I am considering looking at /buying Yamaha C3 made in 1967 (I looked up the serial number). I understand 1967 was the first year Yamaha started C3 production. Are those first C3's better or worse than the newer once (1980-90's). I understand there was no ivorites then. What else?
I was told the piano has excellent tone in spite of some minor soundboard cracks. The current owner had it for 10 years. The price is around 40% of a C3 from 1980's. -Is it a good catch or not even worth a very long drive (and higher moving costs). Thank you very much for your expert opinion!
Get a tuner to look at it first. Yamaha pianos made before 1975 do have problems with drying out as they were not seasoned for the western market. Hence you have splits in the soundboard on that piano, wile split's in a soundboard in most cases is not a major problem. I would get the tuner to look very close to the tuning pins if they are border line then that will be a big expense for you to fix
If you can get the piano for a song and have it rebuilt putting German bass strings on plus high quality Wurzen hammer felt you will have an amazing piano
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Despite still using the model name 'C3', the Yamaha C series grands after approx 1990 (C3F) were totally redesigned and bear little relation to the pre 1990 models. To identify the differences from one vintage to another, which in the past have taken place around every ten years, Yamaha added a letter suffix to the C3, eg: C3A, C3D, (currently we are on C3M).
The main differences came about with the introduction of the C3F, such as:
New designed frame, increased length to 6'1".
Revised Bass/tenor bar added for greater stability (no bar at all on some earlier models)
New scaling, more European bass (warmer and deeper)
Improved hammers, again to create a more rounded tone.
Boxwood capped treble bridge
Soft close fallboard (keyboard lid)
3 position prop stick
Wood composite sharps
Improved polyester finishing to legs and lyre.
Later models, C3 (with no suffix) 1994-1999, C3L 2000 -2007 and C3M 2007 on, had further minor improvements, eg to hammers and bass strings as well as some cosmetic changes.
especially chrisvenables - your knowledge is amazing!
The piano in question (1967 in "good condition") turned out to be a complete non-sense: Badly cracked soundboard, cracked bridge, loose rusted tuning pins and broken action (the piano was sitting near the ocean with no humidity control for many years). The price not low enough to justify headaches. Long drive wasted.
So I am still looking for my piano... of course on a limited "musician's" budget :-().
Could you please share more of your wisdom:
Considering very impressive list of 1990 C3F improvements: What would you say is a reasonable price premium for 1990+ C3 versus the ones before 1990?
Similarly: what is a reasonable premium for C3 over G3?
Also: how important is the duplex? (yes, I am sensitive to the shades of sound).
I played number of C3 over the years, but it's hard to compare - different venues.
There were a newer C3 (year 2000+) that blew off my mind - but it was in a great acoustic setting. On the other hand I played a very tough unresponsive C3 in a music club (older one but not sure how old). Played a 1970's G3 - horrible feel, but It was out of tune and not played for 10 years so obviously very harsh tone.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge!
However, in the UK they are not as well known as Yamaha.