Give Me a Break
By Wilton 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.]
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