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A Guide on the Best Piano Brands: Yamaha

Though the Yamaha brand now makes an array of electronic devices, audio equipment, and even motorcycles, it will always be most famous for its pianos. It has been in the business of making pianos since 1887, and since then, they have fine-tuned their instrument, creating the piano with the bright and rich sound we know and love today.

The brand has a long-standing reputation for excellence and performance. A Yamaha piano will add stately beauty to any home with its fine craftsmanship and will last from generation to generation with proper care. Whether you are a beginner or professional, into jazz or rock, Yamaha's dynamic and clear tones will be everything you need in a piano.

History of Yamaha

The Yamaha Corporation began in 1887 when a watchmaker, Torakusu Yamaha, made the first Japanese reed organ. In 1899, Yamaha traveled to the United States to learn how to build pianos to grow his business.

After increasing his knowledge of pianos, Yamaha began making and selling grands and verticals under the brand name Nippon Gakki, Ltd. However, it wasn't until 1960 that the company started exporting instruments to the United States.

Now, Yamaha is one of the most internationally known piano manufacturers, and they continue to sell pianos made in Japan, China, Taiwan, and Indonesia in the U.S.

Yamaha Pianos

For more than a century now, Yamaha has been expertly blending Japanese craftsmanship with high-quality materials to make the perfect piano for aspiring and concert pianists alike. Here are some of the models you should consider for yourself or your child:

Grands

Yamaha grands have over 12,000 parts, but each part is made with the finest materials and extreme care to craft the rich, silky tones a Yamaha is known for. Historically, Yamaha pianos were known to have a bright tone well suited for jazz but not preferred for classical pieces. Yamaha decided to move away from this percussiveness. They started by reinventing their bridge construction and hammer density and then providing custom voicing in the factory to create a wider spectrum of tonal color in their grands.

Today, Yamaha’s lineup of grand pianos includes the CX series, SX series, and CF series, as well as baby grands. However, their older models are still available in the pre-owned market and are just as beautiful in tone and appearance as the newer models.

Older Yamaha grand series you can buy include the G, C, and GC. The C models have a slightly richer ton, while the G models have a purer, less complex sound. GC is an excellent option when you want a mix of quality and affordability. In terms of size, you can expect to get a model that is between 5 feet, 8 inches and 6 feet, 1 inch. Overall, the G, C, and GC are the perfect grand pianos to grace any home.

Uprights

Since 1900, Yamaha has been influencing how pianists view uprights. They continue to reinvent these vertical pianos, making them better every year. As a result, the popular uprights can be found in classrooms, practice rooms, and stages across the country. Today, serious students and musicians alike prefer the rich tone and reliable action of the U series.

The U1 model is especially popular among pianists of all ages and experiences for several reasons. Firstly, this piano stands at 48 inches tall and 60” wide, making it ideal for any sized practice space. Secondly, the soundboards and ribs are made with hand-selected solid spruce to give the piano its familiar rich voice. Finally, the upright features the patented aluminum action rail to protect the piano keyboard from changes in humidity and temperature, ensuring the beautiful sound can be preserved from generation to generation.

Hybrids

Yamaha is continually reimagining their instruments, and one of their inventions blends the nuances of an acoustic piano with digital technology. Because these hybrid pianos are not as susceptible to changes in tune when humidity sets in, they are an excellent option for older homes, university practice rooms, and church sanctuaries with frequent HVAC issues. They're also ideal for connecting to a smart device to learn, write, or record music. The options for Yamaha hybrids are truly endless.

Pre-Owned Yamahas

If you get a previously owned Yamaha from a good dealer, you’ll be adding a well-regulated instrument to your home. Older instruments naturally have more stable action. If you purchased a new piano, you would need to have it serviced more frequently within the first three years of its life because the action is not as stable (meaning the felt is compressing) and the strings are stretching (allowing the piano to be out of tune). In this case, you could get a better tonal experience from a used piano than a new one at a much better rate.

While you may purchase a pre-owned Yamaha in good condition, they will not remain this way for long if you do not keep them properly maintained. If you’re buying a used Yamaha, make sure you consult a knowledgeable technician so they can advise you on the best way to care for the instrument.

Benefits of a Yamaha Piano

You can never go wrong with a Yamaha – whether you choose a grand, upright, or hybrid. However, if you're not sure a Yamaha is right for you, consider these benefits:

  • Yamaha pianos are well-built: Even if they are not all handcrafted but rather mass produced, Yamahas are made with the finest woods and materials, and extreme care is given to the production and assembly of each part.
  • Yamahas last for several generations: These grands and uprights have an excellent quality that upholds well over time. In fact, many people seeking pre-owned pianos prefer Yamahas because their quality remains strong over the years.
  • Yamahas have a bright tone but can be voiced: If you don't prefer the bright tone, you can have it voiced by your technician. Voicing is the process of brightening or mellowing a piano tone.
  • Yamahas are great instruments: There's a reason Yamaha has been around for over a century and a half – they continue to make pianos known for their precision, reliability, and performance. As a result, piano technicians frequently recommend Yamahas over other brands for both home and school use.

Choosing a Piano

No one can tell you which piano is best for you. You have to determine this on your own by playing different models, considering how it makes you feel when you play it. Pay attention to how the bass, middle, and treble tones hit your ears. If they’re pleasant, you may have found the piano for you. However, if something seems off, another model may be better suited for your needs.

Every piano has a different sound and tone based on how old it is, what condition it is in, and how it was maintained over the years. It may also produce different sounds based on the room size, the height of the ceilings, and the type of flooring of the room. For this reason, you must play different pianos to get a feel for what works best for you.

If you’re not sure where to start, our experienced technicians can guide you through the process of choosing a piano. For more information on Yamaha pianos, contact Hulme & Sweeny. Our experts will be happy to talk to you about the process of buying a Yamaha.

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