Yamaha U5 Upright Piano

Here are 5 Big Reasons why I think the Yamaha U5 piano is not as good a choice as the Yamaha U3

(Forgive me if I get a little over-excited during this article but piano manufacturers often frustrate me when they go out of their way to introduce unnecessary models with pointless features… and then charge you extra for the privelege).

1. The Yamaha U5 is the same as the cheaper & better Yamaha U3
The Yamaha U5 is the exact same height, width and depth as the Yamaha U3. It is basically the same piano but with a couple of extra features added. The U5 has a fold out music stand that offers little benefit and frankly makes the piano look ugly. It also has the Sostenuto pedal as detailed in the next point.

2. The Yamaha U5 has the middle Sostenuto pedal
In the late 1800s Steinway invented the Sostenuto pedal. It allows you to hold down a chord and then play other notes in staccato style. It is a very clever invention but is only useful for highly advanced players or composers but if you are working through your grades it is highly unlikely that you will ever need it. A good quality Yamaha U3 on the other hand makes much better use of the middle pedal by using it to put the piano in “practise mode”. When the middle pedal of a Yamaha U3 is pressed (and optionally clicked into place), the volume of the piano is massively decreased (by around 60-70% I’d say) which means you can play the piano in the same room as other people and not disturb anybody. It is also a God-send to people with adjoining neighbours (like me). There are one or two obscure contemporary piano pieces that require sostenuto pedal but for +99.99% of pianists it is not particularly useful and is only there so that piano dealers can say to customers “…and look, it has the amazing Sostenuto pedal that was designed by Steinway and no other pianos have these”. Note: Apparently, some of the older, 1960s U5s have the practise pedal instead of the sostenuto pedal.

3. Piano Industry Experts & enthusiasts rarely rate it above the Yamaha U3
Here are a couple of opinions that I have gathered regarding the Yamaha U5.

“There is a marginal difference between the Yamaha U5 and U3, but one that can be reduced by careful voicing of the U3. In short, the difference is not worth paying actual £££ for unless you really like the appearance [of the U5]. However, the U5 is considered by most to be uglier than the U3”

and another…

“A used U3 if it’s a good one is a lovely piano. I’d take one over a new U5 any day of the week”


“The U5 was dropped from the Yamaha range in favour of the YUS5, which has no agraffe sections in the scale, but reverts to a U3 style pressure bar.”

(in other words, the YUS5 will be another even more expensive Yamaha U3 copy)

4. The Yamaha U5 has been discontinued
The Yamaha U3 has been made for over 40 years and counting. It remains THE most popular upright piano for ambitious musicians. The Yamaha U5 was, in my opinion, a failed model that did not live up to the hype. This was confirmed back in 2006 when Yamaha discontinued the model. They are no longer being made.

5. Yamaha U5 Depreciation
There are very few used Yamaha U5 pianos available and this is due to the fact that the U5 was never a successful model for Yamaha and so very few were actually sold. This means that there is little demand for it which means they are very difficult to sell privately which means the price has to come down substantially in order to make a sale. The same cannot be said of the evergreen Yamaha U3 which holds its value much better than the Yamaha U5.

In Summary
The Yamaha U5 has been discontinued for a reason – it just didn’t work. The public spotted that it was a hyped version of the much preferred Yamaha U3. And so the Yamaha U3 and U1 pianos remain the most popular and sought after models and they quite rightly represent a better value purchase & investment over the Yamaha U5.

I have written an in-depth set of articles that are designed to help a piano buyer decide which Yamaha models to ignore and which ones to consider. There are some excellent Yamahas and some truly terrible ones. Unfortunately, they all simply say “Yamaha” on the front and they all look amazing. So it can be quite hard to tell them apart unless you have done your research first. If you would like to read a copy of my Yamaha piano buyer’s guide, please drop me a line at markgoodwinpianos@gmail.com and I’ll send it to you free of charge

For general information about the U5, please see below:

Yamaha U5 dimensions*

Height 52in / 127cm
Width 60in / 152.4cm
Depth 26in / 66.1cm

*accurate to the best of our knowledge. For exact dimensions please contact us.

Yamaha U5 Available Colours/Finishes

The most commonly available colour available on the 2nd hand market is Black Polyester. A non-black 2nd hand Yamaha U5 is quite a rare thing and if that is what you require you could be in for a very long search.