Monday, October 13, 2008
Yamaha U3 piano - poor man's grand?
I did a session in 2007 at a studio in Atlanta called Sonica - great studio and a fantastic engineer - Johnny B.! Anyways, shortly after arriving I went in to check out the piano. It was one of these. On the first break we took, a friend of mine, Michael Wynne, producer, started kidding around with me about all the gear etc. and asked me what I thought I would buy after this. I said a Yamaha U3!
Johnny and I both bought ours through DoReMi Pianos in FL. He got his direct and I got mine through a really good dealer - Atlanta Pianos, Bill Davidow.
If you don't have the budget or the space, a U3 is the way to go. Fantastic action and sound - very balanced, bright full but warm. Sits in a track easily. DoReMi and a couple others get these from Japan and refurbish them. Mine was made in 1976 and folks all over are surprised when I tell them it isn't new. You can pick them up for $2500 or so and they play like new. I use a couple Oktava 012 microphones through a Brent Averill 1272 pre and Johnny uses Earthworks mics.
If you take off the front and aim a couple mics at the soundboard a foot or two away, this piano sounds fantastic! Pay no attention to dealers that use terms like "gray market." Japan has air conditioning just like the U.S.
I've had mine for about a year, four seasons in the ATL area and have had zero problems with it, except for a crooked thief tuner/repair guy who said I needed new bass strings and had loose pins. Not true, but he needed the money. He'll get no money from me of course!
This piano is really terrific and you can check out sounds on my web site but the best are on James Casto's projects we've been working on. jamescasto.com You won't believe it! Recorded on cheapo mics in a less than perfect room, it sounds like a grand sitting on hardwood floors!