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Posted By: Ek81 Choosing Yamaha piano u1 u3 used and new - 05/19/22 03:06 AM
Dear Braintrust

I used to play a little piano as a kid. I am trying to go back to casual playing after 30 years. I plan to be disciplined and go through structured training. I wish playing piano eventually be my retirement hobby.

I have been looking into buying a piano. The research and shopping experience have been very confusing. I went into a dealer with a set mind to purchase a brand new U1peq. I walked out with the list of new and used pianos as below 😅

1) Yamaha u1x used, AAA refurbished, 1987 $8700
2) Yamaha u3 used, AAA refurbished, 1984 $8300
3) Yamaha u1peq new $10700
4) Yamaha yus5pe new $21900
NB: I am located in Australia, variety and stock availability are very limited.

I’m not sure if I know how to assess piano feel, so I just go by with my gut feeling.

I love the tone and action of yus5 the best but most expensive.

I also love u1x and it’s tone but action is not as good as yus5. It is very bright and I was told it’s not a good quality? I am also scared of buying a 35 years old piano and feel it is very overpriced.

U3 just feels an average piano, but cheapest and was told a piano tuner can work much better with a bigger piano.

U1peq surprisingly wasn't as impressive both sound and action wise as the 35 year old u1x. It feels safer to buy a brand new popular model and will definitely be easiest to resell in case of upgrade.

What would you recommend…? I feel I will get used to any decent piano if I spend time with it anyways but it is a big purchase. Could you please help 🥹
Posted By: JosephW Re: Choosing Yamaha piano u1 u3 used and new - 05/19/22 10:45 AM
as a proud owner of a YUS5, go for it Treat Yoself grin
Posted By: Sgisela Re: Choosing Yamaha piano u1 u3 used and new - 05/19/22 10:57 AM
What is your budget? If you can afford the most expensive piano, you like it the best, and you are not worried about the rapid depreciation that will come with any new piano, then I don’t see an issue with the YUS5. Personally, I don’t think the rapid depreciation is as big a deal as some folks do… particularly if you have no intention of changing pianos in the short or medium term and if you can comfortably afford the piano. But it is a real thing.
If the YUS5 will not be a comfortable purchase financially, then I’d look for something that is within your budget. If you are seriously considering a used piano, you will want to have it inspected by an independent technician (someone not working for the dealer/seller).
Are these prices in ASD? $8300/$8400 for the U1/U3 would be ~$6000 USD?

Welcome Ek81. How long have you been playing since you've come back to piano? Before spending a large amount, have you considered if you'll keep it up after a few months or a year?

If you are just returning, and there is a chance you might give it up, maybe don't spend $10-20k on a whim if it will stretch your budget.

You could try a few digital pianos, which include budget and midrange models running from $500-2000 to try out with less risk. Or ask if the shop has a rental program (which some do for uprights) so you can get one in your house for a year....maybe they will even apply to the rental price if you decide to purchase?

I was in the same spot as you (lessons as a kid, 20-30-year gap, came back as adult beginner) and I went through 6 years and 5 DPs before buying an acoustic...
Posted By: Sgisela Re: Choosing Yamaha piano u1 u3 used and new - 05/19/22 11:48 AM
Originally Posted by Gombessa
If you are just returning, and there is a chance you might give it up, maybe don't spend $10-20k on a whim if it will stretch your budget.

You could try a few digital pianos, which include budget and midrange models running from $500-2000 to try out with less risk.

This is a good option. When I returned to piano playing, it’s also the route I took, although I only had my DP for 6 on this before deciding I really really wanted the acoustic piano. For me, the rationale was also less about being uncertain whether it would stick, and more to do with not feeling like I was in a place where I could trust my ability to evaluate the touch and tone of pianos. I think it’s at least worth testing a few out and seeing what you think.
Posted By: JosephW Re: Choosing Yamaha piano u1 u3 used and new - 05/19/22 01:02 PM
hmm yeah agreed go digital first. reasonably-priced digital.
Posted By: JosephW Re: Choosing Yamaha piano u1 u3 used and new - 05/19/22 01:03 PM
Originally Posted by Gombessa
and I went through 6 years and 5 DPs before buying an acoustic...

ok but this is too many digitals lol...
Originally Posted by JosephW
Originally Posted by Gombessa
and I went through 6 years and 5 DPs before buying an acoustic...

ok but this is too many digitals lol...

Oh agreed. I'm an obsessive tinkerer, and I upgrade my phones/watches way too often frown

If concerned with cash, I say a strategy is to start with a budget DP, then decide in a few years if you want to stay with it, upgrade to a higher end DP (up to $4k), or jump to an acoustic.
Posted By: Sidokar Re: Choosing Yamaha piano u1 u3 used and new - 05/19/22 01:52 PM
Just a couple of general observations:

a)Your preferences may/will change after 2 or 3 years of piano practice. So what you like today may not be what you would want later on. And as you say today you dont have the skills to evaluate a piano.

b)A new piano is loosing 20% of its value in the first year, so if you want to resell it after 3 years for example you will loose quite some money even though you used it only a few years.

c)Unless you have a strong urgency to have a top acoustic that you like, pretty much any kind of good average piano with an action that is not too light (but not overly heavy either) or a good DP will do for a couple of years.

As a consequence, you have no interest in buying a brand new piano, especially one that is expensive (unless money is not a criteria for you or you can afford). On the other hand, I would be carefull with piano that are nearly 40 years old. And they seem on the high side in terms of price given you can get a new U1 for 10 grands.

By the way the U1 new seems really inexpensive compared to the YUS5. In Europe typically the YUS5 would cost about 14 to 15k euros (which is in line with your price) and the U1 10k euros (it is assembled in Japan I believe). The used ones seems way overpriced.
I am curious whether the new U1 was assembled in Japan or not, at that price.

Have you considered other brands?
Posted By: Ek81 Re: Choosing Yamaha piano u1 u3 used and new - 05/19/22 03:58 PM
Originally Posted by Sgisela
What is your budget? If you can afford the most expensive piano, you like it the best, and you are not worried about the rapid depreciation that will come with any new piano, then I don’t see an issue with the YUS5. Personally, I don’t think the rapid depreciation is as big a deal as some folks do… particularly if you have no intention of changing pianos in the short or medium term and if you can comfortably afford the piano. But it is a real thing.
If the YUS5 will not be a comfortable purchase financially, then I’d look for something that is within your budget. If you are seriously considering a used piano, you will want to have it inspected by an independent technician (someone not working for the dealer/seller).

My budget started at $5k AUD, then it creeped up after researching the second hand market. It is a gift to myself for my midlife crisis haha lol. I am trying my best not to turn this into too big an emotional buy.. hence here to ask for help! Would dealers not be offended if I bring in a piano technician for an assessment?
Posted By: Ek81 Re: Choosing Yamaha piano u1 u3 used and new - 05/19/22 04:05 PM
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Are these prices in ASD? $8300/$8400 for the U1/U3 would be ~$6000 USD?

Welcome Ek81. How long have you been playing since you've come back to piano? Before spending a large amount, have you considered if you'll keep it up after a few months or a year?

If you are just returning, and there is a chance you might give it up, maybe don't spend $10-20k on a whim if it will stretch your budget.

You could try a few digital pianos, which include budget and midrange models running from $500-2000 to try out with less risk. Or ask if the shop has a rental program (which some do for uprights) so you can get one in your house for a year....maybe they will even apply to the rental price if you decide to purchase?

I was in the same spot as you (lessons as a kid, 20-30-year gap, came back as adult beginner) and I went through 6 years and 5 DPs before buying an acoustic...


Thank you so much for welcoming. I don't have an access to a piano now so I haven't played for at least 10 years now. I did try a digital piano about a decade ago. It was a decent Roland stage piano, and I kept it for 2 years. I didn't enjoy playing it that much. I have tried testing a few digital pianos while I was at the dealer this time, thinking in the same line of try less risky first then upgrade. I am set on acoustic pianos after trying.
Posted By: Ek81 Re: Choosing Yamaha piano u1 u3 used and new - 05/19/22 04:13 PM
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
I am curious whether the new U1 was assembled in Japan or not, at that price.

Have you considered other brands?

U1PEQ apparently is all assembled in Japan. The dealer also has U1JEP which is assembled in Indonesia, the RRP is ~AUD7500. I did notice it sounding different to U1PEQ. I didn't like it that much but it may all be just psychological knowing it made in Jakarta >.< The dealer didn't like to suggest other pianos. Yamaha would be definitely easy to sell if I want to upgrade. Yamaha seems very dominant in piano market here.
Posted By: Ek81 Re: Choosing Yamaha piano u1 u3 used and new - 05/19/22 04:28 PM
Originally Posted by Sidokar
As a consequence, you have no interest in buying a brand new piano, especially one that is expensive (unless money is not a criteria for you or you can afford). On the other hand, I would be carefull with piano that are nearly 40 years old. And they seem on the high side in terms of price given you can get a new U1 for 10 grands.

By the way the U1 new seems really inexpensive compared to the YUS5. In Europe typically the YUS5 would cost about 14 to 15k euros (which is in line with your price) and the U1 10k euros (it is assembled in Japan I believe). The used ones seems way overpriced.


Yes... I agree. I really love the UX1 and it seems a popular model but so old and price isn't really comparable... I was very shocked and confused why it feels so much better to play than the new U1PEQ. The selling agent was also quite surprised that it feels very nice to play. Could be selling tactic, but I'd presume he'd want to sell more expensive new piano...

Does a new piano improve its tone and action after settling down in a home with frequent tuning? The agent said UX1 is much better quality piano to begin with, than the new U1PEQ... would that be why? Also AAA refurbished.

I feel I will be overthinking either way. U1PEQ would be just an easy purchase not worrying too much.. if I didn't try Ux1, I would have just bought new U1PEQ. YSU5 is something I feel like I should upgrade to, but other side of me whispering, go for it, you live once!
"AAA refurbished" is a marketing term, used by sellers, that typically does not have a standard definition in the industry.

The tone of a piano brightens with additional playing time, which can be ameliorated (to some extent) through voicing by a technician until the hammers are worn out.

The action of a new piano "breaks in" or "wears in" (the felt and leather parts, especially) with dozens/hundreds of hours of playing time. After the first year of use, it's a good idea to have the regulation of a new piano touched up, so it will have a better chance of staying in a more optimal sense of regulation, in the years to come. Most private owners of vertical/upright pianos never bother to do this, and some fairly substantial improvements to the performance of these actions can be made with 1-3 hours of additional work by a technician.

I wouldn't buy the piano whose tone or touch you did not like. That's just silly. Maybe negotiate harder for a lower price on the specific used one you do like.
Posted By: gwing Re: Choosing Yamaha piano u1 u3 used and new - 05/19/22 04:51 PM
Originally Posted by Ek81
Originally Posted by Sidokar
As a consequence, you have no interest in buying a brand new piano, especially one that is expensive (unless money is not a criteria for you or you can afford). On the other hand, I would be carefull with piano that are nearly 40 years old. And they seem on the high side in terms of price given you can get a new U1 for 10 grands.

By the way the U1 new seems really inexpensive compared to the YUS5. In Europe typically the YUS5 would cost about 14 to 15k euros (which is in line with your price) and the U1 10k euros (it is assembled in Japan I believe). The used ones seems way overpriced.


Yes... I agree. I really love the UX1 and it seems a popular model but so old and price isn't really comparable... I was very shocked and confused why it feels so much better to play than the new U1PEQ. The selling agent was also quite surprised that it feels very nice to play. Could be selling tactic, but I'd presume he'd want to sell more expensive new piano...

Does a new piano improve its tone and action after settling down in a home with frequent tuning? The agent said UX1 is much better quality piano to begin with, than the new U1PEQ... would that be why? Also AAA refurbished.

Yes, the UX1 was a higher quality version of the U1 in the same way that the YUS5 is a higher quality version of the U3. I used to have a lovely UX3 but what I found is that every single used Yamaha felt and sounded very different to the next, even when the models were the same so you really do have to judge each piano on its merits.

Where I live there are many ex-Japan imported Yamahas and generally the used price from a dealer for a 30 year old Yamaha ranged from 1/3 to 1/2 of the new price depending on quality and which dealer you worked with. Dealers didn't seem to place much of a premium on the higher grade and top quality models (at least not as much of a premium as I did) so it was possible to get a much better piano by spending not too much more. That all said your used prices seem quite high.

That all said you have to like the piano you buy and that seems to be either the U1x or the YUS5. Whoever said the U1x wasn't a good quality piano is talking rubbish - they are excellent pianos although individual ones can be in either good or bad condition and condition is everything for a used piano. The tuning of the piano should settle down with time but no, in general the tone and action will not and you would have to have work done on the piano to get improvements in those areas. If you can search further and try more pianos until you find one with which you are happy with the tone, and the touch, and the state of tune, and the price, then if it is a used one get an inspection to make sure it's in good condition and not a money pit :-)
I am less experienced than others but I may chime in to a question eventually, I hope you find a great piano and keep playing forever!
Posted By: Sidokar Re: Choosing Yamaha piano u1 u3 used and new - 05/19/22 06:31 PM
Originally Posted by Ek81
Does a new piano improve its tone and action after settling down in a home with frequent tuning? The agent said UX1 is much better quality piano to begin with, than the new U1PEQ... would that be why? Also AAA refurbished.

In absolute terms no. But it depends what is the starting point of the piano. If the piano is bright a technican can possibly work out on the hammers and make the sound more mellow or vice-versa. If the piano is old and the action has not been touched for years, some regulation can improve. If the piano is new it depends how well the piano has been prepared in the factory or by the dealer. On a new piano and after hours of practice, the action will "break in".

The usual approach is that you dont buy a piano that you dont like, with the expectation that it will improve with time. If there are some things you dont like, You can always ask the dealer if he can prep the piano and fix the issues. But otherwise buy the piano that suits you now.
Originally Posted by Ek81
I did try a digital piano about a decade ago. It was a decent Roland stage piano, and I kept it for 2 years. I didn't enjoy playing it that much. I have tried testing a few digital pianos while I was at the dealer this time, thinking in the same line of try less risky first then upgrade. I am set on acoustic pianos after trying.

Very nice! Looks like you've gone down that road before and have done your diligence. I can definitely understand making a firm decision to go with an acoustic.

Best of luck with the final selection - Yamaha makes absolutely solid pianos, I'm sure you'll end up with one you love and that will last for years.
I have a U1 from 1984 (in addition to my grand piano). I got it for $3800 USD in January 2018. It served me very well for four years or so, and then wore out its welcome. They're good workhorse pianos. The U3 might be better for you though, you get more output. I always felt like I was hitting a wall with the U1, although it still has a pretty big sound for a small piano.
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
I am curious whether the new U1 was assembled in Japan or not, at that price.

Have you considered other brands?

The new 'U1' has no shared components, design or factory to the well known older model. It's a totally different piano made to different standards. They two cannot be compared musically or technically.
Posted By: gwing Re: Choosing Yamaha piano u1 u3 used and new - 05/21/22 06:42 AM
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
I am curious whether the new U1 was assembled in Japan or not, at that price.

Have you considered other brands?

The new 'U1' has no shared components, design or factory to the well known older model. It's a totally different piano made to different standards. They two cannot be compared musically or technically.

Are you referring generally to all new U1 models with that comment Steve or just the particular U1peq model the OP mentions ?
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