There is a popular myth about Yamaha U1 and U3 pianos that are imported from Japan to the UK. Some dealers claim that such pianos have come from music schools or other musical institutions where they have had a hard life. You will find that the people circulating such rumours always have an agenda. That agenda is usually to sell you a brand new (usually Chinese or Indonesian made) piano instead.
I am very happy to confirm that none of my Yamaha U1 or U3 pianos have ever been anywhere near a music school. I flew over to Japan to meet my suppliers and check how they source their pianos. I was pleased to find that they have created major TV and Radio advertising campaigns asking families if they have U1 and U3 pianos in their home that they are no longer using.
The normal story is that the piano was bought brand new for a child and was kept until that child grew up and left home. That is why so many of my pianos are between about 25-35 years old. Such pianos usually only have relatively light use and so are in great condition.
But don’t just take my word for it. When you visit, please ask me to show you the hammer felt on my pianos. A piano from a music school will very quickly develop flat spots at the front (“strike point”) of the hammers. A little-used piano, however, will have equally thick felt all the way around the front area of the hammer.
Here are 2 photos (both taken from Google Images) to show you how to spot a heavily used hammer, from a lightly used hammer.
WORN OUT HAMMERS (notice the flat spot and deep grooves)
HEALTHY HAMMERS (notice equal felt thickness all the way around the wooden core)