Yamaha U Series Upright Piano Specs and Review

It is quite an achievement for the Yamaha upright pianos to be in production for so long. They have gained so much popularity that even used Yamaha pianos command high prices. In this Yamaha U Series Upright Piano review, I’ll list all its specs and features to help you see if it’s the right piano for you.

The Yamaha U series piano is one of the best-selling model lines in the history of upright piano making. These piano models have been the upright piano of choice for pianists, piano teachers, technicians, music conservatoires, and enthusiasts for many decades.

A Yamaha U series piano is ideal for both beginners and professionals. The quality of these pianos is excellent due to the materials and method of construction. Before they are put on the market, they pass through a stringent process of quality control.

Read on to learn more about the Yamaha U series pianos, their features and specs, and everything you need to know to determine which one of the two will fulfill your requirements.

About the Yamaha U Series Upright Piano

yamaha u series upright piano

One of the Best-selling Model Lines

The Yamaha U Series pianos are among the best-selling model lines in the circle of Yamaha Music Corp. and the piano manufacturing industry. This piano series is the upright piano choice for the following:

  • Pianists,
  • Teachers,
  • Enthusiasts,
  • Technicians, and
  • Music conservatories.

Recommended Piano for Students

Many piano teachers recommend this piano to their students. But they are also popular among intermediate and professional pianists. This piano series consists of several models that include:

  1. U1
  2. U2
  3. U3
  4. U5
  5. UX

The most popular are the U1 and the U3. Only a very few of the U2s are left, so are the U5s and the UXs.

Comprehensive Redesign

The Yamaha U Series upright pianos have become so popular because of their comprehensive redesign. They are world-standard musical instruments that feature several design improvements and advances in construction and materials.

More Refined Scale Designs

Their scale designs are more refined, and their tonal performances are improved. There are also other modifications and enhancements made on their strength and durability. They feature extra-wide music desks allowing the placement of additional music sheets.

Built with Superior Standards

Their top-of-the-line models are built with superior standards in excellence and elegance. They contain design concepts and elements that were imported from the company’s Yamaha grand pianos.

Yamaha Invested More than 40 Years of Expertise

Yamaha has invested more than 40 years of expertise in high-quality piano manufacturing in building two specific upright piano models, the Yamaha U1 and the Yamaha U3. There are several factors why these two upright piano models deserve this recognition.

These pianos are all manufactured by the Yamaha Music Corp. in its factory at Hamamatsu, Japan. While they also manufacture other piano models in Taiwan and China, Yamaha manufactures the Yamaha U Series exclusively in Japan. The reason for this is that they are only licensed to manufacture the U Series in Japan.

Key Features of the Yamaha U Series Pianos

Several key features of the Yamaha U Series pianos show why they became popular to many piano enthusiasts worldwide. Here are those features:

1. Excellent Sound Production

Every Yamaha U Series upright piano produces excellent tones. This is made possible by its advanced scale design. Yamaha made some refinements in all the piano elements responsible for sound production.

This is why the U Series pianos produce a richer and more resonant voice with evenly balanced timbers throughout the entire keyboard.

2. Soft-close Fallboard

Each U Series piano is equipped with a damping mechanism, which was previously only made available in grand pianos. This damper stops the fallboard from suddenly dropping onto the keyboard. So, it will prevent damage or accidental injury.

3. Redesigned Hammers

The hammers used in each of the U Series models are specifically designed for them. This is so that they can produce the optimum tone. It also serves to prolong the service lives of the hammers.

4. Stronger Frame and Soundboard

All U Series Yamaha pianos have frames and soundboards that are stronger and more durable. The soundboards are strengthened by a special rib configuration, while the frames have back posts. Other design advancements were adapted to give the piano assembly more resonance, structural stability, and rigidity.

5. High-quality Materials

All Yamaha U Series pianos are made with high-quality materials. Every piano uses a single piece of spruce for its soundboard. Spruce has the most advantageous acoustical properties of all wood. That is why it is commonly used for building fine-stringed instruments.

Add to that is the strict quality control being followed in Yamaha’s piano factories. Several testimonies state that music conservatories and schools will buy several U3s or U1s without even inspecting the pianos. And that they only expect them to be tuned once delivered to their premises.

6. Manufacturing and Quality Control Made Solely in Japan

Every Yamaha U Series piano is made and produced in Japan. Japanese manufacturing is known for its focus on detail and quality control as well as aesthetics. So, each U series Yamaha piano undergoes several strict quality control steps.

Being a complex musical instrument, there is no substitute for this if you want to produce great-sounding pianos. There is no cost-cutting here because the Yamaha reputation is at stake. This is largely why Yamaha pianos, and for that matter, all its musical instruments, are very popular.

Yamaha U1 vs Yamaha U3 Piano

yamaha u series upright
Yamaha U1 Piano

More About the Yamaha U1 Piano

The first Yamaha U Series that we will take up is the Yamaha U1. It is designed for the more experienced pianists and professional musicians. These upright pianos offer excellent musical performance. They also somewhat set the standards on how upright pianos of other brands are measured.

The height of the Yamaha U1 is 48 inches. It is not just for professionals but also for beginners and other pianists, regardless of experience. The quality and durability of this piano can never be outgrown by any player, whether they are novices or professionals. Its MSRP starts from $11,399.

More About the Yamaha U3 Piano

The second Yamaha U Series that we will discuss is the Yamaha U3. This upright piano is the big sister of the Yamaha U1. Its soundboard is expanded to give it a full height of 52 inches. This design also extended its power and projection of sounds and helped to display the unequaled expressive and tonal control that Yamaha pianos are known for.

The Yamaha U3 has all the advantages offered by the U1 and more. It produces a sound that is not only louder but richer as well. This can be attributed to the larger soundboard and the longer bass strings of the Yamaha U3. The MSRP of this piano starts at $14,899.

Again, what does the Yamaha U Series Upright Piano offer? The Yamaha U series piano is one of the best-selling model lines in the history of upright piano making. These piano models have been the upright piano of choice for pianists, piano teachers, technicians, music conservatoires, and enthusiasts for many decades.

Key Specs of the Yamaha U1 and U3 Pianos

To get an overview of the size of a particular piano, you need to see its key specs. The table below shows the key specifications of both the Yamaha U1 and the Yamaha U3:

SectionYamaha U1Yamaha U3
Height48 inches52 inches
Width60.23 inches60.23 inches
Depth24.4 inches25.6 inches
Weight502 pounds517 pounds
Number of Keys8888

Full Specs of the Yamaha U1 and U3 Pianos

The table below will show the full specs of both the Yamaha U1 and the Yamaha U3:

SpecificationsYamaha U1Yamaha U3
Number of Keys88 keys88 keys
Height48 inches52 inches
Length24 inches26 inches
Width60 inches60 inches
Weight502 pounds517 pounds
Soundboard Size2,137 square inches2,369 sq. in.
Soundboard MaterialSpruceSpruce
Hammer Weight22 pounds22 pounds
Back Post MaterialSpruceSpruce
Pinblock MaterialHard MapleHard Maple
Bridge MaterialHard MapleHard Maple
Length of No. 1 Bass String46.8 inches47.5 inches
Tuning PinsCut threadCut thread
V-Pro PlateEquippedEquipped
Center PedalMuteMute
Soft-Close FallboardEquippedEquipped
Metal Action RailEquippedEquipped
Seasoned for DestinationYesYes
PedalsDamper Pedal
Mute Pedal
Soft Pedal
Damper Pedal
Mute Pedal
Soft Pedal
FinishesPolished Mahogany
Polished Ebony
Polished White
Satin Ebony
Polished American Walnut
Satin American Walnut
Polished Mahogany
Polished Ebony

Which Is Better-U1 or U3 Piano?

yamaha u series upright piano price

Difference in Height

There are certain differences between the Yamaha U1 and the Yamaha U3. One of the most obvious differences is their heights. The U3 is taller by a few inches than the U1. Certain effects result from this height difference.

Being taller means the U3 can have longer strings, particularly the bass strings. Its soundboard also has more space. This results in a richer overall tone for the U3. That gives more tonal options to the piano player.


But because of its relatively smaller size, the U1 is cheaper than the U3, owing to its smaller parts. This becomes crucial if your budget does not allow for the bigger U3, you can still have a great piano with the smaller U1.

Superior Tone and More Tonal Options

By having a superior tone and more tonal options, the U3 appears to be better than the U1. The actions of both pianos are very similar. Either one will be a good instrument for the professional as well as the beginner. If you can afford to buy the larger piano, then, by all means, go for it. But if you cannot, you will not feel deprived with the smaller one.

Pros and Cons of Each the Yamaha U1 and the Yamaha U3

There are certain pros and cons of these two pianos, and they ought to be discussed separately:

Pros of the Yamaha U1

  • Its size is a good choice for those who have the average amount of space. This size of this piano is ideal for average homes.
  • U1 offers a nice tonal balance throughout the keyboard. All 88 notes complement each other.
  • Premium grade materials are used to build the entire piano.
  • Has a built-in practice cloth that reduces the sound by 50%.
  • Price point is attractive for the build quality and the sound produced.

Cons of the Yamaha U1

  • The sound produced cannot fill a large room as does a bigger piano.
  • The smaller soundboard limits the tonal range of the bass strings.

Pros of the Yamaha U3

  • Has premium materials and excellent build quality.
  • Also comes with built-in practice cloth.
  • The bigger and taller soundboard gives more tonal options to the piano player.
  • Produces rich and powerful bass tones, better than any piano size.

Cons of the Yamaha U3

  • Extra height will make it difficult to blend with other normal house furnishings.
  • Not very friendly to choral masters and accompanists who may occasionally need to see the singers or other accompanists they are playing with.
  • Its price point may not be attractive to non-professional piano players.

Conclusion: Yamaha U Series Upright Piano

One of the most successful model lines in the history of upright piano manufacturing is the Yamaha U series. For many decades, these pianos were the upright piano of choice for pianists, technicians, music conservatoires, enthusiasts, and piano teachers.

The U1 and the U3 series are the best-selling of the Yamaha U Series. They are made of quality materials and have passed stringent quality controls before being put on the market. Depending on your needs, any of these two pianos is worth your consideration.

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