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What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? #2895365 09/28/19 10:50 PM
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From the Alps Offline OP
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Hi PianoWorld!

I have been playing for over a year now, and am looking at buying a U1.

I just have some questions. What is a reasonable price to pay for a used U1 in or around Toronto (like within a couple hour drive of Toronto)?

I don't want to buy a new one. I am open to buying a used one from a dealer or a private seller (e.g. on Kijiji).

Are there certain guidelines, for example, I shouldn't probably buy one older than a certain date? Will different U1's sound different? Will they eventually sound similar? Should I avoid those made in Indonesia?

Should I be concerned about a U1 that hasn't been played for a couple of years? After how many years of lack of use should I be concerned?

Thanks!

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Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: From the Alps] #2896186 10/01/19 02:01 PM
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Any reason you are only considering a Yamaha U1?


Justin Johnson
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Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: From the Alps] #2896189 10/01/19 02:34 PM
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The biggest issues with Yamahas are wear and broken butt spring loops, so newer is better.


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Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: BDB] #2896191 10/01/19 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
The biggest issues with Yamahas are wear and broken butt spring loops, so newer is better.


Sorry, I must amend my original post. After doing more reading, it seems like used U1's that are not very old are hard to come by.

So if it is advisable to buy a new one, then I will do that.

Originally Posted by Geusey
Any reason you are only considering a Yamaha U1?

I just thought it was the most recommended piano in my price range (10k $CAD max).

I am open to other pianos if you think that is a good idea.

Thanks for the replies!

Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: From the Alps] #2896197 10/01/19 02:57 PM
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It’s hard to guess at what might be a reasonable price for a used Yamaha U1 in your area:
- prices of both new and used pianos vary from area to area depending upon supply and demand
- private sellers who think their piano is in excellent condition may hope to make a profit from the sale and will price accordingly
- private sellers may have personal reasons or circumstances that require a quick sale and may price accordingly
- some private sellers (I hesitate to say “many”) will claim that their piano is in excellent condition without having any idea of what that means or whether or not it is factual
- one may pay more buying a used piano from a dealer, but if the dealer is a reputable one, s/he may offer an instrument that is better prepared for sale than one sold by a private seller.
- some dealers may offer free delivery and a free in-home tuning after the piano has acclimated to its new surroundings, although that may be more common in the sale of a new piano than in the sale of a used instrument
- private sellers rarely – if ever – offer to cover the cost of delivery, so that cost must be added to the sale price of the instrument
- delivery prices vary widely depending upon distance, difficulty of the destination (stairs, awkward corners, etc.) and even upon the various companies themselves.

In the case of a private sale, once you have found a piano whose tone and touch you like, it is almost imperative that you have the piano inspected for any potential areas of future problems by a piano technician.
Some dealers may be amenable to a technicican not connect with the store to do an inspection; some may not.

There are a lot of factors to consider; buying a piano, new or used, is not usually a quick undertaking if done properly.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: BruceD] #2896206 10/01/19 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
It’s hard to guess at what might be a reasonable price for a used Yamaha U1 in your area:
- prices of both new and used pianos vary from area to area depending upon supply and demand
- private sellers who think their piano is in excellent condition may hope to make a profit from the sale and will price accordingly
- private sellers may have personal reasons or circumstances that require a quick sale and may price accordingly
- some private sellers (I hesitate to say “many”) will claim that their piano is in excellent condition without having any idea of what that means or whether or not it is factual
- one may pay more buying a used piano from a dealer, but if the dealer is a reputable one, s/he may offer an instrument that is better prepared for sale than one sold by a private seller.
- some dealers may offer free delivery and a free in-home tuning after the piano has acclimated to its new surroundings, although that may be more common in the sale of a new piano than in the sale of a used instrument
- private sellers rarely – if ever – offer to cover the cost of delivery, so that cost must be added to the sale price of the instrument
- delivery prices vary widely depending upon distance, difficulty of the destination (stairs, awkward corners, etc.) and even upon the various companies themselves.

In the case of a private sale, once you have found a piano whose tone and touch you like, it is almost imperative that you have the piano inspected for any potential areas of future problems by a piano technician.
Some dealers may be amenable to a technicican not connect with the store to do an inspection; some may not.

There are a lot of factors to consider; buying a piano, new or used, is not usually a quick undertaking if done properly.

Regards,

Thanks for your post!

Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: From the Alps] #2896245 10/01/19 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by From the Alps
Originally Posted by BDB
The biggest issues with Yamahas are wear and broken butt spring loops, so newer is better.


Sorry, I must amend my original post. After doing more reading, it seems like used U1's that are not very old are hard to come by.

So if it is advisable to buy a new one, then I will do that.

Originally Posted by Geusey
Any reason you are only considering a Yamaha U1?

I just thought it was the most recommended piano in my price range (10k $CAD max).

I am open to other pianos if you think that is a good idea.

Thanks for the replies!


In your price range and in your area, I would also seriously consider a new Kawai K-300 as well. I just recently bought a K-500 myself, which is about $2-3k more. Good luck shopping!

Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2896255 10/01/19 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by From the Alps
Originally Posted by BDB
The biggest issues with Yamahas are wear and broken butt spring loops, so newer is better.


Sorry, I must amend my original post. After doing more reading, it seems like used U1's that are not very old are hard to come by.

So if it is advisable to buy a new one, then I will do that.

Originally Posted by Geusey
Any reason you are only considering a Yamaha U1?

I just thought it was the most recommended piano in my price range (10k $CAD max).

I am open to other pianos if you think that is a good idea.

Thanks for the replies!


In your price range and in your area, I would also seriously consider a new Kawai K-300 as well. I just recently bought a K-500 myself, which is about $2-3k more. Good luck shopping!

Thanks. That looks like it also gets good reviews! I wasn't aware of it.

Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2896263 10/01/19 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
In your price range and in your area, I would also seriously consider a new Kawai K-300 as well. I just recently bought a K-500 myself, which is about $2-3k more. Good luck shopping!


Sorry if I missed it, mind sharing how much you paid for the K-500?

Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: From the Alps] #2896306 10/02/19 01:24 AM
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How about a U3? smile They really aren't much more expensive than a U1 when you buy a used one, while the price difference is pretty big when you buy new.

Versus a U1 you get:

- longer strings (good for tone)
- larger cabinet (good for tone)
- larger soundboard (good for tone)
- slightly longer keys (the part you don't see, good for control)

I would recommend to try as much piano's as you can before you buy anyway. Yamaha U series are nice indeed, but there are so much other brands and piano's out there that are great too and which you might just like better!

I try some piano's at dealers every now and then, and aside from Yamaha's (u series) i personally really seem to like Schimmels, and still want to try out a Sauter when i find one, then again there's lots of piano's i haven't tried yet.

Don't rush it, Yamaha is far from the only brand making quality piano's!

Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: From the Alps] #2896460 10/02/19 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by From the Alps

I just thought it was the most recommended piano in my price range (10k $CAD max).

I am open to other pianos if you think that is a good idea.

Thanks for the replies!


I agree with other posters above: take your time when shopping to find a piano you know you'll love. It is a large investment that will be with you for potentially the rest of your life.

Also, take a look at the Charles Walter model 1520. It's an unassuming-looking piano (only 44" due to its unique engineering), but IMO it compares very favorably with both the Kawaii K300 and the Yamaha U1. I went out looking for a used K300 last year and after many months of searching I ended up bringing home a Walter. And I'm very glad that I did!

Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: From the Alps] #2896672 10/03/19 08:02 AM
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Hi I have piano shop in Holland and I am also a pianotuner since 25 years. Most pianotuners like Yamaha piano’s because they are easy to tune. But most Yamaha piano’s don’t stay nice for a long time. ( many Japanse and Chinese people buy a new one after 10 years). Base strings loose brilliance after some years. And the treble notes are often not sounding very long ( not much sustain) so I think the German piano’s are the best....

Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: Emile van Leenen] #2896886 10/03/19 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Emile van Leenen
Hi I have piano shop in Holland and I am also a pianotuner since 25 years. Most pianotuners like Yamaha piano’s because they are easy to tune. But most Yamaha piano’s don’t stay nice for a long time. ( many Japanse and Chinese people buy a new one after 10 years). Base strings loose brilliance after some years. And the treble notes are often not sounding very long ( not much sustain) so I think the German piano’s are the best....


That's interesting to read. Usually the opposite is said about Yamaha U and higher series piano's. That they are well build and last many years etc.

The treble on my 1985 U3 sustains very long. The bass seems fine to me too, but i don't really know because i have nothing to compare it to and don't know how it's supposed to sound.

Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: Emile van Leenen] #2896902 10/03/19 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Emile van Leenen
Hi I have piano shop in Holland and I am also a pianotuner since 25 years. Most pianotuners like Yamaha piano’s because they are easy to tune. But most Yamaha piano’s don’t stay nice for a long time. ( many Japanse and Chinese people buy a new one after 10 years). Base strings loose brilliance after some years. And the treble notes are often not sounding very long ( not much sustain) so I think the German piano’s are the best....

This is very true with Sauter larger (at least ) pianos .You can count the seconds away in the treble and upper treble .This was a test I actually did with every upright I came across.I found the really amazing resonance in all the German uprights I tried.In comparison some uprights willl just give you a mechanical "click " or the sound "decays "suddenly after a short while. By all I actually mean the Bechstein,Sauter, Seiler and a console Bluthner.These were the ones I was able to try .It was far more than the Japanese pianos.I did this test by NOT using the damper pedal . The bass in the larger European uprights are also very full and round ,the same or better than many small grands.
However Yamaha and Kawai pianos sound great ,and are real work horses.The reason they sell is
often because of thier attractive tone.
They last easily for 50 years without any climate control.They do not change or lose thier brilliance
easily. I know this from experience I had a Kawai for over 50 years and a an U1 for over 30 years .
I recently bought a Kawai upright made in 1985 .The action and the tone sound new !

Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: From the Alps] #2896914 10/03/19 08:56 PM
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I think its safe to say that if all comparable pianos today would be lined up side by side (including also he better quality Chinese) people would make some rather different decisions. Having said that, many buyers simply go by name brand recognition and a perceived sense of security. From my experience few actually go by sound & sound which needs a certain ability to really test things. Lady Bird above described one method above which is good but its by no means the only one. This is where false impressions can easily occur and are also often frequently being manipulated by sales staff.
Playing arpeggios at different velocity is IMHO often more revealing than just playing single notes which normally dont allow for sympathetic resonance from other parts of the scale or piano. People also seem to “hear” and certainly ‘like’ different things with a seemingly increasing taste for more musical, transparent and lyrical sound. Something which is offered on the market in much larger numbers than before. However to experience this, one must be exposed to an ideally fairly large number of pianos played in different environments.
In my professional life I was privileged to experience exactly this during many trade shows, exhibitions and factory visits. An interesting trip!
Now, everybody must go on his/her own!
Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 10/03/19 08:58 PM.

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Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: From the Alps] #2896920 10/03/19 10:24 PM
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I agree playing arpeggios is another, test and it important also to see the dampers function properly
as well as seeing the piano does not just give a dry tone.
There are many tests but as Emile van Leenen mentions the sustaining power of treble notes in German pianos I thought I would add what I discovered.
When one plays Mozart or Haydn sonatas one does not rely on the damper pedal at all or very little.
The SINGLE treble note and it's ability to LAST is important! The slow movements of
Mozart or Haydn sonatas are based on a Arias from operas how can these notes
SING if they cannot last resonate.How do you make a dead tone sing ?
In ONE of these two Japanese pianos at 130 height I could NOT give a long lasting C note (two octaves above middle C ? The note would sound last a little then a sudden DECAY (a SUDDEN drop off in tone two nothing ! This is without using the pedal.Yes using the pedal there is longer lasting note but it will even be longer in European pianos.
When playing a Romantic piece by Chopin and using the pedal again these upper notes can last
no where near as long as in the German pianos I tried.
Norbert is correct THIS is important to me !
Why ? because it is what you get in a grand piano! This is MY test ,no sales person ever pointed this out .
If the single notes work well in the vulnerable sections of the keyboard ,this is a BIG PLUS for the whole piano to be resonant so that melodic lines can glow instead of sounding.dead !
The piano is a difficult instrument., every single note is important!

Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: From the Alps] #2896921 10/03/19 10:46 PM
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I do agree with Norbert that there are many excellent pianos out there.We should look beyond the usual Yamaha or Kawai.Chinese pianos have come a long way.
This past weekend I tried a used stencil piano called " Scheidmayor " made in Korea( the manager told me over the phone.)The piano had a really lovely tone .It was 48 " I would have recommended it to many of my pupils.
I played a Schubert Impromptu.,the piano was really responsive and with a sensitive action.The tone
range was much smaller than my piano and it was fairly soft ,yet SO WELL balanced. Somehow I made that piece shine even with my limited practice these days.
The strange thing is I have NO idea who made it !!!
It actually costs less than $3,000 CAD
The manager was not there when I went to the store.Curiosity I know will eventually lead me to phone and ask again.
When we looked inside the piano, we saw it was marked Renner ???


Last edited by Lady Bird; 10/03/19 10:48 PM. Reason: Spelling
Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: From the Alps] #2896929 10/04/19 12:08 AM
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This is the mystery Scheidmayor Korean made piano I mentioned --


https://showcasepianos.com/portfolio_page/schiedmayer-upright-piano/

Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: From the Alps] #2896932 10/04/19 12:21 AM
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I see it is nearer $4,000 CAD
For those who do not know ,Scheidmayor used to be an important German piano.
This piano is NOT related ! It seems like it is a stencil piano!

Last edited by Lady Bird; 10/04/19 12:22 AM. Reason: Extra word
Re: What to consider in purchasing a Yamaha U1? [Re: Norbert] #2896960 10/04/19 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Norbert
I think its safe to say that if all comparable pianos today would be lined up side by side (including also he better quality Chinese) people would make some rather different decisions. Having said that, many buyers simply go by name brand recognition and a perceived sense of security. From my experience few actually go by sound & sound which needs a certain ability to really test things. Lady Bird above described one method above which is good but its by no means the only one. This is where false impressions can easily occur and are also often frequently being manipulated by sales staff.
Playing arpeggios at different velocity is IMHO often more revealing than just playing single notes which normally dont allow for sympathetic resonance from other parts of the scale or piano. People also seem to “hear” and certainly ‘like’ different things with a seemingly increasing taste for more musical, transparent and lyrical sound. Something which is offered on the market in much larger numbers than before. However to experience this, one must be exposed to an ideally fairly large number of pianos played in different environments.
In my professional life I was privileged to experience exactly this during many trade shows, exhibitions and factory visits. An interesting trip!
Now, everybody must go on his/her own!
Norbert



Well said and I believe is true. If a "blind test" could be done, I am sure many customers would be surprised or shocked at their choices.


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