When looking to buy a piano, Yamaha has to be on the list of pianos to consider. The U-series are undoubtedly the best. There is a B and a P-series which are improving all the time, but they are still quite inferior to the U-series pianos.
Within the U-series there are basically 2 options: U1 and U3. I personally feel that the U1 is the most appropriate for most pianists needs, offering plenty of flexibility. It is measures 121cm tall, 61.5 deep and 151cm wide. The main difference between the U1 and U3 is that the U3 is bigger; 130.5cm tall, 65cm deep and 153.5cm wide.
The action, materials and build quality are much the same and the advantage of this extra size is in the quality of sound it produces. It is a little more resonant, richer tone, and has a wider dynamic range. This comes about because of its longer strings and larger soundboard. The U1 is certainly not lacking in resonance, tone and dynamic range, but by being bigger the U3 has more.
Part of the success of Yamaha has been due to the consistency of their materials and build quality. If you had a row of seemingly identical pianos from the same year, they would all sound similar, but there would be subtle differences between each piano. There are a number of reasons for this tonal difference. It is not really about the age but more to do with how the hammers have been set up, which can be altered through voicing the hammers.
Check that the soundboard is in good condition and free of cracks. The material of the soundboard effects the tone greatly. Spruce is the material of choice in pianos of quality and unsurprisingly this is to be found on U1 and U3 Yamahas.
Don’t worry about all these references to ‘tone.’ Play lots of pianos and simply choose the one which you feel sounds the best to your ears. Also think about the room in which it will eventually live. If the room has lots of soft furnishings it will soak up sound, it might be worth considering a brighter piano. A room with lots of harder surfaces may need a piano with a mellow quality as the sound will bounce off those hard surfaces. Generally newer pianos are brighter and older pianos tend to be gentler in tone.
Part of the joy of seeking out your own piano is in finding the one with the sound and feel which best suits your playing style. Yamaha pianos are known for having a brighter tone, however it isn’t just one brightness. The brighter sounding pianos can perhaps sound a little harsh and loud. These do offer real clarity but something a little more mellow keeps the bright clarity but without the edge. It is still easy to get the piano to sing, supported by a rich bass but has more warmth.
As softer tone can also work well. They are sweet and gentle, easy to control but could be a little bland with a slightly narrow dynamic range for some.
There are of course other brands to consider. Kawai worthy of serious though. They are a Japanese company and build excellent pianos. We had a piano teacher buy a Kawai piano. He says he respects Yamaha, but loves Kawai. We all have our own preferences. On average, the same money will buy a Kawai that is 5-8 years younger than a Yamaha. Another to consider is Toyo. They are Japanese, reliable, good to play and have a lovely sound. There are too many others to mention here, keep an eye on pianolobby.co.uk for details of individual pianos as they arrive.
Will the piano fit your room? Above are the basic measurements. It might be useful to measure up before committing to what is also a large piece of furniture. Our piano movers are experts at what they do and if there is space they will get the piano in. If you’re not sure, it is possible depending on location, for us to pop round to advise how a piano may fit and which size and sort of piano would work best for you.
We are experienced musicians at Pianolobby and are very happy to help and advise you in choosing the piano which is right for you. We feel it is important to take lots of time and spend as much time as possible with the pianos in a relaxed environment to make that perfect choice.
Pianolobby is based in South East London and happy for people to come and visit us at pretty much any time. We don’t have set opening times and viewings of our beautiful pianos is by appointment at a time which best suits you. This way we can give you our undivided attention should you want it.
We have access to excellent technicians who really make sure every piano that leaves our premises is in excellent condition and works as it should.
What is included in the price at Pianolobby?
- A stunning piano!
- Free stool
- Free delivery to a ground floor room
- Free first tuning
- Five year warranty
- 14 day money-back guarantee
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