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What's the Deal with Grey Market Yamaha Piano?

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What is Grey Market and Why Should I buy One?


We sell 100s of Yamaha Pianos a year, to all parts of the country, many of them sold online just on the reputation of the U1, which is no doubt the unquestionable giant in the Upright piano market. But we still get one question asked by many. Based on 35+ years in business and the opinion of countless clients, technicians, and specialists, i will attempt to answer this below: 


Grey market pianos are simply used pianos that have been completely restored in Japan with original Yamaha parts then shipped and sold through third parties all over the world.(Source: Yamaha USA)

The "Grey Market" label is simply a marketing ploy created by Yamaha to steer customers into buying their newer Piano lines or their new pianos, which can contain cheaper materials due to new factory locations.

It is the opinion of musicians for nearly 5 decades, that original Japanese Yamaha pianos are some of the best made. Furthermore the pianos made in japan have had a temperate life in a northern climate, the majority of these are well kept and protected inside homes, schools, studios and halls.

Picture: A rare Yamaha U5, note the completely new rebuilt Yamaha action. We are one of the few dealers to restore these amazing uprights.

The main reason we restore these pianos in particular, is the quality of tone you get from an aged soundboard. Much like an aged violin, the more mature the wood in the piano, the more it vibrates, and the better sound you get since every string transmits its vibration throughout the case and soundboard. 

A new piano, will have a fresh cut of wood that can be stiff, limiting the range of overtones and cutting the richness from the sound. This is the reason many new pianos have a brighter tone. 

Note the rich color in the soundboard and posts below. 

Since we restored in Japan, original parts are much easier to acquire and rebuild. The pianos are given the extra work to be fully refinished and even custom finishes or work can be done in our Queens shop.

A custom Mahogany Piano is shown below, done for an executive client. Note the REAL wood grain. A piano like this is something you simply cannot find in a new Yamaha showroom, it needs to be carefully restored by hand.

These fully restored "Grey Market" pianos have been sourced , restored , and sold all over the world for 40+ years. The only way to develop problems in these instruments, is to place the piano very far outside of its normal climate condition, such as a desert or rain forest setting, while also allowing open access to these climates.

Most modern housing environments around the world that have pianos most likely have adequate stabilized HVAC systems, and are sealed from the elements. 

Yamaha also makes Harpsichords, Clavichords, Violins and Guitars from the same factories using the same base materials. These are exported all over the world in huge quantities , however there isn't much debate about these instruments being grey market, only the Piano, which is their highest margin they wish to sway consumer 


Finally , As shown below , the climate line is the same in US and Japan , so no climate related defects can occur on these piano, it is environmentally impossible! Note the Brown Region which indicates the same Climate zone. 


Thank You, 

Feel free to discuss below. We will happily consult with our technicians to provide input

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