Yamaha pianos occupy an interesting niche in the piano world. Yamaha is among the world’s most prolific piano manufacturers, and their products generally tend to be inexpensive, since most are assembled rather than hand-crafted. Yet, thanks to Yamaha’s long history in the music industry, they still produce very good instruments that perform well, especially for their price.
Nevertheless, there is still a pretty marked difference in quality between the various lines of Yamaha pianos. Generally, with Yamaha, you get what you pay for. If you’re deciding between two models, it’s usually worth it to get the more expensive option.
Here’s a quick overview of the various Yamaha pianos and their quality.
Upright Yamaha Pianos
Yamaha makes a LOT of upright pianos, which are the most affordable pianos they produce. This begins with their M-series, which start around $4,000 and scale up to their YUS-Series, which go up to around $15,000.
These pianos are made on an assembly line. At the bottom of the range, the sound tends to be quite sharp and tinny. These can be fine pianos for a student or younger player, but will never be more than a household piano. On the other hand, their top-of-the-line uprights are quite well put-together and have excellent sound. Combined with Yamaha’s action, which maintain a fine balance between key weight and ease of striking, these are extremely good instruments.
Hybrid Yamaha Pianos
As a leader in synthesizers and digital pianos as well, Yamaha offers a number of different products that merge traditional piano techniques with digital enhancements. These include:
Silent Pianos: A Yamaha silent piano is a standard acoustic piano with a lever which, when pulled, puts a barrier between the hammers and the strings to silence it. This barrier then feeds into a digital piano system that simulates the piano sound and sends it to speakers or headphones. The sound quality is generally good, nothing spectacular, but these are great for students and for those whose neighbors don’t appreciate lengthy piano practice.
Disklavier: For pianists who also want to record to MIDI and utilize digital playback techniques, Disklavier pianos are among the best on the market. These fully acoustic pianos often feature fine sound, and come outfitted with an array of electronics for interfacing with computer systems. This is the piano for budding composers with an interest in digital music.
AvanteGrand: This is actually a digital piano, but one which utilizes traditional piano-building techniques such as real keys and hammers, along with a soundboard for resonance. With these, Yamaha is attempting to bridge the acousticdigital divide.
Grand Yamaha Pianos
Once you get into Yamaha’s line of Grand Pianos, you start getting significant improvements in craftsmanship. Their lower-tier line of grands, the G-series, are still mass-produced, but utilize Yamaha’s dedication to quality components to make them among the best mass-produced grands on the market. These have quite good sound, and are still affordable, coming in at $20K or less.
For those with more to spend, the C-Series is a line of extremely competitive grand pianos. Despite a relatively low price point, they are mostly hand-crafted and show off Yamaha’s ability to produce great instruments while still keeping manufacturing costs in check. While not as prestigious as Steinway, few pianists would be embarrassed to perform on a Yamaha C-series grand.
Yamaha Premium Pianos
Yamaha’s top grade of premium pianos represent their attempt to compete with the most prestigious pianos in the world. These are all hand-crafted, requiring many hours to complete, with sound that rivals all but the best instruments in the world. They’re expensive, up to $100,000 or more, but these are at home in any concert hall in the world.
If you can afford one, you probably won’t go wrong, although some believe Yamaha hasn’t quite refined their sound to the point of being truly AAA-class.
What Yamaha pianos have you tried, and what did you think?