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#1878132 - 04/12/12 10:38 AM 30 years old yamaha U3- approximately how long can it last?
MusicAmor Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/10/12
Posts: 16
I have set my sights on this excellent reconditioned yamaha U3 which gives out an amazing sound and touch unlike the other uprights ive tried. I instantly fell in love with it and it is approximately worth 30% of the retail value. It looks really new to the extend that i couldnt believe that this upright was dated to the 80s.

The only concern is that this particular set is approximately 30 years old so im worried whether it will be able to last in the long run. The dealer offers a 10 year warranty on its soundboard and cast iron though.

What are the odds of an acoustic breaking down on this age?

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#1878142 - 04/12/12 10:56 AM Re: 30 years old yamaha U3- approximately how long can it last? [Re: MusicAmor]
bone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 34
How long do you plan to use it for? I was told buy a tuning technician once that the wood used in older Yamahas is much better than the wood used in the recent instruments. So this may not be a bad choice if the price is attractive.

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#1878190 - 04/12/12 12:16 PM Re: 30 years old yamaha U3- approximately how long can it last? [Re: MusicAmor]
terminaldegree Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 3046
Loc: western Wisconsin
Originally Posted By: MusicAmor
I have set my sights on this excellent reconditioned yamaha U3 which gives out an amazing sound and touch unlike the other uprights ive tried.

The only concern is that this particular set is approximately 30 years old so im worried whether it will be able to last in the long run. The dealer offers a 10 year warranty on its soundboard and cast iron though.


To help get a clearer picture, you should hire a technician to look over the instrument and tell you exactly what was reconditioned/replaced, and what the condition of the rest of the instrument is in as well (particularly that which lies beneath the pretty surface).

Then you need to assess your playing demands for the instrument-- Occasional home use? Teaching studio use? Hours a day preparing for competitions? What is the humidity control like in your home?

A warranty is nice, but I've not read about iron plate breakage problems on U3's here, and a soundboard warranty is a nebulous term (some new instrument makers even excuse themselves from replacing instruments with a cracked board under warranty, which may or may not be a big problem in reality). The pinblock and action parts would be the parts I'd suspect the most with such an instrument.
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#1878595 - 04/13/12 12:35 AM Re: 30 years old yamaha U3- approximately how long can it last? [Re: MusicAmor]
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
A 30 year old gray market Yamaha U3 is an "M" scale which needs the repetition threads replaced due to the defective material in the "M". Yamaha addressed the problem in the later "A" series which are of the early to mid 80's. The strings,tuning pins and the action parts are the items that need to be assessed as for condition in that this commissioned work would far exceed the cost of this preowned piano.
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#1878597 - 04/13/12 12:42 AM Re: 30 years old yamaha U3- approximately how long can it last? [Re: MusicAmor]
MusicAmor Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/10/12
Posts: 16
Alright thanks. Ive just taken up classical lessons and would intend to use the U3 until grade 8 so i assume it has to last me approximately 8 years?

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#1878603 - 04/13/12 01:00 AM Re: 30 years old yamaha U3- approximately how long can it last? [Re: MusicAmor]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14598
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Why do you even consider this piano?
Have you carefully shopped around for new or much newer pianos?

Norbert


Edited by Norbert (04/13/12 01:01 AM)
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#1878611 - 04/13/12 01:11 AM Re: 30 years old yamaha U3- approximately how long can it last? [Re: Norbert]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: Norbert
Why do you even consider this piano?
Have you carefully shopped around for new or much newer pianos?

Norbert


The U3 is one of the most respected "professional" level 52" uprights, known for reliability, holding a tune, and producing a sound that many people like. The OP has made it clear they like the sound--a common response to old U3s. Maybe that's why.

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#1878613 - 04/13/12 01:12 AM Re: 30 years old yamaha U3- approximately how long can it last? [Re: MusicAmor]
MusicAmor Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/10/12
Posts: 16
In my country, a brand new U3 costs $12000(~USD 9600) which is more than double the price of a second hand set ($4500/ USD 3600) in this case). Well most of the imported second hand U3s here are of the same age (~30 yrs) but this particular set looks and sounds better than the rest. The 10 years warranty for its soundboard & cast iron is also a plus point. Is there anything I should look out for?

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#1878622 - 04/13/12 01:34 AM Re: 30 years old yamaha U3- approximately how long can it last? [Re: MusicAmor]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: MusicAmor
Is there anything I should look out for?


Terminaldegree has already answered your question (see above). Of his or her points the most important is almost surely to hire an independent tech to check it out. This instrument is old enough to potentially have significant problems. It's likely they can be fixed, but you'll no doubt want to know what's wrong and what it will cost you to fix the problems before you make your decision.

If your question is really asking do U3s have any particular weaknesses, probably every piano does. In this case, many people think old U3s sound too bright--a problem that can be worked on with hammer voicing. Last year I heard a tech quote a price of $200 U.S. to voice hammers on a U3, though I have no idea how typical that price is. But you seem to like how it sounds right now, so that's presumably not a problem for you.

They sometimes get squeaks in the pedals. Those can be fixed, usually for cheap. Otherwise they're built like tanks.

I'm not going to get into the gray market issue (assuming that's the issue here) except to say I never had any problems with gray market U series uprights.

Let us know the outcome and good luck!

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