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Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
#2675702 09/16/17 05:07 PM
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Hello,
I have been taking lessons for one year now using my Yamaha P-45 keyboard for practice.
I am thinking of buying an acoustic piano.

A music dealer has two Yamaha U-1s on offer at ~4,500 USD. (1981 and 1982)
The pianos were purchased in Japan and then rebuilt completely, I think in the US.

What are your thoughts regarding the price and the piano as a first (and maybe final) step into the acoustic world?
Thanks
Joe


Proud owner of a Kawai KU-5D 52 inch professional upright.
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Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
Joe302 #2675727 09/16/17 06:53 PM
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The U series are good upright pianos, with a precise touch and a generous sound. In my country, they're very much used in music schools, because of their robustness.
They sell well, and there's a large second-hand market.
The woman from the store where I bought my U3 warned me about some of these pianos being washed out in japanese schools and vaguely reconditioned in China especially for that market. She said that the way to be sure it wasn't the case, was to look the hammer felts : the Yamaha ones are doubled, white felt on the outside and red felt on the inside (or maybe orange with the years).

When I tried some U1s in comparison with U3s, the height difference, and the sound-amplitude it implied, made me prefer the latter ones.

Also, if the piano has been built for the Japanese market, the keyboard may be a bit lower than the uprights made for western market. Did you have the opportunity to try it ?

Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
Joe302 #2675809 09/17/17 07:33 AM
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The Yamaha U series are nice pianos. Typically big and loud. I have a U1-X. I preferred the shorter height of it and feel I still have big enough sound. It is quite a heavy action than I was used to and took some adjustment. Not easiest piano to control. The music stand is lousy and there are many other brands with better music stands.

Rebuilt usually means cosmetically. I can promise you it has not been restrung. There are a lot of these pianos on the market. This price sounds steep. I paid less for a newer piano, upgraded model in CAD dollars over a year ago. I realize markets are different, but would suggest shopping the market to know if this is the best you can do. Also if you can get an independent technician to check the piano out is best. But for sure play it yourself and compare to be sure it is the piano for you.



Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
Joe302 #2675993 09/18/17 06:36 AM
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I have a reconditioned U1 - although it has a different model name because it has a satin walnut cabinet instead of the usual black one. It's from 1983, I bought it 4 years ago and I simply adore it. It had a little problem in the beginning that the dealer fixed under warranty. My technician loves it too and it only needs tuning once a year. When I'll get a grand, it will probably be Yamaha too - reliability and good value for money.

I don't know the American market, but the price you state is a bit high. I paid 3,000 euro for mine, including transport and 5-year warranty. For that price you might be able to find a slightly newer one. Also, even though they tend to be quite consistent in quality, make sure to try it out or have somebody play it for you, because they're not all exactly the same.

Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
Joe302 #2676943 09/22/17 08:54 AM
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Hello,
Thanks to everyone for their valuable input.
I ended up purchasing a Kawai upright.
I did try the U1 and I will post my experiences in the Piano Forum/My New Piano or Keyboard.
Thank you.
Joe


Proud owner of a Kawai KU-5D 52 inch professional upright.
Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
Joe302 #2676954 09/22/17 09:44 AM
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Hi Joe,

I'll look for your post. I'm in the market of looking to buy an acoustic (upright) and I'm in the information gathering stage. My teacher suggested a U1. In my area, 20 year old U1s seem to go for around 4 to 6K, either through a dealership or privately. In some cases they are a bit cheaper on Craig's List. At least with the dealer you get the tuning and warranty. I plan to stop by a Yamaha store this weekend.

I did go to a Steinway store this past weekend and played on an Essex. I actually liked it. My teacher wasn't a fan of it, I guess because it's made in China.

Look forward to hearing what you have to say on your experience.


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Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
Joe302 #2676973 09/22/17 11:26 AM
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bSharp(C)yclist - I purchased a Boston upright, fwiw; did not want the Essex due to the fact it was built in China (supposedly a negative); all but the lowest end Bostons are built in Japan. Similar to the U1 but not as widely well regarded. Regardless, I'm happy with it.


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Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
Joe302 #2676976 09/22/17 11:48 AM
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I bought a Yamaha U7 new in the 70's and I'm still using it every day.
It is 52" high compared to 48" for the U1.
I'm completely happy with it and have no regrets.
It even has 3 pedals, of which the middle one is a Sostenuto pedal.


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Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
Joe302 #2677452 09/24/17 05:15 PM
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I went to the store today and I was sold on the Avant Grand. I didn't buy one, but I will probably will smile I'll post a separate thread over in the digital piano section.


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Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
bSharp(C)yclist #2677544 09/25/17 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
I went to the store today and I was sold on the Avant Grand.



Well, that's not an acoustic though. They market it as hybrid, and the action might very well be taken from a grand, but it still has speakers. The sound is still fake. I'm not sure it's a good purchase for someone who want to take their playing to the next level - and deserves a real piano. And it's super expensive for a technologic device that is bound to become obsolete. I know that for many an upright is still not "the real thing", but it has strings and hammers, and a genuine sound that might not be as clean and perfect as a computer sample, but can really touch you.

Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
Joe302 #2677607 09/25/17 12:12 PM
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It's a hard decision. A digital is a lot more practical for me given where I live at the moment. If I can at least get the feel or action closer to a real piano, I think that's still a step forward. It's what I notice the most when playing at my lessons.

The sound issue would be the biggest concern I have with an acoustic right now. Sigh ... maybe I should have a picked a different hobby smile


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Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
bSharp(C)yclist #2677741 09/26/17 01:59 AM
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I'm in the same quandary, actually. I'd love to put a grand piano in my summer house but there are serious transportation issues, and then humidity/temperature concerns, and of course I would have to spend a lot of money that would be better spent renovating the house, so in the end I think I will stick to my Celviano, or maybe upgrade to a better digital (NOT the AvantGrand though, I can't stand the crippled baby-grand shape!). But I have my beloved upright in the city, so I shouldn't complain.

Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
Joe302 #2677756 09/26/17 06:17 AM
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I don't think a more expensive digital is the way to go either. While in the UK this summer I was playing my brother's Casio GP300 hybrid piano and honestly I was not impressed, despite the hype.

Did you look at the U1 with the silent system (a very common model I think)?


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Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
Joe302 #2677784 09/26/17 09:41 AM
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I am a huge fan of the AvantGrands, particularly the N2. I think it is exactly the way to go. Or maybe the
new Kawai Novus is a good option. There are many valid reasons why not to get an acoustic.

My plan along was to move to the Yamaha AvantGrand N2. But I am in no rush, I really do enjoy my current board.

At the same time, I am questioning and reexamining everything about the piano these days.


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Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
Joe302 #2677786 09/26/17 09:49 AM
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I have looked at the silent ones. I've seen a couple on Craigslist now ranging between 5500 and 6500. Also, some of the acoustics I looked have a practice pedal, where you slide it over and lock into place and the sound is muted. Not sure if I really liked that.

The guy at the store explained to me that many of the local schools and universities are moving away from uprights, and either getting high end digitals or purchasing grands. The reason being is that students spend time practicing on uprights, only to find that the experience different on the grands they get tested on is much different. Maybe none of that is true and he is trying to sell my something. Then again, with the budget I gave him, I could easily buy an acoustic, so it's not like I wouldn't buy something. But that's the direction he steered me in, going on to explain the action of an upright vs a grand and how they are different. Made sense to me at the time.

The GP300 is not the same as the Avant. The Avant has the a real grand acoustic action, or so I understand. I found another Yamaha dealer in the area that said they could beat the price I was offered for the N2 at another store. They wouldn't give me a number over the phone. I'll stop in and check it out. I'll also check out their acoustics as well, ask them some questions and see if I get the same answers I got before.

The other solution is to stop taking lessons and engaging in opportunities to play on grands. Then I have nothing to compare to ;0


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Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
sinophilia #2677789 09/26/17 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by sinophilia
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
I went to the store today and I was sold on the Avant Grand.


. I know that for many an upright is still not "the real thing", but it has strings and hammers, and a genuine sound that might not be as clean and perfect as a computer sample, but can really touch you.


The word "nerve" comes to mind . . . . I played some shockers in my youth . . . . .


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Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
bSharp(C)yclist #2677791 09/26/17 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist

The guy at the store explained to me that many of the local schools and universities are moving away from uprights, and either getting high end digitals or purchasing grands. The reason being is that students spend time practicing on uprights, only to find that the experience different on the grands they get tested on is much different.



I could go along with that. First time I played a grand I was 5yo; not long into lessons (they didn't last; I was too young) and the upright generally used was out of action.
The grand was totally overwhelming then, and these things still are.
Protect your hearing. Keep the bloody lid down!


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Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
earlofmar #2677792 09/26/17 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by earlofmar
I don't think a more expensive digital is the way to go either. While in the UK this summer I was playing my brother's Casio GP300 hybrid piano and honestly I was not impressed, despite the hype.

On this idea in particular:
I looked at all three hybrids last year: Yamaha, Casio, and Kawai. Not all hybrids are equal, so you can't make a conclusion about one by playing another.

The Casio in particular takes the actual action of an acoustic piano, felt, wood, and all. I seem to remember that there's a little clear window where you can actually see it all moving (and doing absolutely nothing, since no strings are being hit by the felt hammers). It's a cool pseudo-experience. The actual construct of the action may give some real feel to the keys as you press them. I didn't look at this for very long.

I did play the higher end Yamaha hybrid. I think it also has the wooden construct, and this is based, specifically, on the action of upright pianos. It sounded more impressive than the Kawai I ended up getting, but I was going for response because I'm a learner.

I cannot have an upright in my home. 2nd point - the more expensive digital DID make a difference. The action of my CA97 does not try to look like an acoustic: there are plastic parts, which are in fact more durable and less fragile than wood. It is based on the grand and goes uphill instead of downhill so to say. There is an escapement which I can feel. The important thing for me is that I don't have to go almost down to the bottom of the keybed and almost all the way up for every key stroke. The motions in my fingers and hands can be more varied and subtle. I can "brush" the keys for a pp sound, and can play fast articulations because the action of the keys themselves allow for it. Coming to this instrument I was "heavy handed" like a truck driver stepping into a Ferrari. This did make a difference in my growing, and still flawed, technique.

I have no idea about the U-1, and this is meant as a general idea about piano choices for us as learners.

Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
keystring #2677796 09/26/17 10:23 AM
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keystring, sorry coming in here to correct you, but this could be read by others in the future, so I thought it would probably be useful:

Originally Posted by keystring
The Casio in particular takes the actual action of an acoustic piano, felt, wood, and all.

Unfortunately, that is not true. The Casio does not have an actual acoustic action. It has a special made digital action. That action incorporates some plastic hammers to "look" like an acoustic action, but from its construction, the Casio action is actually much more similar to the upper range Kawai actions (like the one in the CA97) than to an acoustic action.

In contrast, The Yamaha AvantGrands do have an actual acoustic action, that was only slightly modified for a digital (for example there's no point in having an actual felt hammer head, so the hammer head is a simple weight-piece of the same weight as the original felt head). And:

Originally Posted by keystring
I did play the higher end Yamaha hybrid. I think it also has the wooden construct, and this is based, specifically, on the action of upright pianos.

This is a bit incorrect. Only the action of the Yamaha NU1 (and the new NU1X) is an upright action (and as I said, an actual upright action, not just based on one), but the action of the N1, N2, N3 (and the new N3X) are actual acoustic grand actions.

Also, the soon(ish) to come Kawai Novus NV10 also has an actual acoustic grand action. In the Kawai case, it's the exact same Millennium III action that Kawai uses in their acoustic grands. And with the NV10, Kawai will also be the first to incorporate the damper weights into their action (which the Yamaha AvantGrands don't have), i.e. you feel the weight of the dampers in the keys, and the keys get a tiny bit lighter when you press the sustain pedal, just like with a real acoustic grand.

Re: Thoughts on Yamaha U-1
Joe302 #2677798 09/26/17 10:33 AM
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I wish I knew a release date for the NV10, and how much it might cost. Any ideas? Probably a lot more than what I can get for the N2 now.

Sorry, I have probably derailed the intent of this thread ...


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