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A Conclusion Which Favors Yamaha

Posted: April 16, 2014 in Piano

A Conclusion Which Favors Yamaha

In an effort to reconcile the opposing understandings between Yamaha and importers of used Yamahas, I sought out a source that would better explain Yamaha’s argument in this debate. As it turned out, I was able to contact someone who has some pretty compelling information to add to the debate.

Seasoned for Destination

Where importers hold the view that humidity is similar in all parts of the world, and that it would be impossible to know whether a piano would be purchased by someone in a humid area vs a dry locale, my source reconciled this by revealing that Yamaha conducted studies that tracked the temperatures in homes – not localities. Pianos are, after all, placed in homes – not outside where they are exposed to the extreme weather of any particular area.

Yamaha’s research led them to discover that American homes, most often heated using central heating, are generally hotter than homes in Japan and Europe. This discovery was made in the 60s after Yamahas first pianos experienced problems in the U.S. The corrections were made by 1964, and have remained incorporated in the manufacturing process since then – no doubt they have refined and improved their approach many times too. This explanation places the emphasis on the variations in humidity levels in the homes, and provides a satisfactory reconciliation between the opposing views.

Gray Market

Yamaha Corporation of America bears no obligation to provide parts for pianos they did not import. If anything, the importers of used pianos bear that obligation. They would not have access to parts from Yamaha since by nature of their business, they are not the U.S. distributor of new pianos. Since there is no official and authorized distributor of used Yamaha pianos (sanctioned by Yamaha), Yamaha of Japan would have no business interest in providing parts to importers. Parts are available through piano supply houses, so I have to favor the importer’s arguments on this point.

Clearly, used Yamaha pianos were not intended to be sold in the U.S. But what happens to these pianos when they are brought here? I put that question to my source tonight. He explained that the variations in the “seasoning” process are small, but pianos that are placed in locales other than the intended destination do in fact go through changes. For instance, if someone owned a piano in Asia and relocated the instrument anywhere in the U.S., the piano would react to the change in humidity. There are many situations where that reaction may be greater or smaller. For instance, if an Asia family kept their home heated more along the lines of how they lived in Asia, then it seems reasonable to suggest that the reaction would be small.

The important point here is that once the change in the piano was realized, the piano would be quite fine in its new locale. Give two years for changes to be fully realized, and after that the cause for concern is greatly diminished. That raises the question: how severe might those changes be and what damage might be realized as a result of that change? On this, my source would only confirm that Yamaha Corporation of America receives many service inquiries from owners of imported Yamahas informing them of extreme changes in their pianos. Based on that information, it seems reasonable that Yamaha Corporation was factually correct to report the occurrence of extreme changes and damage. However, any damage that occurred may in fact not be related to humidity factors, and it seems likely that Yamaha would more likely field calls from piano owners that were desperate in their quest to find help. Conversely, piano owners who were satisfied with their used pianos would have no reason to contact Yamaha Corporation of America.

The reconciliation here is a bit easier to visualize. Two self-interested parties are basing their opinions on two completely different sets of experiences. Yamaha Corporation of America is going to hear more horror stories about the used Yamahas that suffered damage since being imported, and importers are going to base their opinions on the success stories that they uncover. As one dealer reported, “I do not receive any complaints about used Yamahas.” Maybe they called Yamaha Corporation of America instead.

In the first blog, I said that some used Yamaha pianos are very good pianos, and others are terrible pianos. It should be obvious to everyone that each competing interest is going to put his best foot forward, and that his competitor is going point to the failings of his adversary.

This suggests that each party to the dispute has a bit of truth to his argument. I suppose if I asked a Democrat to explain the political climate of the nation, it would not be in agreement with a Republican’s explanation. If perchance a Democrat intended to go to a Republican Convention, it would be wise to “season” one’s point of view based on the “destination”. It might also be argued that a Democrat was a “gray market” participant whose destination was never intended to be a Republican Convention.

Pardon the analogy, but I think it clarifies that people who have different experiences, values and attitudes, can in fact develop points of view that are so conflicted that each party would think the other is lying.

The lesson for consumers remains as it was. Consult a professional tuner/technician before you buy any used piano. The lesson for industry professionals will be left for them to discover. I am not in charge of teaching piano industry professionals, or creating marketing campaigns for Yamaha Corporation of America. My job is to serve my clients. Now that I have found a reconciliation between the several points of view, I feel better prepared to help my customers sort through the conflicting statements they might hear as they shop for a Yamaha piano.

 

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The Debate about Yamaha Pianos

In Nine Parts

Executive Summary

The debate about Yamaha pianos – the one which supports or denies Yamaha Corporation of America’s (YCA) claims about the quality of used Yamaha pianos that are imported into the U.S. for resale – has been waged within the piano industry at least since 1999 when Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) ran an advertisement in the Piano Technicians Journal which sought to cast doubt on the quality of legally imported used Yamaha pianos. [link]   Importers of pre-owned Yamaha pianos and those dealers who sold those pianos, answered swiftly but the accusations and claims made by YCA continue to be used by many authorized Yamaha piano dealers.

There are many claims that frame the debate, but the primary points of contention can be summarized as follows:

  1. Gray Market – In 1999 Yamaha Corporation of America associated legally-imported pre-owned Yamaha pianos with the name “gray market” pianos, not intended to be sold in the U.S. market. Wilton Sykes, and others, claimed that YCA was misusing the phrase “gray market” for no other reason than to cast doubt and suspicion on a competitive product, one which Yamaha of Japan manufacturers.
  2. Seasoned for Destination – YCA and Yamaha of Japan claim that the wood used in Yamaha pianos is “seasoned” (dried) to accommodate the differences in humidity that are suspected to exist in export “destinations”. The counter-arguments are numerous and persuasive.
  3. Quality, Warranty and Parts – YCA listed several problems that might occur in “gray market” Yamahas, announced they would not supply parts for these pianos, and reminded technicians that said pianos carry no warranty. Sykes answered that YCA’s warnings were nothing more than a scare tactic, that parts were readily available from piano supply houses, and that no manufacturer offers a warranty on any used piano, the exception being those few manufacturers who offered a transferrable warranty.

A Note for Non-musicians

If you are not a musician, or if you are a piano consumer – someone who is hoping to receive guidance on whether or not to purchase a new or used Yamaha, I will advise you as follows. The best course, one that eliminates risk for you, is to hire a piano technician to inspect any used piano you want to buy. This is the only way to guarantee that you are buying an instrument that does not have serious failings.

Executive Summary

While the material included in the untenable Yamaha debate is quite lengthy, the bottom line for customers is the same. Be careful. There are good used Yamahas out there, and there are also some terrible pianos out there. There are no published technical articles which confirm Yamaha of Japan’s manufacturing claims regarding the seasoning of woods for different export regions. The controversy therefore cannot be resolved. The purchase of any used piano however should raise a yellow flag of caution since that decision introduces an element of risk for the consumer. Common sense suggests that a consumer should not avoid used imported Yamaha pianos just because of the unfavorable opinion of a dealer of new Yamaha pianos. Conversely, you should not avoid buying a new piano simply because the price of a used imported Yamaha seems attractive.

If you have any doubts about your ability to make an informed choice in your selection of any used piano, consult with an independent professional tuner-technician.

This is the first in a series of blogs which presents documentation relevant to the discussion about the validity of the several claims offered by Yamaha Corporation of America in 1999. The links to all of the blog articles will appear at the bottom of each blog.

The Debate about Yamaha Pianos – Executive Summary

Part 1: Problem Statement

Part 2: Yamaha Corp. of America’s Advertisement

Part 3: Wilton H. Syckes’ Editorial Response

Part 4: A History Lesson, by Wilton Syckes

Part 5: Give Me a Break, by Wilton Syckes

Part 6: FAQS about Previously Owned Yamaha and Kawai Pianos, by Wilton Syckes

Part 7: Seasoned for Destination, by Tom Donahue

Part 8: Gray Market Yamaha Pianos – What is the Truth? By Craig Whitaker

Part 9: A Conclusion

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Part 1 – The Debate about Yamaha Pianos: Problem Statement

The Players – Yamaha

Yamaha of Japan and Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) are two different companies. The latter imports new pianos from Yamaha of Japan and manages the sales and distribution dealer network in the United States. Resellers of pianos (piano dealers) enter into agreements with YCA which entitles them to offer select Yamaha products to the U.S. public. Yamaha dealers make a significant financial investment in their piano inventory. They also support their selling effort through advertising and community support which directly increases Yamaha’s goodwill and brand awareness in the marketplace. YCA offers resellers a degree of territorial exclusivity. A dealer is permitted to sell only within a designated market. In general, you will find only one Yamaha piano dealer in each statistically significant market area (SSMA).

The Importers – Syckes Piano Imports, Inc. et.al.

The most famous importer was Wilton H. Syckes of Syckes Piano Imports. Mr. Syckes recently passed away at age 91. His reputation in the industry is impeccable. I include several documents which he authored that isolate and clarify the primary criticisms of the YCA campaign against legally imported pre-owned pianos.

Importers of pre-owned Yamaha and Kawai pianos operate legally in the United States. They purchase pre-owned pianos from brokers in Japan and other countries. Yamahas are most frequently offered for sale, but many other name brands can also be acquired through brokers. Brokers locate and buy used pianos throughout the world and sell them to importers of various countries. Importers operate as distributors in their respective country and sell individual pianos to piano dealers.

The Dealers – Authorized and Non-authorized

Dealers who are not authorized Yamaha resellers are approached by distributors of used Yamaha pianos. Some resellers of new Yamaha pianos also offer used Yamahas for sale.

Within the market of pianos, where there are buyers of new pianos, you will also find consumers who consider buying a used piano of the same brand name. In any given market area it is unlikely that you would find a seller of every brand of used pianos. For instance, your market may have a Baldwin dealer, but it is highly unlikely that you will find a dealer that offers a broad selection of used Baldwin pianos. The same could be said for every other brand of piano except for Yamaha. Yamaha is unique for one reason: they have made and sold so many pianos worldwide that a significant inventory of used Yamahas exists. Kawai pianos run a close second. Yamaha enjoys market dominance, but part of that distinction means that there are a lot of used Yamaha pianos in the world market. Yamaha is so large they end up competing against their own product. Few manufacturers can make that claim. Only Yamaha disparages its own product as part of a marketing strategy intended to increase the competitive position of new Yamaha products.

What Do Brokers Do?

A broker of Yamaha pianos acquires used pianos from many sources throughout the world. Most often these pianos are acquired from private owners. Pianos are also acquired from academic institutions that periodically replace their stock of pianos with new pianos. Even with my exposure to industry veterans, it is difficult for me to grasp the sheer number of used Yamahas that are in the world market. It must suffice for the reader to accept that there is a ready and constant supply of used Yamahas available for purchase by interested piano dealers. By comparison, the availability of other well-known brand name pianos is scarce. The only exception being pianos made by Kawai of Japan. There is a steady availability of imported Kawai pianos too. As it will be shown later, Kawai does not make an effort to discount the quality of its used pianos the way that Yamaha has done. Only Yamaha disparages its own product.

The Balance between Manufacturing and Distribution

It seems important to encourage the reader to consider what the national dealer network looks like. You can easily imagine one Yamaha dealer in every major market area. Also consider that Yamaha of Japan seeks to achieve a manufacturing schedule which produces new pianos at a constant rate, such that employees can be retained. It is not advisable to lay off skilled labor during slow periods of production. Consider also that the life of a piano nears 75 years. The introduction of new pianos into the world market must not too greatly exceed demand. If it did, production would slow and factory workers would work in an unstable and insecure environment.

Likewise, every effort is made by Yamaha distributors in every country that offers new Yamaha pianos, to ensure that every exclusive dealer has a recommended floor inventory of Yamaha products. With this information, you can consider the pace at which new Yamaha pianos are produced. Production stability would occur when the supply of one new piano would be offset by demand for one piano by a dealer. There are hundreds, perhaps several thousand, Yamaha dealers in the world, each dealer selling one piano at a time and eventually reordering a piano to replace the one that was sold. It is this selling activity which keeps the production facility stable.

Yamaha is unique however. They produce so many pianos that an added factor is present in the marketplace. Yamaha has an obvious need to sell new pianos, but because of the long life of the piano, a significant inventory of used Yamahas is present in the open market. Pricing of pianos varies greatly from country to country such that a used Yamaha purchased in one country could be exported to the U.S. for a good profit. In fact, that is the case.

Yamaha enjoys high brand recognition with U.S. consumers. Yamaha is a desirable piano to purchase. Piano consumers who shop for new Yamahas will invariably consider the purchase of a cheaper used Yamaha. Fortunately, there is a ready supply. There are also smaller piano dealers, (all of whom are not authorized to sell new Yamaha pianos), who recognize that they can make a good profit selling used Yamaha pianos. Those dealers have ready access to used Yamaha pianos through distributors who import Yamaha, Kawai and other brands of used pianos from brokers overseas, who in turn have acquired inventories of used pianos from all over the world.

Reactions by Interested Parties

It is important to note that all of the aforementioned parties in this debate are for-profit entities. Each acts on a profit motive. Each seeks to protect and further its interests. The statements and rebuttals, respectively, seek to appeal to the judgment of the buying public and professionals within the industry. With no trier of fact to establish the validity of any party’s claims, the jury in this matter is the consumer.

Of secondary import is to recognize that professionals in the industry, who are not engaged in a direct for-profit activity, may still find it necessary to be informed about the facts in this debate. To a very uncertain degree, the reputations, credibility and integrity of tuner-technicians, music teachers, administrators, and other industry professionals, depend on achieving and maintaining a necessary degree of intimacy with controversies in their relevant field of expertise.

Last, it is no secret that the business community can be divided between men and women who, on the one hand, view service to the public as a means to a profitable end, and on the other hand, view for-profit enterprises as a means to serve the needs of the public. The emphasis, if it is not clearly stated, focuses on either making money for its own sake, or first most being a responsible steward of the public’s interests and well-being. Like the late Wilton H. Syckes, I belong to the latter group. My only wish and hope is that my reputation bears out my claim, as Wilton Syckes’ does for his own lifelong activities.

During my forty years in the industry, I have no evidence or reason to suspect that this debate has done any damage to any party involved, or that either party has gained as much as a Roosevelt dime for its participation. The jury, being the public, only pays attention to the debate prior to shopping, and that period of time on average is two weeks. Each consumer acts to further his or her self-interest and never acquires the political power to compel either party to surrender its case against the other.

Divided Interests

As you might have already imagined, Yamaha dealers would prefer not to compete with dealers of used Yamahas within the same market area. Since a Yamaha dealer invests much capital in order to support and promote the Yamaha brand name, it can be very irritating to see a competitor capitalize on that investment simply because that dealer is offering used Yamahas.

As Yamaha achieved greater market share in the U.S., and with the advent of the import of pre-owned Yamahas beginning in 1984, authorized resellers of new Yamaha pianos would have increasingly made their objections known to Yamaha Corporation of America. They would have complained that sales of new Yamaha pianos were being too greatly affected by the increasing availability of imported used Yamahas. They also would have insisted that they could not reach their sales quotas imposed by Yamaha as long as there was a persistent competitor in the market capitalizing on the efforts of the authorized dealer.

The Marketing Strategy

The only marketing strategy that fits this situation – the one most likely to have been employed by Yamaha Corporation of America in a joint effort with Yamaha of Japan, was to create a perception of difference between new Yamaha pianos and imported used Yamahas. This strategy is called “product differentiation” in marketing circles. Simply put, it seeks to establish an easily perceived difference between two products in the eyes of potential consumers.

Also, the increase in supply of used Yamahas created an increase in need for serviceable parts for those pianos. Some of the models of pianos that were imported were never offered for sale in the U.S. The appearance of these pianos, and the increasing volume of used pianos, made it necessary for Yamaha Corporation of America to consider stocking parts for pianos they never sold! (Wilton Syckes argues convincingly to label this point as a ridiculous assertion.)

The influx of used imported Yamaha pianos disturbed the equilibrium from the factory to the sales floor. Dealers were upset. Used Yamahas threatened to alter supply and demand for new products in unpredictable ways. Something had to be done.

The First Shot Fired

As it appeared in Tech Gazette, a publication of Yamaha Corporation of America, copyrighted in 1989, and which was run as a paid advertisement in the Piano Technicians Journal in December of that year, Yamaha fired the first shot in an attempt to discount the value and legitimacy of legally imported used Yamaha pianos. In the next blog (Part 2), I will provide a photocopy and transcript of that advertisement for the reader’s critical review, followed by a transcription of the editorial reply published the following month in the same journal submitted by Wilton H. Syckes.

 

The Debate about Yamaha Pianos – Executive Summary

Part 1: Problem Statement

Part 2: Yamaha Corp. of America’s Advertisement

Part 3: Wilton H. Syckes’ Editorial Response

Part 4: A History Lesson, by Wilton Syckes

Part 5: Give Me a Break, by Wilton Syckes

Part 6: FAQS about Previously Owned Yamaha and Kawai Pianos, by Wilton Syckes

Part 7: Seasoned for Destination, by Tom Donahue

Part 8: Gray Market Yamaha Pianos – What is the Truth? By Craig Whitaker

Part 9: A Conclusion

 

 

 

[The following is the photo and text of the advertisement that appeared in the Piano Technicians Journal which publicly recorded Yamaha Corporation of America’s several claims against legally imported used Yamaha pianos.]

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Tech Gazette Yamaha

Gray Market Yamaha Pianos

By Bill Brandon, Yamaha Piano Service Manager

At Yamaha, we have always tried to provide quality service and part support for new and used Yamaha pianos which were originally manufactured for sale in this country. As you are probably aware, “gray market” (or pianos originally manufactured for sale in Japan) used Yamaha pianos are being brought into the United States by independent importers and sold to piano dealers across the country. These pianos have caused service support problems that Yamaha Corporation of America is not responsible for. As a result, Yamaha Piano Service will not provide service assistance or part support for these “gray market” pianos.

Service Assistance – To begin with, there is no “Yamaha “warranty of any kind on these “gray market” pianos. This is an important consideration because these well-used imported pianos were made for use in Japan – a much more humid environment than the average American home. As a result, these pianos may develop serious problems such as loose tuning pins, cracked soundboards and bridges. In addition, action problems such as warping, misalignment of parts, glue joint failures, sluggish response, and “sticking” key problems are also common.

In Piano Service, we know this to be the case because we receive numerous calls from customers and piano technicians reporting the above problems with “gray market” pianos.

Part Support – Yamaha makes different models of pianos for the many markets around the world. There are many models of Yamaha pianos that were sold in Japan that were never sold in North America. In the U.S., Piano Service does not have part information on these pianos and cannot order parts for these pianos from Japan.

When you call us for a service part, you will asked for the serial number of the piano. If this piano was headed for the North American market, we must decline taking the order.

Based on experience with pianos not seasoned for the North American market, we strongly discourage the purchase of these “gray market” pianos.

Our commitment at Yamaha Corporation of America is to provide the nest service and part support we can for our customers who have purchased pianos made for and sold in the United States, through our authorized Yamaha Piano Retailers.

 

The Debate about Yamaha Pianos – Executive Summary

Part 1: Problem Statement

Part 2: Yamaha Corp. of America’s Advertisement

Part 3: Wilton H. Syckes’ Editorial Response

Part 4: A History Lesson, by Wilton Syckes

Part 5: Give Me a Break, by Wilton Syckes

Part 6: FAQS about Previously Owned Yamaha and Kawai Pianos, by Wilton Syckes

Part 7: Seasoned for Destination, by Tom Donahue

Part 8: Gray Market Yamaha Pianos – What is the Truth? By Craig Whitaker

Part 9: A Conclusion

 

 

 

 

The following is Wilton H. Syckes’ editorial response to the claims of Yamaha Corporation of America  as they appeared in the September 1999 issue of the Piano Technicians Journal.

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Piano Technicians Journal – February 2000

Another View on Gray-Market Yamahas

I feel compelled to take exception to the remarks given by Bill Brandon of Yamaha Corporation of America, on the back cover of the September 1999 issue of the Piano Technicians Journal. I realize this is a “paid advertisement,” which naturally is not subject to the editor’s rejection. However, I feel you should know that much of what Mr. Brandon said is indeed false and extremely misleading. Please allow me to explain.

The opening word, “Gray Market Yamaha Pianos” is in itself completely untrue. Please open your dictionary and read the definition of “Gray Market” for yourself. You will, I’m sure, agree that pre-owned Yamaha (and other Japanese brands, as well) cannot, in any sense of the word, be categorized as “gray market.” My company, and I personally, enjoy a high degree of integrity and have an impeccable reputation throughout the piano industry. We buy on the open market in Japan and other countries.

Brandon equates “Gray Market” as being “pianos originally manufactured for sale in Japan” and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the folly of these words! We do not sell gray market goods, nor are we selling “bootleg pianos”. This accusation was made in a recent e-mail letter to one of my customers; then forwarded to me. The writer of those words is an executive of YCA! (Check out the definition of “bootleg” if you will.)

In the second paragraph the reader is led to believe that “serious problems may develop” with these pianos. This litany of “problems” is scary, to say the least, but the bad part of it is the admission that this great company is in the business of producing pianos that may possibly “fall apart!” I’m quite sure the President of Yamaha Japan (the parent company) is pulling his hair out, having read those comments. I think of the executives of Japanese companies (Sony, Toyota, etc.) who are serving a tour of duty in our country, and who, perhaps, bring along their Yamaha C-7 model Conservatory grand piano, only to be informed that all kinds of horrible things will happen to their treasured piano!

I wonder what kind of a take Yamaha competitors (Kawai, Steinway, Baldwin, Seiler, Schimmel, etc.) have on the admission of a highly respected technician, representing a most prestigious company, that a large number of pianos built by them will not hold up anywhere except in their own backyard. Mighty poor business if you ask me!

Bill goes on to say that “numerous calls” are received regarding problems being experienced with “gray market” pianos. Give me a break! Since 1984 I have been involved with the importation of literally thousands of used pianos from Japan, Germany, Holland, Korea, the Czech Republic, etc. The number of calls to my office with “serious” problems is minimal. Believe me, if someone, dealer or consumer, is experiencing even one of the terrible things alluded to, I would get a call. People don’t normally call the manufacturer with complaints – they contact the dealer or distributor who sold them the piano. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

I must continue with my rebuttal to the issue of “Part Support”. A wippen is a wippen; a string is a string; a hammer is a hammer; and on and on. I know of no single part in any Yamaha piano that cannot be replaced without a hassle, do you? The way I look at it, if Yamaha Corp. of America ignores legitimate requests for replacement parts, technicians should patronize Schaff Piano Supply Company for all their needs.

Finally, Mr. Brandon speaks of YCA’s “commitment to provide the best service and part support…pianos made for and sold in the United States…,” that’s all well and good, but how about all those fine Yamaha pianos residing in this country that were originally sold in other countries all around the world? Is it true that YCA will actually turn their backs on each and every piano not sold by a US dealer just for the sake of standing on some sort of ceremony? Alas!

Wilton H. Syckes

Syckes Piano Imports, Inc.

Phoenix, Arizona

 

The Debate about Yamaha Pianos – Executive Summary

Part 1: Problem Statement

Part 2: Yamaha Corp. of America’s Advertisement

Part 3: Wilton H. Syckes’ Editorial Response

Part 4: A History Lesson, by Wilton Syckes

Part 5: Give Me a Break, by Wilton Syckes

Part 6: FAQS about Previously Owned Yamaha and Kawai Pianos, by Wilton Syckes

Part 7: Seasoned for Destination, by Tom Donahue

Part 8: Gray Market Yamaha Pianos – What is the Truth? By Craig Whitaker

Part 9: A Conclusion

 

 

 

Part 4: A History Lesson

Posted: April 15, 2014 in Piano

The following “History Lesson” is from a handout intended to be presented to piano dealers who were prospects for used pianos. It is written by Wilton H. Syckes and gives an autobiographical summary of his career in the piano industry. You can view  Wilton Syckes where he gives an oral history of his career here: http://www.namm.org/library/oral-history/wilton-syckes

 

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Wilton H. Sykes

 

To all,

I am sad to inform you that Wilton Syckes passed away last Friday. [March 28, 2014]

Some of us old ‘vets’ knew Wilton and he was one of a kind and his only wish that all people, salespeople could have had the opportunity to talk with him.

Wilton once said he thought he may have sold more pianos than any other salesman in his lifetime.  As many of you know he was the person who saved and revived the NPTA.   I think he was so passionate because he cared about the little guy, out there on the road day in and day out, and that’s how he thought about himself, even though many in the industry looked up to him.  Without him we wouldn’t have an association.

Wilton was also a former president of the National Piano Traveler’s Association. The association provided its lifetime achievement award to Wilton in 2000.  His love and knowledge of the piano business was remarkable – a fact clear to all those lucky enough to have met him. He began his career with the Winter Piano Company and attended his first NAMM Show in 1950. Wilton didn’t miss a show until his retirement from the NPTA in 2008.

He will be missed.

Regards,

 

Dawn DeMars

Keyboard Concepts Store Manager, Agoura Hills

National Piano Traveler’s Association, Secretary-Treasurer http://pianotravelers.com/

National Piano Traveler’s Association Foundation, CFO

 

History Lesson

by Wilton Syckes

Once upon a time there was a piano traveler named Syckes. He was a right fair, hard-working salesman working the West Coast of the United States peddling, for the most part, a piano from East Germany called Zimmerman. His good buddy Ward Fulmer, co-owner of Performance Pianos of Houston (importer of the big Z) also brought in a few pre-owned YAMAHA and KAWAI grand pianos from Japan, which Wilt sold out California way. Business was real good with sales in his territory running well over a million dollars, a goodly amount coming from the used pianos.

Then lo and behold, some folks got together and tore down that big wall in Germany, freed the East Germans from Communist control, changing the system of government and the monetary system, which in turn ruined the great deal Syckes was enjoying with the Zimmerman line. With reunification came a total change in pricing of these nifty pianos resulting in an increase somewhere in the neighborhood of 300%. So much for the Syckes gravy train! He was now up that proverbial creek without a paddle!!

Not too long afterward, good friend Fulmer went to that big piano crate in the sky, but before departing he turned over the importation of used Japanese pianos to Wilt. No question about it, this was a turning point for him! The potential was great. Lots of business was out there waiting to be had, but it was, obviously, going to take s0ome strong financial backing.

Wilt turned to Perry and Gary Galati of North American Music and a joint venture was formed that became known as Syckes Piano Imports, Inc. The first twenty-foot container ordered by this new company left Japan bound for Los Angeles on June 14, 1992. It held 11 grand pianos, a mix of both YAMAHA and KAWAI including, believe it or not, a Concert Grand! In November the first uprights began arriving, but in limited quantities. Interestingly the price of a U-3 (Grade A) now is only $95 more than it was then! Being cost conscious, Syckes has always maintained the lowest possible prices.

Since that small, but auspicious beginning, business has been brisk with several thousand pianos having passed through U.S. Customs destined for piano dealers throughout the country. Sales of these pianos have not done an iota of harm to new piano sales; rather they have helped the bottom line of dealers selling them, while offering quality affordable pianos to the buying public. It is a fact, the very existence of many stores is directly related to the sales of used pianos from Syckes Piano Imports, Inc.

Of course, many competitors have appeared on the scene, coming and going with predictable regularity. It is true, the sincerest form of flattery is competition and while most feel their only way to survive is by cutting price, it should come as no surprise that SERVICE is in itself the BEST business practice! No one in this segment of the piano industry pays more attention to customers than Syckes, and the several independent piano travelers who call on and serve  many loyal dealers throughout the United States and Canada!

Selection and inspection of all pianos is supervised by Wilton Syckes, a piano industry veteran since 1950. His final pricing is based on the strict grading system he has developed. Should a problem of any kind arise after a piano is shipped, a prompt resolution is executed to the dealers complete and total satisfaction. No other importer in the business cares so much for its customers. With pride we call it

Guaranteed Landed Quality

That’s Our Motto – That’s Our Promise.

 

The Debate about Yamaha Pianos – Executive Summary

Part 1: Problem Statement

Part 2: Yamaha Corp. of America’s Advertisement

Part 3: Wilton H. Syckes’ Editorial Response

Part 4: A History Lesson, by Wilton Syckes

Part 5: Give Me a Break, by Wilton Syckes

Part 6: FAQS about Previously Owned Yamaha and Kawai Pianos, by Wilton Syckes

Part 7: Seasoned for Destination, by Tom Donahue

Part 8: Gray Market Yamaha Pianos – What is the Truth? By Craig Whitaker

Part 9: A Conclusion

 

 

 

Part 5: Give Me a Break

Posted: April 15, 2014 in Piano

Give Me a Break

By Wilton Syckes

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Wilton H. Syckes

You know it’s really getting silly; this constant barrage of misinformation being disseminated from various sources regarding the problems purchasers of used Yamaha pianos are destined to expect. And it never ceases to amaze me how gullible some people are; especially intelligent and respected piano dealers. There are even some tuner-technicians who, misguided or not, seem to delight in telling prospective customers all about the potential disaster they can expect if they buy a pre-owned Yamaha, i.e. one not originally shipped to the United States. And, worse, some of them spout off to owners of these fine instruments with the same drivel. You know the story: Gray market Pianos, Bootleg Pianos, Cabinet Parts Warping, Loose Tuning Pins, Cracked Soundboards, Glue Joint Failures, Sluggish Response, Sticking Keys, and best of all NO PARTS ARE AVAILABLE IN THIS COUNTRY!

One of the most ludicrous statements ever to come out of the Yamaha headquarters in Buena Park, California arrived via e-mail from a Piano Support Specialist (name withheld because I do not want to embarrass him!). I quote, “You are buying the same quality instrument as if you would have purchased a legitimate, U.S.-destined Kawai or Yamaha”. Wow, that’s really criticizing the parent company, isn’t it!

If you haven’t seen the September 1999 issue of the Piano Technicians Journal, read on – a copy of the Yamaha advertisement on the back cover and my “Letter to the Editor”. How stupid to come right out in print, in a public forum and knock your own company’s product. Boy, I wonder how an executive of Toyota, Sony, or Honda – assigned to a tour of duty in the States; who brings along his precious C-3 Conservatory Model feels when he hears that his beloved piano is apt to fall apart in his living room! I’d be a mite “you-know-what” off if it were I!

Which brings me to the NO PARTS AVAILABLE statement. To me a string is a string, a wippen is a wippen, a center pin is a center pin, a damper lever is a damper lever, a pedal is a pedal – on infinitum! Having the gall to tell a dealer or technician who asks for a specific part, “We must decline to take the order” borders on complete insanity!

To combat this asinine comment, I suggest you refrain from calling YCA for a part, only to be embarrassed by their refusal to assist you. Instead, contact Schaff Piano supply Co. They stock all genuine Yamaha parts and accessories. Perhaps you should spend five bucks and get a Schaff catalog where you will find eight pages of parts shipped direct from Hamamatsu, Japan.

Wilton H. Syckes

[Ed. Note: Yamaha Corp. of America (YCA) will not fulfill orders of parts for Yamaha pianos they did not distribute in the U.S. Tuner/technicians typically secure the serial number of a YCA piano and use it to order parts for legally imported Yamaha pianos. Parts for imported used pianos are interchangeable and can be acquired by tuner/technicians. YCA’s policy creates this inconvenience for tuner/technicians in order to maintain their competitive stance towards imported used Yamahas.]

 

The Debate about Yamaha Pianos – Executive Summary

Part 1: Problem Statement

Part 2: Yamaha Corp. of America’s Advertisement

Part 3: Wilton H. Syckes’ Editorial Response

Part 4: A History Lesson, by Wilton Syckes

Part 5: Give Me a Break, by Wilton Syckes

Part 6: FAQS about Previously Owned Yamaha and Kawai Pianos, by Wilton Syckes

Part 7: Seasoned for Destination, by Tom Donahue

Part 8: Gray Market Yamaha Pianos – What is the Truth? By Craig Whitaker

Part 9: A Conclusion

 

 

 

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[The following is the text of a handout written by Wilton Syckes intended to answer concerns raised by prospective used piano customers.]

Questions and Answers

About

Previously Owned

Yamaha and Kawai Pianos

Seasoned for World-Wide Destination

Question: Where are these pre-owned pianos built?

Answer: Each and every piano we import was built ONLY IN JAPAN! Contrary to some crazy rumors, they were NOT made in Taiwan, China, Korea, or elsewhere in Asia.

Question: Where in Japan do we obtain these used pianos?

Answer: Hither and Yon! Everywhere! Our Japanese associates constantly search the country for pianos that meet OUR specifications for the various grades we have established.

Question: These pianos, having been manufactured IN JAPAN, won’t they develop physical problems when brought to the United States?

Answer: Emphatically NO! Neither Yamaha nor Kawai ever ran two production lines. The pianos they have built are ALL THE SAME, and have been shipped to every corner of the world. Serial numbers are in consecutive order, no matter to what country the piano was sent. Parts for the piano WE import are interchangeable with those sold by YAMAHA CORPORATION OF AMERICA, based in Buena Park, California.

Question: Didn’t YCM have some dryness problems with cases and pin-blocks when they first imported pianos from their Japanese factory?

Answer: Yes, but only in the very first shipments. Within the first few months production changes were made to avoid future problems. You should know that we DO NOT import YAMAHA pianos made in the early 1960s, except as Grade J. [Ed Note: Grade J is “Junk” pianos, the worst grade possible.]

Question: Aren’t the climatic conditions in the United States different from those in Japan? If so, isn’t it possible for these pianos to “fall apart” in this country?

Answer: The United States runs the gamut of weather conditions throughout the world! Nowhere is there such diverse climatic variations as in this country.

Question: YAMAHA CORP. OF AMERICA refers to these pianos as GRAY MARKET, being distributed by “non-authorized wholesalers representing the pianos to be of a similar quality as regular YAMAHA instruments”. How do you respond?

Answer: Webster defines Gray market as “A place of system for selling scarce goods secretly above prevailing prices, a practice co0nsidered unethical although legal”. It must be quite obvious, SYCKES PIANO IMPORTS is NOT selling GRAY MARKET goods, nor do we operate in an unethical manner!

Question: Please explain “Seasoned for Destination”. How does it relate to the pre-owned pianos imported by SYCKES PIANO IMPORTS?

Answer: In the United States every conceivable climatic condition can be found, from the high humidity of Miami and Houston to the dry cities of Phoenix and Denver. San Diego is totally different from Akron; Boston vs. Minneapolis, etc. etc. You will find our pianos in virtually EVERY city in the country, serving the purpose they were purchased for! It is ludicrous to even suggest that ANY piano manufacturer can “season or destination” and by so doing “determine the moisture content of the wood for the market for which it is destined”, as recently stated by a YAMAHA (of America) executive!

Question: Are used KAWAI or YAMAHA pianos imported here by their American affiliates?

Answer: Definitely yes for Kawai; POSSIBLY (but we have no proof) for Yamaha. One would suspect a double set of standards, wouldn’t one!

Question: What warranty backing can be expected?

Answer: Used piano warranties are the responsibility of the selling dealer. As a general rule, manufacturers do not provide warranties except for the ORIGINAL customer.

Question: What’s the scoop on the fact that many Yamaha and Kawai grand pianos have only two pedals? Does this indicate the piano is, indeed, a Gray market piano?

Answer: No, No, No! Two pedal grands were, since Cristofori days, the choice of piano builders throughout the entire world, except in this country where people insisted on having a middle pedal. Probably only ONE out of ONE HUNDRED have any idea what this pedal does, let alone even know how to spell the word SOSTENUTO.

Question: When did the Japanese Yamaha and Kawai factories decide to discontinue product pianos with only two pedals?

Answer: Kawai, in about 1973 saw the light; YAMAHA, not until about ten years later. Both companies informed their world-wide customers that, in the interest of more efficient production ALL grand pianos would have THREE pedals; thus a large cost savings!

Comment: Victor Borges, world-famous pianist and entertainer, has said over and over again, “THE MIDDLE PEDAL SIMPLY SEPARATES THE LEFT FROM THE RIGHT”!

Question: What about a crack in a soundboard? Does it affect tonal quality?

Answer: Most likely many, if not most used grand pianos have at least one or more cracks in the soundboard. This is especially true in more expensive instruments, those that use the better grades of Sitka, Adirondack or European solid spruce. Provided the crown of the soundboard remain intact, the odds of tonal change is highly unlikely.

Question: How do you define, and/or establish that a true crack exists in a piano?

Answer: Such a crack will be one that is open to the eye. From the top clean through the board. If this is the case, either a business card can be slid through or light from a flashlight can be seen from bottom to top. Most “cracks” are totally harmless!

Comment: Do not confuse a so called crack with a minor seal separation; or a pressure ridge known in the trade as a menori (a Japanese term). The latter two conditions are quite common, having absolutely no adverse effect, other than COSMETIC! Please note that SEAMS ACT AS EXPANSION JOINTS, thus allowing for very slight openings to appear under extreme dry periods, no matter where the piano may be in use. When the humidity level increases, these insignificant openings will disappear!

Question: Explain your grading system. Is it the same used by other piano importers?

Answer: We are protective of our grading system! Pianos sold by us adhere to very strict standards in Grades established by Wilton Sykes, of Sykes Piano Imports.

As “A” grade piano, be it upright or grand, is, for all intents and purpose ready for the dealer’s floor, with only slight preparation necessary.

A minus (A-) and B plus (B+) will show some wear; perhaps have a pressure ridge and maybe a slight finish blemish, but for the most part a great piano, easy to sell!

B grade pianos are simply excellent used pianos, the kind you once in a while run into in your home town. Imperfections such as case blemishes, minor finish fissures, soundboard “memories”; hardware needing polished – all possibilities, but not all in each piano! Should minor corrosion appear on treble wire strings, it can be easily removed with a SCOTCHBRITE brand pad. No residue will be left on strings or soundboard.

Comment: Our grading system is unlike any other in the industry. We purchase our pianos on the open market in Japan and pay according to our supplier’s grading system. Each piano is personally inspected at our warehouses; then assigned a NEW grade by Mr. Syckes. The piano MUST meet his exacting grade requirements before it is shipped to a dealer.

Question: Please provide more information about late model three-pedal grand pianos.

Answer: They are in very short supply, especially YAMAHA, but those we offer are just like new, and for the most part come from prestigious music conservatories and universities. Unlike in America, pianos are extremely well cared for in any and all public places. We could easily grade them as A plus (A+) because that’s the quality you will receive!

Question: Why should YOU sell a used YAMAHA OR KAWAI?

Answer: Profit is the best reason, or course! And, notwithstanding, the satisfaction of giving your customer a piano of high quality at an attractive price. Interestingly enough are the large number of well-known YAMAHA (new) dealers who buy ONLY from us!

Question: Why should YOUR customers buy a used piano? In particular, what makes one imported by SYCKES PIANO IMPORTS the best selection?

Answer: The prices of all new Japanese (and Korean) pianos have skyrocketed. It seems the manufacturers can think only one way regarding pricing – and that is always UP! So saving money for your customers is the right way to go, and when you sell only pianos imported by SYCKES PIANO IMPORTS, you are selling the very best. There are other “Johnny-Come-Lately” outfits asking for your business, but SYCKES has the reputation for honesty, credibility, and integrity others envy. Wilton Syckes has been in the piano business since 1950, and has been selling pre-owned YAMAHA and KAWAI grand and upright pianos to discriminating merchants since 1984. You will be buying with complete confidence when you place your order with one of his several representatives, or directly from him. Don’t wait; start making PROFITS today!

Guaranteed Landed Quality

That’s Our Motto – That’s Our Promise

 

The Debate about Yamaha Pianos – Executive Summary

Part 1: Problem Statement

Part 2: Yamaha Corp. of America’s Advertisement

Part 3: Wilton H. Syckes’ Editorial Response

Part 4: A History Lesson, by Wilton Syckes

Part 5: Give Me a Break, by Wilton Syckes

Part 6: FAQS about Previously Owned Yamaha and Kawai Pianos, by Wilton Syckes

Part 7: Seasoned for Destination, by Tom Donahue

Part 8: Gray Market Yamaha Pianos – What is the Truth? By Craig Whitaker

Part 9: A Conclusion

 

 

 

Part 7: Seasoned for Destination

Posted: April 15, 2014 in Piano

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[The following is the text of a handout written for prospective dealers of legally imported used Yamaha pianos. The author is Tom Donahue, who at the time of the writing, was an independent piano traveler who sold pianos in the Midwest and North Central U.S. offered by several distributors including Syckes Piano Imports.]

Yamaha Says

Seasoned for Destination

If you choose to believe that statement

I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn for sale!

Consider this, my friends

As reported by

Tom Donahue

In his own words

 

You may know me as Tom, short for Thomas. And just like Thomas of Biblical fame, I have my doubts. You could even say that I am downright cynical! I have always doubted the spoken and printed word, not to mention “unimpeachable sources and unquestionable expertise”.

Today my cynical eye is turned toward the manufacturers of the products that we sell as “used”. Now, factory people can’t say, “Oh, those pianos are junk and will fall apart, although they would like to. After all, they are trying to sell the same product as if it will last beyond the next millennium. This puts them in a different position, and this is where my doubt begins. The manufacturer tells us the product we are selling was not designed for this climate, “Seasoned for Destination”, if you will.

I DOUBT IT

CHECK Yamaha’s website if you’re into surfing, and you will read this:

“Yamaha specifically season their pianos for the U.S. market. The tuning stability, finish and overall musical integrity are enhanced over the long life expected of a fine piano.”

First, I went to my trusty atlas and found that the northernmost point in Japan (more than 45 degrees North latitude) is about the same as Minneapolis. Their answer, “Yes, but the ocean keeps Japan warmer.” Ok. How about Portland, Oregon? Same!

But, I want to give them a fair chance to state their case. So, let’s look south. Their southernmost major island extends to about 31 degrees North latitude, roughly the same as Austin, Texas and Mobile, Alabama. There are small Japanese islands that extend almost to the 26th parallel; that would be equivalent to Miami, Florida. Do I buy their explanation?

I DOUBT IT

This was just a comparison of the United States and Japan; it does not take into account situations like the dampness of Europe or the dryness of Central Australia. If I was told that these pianos were designed to function on the Earth, but not the Moon, I would believe it. One-sixth the gravity would make for a slower return on the key and hammer! Japan is renowned for their technical advances but keeping an inventory for climate needs like “hot-dry, hot-humid, tropical, moderate, cold-wet, cold-dry” etc., etc., ad infinitum would be a monumental tasks. Do they do it?

I DOUBT IT

I still have many other doubts. What parts are different? When do they determine where the piano is going? What controls do they have so that a part doesn’t end up on the wrong piano? I could list a whole bunch of questions, but in the interest of brevity, offer an amusing anecdote instead:

It’s Monday morning and the worker in charge is taking the soundboard out of the drying kilns, and he drops one! It breaks into a hundred pieces, so he sweeps it up and takes the next board to be installed. Somewhere along the line, a piano going to Mexico City gets a soundboard for Detroit. If they don’t catch the mistake, the New Orleans piano gets the Anchorage board. And on and on!

Sound preposterous? To avoid this scenario, they could put a serial number on the board like Steinway does. Even Schulze Pollman puts a serial number on each board, and these are in the same price range as the Japanese product. But really, do they know or care what goes where?

I DOUBT IT

Gee, maybe it’s the maple that is different? Don’t they buy it from the U.S. or Canada “Maple Leaf?” I have never heard of the great maple and spruce forests of Japan!

If you’re confused by all the double-talk and gobbledygook as I am, let’s help each other. Go ahead, be brave, [and] ask a representative of one of these grandiose Japanese companies to clarify some of our questions. They should be happy to cooperate!

I DOUBT IT

P.S. Every time I hear a salesman say the phrase “Grey market” (even the spelling they use is incorrect; check Webster), I usually say, “I see your rep has been here recently.” Those fine gentlemen who represent Yamaha or Kawai can call it anything they want, but for the progressive dealer buying our product, it’s a “Green Market”. Will others catch on?

I DOUBT IT

Note form Wilton Syckes: Tom Donahue is an independent piano traveler, representing many fine piano lines to profit-minded dealers in the Midwest and North Central U.S. His years of experience and his knowledge of the world’s piano industry truly shine forth in his erudite comments above! The simple fact is that each and every Yamaha and Kawai piano that comes off the assembly line in Hamamatsu, Japan is built to the same exacting specifications. They are shipped in sequential serial number order to the company headquarters in the country from whence came the order. Let it be perfectly clear, all of these pianos are created equal! That holds true whether the piano is new or used. Why the truth is distorted by so many is a total mystery. It only confuses the buying public and casts doubt on the veracity of these two fine manufacturers of world class pianos.

 

The Debate about Yamaha Pianos – Executive Summary

Part 1: Problem Statement

Part 2: Yamaha Corp. of America’s Advertisement

Part 3: Wilton H. Syckes’ Editorial Response

Part 4: A History Lesson, by Wilton Syckes

Part 5: Give Me a Break, by Wilton Syckes

Part 6: FAQS about Previously Owned Yamaha and Kawai Pianos, by Wilton Syckes

Part 7: Seasoned for Destination, by Tom Donahue

Part 8: Gray Market Yamaha Pianos – What is the Truth? By Craig Whitaker

Part 9: A Conclusion

 

 

 

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[The following is from a handout published by Craig Whitaker which was used as a handout to prospective customers of Syckes Piano Imports.]

 

Gray Market Yamaha Pianos – What is the Truth?

A 10-point summary and analysis of published views of

Mr. Bill Brandon, Yamaha National Service Manager,

Mr. Wilton Syckes, Syckes Piano Imports, Inc.

By: Mr. Craig Whitaker, owner of Craig’s Pianos

1.)    Mr. Brandon – a Gray Market piano (GMP) is one originally manufactured for sale in Japan.

Mr. Syckes – Pre-owned Yamaha pianos, purchased on the open market in Japan and other countries, cannot in any sense of the word, be categorized as “gray market”. Imported, pre-owned Yamaha pianos are not “gray market” (goods).

Mr. Whitaker – If black-market merchandise is sold illegally, then white market (if this term even exists) merchandise is sold legally. The definition of gray market, applied to Mr. Brandon’s [reference] to pre-owned imported Yamaha pianos, is an attempt to cast doubt and suspicion on the legal buying and selling [of] used Yamaha s on the open world market.

2.)    Mr. Brandon – Yamaha Corporation of America (Yamaha U.S.) is not responsible for any service support problems on GMPs.

Mr. Whitaker – If one were to experience a service related problem with an imported, used, German-made Steinway, the Steinway makers in New York, also not responsible for service support on this instrument, nevertheless would offer whatever help or advice they could – if for no other reason than to maintain their reputation for building the world’s finest piano.

3.)    Mr. Brandon – there is no Yamaha warranty on GMPs

Mr. Whitaker – to my knowledge, the warranty on a new Yamaha piano is not transferable to any subsequent owner. There is no warranty on a used Yamaha anyway. The point is moot!

4.)    Mr. Brandon – GMP’s were made for use in Japan where that country’s environment is more humid than the average American home.

Mr. Whitaker – Japan’s climate is not much different from that found in the U.S.

“…the weather (in Japan) is most temperate, with four seasons. Winters are cool and sunny in the south, cold and sunny around Tokyo (which occasionally has snow) and very cold around Hokkaido, which is covered in snow for up to four months a year. Summer, between June and September ranges from warm to very hot, while spring and autumn are generally mild throughout the country.” (Source: www,worldtravelguide.com)

Centrally located Tokyo is found between the 35th and 40th parallel, as is Los Angeles and the state of Tennessee. Japan’s entire land mass could be situated easily within the northern and southern borders of the U.S. Any Yamaha piano built for Japan’s climate would find the climate in the U.S. very familiar and friendly. This notwithstanding, the use of central (humidified) heat and air conditioning found in most U.S. homes, along with the optional use of in-piano humidity control systems, eliminates any concern about latent adverse effects on pianos arising from differences (if any) in climates between the two countries.

5.)    Mr. Brandon – GMPs may (emphasis mine) develop serious problems, such as loose tuning pins, cracked soundboards and bridges, warping and misalignment of parts, glue joints failures, sluggish response and sticking keys.

Mr. Syckes – “While this litany of ‘problems’ is scary…the bad part of it is the admission that (Yamaha-Japan) is in the business of producing pianos that may possibly “fall apart” and that a large number of pianos built by Japan will not hold up anywhere except in their own backyard.”

Mr. Whitaker – Of course, we know that Yamaha is not in the business of producing pianos that may possibly “fall apart”. However, these problems will occur in any piano that is located in an environment having extremes in relative humanity. Pre-owned imported Yamahas are no more or no less immune to these problems than any other piano.

6.)    Mr. Brandon – Yamaha U.S. receives numerous calls from customers and piano technicians reporting serious problems with GMPs.

Mr. Syckes – “Since 1984 I have been involved with the importation of thousands of used pianos from Japan….”

Mr. Whitaker – At present, I only sell A-grade pre-owned Yamaha pianos. I have encountered very few of the above mentioned problems.

7.)    Mr. Brandon – Yamaha makes different models of pianos for different world markets. There are models of Yamaha pianos sold in Japan that Yamaha U.S. has no parts information on and for which they cannot order parts from Japan.

Mr. Syckes – “I know of no single part in any Yamaha piano that cannot be replaced without a hassle.”

Mr. Whitaker – Parts are not a problem. I have two or three piano parts suppliers that regularly stock Yamaha parts.

8.)    Mr. Brandon – If it is determined that your used piano was not made for the North American market, Yamaha U.S. will decline taking a parts order.

Mr. Syckes “If Yamaha ignores legitimate requests for replacement parts, technicians should patronize (parts supply houses) for all their needs.”

9.)    Mr. Brandon – Yamaha U.S. wants to provide the nest service and parts support for pianos made for and sold in the U.S. through its authorized dealer network.

Mr. Syckes – “All is well and good, but how about all those fine Yamaha pianos residing in this country that were originally sold in other countries all around the world? Is it true that Yamaha U.S. will actually turn their back on each and every piano not sold by a U.S. dealer just for the sake of standing on ceremony?”

10.)Mr. Brandon – Based on Yamaha U.S.’s experience with pianos not seasoned for the North American market, we strongly discourage the purchase of GMPs.

Mr. Whitaker – Yamaha U.S. would prefer that you purchase a new piano from one of their dealers! Pre-owned Yamaha pianos now compete with new Yamahas for the same buyer. Yamaha dealers are losing too many new piano sales to other legitimate piano dealers who sell pre-owned, imported Yamaha pianos.

 

The Debate about Yamaha Pianos – Executive Summary

Part 1: Problem Statement

Part 2: Yamaha Corp. of America’s Advertisement

Part 3: Wilton H. Syckes’ Editorial Response

Part 4: A History Lesson, by Wilton Syckes

Part 5: Give Me a Break, by Wilton Syckes

Part 6: FAQS about Previously Owned Yamaha and Kawai Pianos, by Wilton Syckes

Part 7: Seasoned for Destination, by Tom Donahue

Part 8: Gray Market Yamaha Pianos – What is the Truth? By Craig Whitaker

Part 9: A Conclusion