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#256404 - 08/28/08 03:52 PM Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
SNC Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/24/08
Posts: 16
Loc: Iowa
Hi, Everyone: This is my first time posting. I've learned a lot from reading around periodically in the discussions here over the past couple of years, and now I'm ready to make the big decision. We own a Kawai CA5 digital but now are ready to bump up to an acoustic. I play (poorly); my elementary school age daughters are taking lessons. We'd like them to be able to practice on a real piano. (My husband wants me to stick with the Kawai so I can used earphones and he doesn't have to listen!)

To make a long story short, we are leaning toward a Yamaha U1 (we also looked at a Yamaha P22 and Essex EUP123). My dealer offers a new one in Walnut Satin for 8095 plus tax (includes delivery and two free tunings). This is a bit less than 20% off list price (as derived from the 08-09 Larry Fine supplement book). Is it still generally considered reasonable to target a 20% reduction in the list price for a Yamaha? If the dealer refuses, would it be a reasonable trade-off to ask them to give me a better quality bench (I'd really like an adjustable one)? In addition, although I don't think we are ready to bump up this much, today my dealer had on the floor a Yamaha GC1 in polished ebony for 14K. He said it had been used for a year by a college prof but would be sold as new. It certainly still looked new. I think I'm comfortable in sticking with the U1, and my husband is not keen on the idea of a shiny black piano (no matter how popular that finish), but I am curious about whether any of you have thoughts about the merits of the U1 as compared to the GC1. Is the GC1 so much better as to warrant the extra money?

By the way, I live in a midsize midwest university town, and I'm targeting new pianos mostly because I am pretty cautious and therefore inclined to worry too much about buying used, and because I don't want this decision to drag out much longer. But maybe I'm crazy to buy a new U1 given that there are evidently a lot of used ones floating around?

Thanks so much for your help!

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#256405 - 08/28/08 04:09 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
terminaldegree Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2676
Loc: western Wisconsin
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#256406 - 08/28/08 05:46 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
Bear 1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/06
Posts: 1348
Loc: Hillsboro Beach South Florida
Hi SNC,

Welcome to the forum.

You mentioned Kawai,

Check out Kawai K2, K3, and K5 Professional Uprights and also Kawai GM-12 and GE-30 Grands.
Kawai is Yamaha's number one competition and has a more comprehensive Guarantee/Warranty. \:\)

Usually, but not always, you can get a better price on a Kawai.

For new Kawai info Click on: www.kawaius.com
Then Click on: Upright Pianos
Or Click on: Grand pianos
There is lots of interesting reading and facts on Kawai's website.

Both Yamaha and Kawai are excellent pianos and you wouldn't make a mistake by buying either brand.

Best of luck with whatever piano you select.

Sincerely,

Bear
_________________________
Barry J "Bear" Arnaut ♫
46 Years in the Piano Industry
Retired Kawai/Shigeru Kawai Regional Manager
(My posts and threads are my opinions only)

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#256407 - 08/29/08 03:43 AM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
SNC Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/24/08
Posts: 16
Loc: Iowa
Hi, Terminal Degree and Bear 1: Thanks so much for your speedy replies! Bear 1: Sadly, no one in my area carries Kawai; I did get the CA5 at the main local dealer in my area (a respected business), but it was something of a fluke that they had it. We have been very pleased with this purchase. (I actually found it easier to get my kids to practice for longer periods of time when they were young because they could experiment listening to how their songs sounded in different voices.) And so I am not at all automatically predisposed toward Yamaha over Kawai. But for various reasons I would, if possible, like to continue working with this local dealer with whom I have a good relationship rather than taking my business out of town. Meanwhile, Terminal Degree: I read the whole thread you referred me to and found it very helpful. Thanks! I'll print out your detailed eval of the GC1 and head back out to the store today to play some more to see if this particular piano shows some of the limitations that you mentioned (to the extent my abilities allow). Realistically, I think we'll stick with an upright, but if I start educating myself now about grands, then that'll help if we do find ourselves ready to move up in a few years. Thanks again for your help.

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#256408 - 08/29/08 01:19 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
terminaldegree Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2676
Loc: western Wisconsin
SNC,

One thing I neglected to mention in that thread was the instruments were minimally prepped as part of an institutional loan program. I have little doubt that the GC1 could be smoothed out a bit with someone willing to invest some time and money into it. So many of the recent U1's I've played have been really good and even-sounding right out of the box.
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#256409 - 08/30/08 01:12 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
Konzert Patrick Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 791
Loc: The Netherlands
This is a joke right? U1 better the GC1?
Very very funny.
GC1 blows away the U1 in every aspect, sound, touch .......

Just my opinion!
_________________________
Schimmel Konzert 189 Tradition

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#256410 - 08/30/08 01:22 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
tanjinjack Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 851
Loc: Malaysia
 Quote:
Originally posted by GC1Patrick:
This is a joke right? U1 better the GC1?
Very very funny.
GC1 blows away the U1 in every aspect, sound, touch .......

Just my opinion! [/b]
but not soundboard area, longest bass string and the speaking length of it.

Also, I think more attention will be given to U1 instead of a GC1 as U1 is their most popular models while GC1 is still quite new in the market.

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#256411 - 08/30/08 04:00 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
Konzert Patrick Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 791
Loc: The Netherlands
Tanjinjack please do your homework.....
Or play on both pianos, U1 is 121 cm how is that soundboard going to be bigger then on the GC1?
_________________________
Schimmel Konzert 189 Tradition

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#256412 - 08/30/08 05:21 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
terminaldegree Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2676
Loc: western Wisconsin
 Quote:
Originally posted by GC1Patrick:
This is a joke right? U1 better the GC1?
[/b]
The question appeared more to be, is buying a GC1 instead of a U1 worth an additional $6,000 dollars? I would submit there is no "instantly" good answer.
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#256413 - 08/30/08 08:32 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
IMHO even the Yamaha GB1 would be superior to the U1. Grand piano performance nearly always trumps uprights in tone, volume, and especially repetition sensitivity in the keys.
_________________________
Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.

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#256414 - 08/31/08 12:56 AM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
tanjinjack Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 851
Loc: Malaysia
 Quote:
Originally posted by GC1Patrick:
Tanjinjack please do your homework.....
Or play on both pianos, U1 is 121 cm how is that soundboard going to be bigger then on the GC1? [/b]
That's my line, please do your homework.
Despite only 48" tall, U1 has a rectangular soundboard. GC1 63" (5'3") soundboard comes in a sort of triangular shape with some curved edges (the tail) which in the end, will result in a smaller total soundboard area.

Below is the link to Mason & Hamlin site on the specifications.
http://www.masonhamlin.com/specification/
Please look at the soundboard area for their model 50 (50" upright) and their model B (5'4" grand piano).
Sorry that I am wrong on the longest bass string and speaking length, but soundboard area wise, a grand piano that comes lesser than 6' generally won't be bigger than an upright due to its shape.

That might justify why most forumers will prefer a grand piano more than 6' rather than something smaller than that!

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#256415 - 08/31/08 12:58 AM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
tanjinjack Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 851
Loc: Malaysia

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#256416 - 08/31/08 09:27 AM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
SophieM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 353
Loc: New York City
Tanjinjack - how do I put this delicately since it's a general forum? But you do know that size is not everything, right? ;\)

SNC - if the additional cost for the GC1 is not an issue, get the GC1 because it is much more satisfying to play on a grand. The sound and the action are far superior than an upright. Also a grand piano will add instant sophistication to your home decor. \:D

GC1Patrick has posted links of his playing on a Yamaha upright and a GC1 (in his recent voicing thread) and it is clear that the GC1 has a fuller and more mature tone.

I second what Marty Flinn mentioned -- get the GB1 if the additional cost for the GC1 is more than you want to spend. GB1 will still be more satisfying than the U1.

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#256417 - 08/31/08 01:38 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
terminaldegree Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2676
Loc: western Wisconsin
With all due respect to my esteemed forum colleagues above,

I'd probably take a U1 over a GB1. I'd definitely take a U3/U5 over a GB1, though that is not the nature of the original post. As a pianist (not a decorator), I think that a 4'11" grand does not add sophistication to a home, because it is very oddly proportioned (wider than it is long-- "where's the rest of this thing?").

In terms of sound quality and evenness of tone, I stand by my previous comments re: largest uprights superior to smallest grands. The grand action is usually nicer, but I doubt the overwhelming majority of users here will be trying to play "Alborada del Grazioso" at Dinu Lipatti-esque speeds, thereby exposing the action limitations of a properly-adjusted quality upright.

Having said all that, I grew up playing a 5'3" Yamaha G1 through high school and it served me well.
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#256418 - 08/31/08 01:56 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
tanjinjack Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 851
Loc: Malaysia
 Quote:
Originally posted by SophieM:
Tanjinjack - how do I put this delicately since it's a general forum? But you do know that size is not everything, right? ;\)

SNC - if the additional cost for the GC1 is not an issue, get the GC1 because it is much more satisfying to play on a grand. The sound and the action are far superior than an upright. Also a grand piano will add instant sophistication to your home decor. \:D

GC1Patrick has posted links of his playing on a Yamaha upright and a GC1 (in his recent voicing thread) and it is clear that the GC1 has a fuller and more mature tone.

I second what Marty Flinn mentioned -- get the GB1 if the additional cost for the GC1 is more than you want to spend. GB1 will still be more satisfying than the U1. [/b]
Size is not everything, but as your quote implies, it meant SOMETHING.
Can you deny the fact of bigger soundboard is always better?
Also, attention to the piano. I believe U1 really receives better attention than the GC1.
IMO, U1 is built to be equal at both performance and price while GC1 leans more on price instead of performance (concluding less attention to the piano).
Similarly, C7 is built more on performance than price thus the price is higher, so as it's performance.

5'3" might be a grand piano size that I can accept, but it's a case by case basis.
4'11" (the GB1) is a total out for me. I won't buy any pianos of that size. I would prefer a 48" upright then.

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#256419 - 08/31/08 02:30 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
Konzert Patrick Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 791
Loc: The Netherlands
O O O \:\)
The saga continues!
Thank you for explaining Sophie M, your words of wisdom are like sparkling bells to my GC1 ears \:D

Tiny jack, you buy what ever size is good for you.
Lets not argue on this great forum.

'Big' greetz from Holland
_________________________
Schimmel Konzert 189 Tradition

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#256420 - 08/31/08 04:41 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
SNC Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/24/08
Posts: 16
Loc: Iowa
Hello, everybody. If I could find the right avatar, it would be genuflecting and saying "I'm not worthy"! You folks are an amazingly wonderful source of information. Thanks so much. Just to clarify, I was indeed trying to ascertain whether it would be worth considering paying 6K more for a GC1 over a U1, not asking whether they were equivalent pianos. The finance issue is tricky, as we could feasibly go up to 14 or 15K at the outside if some extraordinary opportunity came along, but my gut tells me that I'm not ready to pay that much yet, or, at least, not for this particular piano. Partly the problem is just that I haven't been focused on researching grands, and so it feels pretty overwhelming to start almost from scratch. I guess my thinking had been that we would focus for now on finding a good quality upright, and then, pending how my children and I progress in our playing, consider bumping up to a grand in a few more years--at which point we might even be ready to invest enough to move beyond the 5'3" range. But I do realize, too, that given how rapidly the price of pianos is escalating, there is certainly an argument to be made for going ahead and launching into the market for a grand now.

Just for the record, I did play the GC1 again yesterday and was generally impressed. The sound of the bass notes didn't have the resonance I was expecting, especially given that the piano was positioned out in the middle of the showroom floor (while the U1 is over near a wall). But it felt nicely responsive to my (again, very amateur) touch, and on the whole it seems like a piano that my daughters and I could easily spend years growing into in terms of our various skill levels. It's entirely possible that many of you would have detected problems that utterly passed me by, though.

The other development that has occurred since last time I posted was that a used dealer from a neighboring town that I had previously gotten into contact with about a possible used U1 (2006 polished ebony satin in mint condition going for 6K) has mentioned that I might want to consider a Baldwin 6000 in what he says is also in mint condition. He is asking 6K for it too. Right now I don't know any more than that--the year it was made, history, etc. But if it sounds promising after further investigation, I might be back in touch with a new thread called "New U1 for 8K versus Used Baldwin 6000"!

Thanks again, everyone.

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#256421 - 08/31/08 05:08 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
terminaldegree Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2676
Loc: western Wisconsin
Hi SNC,

The Baldwin 6000 would be an interesting comparison to the U1. Sound and action will be at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Yamaha. I'm not saying it's bad-- just very different. I would have a technician verify the condition of any used piano to be sure that you're really getting a good deal (or buying someone else's former problem) if at all possible. There are good used piano deals out there if you're prepared to be patient and do more "legwork". Best of luck!
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#256422 - 08/31/08 05:45 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
koiloco Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/16/08
Posts: 622
Loc: California
SNC,
as an ex-GC1 owner, I would recommend GC1 over U1 any day of the week and yes, it's worth the extra money.

GC1 is excellent for its size but if budget and space allow, go bigger. In your case, since your budget is around 15k, I personally suggest that you look beyond the 5'3" and go at least 1 size up (5'8" or 5'10").
For example, RX-2 could be bought for under 16k in CA. Good luck with your purchase.

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#256423 - 09/01/08 02:14 AM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
tanjinjack Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 851
Loc: Malaysia
SNC,

I am a little bit of biased as I personally dislike smaller size piano. My search is also on a 6' with the minimum size of 5'8" and rarely consider a 5'3". So far, GC1 and Kawai GE30 are the only two models that I consider which comes less than 5'8".
The reason? Very simple, 6' grand are more enriched for its tone and look more proportioned (5' is too short while 9' will be too long!)

My understanding on your budget is you can spend about 10k, but you can also stretch it up to a 15k.
You would want to know does the 6k difference of U1 and GC1 justifies the difference in price.

If you can spend up to 15k, you might as well consider some of the European make already. Yamaha U3 and YUS can falls in your price range as well, not to say Kawai's uprights. You can also get a 5'10" Chinese grand fairly easy with the budget.
(My price is according to my area, which is Malaysia which I think is more expensive than anywhere in Northern America.)

If you are considering a GC1, you might as well consider a Kawai GE30 which may come less expensive than a GC1 but give you 2 inches more. GE30 is 5'5"! You might even want to go another 5" more for an RX2 (5'10"). A RX2 will be able to serve you for many many years to come!

All the best in your search!

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#256424 - 09/01/08 09:31 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
There isn't a week that goes by that I do not demo a U3 beside the GB1. I never have had a shopper say the tone is better on the upright.
I have never had a player say the touch and responsiveness is better on the upright.
The GC1 is better than the smaller GB1 grand.
The U3 is better than the smaller U1.
How can anyone choose a U1 over a GC1 if price or space are not deal breakers?
_________________________
Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.

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#256425 - 09/03/08 01:50 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
SNC Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/24/08
Posts: 16
Loc: Iowa
Hello again, Everyone. Thanks for all the great follow-up comments. After a long weekend of intense discussions with my spouse, and after the local dealer responded to my inquiry about price by shaving a few hundred more off, I've decided to go with the new U1 in a Satin Walnut. I know it's quite possible that in a fairly short time I'll regret not going ahead and aiming for a grand, but there were several factors that influenced our thinking. There were space considerations since our children also love gymastics and dance and spend the long winters where we live putting on nightly after-dinner performances in our living room. If we bump up in a few more years, not only will they be less likely to mourn the loss of free space but we are also less likely to find a big scratch down the side of a grand. In addition, the possibility of spending as much as 15K was more one we felt willing to consider for a really, truly unique opportunity--a piano that we would lose sleep over not buying because a comparable opportunity might never again come along, if you know what I mean. Beyond that, I'm under some time constraints to get this decision made so that we don't have to keep imposing indefinitely on the hospitality of my generous next-door neighbor (who has a lovely 6 foot Yamaha) whenever I want my kids to log some practice time on an acoustic. I also need to get my mind back focused on my paid work, which, sadly, has nothing to do with researching and playing pianos! As for choosing the U1 in specific over some other options like the substantially bigger Baldwin 6000, we realized that the depth of the piano is a serious issue because of where we need to locate it in the house, and the 24 inch depth of the U1 was at the outside edge of what would work. The Yamaha U1 is also used at the university here (and the top-notch studio where one of my daughters studies uses Yamahas), so its high profile in the area might perhaps help if I want to resell it down the road. I do feel a bit bad about not buying from the used dealer that I've also been talking with some, as he seems like a very nice and trustworthy man. But, then again, had I bought from him I would have felt bad about not buying from the local dealer, since two salepeople in particular have been very helpful in answering my questions. My spouse and I agreed that we would not try to bargain the local store down any further once they made their offer at a reduced price, in fact. Maybe we could have saved a bit more had we bargained even harder, but I figure that by and large people who sell pianos for a living are doing their part to bring beauty and joy to the world. I'm not going to begrudge them a decent living. And one final thought, when I do go in the market for a grand (presuming I do), I want to be able to approach the decision with a much richer base of knowledge and experience than I have now. So I guess I'll be lurking around on this list for a few more years, listening and learning! In the interval, I appreciate how you folks always tell us newbies that the right piano is the piano that we feel is right for us. I think we'll be happy with the U1--it's good quality for the price, we like the touch and sound, and it feels like the right size investment for where we are in our lives. Thanks so much for your help and advice.

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#256426 - 09/03/08 02:15 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
Genaa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/08
Posts: 326
Loc: Winchester, UK
The U1 is a very well respected quality upright instrument SNC, I am sure you will have no regrets about your purchase \:\) The U1 is also highly saleable and retains its value very well, so should you wish to upgrade to a grand piano in future, you should have little problem selling on the U1. I think it is very prudent to better develop your skills, both in terms of listening and playing, before deciding on a larger purchase and until you are playing at Grade 8 standard at least, the 'shortfalls'of the upright versus grand piano actions will not be apparent, nor will your touch or tone be noticeably hampered. I hope you enjoy your new piano \:\)
_________________________
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#256427 - 09/03/08 02:21 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
tanjinjack Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 851
Loc: Malaysia
Congrats to your new U1. I have been following your progression. I am really glad that you go for a U1 (although even if you go for a GC1, I will be equally glad as well).

When the piano is arrived, make a new thread and post some pictures. We love pictures a lot! \:D

Anyway, congrats again and may your family enjoy the piano for many years to come!

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#256428 - 09/03/08 03:46 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
terminaldegree Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2676
Loc: western Wisconsin
Congratulations on your new piano-- it sounds like it works for you on a variety of levels, which is reassuring. Play it as much as you can in the first couple weeks prior to tuning, making sure that any new piano "teething" issues show themselves and are taken care of promptly through the Yamaha Servicebond program.

Have fun!
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#256429 - 09/03/08 04:52 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
SophieM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 353
Loc: New York City
Congratulations on your new U1. Looking forward to seeing pictures. \:\)

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#256430 - 09/03/08 05:31 PM Re: Yamaha U1 versus Yamaha GC1
Konzert Patrick Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 791
Loc: The Netherlands
Another Yamaha family member, welcome \:D
Seems the Yammies are growing!

Enjoy your new U1, and please post some pics, we love peaking into houses and looking at lovely pianos!
_________________________
Schimmel Konzert 189 Tradition

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Need Leutke Leipzig info
by Gardenergirl
09/16/14 12:26 AM
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