Questions and Answers about Previously Owned YAMAHA and KAWAI Pianos Seasoned for Worldwide Distribution

Questions and Answers about Previously Owned YAMAHA and KAWAI Pianos
Seasoned for Worldwide Distribution

Question: Where are these previously owned YAMAHA and KAWAI pianos made?
Answer: All previously owned YAMAHA and KAWAI pianos are made exclusively in Japan.

Question: Where does Frank & Camille’s West procure the used pianos?
Answer: Frank & Camille’s West associates search Japan for pianos that qualify according to various grade specifications.

Question: Won’t the Japan-manufactured pianos develop physical problems once shipped to the United States?
Answer: No. YAMAHA and KAWAI pianos are built on the same production and assembly lines. All piano serial numbers are in consecutive order regardless of destination. Used pianos imported by Frank & Camille’s West have compatible interchangeable parts with units sold by YAMAHA Corporation of America.

Question: Did not the first YCM imported pianos have dryness issues with cases and pin-blocks when they arrived from Japan?
Answer: Yes, but the dryness problem was limited strictly to the very first batch shipments. The issue was resolved within the first few months of production.

Question: Will the difference in climatic conditions in the United States and Japan affect the pianos?
Answer: Climatic conditions in the United States are not radically different from weather conditions found elsewhere on the globe. If you look on a globe you will notice Japan falls in the same laditude as Washington DC. And both countries have much of the same climates.

Question: YAMAHA Corporation of America label these pianos as “Gray Market” products as they are distributed by non authorized wholesalers misrepresenting the pianos as having the same quality as regular YAMAHA products. What is the company’s response to this?
Answer: Frank & Camille’s West does not sell Gray Market goods nor operate unethically in the business. The Webster definition for Gray Market refers to a place or system that sells scarce goods at higher prices than the average.

Question: How does the label “Seasoned for Destination” relate to the used pianos your company imports?
Answer: The claim that any given piano manufacturer can season the pianos for their destination in order to determine the moisture content for the product’s wood material, stated by a YAMAHA Corp. of America representative, is misleading. Pianos imported by the Frank & Camille’s West can be found in different US locations with any given weather condition, fully functional and serving its original purpose.

Question: What is the Frank & Camille’s West warranty backing?
Answer: As a general rule piano manufacturers do not offer warranties aside from the original customer. Dealers are responsible for the warranties of the used piano they sell. Most of our used pianos come with a ten year warranty.

Comment: Famous pianist Victor Borge repeatedly stated that the middle pedal in three pedal pianos only separates the left pedal from the right.

Question: Does a crack in the soundboard affect tonal quality?
Answer: Most used grand pianos have one or more cracks in the soundboard. This is characteristic of expensive pianos made from higher grades of European solid spruce and similar woods. If the crown of the soundboard is intact, a crack is unlikely to affect the tonal quality of the piano.

Question: How is a true crack in the piano identified?
Answer: A true crack runs from the top through the soundboard and will allow light from a flashlight shine through (from bottom to top). However, most cracks do not greatly affect the piano.

Comment: Cracks are not synonymous with minor seam separation or pressure ridges. These do not adversely affect the piano and are for cosmetic purposes only. Furthermore, these seams serve as expansion joints and allow slight openings under extremely dry period regardless of local weather conditions. As with other similar products, the openings tighten up as the humidity level increases.

Question: What is your grading system and is it used by other piano manufacturers?
Answer: Frank & Camille’s West has no grading system. All our imported Yamaha and Kawai pianos are restored to like new condition
“A Grade” refers to an upright or grand piano ready for sale with only minimal preparation required.
“A minus (A-)” and “B plus (B+)” pianos exhibit some wear but are still very saleable products.
“B Grade” pianos are heavily used pianos that may exhibit imperfections such as case blemishes, soundboard cracks, finish fissures, etc. In case of minor treble wire strings corrosion, a ScotchBrite brand pad may be used to remove all residues.

Question: Why does the Frank & Camille’s West sell previously owned or used YAMAHA and KAWAI pianos?
Answer: To be honest, it’s primarily for profit. Aside from commercial interest, Frank & Camille’s West is satisfied to provide customers with high quality pianos at attractive prices. Frank & Camille’s West supply many dealers with used Yamaha and Kawai pianos.

Question: Why should customers buy used pianos, particularly those imported by Frank & Camille’s West?
Answer: New Japanese and Korean made pianos are sold at skyrocket prices. Frank & Camille’s West sells the very best in used pianos. Our company has built its reputation on honesty, credibility, and integrity. The company’s principals and founders have been selling pianos since 1956. Since 2009, the principals have been an established supplier of used YAMAHA and KAWAI grand and upright pianos to piano merchants. When you buy from Frank & Camille’s West, you know that you are buying with full confidence. Start turning out profit today and buy from Frank & Camille’s West!

Time to Tune Your Piano

Time to Tune Your Piano

Tuning your piano (the process of adjusting the tension at which its strings are stretched) on a regular basis is essential to its maintenance and ultimate longevity. Just how often depends on a number of factors, including the level of humidity your piano is exposed to, the climate you live in, the piano’s location and how recently it was moved, how sensitive your ear is, your budget, and how often you play. Concert pianos, for example, are generally tuned before every performance, while pianos in the home, depending on who is playing them, need tuning one to three times a year.

Of course, you might be thinking that you can’t exactly remember the last time your piano was tuned. And if that’s the case, you’re not alone. Unless you have a student, teacher, or professional musician at the helm, i.e., people who play frequently enough to notice the gradual changes of an out-of-tune piano (and then demand that something be done about it!), it can be easy to neglect your piano’s tuning upkeep. Sure, there may be a key or two here that sound a little off, but the piano still looks great in your living room, so what’s to worry, right?

The truth is, your piano is meant to make music, regardless of how often that’s happening at the moment. While it needs to look the part, it should always be ready to play the part, too. At Frank & Camille’s West, the Tri-State Area’s premier piano store and restoration facility, we invite our customers to call us with any tuning questions. If something doesn’t sound right, it could be a matter of the strings simply needing to be tightened or something more serious like a structural problem that is causing the piano to go out of tune. For this reason, you should always entrust the tuning and upkeep needs of your piano to a certified technician who understands the piano both inside and out.

Call Frank & Camille’s West today or visit one of our showrooms in Queens or Westchester to find out more about our tuning and restoration services.

Learning to Play the Piano at Any Age

Learning to Play the Piano at Any Age

Think you’re too old to learn how to play the piano? Never!

The piano is an instrument with remarkable potential that you can take up at any age, regardless of whether or not you have any prior experience and even if you don’t own a piano. As long as there’s a will, there’s a way!

So what’s the first step? Finding a teacher is a good place to get started, and Frank & Camille’s West has the resources you need to do just that, including music educator referrals, soundproof studios for private or group lessons, and piano rental options. You can choose from a range of programs depending on your schedule, budget, and desired style (if you’ve even thought that far ahead), like jazz, classical, and pop music.

And remember, all ages are welcome! Whether you’re 8 or 18 or 80 years old, the piano can become an exciting part of your life. It’s also an incredibly effective way to stay sharp in all areas of your life. Research has concluded that learning to play the piano improves cognitive functions and helps combat the effects of aging on the brain. How’s that for some worthwhile incentive?

So make the decision to start piano lessons today. You will find yourself playing songs, reading music, practicing chords and scales, and learning how a piano works in no time at all – but with practice, of course!
For more information about music teachers and programs, contact the staff at Frank & Camille’s West, the Tri-State Area’s premier piano store, restoration facility, and wholesale distribution location, with showrooms in Queens and Westchester.

What Are Gray Market Pianos?

If you are in the process of purchasing a piano, you’ve probably heard the term “gray market” and have questions about what exactly that means and, more importantly, what it should mean to you.

Gray market pianos typically refer to new, like new, or used pianos that were originally “seasoned for destination” to a market (like Japan) other than the one in which they are currently being sold (like the United States). Let’s look, for example, at Yamaha. They use different seasoning processes in their production facilities based on where pianos are headed for sale. Pianos made for the U.S. typically come from a much drier line than pianos made for Japan. Why the difference? One reason is the U.S.’s widespread use of air conditioning in the summer and central heating in the winter, both of which dry out the air, as opposed to in Japan where the climate is more tropical and humid and people traditionally subscribe to an open-air model of living.

So if you’re buying a gray market piano that underwent one process over another, should you be concerned? Not necessarily. First of all, there is no one-climate-fits-all here in the U.S. And same for Japan! No piano manufacturer can prepare and compensate for all weather extremes and humidity fluctuations. Also, a piano made for the U.S. and sold in Florida may sound and behave over time quite differently than if it had been sold in, say, Colorado.

When you speak with the experts and people who have purchased gray market pianos, the consensus seems to be that the different seasoning processes are not as great a factor in overall longevity as some dealers might have you believe. Be weary of anyone making vast generalizations. In fact, run a quick online search of the term and you’ll find articles that talk about the gray market “invasion” and how gray market pianos only amount to trouble. That’s simply not the case. Do your own research, make phone calls, ask questions. Also, make sure that the representative you’re speaking with, whether over the phone or in a showroom, does not have some vested interested in your purchase of another, perhaps, more expensive piano. The real experts and the best piano reps are those who want to make sure that you leave with the piano that’s best for you, regardless of price.

Ultimately, when it comes to purchasing a piano that will last you a long time, you need to first play the piano, hear how it sounds, consider how it will fit into your home, and foresee who will be playing it (i.e., beginners, concert pianists, etc.). Then, as the years progress, how well it does through varying climates is largely up to the genuine care you give it.

For more about maintenance and restoration, contact the experts and staff at Frank & Camille’s West, the Tri-State Area’s premier piano store, restoration facility, and wholesale distribution location, with showrooms in Queens and Westchester.

Playing Pianos in the Showroom

A new piano is an investment that will last you a lifetime, so it’s no wonder that the decision and purchasing process takes time. At Frank & Camille’s West, we urge everyone, no matter the level of experience, to visit our showroom and spend time playing our pianos, listening to how they sound, and envisioning what you want to take home. What you read about a certain brand and style online amounts to very little unless you can also see and hear it in action.

Remember: No piano is like another. The perfect piano for one person may not be right at all for someone else. While your family might prefer a grand, another may be better suited with an upright.

So head to the showroom, but before you go, consider the following:

1) What is the best brand of piano out there?

This is a question we get asked often at Frank & Camille’s West, but there is no answer. It’s like asking: What is the best music? No two pianists will ever agree on the “best” piano on the market. We all perceive sound and touch differently, so the answer really depends on personal preference. Remember that pianos are made from trees. Just how every tree is different, every piano is, too.

2) What style of piano is right for me?

There are many types of pianos, but they can all be broken down into three categories: grands, verticals, and digitals. Grands (baby/parlor/concert) and verticals (uprights/studios/consoles) are acoustic. The sound is produced by a felt hammer striking a string or strings with 24 moving parts per key. Digital pianos, on the other hand, are entirely computerized. When a key is struck, a digital sample (recording of an acoustic piano) is triggered. Some experts feel that acoustic pianos are the only way to really learn the instrument and its capabilities, while others feel that digital pianos are a great alternative for beginners or as a second piano where climate control is impossible.

3) What should I look for in the “sound” and “touch” of a piano?

Pianists are most concerned with the sound (bright/warm) and touch (light/firm) of their pianos. When you are in our showroom trying out pianos, listen for a tonal color (sound) that is most pleasing to your ear. While many may think that all grand pianos sound one way and upright pianos sound another, every piano is uniquely different. Compare a few pianos to pinpoint what you would rather hear in your living room. As for touch, it depends on who will be playing the piano. If it is primarily a child, a medium firm to medium light action (how hard it is to depress the keys) would be ideal. But again, actually sitting down and playing a particular piano is the best way to discover what works for you.

4) What should I know about the size and placement of my piano?

For starters, don’t buy a large instrument for a small room. The sound will be overwhelming and could sound out of tune due to the acoustics of the space. There are three factors to consider when placing your piano in a space: 1. Visual – The piano is almost as much a coveted piece of furniture as it is a beautiful instrument. Some owners like to see the “smile” or keyboard when they enter a room, while others prefer the elegant curve on the side. 2. Acoustic – You want your placement to optimize the sound projection. 3. Aesthetic – This refers to the pianist’s view while playing, perhaps of nature or a skyline.

Restoring Your Family’s Piano

A piano is often much more than an instrument. It can be the centerpiece of a home, a childhood memory, the purchase of a lifetime, and even a family heirloom. But as much as we love the pianos from our past, and want to pass them down for generations to come, any amount of neglect or lack of upkeep over time can take its toll. And before you know it, the piano you once loved has become the piano you’re not sure what to do about.

Frank & Camille’s West is a leader in piano restoration, from personal repair and in-home tuning visits to full-service restorations at our 150-year-old facility. Our experienced technicians will work with you to find the best solution for that special piano in your life, regardless of how long it has gone unused or been in disrepair. Every story is different, and for that reason, we will listen to yours, find out your piano’s history, learn what it means to you, and, based on that, outline a restoration strategy unique to your needs.

No project is too big or small, too old or new. In fact, at Frank & Camille’s, we believe that with the proper care and restoration, a piano can last forever. But it is very important to speak with a qualified restoration technician who can answer your questions and address your concerns. If for whatever reason we conclude that your piano does not need to be restored, but perhaps can benefit from other options, we will also be the first to let you know.

Call us today for more information. Frank & Camille’s West has showrooms in Westchester (914.295.0013) and Queens (718.322.0737). Or email us at info@frankandcamilleswest.com.

Choosing the Right Piano

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to purchase an instrument that will delight and positively impact your family, friends, and children for years to come.

Now, you might have an image in your head of exactly what you want. Perhaps it needs to be brown and grand, should sound just like your grandmother’s did, and will go in the living room. Or, just as likely, you might not be sure at all of what you want. All you may very well know going into it is that you want a piano that sounds great, looks good, and fits right in with your décor.

At Frank & Camille’s, we get it. Every piano owner is different. Just like every piano. Whether you’re an eager student or a world-class concert pianist, a family of four living in a house or a young professional with an apartment in the city, there’s a piano out there perfect for you, and we’re here to make sure you find it.

For starters, you want to settle on a price point or range. Our staff prides itself on being able to work with any budget to find options suitable to every customer’s needs. Next, determine where your piano will go. The size, function, and décor of a room all play an important part in choosing the style of piano best for you. Once in our showroom, you can partner with one of our experienced sales associates to discuss the styles and brands we carry. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Grand Piano– There are many piano styles, but none more iconic and recognizable than the grand piano, a large, full-toned piano supported by three legs. The strings, body, and soundboard are arranged horizontally and in line with the keys. There are different types of grand piano, including the concert grand (about 7 – 10 feet long), the parlor or boudoir grand (6 – 7 feet), and the baby grand (about 5 feet). Choosing the right grand piano depends on a number of different factors, like the space you have for it, your budget, and who will be playing it.

Concert Grand Piano– The largest grand piano, a concert grand is roughly 2.75 meters (9 feet) in length and has the volume, tone, and timbre ideal for use in concerts. Its size and shape accounts for its ability to retain harmonic balance, ensuring that close and widespread octaves alike sound brilliantly pure and produce virtually beatless perfect fifths. The result is a striking tonal quality that is best appreciated in concert halls and public venues.

Upright Piano– A type of vertical piano, an upright piano is more compact than a grand piano. The frame and strings in an upright piano are vertical and the hammers move horizontally. They are perfect pianos for many customers with a variety of different needs in mind, including space, budget, and purpose. The standard width of an upright piano is approximately 5 feet, while the depth is about 2 feet. And it measures over 50” tall, making it the largest type of vertical piano. Although upright pianos may not command quite as much attention as grand pianos because of the difference in size and shape, they are fully capable of producing beautiful, unmatched sound quality.

Studio Piano– A studio piano, also known as a professional upright piano, is a type of vertical piano that measures between 45 – 50” tall. Taller than a console, but shorter than an upright, it produces a rich, tonal quality that can be comparable to baby grand pianos. Customers will often come in knowing that they want a vertical piano, but unaware of the different types. Because of its size and excellent sound, a studio piano is likely to be one of their final choices.

Console Piano– With the exception of the spinet piano, the console piano is the smallest of the vertical pianos. It measures approximately 40 – 44” tall and is a popular choice for customers who want mid-range size, furniture-style design, and high-quality tone. From traditional wooden finishes to sleeker, modern styling, our selection of console pianos has something for everyone.

Digital Piano – Today’s digital pianos are more impressive than ever. All of them feature the latest technology, striking sound quality, presets and layering effects, additional instrument options, and an incredible array of features to assist in playing, learning, and recording. Manufactured by top brands, digital pianos produce rich and nuanced sound sampled from their top models. Built-in software and storage capabilities allow users to record and save music, connect to the Internet and download files, and compose arrangements with other instruments. Not to mention: No tuning required!

Player PianoPlayer pianos are self-playing pianos reminiscent of the paper-roll player pianos popular in the early 20th century. They are both acoustic, so they can be played regularly, and electronic, so they can play themselves. For those who enjoy live piano music, player pianos come with built-in access to incredible libraries of pre-recorded titles in every genre. The quality produced is stunning and the performance delivered is real. For those who want to play, these pianos can also be used to learn, compose, record, and even interface with other technology.

Remember that purchasing a piano is a decision to be discussed and an investment to be thoughtfully considered, so at Frank & Camille’s, it is our mission to make the process as enjoyable as possible. We invite you to visit our showroom to see, feel, and hear the difference from one piano to the next. Know that there is never any pressure to buy. All we ask is that you come prepared to learn. You will find pianos you may remember from your childhood and discover new ones you never even knew existed. From concert grands to digital pianos, we have them all on display, ready to be purchased and eager to be played. We will give you all the information you need, present you with the best we have to offer, and assist you in choosing the piano just right for you.