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Hi everyone,

I have an opportunity to buy a used Yamaha U1 (with an included silent system) really close to where I live and I would like to know your opinion about the deal and what price would seem fair:

The piano is almost 10 years old, it's from 2013 (still have a warranty until 2023). I live in Quebec, Canada, the vendors purchased it for 14 000$ in 2013. Now, to my surprise, I called one yamaha dealer to know the actual price and it's exactly the same as 10 years ago (14k).

The vendors are selling it 9900$

Now, I went there to inspect the piano and try it (I'm not a pro, but I'm a professional musician with 10 years of experience). Let me describe you the vendors so you get an idea on how the piano must look like: they are rich people (judging by their house and their cars), but they know nothing about music whatsoever. They bought the piano for their son because he wanted to try to study music, but changed his mind after some months...So the piano remained unplayed for almost a decade...such a shame...

The biggest downside they told me is that they NEVER ever tuned the piano since they bought it...or maintained it with the help of a professional. Although when I tried it, the low and high keys were not that much out of tune (I can't understand why), but the middle keys definitely were out of tune and also buzzing.

Other than that, I personally inspected it outside and inside aswell and I can tell you that this piano is LIKE new, it looks like it has only been played a few times... Finish, wood, touch, hammers, pins, bridges, strings, keys, EVERYTHING looks like it just came out of the store.

My question now is, since it hasn't been tuned or maintained for almost the first quarter of its life, would buying such a piano be a good deal? Is the lack of maintenance concerning and may cause problems in the future and require a lot of adjustments, repairs, etc.? Will it significantly decrease the lifetime of the piano? After what I said, do you guys think the price is correct or should I negotiate?

I thank you all in advance for your time and your help, have a wonderful day.

Nicolas

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A U1 is only a small piano. I would recommend a larger piano like the Yamaha CFX. Or maybe even larger.

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Hi Nicholas,

Yamaha pianos are *extremely* durable. That's one of their main selling points. A piano that hasn't been tuned for 10 years may require two or three tunings to get it stabilized, and it may benefit from being regulated, I can't imagine that the piano would have any significant problems.

That said, when buying a used piano, always ask a professional piano technician to check over the instrument for you before you part with the money so that you know exactly what you are buying. Although Yamaha pianos are extremely durable, if the piano has been subjected to any extremes of humidity or temperature over the ten years, it will be apparent to a technician. If the technician says it's OK, then I would trust them. If the silent system is not important to you, perhaps you could ask your local Yamaha dealer how much it would cost to buy a new U1 without the silent system.

As for buzzing in the piano, that might be a concern but also it could easily be something in the room buzzing - a picture frame, or something inside the piano, or a loose hinge that needs to be tightened. The technician will find the problem I'm sure.

Finally, for the price, I don't know. I don't know the used piano market very well in North America, and so I don't know what a reasonable price for this instrument would be. Certainly the U1 is an excellent model, so at least you know that you're getting a good piano subject to it passing inspection.


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You can find out if the piano has any issues by having it inspected by a knowledgeable tech. This is standard advice for any used piano. It might even be worth it to pay to have the tech tune the piano because otherwise you might not like the tone once it's tuned and find this out only after you've paid for it. OTOH if you're familiar with U1s they're said to be very consistent in tone.

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Originally Posted by Sonepica
A U1 is only a small piano. I would recommend a larger piano like the Yamaha CFX. Or maybe even larger.

Your sense of humour is totally lost on me and is surely not helpful to the OP.

Regards,


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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by Sonepica
A U1 is only a small piano. I would recommend a larger piano like the Yamaha CFX. Or maybe even larger.

Your sense of humour is totally lost on me and is surely not helpful to the OP.

Regards,

Sometimes I forget that plain clothes police officers patrol this forum, cautioning people on their sense of humour or lack of usefulness.

OP, do you need a silent system? The fact that that U1 has been hardly played and is as-new is quite appealing. Where possible though, I would prefer a Yamaha U3 as the extra 10cm in height makes a difference in tonal quality. But of course it may be difficult to find a U3 that is hardly played and also has a silent system.

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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by Sonepica
A U1 is only a small piano. I would recommend a larger piano like the Yamaha CFX. Or maybe even larger.

Your sense of humour is totally lost on me and is surely not helpful to the OP.

Regards,
Very true!


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Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by Sonepica
A U1 is only a small piano. I would recommend a larger piano like the Yamaha CFX. Or maybe even larger.

Your sense of humour is totally lost on me and is surely not helpful to the OP.

Regards,
Very true!


Give him a break. He just forgets that not everyone has the space or the money for a large grand.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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OK back to the question. Nicolas J - the independent technician inspection is definitely needed. I’d also ask the sellers to get it tuned so you can tell how your repertoire sounds on it. Also try to convince the sellers to get it tuned so it will sell easier. If they won’t hopefully the technician can judge the piano without it being in tune. Unfortunately you may be forced to buy a “pig in a poke” or pay to tune the piano so you can evaluate it.

I’m not in your position but there are quite a few used U1s out there, so if this doesn’t work out, another U1 will come along.

Best Wishes on your search!


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Tell them you will buy the piano for their price if they bring in a technician to tune it and sort out the buzzes prior to purchase.

I’m not sure of the policy in Canada, but in the US Yamaha piano warranties do not transfer to future owners.


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I’d also ask the sellers to get it tuned so you can tell how your repertoire sounds on it. Also try to convince the sellers to get it tuned so it will sell easier.

This. Except, I would recommend to ask for the tuning not to tell how your repertoire will sound, but to say specifically "please have the piano tuned so that I can evaluate its sound and condition."

I was actually able to convince the sellers of my piano to get it tuned (on their dime) by telling them that not only that would it help me evaluate the piano, but that I would absolutely not buy it if I couldn't hear how it sounded post-tuning. I also pointed out that even if I ended up not buying the piano, having it tuned would make it possible for the piano to give the best impression to anyone else who might consider buying it. They had the piano tuned, I had my piano tech evaluate it, and of course, I ended up buying it.

This was pre-covid, so it may be that part of the reason they agreed was because their piano was sitting there unsold after being advertised in various places online for at least three months. I went to play it right after they first advertised it, and then I contacted them again after a few months had passed and I could see that it hadn't sold yet. I remembered how much I loved the action and felt like maybe the piano had potential.

In a covid-marketplace, a used Yamaha might not sit unsold for so long. But it's really hard to say.

Keep us posted on how it goes!


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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Quote
I’d also ask the sellers to get it tuned so you can tell how your repertoire sounds on it. Also try to convince the sellers to get it tuned so it will sell easier.

This. Except, I would recommend to ask for the tuning not to tell how your repertoire will sound, but to say specifically "please have the piano tuned so that I can evaluate its sound and condition."

I was actually able to convince the sellers of my piano to get it tuned (on their dime) by telling them that not only that would it help me evaluate the piano, but that I would absolutely not buy it if I couldn't hear how it sounded post-tuning. I also pointed out that even if I ended up not buying the piano, having it tuned would make it possible for the piano to give the best impression to anyone else who might consider buying it. They had the piano tuned, I had my piano tech evaluate it, and of course, I ended up buying it.

This was pre-covid, so it may be that part of the reason they agreed was because their piano was sitting there unsold after being advertised in various places online for at least three months. I went to play it right after they first advertised it, and then I contacted them again after a few months had passed and I could see that it hadn't sold yet. I remembered how much I loved the action and felt like maybe the piano had potential.

In a covid-marketplace, a used Yamaha might not sit unsold for so long. But it's really hard to say.

Keep us posted on how it goes!

It seems like it would be common sense. I also consider vacuuming, washing, and clearing out the trunk of your car before you try to sell it as common sense. Clean, vacuum, clear dirty dishes, and flush the toilets before showing your house for sale. It’s surprising but untuned pianos and dirty cars are sold all the time.


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It seems like it would be common sense.

You'd think it's common sense, but none of the private sellers I visited had their piano tuned before I played them. The people I purchased from did tune their piano, and one other couple (who had a Yamaha G1 IIRC) also ended up having their piano tuned based on my advice, even though I didn't buy that one. Everyone else is like "it will have to be tuned after moving it, so it's pointless to tune beforehand"... oh, and one woman even told me "It's not good for pianos to tune them too often." I was a visitor in her home, so I kept my thoughts to myself after that comment!


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