We work closely with our Japanese partner to handpick the best pianos for you. Only pianos within 45 years of age are considered. All our pianos must pass a set of strict quality standards. This includes a series of tests, especially the critical parts of the piano such as the hammer assembly, strings, and the soundboard. To maintain the quality of the crop, we focus on home-owned pianos. Unlike school pianos, home-owned pianos tend to be better maintained and subject to less wear and tear.
Japan is the birthplace of fine pianos in Asia. As one of the world’s largest piano exporters, it is no wonder that the country is home to many skilled piano builders who have dedicated their lives to the craft. Which is why we only pick pianos that are made and restored in Japan. Pianos come with their original “Birth Certificates”^, offering a detailed history of the piano. Every used piano that we pick goes to a famous piano factory in Saitama, a city near Tokyo. There, the piano gets restored to its former glory.
^Most of our pianos come with the original “Birth Certificates” that can be provided if requested.
Even a new piano needs regulation and tuning. In fact, any piano should be tuned after transportation. All our pianos are tuned before and after delivery. Our in-house tuner will tune your piano on-site after it has been delivered to your place.
One of the greatest fears of getting a used piano is the warranty. With Premium Piano Selection, you can kiss these worries goodbye. Every piano comes with a 10-year warranty. That’s how confident we are in our used pianos from Japan. Ask around—you won’t be able to find a better deal than this!
Purpose: The soundboard is the heart of the piano. It amplifies the sound produced by the vibrating strings. Older, denser wood is preferred for its strength and elasticity. Soundboards made with older, denser wood provide better amplification. They are also less likely to crack or warp due to wear and tear or humidity changes.
Second-Hand Japanese Pianos: Second-hand pianos made in Japan use high quality Norwegian spruce wood for the soundboards. The wood is air-dried for at least 15 years. Proper drying reduces warping and cracking. Higher-end concert pianos use denser wood that’s been air-dried for at least 20 years.
Other Asian Pianos: Many pianos made in other Asian countries use composite wood soundboards. Many such pianos hide the substandard soundboard wood core with a wood veneer, or simply use laminated wood. Such soundboards may be less prone to wear and tear from humidity changes, but they have lower acoustical efficiency and less bass response than those made from solid spruce.
The back frame of a piano generally falls into three classes:
Second-Hand Japanese Pianos: The back frame of a second-hand Japanese piano typically uses solid wood dovetail joints. Dovetail joints are the strongest wood joints possible. They are also better at enhancing the piano’s sound projection. You can tell whether a back frame uses solid wood dovetail joints just by looking at it.
Other Asian Pianos: You may be able to get a piano with a back frame that’s made from solid wood planks for under S$5,000. However, the wood quality is usually low—which is why it is often hidden by a wooden veneer. Anything cheaper would most likely be a piano with a plywood back frame.
When you hit a piano key, a piano hammer shoots up and produces the note by striking the piano strings. All hammer heads are made of felt. The density and springiness of the felt affects the quality of the piano tone.
Low-grade pianos tend to use synthetic felt hammer heads. Average pianos typically use hammer heads made from a blend of woolen and synthetic felt. The best hammer heads are made from virgin wool—wool shorn from live sheep.
Good piano makers generally produce and assemble their own piano hammers.
Second-Hand Japanese Pianos: The hammer heads of second-hand Japanese pianos are made using virgin wool from Australia. Yamaha and Kawai make and assemble their own piano hammers, using in-house technology to make sure these components last and produce the optimal piano tone.
Other Asian Pianos: Many other Asian pianos use artificial felt in their piano hammers. Artificial felt loses its density easily, causing the piano tone to become dull over time. Or worse, you may even get harsh-sounding notes when the felt wears out. Because the piano hammer production is often outsourced, the tone quality can vary greatly.
Second-Hand Japanese Pianos: The piano board is made of solid wood.
Other Asian Pianos: The piano board is made from medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and composite wood boards. Composite wood boards are made by binding wood and other synthetic particles together. MDF is made from separated wood fibres combined with resin. Not only are these materials cheap, they are not eco-friendly.
Second-Hand Japanese Pianos: The 1960s-1990s was the golden age for Japanese pianos. Pianos made in Japan during that period are known to last for 70 to 100 years. In fact, many such second-hand Yamaha and Kawai pianos have an average lifespan of 100 years.
New Japanese Pianos: Since 2000, 70-80% of local piano sales in Japan are second-hand pianos. Due to the low demand for new pianos, Yamaha and Kawai no longer produce such durable pianos. Today, the average lifespan of a new Yamaha or Kawai piano is about 50 years.
Other Asian Pianos: Pianos produced in other Asian countries are usually made from lower quality materials like MDF or plywood. The production and assembly are also outsourced to third-party factories. Which is why most Asian pianos do not last beyond 5 to 8 years. In fact, if the soundboard is made from MDF, the tone quality usually worsens after 3 years.
Second-Hand Japanese Pianos: Yamaha and Kawai factories in Japan have 100 plus years of experience in making pianos. A lot of money is spent on the R&D for each piano model. The soundboard and other piano parts are assembled by hand. A lot of care is taken to maintain the optimal tone quality for each piano (an upright piano in the high-end category are treated no differently from a grand piano).
Other Asian Pianos: The piano parts are made by third-party factories before they are assembled for the final product. There is little quality control to make sure that the pianos are of a certain standard.