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Grey Market Yamaha Pianos
By D. L. Bullock

Philip Jamison brought up gray market Yamahas, and I was wondering
whether you were talking about brand new gray market pianos or the
10-50 year old pianos made by Yamaha.  I had people refer to the older
ones as gray market.

We have sold many Japanese-market Yamahas and Kawais, but they are all
older pianos.  It seems there is a huge supply of used pianos in Japan,
because the Shinto religion that says that the spirit of the owner
remains in any object they owned.

This means all used pianos and trade-ins are haunted by ghosts.
That is also why you may go down any street on garbage day and find
perfectly good TV's, VCRs and computers sitting in the trash.  They
know they cannot sell these to junk shops because people usually do
not want all those ghosts in their house.  This idea is great for
manufacturers because they do not have to compete with last year's

The Yamahas we sold were excellent pianos.  Some needed the case
repaired extensively.  One of them had been in a nightclub and had
obviously been danced on regularly.  Many only needed extensive
clean-up inside because of some heating source that seemed to tarnish
all the nickel and plated parts.

The Japanese use tobacco extensively and there was also a coating of
tar on some pianos.  The lovely white pianos that Yamaha sells all
came in a butterscotch color.  We wondered why people liked this
butterscotch color so much but were told how to clean them up as they
had been white.  After clean-up they became a nice ivory color.  They
could not go back to the bright white again, however.  There were
several nice ones that were urn leg styling.  This is very close to
the styling of European grands over 100 years old.

We got to see how incredibly durable the older Yamaha pianos were.
I am not sure the new ones will last this well.  We had one from the
1940's with a gingerbread music rack that spelled out Yamaha.  It
needed restringing, but it turned out to be a nice piano.  Most of
them needed no restringing, though.  There are other brands of Japanese
pianos we got that are never seen in the states.  One good one was
Apollo.  How Japanese is that?

If you are talking about brand new gray market Yamahas, where do you
get them in the States?  Does anyone know of a good source for the used
ones?  My previous source raised prices so that they are no longer
economically viable to buy and fix-up any more.  They still sell for
the same price in this market but they now cost us much more.

D.L. Bullock
St. Louis

(Message sent Fri 15 Feb 2002, 16:21:19 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  Grey, Market, Pianos, Yamaha