Yamaha U3 Variations (U30BL, U30A, YU30, UX, UX3, YU3S etc:

This article will provide a brief overview of the following models which are all variants on the very popular Yamaha U3 upright piano: Yamaha U30BL, Yamaha U30A, Yamaha U3A, Yamaha YU30, Yamaha YUX, Yamaha UX, Yamaha UX3, Yamaha UX5, Yamaha YU3, Yamaha YU3S, Yamaha YU3SXG, Yamaha YU5SXG, Yamaha YUA, Yamaha UX30BL, Yamaha UX50BL, Yamaha UX300, YUS3, YUS5, UX30A.

First, some background info…

Why so many different models?
In the words of my buying agent in Japan, “These models are designation sold domestically in the Japanese market. The Japanese consumers are very demanding and picky as well. Hence, manufacturers in Japan will develop different lines of models and maintain a large varieties of selections. So basically these models are not mass produced for the export market and it is rare to find it”

And what about the various X models?
The word from Japan is: “For the UX series pianos, it was first introduced in Japan as an upgrade of U3. All the UX series pianos are equipped with higher grade materials. They are specially designed for the professionals. Some of the models have features that grand pianos will have. It also uses better material in the action parts and sound board.”

String length of U3 versus UX
From Japan: “Internally the bass strings are longer on the UX models than the standard U3 model pianos, even though the pianos are the same in height. Yamaha have achieved this by curving the bridge at the bottom of the piano. Higher grade wood and felt are used on hammers and dampers on all UX models”

Does Yamaha still make the “X” models?
“Due to the expensive and extra cost, Yamaha had stopped making piano with x brace. As you know that scarcity value can increase the piano’s relative price, therefore the UX series are often more expensive than the U series model.”

Production timeline of the various Japanese domestic models

  • 1975-1980 UX
  • 1980-1982 YUX
  • 1978-1982 YUA Large Music Desk, Agraffes, grand piano style fall board
  • 1982-1988 UX3
  • 1982-1988 UX5 Same as UX3 plus sostenuto pedal
  • 1988-1990 UX30BL Large Music Desk
  • 1988-1990 UX50BL Same as UX30BL plus sostenuto pedal
  • 1990-1994 UX30A Large Music Desk
  • 1990-1994 UX50A Same as UX30A plus sostenuto pedal
  • 1994-1997 UX300 Large Music Desk
  • 1994-1997 UX500 Same as UX300 plus sostenuto pedal

Difference in RRP
The original, new retail price of X series instruments was about 30% higher than the U series and the Special X series was about 60% higher (source)

A quick summary…

All of the models listed on this page are designed to take any student all the way through their grades and as far beyond grade 8 as any pianist could ever wish to go. They are all Japanese made, they all come from the Hamamatsu factory where Yamaha make all of their flagship upright and grand pianos. None of these models come from the Yamaha factory in Indonesia. There are some differences in cabinet design but these are quite subtle and don’t relate to the musicality of the instrument or the action.

I encourage you to treat them all as equals and reserve your judgement until you can visit our showrooms to play lots of them side-by-side.

If you want us to order you a specific model from this page just email us at mgpianos@gmail.com and will source you one direct from Japan. Don’t forget to check our stocklist first as we might already have one in stock.

Yamaha U30BL

Made in Japan between around 1987 – 1990. The U30BL is consistently great to play and is every bit as good as a U3. Here are some U30BL pianos that we’ve had in stock.

Dimensions: 1530mm W x 1310mm H x 640mm D
Weight: 235 kg

Yamaha U30A

Made in Japan between around 1990-1991. Highly consistent model, always top quality and great to play. Equal in quality to the Yamaha U3. Here are some U30A pianos that we’ve had in stock.

Size: 1530mm W x 1310mm H x 650mm D
Weight: 235 kg

Yamaha U3A

The Yamaha U3A is an official Yamaha U3, not a variant as such. It was produced between around 1983-1988. It is of course made in Japan with a great touch and tone. We often have these in stock so please refer to our stocklist for videos or see the YamahaU3.co.uk website for more info

Size: 1540mm W x 1310mm H x 650mm D
Weight: 242 kg

Yamaha UX3

The UX3 was made in Japan between around 1983-1988 and is another model with the X-shaped frame around the back. You should consider these models to be on a par with the Yamaha U3 as we have always enjoyed playing them. You’ll notice that this model has the front panel split into 3 sections compared with the solid 1-piece panel found on the Yamaha U3. Here are some videos of the UX3 pianos we’ve had in stock

Size: 1540mm W x 1310mm H x 650mm D
Weight: 242 kg

Yamaha YUX

The Yamaha YUX was made in Japan around 1980-1984 and is another great model. The “YU” in the model name is claimed by some to mean that the piano was “hand finished” and the “X” refers to the X-shaped soundboard supports behind the piano. These don’t come up very often but we consider them to be equal to a Yamaha U3. A Yamaha YUX will often be priced higher than a Yamaha U3 due to the short supply. Here are some videos of the YUX pianos we’ve had in stock

Size: 1540mm W x 1310mm H x 650mm D
Weight: 240 kg

Yamaha UX

Made in Japan between around 1976-1980. This is another U3-variant that you should consider to being pretty much the same as the Yamaha U3. The X means this model has an X-Shaped wooden support frame around the back which some claim gives a better sound but in reality I can’t tell any difference at all. These are not as rare as the YUX but I still don’t think they are worth delaying a purchase for as the UX can be considered to be equal in quality to the Yamaha U3. Here are some videos of Yamaha UX pianos we have had in stock.

Size: 1540mm W x 1310mm H x 650mm D
Weight: 250 kg

Yamaha U300

Made in Japan in the mid-1990s the U300 is a very close relative of the Yamaha U3. Both come from the same factory and are equally well built with a great touch and tone. You will notice that the U300 has a line of horizontal beeding across the top of the top panel. The U3 tends to have 1 large flat top panel. Musically, you should expect equal performance and quality. Here are some videos of the U300 pianos we have stocked.

Yamaha YU30

Made in Japan between around 2001-2004. Another great model which are very young and very rare so don’t spend too much time looking as it could easily be 5 years before one turns up. The top panel is in 3 sections instead of the usual 1-piece top panel. We’ve had a couple of these in stock in recent years and here are the videos. With Yamaha pianos this young just be careful that the sound isn’t too powerful for your music room. You may find a Yamaha U3 from the early/mid 1980s to be more suitable. Here are some YU30 pianos that we’ve had in stock.

Size: 1520mm W x 1310mm H x 650mm D
Weight: 242 kg

Yamaha UX5

Made in Japan in the mid 1980s. The UX5 has been replaced by the YUS5. However, the YUS5 does not have agraffes which suggest the YUS5 represents a cost-cut scaled back version of the UX5. The UX5 is the same height as the U3 and therefore has similar string length. Longer strings produce a better sound which is why the Yamaha U3 sounds richer and deeper than the smaller Yamaha U1. The UX5 has a split top panel design and if you look closely on the video you’ll see that the design around the fallboard is different to the U3. It has a blocky, steep profile in that area. The Yamaha UX5 does not come up very often so don’t spend too much time looking for one.

  • 1984 Yamaha UX5
  • If you'd like us to source this model for you please email mgpianos@gmail.com

Size: 1540mm W x 1310mm H x 650mm D
Weight: 249 kg

Yamaha YU3

Made in Japan between around 1997-2000, the Yamaha YU3 always sounds great. They tend to be priced high because they are young and in short supply. They are always great and the “YU” prefix suggests it is one of the “hand-finished” models.

Size: 1530mm W x 1310mm H x 650mm D
Weight: 235 kg

Yamaha YU3S

The Yamaha YU3S is the same as the Yamaha YU3 but with a silent system fitted.

  • 1997 Yamaha YU3S
  • If you'd like us to source this model for you please email mgpianos@gmail.com

Size: 1530mm W x 1310mm H x 650mm D
Weight: 239 kg

Yamaha YU3SXG

Made in Japan the YU3SXG is the same as the YU3S but with a self-playing disklavier system fitted which you can see being demonstrated in this video

  • 1998 Yamaha U3SXG
  • If you'd like us to source this model for you please email mgpianos@gmail.com

Yamaha YUS3

Made in Japan with a cabinet design very similar to the Yamaha U3. This model is 131cm tall just like the U3 and you can expect to pay around £11,000 for a new one.

  • If you'd like us to source this model for you please email mgpianos@gmail.com

Yamaha YUS5

Made in Japan, the YUS5 is similar to the YUS3 but it has some upgraded cabinet features such as a folding out music stand that sits higher up, closer to where you’d find it on a grand piano. I understand this model has imitation ivory keys whereas the YUS3 has standard keytops. Expect a price of around £12,000 for this model

  • 2007 Yamaha YUS5
  • If you'd like us to source this model for you please email mgpianos@gmail.com

Yamaha YU5SXG

I have no specific info on this model but you can be sure that it is a slightly upgraded version of the U3SXG

Yamaha YUA

Made in Japan in the late 1970s to early 1980s the YUA is very similar to the Yamaha U3 with a couple of design differences. The most noticeable is the folding music stand which is integrated into the top panel instead of being fixed to the fallboard like it is on the U3. The music stand is hinged and pulls part of the top panel away from the panel and salesmen will tell you that this lets out some of the “direct sound” from inside the piano. I’ve sat and played these models and don’t notice any difference as the string vibration goes into the soundboard and is amplified from there, not directly from the strings themselves. But it is a bit different and it does serve as a conversation piece to say “Ooh look, a hole for the sound to escape!”

Here are some videos of the YUA pianos we have stocked.

Yamaha UX30A

Japanese made. Info coming soon. Until then here is a video on a UX30A we had in stock

  • 1993 Yamaha UX30A
  • If you'd like us to source this model for you please email mgpianos@gmail.com

Coming soon

I’ll be back soon with comments about the following pianos. For now I’ll just jot down tid bits of info that I’m researching.

Yamaha SU-131: now replaced by the SU7. SU-131 with Agraffes all the way up
Yamaha SU7 (no agraffes?)
Yamaha SU118