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#3183205 01/07/22 06:01 PM
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cuki Offline OP
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Hi,

I'm deciding between these 2 options:

1. Brand new Yamaha B3, ~$7000.
2. Used Yamaha U1, made in the 1970's, ~$4800.

Which one would be a better choice?

Thanks!

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Have you played the both? Which did you prefer?


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have you played either of them? If so, what are YOUR impressions? Are both being sold by a dealer? Is the U1 in original condition, or has it been refurbished?

Per PianoBuyer: "The 48″ model b3, which is made in Indonesia, has the same scale design as the U1."

https://princetonpianos.com/product/yamaha-b3-48-upright-piano/

Given the price difference between a B3 (SMP $7,998) and a "new" U1 ($11,399) one might assume that there is a difference in quality. BUT the new B3 may actually be in better condition than the 50 year old U1.

$7,000 might be a bit too much to pay for the new B3. I would think you could find one for around $6,000 - $6,500 or negotiate the price down on the one you are looking at.

Finally - how advanced a player are you?

Last edited by Carey; 01/07/22 06:25 PM.

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cuki Offline OP
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Thanks for the responses. Sorry I'm not a piano; this is for my kids who are taking piano classes (for a couple years already). Honestly they both sound similar to me as I'm not an expert. They also look very similar (same height). The used U1 is reconditioned by a dealer. Thanks!

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Is this US dollars?
If so, that's a lot for an old U1, unless you can document that a lot has been done to it (and has been done extremely well). A lot of times the "refurbishment" tends to focus on cosmetics and replacing as little as possible on the inside.
$7k for a B3 (in USD) is high if it's before tax and delivery, and a decent deal if it includes that.


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Given that your kids are relative beginners, either piano would probably work for them.

Even though the U1 has been reconditioned, if you are serious about it, you should have an independent piano technician evaluate it for you. That would give you additional peace of mind given the age of the instrument.

Have you asked the dealer specifically what work was done to the piano when it was reconditioned?

Are these pianos for sale at the same dealer? Do you know anyone who plays reasonably well who might try them out and give their opinion as to how they perform?

The B3 would come with a 10 year factory warranty. Would the U1 come with any type of dealer warranty?

Quite frankly, if budget is a major consideration - and everything checks out - you could go with the U1. BUT if you can afford more, "new "may very well be the better choice for your family.

ALSO - I concur with Terminal Degree's comments (above) regarding the amounts being asked for each piano.

Last edited by Carey; 01/07/22 06:45 PM.

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Yes, these prices are in US dollars. They're out of the door prices (so includes taxes and delivery). They're from different dealers. I haven't asked what has been done to the refurbished U1. The new B3 comes with a 10yr factory warranty. The used U1 dealer told me it has life-time warranty from them. Thanks!

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At those prices a new B3. The U1 is 50 years old, though may have had some work done to it to address obvious issues.

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Good - that makes me feel better about the prices. smile I would encourage you to ask about the "refurbishment" and also what a "life-time warranty" really means. Obviously it probably wouldn't remain in effect if the dealer goes out of business, but they should tell you specifically what the warranty would and would not cover.


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A lifetime warranty sounds suspicious or not?


My piano's voice is my voice to God and the great unknown universe, and to those I love.In other words a hymn.That is all, but that is enough.Life goes on, despite pain and fear.Music is beautiful,life is beautiful.


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I don't know anything about piano parts. What kind of refurbishment questions should I ask them (besides cosmetics)? I read that the strings' lifetime is 40-50 years max, which is the age of this piano. Are the strings something that can be refurbished? Thanks!

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Another option is to have an independent technician (someone hired by you, who does not have a relationship with the dealer) inspect the U1 and let you know about its condition and whether they think the price is fair.

If it were my decision and I could readily afford the new piano, I think I’d go for the new B3, mostly because I’d have fewer worries about a new piano, as compared with a piano that is quite old and that I felt unqualified to evaluate.

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Originally Posted by cuki
I don't know anything about piano parts. What kind of refurbishment questions should I ask them (besides cosmetics)? I read that the strings' lifetime is 40-50 years max, which is the age of this piano. Are the strings something that can be refurbished? Thanks!

You might simply ask them what has been done in the refurbishment to get an idea of the work undertaken. There isn't an absolute answer as to what is required as some pianos will be less worn and in better conditions than others so not having much done might mean you have got a gem of a piano in good condition or it might mean the restorer has skimped on the work - this is why it is good to have your own technician inspect a piano for you.

To give you some idea on restorations:
I would expect that as a minimum the silk bridle straps on Yamahas from this period would all be replaced in any sort of quality restoration - this is because the silk used did tend to rot with age and it is much better to just replace them all during the work.

It would be nice if the restoration included fitting new strings but if they are nearly all original and not covered in rust then replacing them would not really be necessary. If there are many randomly placed strings replaced I would treat that as a warning sign they are near end of life and probably all should be replaced but if they were all original or just had two or three replacements I wouldn't worry at all.

You might expect the hammer felts to be replace in the restoration, however if they aren't worn out and don't have deep grooves worn into them then it would be OK to keep the originals. If the felts are old and compressed it is likely the piano will sound brighter - it's a very good idea to play *several* used U1 pianos if you can - you will likely find they all sound and feel rather different to one another and you may much prefer the sound of new hammer felts and strings (or maybe not).

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Originally Posted by gwing
It would be nice if the restoration included fitting new strings but if they are nearly all original and not covered in rust then replacing them would not really be necessary.

Agreed, except that I've seen my fair share of copper-wound bass strings on pianos that have gone dead (sound "tubby" and don't have much power or sustain) and still look fine. Sometimes, on just 10 year old pianos! On the other hand, I've serviced some 40 year old ones that are still fine.

To the OP, you can't refurbish a treble string. You can take a scotch-brite pad and scour away rust spots, but that doesn't make an old string less brittle. There are some esoteric methods of "refurbishing" a wound bass string that I feel are temporary and a sign of not wanting to do the proper repair...spending some money on a new set. However, replacing a set of bass strings will also involve needing a bunch of extra tunings to settle them, and then more meticulous technicians will often replace dampers at the same time, and others may opt to replace the tuning pins with a larger size. In the case of a well-worn concert piano, rebuilders might even replace the pin block. Before you know it, we're way down the "rabbit hole"!

On paper, given your situation, if it is within your budget, I think the new piano is probably the safer bet. Maybe try and negotiate the price down a smidge, or ask for a second service of the piano to be included as a condition of sale.


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