What Is A Piano Gray Market?

What Is A Piano Gray Market?

Have you ever heard the term gray market? In the piano industry, it can take on many different situations and circumstances.

Usually, to buy a “new” piano, you must purchase it from an “authorized” dealer. An authorized dealer is one authorized by the manufacturer to sell their brand in your area.

Technically, only an authorized dealer is allowed to sell their brand of piano, offering both warranty and factory support.What Is A Piano Gray Market?

A gray market piano can be new, almost new, or used. It’s a name brand instrument that is being sold in an authorized dealer’s area, but not by the authorized dealer. It may be the piano was not originally intended to be sold in your area, your market, or even in your country.

Piano manufacturers produce pianos in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons. They attempt to keep markets separate, wholeselling and retailing them in a variety of ways. For instance, the term gray market has been applied to a large number of used pianos (mostly Yamahas and Kawais) being bought up by wholesalers in Japan and shipped to the United States in freight. While there is little or no market for used Japanese pianos in Japan, there is a larger market for them her in the US. These pianos are often offered at substantial discounts over new pricing, yet there is a discussion over whether these pianos are built for US climate.

In addition, the Internet has caused a great deal of difficulty over territorial agreements. When you advertise online, you may reach into other territories and sell across boundaries. It’s easy to step across the boundaries and sell within another zone.

Gray market is not to be confused with black market. A black market is a piano that is illegally trafficked, and is against the law or government regulations. A black market piano may be one with ivory keys, which is against the law to sell in any state.

The best way to determine if you are fully covered for both warranty and factory parts is to talk with your dealer and ensure your piano meets all requirements. They will be able to provide you with guidance on the right selection for you.


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172