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#181566 - 10/03/07 01:32 AM Yamaha Piano-M1 model
JennyWalton Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 15
I'm new here,and was wondering if anyone could help me on this.
We are looking for a piano. We have found a Yamaha M1 piano for $1,300. We also have found a brand new Yamaha M450 on sale for $2,997 (includes upgraded brown cherry cabinet).
The M1 has great sound and tone, but when we went to the store to look at the new ones, the sales person told us some things about the M1 that I haven't been able to verify.
He said the M1 is a grey market piano. It does have a "Made in Japan" stamp on the back. Does that make it a gray market piano? The sales person told me it was a gray market piano, but when I just inquired about a M1 some shop had online for sale, he said it was not a gray market piano. Either way, is it a big deal? Are there parts around for those? When I ran the serial # on Yamaha's web site, it said it was made in 1968, so it is 39 yrs old. It looks like it is in excellent condition, purchased by a grandma who didn't play it much. Then the son inherited it, and it has sat unplayed in his living room. Also, it hasn't been tuned since 1985, could that be a problem?
My biggest problem with this piano, is that the keyboard is lower than normal keyboards on a piano. It is 3" lower than ours at home. Could that be problem for new pianists? Also, since it is 39 years old, would I be better off with the new one?
Also, does anyone know if the M1 was a entry level piano, or would it be a better model & quality than the new M450 that I am also looking at?
So, my decision...is the M1 superior enough of a piano to buy it at the $1,300, taking in consideration it's age, the lower keyboard, the question of it being grey market, etc. Or would I be better off buying the M450 for the $2900, and is that a good price for that? As far as tone and sound, does anyone know if they would be equal in tone and sound and quality..like are they both an entry level or was one made better than another?
Sorry for the long post, but I am really confused at this point.
Thanks so much,

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#181567 - 10/03/07 08:26 AM Re: Yamaha Piano-M1 model
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4346
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
M1 is not a gray market piano. In fact having had
over 800-1000 different Yamaha and Kawai pianos I've never imported a M1. A 1968 M1 is definitely made in the Hamamatsu factory in Japan therefore in my opinion superior to those made in the states (USA) or elsewhere. That is a great little piano and is of better quality than a newer M450.
The only issue is it's condition being of 1968.
$1300 is a fair price if it is as mint as you say.
M450 is definitely not worth the extra $
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#181568 - 10/03/07 03:43 PM Re: Yamaha Piano-M1 model
JennyWalton Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 15
so in your opinion then, should I not be concerned with the shortness, or the lowered keyboard? It does look a bit odd, but I guess I could get used to it if it is a much better piano then a newer M450.
Why do you think the M1 would be superior if I may ask
Thanks so much for your imput, I appreciate it!

#181569 - 10/03/07 03:56 PM Re: Yamaha Piano-M1 model
JennyWalton Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 15
Also, my daughter said it was the back that was 3" shorter, not the keyboard. The M1 keyboard was 1 1/2" shorter or lower than ours at home. So, the M450 is a 44" height in back, and the M1 is 41" height in back, and the keyboard is lower.

Also, just to clarify then, so you think the M1 was sold at better than an entry level piano then? Isnt' the M450 an entry level piano?

Also, how do you know it wasn't a gray market piano? Someone told me that if it came from Japan in the late 60's or 70's that made it a gray market piano. But, like I said I've been told so many conflicting things about this piano, at his point I'm thoroughly confused. But you are now the 2nd person who as told me it wasn't a gray market piano.

We also just found a 29 year old M202 Yamaha for $1800, we haven't seen it, but have been told it was in excellent condition. Would the M1 still be a better piano than a M202?

Thanks again for any help,

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#181570 - 10/03/07 04:08 PM Re: Yamaha Piano-M1 model
Craigen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/05
Posts: 1815
Loc: West Coast
The only way to confirm the M1 is not gray market is to punch in the serial number on the Yamaha web site. Yes, it indeed was made in Japan.

IMO 1968 is very old for any Asian piano.
In 1968 the M1 was Yamaha's entry level piano.
Certainly the price is fair if it checks out.

If you can afford the $3k or so for a new piano, you will be happier in the long run with the performance and the warranty protection.

Check out the new Cable Nelson (Yamaha) CN116 for about $3200 new. Superior performance longevity than those you have listed, IMO
Piano Technician, member Piano Technicians Guild.

#181571 - 10/03/07 11:14 PM Re: Yamaha Piano-M1 model
JennyWalton Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 15
I did confirm that this M1 that I am looking at is for sure not a gray market piano. It was in fact made for the American market. So, you guys were right!
So, Craigen, you recommended the CN1116-does the fact that it is made in China, is that a bad thing? Or are they just as good as a new M450 made in the USA?
Also, what would you guys say about comparing these:
The 1968 M1 for $1300 to
A new M450 for $2997 to
A new CN116 for $2999 OR
A 1990 P22 for $2600?

Which of those is the better piano? I am basically trying to find the best piano with the best sound/tone/response for 3K or maybe I could squeeze $3,500. 4 Kids are playing on it everday. 2 of those have been taking for 6 years, and are getting quite good, we just switched to the best piano teacher in town. We were borrowing a piano from someone for the last 6 years, and she needs it back now. So, it's time for us to get one. And, my brain is swimming on which one to get. My husband says that the piano we get will be our forever piano. So, I need to choose carefully.
I have read the responses you guys give on this forum, and I am overwhelmed by your knowledge. So, any advice you can give me would be so appreciated!
Thanks so much,

#181572 - 10/04/07 06:51 PM Re: Yamaha Piano-M1 model
Craigen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/05
Posts: 1815
Loc: West Coast
My vote is for CN116. IMO not to worry about comming from China. Yamaha quality is all over it.
M1 is too old in my opinion to deliver decent performance for long.
P22 for $2600 at age 17 is not a bad deal if it did not come out of a school.
A new M450 is a decent piano and your price is good if you prefer the furniture styling.
Piano Technician, member Piano Technicians Guild.

#181573 - 10/05/07 12:05 PM Re: Yamaha Piano-M1 model
JennyWalton Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 15
Thanks Craigen. I also just found some more options that are for sale used. Do you mind if I run them by you guys, and you tell me which one sounds like the better piano for my buck?

Okay, there is the 1990 P22 made in USA for $2800, the CN116 for $2999 made in China,
or I just found these as well:
A 1987 Yamaha U3 made in Japan for $3499. It's at a piano store, I haven't seen it but am told it's in excellent like new condition. It is a gray market piano, not made for the american market.
Or a Yamaha U1F says it has 5-6 hrs playing time on it, & in showroom condition-$4,000, 13 yrs old, made in Japan. They bought it intending to take lessons, and never did. They have hired a professional pianist to come play at a few dinner parties on it, and that is it.
Or a Yamaha-T121-$4,000 4 yrs old, 1 owner perfect condition, great tone am told. Made in Japan.
Or a T116-$3500, 5 years old, they say perfect condition.

What I get lost & confused in is how old is too old to buy a piano? Or is it better to buy a lesser quality piano but brand new? I would have a piano tech check out what I buy first. But,
Could you rank with the info above those 4 pianos in order of the ones you think I should pursue first? The trouble is these pianos are about any where from 1 to 3 hours away from me. So, unfortuneately it's not easy to hop in my car and go look. So, I thought If you coud help me weed out the ones that don't sound that good, and just direct me from the one that sounds the best on down, that would save me much time and gas.
Thank you so much,

#181574 - 10/05/07 01:05 PM Re: Yamaha Piano-M1 model
Craigen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/05
Posts: 1815
Loc: West Coast
IMO Asian pianos in general begin to deteriorate musically after about 25 years. They kind of hit the wall at about 35 years (much less if it came from an institution). That said every used instrument you look at could be viewed in the context of how many useful musical years it may have left. All used should be checked out by an independant technician.
P22 is decent piano price is fair deal
CN116 new would be my recommendation on value.
U3 at 20yo is on the cusp age wise, price is a fair deal. Not crazy about gray market pianos.
U1 have tech determine clock hours, 5-6 hrs is a sales line, price is high for age and model.
T121 is decent model shoot for $3500, document age.
T116 is decent model, document age.
New model T118 can be gotten at $4k, my new favorite value.
Piano Technician, member Piano Technicians Guild.

#181575 - 10/05/07 04:29 PM Re: Yamaha Piano-M1 model
asd123321 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/05
Posts: 689
The P22 could be good if you could get it down around $1600 if a private owner was more willing to deal. I was happy to unload a 1967 M1 after 9 months for sale. It had hammers as hard as concrete giving an excessive bright sound.

#181576 - 10/05/07 11:19 PM Re: Yamaha Piano-M1 model
JennyWalton Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 15
Craigen,Thank-you for all that information! That was exactly what I have been looking for. I really appreciate it. I'll check into the T118. I am glad you said that the U1 price was too high. I tried to talk them down to $3500, but they are firm on their $4K price. They insist it hasn't been played hardly ever. I have documented through Yamaha the ages of the T121 & T116, and they are accurate.
ASD: Ya, the P22 is through a piano store, so no such luck I imagine on gettting them down. And I am so glad everyone on here steered me away from the M1, I keep getting more and more confirmation that it would not have been a good piano.
Thanks for all the help guys, you Rock!

#181577 - 10/14/07 08:25 PM Re: Yamaha Piano-M1 model
JennyWalton Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 15
Okay, I think we found it. I think it screamed, I'm the one, take me home!! We went and looked all day Friday and Saturday (again). Finding nothing really except for new ones. We really liked the Yamaha P118, which is a new model. It had a real nice tone and singing quality. We also saw a refinished 100 yr old Knabe, that had new hammers, felts, keys, the whole works. It was gorgeous. It was loud (too loud if you ask me, but I'm a mom). It had a gorgeous tone and sound. But, the girls didn't really like the touch of the keys. It was $4,000. Then on Saturday we drove 3 1/2 hours to where this Yamaha U1 was, and we loved it. It had a nice rich beautiful tone. The keys were not spongy, but had a nice touch. My girls really liked it. It is 13 years old, has only been played 5-6 hours in it's whole life, from a hired pianist for a couple dinner parties. They are the original owners. They were going to take lessons, but never did. Now they are retiring to a smaller home. When it was moved the one time since they bought it, it was moved by professional piano movers. It was also made in Japan. So, bottom line...we got it for $3,750. We are feeling pretty good about it. They lived in a very nice upscale home, which was imaculant. And the piano was obviously well cared for. Not a scratch or nick on it. So, what do ya'll think? 2 weeks ago, I was considering buying a M450 new for $3K, and now I'm up to a U1 13 years old, for $750 more. It's alot of money for us to spend. But, I'm hoping that this stretch for us now money wise will pay off in the long run for the kids in having a better quality piano.
Okay, I'm ready for your thoughts...

#181578 - 10/14/07 10:31 PM Re: Yamaha Piano-M1 model
soundofmusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 88
Congratulations--there's my thought! Happy Playing.


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