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Topic Options
#1910443 - 06/08/12 10:30 AM kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1
Oaktoner Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 13
I'm trying to decide between a k3 and U1. Have been reading the post, and got lots of helpful information. Right now, the U1 price i got is about $750 more than K3.

I'm buying for a 6-yr old beginner, and not sure how long he will be committed to piano practicing. So my questions is which model is better from the investment return point of view (we're not buying it as an investment, just wondering which model would have a better resale ratio).

Also from the action, quality of sound, overall quality, is U1 worth the $750 more?

Thanks so much for all the helpful information!

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#1910466 - 06/08/12 11:07 AM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
Pianolance Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 1192
Loc: Nashville, TN
Your post didn't say, but I'm assuming you are looking at new pianos. If so, there are endless comparisons between Kawai and Yamaha models on this forum. What it usually boils down to is, play both pianos and decide which you like better. My guess is that if you decide you like the Yamaha better, the dealer will most likely match the price to the Kawai. In other words, it is likely that they could both be the exact same price with a minimum of negotiations.
_________________________
Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.

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#1910471 - 06/08/12 11:11 AM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
Oaktoner Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 13
Thanks, Pianolance:
Yes, i'm looking for new pianos. Most people say the U1 is comparable with K5, not K3.
Since we don't play, so really can't differentiate/like/dislike the pianos by playing. Any information from the people who are familiar with both models (U1 and K3) would be great help!

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#1910488 - 06/08/12 11:52 AM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2277
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
My 2 cents, which is worth every penny, comes from having some playing time on all three pianos.

The U1 is better than the K-3, and the K-5 is better than the U1.

That reflects my personal preference in tone. All three are very good pianos. Each feels and sounds slightly different, your preference is what matters. You can't really go wrong no matter which you choose.

HTH, YMMV, etc.
_________________________
Gary Schenk

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#1910492 - 06/08/12 12:06 PM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Plowboy]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 450
Loc: Oregon Coast
Both the K3 and U1 are excellent pianos.
Both are 48" uprights.

It should boil down to which one sounds best, and feels best, but you specifically ask about resale.

On that score; I'd have to say the Yamaha has greater potential for holding value. The U1 is darn near a standard in college/university settings and the name-recognition of the U1 is still greater than Kawai K3 line....so far. That may change over the next 5 years, but I'm not psychic enough to make a reliable prediction.

Listen to them both! Ask your piano teacher for input...even have him/her play the pianos for you. The touch and response might influence the choice for a beginning student.

Again; both are excellent pianos! You can be sure, either way, that your student has a fine piano to work with.

Practice, practice, practice, TUNE, practice, practice, practice, TUNE, practice, practice, practice, TUNE!
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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#1910506 - 06/08/12 12:35 PM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
Oaktoner Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 13
Thanks so much! Jeff and Plowboy:
Overall i got the impression that U1 is a better piano overall, but some people might prefer K3.
Then a specific question, if we feel the same for both U1 and K3, dose U1 worth the $750 more? or from a price stand point of view, we should go with K3? Any recommendation?

Thanks! Almost ready to make a decision...


Edited by Oaktoner (06/08/12 12:44 PM)

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#1910513 - 06/08/12 12:41 PM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2375
Loc: Virginia, USA
If you were a pianist yourself I would say just try them and see. And others. I went through this exact decision myself and preferred the tone of the K3 so that's what I ended up with.

I love it!
_________________________
  • Liszt - Liebesträume No. 3, S541
  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K. 213

Kawai K3

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#1910591 - 06/08/12 03:06 PM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
Pianolance Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 1192
Loc: Nashville, TN
Both pianos are fully professional uprights and of outstanding quality. Both are very consistant in their manufacturing and should be trouble free for many years. Both are workhorse pianos that can take a beating and keep right on working. Both pianos are better than some professionals have in their homes. Both pianos regularly show up in college and university practice rooms, both show up in classrooms, churches and other places where they will get a ton of use and only a minimun of maintanance. Both pianos would take your six year old up to an extremely advanced level without ever having to be "upgraded". Both pianos will hold their resale value pretty well. I would say, either would be a great, excellent, outstanding choice. You won't go wrong whatever you choose.
_________________________
Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.

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#1910651 - 06/08/12 05:16 PM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
Oaktoner Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 13
Thank you, seems like there is no clear winner between k3 an u1. Tend to go with k3, 'cause it's cheaper, and may have a better resale ratio down the road.

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#1910659 - 06/08/12 05:32 PM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
gnuboi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 2349
Loc: USA
An even safer bet for a beginner would be a used K3 or a used U1. But anyway, if you could get the new U1 at the same price as the new K3, then I would say the U1 has better resale potential. Many people have heard of Yamaha but have not heard of Kawai.

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#1910671 - 06/08/12 05:56 PM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
Oaktoner Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 13
Doesn't seem possible to the U1 price match with K3. U1 always has higher price.

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#1910982 - 06/09/12 11:08 AM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
PianoWorksATL Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2691
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: Oaktoner
Doesn't seem possible to the U1 price match with K3. U1 always has higher price.
It's a more expensive, and overall better instrument. That doesn't change any advice about letting personal preference make your decision, but objectively, the U1 is sturdier in its construction. That said, the K3 is plenty sturdy for any home user.
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Weber & Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta

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#1911006 - 06/09/12 11:38 AM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
pianolive Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 325
Loc: Europe
We have some U1, U3 and K3 on a University where I serve the pianos. The students prefer the K3 for the U1.
I cannot say there are differences in the construction and building quality, but these students simply like the touch and sound of the K3 better.

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#1911030 - 06/09/12 12:32 PM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
k 3 for me
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1911045 - 06/09/12 01:00 PM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10452
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Music Merchandise Review (MMR), one of the piano industry's most respected publications named the K-3 the Acoustic Piano of the Year in 2008,2009, 2010, and 2011.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#1911211 - 06/09/12 08:57 PM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
j&j Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 444
Loc: Southwest
Ask the Yamaha dealer if he/she will match the price of the K3. Many piano dealers will discount $750 to make the sale. Both pianos are very good choices. But get the one which sounds the best and don't let saving $750 be the deciding factor.

Good Luck - let us know what you do!

I really love the U1s I've played but I do enjoy playing Kawais. But I haven't played the U1 or the K3 you're looking at so listen, look, and listen again to both.
_________________________
J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." Pablo Picasso

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#1911847 - 06/11/12 11:13 AM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: j&j]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2375
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: j&j
Ask the Yamaha dealer if he/she will match the price of the K3. Many piano dealers will discount $750 to make the sale. Both pianos are very good choices. But get the one which sounds the best and don't let saving $750 be the deciding factor.


Yeah, but I would bet that if the Yamaha dealer matched the Kawai price, the Kawai dealer would discount again and the Yamaha dealer wouldn't be able to match. I didn't push the Yamaha dealer in my decision (U1 versus K3 amongst other pianos) because I preferred the K3 but I got the distinct impression from the Yamama dealer that would be the case.
_________________________
  • Liszt - Liebesträume No. 3, S541
  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K. 213

Kawai K3

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#1911857 - 06/11/12 11:30 AM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10452
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Dealer cost of the U1 is considerably more than Kawai's K-3.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#1916283 - 06/20/12 02:35 PM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
Oaktoner Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 13
thank you all for the great input. I'm very much inclined to go with k3. but still one question remains, the yamaha dealer says that U1 is better because it has double re-enforced hammer (I think what it means is that there is a double layer of felt for each hammer). I wonder if the "re-enforced hammer" very important, or it's negligible.

Thanks!

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#1916310 - 06/20/12 03:29 PM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
PianoWorksATL Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2691
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Kawai uses similar hammers...on the K5 and larger. For Kawai, it represents a lower cost hammer on the K3. Better quality hammers offer marginally longer life but noticeably longer peak life or plateau. They tend to respond better to service over the years.

Having 2 layers is a design element. Choosing a less expensive hammer is not. Still, this is by degrees and misses the point that a piano is not a collection of "features" but rather a collection of "design elements". Pricepoint is a primary element of design for high-volume production pianos.

I think you have the relevant info already in this tread. Which one do you enjoy more? If you can sense a preference for the higher priced U1, get it. If you prefer the K3, be thankful and save the money.
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Weber & Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta

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#1916318 - 06/20/12 04:15 PM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: PianoWorksATL]
Oaktoner Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 13
Thank you for the professional input! I do like k3 more, so i think i'm going to go with it.

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#1916635 - 06/21/12 09:21 AM Re: kawai k3 vs. Yamaha U1 [Re: Oaktoner]
Cmajor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/11
Posts: 229
Loc: USA
I was torn between a U1 and a K3 the end of last year. After much deliberating, playing, and listening to others play both models I chose the K3. For me, the sound was a bit richer and I did save over 1K. I know some may say that I heard a better K3 because of the price but I had others listen to both as well, and none of them were aware of the cost. They all preferred the K3 as far as the sound.

In the end, I think it is just a matter of personal preference as they are both good pianos for the price. I am very pleased with my K3 even as I make plans to purchase a grand. Yes, I have the fever! Both dealers were very good and one gave me a great tip for shopping pianos... listen from about 10 ft away while someone else plays... it gives you another perspective.

Either way, you will enjoy your new piano and you will have the peace of mind in knowing that there really is no bad decision that can be made when it has narrowed down to these two choices. That's what folks on this forum told me during my decision making process and they were all correct!

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