Yamaha B3 Advice

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sussexpianos
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Post by sussexpianos » 26 Sep 2008, 18:42

Id go for the Kawai anytime as I don't like the sound of Yamaha's. But its personel opinion. Also remember the construction will be better on the Kawai as its a solid soundboard and give better resonance.

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Post by PianoGuy » 26 Sep 2008, 20:16

sussexpianos wrote:Id go for the Kawai anytime as I don't like the sound of Yamaha's. But its personel opinion. Also remember the construction will be better on the Kawai as its a solid soundboard and give better resonance.
Certainly will. Can't fault a Kawai soundboard, and the b-series are certainly let down by the lack of resonance in their composite jobbies. Not sure the construction of either is particularly solid, mind!

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Post by bart » 14 Dec 2008, 18:54

So I finally made up my mind and I am going for a new Kawai K2 for approx 2,8k.
The K3 is a bit expensive, and B3 does not sound quite right.

Several dealers have told me prices are going up in January, so I will buy it next week.

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Post by sussexpianos » 14 Dec 2008, 19:16

That's a good price. The prices for kawais might go up in january but it hasn't been confirmed yet. Yamaha will be going up and so will many others. The price increase is because the pound is very strong and exchange rate for the yen is about 40 percent down. The year of cheap new (and secondhand imported pianos) is over. This will boost the secondhand reconditioned market.

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Post by PianoGuy » 14 Dec 2008, 19:35

sussexpianos wrote:That's a good price. The prices for kawais might go up in january but it hasn't been confirmed yet. Yamaha will be going up and so will many others. The price increase is because the pound is very strong and exchange rate for the yen is about 40 percent down. The year of cheap new (and secondhand imported pianos) is over. This will boost the secondhand reconditioned market.
Any manufacturer sourcing components (Kemble) or pianos (everyone else!) from Europe or the Far East will have to put prices up. We're below parity with the Euro on the high street, so I reckon trade prices in Feb will be about 35% higher than they were this time last year.

As for the secondhand reconditioned market, let's hope that standards can improve. A decent used instrument may at last be valued for what it is rather than how fashionable. Hopefully the oversupply of crap old U1s will fall off and if the wa**ers from outside the legitimate trade who peddle them disappear, standards will rise again. Used pianos such as the superb Chappells, Welmars and Danemanns from the '60s. '70s and early '80s may once again be valued as good pianos. Nothing at all against a good secondhand U1, but the market's flooded with crap sold by part-timers who likely as not stack shelves or flog cars the rest of the time.

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Post by mdw » 14 Dec 2008, 20:55

PianoGuy wrote:As for the secondhand reconditioned market, let's hope that standards can improve. A decent used instrument may at last be valued for what it is rather than how fashionable. Hopefully the oversupply of crap old U1s will fall off and if the wa**ers from outside the legitimate trade who peddle them disappear, standards will rise again. Used pianos such as the superb Chappells, Welmars and Danemanns from the '60s. '70s and early '80s may once again be valued as good pianos. Nothing at all against a good secondhand U1, but the market's flooded with crap sold by part-timers who likely as not stack shelves or flog cars the rest of the time.
Well said.
I have a feeling that a nice hard recession will clear a lot of the dead wood and muppets away back to what ever trades they wernt very good at before latching on to pianos. I seem to remember saying something similar to this on a thread back in January this year!!!! I didnt realise then quite what a mess it was going to be :lol: :lol: . And for those techs who know what they are doing there will be a whole load of crap U1s and 3s that need a lot of work that the box shifters cant do !!! Hey ho every cloud has a silver lining :twisted:

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Post by PianoGuy » 14 Dec 2008, 21:46

mdw wrote: I have a feeling that a nice hard recession will clear a lot of the dead wood and muppets away back to what ever trades....

etc

....

And for those techs who know what they are doing there will be a whole load of crap U1s and 3s that need a lot of work that the box shifters cant do !!! Hey ho every cloud has a silver lining :twisted:
Let's hope the recession's not so hard that it puts the whole trade out of business.

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Post by joseph » 19 Dec 2008, 17:35

i tried out a B3 for the first time. its an acceptable piano, typical yamaha action, decent sound, if a little uninspired. I don't know how long one will last but it sounded OK. So its not as good as a U1, but then, its half the price.

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Post by sussexpianos » 19 Dec 2008, 18:10

Not compared to a secondhand U1. Also, Perzina are cheaper and better built(Only in my humble opinion) with Renner actions.
In all, there are better pianos out there for less money

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Post by joseph » 19 Dec 2008, 20:10

yes i know, it was a bit pricey, but that was my overall view on it.

I think a Brodmann or Perzina might be a better instrument, and a U1 thats in top notch condition for the same money would be better still.

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Post by PianoGuy » 19 Dec 2008, 22:48

joseph wrote:I think a Brodmann or Perzina might be a better instrument, and a U1 thats in top notch condition for the same money would be better still.
The Renner version of the Perzina 129 would beat the lot of them *including* the U1, but it's not far off new U1 money! It could even give a new U1 a run for its money, but it's very, very different in character.

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Post by Barrie Heaton » 20 Dec 2008, 12:51

mdw wrote:
PianoGuy wrote: Nothing at all against a good secondhand U1, but the market's flooded with crap sold by part-timers who likely as not stack shelves or flog cars the rest of the time.
Well said.
I have a feeling that a nice hard recession will clear a lot of the dead wood and muppets away back to what ever trades they wernt very good at before latching on to pianos.
if anything most the muppets will survive its the shops who provided good service and are on the High street will suffer most The shops that are best placed to survive are the one who provide an in house tuning and or teaching service, that will bring in some cash to help them survive

As for the bigger retailers Feb will be the big test for them if they have not shifted a lot of stock or have had to discount more then usual then restocking will be expensive with most makes going up on the trade price by 10% or more in Jan will they have the cash or will the banks sub them?

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Post by sussexpianos » 20 Dec 2008, 16:50

Kawai have confirmed the price rise for January. My showroom and workshops costs a lot to run. Rates and rent are a lot, but the older companies who bought their place when it was cheap are in a better possition.
Take a 600sqf workshop(looked at local estate agents), its small and costs around £1k a month. Then you have other overheads on top. Its a tough time for us dealers. If I wasn't a tuner as well, Id be struggling.

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Kawai damper lift rail pivot

Post by pianotechman » 21 Dec 2008, 10:58

Yesterday I came across a Kawai upright on which the sustain pedal was making a very audible 'knock' when the pedal was depressed, I traced the fault to the bass end pivot lug on the damper lift arm that was either worn, or a very poor fit in the first place...it was made of plastic. I had to drill it out and then bush it with cloth, just like they USED to be made in the old days..and of metal!
Has anyone else with a Kawai had this problem?
David Hamilton Smith

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Post by mdw » 21 Dec 2008, 11:35

sussexpianos wrote: Take a 600sqf workshop(looked at local estate agents), its small and costs around £1k a month. Then you have other overheads on top. Its a tough time for us dealers. If I wasn't a tuner as well, Id be struggling.
Make sure you are getting small business rates releif. If you have one shop under a certain size you should get a bit off your rates although they are phasing it out over a few years. Which is why my rates went up 20% this year and will do again next year ( just what you need in a recession) :lol: .

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Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 22 Dec 2008, 10:30

mdw wrote:they are phasing it out over a few years. Which is why my rates went up 20% this year
:(
That's no good!
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Post by bart » 29 Dec 2008, 23:54

Well I finally got my act together and bought a really nice K2. I first asked for advice here in June, guess it took me a while.
It should be delivered next week or so and that will be the end of the very old Hsinghai.
The B3 that I originally planned to buy is actually not bad, but it does sound a bit metallic. The place where I bought the piano had them in the same show room and I went many times from one to the other.

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Post by PianoGuy » 30 Dec 2008, 01:31

bart wrote:Well I finally got my act together and bought a really nice K2. I first asked for advice here in June, guess it took me a while.
It should be delivered next week or so and that will be the end of the very old Hsinghai.
Goodness!

The last time I saw one of those I laughed at the dreadful construction. The Chinese surely could *never* be taken seriously as piano makers.................
PG

The opinion above is purely that of PianoGuy and is simply the opinion of one person ....

If you're buying a piano, try as many as you can and buy the one you like, not a similar one of the same type.

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Re: Yamaha B3

Post by ana:) » 30 Aug 2011, 11:40

i'm buying a new piano and i'm unsure so i need your advices. i don't know is yamaha B3 better or Kawai K3. you are all complaining on the sounds of yamaha but it seems normal to me.. i'm going to music school(high school). so, i don't know which of those towo i should buy:/ thanks on advices^^

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Re: Yamaha B3

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 31 Aug 2011, 11:28

The Yamaha B3 is from Yamaha's most cheaply made line of pianos. They outsource the manufacturing work to Indonesia where labour is very very cheap.

The B series is the cheapest and most inferior of Yamaha's current acoustic pianos
The P series is their medium quality range
The U series is their higher quality range including the very popular U1 and U3 upright pianos.

A new B3 is towards the £4000 mark and a new U3 is above £8000. But you can get thoroughly reconditioned U3 pianos at about the £3000 mark. So I'd recommend visiting as many shops as you can to see if you can get a U series piano in mint condition to suit your budget. Feel free to click the link in my signature to see my stocklist

The Kawai K3 is a high quality Japanese piano but it costs £5000 and is only 122cm tall. For that budget you can expect to get a taller upright of at least 130cm which means it will give a much deeper, richer sound due to the longer strings and larger soundboard. Concert grands are 9ft long so that they can fit really long strings and a large soundboard. So try and go for a nice tall piano if you can fit one in your house. Or if you do like something about 122cm tall then you can get a Yamaha U1 for around the £2500 mark which is Japanese and mint condition if you shop around.

Key tips:
- Try to take a piano tuner with you when you view any pianos
- Try and make time to visit 3 or 4 different pianos dealers
- Don't go alone. Take a friend or relative so that you can confer about the different options
- Avoid the Chinese pianos with German names that sell new for £2000 - £4000. Always ask where a piano is manufactured. Japan is good, Germany is excellent, China and Indonesia are at the bottom of the pile.

The above is of course only my opinion and you are very welcome to disagree on any/all of the points.

Happy shopping and keep us posted with how you get on.
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Re: Yamaha B3

Post by chrisvenables » 04 Sep 2011, 13:05

Yamaha do not 'outsource' the manufacturing work to Indonesia. Yamaha have their own factory there, with all staff Yamaha trained and Yamaha employed. There is no 'outsourcing' at all. I have tuned and prepared thousands of new Yamahas over the last 31 years and can assure you that the Yamaha models made in Indonesia are at least as good as those which were made in the UK and equal in build quality to those of Yamaha Japan.

Take a look at this video entitled 'Company of Origin - not Country of Origin.' Please pay close attention at the 2m.55sec. point where they say '......ensures a standard of quality identical to that of Yamaha Japan.....'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBtu7KSdqk8

Yamaha's decision to classify models by 'series' is a little confusing - maybe it confused Mark. For example the B3, P121 and new U1 all share the same internal design and components despite the models coming from three different series. As proof, action components such as keys, whippens and hammers from a B3 would fit a new U1 perfectly. Only the soundboards differ (The three layer laminated spruce soundboard in the B3 produces a superb tone) and there are small case style differences. The B3 is not a lightweight piano either, actually weighing more than a U1. Weights are:

B3: 521lbs
P121: 498 lbs
U1: 502 lbs.

Please check out what I think regarding these three pianos compared with a late 1970's U1 or U3 on my website:

http://www.chrisvenables.co.uk/old-yama ... 3-p121.htm

Mark's pricing is a little wrong too: If you shop around you can buy a new B3 closer to £3K than his figure of £4K, (in fact with Yamaha's current upgrade bonus offer, Yamaha give a guaranteed £200 off even if the p/ex piano is useless, so around £3,100 or £3,200 may well be possible)

I know the loop cords are replaced on some older Yamaha pianos (and maybe the key bushings), but I don't often see a mention of any other component being replaced or repaired to justify claims of 'fully reconditioned,' such as, all the strings and tuning pins replaced? Damper felt? Hammer felt? Hammer butt leather? Damper springs, hammer butt springs and spiral springs? Action felt, such as backtouch baize, balance rail and front rail felt washers? Flange/centre pin cloth? Checks? Soundboard, bridges, ribs, tuning plank?
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Re: Yamaha B3

Post by Barrie Heaton » 04 Sep 2011, 14:25

chrisvenables wrote: Please check out what I think regarding these three pianos compared with a late 1970's U1 or U3 on my website:

http://www.chrisvenables.co.uk/old-yama ... 3-p121.htm
Do you mind if I put a link to this in the buying FAQ

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Re: Yamaha B3

Post by chrisvenables » 04 Sep 2011, 14:28

Please do.
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Re: Yamaha B3

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 04 Sep 2011, 18:48

Nice to hear from you Chris and thanks for contributing.
I misused the term "outsourced" sorry. I just meant that they have moved production to cheaper parts of the world instead of at the Japanese factory where all of their highest quality pianos are still being made today.

I remember what PianoGuy posted on here after trying his first B3
pianoguy wrote:Just tried my first b3. Deffo based on the U1 frame, and build quality of the important bits really quite decent, but oh what economy casework! Makes an old Kawai look rigid.
I'm sure they do a good job as an entry level piano but a budget range piano such as the B series will always be inferior to a professional grade piano such as the U series.

If the B series were as good as the U series it would be great news for customers so it makes sense that Yamaha try to sell the dream that you can get the highest quality for the lowest price. In reality you get what you pay for: £8000~ for U3 and £4000~ for B3
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Re: Yamaha B3

Post by chrisvenables » 05 Sep 2011, 09:11

Mark - it sounds like you didn't read my post in full or at least you didn't understand it. In brief, the iron frame, the strings, backposts, action, keyboard are the same as in the new U1 only the soundboard is different. The case is a slightly different design to the U1 but it weighs 19lbs more than a U1 so it's definitely not 'flimsy.'

You're still saying a B3 costs £4,00 when I had already explained you can buy one for around £3,200.

Just to help you digest the facts, here's the full post:
chrisvenables wrote:Yamaha do not 'outsource' the manufacturing work to Indonesia. Yamaha have their own factory there, with all staff Yamaha trained and Yamaha employed. There is no 'outsourcing' at all. I have tuned and prepared thousands of new Yamahas over the last 31 years and can assure you that the Yamaha models made in Indonesia are at least as good as those which were made in the UK and equal in build quality to those of Yamaha Japan.

Take a look at this video entitled 'Company of Origin - not Country of Origin.' Please pay close attention at the 2m.55sec. point where they say '......ensures a standard of quality identical to that of Yamaha Japan.....'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBtu7KSdqk8

Yamaha's decision to classify models by 'series' is a little confusing - maybe it confused Mark. For example the B3, P121 and new U1 all share the same internal design and components despite the models coming from three different series. As proof, action components such as keys, whippens and hammers from a B3 would fit a new U1 perfectly. Only the soundboards differ (The three layer laminated spruce soundboard in the B3 produces a superb tone) and there are small case style differences. The B3 is not a lightweight piano either, actually weighing more than a U1. Weights are:

B3: 521lbs
P121: 498 lbs
U1: 502 lbs.

Please check out what I think regarding these three pianos compared with a late 1970's U1 or U3 on my website:

http://www.chrisvenables.co.uk/old-yama ... 3-p121.htm

Mark's pricing is a little wrong too: If you shop around you can buy a new B3 closer to £3K than his figure of £4K, (in fact with Yamaha's current upgrade bonus offer, Yamaha give a guaranteed £200 off even if the p/ex piano is useless, so around £3,100 or £3,200 may well be possible)

I know the loop cords are replaced on some older Yamaha pianos (and maybe the key bushings), but I don't often see a mention of any other component being replaced or repaired to justify claims of 'fully reconditioned,' such as, all the strings and tuning pins replaced? Damper felt? Hammer felt? Hammer butt leather? Damper springs, hammer butt springs and spiral springs? Action felt, such as backtouch baize, balance rail and front rail felt washers? Flange/centre pin cloth? Checks? Soundboard, bridges, ribs, tuning plank?
I hope that makes it clear for you.

Now, how about you define 'fully reconditioned' and answer my final paragraph on what components you replace in your old U1 and U3s?
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Re: Yamaha B3 Advice

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 05 Sep 2011, 10:26

Hi Chris,
I'm seeing an RRP of £4200. If individual dealers are offering better prices that's up to them. But for the sake of price comparison I compare the latest RRP of both models because it let's us see the exact difference in the prices set by Yamaha.

I was only quoting the opinion of PianoGuy regarding the casework.

I prefer not to publicly list the specific parts that we replace as it can make other dealers change their own reconditioning process to match mine. That happened in the past so I'm trying not to go down that route again. When customers visit, I show them the action and point out which parts are replaced or reconditioned.
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Re: Yamaha B3 Advice

Post by sussexpianos » 05 Sep 2011, 15:54

New bass strings would be a start, I find more and more older Yams suffering from tubby basses.
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Re: Yamaha B3 Advice

Post by mjrmjr » 07 Sep 2011, 15:28

The recent re-awakening of this thread is very timely as I am currently trying to decide between a Yamaha B3 and a Kawai K3, no easy job given how hard it is for me to get to a retailer with both.

Anyway, in case anyone else is facing the same dilemma, I would be interested to compare notes. Of course it is all highly subjective, but I am slightly surprised at the widespread distaste for the B3 one finds when doing a Google search, as it seemed pretty good, albeit something of a plain vanilla piano, good in most respects but not particularly outstanding in any. I thought the K3 had a much richer base than the B3, but was a bit too warm in the middle and surprisingly harsh in the treble on both the K3s I tried. Nice for soft lilting pieces but not so good for more tinkly stuff. The B3 seemed clear, precise, not as zingy or overbearing as the U3 in the same shop, and I preferred the overall experience to the second-hand U1 they had, again not in-keeping with the kind of thing one often reads on the web. It may have been my imagination but the keys on the B3 seemed a little wider than the K3 - at least, it seemed a bit easier to play; I also preferred the action on the B3 to the K3.

As it is I am leaning to the B3, but I just wonder - I've seen a lot of posts praising Kawai K3s over Yamaha B3s, and I am happy to differ. It just makes me wonder whether the two particular K3s in the shop were not up to the usual standard. Do my concerns make sense to any others with experience of either?

And just to throw something else into the mix - what about the silent versions of each? I've heard it said that the silent mechanism adversely affects the action on the B3, but the set-up on the Kawai means that the action is not affected - is that right? I don't think my budget can stretch to either but I would be interested to know if anyone has had any experience of them before I try to get to a shop with both on display...

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Re: Yamaha B3 Advice

Post by chrisvenables » 08 Sep 2011, 09:49

Both the B3 and K3 are good pianos and I wouldn't knock either of them. Neither is better than the other - it's more a case of which one suits your personal taste in tone and touch, ditto re the silent options.

Any new piano can be bespoke prepped to your liking too, so once you've decided on the make and model, discuss how you would like the action set up (most new Yamahas and Kawais don't need much as the factory regulation is pretty good anyway) and how mellow, or bright you would like the tone.
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Re: Yamaha B3 Advice

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 08 Sep 2011, 10:28

There was a discussion about this a while back on here and the K3 came out the clear winner. Here is the topic
http://www.piano-tuners.org/piano-forum ... f=3&t=6521

But as Chris says it comes down to personal preference. Go for the one you have the most fun playing :)
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Re: Yamaha B3 Advice

Post by mjrmjr » 18 Sep 2011, 22:11

Dear Mark and Chris,

Thanks for the advice. My search continues, but I thought I would provide an update on my quest for a piano for anyone else in a similar position.

Since my last post I have tried some more K3s and B3s, and some others too. The main thing I learnt from all of this was just how different the same model of piano can sound: the most striking example of this was when I tried three new K5s next to each other in one dealer, each of which had been given its final set-up by a different technician. They were like three completely different pianos. Two of them I really didn't like (they were really harsh), but the third was very nice (but a bit too expensive). So I suppose it impressed upon me the need just to find a piano which I liked to play.

But in general, I still didn't like the treble on the K3s, nor the silent system - a sustained chord in the base sounded out of tune to my ears after a second or too; and the action was a bit heavy for my liking. The B3 I played a few hours later certainly sounded a bit flat in comparison to the more rounded tone of the K3, but it was somehow still a better piano to play. I didn't really get on with either of the silent pianos, K3 or B3 - they seemed to have a reduced dynamic range somehow, but then given how much variation I have seen in ordinary K3s and B3s this may just have been down to different tweaking.

But then I tried an old U3, which was in a completely different league. Same price as a B3, but a much nicer sound. However, it was a 1970 model, and some of the notes were a bit dead, and while some tweaking could perhaps have been done to liven them up a bit, it did little to assuage my anxieties about buying a refurbished piano of that age. I tried two more, and again they were like chalk and cheese - one far too bright, the other a beautiful tone but far too muddy in the treble.

Another dealer recommended a Wendl and Lung 122 as a possible option, and I was quite impressed - heavier action than the B3s I had tried, but a fuller tone, while being a bit cripser than the Kawai. The only problem was that they only had it in a light wood; the ones they had in black were the latest version (the Feurich 122) which was completely different, and sounded to my ears as if the practice pedal had been permanently engaged. Anyway, the dealer will be getting some black Wendl and Lungs in shortly so I hope that I will like one of those. I see that opinions as to their solidity of construction are varied, so I'll have a good look when and if these new ones arrive...

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MarkGoodwinPianos
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Re: Yamaha B3 Advice

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 21 Sep 2011, 08:30

But then I tried an old U3, which was in a completely different league. Same price as a B3, but a much nicer sound.
That's interesting.
It sounds like you need to try a few that are 10-15 years younger (expect to pay about £3000 - £3500)
Yamaha Pianos for sale (usually 50+ in stock)
email markgoodwinpianos@gmail.com with any Yamaha, Kawai, Bechstein or Steinway questions :)

Vignesh
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Re: Yamaha B3 Advice

Post by Vignesh » 03 Oct 2011, 23:10

Hi mjr:
You mentioned // I thought I would provide an update on my quest for a piano for anyone else in a similar position// and that is me !! I am looking for a piano too except that in my case I am after a silent piano. The discussion I started and the valuable advice I have received so far is here. My choices are now down to
1. 1 year used K2 ATX
2. New B3 silent
3. New K3 Silent.

The shop keeper is a Kawai dealer who also sells Yamaha pianos. He mirrors your views that, no two Kawai piano sound the same while differences between same models of new Yamaha pianos are relatively less. To me, the Yamaha plays better as well. This K2's USP is the price - because its a year old, its 1000 Euros cheaper than B3 silent and 1500 cheaper than K3. It sounded good but not as good as K3 or B3. So I am thinking more of going all out - Between the K3 or B3.. I am more inclined to go with B3 (despite having a much poor silent system in terms of features) because I liked the sound of it and it played better to me but unable to decide with the general suspicious feedback on B3. My Piano teacher also ranked that among those 3 pieces - B3 then K2 and then K3.. May be another K3 might sound better. But this one was not it. The dealer didn't have any other silent K3 in display. I am planning to ask him if he has another K3. Else, I might go with the B3. Undecided still !! I will keep you posted.
~ Vignesh S

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