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Joined: Dec 2021
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JaviJ01 Offline OP
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My wife has been learning to play for the past 1.5 years and I'm just starting, we are looking to upgrade from our keyboard. We went to local piano shop to see what they had to offer. The pianos we saw that we liked in our budget of $5k-$10k

All come with a 5 year warranty and a tuning before delivery and two free tunings after
Boston up118c $4,800
Yamaha u3h $5,500
Yamaha gp1 $8,700

There is also a Yamaha G1 on CL listed for $8,500

The uprights sounded much better than we thought they would, and much better than our keyboard obviously. From doing some reading the U3's seem to be a safe bet/good bang for your buck. I want to say the GP1 sounded slightly better than the uprights but I know nothing about pianos.

I originally had thought the baby grand might be a good route for just a bit more hoping it would last us longer in the sense of not wanting an upgrade quickly. It seems like the Yamaha GP and G series are not well liked so I'm curious if the safe bet would just to go with the Boston/U3?

Thanks in advance!

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Welcome to PW !!

Of course, any of the pianos you are considering would probably be an upgrade from your current keyboard.

Do you have a sense of how old these pianos actually are? If not, perhaps you can get the serial numbers from the dealer and we can look them up for you.

The Yamaha U3 is 52" tall, compared to the Boston at 46.5" - so if the current condition of both pianos is equal, the U3 would probably provide more bang for the buck (i.e., larger soundboard, longer strings, fuller sound). It's hard for me to say how it would compare sound-wise to the GP1 - but you were probably playing the GP1 with the lid raised. Try lowering the lid and see how the sound compares to the verticals.

I'm assuming that both the Boston and Yamaha uprights have middle "practice pedals" - which are a very useful feature for nighttime practice. The Yamaha GP1 would have a middle bass sustain pedal (as opposed to a full sostenuto pedal) - which is fine, but you'd probably never use it.

If the three instruments were brand new, in terms of quality and performance, I'd recommend the U3 hands down. But the pianos are probably different ages, and their current condition is what really counts. Ask the dealer if any work has been done on them - or if they are in original condition. For additional peace of mind, it's always a good idea to have any piano you are seriously considering checked out by an independent technician.


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Javi-
Carey gave you a good and succinct answer. I tried to get more information on the GP1, but it was hard. It doesn’t seem to have been around for very long. Here’s a link to a very old thread (from 2003) that discussed it: Old Yamaha thread . The bottom line seems to be that this was very much an entry level piano — not really built for performance or longevity.
From what I could fine, the H on the U3H probably dates it to 1970-1980, or thereabouts, but you will get a more precise answer from the serial number. The U3 is a pretty iconic, excellent upright. However, if the piano does indeed date back to the 70s, the condition will be very important. This includes work done to it and the quality of the work. You will definitely want an independent technician to evaluate it for you. But if it is in good shape and you like the touch and tone, U3s are generally considered reliable and good instruments. This would not have been built as an entry level piano.
Also as Carey said, it is quite a bit taller than the Boston, and this should have some advantages. But this could be outweighed by the condition of the instruments.
If at all possible, keep looking. Keep checking out different pianos to get a sense of what is available and what you like. Good luck and have fun!

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Originally Posted by JaviJ01
Boston up118c $4,800
Yamaha u3h $5,500
Yamaha gp1 $8,700
There is also a Yamaha G1 on CL listed for $8,500

Congrats in advance on the upgrade. The U3 and G1 would have been the best-built initially (I'm assuming the Boston is a 118S, and not the more upscale 118E), and the GP1 was a "promotional", entry-level grand, for those who wanted the Yamaha name, but didn't have the accompanying budget for their main-line quality grands. Note the U3 and G1 have existed in some form, all the way back to the 1960s in the US market, so knowing the age is useful. I think the G1 stopped existing as a model in the 1990s. The earliest Boston pianos were from the early 1990s, and most seem to think the quality/performance of the brand has increased since then.

However, all are used. As mentioned above, a pre-purchase technical inspection of your top 1-2 choices would be money well-spent if you don't know much about the inner workings of the piano, so there are no surprises. Here is a helpful article from the Piano Book that got copied over to the Piano Buyer:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/how-to-inspect-a-used-piano-before-buying/

If the U3 is really from the 70s-80s (you can easily look up the age of most pianos with the serial number), that price seems to be on the high side...though the current used piano market is a little wacky with all the oddities of our current world. It might be possible to negotiate those numbers down a bit.


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Thank you both for your help! We actually went back to the store this evening and brought some sheet music for us to play (didn't think about that on Saturday). My wife tried the GP1 (along with the GB1K next to it) and immediately didn't like either of them. Next she went to one of the 5 U3's they had available and fell in love with the first one. She tried the other four but they sounded a little less warm then the first one. Also tried a Kawai US60 but kept going back to the first U3A (made in 1984 according to the serial number).

We ended up putting a deposit on one the U3 that we liked and should be getting it delivered next week. Thank you for the idea about having an independent tech check it out. They gave us a 5 year warranty with it, so I wouldn't have thought to get it looked at!

Now we're excited for Monday to come like kids waiting for their presents

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Congratulations on your new (to you) Yamaha U3. thumb

Regarding the 5 year warranty....did the dealer tell you exactly what that means? Did they give you anything in writing outlining the terms? Clarifying this at the time of purchase will help avoid any misunderstandings in the future. smile


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Warranty states:

"If during the basic warranty period from date of purchase, your piano is found to have a defct in part of workmanship, we will repair such defect without charge for parts or labor. Normal maintenance work such as tuning, regulation, normal wear in parts such as strings and any issues developed on structure after purchase such as soundboard, bridges & pin block, are not covered by this warranty"

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Congratulations! Very nice choice

The fact that one U3 out of a lineup of 5 was clearly preferred over the others goes to show that every piano is unique.

Enjoy the new piano

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Yamaha is the best of it all! Congratulations!


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Originally Posted by RTKO
Congratulations! Very nice choice

The fact that one U3 out of a lineup of 5 was clearly preferred over the others goes to show that every piano is unique.

Enjoy the new piano
It really does! Before going in to the shop I kind of rolled my eyes a little at that statement, I can absolutely say I was wrong.

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Congratulations! May the piano bring you and your wife many happy years of music making! 🎊🎉🎈

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Congrats for the new piano😀. Here’s a toast to many years of enjoyment

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Congratulations on your new to you U3. U3s are very nice uprights and the 5 year warranty is icing on the cake. Please post some pictures of your piano after delivery. We love happy endings with pictures when a forum member shows us their new “baby”.


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I am very happy for you!

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Originally Posted by j&j
Please post some pictures of your piano after delivery. We love happy endings with pictures when a forum member shows us their new “baby”.
Thank you! Will definitely do that!


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