Can high-end pianos survive the tropics?

Let’s take Fazioli as an example.

When I was making my final choice last year between a Fazioli F183 and a Sauter Omega 220, I investigated the warranty conditions for both manufacturers, and found the following on the Fazioli website:

The piano [is covered] for a period of 5 years starting from the date of delivery to the first buyer, determined by the receipt of the Sales Certificate. The Manufacturer herewith undertakes to fully remove – on a cost-free basis – all faults that may possibly occur in the above stated period of time as a consequence of manufacturing errors or defects.

Not covered by this warranty are all possible damages that may be ascribed to any of the following circumstances:

  • Closeness to heat sources, in particular when the piano is being installed in rooms heated by under-floor heating.
  • Closeness to windows.
  • Exposure to draughts.
  • Installation or use of the piano in climatically uncontrolled rooms. Ideal conditions are: relative air humidity within 45 and 65 percent; air temperature close to 20° (68° F).
  • Transport and handling damages and their possible consequences.
  • Careless use, abuse, undue tampering of any kind. Fazioli Pianoforti recommends that the piano be checked, tuned and adjusted at least twice a year by a qualified technician.

Clearly clause 4 was of concern. So I asked the dealer to ask if there was any variation of the warranty for pianos in the tropics. The answer from Mr Fazioli was yes, the 5-year warranty will be honoured provided that the following conditions are met:

  • A Dampp-Chaser is installed (new condition);
  • The environment’s temperature is higher than 30ºC, and the RH is no higher than 75% (replaces clause 4 of the standard warranty).

This was a pleasant surprise to me. I thought that pianos this expensive would have to be molly coddled. Not so! Even the Dampp-Chaser is no big deal because the only parts of it that will ever turn on are the heater bars, under the control of a humidistat.

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