Merriam Pianos Academy: What Is a Used Yamaha U1 Upright Piano Worth?

Yamaha U1

I’m Stu Harrison, and this is another segment in our series on the Yamaha upright pianos. Today, we’re going to be talking about the price of a Yamaha U1. That would be their 48-inch, Japanese built upright piano. There are two categories really, that a customer needs to be aware of, depending on what they’re shopping for: the price of the used and the price of a new. We’ll start with used.

Yamaha upright pianos have been sold very widely and consistently in North America since the late 1970s, early 1980s when the grade market phenomenon started to really take hold. In today’s dollars, you can find a grade market Yamaha U1, that is a piano that has been directly imported from Japan. You can find more information about that on another video I did on the grade market series.

It’s been imported here. It usually goes to a smaller dealer who may do a minimal amount of work on it. Those pianos are available in Canadian dollars for anywhere between about $3000 to maybe $3300, $3400. I’ve seen similar price points in the States. I don’t see there’s a tremendous amount of difference between the two countries right now. Those would be for instruments that would be anywhere from 40 to 30 years old.

Yamaha Factory

Moving up to the next price point would be, say $3500-$4000. For that range, you’re going to find U1s either from the same era, the early to late 1970s, but in exceptional condition, or you’re going to find pianos from the 1980s that will be in fairly good condition, available from either dealer or private sale.

From the $4000 to $5000 range, you start to get a pretty wide mix to be honest. The U1, anywhere from about 3 million to about 5 million serial number range, will be available at this price point. Depending on condition and depending on the amount of work that a dealer has done to it, will determine whether it’s on the low or high side of that range.

Anything above $5000 at this point, for a U1, doesn’t show up that often. There are of course other Yamaha models such as the U3 the U5. This is a UX1 that we have here and some of the used YUS series. The Super-U series will fall above the $5000 range. But for just a U1, under $5000 is definitely what you should be looking at to pay under any circumstance if you’re talking about used.

Yamaha U1
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

When we get into new, this gets a little more tricky, because of course, depending on the market that you’re in or depending on the research that you’ve done or if you’re involved in any buying groups, the price can vary wildly. I know that in cities such as Montreal or Ottawa, the U1 can sell for close to $10,000, whereas in the Toronto market here, it’s quite common, with absolutely no negotiation for customers, to walk in and get price points of 8000 or under for a brand-new U1.

The reason for this is, obviously market conditions, competitiveness within the marketplace. It’s very important to know your market when you’re a customer. It’s almost useless to go online, do research on a forum, and find out what a piano is selling for in Philadelphia or Los Angeles if you’re not shopping for a piano in Philadelphia or in Los Angeles.

There are so many factors that can affect the price structure or the cost structure for a dealer, that the best thing to do is to understand your own market. So whether you’re in Vancouver, Winnipeg, New York, Houston, wherever you happen to be, do a little bit of research. Hop on a forum that’s local, see what people are paying for the pianos, and that’ll let you understand a little bit more about what to expect.

Yamaha Logo

We always want to get the lowest price, regardless of where we’re at, but sometimes it’s just not possible. So dig into the local and you’ll know where you need to be at.

So this has been a short discussion on the price points for both used and new Yamaha U1s. Again, I’m Stu Harrison from Merriam Pianos.


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