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U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews

Posted By: Mdm13

U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/29/13 04:40 PM

Hello Everyone,

So I've been browsing this site for a while and finally decided to post and get some advice on different models and prices... help

I'm looking for a new upright piano trying to compare different models/makes, but haven't decided as of yet which one to get. As of right now, I'm not even thinking of upgrading to a grand in the near future, but who knows... Either way, the upright will be here to stay for many years to come and I see grand more of an addition if I ever get the opportunity to do so. The piano is mainly for my 8 y.o. child (so I'm taking her input into consideration), but at this age she's too young to fully understand the difference and go beyond the action on her evaluation.

So here are models I have in mind so far:
1. YUS5
2. YUS3
3. U3 - we were able to try that one and she did like the action more than Kawai action
4. K8
5. K6
6. K3 - we were able to try it out and she said the action felt little bit heavier than U3

Any input from owners on the above models would be much appreciated. I read great review about YUS5 and K8, but not sure if we can stretch our budget so much... So far we like Yamaha (especially the sound) more than Kawai, but we haven't been able to try anything better than K3 though. Unfortunately, anything beyond U3 or K3 is impossible to find in my area, so if I decide to get any of the higher models it would have to be special ordered.

We also tried U1, YUS1 (old), K2, 48" Taylor (old), and few other old ones. As of right now though we do prefer 52" uprights more than 48" mainly due to the sound. Hopefully this weekend we get a chance to try out few more pianos from different makes (thinking Boston, Baldwin, Hardman, etc.) as well just to make sure.

Thank you in advance for all your help! Any recent prices much appreciated!
Posted By: ClassicU3

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/29/13 05:29 PM

I think a great deal of your choice should depend upon who the primary pianist using the piano in your home will be. If you're just looking for a piano for your youngster to take lessons on, you can do just fine with much less expensive options than those you've listed. For example, the Yamaha P22 is a fine piano for the home and is much less expensive when compared to a U3 or even a U1. That being said, if you are of a mind that you want to invest in a larger, professional-level instrument, then I think you'd be well served by the U3. I just bought a U3 a few weeks ago myself and I love the piano, and so does my nine year-old daughter. I bought mine used, however, at a Hockley Family Foundation piano sale. It's a fully restored 1963 U3, and it looks, plays and sounds fantastic. I'm sure the newer ones can only get better as they've made some design improvements over the years. To my knowledge, the U3s are also still built in Japan, unlike some of the lower Yamaha models which have been sourced out to other factories around the World. I think the general consensus is that the best Yamaha pianos are still built in Japan.

I don't know if you'd get any true additional value out of spending the extra money on a YUS5 or YUS3. The U3 is more than enough instrument for the typical home and, really, to step up from it would mean going to a grand piano, and I mean a gran piano, not a baby grand. The U3 will arguably outperform many of the baby grands on the market, and in fact has the same string length. I too had the option of a 48" U1 or my 52" U3, and like you, I preferred the extra performance that the larger U3 offers.

It seems you've selected some higher-end options in the upright piano market, so I'm sure you're comfortable with the price range you're looking in. However, I do just want to say that it can be worth your while to look at used pianos. There are many used and restored pianos available that are in like-new condition at half the price of a new one. Many of the restored pianos come with warranties, so they can be a real value and you can get more piano for the money spent. Like I said, I bought my U3 used, but it was restored top to bottom and is practically a new U3 for half the cost of a new one. Be sure to have any used pianos that you're looking at checked out by a piano technician before buying to make sure of the condition and to identify any potential issues.

In this segment of the piano market, you really can't go wrong with the Yamahas. Many also like Kawais, also, but to me the Yamaha was the best value in terms of sounds and action.

Best of luck in your search.
Posted By: SteveM732

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/29/13 06:08 PM

The U1 should be compared to the K3 and the U3 to the K6. I don't think you need to be looking any higher up than these.

My wife and I preferred the touch and sound of the Yamaha to the Kawai so it quickly came down to U1 versus U3. We did like the sound of the U3 over the U1, but due to the large cost difference we were pretty much going to get the U1 with the idea to trade it in later for a U3 or grand. But we happened to stop by our Yamaha dealer just after he had taken in a 1969 U3 as a trade-in and we liked the sound and feel of it as-is and the price was very good so we made a 10% deposit and went back a week later to try it again after being cleaned/tuned/regulated and made our purchase. The Kawai dealer regularly stocks older Yamaha pianos, but the U3 he had didn't sound or feel nearly as good, underscoring the need to play these older pianos before purchasing and ensuring what gets delivered has the same serial number on it.

We did play around a bit on the YUS5, but the difference just didn't justify the price to us. That and we're complete beginners that would have been well served by a much cheaper U1. If you can find a used U3 in good condition then that would be my suggestion.
Posted By: SteveM732

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/29/13 06:53 PM

Originally Posted by Mdm13
Any recent prices much appreciated!

I just noticed your request for pricing info. All I can give you is the best cash price for my local dealer from about 4 weeks ago.
U1 - $6200 + delivery
U3 - $9370 + delivery
Posted By: Mdm13

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/29/13 07:33 PM

Thank you both for your replies and for the quotes Steve. We did like U3 more than U1 and as of yet, we weren't able to come across K6 to be able to compare to U3. Maybe this weekend we'll have some more luck.

Yes, we're looking at both old and new, but with not many dealers in our area we have to be very careful when taking old pianos into consideration. We do have a full keyboard as of right now and my 8 y.o. have been taking piano lesson for the past year (playing on grands and uprights during lessons and practicing on keyboard at home). So as you can see, it's about time for some upgrade... ;o)

Thank you very much for the prices as it gives me some reference point. At this point I haven't negotiated any deals, but I will do so once I'm set on a particular model or two.

Thanks once again!
Posted By: backto_study_piano

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/29/13 08:47 PM

K8. But did you consider others - I hear good reports of Walter (not available here), Cunningham and Fandrich, maybe Schimmel?
Posted By: Steven Y. A.

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/29/13 11:41 PM

I find the U5 is a significant step up from the U1, the sound really opens up in U5 while bass is restrained in U1 and K3. Less of the Schimmel, where I find the difference between C 116,120,126 is not big enough, same applies to Vogel.
I still prefer Vogel V115 over Yamaha.

Posted By: Emissary52

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/30/13 12:20 AM

backto_study_piano - I wholeheartily agree with playing as many makes and models as you can, but alot depends on where you're located, in regards to what you can get access to. Georgia is a big state and not everyone lives near the metro Atlanta area. It can be kind of like advising someone from 20 miles outside of Alice Springs looking for a piano there. The pickins' are likely to be a bit slim! grin

Mdm13 - Is there any chance you could make a trip to the greater Atlanta area? I don't know just how far away from there you are, but I know the feeling. I grew up in Northern NJ, in sight of the Empire State building and a "shopper's paradise" compared to the small town outside of Charlotte, where I currently live. I ended up doing a bit more travelling to purchase my piano than I thought I would have to, but it was well worth it! You could make a Saturday family excursion out of visiting various piano dealers, having your daughter play a variety of other brands, and perhaps save a few dollars, if you wind up purchasing something! I wish you the best of luck!
Posted By: Mdm13

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/30/13 02:24 AM

Thank you all for your help!

It's really hard to take something into consideration without trying it out first. I haven't seen any of the brands you mentioned so far, so it's really hard to judge. There are lots of great brands out there with outstanding reviews (esp. German such as Schimmel, Bechstein, Bluthner, Grotian to name just few), but unfortunately their availability in the South is scarce and I'm not even mentioning the price... Would I love to take few into consideration, of course I would, but at the same time I have to be realistic. ;o(

Steven Y. A.:
Do you think it's worth the extra $ to get YUS5 instead of U3 (or even YUS3 over U3)? U3 was definitely better than U1, but didn't get a chance to try anything better as of yet.

Thank you for feeling my pain... ;o) I guess there is no comparison with the Northern states (or West Coast) when it comes to piano shopping. There are few small dealers around my area, but they're limited in their inventory (sticking to most popular brands/models). It seems that even the metro Atl. area is very limited with its dealer selection... Hopefully this weekend I'll have more luck visiting couple more stores.

Thank you all once again for great suggestions! Keep them coming please!
Posted By: backto_study_piano

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/30/13 03:00 AM

Definitely YUS3 over U3 (if the models are the same as here). Yamaha's Japanese made is much better (not necessarily the case with other brands)
Posted By: ClassicU3

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/30/13 03:12 PM

Based on the information I've seen, the U3 is manufactured in Japan. Not necessarily the case for lesser Yamaha models, though.

Given the OP's stated intentions and venue for the piano (practice piano for young child in the home), I think the U3 would be more than enough piano. Going to the extra expense of the YUS3 or YUS5 would not likely be warranted unless there is another serious pianist in the house, or the OP has money to burn.

I bought my U3 coming from pretty much the same situation as the OP. My daughter is nine years old and taking lessons. She had been using the Alesis QS8.1, a fully-weighted, 88-key synthesizer, that I have in my basement studio. But, as we all know, it's not the same thing as a real piano. I, myself, am a musician playing keys and guitar. I wanted a piano that would satisfy not only the need for a practice piano for my daughter, but also a piano that I would enjoy playing, as well. The U3 was the perfect fit to fulfill both of these requirements. A U1 could have likely filled them, as well, but I had the chance to buy a fairly unique U3, and the additional performance offered by the 52" U3 made it my choice. Plus, having bought a used, but excellently restored example, I was able to get the performance of a U3 within my budget, and half the cost of a brand-new U3.
Posted By: Mdm13

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/30/13 03:53 PM

Thanks for your response. It's really hard to keep up with so many different models of the same brand for different markets - very confusing indeed.

When it comes to US market, all of the U (U1 and above) as well as YUS models are made in Japan. As far as I know, any other series (I believe b, T, P, M) are made in Indonesia.

I do agree that U1 could do, but just like you, I do prefer the sound of U3 so much more. The sound is more rich/lively (at least to my ears) when it comes to 52" upright. I didn't really know 4" could make such a difference...

I still didn't get a chance to try out any of the higher models, but it would be great to do so and see the difference (if any).

Thank you both for your input!
Posted By: ClassicU3

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/30/13 06:04 PM

Unfortunately, due to the condition of the piano market, it may be difficult to find a dealer with anything higher than a U3 in stock to try. One of the biggest dealers in my area only has U1s and lesser models in regard to Yamaha vertical pianos, an only one or two of those at that. Anything higher would be a special order. I'm sure you might be able to find used examples of U1 and U3 models at larger dealers, though.

That being said, I'm obviously partial to the Yamahas, both from a quality/sound/action perspective as well as for the value they represent. It sounds like you're looking at lots of different option, which is smart. Please post back once you've made your decision as I'd be curious to hear your impressions of the various brands/models and what factors lead to your choice. I bought my piano quite impulsively and off the cuff. As soon as I saw it and played it, I knew that it was what I wanted based on other pianos I've played over the years. It was literally the first piano I looked at after I decided to buy a piano and I just happened to get lucky and strike gold. It would be nice to hear the perspective of someone who has actually done the homework and shopped around in this segment of the market.
Posted By: Emissary52

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/30/13 11:18 PM

ClassicU3 is right on target in assessing the availability of YUS models, you’re more likely to find a winning Powerball lottery ticket blowing down the street, than a YUS model at any given dealer. I think the reason you see so few of them is that they tend to be regarded as “finisher pianos” – as in the last piano their buyer will purchase …and given their prices, they start competing in “grand” territory ...both factors contribute to their rarity. U1s and U3s seem to be great workhorses that people hold onto, permanently in many cases, until they feel the need to get a grand.

I was also predisposed to favor Yamaha pianos, since I owned a Yamaha Arius YDP-160. When I started looking for an acoustic piano, I found many used U1s and U3s, but they sounded a little too bright for my taste. Conversely, with the very few Kawais, I played, they sounded a bit too dark. (Mind you, I had just muddled through the Alfred’s Adult 1 book, so I was hardly Glenn Gould at the keyboard!) blush

Buying a car seems like a walk through the park, compared to auditioning pianos, but Yamahas and Kawais are like the Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords of the piano world – nobody will yell at you for buying one! grin

That being said, I started looking at other brands and found a couple of Ritmuller uprights that sounded pretty good. As Chinese brands go, Ritmuller is one of the better ones and I was going to get the best 52” one in their line, until some forum members here, advised me to look at some of the Ritmuller grands. Well, I ended up with a new 5’ 7” grand that I’m very happy with! I spent more than I originally planned, but that tends to happen a lot with piano purchases. BTW, my favorite smaller grand piano sound wise, was a freshly-prepped Steinway M, but for $68,000, that wasn’t going to happen!

In the case of you and your daughter, as long as you like the sound of the models you audition and given that Yamaha or Kawai uprights tend to be sought-after in the used market and fetch a good price, buying one, whether used or new, makes a lot of sense! At least with these two brands, trading up to a grand at some point should be a bit easier, than with lesser-known brands. But there are some genuine used bargains out there that you should keep your eyes open for. If you buy something used, please have a piano technician give it a good once-over, before you write out that big check!! thumb
Posted By: Mdm13

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/31/13 03:30 AM

Thank you all for great tips!

I'm glad you're happy with your piano purchase! I will definitely keep you all posted and let you know once I find something that I really like. I'm TRYING not to rush and do my homework, but it's hard at times... It's going to be nice to finally have the "right" piano in my house.

Originally Posted by Emissary52
ClassicU3 is right on target in assessing the availability of YUS models, you’re more likely to find a winning Powerball lottery ticket blowing down the street, than a YUS model at any given dealer.

If I could only get so lucky (speaking of lottery ticket of course)... grin

Congratulation on your Ritmuller grand! I would also love to get a grand one day, but as of right now it just won't work. I might be moving within couple of years (maybe sooner) and just the thought of moving a grand gives me a headache. As of right now I guess, getting an upright makes so much more sense... At least that's what I'm telling myself!

My search is still on! wink
Posted By: Rafterman

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/31/13 05:54 AM

On that list my insight is as follows:

(I bought a Yamaha YUS5 and a Kawai K8 at the same time last year)

Don't go with a K6 over a K8. That music desk is extremely nice to have for a few more dollars.

Don't go for a YUS3 over a YUS5. Once again the music desk is a wonderful thing to have. Especially if you compose.

I have at times played a Yamaha U3 on showrooms floors and liked the tone better than the YUS5 if you can believe that.

Please PM me for further. I went through everything you are going through last year and I would lover to help you.
Posted By: monads

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/31/13 06:20 AM

Yes, the music desk is nice smile Check your PM Mdm for response to some of your questions.
Posted By: joe80

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/31/13 08:52 AM

Having played a Yamaha YUS5 and a Kawai K8, my opinion is that one is not better than the other, and that they are both fine pianos.

The particular Yamaha I played on had a slightly lighter touch and slightly brighter/thinner (not in a bad way) sound than the Kawai. That, I guess, can be adjusted.

The Kawai felt like it had a slightly deeper key dip - but that could be because the sound was darker, so it felt like it took a little more effort to play. You see, when you're a pianist, actually playing the pianos, the sound and the touch are not separate. Had a technician measured the action, he or she may have found that the adjustments were the same.

Anyway, they are both excellent pianos and I would be happy to take either one. So, if you buy both, and don't like one, my address is.....

Posted By: Mdm13

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 01/31/13 07:49 PM

Thank you all for such a great info! I'm still doing my homework and I really like the suggestion of trying out as many different models/brands as possible. It might take more time and patience on my part, but hopefully it will be worth it.

Rafterman and monads:
As you know, I was awaiting your response especially since you were in the same situation not too long ago. Thank you once again.

Originally Posted by joe80
So, if you buy both, and don't like one, my address is.....


Ha, ha! If I only could... Thank you for your input! I do agree that both brands are great and I (or anyone) can't go wrong with either one.

I'm still early on in my search though, so will see where it takes me.
Posted By: monads

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 02/01/13 05:13 AM

Responded! No problem, happy to help smile

Researching is a lot of work. Thankfully we have this forum with wonderful members who can assist. I know I would've been lost without this place wink
Posted By: Steven Y. A.

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 02/14/13 09:46 PM

i thought the Schimmel arent that hard to find...
the Vogel (by Schimmel) v115 has an amazing singing tone thats unmatched by Yamaha/Kawai... and the price tag is around 10k.

highly recommended
Posted By: theJourney

Re: U3, YUS5 (YUS3), K8 (and below) - recent quotes/reviews - 02/15/13 06:46 AM

Originally Posted by Mdm13

6. K3 - we were able to try it out and she said the action felt little bit heavier than U3

This is not necessarily a bad thing...in fact I would say that the Kawai action is better for developing technique than the Yamaha. Kawai's have much worse marketing, distribution and resale locations compared to Yamaha but are often much better value pianos.
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