Japanese imports versus new

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blondie
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Japanese imports versus new

Post by blondie » 19 Jul 2006, 09:26

Hi
Been looking at upright pianos for my daughter (blondie) and have been very impressed with the mellow tone of the Yamaha u1,u2 and u3.

For a similar price we can get a new C110 which sounds lovely but the U2, in particular, that we tried just seems to be in a different league. Even though I don't play the piano myself I would just sit and play the notes on the U2, just to hear the beautiful sound of it.

I talked to a piano tuner (who also happens to sell new Yamahas) and he was warning against the Japanese imports, saying that the different climatic conditions could lead to problems in the long term.
The shop supplying the imports are giving a 5 year guarantee.

What do you guys think, would we be better going for a new C110 or one of the Jap imports. Or maybe something else altogether, we live in Ireland.

Thanks in advance.

PianoGuy
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Post by PianoGuy » 19 Jul 2006, 20:19

The "seasoned for destination" argument is largely bunkum, so your tuner's wrong. Take a Yamaha destined for the USA for example:
Yamaha makes one model range for the US, so who's to say whether the piano's going to be used in Florida or Seattle? Furthermore, what if old Hank living in Armpit, Nebraska suddenly wins the Lottery and moves his treasured U3 (together with brood of hillbilly pesky varmints in his Ford Pickup) to Pacific Palisades? Slight difference of climate there, Boy!
No, ignore such ill informed advice. And remember that Japan's climate is rather similar to that of the UK, so he's really talking out of his bottom now isn't he?

However, I am not totally in favour of the grey import. You must get the youngest you can afford (Serial number close to 5 million if you can) and get an independent tuner to check it out. Go to the PTA website to find one, but ensure that whoever you choose isn't tied to any one dealer or is selling pianos himself. Earlier models with numbers around the 1 and 2 million mark *can* be OK, but should be cheap. There is a notorious issue with the loops on the hammers decaying. A good 25% of the earlier examples are affected, although they are easily replaced by any decent technician. Also ignore claims that these earlier pianos are somehow better than new ones. They're not. It'll just be that the dealer who's selling 'em would have you believe that. They're cheaper because they're not as desirable. QED.

The U2 is the absolute turkey of the range. Look at it carefully and you'll see that the casework incorporates no 'pillars' at the front, but rather there is a 'truss' supporting the keyboard. Ugly. Most of them were sold to schools and colleges in Japan and thus will have had a thrashing. they were never imported into the UK so there's nothing to gauge price aginst. They should not simply be regarded as an interim model between U1 and U3; they are hard to sell and should be about 75 percent of the price of a U1. At that price they're worth a punt. They're not bad pianos per se, but most have led a hard life.

Ideally go for a U1 or U3 about 10 years old originally sold in the UK, for no other reason that it will have the best resale value. Period. Go for a U3 if you need the extra oomph, but otherwise stick with the U1 because it's prettier and more people want one.

If you can't find a UK market one because they are *very* rare, a grey import is fine. Here's your pecking order for imports:

1) U1 or U3 serial number above 5 million
2=) U1 or U3 serial number above 4 million
2=) UX1, U10Bl, YUS or UX serial number above 4 million
4) MC301, serial number above 4 million
5) U1 or U3 serial number above 3 million
6) U1 or U3 serial number above 2 million
7) Predictably, older U1 or U3...

10) U2

Also available these days are grey imported "New" U1s and U3s. These should be priced lower than bona fide Yamaha UK models, around 4K for a U1 and 4.8K for a U3 should do it, but note that there are differences. The U1 is essentially as per the UK model bar a few insignificant details, but the U3 substitutes a practice pedal for the more desirable and complicated sostenuto pedal. UK models are designated 'U3S', the 'S' standing for 'sostenuto'. Strictly speaking these models should be declared as imports, or declared to be "As new" rather than "New" because they've probably been sold off by some European Yamaha dealer, but don't be put off if the price is right. Some of them are several months newer than the official models coming in from Yamaha UK. Look for a serial number of 6.4 million.

Happy hunting!

PG

Footnote:

The C110 is discontinued. The replacement b1 is cheaper and better.

blondie
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Post by blondie » 20 Jul 2006, 09:02

That's fantastic info PG, thanks a lot.

The U2 we were looking at is serial number 1.5 million and is the same price as the U1 they are offering which is 2.3 million.
I guessed that the climatic arguement was bogus especially when the tuner told me he sold new Yamahas :D
The institutional use, the age and the low resale value have put me right off. This is exactly the info I needed.

Last night we went to see a 2 year old Petrof P118 H1 and my dughter fell in love with it.
Personally I prefer the action of the Yamaha keys - but I'm not the one playing.

If we can we will try the Yamaha B1, but will probably have to move quickly on the Petrof if we decide on that.

If you have any thoughts on the Petrof P118 H1 it would be much appreciated, and thanks again for all the info.

PianoGuy
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Post by PianoGuy » 20 Jul 2006, 09:47

The Petrof will be fine if it's fitted with a Renner action. If it has a Detoa or Tofa-Albrechtice action, forget it.

Not my favourite piano, but I know lots of people who love them. Make sure it is only as old as claimed.

C ya!

PG

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Post by PianoGuy » 22 Jul 2006, 12:46

blondie wrote: If we can we will try the Yamaha B1
The b1 is a great entry level piano, but it's just that. Cheap. And they're being further cheapened both in reality and reputation by the usual heavy discounts offered.

Buy one if you really can't afford better. They're being sold for peanuts, so dealer prep will be bugger all in spite of claims to the contrary.

The pianos you're looking at in the U series and Petrof (if Renner equipped) are in a few leagues above the worthy but basic b1.

A new Brodmann or Wendl & Lung offers near U-series performance for about 2.5K GBP if you can track either one down. Built by the Chinese but Austrian supervision.

blondie
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Post by blondie » 22 Jul 2006, 19:29

Thanks PG

Hav'nt had a chance to try the b1 yet, the Yamaha dealer will have them in during next week.

Still looking at the Petrof H1, yes confirmed it has a Renner action.
We've tried a lot of pianos in this price range and keep coming back to the Petrof.

BTW, the Petrof agent here was very impressed when I asked him if his pianos had Renner or Detoa actions. He wanted to know were I got that inside info from. :D
He also agreed with you that the Renner action is more desireable, and also added that Petrof have now developed their own action, which, he reckons is as good or better than the Renner.

So it looks like it will be a Petrof with a Renner action.

The Petrof agent here has offered me a very good deal on a new one, so now I am wondering whether to pay the extra €700 (about 500 stg) to get the new one with the guarantee. It probably makes more sense to go the new route but we were at the top of our budget with the 2 year old second hand one.

Any thoughts on going the extra mile on the new one.


Thanks again

PianoGuy
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Post by PianoGuy » 22 Jul 2006, 20:00

Whatever Petrof develop in the way of actions it will never have the desirability of a Renner. If you're at the top of your budget and you love it then go for it.

A b1 will disappoint. It's a bit weedy and only to be considered if it's all you can afford. It's a rival to the cheapies from Pearl River and Perzina with a bit of Yamaha clout and a good action, but it sounds weak. It can't compete with real Japanese Yamahas and decent Rennered-up Petrofs.

If the agent will give you a 5 year warranty on the 2nd hand one as if it were a new one then go the 2nd hand route. Petrofs are not the best at holding their value, so second hand if that young is a good bet.

tuna
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Post by tuna » 29 Jul 2006, 23:48

Did you decide on a piano yet? The suspense is killing me!
Was reading the above with interest. Personally, I would have gone for a Yamaha rather than a Petrof. The imports can be very good. A lot would depend on which particular dealer you were visiting. I know of a dealer in Munster who sold a Yamaha U1,(last year) telling the people who bought it that it was an ex-demo model, and 'a couple' of years old. I moved it for them the other day, and the serial no. was 1.2 million and made it 1971. I asked them how likely it was to be an ex-demo Yamaha, when he doesn't sell new Yamahas?
I'm guessing you may be living in the Dublin area if you were in with Mr Tynan,
Cheers!

blondie
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Post by blondie » 30 Jul 2006, 15:09

Hi tuna and PG

tuna you are right we were in with Mr Tyan the Petrof agent in Dublin. He offered us a very good deal and because of the 10 year guarantee and back up service and being a new piano we went the extra bit. It was just yesterday we closed the deal.
We now own a P118 with a Renner action.

My daughter loves the sound of the Petrof and I suppose that's what it's all about.
The U1 we tried in Flanaghans in Mount Merrion did not sound great. Knowing what we know now, I realise it probably would have sounded a completely different animal with a good tuning. Why people sell pianos that are untuned beats me - how can you decide?

Anyway we are delighted with the Petrof and dealing with Mr Tynan was great, he is a true gentleman.

Best regards and thanks PG for all your help.

zorrobus
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Re: Japanese imports versus new

Post by zorrobus » 21 May 2015, 17:14

Hi, I know this post is a bit old, but since you've got the piano (blondie) I hope that you will reply to my question.
I was wondering to buy a second hand Petrof P118 H1 and my question is the same as yours in 2006!! Does the P118 mount Renner Action???? I can't find any technical information on the web. Is there any PDF download specification Sheet?

Thanks
Paul

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