It is worth considering the new Indonesian built b3 as an alternative option to a reconditioned U1. While the b3 is made in Yamaha’s Indonesian factory to keep the cost competitive, it is essentially a ‘cut down’ version of the new Japanese built U1. It shares the same frame and hammers, with the same five back-post configuration to deliver a similar level of stability and resonance.
The key differences are that the spruce for the b3’s soundboard, while still a solid piece of spruce, is less mature than that of the U1 with fewer growth rings. This means that it doesn’t resonate quite so freely and consequently the piano isn’t quite as resonant as the U1, but that said, you can only really hear the difference when the two pianos are side-by-side in a showroom environment.
The b3 doesn’t have a soft closing fallboard either, which is made up of two pieces with a hinge rather than the beautifully curved fall of the U1, while the top lid is a single piece without the split hinge. These cosmetic cost cutting measures don’t have any bearing on the playability of the instrument but simply make it a more cost-effective option.
Don’t be put off by the piano being made in Indonesia either. The factory was set up and staffed in 2008 by technicians from Yamaha Japan and is one of the most modern piano manufacturing facilities in the world. The build quality is exceptional, and each piano carries the same five-year warranty as a Japanese built model.