The Yamaha U series is one of the most popular and successful model lines in the piano world. It has been the upright piano of choice for decades and has won the hearts of many musicians, music teachers, and piano enthusiasts.

Amongst the various models in the Yamaha U series, the Yamaha U1 upright piano is the most popular.

But just because something is popular doesn't necessarily mean it's perfect for you.

That's why I'm bringing you an honest review of one of the most well-known upright pianos on the market: the Yamaha U1.

This review will cover the following aspects of this musical instrument:

  • Main Specifications
  • Design & Build Quality
  • Key Action
  • Sound quality
  • Features
  • Price
  • Pros and Cons

By the end of this upright piano review, you will better understand what the Yamaha U1 has to offer and whether it will suit your needs.

So, let's dive in!

Yamaha U1 Upright Piano: A Detailed Review

About Yamaha U1 Upright Piano

Yamaha U1 Piano

Yamaha has been making upright and grand pianos for decades. And it is widely favored by musicians, teachers, students, and more. Since 1967, Yamaha has sold more than four million upright pianos.

The Yamaha U1 piano was first introduced in the 1960s. The company crafted the U1 upright piano with care and high-quality raw materials. Because of that, you can hand it down from one generation to the next.

Made in Japan, the U1 was designed for professional musicians. It produces a rich, deep bass tone and is easy for quick repetition. Its consistent action and deep tones distinguish it from other pianos.

Furthermore, the Yamaha U1 upright piano has a good resale value and consistency, which makes it so appealing.

In short, the Yamaha U1 is a reliable and versatile instrument that inspires musicians of all levels to reach new heights in their piano playing.

Key Specifications

Now let's look at the main specifications of the Yamaha U1 upright piano.

  • Brand: Yamaha
  • Type: Upright Piano
  • Dimensions (W x H x L): 60" x 48" x 24"
  • Speaking length of #1 bass string: 46.8"
  • Hammer Weight: 10 kg (22 lbs)
  • No. of Keys: 88
  • No. of Pedals: 3 (Soft Pedal, Mute Pedal, Damper Pedal)
  • Soundboard material: Spruce
  • Back post material: Spruce
  • V-pro Plate: Yes
  • Soft-Close Fallboard: Yes
  • Caster: Single-wheeled
  • Finishes: Polished Ebony, Polished American Walnut, Polished White, Polished Mahogany, Satin Ebony, and Satin American Walnut
  • Google Condition: Used
  • Weight: 228 kg (503 lbs)

Design & Build Quality

The Yamaha U1 piano has a classic and elegant design and is made with premium materials. Its sturdy construction ensures that this acoustic piano will last for many years.

The U1 Upright uses solid spruce wood for its soundboard and back post, which contributes to its rich and deep tone. The company uses this material in its top-of-the-line acoustic pianos because of its outstanding acoustic properties.

For this reason, the Yamaha U1 Upright has become a popular choice for professional musicians and music schools. They use it for classes and performances.

In terms of size and weight, the Yamaha U1 Upright piano is pretty standard for an upright piano. Its dimensions are 60" x 48" x 24", and it weighs 503 lbs. It may be a little heavy to move around. The U1 features a single-wheeled caster, making it easier to move around.

Besides its robust construction, this wonderful piano comes in several finishes, including polished ebony, satin ebony, polished American walnut, satin American walnut, polished white, and polished mahogany.

These finishes enhance the instrument's appearance and add durability and protection to the wood. Choose one that perfectly fits the style and decor of your room.

Overall, the Yamaha U1 Upright Piano boasts excellent design and build quality that looks great and performs well. It is probably the most reliable, well-made upright piano you'll ever own.

Key Action

The Yamaha U1 comes with an 88-key keyboard. The key action on the Yamaha U1 is super precise and suitable for any genre of music. It is neither too heavy nor too light. While it is on the lighter side, the U1 provides excellent quality control over your music.

For example, Yamaha U1 responds admirably when playing demanding, virtuosic music with constant dynamic changes. You can play the late Beethoven sonatas, Chopin Ballades, and Scherzi, even a piano duet version of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. I can assure you that the U1 won't let you down.

The Yamaha U1 also features Yamaha's "V-Pro Plate," which helps distribute the hammers' force evenly and reduces stress on the strings and soundboard. This results in a consistent and smooth touch, even after years of use.

Furthermore, the Yamaha U1 Upright doesn't require tuning often since it keeps a tune well, so you'll always have a satisfying time when you play.

Ultimately, the Yamaha U1 has a smooth, responsive, and consistent action that makes it easy for players of all levels to play effectively and expressively.


The sound and tone quality is the most critical aspect we look for in a musical instrument. And the Yamaha U1 Upright Piano does not disappoint in this aspect.

The Yamaha U1 produces a rich and deep bass tone. It is ideal for classical music, but it can also accommodate jazz, pop, rock, and other genres of music.

Yamaha did well in building such a robust piano with a versatile tone. The U1 has a powerful and full sound that fills the room and will suit any playing style.

However, remember that the U1 is sized for studio-type spaces like average-sized living rooms, smaller classrooms, practice rooms, etc. So if you plan to place your piano in a larger area, you may find that the U1 might not fill the space with sound.

The Yamaha pianos are known for their bright tone, which may not be for everyone. The crisp, live sound you get from a Yamaha upright is delightful to listen to the ear.

In terms of tuning, Yamaha U1 can hold the tuning better than other pianos.

If you want an acoustic piano with a crisp, lively sound, you won't go wrong with a Yamaha U1. It is very versatile and can hold a tune quite well. It produces a high-quality sound that can satisfy musicians of all levels.


In addition to its outstanding design and sound quality, the Yamaha U1 piano has some additional features that make it a great choice for pianists of all levels. Here are a few of them:

Soft-Close Fallboard

The Yamaha U1 comes with a soft close fallboard to prevent the board from abruptly closing on the keyboard, which can cause accidental injury or damage. It uses a damping mechanism to control the descent of the fallboard and ensure a smooth and safe closure.

The cover over the keys reduces the risk of potential damage to the keys and internal parts. It protects the keyboard from dust and other foreign objects when not in use.

This piano feature adds to the overall durability of the piano.


The Yamaha U1 Upright Piano offers three pedals, the Soft Pedal, the Mute Pedal, and the Damper Pedal.

Soft Pedal: It is also known as una corda pedal, which means "one string." This pedal is often used to soften the sound of the piano.

When the player presses the pedal, it shifts the hammers slightly so that only one string is struck for each note. This makes the sound less powerful and creates a softer, more delicate tone.

Mute Pedal: It is also known as a practice pedal or middle pedal. The purpose of this pedal is to reduce the volume of the piano. Pressing the mute pedal lowers a piece of felt or cloth between the hammers and the strings to muffle the sound.

Piano students often use this pedal to practice the piano without disturbing other people. You can also use it to achieve a specific sound effect in performance.

Damper Pedal: The damper pedal, also known as the sustain pedal, is the most commonly used pedal on the piano. The purpose of this pedal is to make your notes sound longer.

When you press the damper pedal, the dampers are lifted from the strings, allowing the sound to continue even after you have released the keys. This creates a smooth and sustained sound, making it easier to play legato or connect notes.


The price of the Yamaha U1 varies based on the condition and location, but on average, it ranges from $8,000 to $11,999 for a new piano.

If $8,000 is too much, you can try the used market. You can usually find a refurbished model for around $4,000. Make sure it has been refurbished by someone competent and professional - a piano refurbished by a cowboy will cause you problems in the future.

Although the price may seem high, the value you get is way more than the price. In fact, it's hard to find a better product than this one with other brands at that price.

Overall, the Yamaha U1 is a piano that will give you the most bang for your buck if you want the best piano for your money.

Pros and Cons of the Yamaha U1 Upright Piano

With all that information about the Yamaha U1, let's summarize its pros and cons!


Elegant design & solid construction: The Yamaha U1 has a classic and sleek design. It is made with premium materials, ensuring its durability and longevity.

Reliable and versatile: This Upright piano is very reliable. With regular maintenance, it will last an extremely long time without degradation. It is also suitable for various musical genres, making it ideal for amateur and professional musicians.

Precise, light action: The Yamaha U1's key action is superbly precise and suitable for any genre. When you shift dynamics, it responds amazingly well.

Nice, rich tone: The U1 produces a rich, deep bass tone and has a consistent and smooth touch. It is ideal for classical music, jazz, rock, and more.

Multiple finishes available: This popular upright piano also comes in several finishes, including polished ebony, satin ebony, satin American walnut, polished American walnut, polished white, and polished mahogany.

Good resale value: The Yamaha U1 piano has a great resale value.


Higher price point: New Yamaha U1 Upright pianos are more expensive than other upright and digital pianos on the market, making them less accessible for budget-conscious piano players.

Bright tone: Yamaha pianos are bright. Even though it isn't necessarily bad, some people find it too bright.

Who should buy the Yamaha U1 Upright Piano?

In all respects, the Yamaha U1 is an excellent instrument. It is a high-quality instrument that is suitable for a variety of purposes.

It is an excellent choice for professional musicians, music teachers, piano students, families, and individuals looking for reliable instruments for their homes, music schools, and performance venues.

If you are looking for a reliable upright piano that offers excellent sound quality and good playability, the Yamaha U1 is your best bet.

This fantastic piano is worth every penny, but if your budget is limited, you may not be able to afford it. In that case, you should consider getting a used piano. If you're buying a used one, make sure it's been well-maintained or refurbished.

Is It Okay to Buy a Used Yamaha U1 Piano?

Getting a used Yamaha piano raises a lot of concerns. Some of these Yamaha u series pianos come from Japan, where they were used in schools for 20-30 years, then sold to a dealer or distributor and shipped overseas for sale.

It is called a "gray market" piano. This is because it was initially built for the Japanese market but is now being used elsewhere.

So, the question is, is it okay to buy a Second-hand Yamaha U1 Upright Piano?

As I mentioned earlier, the U1 Upright could command a good resale value if well maintained.

So, it is okay to buy a used Yamaha U1 Upright piano. However, it is important to thoroughly inspect the piano before purchasing it to ensure that it is in good condition and free from any damage or problems that could affect its performance.

It's always a good idea to hire a trained technician to inspect the piano before buying.

If you want your piano to last the longest, you should always buy a new one (whether upright or grand piano). But if you can only afford a used Yamaha piano, you can find one that's in good condition and won't have any problems.

The most commonly used Yamaha U1 pianos in Europe and the United States are grey-market pianos.


The Yamaha U1 Upright piano is an excellent investment for professional musicians and institutions. Its Japanese craftsmanship and attention to detail are evident in its superior tone and touch.

This instrument's impressive performance and durability make it popular among musicians. It offers great value for the money.

You will surely enjoy many years of musical enjoyment if you own the U1, no matter how experienced you are.

Hopefully, this information helped you decide whether Yamaha U1 Upright piano is worth your money.

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Harlan Kilstein began playing piano during covid with no piano background at all. He taught himself how to play learning what to do and what not to do.
Today he's an advanced intermediate player and can help you grow in your skills because he learned all this on his own.