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Yamaha U Series: 1970s vs present day

Are they different?

The U Series is very much a cornerstone of Yamaha's upright piano offering, and very well regarded among teachers, technicians and pianists all over the world. 

Much like comparing long established models of car, advances in design and manufacturing technology over time mean that a brand new or recent second hand piano is always better than one of a previous model generation.

In the case of the Yamaha U1 and U3, both of which have been in production since the early 1950's, an instrument that comes off the production line today is significantly more refined and ultimately more rewarding to play and hear than one which was made fifty or so years ago.

So what has changed?

A new U1 or U3 is constructed with improved quality component parts including under-felted hammers, with such useful features as a long music rest for large scores and a kitchen drawer style soft closing lid to prevent trapped fingers.

Advances in manufacturing techniques and technology mean that components can be machined to incredibly fine tolerances, with lumber for the soundboards and keyboards kiln dried to decimal point-specific levels of moisture content.

On a similar level, numerous refinements have been made to the action design to ensure a higher level of response, the number of wooden back-posts has been increased from four to five to provide enhanced stability, resonance and power, while the scale design has been refined to improve tonality and tuning.

Additionally, the latest generation U3 has what is called a 'floating' soundboard, a specially developed method of affixing the soundboard into the piano to allow it to resonate more freely.

What does reconditioning involve?

Yamaha approved reconditioned U Series pianos are exclusively reconditioned at the Yamaha Piano Services department in Hamamatsu Japan, where they are stripped down and rebuilt with all parts that wear out replaced.

These perishable components include: tapes, loop cords, butt springs, checking leathers, touch baizes, stringing felts, hammer felts, damper felts, key bushings, hammer and lever centres, and many more. All wood and metal components, including strings, are thoroughly cleaned, with the key surfaces replaced, a practice pedal installed if the piano doesn't already have one, before the casework is modernised with a new polished ebony finish and inlaid brass Yamaha logo.

The quality of workmanship on these instruments is superb, and on arrival at our Haslemere showroom and workshop our technician carries out a bespoke setup on each piano to ensure optimum performance and tonal quality. Each piano is supplied with a five-year Yamaha-backed warranty for your peace of mind, along with a certificate of authenticity.

If it's simply not as good, then why buy a reconditioned piano?

The answer to this is simple - these are incredibly good value for money! 

A reconditioned U Series upright is approximately half the price of a brand new one, so consequently these instruments make for a very compelling choice.

While not as technically advanced or luxurious as a new U1Q or U3SQ model, a reconditioned U1H or U3H from the 1970's or 1980's is nevertheless a remarkably well engineered instrument - robust, reliable and certain to provide many more years of reliable service.

When comparing pianos at a similar price point, a reconditioned Yamaha U Series upright makes great financial sense. Most new pianos at this price point are smaller and less resonant, while there is certainly something to be said for the inherent build quality of a Japanese-built Yamaha piano.

We always have a selection of new, reconditioned and second hand Yamaha U Series upright pianos in stock, on display and ready for selection. Schedule an appointment to choose your Yamaha U Series upright piano today.