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#2225252 - 02/03/14 02:42 PM Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for?
johnbarnesiii Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/08
Posts: 189
Hi,

I know this will depend on the specific piano itself, but what are some good years for used U1's? Like which decades? Again I know there is no solid answer bc they're all different but sometimes you have a 'golden age' of a particular instrument when they were made especially well. Does this exist in context of the U1?

If I look around for a U1 (btw, I'll take a piano tech with me to any privately owned sale), what kinds of things should I look out for, besides the obvious: tone, etc? (I'll likely buy from a dealer though bc I can put on a credit card.)

Thx.

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#2225275 - 02/03/14 03:46 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
terminaldegree Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 3014
Loc: western Wisconsin
Generally, the newer, the better.
Silk cords attached in the action have been mentioned as occasionally problematic in the older models by technicians. Replacing them can be labor intensive, but having a technician inspect this will save you from a potentially costly headache.
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#2225325 - 02/03/14 05:59 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
johnbarnesiii Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/08
Posts: 189
Got it, so if I find an older one say late 60s to late 70s I should have the tech check the silk cords especially then?

So when asking about condition, any other specific questions to ask a piano dealer who might have a used U1 for sale?

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#2225419 - 02/03/14 09:06 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1103
Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
If the cords were silk they probably would not be a problem. I think they were a woven cotton. The new Yamaha pianos seem to have a synthetic, though it might be silk.

It is the most common issue I see with 20 year+ Yamaha uprights. I rarely see a Yamaha upright older than early 1970s. Most just aren't old enough to be really worn out yet. They were certainly built better than most of their contemporaries built in the USA.

All that being said, condition is variable depending on use, climate and age. The ones from the mid eighties tune easier IMO. Still, newer is usually better in any machinery, and a piano IS a machine.
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#2225777 - 02/04/14 01:20 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
johnbarnesiii Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/08
Posts: 189
Thanks guys. On another note, what are some comparable upright models to the U1 that I should check out to be in the running for my used purchase? I like a mellower, less bright tone fyi. Thanks.

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#2225781 - 02/04/14 01:27 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
terminaldegree Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 3014
Loc: western Wisconsin
Kawai K3 and K5 were near that size, and the previous versions were called the K30 and K50. The Boston 126 was a 50" vertical made in the same factory with a different design. Also, the Charles Walter vertical (either size, they're the same on the inside) would be considered comparable in the used market.
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#2226330 - 02/05/14 01:04 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
johnbarnesiii Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/08
Posts: 189
Thank you. I went to look at a U1 at Keyboard Concepts yesterday. The guy said one thing to note is the pins that hold the strings: if they are silver it means original parts, if they are black they have been replaced with cheaper pins. Is that true?

Also another tech told me the 70's and before are good, better than 80's or 90's U1's. He mentioned something about the frame material or something. Just want to cross reference with you piano geniuses smile

Any other info to look out for would be great.

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#2226347 - 02/05/14 01:34 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
Troy 125 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/13
Posts: 189
Replacement pins I've seen are silver or blued silver, no idea what your sales guy is talking about.

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#2226351 - 02/05/14 01:46 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: Troy 125]
johnbarnesiii Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/08
Posts: 189
He probably was talking about the blued silver (the darker ones), if I had to guess? He also mentioned something about the an orange accent color on the felt versus another color. Really didn't quite understand it all but I think he was trying to give markers to a U1's true authenticity, like Japan imported versus American parts or something? I'm new to this so not positive what he meant.

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#2226354 - 02/05/14 01:52 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
Troy 125 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/13
Posts: 189
Out of curiosity, did you check out the M500 you asked about earlier?

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#2226386 - 02/05/14 02:58 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
johnbarnesiii Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/08
Posts: 189
I did ask for and play an M series at the store yesterday. Not sure if it was the M500 exactly but it actually played pretty nicely, cool satin ebony finish. Only problem was the orange 'sold' tag on it frown I'll keep looking around for the M500 though. I did also see a P22 that sounded pretty good too. So many options, so many options, but I think I'm starting to zero in soon, hopefully.

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#2226391 - 02/05/14 03:02 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2877
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: johnbarnesiii
The guy said one thing to note is the pins that hold the strings: if they are silver it means original parts, if they are black they have been replaced with cheaper pins. Is that true?

Also another tech told me the 70's and before are good, better than 80's or 90's U1's. He mentioned something about the frame material or something. Just want to cross reference with you piano geniuses smile

Any other info to look out for would be great.
Yamaha used blued tuning pins for decades. Secondly, a Yamaha upright is a mass-produced machine, not a bottle of wine. The replacement of silk cords, as mentioned, is probably the one common issue that affects so many of their older models. All other things being equal, newer is better, however rarely is condition and service record equal. The upfront price advantage of the older examples rarely equates to more long-term value. Either a new or newish alternative brand would be better, or if it has to be a Yamaha, see what you can find that isn't so old. The pinblock, felts & strings will age even if the use is light.
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#2226398 - 02/05/14 03:17 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
Troy 125 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/13
Posts: 189
Originally Posted By: johnbarnesiii
I did ask for and play an M series at the store yesterday. Not sure if it was the M500 exactly but it actually played pretty nicely, cool satin ebony finish. Only problem was the orange 'sold' tag on it frown I'll keep looking around for the M500 though. I did also see a P22 that sounded pretty good too. So many options, so many options, but I think I'm starting to zero in soon, hopefully.
I was wondering about the $1,500 one you found on Craigslist.

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#2226410 - 02/05/14 03:47 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: Troy 125]
johnbarnesiii Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/08
Posts: 189
Oh, I think that one sold already unfortunately.

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#2226420 - 02/05/14 04:14 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
ando Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 4015
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I've got a 60's Yamaha U3 and it has original pins in it - they are dark, not silver.

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#2227120 - 02/06/14 06:37 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
johnbarnesiii Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/08
Posts: 189
Also a question as a side note: I've seen U1's that have the mute rail for quieter practice. Do all U1's either come with this or have the capacity for this? Or is it specific U1 models only?

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#2227159 - 02/06/14 07:48 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
ando Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 4015
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: johnbarnesiii
Also a question as a side note: I've seen U1's that have the mute rail for quieter practice. Do all U1's either come with this or have the capacity for this? Or is it specific U1 models only?


Every one I've ever seen has had the mute rail (you'll see a middle foot pedal). I use it quite a bit on my U3 for late night practice.

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#2227561 - 02/07/14 05:12 PM Re: Used Yamaha U1: What to Look out for? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
johnbarnesiii Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/08
Posts: 189
Btw, just went to a piano store and played both U1 & U3. To me the U3 sounded way better and closer to what I like tone-wise, like the lower warmer rich tones.

Is this the general difference between the 1 & 3 with regards to tone? Being that the 3 is taller, it makes sense.

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