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The Yamaha Piano Company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of pianos. It's parent company manufacturers almost every instrument in the orchestra in addition to guitars and studio electronics. Yamaha started sending pianos to the United States in the 1960's first as private label products and then under their own name. Initially there were some severe stability issues with their pianos. In short time they solved those issues and developed a reputation for decent pianos at a very low entry level prices point. (Today that mantle is carried by pianos from companies like Hardman and Ritmuller.) They were able to substantially under sell domestically made pianos . One of the early purchasers of Yamaha pianos in the 1960s was the LA Unified school district. Sadly most of those piano have been moved out, sold or placed on the junk heap because they just did not last back then. If for example the pianos purchased at that time were Baldwin or Steinway, they would still be going or be able to be rebuilt.
Yamaha started in 1887 as a maker of reed organs and in 1890 branched out into pianos helped by a young piano engineer named Koichi Kawai. Mr Kawai went on to found the Kawai Piano Company in 1927. Many people think of Yamaha for the motorcycles and jet skis but the company was founded as a musical instrument maker. Look closely at the Yamaha logo on the motorcycles and you'll notice it is three interlocking tuning forks. The company's greatest claim to fame was figuring out how to mass produced good pianos using a production line with conveyor belts. They created this manufacturing model and perfected it over the years. Granted there are some corners cut when doing it this way but the final result is consistent and generally good.
Yamaha today is a great multi-national conglomerate in the musical instrument business, the semiconductor business, the motorcycle business, appliance business and they even own resorts. The size of the Yamaha Corporation allow them to promote their pianos with deeper pockets than any company on the planet. They do this by getting endorsements, sponsoring orchestras, sponsoring competitions, paying to have their pianos placed on high profile tv shows and movies, providing all of the instruments including keyboards, guitars amps, etc. for high profile concert tours. Only a company of this depth and giant size can achieve what they have done in promotion. Elton John plays Yamaha!
The answer to this question is yes and no. The answer is complicated by the Yamaha piano company's own marketing of their brand name and by Japanese nationalism. When the Yamaha brand was grown in North America the company had basically one level of quality. Consumers, pianists and teachers all depended on that quality in recommending Yamaha brand pianos. It's a different story today with a dizzying array of similar sized pianos all in different price categories. For example there are three 48" pianos on their American website. Some are completely made in another country, one is from Japan with off shore parts and another is completely Japanese. Unlike fellow Japanese company Toyota who has used in North America three distinct brand names to differentiate their Scion from their Toyota from their Lexus. Everything Yamaha sell bears the name Yamaha on the front. While the quality of Yamaha's CFX concert grand pianos are excellent and beyond reproach, their Indonesian made GB1 baby grand and their Chinese made B1,B2, and B3 upright pianos leave much to be desired in musicality. Frankly if they didn't say Yamaha on the front they would be hard to sell next to say a Baldwin or Ritmuller or almost anything else on the market today from the standpoint of value alone. If you're shopping with your eyes looking for a famous name at a price point this could be a piano to consider. If on the other hand you close your eyes and shop with your ears you will understand completely that the famous name may not possess the best musical "bang for the buck".
Pianos made in countries like China and Indonesia were once considered a poor step child. Today the quality can be exceptional if controlled properly and quality materials are used. This is where a bit of nationalism comes in for Japanese piano companies. They could choose to make pianos in Indonesia or China as good as the care to. But if they made them too good who would buy their more expensive pianos made in Japan? This is their dilemma. Yamaha makes their non-Japanese manufactured pianos just "good enough". Characterized as pianos made for a price point and not for their musicality.
In grand pianos Yamaha makes a number of series . Their lowest line is made in their Indonesian factory . Their next line up is made in Japan from some off shore components provided from their other factories. Their line above that is a production line piano made in Japan. Yamaha's top level CF pianos are hand finished in Japan. These are lovely pianos although pricey, they can sell for as much or more than the top tier of European and American pianos. For example the retail price on the smallest CF4 is over $105,000! Yamaha is known for a sharp some would say bright tone with generally shorter sustaining tones than American or European pianos. The CF does not have this kind of a character and sounds to coin a term, "Un-Yamaha like" with a warm round singing tone and a long lasting decay uncharacteristic of the rest of the Yamaha piano line. All of this comes with an extremely hefty price tag. Of course one can get that tonal characteristic from a number of luxury piano makers who specialize in only luxury pianos and don't make lower priced piano lines with the same name on it. (pictured is the Yamaha automated grand piano production line. )
At Hollywood Piano we specialize in Yamaha pianos made in Japan only. These pianos are proven to be the best Yamaha pianos made. Used Yamaha pianos are graded on their integrity and quality from A to F. We only purchase A or A+ Yamaha pianos. All of our Yamaha pianos are sold with a full parts and labor transferable warranty that allows you to sell your piano to the next buyer with the warranty intact. Our staff of expert piano technicians thoroughly inspect, tune and adjust each piano verifying the structural integrity for your peace of mind. The Yamaha company in understanding the extreme competition it has from it's own pianos has conducted a misinformation campaign to dissuade and scare people from buying their own pianos used and have coined the phrase, "Grey Market Piano". A discussion ,investigation and purchase of a "Grey Market" Yamaha. Another great page on "Grey Market". Our 10 year warranty and our technicians verification of structural integrity is there to help the buying public purchase a used Yamaha piano with confidence from Hollywood Piano.
While Hollywood piano is not an authorized seller of new Yamaha pianos we provide the following information on the Yamaha piano line up as a service to the piano buying community.
Disclaimer: At this time Hollywood Piano only sells used Yamaha Piano. To view a list of our used pianos please CLICK HERE. ****