos seem scarce now and there is often a several month wait to get the piano you want. My reply gave one of the main reasons.

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Originally Posted by EinLudov
That's framing it incorrectly. Every year since the 1920s had been a lousy year for piano. They thought this year was going to be lousier than a lousy year, it turned out slightly less lousy, but with the shipping constraints and 6-9 months port delays going forward, Still lousy. grin

Piano sales remained strong right up until 1980. That’s when the trend changed. Look at the two graphs in this first post of this thread:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2347483/what-happened-in-1980.html


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