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Topic Options
#1175911 - 04/07/09 04:08 AM Yamaha or Boston?
kausvo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/05/09
Posts: 1
Loc: London, UK

new to this forum as I need some advice from all the experts in this forum. I am looking for a new family piano (my wife plays some, my sons are starting now at school and want to practice at home too of course). After local research with a few piano dealers stumbled across this forum.

At this point, I am in between a Boston UP126E or a Yamaha U1. Most of the dealers (not stocking Boston/Steinway)cited that the Boston is overpriced in terms of value for money while the Steinway dealer pointed out that the Yamaha has a too bright sound and is too easy on the action making it potentially difficult to play on a non-Yamaha piano going forward.

One of the Yamaha dealers recommended the P121G as a cheaper alternative to the U1 but with the same built in terms of cabinettry, structure, action, hammers, soundboard etc (at least if compared to the UK manufactured U1). I understand that the only difference between a Japanese and a UK manufactured U1 to be the soundboard, with the Japanese one being Alaskan-spruce soundboard and the UK one a bavarian-spruce soundboard.

Would appreciate any comments on the dealers' statements and opinions and recommendation re. quality etc.



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#1175929 - 04/07/09 05:24 AM Re: Yamaha or Boston? [Re: kausvo]
eightyeight_keys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/08
Posts: 383
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Hi, I would personally not spend the extra money on Boston. It is overpriced due to association with Steinwya and it is NOT a Steinway piano. It is made by Kawai and in my opinion is not as good as the actual Kawai pianos, as the Bostons don't have the fantastic Millenium 3 action.

Save youself some money and buy a Kawai upright. They have a warmer tone, a less bright sound than the Yamaha and a BETTER bass sound! I would suggest the Kawai K5 upright. It is excellent. Good bass and a nice size. If this is too expensive, then the K3 or the K35 are both good. But the K5 is better.

I suggest checking these out as the action is a delight to play. The K5 is an equivelent in size to the U1.

Good luck!
Kawai RX6G Grand
Bernstien/Hailun Europa BH - 1EP Upright
Roland HP-335 Digital Piano
Yamaha W7 Synthesizer
Roland E09W Interactive Arranger

#1176004 - 04/07/09 09:35 AM Re: Yamaha or Boston? [Re: eightyeight_keys]
Konzert Patrick Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 791
Loc: The Netherlands
Hi there,

Listen closely to the pianos and the sound you prefer (U1 VS P121G)
Boston is indeed overpriced and it has a heavier action then the Yamaha.

The Yamaha sound isn't bright anymore, that was a long time ago! It is clear and beautiful! Not muffled like some other brands, but you have to play it and you must like it! Your ears are the best judge.

The sound board is what "makes" the sound so there might be a good difference in the 2 yamahas, Chris Venables is a big UK dealer who is also active on this forum, he will know exactly what the differences between the 2 are, he knows every bit about Yamahas ..... Chris?? U there.....?

Good luck!

Schimmel Konzert 189 Tradition

#1176013 - 04/07/09 10:02 AM Re: Yamaha or Boston? [Re: Konzert Patrick]
tanjinjack Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 851
Loc: Malaysia
I see that you are from London and I believe you will have a lot of choices in purchasing a piano.

Indeed, Boston can be overpriced, if you do not like it. If you have played it, and has developed a liking on it, then it shall not be judged to be overpriced. After all, the price is something you are willing to pay to get the piano you want. Nonetheless, generally, when people are shopping for a piano and looking at the price range of Boston, they have some better alternatives, be it cheaper than Boston but on par in quality, or better in quality and on par on Boston's price.

Yamaha has a touch that favours learning at first and I believe one can grow on a Yamaha action. It's an action after all, a weighted one. And, technician can do the magic to alter its touch, to a bit heavier if that's what you prefer. The technician, too, has the magic to tone down the brightness of the Yamaha.
Well, personally, the new Yamaha (from Japan), I don't feel that it's bright and certainly the tone for Yamaha in Europe market should not be even brighter due to the EU taste of a piano tone.

Always buy the piano, not the deal.

Edited by tanjinjack (04/07/09 10:08 AM)

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#1176258 - 04/07/09 05:51 PM Re: Yamaha or Boston? [Re: tanjinjack]
willisbeatwilt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/09
Posts: 107
I agree with other posters who have noticed that the "Yamaha is brighter" statements are a thing of the past. In our recent piano-buying adventure, I found that Yamahas were not brighter than other brands and were much warmer than some.

So, go without preconceptions and listen yourself and pick the sound you like.

Also, be wary of comparing a Brand X piano to a Brand Y piano at a dealership that isn't an authorized dealer of Brand X. We have a friend who ran into such a comparison: the dealer was showing one of his beautifully prepped pianos along side a competitor's piano in order to demonstrate that Brand Y was too bright. And it was - way too bright.

Please note that the vast majority of dealers are forthright and honest and would never do such a thing. Unfortunately, there are always some who do such things...

So, be your own judge.

Edited by willisbeatwilt (04/07/09 07:20 PM)

#1176298 - 04/07/09 07:08 PM Re: Yamaha or Boston? [Re: willisbeatwilt]
DarkGreenChocolate Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 307
Loc: Michigan
I agree with the OP: Yamahas are bright and light, and Bostons are overpriced. Where does that leave you? Probably with a Kawai, but of course you should make your own comparisons.

#1176313 - 04/07/09 07:30 PM Re: Yamaha or Boston? [Re: DarkGreenChocolate]
willisbeatwilt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/09
Posts: 107
Originally Posted By: DarkGreenChocolate
I agree with the OP: Yamahas are bright and light, and Bostons are overpriced. Where does that leave you? Probably with a Kawai, but of course you should make your own comparisons.

Please note that the OP didn't say he thought the Yamahas were brighter; he said that a Steinway dealer told him that. Big difference.

#1176384 - 04/07/09 09:32 PM Re: Yamaha or Boston? [Re: willisbeatwilt]
DarkGreenChocolate Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 307
Loc: Michigan
Understood. I meant O[riginal] P[ost], not O[riginal] P[oster].

But I, for myself, do think Yamahas are bright to the ear and light on the fingers. Maybe those aren't the optimal adjectives, but surely most would hear a difference btw Yahama and Kawai or Boston, whichever one prefers. I tried at least a dozen of each (fewer Bostons) about a year ago, and they sounded very distinct--"bright"--to me, much as they had ten or more years ago.

Obviously, everyone should follow his own ears. I just thought it was funny to find myself agreeing with both statements by different dealers whose intentions were clearly to discredit each other, or each other's products.

#1176394 - 04/07/09 09:44 PM Re: Yamaha or Boston? [Re: DarkGreenChocolate]
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
As we suggest in the book, don't ask the Toyota dealer about Nissans. If you want to know about Yamahas go to the dealer. Don't let sellers of other brands tell you how a Yamaha sounds and plays. Hear and feel it for yourself.
Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.

#1176413 - 04/07/09 10:10 PM Re: Yamaha or Boston? [Re: DarkGreenChocolate]
pno Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 1044
Loc: ♪oron♪o, on♪ario, canada...
I don't think Yamahas are any brighter than Boston or Kawai out of the box. Try those Bostons and Kawais that dealers haven't done any voicing work you will know.

They are not light on fingers either. The old ones yes, but not the new ones (after 2007). They are now actually heavier than several of the European brands, and more or less the same as current Steinways.

I am talking about grands.

Edited by pno (04/07/09 10:11 PM)
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#1176484 - 04/08/09 01:53 AM Re: Yamaha or Boston? [Re: pno]
Robert 45 Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 1660
Loc: Auckland New Zealand
Welcome to the forum, kausvo. It is to be expected that piano dealers working in a fiercely competitive market will denigrate competing piano brands that they do not sell. Boston and Yamaha pianos are fine instruments of similar quality in components and build.
Personal preference for piano sound and touch is highly subjective and you should choose whichever of the two pianos appeals to you more. Involve your wife and sons in this selection process as it seems that they will be playing the piano.
A piano is essentially a musical instrument and should be chosen primarily on that criterion. Specifications can be just a marketing ploy.
Good luck for your choice!


#1176489 - 04/08/09 02:00 AM Re: Yamaha or Boston? [Re: Robert 45]
chihuahua Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/09
Posts: 391
Loc: An Oligarchy
Bosendorfer Pheonix. No fight. Yeah ...
Nepotism: We promote family values here - almost as often as we promote family members.

#1176513 - 04/08/09 03:55 AM Re: Yamaha or Boston? [Re: chihuahua]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
kausvo, I was in London a few weeks ago and probably played a few of the pianos you might be interested in. There is plenty of choice, no doubt about that.

The Boston 126. Was it the black one at Steinway Hall? This was one of the nicest pianos I played all day. It surprised me because there are a lot of negative comments on the forum regarding Boston. Mostly these comments focus on the fact that it is not a Steinway. From what I remember the price was about 25% of the cost of the Steinway uprights in the other room. So it's not a Steinway. Who cares? If you can get over that and concentrate on what it is rather than what it isn't I think it is a very musical piano. How much dealer prep has to do with it I'm not sure because I only played the one.

Yamaha. They have them upstairs in Chappels. When I was there it was very busy so I couldn't listen carefully. They had a good range though. Unfortunately no P121G but there were plenty of U's of all sizes and also the SU118 and SU7 which are nice but expensive.

For Kawai you want Jaques Samuels. Nice people there too, very helpful. I wasn't that keen on the K3 they had in stock but the K5 was brilliant. Worth the extra money IMO.

Have you played Kemble? I was really taken by them. Marksons have the K121 and also the Conservatoire 124. Both are great pianos and although they are essentially Yamaha there were subtle differences in tone which would steer me toward them. Maybe a bit more exclusive than a Yamaha as well and the cabinet designs are nice, especially the Mozart edition 121.

You can't go far wrong with any of these. Go for what sounds and feels best to you.
Pianist and piano teacher.

#1176597 - 04/08/09 09:53 AM Re: Yamaha or Boston? [Re: pno]
tjbsb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/29/07
Posts: 256
Loc: Houston, TX
You can find some really nice deals on used/grey market U1 and U3 Yamahas. If you have a reputable dealer of these in your area, they can be very, very good deals. My experience is the Yamha uprights tend to have a very light action and when used do tend towards a brighter tone. I have not tried newer Yamaha uprights and so can't say much about them.

I used to own a Kawai K5. Very sweet and mellow piano with a touch tending towards the heavy side. I would highly recommend it if you want an upright or have space constraints.

I like Boston pianos and own a GP178 now. They are different from Kawais but offer similar quality of construction and materials. The price I paid was competitive with similar Kawais and Yamhas that I also tried and priced during the last stage of my search.

At the end of the day, you won't go wrong with Boston, Kawai or Yamaha. Just pick the one that you like the best within your budget. If you go used, get a reputable tech to check out your choice before closing the deal.

#1176727 - 04/08/09 01:36 PM Re: Yamaha or Boston? [Re: tjbsb]
choleric Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/09
Posts: 233
Pianomike, how many Bostons have you played?

No, pianoworld, I am not pumping the Boston line, just realizing that, as someone inferred in another thread, there seems way too much opinion-ating around here without actual playing time on the instrument. Yamahas are "too bright", Boston is "too expensive due to its Steinway affiliation", Kawai's are "full of plastic"; Hailun is "chinese"....how about the novel concept of folks just playing the instrument and then giving an opinion?

pno, I would disagree with your assertion that Yamaha grands now have a heavy action. They are still quite light. Not a bad thing, in my book.

As far as the bright sound of Yamaha, I've noticed that certain models--the shorter uprights---are brighter. The taller uprights are warmer.
Yamaha CVP307 digital piano

#1177086 - 04/08/09 10:59 PM Re: Yamaha or Boston? [Re: choleric]
pno Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 1044
Loc: ♪oron♪o, on♪ario, canada...
Originally Posted By: choleric
pno, I would disagree with your assertion that Yamaha grands now have a heavy action. They are still quite light. Not a bad thing, in my book.

No they don't have a heavy action, but not a light action either. I think they are just right. I am talking about their newer grands. I have absolutely no struggle playing any Steinway. In contrast, many of the European brands feel light to me. So I think Yamaha grands are now sort of in the middle.
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