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new KAWAI K300 vs. old U1 (technical input) #2911650 11/13/19 03:38 PM
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theoo Offline OP
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Hi!

I currently own a used (wet) Yamaha U1 (1982) that I find a bit too bight... and uneven (in terms of the weight and tone of the keys). The dynamic range of the U1 is also limited.

I am therefore considering buying a new piano, although I am also considering improving the U1 (if this is possible).

I tried this morning a brand new Kawai K300. It is definitely warmer, smoother than the U1 and better balanced. However, I found the sound to be closed-in and the keys a bit firm/heavy. Can those two issues be fixed with time/use and technical adjustments?

Side question: should I put instead more money into my U1? One technician tells me that it is fine as it is, and another tells me to change the hammers (there is plenty of felt left... but I am told that after 40 years the hammers have hardened and should be changed).

Thanks for your technical input!

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Re: new KAWAI K300 vs. old U1 (technical input) [Re: theoo] #2911665 11/13/19 04:23 PM
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It is difficult to know the condition of your U1 without seeing it. It appears it could use regulation and voicing at a minimum. There is a limit to how often you can do that before the hammers need to be changed. Frankly, I do not like the evaluations you have gotten from either tech. If you are not happy with the way that your piano plays or sounds, then it is not fine the way it is. If there is plenty of felt left, one could at least try some reshaping of the hammers to see whether they will be good for regulation and voicing. Did anyone say anything about spring loops?

With the Kawai, I cannot tell whether what you do not like about it is related to its newness or something else.


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Re: new KAWAI K300 vs. old U1 (technical input) [Re: theoo] #2911669 11/13/19 04:37 PM
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theoo Offline OP
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Thanks for the reply!

No. Nobody has mentioned spring loops (what are those?)

The last tech said that he could hear that my hammers had to be changed because of the limited dynamic range of the sound. He said that after changing the hammers, we would be better able to know the real state of my piano. He also mentioned the possibility of changing the bass strings and balancing the keys... but the hammers had first to be changed (he said).

My other tech likes my piano ("above average" wet yamaha from the 80s, he says). He did some needling. I will send him an email and ask him more directly if the hammers should be reshaped.

Changing hammers (and strings) must be costly... over $2,000 (I suppose), while piano is worth about $4,500 canadian dollars. And there is no guarantee that changing the hammers, or strings, will truly make a significant difference. This is why I am also considering buying a new Kawai K300 ($8,295).

Re: new KAWAI K300 vs. old U1 (technical input) [Re: theoo] #2912679 11/16/19 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by theoo
No. Nobody has mentioned spring loops (what are those?)


These are the loops that hold the hammer return springs in tension. Yamahas from the 1980s were shipped with cotton loops that could not stand up to the repeated flexing and would break. They are relatively easily replaced (using silk). This is a very well-known fault and if they were not mentioned in the evaluations then either (a) they have already been replaced or (b) the techs were asleep at the wheel.

I have a U1 that had this fault - replacing the loops didn't make a huge difference to the piano but did somewhat improve the action on the octave below middle C.

I agree that a good work through of the regulation should improve the consistency from key to key. There's no reason why they should feel very different if the regulation is all correct.

Curious - what is a "wet" piano?


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