[CAUT] Yamaha Exchange program; pros, cons

Jerry Groot tunerboy3 at comcast.net
Thu Jun 7 16:05:56 MDT 2012

My college did this for 17 years or more.  Each year, we were getting
between 30 & 35 new pianos brought in.  At first it was a good deal all the
way around.  "Free pianos to use for one year but for the cost of the
tunings."  Sales were up, so the dealer sold a lot of units every year
during their yearly sale and of course, the college saved a considerable
amount of money in repair work, literally thousands of dollars.  


We did not do it with Yamaha.  It was another brand.  


While getting new pianos every year does have its upside, a warranty being
one positive thing, there is a downside to it.  Dealing with all of the
issues that continually crop up every single year with new pianos.  One
problem we encountered most of the time, were pianos that were being
delivered totally un-prepped.  Often, uncrated right on the spot..  You know
what that means.  A lot of extra work!  Major pitch raises and a lot of prep


We also encountered frequent problems with the pianos.  Things from bobbling
hammers to blocking hammers 6 months later, to sticking keys and loose
hammer heads and butts.  Of course we also had pianos where the tuning
changed rather quickly due to being brand new.  Consequently, I had dozens
of emergency calls, one after the another until I could work through all of
the problems.  Then, the pianos were sold and it started all over again the
following fall.  That got old fast!!!!!  


We never had a real chance for the pianos to settle in.  They were delivered
the last week in August and school is out the 2nd week of May.  


As the economy took a nose dive so did sales.  Toward the end of the sale,
the rules changed for the college.  To save money, they were made to pay for
a lot more things other than tunings..  That's all I'll say about that.  Due
to that however, I talked them into ending the sale.  We chose to purchase
over 26 new pianos and some digitals.  It was still a win-win for the
dealer.  But, for the college, I'm not so sure.  They spent tens of
thousands replacing them.  


On the flip side though, in my opinion we are better off with pianos that
are "being seasoned" and pianos that I can get to know permanently.  Pianos
that I can fix and pianos that will stay fixed because they are not rotated
yearly.  Plus, they hold tuning a whole lot better now!    


I wouldn't recommend it, but then, we didn't have Yamaha's either...  




From: caut-bounces at ptg.org [mailto:caut-bounces at ptg.org] On Behalf Of Aaron
Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2012 2:34 PM
To: caut at ptg.org
Subject: Re: [CAUT] Yamaha Exchange program; pros, cons


I can agree with much of what has already been said. The reliability and
integrity of the dealer is very important. We had a program for many years
in which the department received 14 pianos each fall. Eleven verticals
(mostly P22, a few U1, and more recently some T118/120) and three small
grands. The department was required to buy one piano at the end of the
academic year and the dealer got to hold a sale at the Fine Arts Center. The
program was ended at the end of the 2009-2010 academic year. The person who
dealt with the dealership found them unreliable (pianos never showed up when
they were supposed to) and sometimes less than honest. (I've never heard the
dealer's side of things, however.) The department chair effectively lobbied
the dean and they were able to get enough money in hand to buy new pianos to
replace the loaners. Many were bought through the same dealer so the dealer
really couldn't complain. The one thing I really liked about the program was
that the department was forced to buy one new piano (it was always a P22)
each year which meant I could get rid of one old piano and was able to go
some distance in getting rid of some of the worst instruments. Having a
forced rotation of stock was a very good thing. With all the recently
purchased pianos the department doesn't have to get rid of anything
immediately, but that day will come and will be subject to the budgetary
process in a way that it wasn't before. 

One thought, to avoid getting into a situation where you're completely
dependent on the program, an institution could purchase more than the
required piano each year so that after a certain number of years the
instrument stock becomes improved enough so that the program isn't needed.

One nice thing about being done with the program is that I no longer have 14
pianos in their first year of life to contend with.


At 12:16 PM 6/7/2012, you wrote:

On 6/7/2012 10:42 AM, James Schmitt wrote:

The thing that I find so hard about
the piano exchange programs to start out with is that they tend to
leave the school dependent  on the program without a way out.

This is the intent. Yamaha set this program up to sell pianos, not to
support schools or dealers.
Ron N

Aaron Bousel
Registered Piano Technician, Piano Technicians Guild
abousel at comcast.net
(413) 253-3846 (voice & fax)

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