New piano question

General discussion about piano makes, problems with pianos, or just seeking advice.

Moderators: Feg, Gill the Piano, Melodytune

Post Reply
jj_
New Member
New Member
Posts: 4
Joined: 09 Apr 2010, 23:32

New piano question

Post by jj_ » 09 Apr 2010, 23:46

Apologies because this must have been asked a thousand times, but...

Given that I am an adult, who has had lessons for the past two years, and practised (or should that be practiced?) on a digital piano, but who now (well, in a few months when he moves to London) wants to purchase a beautiful shiny new upright, with a budget of circa 3k, perhaps more, what should be the focus of my search?

The only names that I am familiar with are Yamaha (of course) and Kemble. Is there that much of a difference between the B-series and the more expensive Yamahas e.g. the U-series? If I were to go to a dealer of course he would tell me that I should buy a 5k piano, but how can I tell the difference between the two - that is, will the difference be noticeable when playing certain notes, chords, etc., when sustaining certain notes, when playing certain notes very softly or very loudly etc? I would like to be able to hear for myself the difference, rather than rely on a dealer telling me that the difference e.g. between a B and a U is "night and day" and that therefore of course I would be better off buying a 5k piano. Perhaps one can draw an analogy between pianos and wines - a wine dealer may well tell you that wine A is a superb wine, much more complex blah blah than wine B, and of course being 15 quid for wine A vs 5 quid for wine B one would be minded to agree...but which of us could really tell the difference? If you don't know what you're looking for sometimes you just can't see it.

Thank you very much if you can enlighten me.

User avatar
Barrie Heaton
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 3849
Joined: 30 May 2003, 20:42
Location: Lanc's
Contact:

Re: New piano question

Post by Barrie Heaton » 10 Apr 2010, 12:23

Since you have had a digital you may find the B1 a bit disappointing in the Bass and mid rage However, the top is much better on a B1 than many digitals (IMI)

The difference between the B1 and the U1 other than they are made in different places The U1 has longer string length giving it a richer sound that the B1. Also, the keys are longer on the U1 giving yo more control when playing. The golden rule is the taller the piano they better the sound

What you have to ask yourself how much further will I go with my piano in the next 2 to 5 years do the retailers have a buy back, so if you go for a entry level piano will they buy it back in few year if you upgrade. Therr are retailers who will tell you not to buy a B1 buy one of there second-hand U1s better buy..... ? You will find that they tend not to sell new Yamaha pianos. Having said that quite a lot of dealers give 5 year guarantees on their second-hand pianos and 3K to 5K will get you a good piano.

There are some good deals outhere with Kemble and other makes. All depends on the sound you like, take your time and shop around look at Kawai, Vogle by Schimmel, Zimmermann Irmer by Bluthner . If you find a make and model you like, see if there are any others about and try them. Do a 100 miles shop search from your place most dealers will deliver free upto 100 miles do go and try the piano.

Click on the "Pianos for Sale by Shops" to the left there are many good pianos on there

Barrie,
Barrie Heaton
Web Master UK Piano Page

jj_
New Member
New Member
Posts: 4
Joined: 09 Apr 2010, 23:32

Re: New piano question

Post by jj_ » 11 Apr 2010, 13:40

Thanks Barrie.

I am wondering though, with regards to the B vs U...there seem to be some pretty old Us out there. Notwithstanding what you said about taller being better (I just checked the new piano dimensions and see that the height goes up B1 - B2 - B3 - U1) is not a brand new B3 better than, say a 10 or 15 year-old U1?

User avatar
Barrie Heaton
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 3849
Joined: 30 May 2003, 20:42
Location: Lanc's
Contact:

Re: New piano question

Post by Barrie Heaton » 11 Apr 2010, 15:10

jj_ wrote:Thanks Barrie.

I am wondering though, with regards to the B vs U...there seem to be some pretty old Us out there. Notwithstanding what you said about taller being better (I just checked the new piano dimensions and see that the height goes up B1 - B2 - B3 - U1) is not a brand new B3 better than, say a 10 or 15 year-old U1?
A 10 to 15 year old U1 should out perform any Bs no contest, but this all depend on how its been looked after and the amount of playing.

Quite a lot of the second-hand U1 out there tend to be past it 1970s pianos and a B3 should be a better bet in some cases. When buying a second-hand you should get an independent tuner to look at the piano for you, There are some nice 1970s U1, U3 out there that have had new bass strings, dampers and spring cords changed.


Barrie
Barrie Heaton
Web Master UK Piano Page

User avatar
athomik
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 356
Joined: 03 Jan 2007, 12:14
Location: England

Re: New piano question

Post by athomik » 12 Apr 2010, 09:55

One other thing to bear in mind when comparing Yamaha U series and B series: If you are looking for one with a silent function, the B series does not have MIDI connectivity, although the system is identical in all other aspects.
athomik

Adrian Thomas Music Services
http://www.adrianthomas.net

jj_
New Member
New Member
Posts: 4
Joined: 09 Apr 2010, 23:32

Re: New piano question

Post by jj_ » 12 Apr 2010, 23:30

Thanks guys.

Sorry, just to go back to part of my original question, what would you say are the most identifiable points of superiority of a U1 over a B1/2/3?
E.g. I remember my piano teacher (he was in Holland so I can't ask him about this any more) telling me that grand pianos have better-sounding high notes than uprights (or something like that; perhaps I do him a grave injustice by misquoting him).
Or should I just be able to "tell"? It's a lot more money to spend and as I said, I would like to really appreciate the difference rather than just buying a U because "it sounds better" (though not to my own ears).

Thanks.

markymark
Executive Poster
Executive Poster
Posts: 1470
Joined: 04 Apr 2005, 18:50
Location: UK

Re: New piano question

Post by markymark » 13 Apr 2010, 00:27

The length of the strings make a difference to the overall tone of the piano. Obviously, a grand piano has longer strings which amongst other things enhances the bass and mid-ranges to make a more resonating and rich overall tone.

This is one key difference between the U1 which has a 121 cm high cabinet, whereas the B1/2 ony has a 110/112 cm cabinet - much shorter. Short strings usually equate an inferior and weak sound although I am talking about the B1 that has among the shortest string-length on the modern market.

Many of the intermediate models like the Yamaha P114 come to mind, can have a very pleasing tone and can sound better than some of the "taller" upright pianos, although I've found anything 121cm or taller is hard to rival - again, I'm not a tuner but this is based on my experience. No doubt some of the dealers and tuners here will be able to elaborate or correct me as or if necessary. However, I think I can safely say that in EXTREME dimension variations, "short" pianos like the B1, in my experience, do not sound as rich or yet as powerful as the taller models. The mid-range of pianos (114cm-118cm) doesn't neatly follow this rule as mentioned which is why you really do need to try the pianos for yourself! Sadly, this is not a clean-cut answer.

You should also bear in mind that a "big" piano (stated simplistically) in an unsuitably small or acoustically inferior room will seriously undermine the sound so do take that into consideration also.

jj_
New Member
New Member
Posts: 4
Joined: 09 Apr 2010, 23:32

Re: New piano question

Post by jj_ » 15 Apr 2010, 00:07

Understood, thanks very much.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests