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Joined: Feb 2009
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Mike088 Offline OP
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I am assisting in the selection of a piano for a church basement hall which is used occasionally by an elementary school for some of its school music concerts. This basement has a low ceiling of 10 feet which feels low considering the entire basement area is 80 feet square. The stage area itself is 32 feet x 10 feet which is a small stage. The stage is raised 30 inches for better viewing. The seating area for the audience occupies an area of about 40 feet square in front of the stage.

Do you think a Yamaha U1, which is a 48" piano, is big enough for this venue?

We do not have room on this small stage for a grand piano due to the children using the stage for school plays and so we must find an upright. I would prefer to find a Yamaha U3 (52") however they are more difficult to find in the used piano market here in Vancouver and they might be beyond our approximate $4500 budget ($3300 USD). I have found a few U1s for this amount that are made in 1990 and I am about to go try a few of them. I did find a U3 that was close to our budget however it was 40 years old and sounded "tubby" with no resonance or volume - either the strings needed to be replaced and/or the soundboard had collapsed or the bearing was gone or the bridges had delaminated - it was a gray market M-series (serial M332xxxx). My other options are a 46" Petrof (10 years old maybe) for $3500 CAD ($2500 USD) or a 49" Weinbach from Europe (Petrof) for $3800 CAD ($2800 USD) or a likely 30 year old young Chang U-131 (52") for $2000 CAD ($1500 USD).

Do you think I should go with one of these nice U1s or with an older taller piano? I trust U1s but I am not sure if they have the volume/power to fill this small stage.

Thank you for any suggestions,

Michael

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Would it not be possible to amplify the piano, if it was felt not to be quite adequate with a full audience present?

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48" is fine. There is not that much difference in volume in any of them.


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Yes, many schools have a U-1 or equivalent and use them in the gym, auditorium, cafeteria for concerts.



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Mike088 Offline OP
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Thank you David and Semipro Tech.

Yes, that's good point you mention that I could amplify the piano if necessary. We have a complete sound system on the stage with mics and mic stands available that we could use if we felt we needed this. Today I went to evaluate a 30-year old 46" Petrof upright which might even work - it had a great sound still after 30 year, however it was mouse damaged (the mouse ate some of the wood on the top of the backs of the keys) however I think I will feel more comfortable with a 48" piano such as a U1. I found a 30-year old U1 (from 1990) that I will go and audition today, now knowing with more confidence that it could be sufficient in size.

Unfortunately the owners of the 49" Weinbach and the Young Chang U-131 seem to have already sold their pianos because they are not returning back my emails and so these may no longer be an option. I will continue my search with a little more hope for the U1.

I appreciated your comments. Thank you!

Michael

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Mike088 Offline OP
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Thanks Bob!

Mike

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You might look for a used hybrid like the Yamaha N1 or N2 (my personal favorite in the Yamaha line up).

They have the footprint of an upright, and the sound.. of a grand (ok, 99% of the sound of a grand). In the case of the N2, Yamaha put a grand action into the instrument and electronic tone generators. In the N1, it's an upright action and equivalent tone generation capability.

Some advantages for the uses you mentioned - transposition by the click of a mouse (or something similar), easy patch into house sound system if necessary (but not usually necessary).

Recurring maintenance costs, e.g., tuning minimized. Will not need tuning ever, though regulation is something that will have to be done eventually.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
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Mike088 Offline OP
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Thank you Seeker for suggesting the hybrid. This is a good point.

However, if I were to consider any hybrid for this purpose I would rather consider the Yamaha Silent Piano or the TransAcoustic which is closer to a true "hybrid" than the N1 or NU1 and can truly offer the best both worlds. The problem with the N1 and NU1 for me for this particular application is that they do not have a soundboard and therefore they are still purely digital pianos - with mechanical keys. Its the soundboard that really makes the piano - and on a grand the partnership between the rim and the soundboard. I should also have mentioned that we have a digital keyboard in the space already that we could use if it was necessary - I do value both for their individual strengths.

I do appreciate your suggestion. Thank you.

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Originally Posted by David Boyce
Would it not be possible to amplify the piano, if it was felt not to be quite adequate with a full audience present?


+1


David L. Jenson
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Mike088 Offline OP
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Thank you David,

Tomorrow I will be looking at a Yamaha U1 built in 1989. I'll check everything. Hope it works out.

Mike


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