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#24654 - 06/11/08 11:15 AM A piano for my 6-year-old
Cassidy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/11/08
Posts: 7
Loc: Bay Area, Ca
Hi There,
This is my first time writing in this forum. I have been collecting thoughts in the passed few days, and found this helpful website. Thanks in advance for answering my questions.

I don’t know pianos and need to buy one for my 6-year-old who just started her lesson. My budget is $3000-$4000 (including tax and everything) but hope to keep it in the low side. My goal is to get a decent piano which will last in case she’s very good at it. (I have no space for a G.) On the other hand, with a good resell value in case she doesn’t play.

Below are quotes I got, may someone tell me which is a better piano for its price?
Yamaha U3M serial # 3327255 Year 1981 $3500
Yamaha U3A '' #3751783 " 1984 $3750
Yamaha U3A " #3925205 " 1984 $3750
Yamaha U30BL #4406542 " 1987 $4200
Yamaha U30A #4912914 " 1990 $4450
Kawai HAT20 #2224041 1995 $3200 Silent 49"

I also found some serial # 1 millions U1, U2, and U3 for $3000 including tax and everything. Are those too old? For some reasons, there is no newer U1 or k3/k5 in the market now.
For the same price, I can also get a new T118 from Costco ($3,499+tax+delivery). What do you think about T118? Would you prefer a new T118 over old Us?

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#24655 - 06/11/08 12:21 PM Re: A piano for my 6-year-old
Deerwood Dad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/07
Posts: 478
Loc: Minneapolis
Cassidy -- If it were my decision, I would choose the new T118 over the older and likely gray market Yamahas and Kawais (which can be just fine, but there's a greater risk). I'm not sure how warranties work in purchasing Yamaha pianos through Costco though. You should inquire about that. Good luck in making your decision, and best wishes to you and your lucky daughter.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A (2006); Yamaha P140

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#24656 - 06/11/08 12:28 PM Re: A piano for my 6-year-old
Danny Niklas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 905
Loc: Switzerland
Old Yamaha are reconditioned and some of them are as good as a new one. Containers full of reconditioned Yahama are perused each month by piano dealer so they can choose the good ones. An honest dealer would only buy the real conditined ones and ignore those that don't sound good or are ruined. Dishonest one take everything. If you want a reconditioned one you must find a serious dealer and bring a piano technician with you.

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#24657 - 06/11/08 02:48 PM Re: A piano for my 6-year-old
PianoPro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 314
Loc: Iowa
 Quote:
Originally posted by Deerwood Dad:
Cassidy -- If it were my decision, I would choose the new T118 over the older and likely gray market Yamahas and Kawais (which can be just fine, but there's a greater risk). [/b]
Don't forget, a 35-40 year old Yamaha or Kawai is no better quality and maybe not as good in some respects as the new Korean or Indonesian pianos today.

Yamaha and Kawai pianos are fabulous today and have a great reputation. Unfortunately, that reputation was not built on these older '70's and '60's pianos.

Good luck!
_________________________
Dennis C.
Piano Store Operator,
Former District Manager,
20 Year Industry Experience

"Tell the truth, honor God, and make money!"

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#24658 - 06/11/08 03:52 PM Re: A piano for my 6-year-old
Kurtmen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 632
Loc: San Mateo, CA
Hi Cassidy,

Here are a few thoughts:

Is it really a good deal to pay closer to 45% of the cost of the same piano new, for one twenty years old or older?
Certainly you are spending less money; but are you getting a good deal in relation to buying a new piano?
Would you do the same thing with another type of purchase?
Let say a car or furniture.

Even though some reconditioned pianos won’t experience problems, the reality is that any twenty plus years old piano can potentially start giving you trouble. Ultimately don’t forget that pianos are made of many materials susceptible to rapid change, such as wood, felt, leather and thread. Some of these problems can occur within a year, perhaps not all. However although a piano technician can evaluate the current condition of the piano; it will be hard for him/her to predict the outcome of a reconditioned piano, and guarantee that will be free of major problems..
Note: Look out most grey market pianos have been subject to heavy use that’s why they have been reconditioned. Which by the way is not the same as fully rebuilt.

On the other hand the reason why you can’t easily find used pianos less than 15 years old; is because the average family keeps their piano for at least 10 years if not forever. Which means that you have greater chance to end-up with a 30 years old piano before your son turns fifteen.

IMO you should visit dealers for new pianos and find out what’s available.
Sure I’m one of them. ;\) However my statement above is fairly accurate.
Best Regards,
_________________________
San Mateo Piano
Purveyors of:
Kawai, Wilh. Steinberg.
Kawai Digital Piano, Pianodisc.
<a href="http://sanmateopiano.com" style="color:#FF0505;font-size:10px;font-family:Times New Roman;text-decoration:underline;" target="_blank" >http://sanmateopiano.com</a>

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#24659 - 06/11/08 04:33 PM Re: A piano for my 6-year-old
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7218
Loc: torrance, CA
Cassidy,

Your topic has come up here before and really there are arguments on both sides.

If you want your piano purchase to be carefree and trouble-free, go the Costco route....no negotiation...no auditioning or side by side comparisons...Costco oversight and new piano warranty.

If you want to explore the possibilities, visit your new Yamaha dealer and check out the T118, the U1 and the YUS1. See what your money can buy new. You might even do better on the T118 than the Costco deal. CA sales tax and del. charges will probably bring the Costco price on the T118 to over $4k.

If you want to see a representative sampling of used grey-market pianos, go to a place like Silicon Valley Piano in San Jose. Surely they have U1's later than the 1 million serial number series, and they will offer you a five or ten year warranty on any piano they sell. Don't believe all the scare-tactic stuff about these pianos being beaten to death. There are many grey-market pianos that have had very little wear-and-tear. They might appeal to you more than the T118; maybe not. The only way you will know is by checking them out yourself and forming your own opinion. You can listen to the back-and-forth grey-market crossfire here until you're blue in the face and you won't know any more than before you tuned in. If you don't want to take the time to explore he market yourself, just buy the T118.

Anything you buy from a retailer (new or used) is going to depreciate substantially in the next few years. If you want to minimize depreciation as your opening post suggests, then you'll have to educate yourself and track down private for-sale-by-owner U series. That's a tall order. Bay area Craigslist is a cesspool and there are many sharks in the water, but with patience and knowledge you might[/b] find a U that will be worth the same price in five years that you pay for it now.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#24660 - 06/11/08 06:14 PM Re: A piano for my 6-year-old
Kurtmen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 632
Loc: San Mateo, CA
 Quote:
That's a tall order. Bay area Craigslist is a cesspool and there are many sharks in the water, but with patience and knowledge you might find a U that will be worth the same price in five years that you pay for it now. [/b]
I agree with Turandot. Unfortunately Craigslist open an opportunity for unscrupulous people in the trade to take advantage of buyers. On the other hand with patience and knowledge you could find a great deal.
_________________________
San Mateo Piano
Purveyors of:
Kawai, Wilh. Steinberg.
Kawai Digital Piano, Pianodisc.
<a href="http://sanmateopiano.com" style="color:#FF0505;font-size:10px;font-family:Times New Roman;text-decoration:underline;" target="_blank" >http://sanmateopiano.com</a>

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#24661 - 06/11/08 07:22 PM Re: A piano for my 6-year-old
Cassidy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/11/08
Posts: 7
Loc: Bay Area, Ca
Thanks to you all.
I did more shopping on used U3s, and found some pretty good ones. I will bring a piano technician with me to check with the pianos this week. This dealer offers a 10-year parts and labor which makes me more comfortable.
In case someone is interested in the price…
U3H 3057054 (with original parts) @$3,300 everything included
U3X 3035712 (with original parts) @$3,800 everything included
The sales person recommended these 2 U3s, but there are other U3s (serial # 3 millions ) at $3K. I will ask the technician to check some of the $3K ones and see if they are any good.
The sales person told me that the U3X is hand made with better material (titanium), and it is hard to find. Is it true? Is it worth to buy the U3X? He also mentioned the hammers of U3H are harder than U3M which is better for kids. Is it true?

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#24662 - 06/11/08 07:28 PM Re: A piano for my 6-year-old
M&B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/19/06
Posts: 262
Loc: California
 Quote:
The sales person told me that the U3X is hand made with better material (titanium), and it is hard to find. Is it true? Is it worth to buy the U3X? He also mentioned the hammers of U3H are harder than U3M which is better for kids. Is it true? [/b]
:D \:D \:D \:D
_________________________
Piano Dealer
Representing Kawai, Mason&Hamlin.

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#24663 - 06/11/08 09:13 PM Re: A piano for my 6-year-old
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7218
Loc: torrance, CA
Cassidy,

What M&B is trying to tell you is that the sales pro's comments about titanium are untrue and that the comment about hammers makes no sense at all. X models have some structural superiority in the cabinet and the backposts, but age and condition are far more important than whether the piano is a U3 or a UX3.

A 3 million serial number does not mean late-model. The two pianos whose serial numbers you provided are from 1980. That's amost thirty years old. Here's a link to the Yamaha age chart. If all else is equal, newer is better.

http://www.yamaha.com/yamahavgn/CDA/Cont...D410010,00.html
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#24664 - 06/12/08 01:03 AM Re: A piano for my 6-year-old
Cassidy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/11/08
Posts: 7
Loc: Bay Area, Ca
Thank you very much. I already scheduled with a technician to check on these pianos on Saturday. I will try to find a younger one in the pool.

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