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#240591 - 10/08/04 08:51 PM New Charles Walter 1520 vs. Used Yamaha U3?
BrandonS. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1
Loc: Virginia
We are in the process of trying to make a decision on the purchase of a new (or used) upright. While I know they are somewhat apples & oranges, we really like both the Charles Walter 1520 and the Yamaha U3. We've found a new CW Queen Anne or a 1992 Yamaha U3 (pristine condition), both for about $6K.

I have a 6 year old who's been playing for about a year. My wife played as a child and is now starting to play once again. We're looking for a quality upright that will last our family for many years to come.

I'd love others opinions on which way to go?

Thanks...

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#240592 - 10/09/04 05:16 AM Re: New Charles Walter 1520 vs. Used Yamaha U3?
Steve Ramirez Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/01
Posts: 1097
Loc: El Cajon, California
A new Walter vs. a 12 year old Yamaha at the same price? If you like the sound and touch on both of these you'd be nuts to buy the one that's 12 years old. A Yamaha that's well cared for could still look pristine on the outside by the time it needs new strings, hammers etc. Filing the hammers on the U3 would make tham look brand new but that's not the same as new.

The Walter has a great reputation, as does the U3. It will last at least as long as the Yamaha and that gives it a 12 year advantage.

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#240593 - 10/09/04 06:45 AM Re: New Charles Walter 1520 vs. Used Yamaha U3?
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6186
The flip side to Steve Ramirez's argument is that the U3 is a 52-incher (much larger than a Walter) has a full sostenuto (the Walter doesn't). The full sostenuto costs more to build, but, IMO, its utility is limited for most pianists because most piano pieces can do without it[Edit: U3 does not have full sostenuto, I made a mistake.] See . I value the larger size of the U3.

That said, while I think the $6k price for a new Walter seems in line with what others have been paying, I do not know what the going market price is for a 12 year old U3 in "prestine condition." While the Walter has a great reputation on this Forum, the Yamaha has a good reputation world wide -- so may be some brand premium is at play here as well.

As with all used piano, if you are seriously interested in one, please get an independent technician to check it out for you before you buy (just like you'll get an independent mechanic to check out a used car before you buy).

Good luck. \:\)
_________________________
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

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#240594 - 10/09/04 07:29 AM Re: New Charles Walter 1520 vs. Used Yamaha U3?
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
I would not rule out the U3, these can be nice piano. Just make sure you have a tech check it out as Ax mentions above. If it were me, that would be the direction I would be moving in. Is the Yamaha US or grey market?, this is another question you want to ask. Not that I would rule out grey market but it is important you know what it is.
_________________________
"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon

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#240595 - 10/09/04 01:00 PM Re: New Charles Walter 1520 vs. Used Yamaha U3?
BassMasterK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 78
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Actually, it's the U5, not the U3 that has the full sostenuto pedal. I just bought a U3 a few months ago and the middle pedal is a practice pedal which is absolutely fantastic if someone wants to practice without bothering people who might be sleeping and the like. It is so quiet with that pedal engaged. While I don't use it lots, I use it much more than I would a sostenuto.

I too went with the U3 because of the size. It simply sounded superior in tone and quality than any of the other uprights I tried out. A close second was a Kawaii that was 52". I've been very happy with the U3.

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#240596 - 10/09/04 01:40 PM Re: New Charles Walter 1520 vs. Used Yamaha U3?
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
BassMaterK,

Could you please give us some input on the Kawai?. Was it a K-60 or K-80 and what were your impressions?.

Thanks,
Steve
_________________________
"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon

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#240597 - 10/09/04 04:10 PM Re: New Charles Walter 1520 vs. Used Yamaha U3?
cdefgab Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 50
Loc: Third Rock
BrandonS.,

I was offered a 1+ year old U3 for $8100 last month. A 12-year old for $6000 seems high.

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#240598 - 10/10/04 05:14 AM Re: New Charles Walter 1520 vs. Used Yamaha U3?
QuirtEvans Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 978
Loc: U.S.A.
My dealer had a Charles Walter, Queen Anne style, cherry finish, on the floor for $5600, I think. So, with a little negotiation, I think you could save a few dollars.

The Queen Anne is the most expensive finish on the Charles Walter, by the way. If finish isn't important, you can get a different finish for less money.
_________________________
If you use lines like "a hyena with hiccups", you might be a redneck.

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#240599 - 10/10/04 02:10 PM Re: New Charles Walter 1520 vs. Used Yamaha U3?
BassMasterK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 78
Loc: Portland, Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by Stevester:
BassMaterK,

Could you please give us some input on the Kawai?. Was it a K-60 or K-80 and what were your impressions?.

Thanks,
Steve [/b]
I have to apologize that I do not remember which model it was other than I know that it was a 52" model. I had told the salesperson that I was leaning towards a U3 and he steered me over to this Kawai to give it a dest drive. I played on it for about 15 minutes and after trying out literally over 200 different uprights of all different makes and models (obviously not all of them for 15 minutes) the Kawai was the only piano out of them all that along with the U3 made me say "hey, this one is definately in the finals" with regards to my narrowing down which piano I wanted to purchase.

Let me say that with my picking out a piano I was looking for specific things. Throughout my daily working life, I have access to a grand piano to play on, and as my wife and I recently bought our first house we wanted a piano for our home but didn't have room for a full grand (although we are currently working on that ;\) ) so I needed an upright that didn't feel like a toy, that could get me by for a few years until we can get into a grand.

The action on the U3 and the Kawai were very similar. The Kawai had a fairly firm action that more closely simulated the action of a grand than most uprights, in my opinion, although I think the yamaha's was a even a little firmer. Wonderful deep rich bass, a clear midrange, and a crisp top end. I opened the top up and it produced a really nice sound that filled the room. After playing the 52" piano's and hearing them compared to the shorter pianos, there was no question in my mind that whatever I was giong to purchase, it was going to be a 52". It was funny because a few salespeople told me they aren't as popular because they are so big that many families think they are "too big" and "dominate the room"?!?! If your going to get a better sound, who cares how much wallspace it takes up? I thought that was pretty funny in an odd way, but I think like a musician and not a interior decorator. Anyhow, the piano responded wonderfully to snippits of everything from Beethoven's apassionata to Chopin's preludes and nocturnes, and Bach's well tempered klavier and to the confused looks of the salesperson, a short 12 tone, 20th century piece. And of course the true test...music I had written, lol.

In the end I went with the U3 on price and a feel I really liked a little more than the Kawai, but in the feel regard they are very close. They also have a similar sound. I was able to get the U3 for about $900 cheaper. I have access to a Yamaha grand occationally and so I think that may have lended to the feeling that the action on the Yamaha U3 felt a little more familiar. Had the price on the Kawai been under what I got the U3 for, I would have seriously considered making that purchase. It was a really nice piano with bright clear tones in all ranges.

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#240600 - 10/10/04 07:01 PM Re: New Charles Walter 1520 vs. Used Yamaha U3?
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
BassMaterK,

Many thanks for the feedback. I have not gotten a chance to play the bigger Kawais yet but I hope to do so in the next few weeks when I visit NYC. I must admit I do like the U3, they really are a workhorse with a solid reputation and they are very easy to trade.

Cost is also a variable as I only plan to use my next upright for 3 or 4 years until I can justify a grand.

Regards,
Steve
_________________________
"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon

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