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#2219132 - 01/22/14 09:14 PM Yamaha P22 vs B3
etsuko Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/21/14
Posts: 10
Hi All,
I recently asked about bright sound and got an education in what the benefits might be of a more mellow sound.

So now I ask those who've had a chance to compare them: Which would you choose of these two upper-entry level pianos? Apparently both are made elsewhere in Asia than Japan, and both have solid spruce soundboards. P22 is 45", and the B3 is 48". Thanks in advance!

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#2219268 - 01/23/14 05:47 AM Re: Yamaha P22 vs B3 [Re: etsuko]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1349
I wouldn't say that the extra 3" in height will make all that much difference, not really. To be honest, I would pick the piano that I liked the best, but I'm not sure out of these two which I would choose, because it really comes down to individual instruments.

Is there an independent technician that could tell you more about the pianos? It would be worth paying someone reputable to help you if you can't decide.

A couple of pointers though, I would test each piano by seeing how easy it was to play fast - Yamahas are usually set up to their optimum regulation when new (though not always). I would see how easy it was to control the sound at extremely low volume, and I would check how solid it felt when playing really hard. I would check the tone for even-ness - checking that there were no nasal sounding notes and that the breaks were fairly even - of course you have to allow for some discrepancy between the tone of the wound and the steel strings.

I would check how solid the pedals felt, is there any 'give' when you stamp on the sustain pedal? Does it squeak? If it has problems when new, they're likely to only get worse.

I would also go and test more expensive pianos - look at what quality really means, and then work down from there.

Remember that buying budget from any brand is always a risk. Some budget brands have really picked up on quality and are offering reliability that wasn't available at that price before. However, there is a significant portion of budget brands that simply do not last well over time. That became apparent with Brodmann who really had to pick up their game in order to compete - they got the piano right at first, but four years down the line they needed far more work than other makes under the same conditions. Now, Yamaha are not Brodmann (even the new Brodmann is not the old Brodmann, they have improved), but we're still talking about the entry level piano. I'm working on the assumption that you are not going to put the piano under the same stresses and strains as a concert pianist or music student, but that also you want to buy something that will last 10, maybe 20 or maybe even 30 years before you want to replace it, being played moderately over the years.

So, out of these two, go for the most solid, find out which one holds tuning the best. Does anybody else own these pianos? How have they faired over the years? The B series pianos are now cracking on for ten years old. How have they faired over time? Some of the indonesian and chinese yamahas were actually terrible - there were some being made in the 90s and early 2000s that were just awful pianos, but the B series is a vast improvement over them.

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#2219397 - 01/23/14 11:03 AM Re: Yamaha P22 vs B3 [Re: etsuko]
etsuko Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/21/14
Posts: 10
Thanks for your detailed recommendations, Joe. I wish I'd had this when I went to look at them last time. I didn't even think about the pedals!
I have read that P22s hold their tune very reliably even under heavy institutional use, especially after they changed the pinboard (if I'm remembering correctly).
What I find most puzzling is the lack of any real review or video online of the B3. Even here, there is very little discussion. I don't think it's that new, but none of the big online used piano sellers seem to carry any. I'm guessing that is significant.

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#2219400 - 01/23/14 11:09 AM Re: Yamaha P22 vs B3 [Re: etsuko]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1349
A little bit of inside info - Yamaha prefers to sell the B series to occassional users, and recommend that if you're a pianist above a certain level, if the piano will be used more, or if an institution wants to purchase a few pianos, they will steer you away from the B series, because they're not built with the same durability. The fact is that the B series are built to a price, and there is nothing wrong with that, but you need to be aware when you buy it what you are actually buying.

My gut instinct is to go with the P22. I'll have a look online and see if I can find more out for you

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#2219406 - 01/23/14 11:15 AM Re: Yamaha P22 vs B3 [Re: etsuko]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1349
If the Yamaha P22 corresponds with the P series we get in the UK (like P116 and P121) internally anyway, I'd go with the P series. The B3E is a good design, but, it's built to a lower standard.

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#2219427 - 01/23/14 11:51 AM Re: Yamaha P22 vs B3 [Re: etsuko]
Troy 125 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/13
Posts: 143
etsuko, sent you a pm

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#2219459 - 01/23/14 12:47 PM Re: Yamaha P22 vs B3 [Re: etsuko]
etsuko Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/21/14
Posts: 10
thanks, troy! And Joe80, it looks as though both the p116 and p121 are taller pianos, but i can't seem to find anything comparing them internally. Thanks for the gut instinct. It's what I am suspecting, too.

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#2219537 - 01/23/14 03:32 PM Re: Yamaha P22 vs B3 [Re: etsuko]
etsuko Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/21/14
Posts: 10
I did hear from Rick Jones Pianos, who says they just haven't gotten B3s because they are too recent. They did say, though, that it is considered a cheaper, simpler version of the U1.

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#2219566 - 01/23/14 04:00 PM Re: Yamaha P22 vs B3 [Re: etsuko]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1349
It's considered a simpler, cheaper version but it isn't as good. The P22 has been the piano of choice in many institutional settings, meaning it's built like a tank. Personally, I would go for the P22 if you can't decide between them. If you really prefer one over the other and it's a huge difference, go for the one you prefer.

The Boston 118 is also a good institutional piano along the same lines as the P22 I think, I've played a few of the american style ones and they are good instruments. I don't really like the look of the institutional pianos but that's personal. They look a bit industrial!

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#2219582 - 01/23/14 04:23 PM Re: Yamaha P22 vs B3 [Re: etsuko]
michaelha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 959
I've played the b's and the P22's. Can't remember how I compare b3 vs P22. The b3's action was a bit rough but that's what you get with rush produced pianos. You can hire a technician to come tweak it but that might run you about $600 so you might as well spend that towards a better piano.

The dealer said the b's were replacing the Chinese made T series which were only going to be sold in China going forward. I think I remember thinking the b3 was better than the T118. I wouldn't worry too much about the "institutional" thing, unless you really are an institution. I doubt the piano is going to snap in half in 10 years.

Why are you only looking at Yamaha's? There are other brands, similar price, just as reputable, and have a warmer sound. If I had to stay in that price range I'd probably look at the Kawai K3. The K's are Kawai's top uprights, made in Japan, etc. K3's are about $5K.
_________________________
Casio CDP-100
2012 Kawai RX-5 BLAK

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#2219643 - 01/23/14 06:44 PM Re: Yamaha P22 vs B3 [Re: etsuko]
Norbert Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14210
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
Why are you only looking at Yamaha's? There are other brands, similar price, just as reputable, and have a warmer sound. If I had to stay in that price range I'd probably look at the Kawai K3. The K's are Kawai's top uprights, made in Japan, etc. K3's are about $5K.


In designing sound deeper, more resonant and certainly "warmer" going past industry average, requires a special "chef", i.e. designer who engineers this quality into his piano right from the very beginning.

This has been true for the industry for a very long time with many prominent names anchored deeply in history and 'presence'
[Theodore Steinway, etc..Dell Fandrich, etc wink ]

Today there are only very few of these guys left with Lothar Thomma being arguably one of the most successful ones.

It's very interesting getting perhaps a personal little demonstration by these guys about his intentions and/or success.

Have had this privilege on several occasions, making for very interesting conversation. Plus being able to pass this on to others in a totally "sound oriented" presentation.

Far more difficult without a live person trying to figure out what the intention of manufacture actually was or *is*

Norbert


Edited by Norbert (01/23/14 06:46 PM)
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#2219799 - 01/24/14 12:44 AM Re: Yamaha P22 vs B3 [Re: etsuko]
michaelha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 959
I'll help you out this time Norbert. He's saying there are some nice pianos coming out of China these days: Ritmuller, Hailun, etc. And many on this board agree.

Also, I might disagree that Yamaha and/or Kawai doesn't have an iron-chef on staff. They may not have the star status or big name.

BTW...just read in the NAMM thread that Kawai is replacing the K2/K3/K5...line with K-200... There might be some crazy deals for the K's soon.



Edited by michaelh (01/24/14 01:57 AM)
_________________________
Casio CDP-100
2012 Kawai RX-5 BLAK

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#2219955 - 01/24/14 09:49 AM Re: Yamaha P22 vs B3 [Re: michaelha]
etsuko Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/21/14
Posts: 10
I believe I've now met the Derrida of piano reviewers. Thanks for the parsing, Michaelh.
My partner's deceased mother taught on a Yamaha, and he's set on it, so that's what we're getting. Ah, well.

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#2219961 - 01/24/14 09:56 AM Re: Yamaha P22 vs B3 [Re: etsuko]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1349
Well, at least you know Yamaha is good quality. It's not the only piano - Kawai and Boston stand out as the main competitors (Boston being manufactured by Kawai for Steinway, but there are some differences between Kawai and Boston even if they're not that big between the uprights).

Yamaha has been a favourite amongst professionals for years, and for good reason. So has Kawai.

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