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Yamaha U1: 1970s vs present day

Yamaha U1: 1970s vs present day

A new piano is always more refined than a reconditioned instrument, largely owing to technical developments and improvements in technology over time. In the case of the Yamaha U1 and U3, a new piano is constructed with improved quality component parts including under-felted hammers, with such useful features as a long music rest for large scores and a kitchen drawer style soft closing lid to prevent trapped fingers. Technically the piano... Continue reading

What type of piano should I choose?

What type of piano should I choose?

Digital pianos

Available space is an increasingly important factor to be taken into account when deciding on the right instrument for you. Digital pianos are versatile instruments that are more compact than acoustic pianos; they are lighter in weight, making them easier to move; they are available in a wide range of styles and colours; the volume can be controlled; and you can plug in headphones to enable silent... Continue reading

Piano mechanisms: upright vs grand

Piano mechanisms: upright vs grand

Grand Mechanism

Upright Mechanism

Upright Mechanism

In an upright piano, the strings are positioned vertically on the frame whereas the strings on a grand piano are horizontal. The hammers in an upright piano are pushed forward to strike the strings, with springs to return them to their rest position once the note has been played. This mechanism enables a reasonably quick repetition, of up to 7 times per... Continue reading

Available finishes

Available finishes

New pianos are usually available in a selection of different finishes, the most popular of which is polished ebony, or shiny black. Otherwise known as black polyester, this finish comprises a lacquer which is sprayed onto the cabinet and highly buffed to produce a lustrous and luxurious shine, and is incredibly strong and hardwearing.

Many manufacturers offer models in a variety of finishes including mahogany, rosewood, oak, alder, walnut, beech,... Continue reading

Yamaha SU Series

Yamaha SU Series

There are two models in the SU Series as follows:

  • SU118C: 118cm
  • SU7: 131cm

The SU Series represents the pinnacle of Yamaha’s upright piano offering and comprises the SU118C and the stunning SU7. Handcrafted from start to finish by the master craftsmen of the concert piano facility, the level of refinement offered by the SU Series is incomparable. While the 118cm tall SU118C is smaller than a U1... Continue reading

Pre-regulation & set up

Pre-regulation & set up

The first stage of preparing a piano for sale includes checking the frame, frame bolts and screws, and string positioning and string levelling. Our technicians check and adjust as required the key bushings, pins and capstans. The instrument is also checked to ensure that the spacing between keys is uniform, along with various other minor checks.

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Regulation & voicing

Regulation & voicing

Voicing is a procedure which ensures that the tone quality heard across the range of the piano keyboard is uniform and that each key produces a sound that is sympathetic to those of its neighbours. It is also possible to adjust the overall tone of the piano, in terms of the brilliance of the resulting sound - mellow, bright, warm, clear etc.

At the beginning of the voicing process, Chamberlain... Continue reading

Reconditioned Yamaha & Kawai uprights

Reconditioned Yamaha & Kawai uprights

The popularity of Japanese pianos, in particular Yamaha and Kawai, has resulted in many being available on the second-hand market. There are several companies which source these instruments from homes, lease companies and educational institutions in the Far East and ship them to their factories, often in China, where they are stripped down and rebuilt in order to be sold in the US and Europe.

The rebuilding tends to be... Continue reading

Piano stools

Piano stools

We stock a wide range of piano benches at Chamberlain Music, starting at approximately £75 up to £1000.

We purchase directly from manufacturers predominantly in Italy, and our collection includes single and duet height adjustable stools, as well as single and duet concert stools. This allows us to offer high quality pieces of furniture in a wide assortment of wood finishes and upholstery colours, at extremely competitive prices.

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What about the B3?

What about the B3?

It is worth considering the new Indonesian built b3 as an alternative option to a reconditioned U1. While the b3 is made in Yamaha’s Indonesian factory to keep the cost competitive, it is essentially a ‘cut down’ version of the new Japanese built U1. It shares the same frame and hammers, with the same five back-post configuration to deliver a similar level of stability and resonance.

The key differences are... Continue reading

Second-hand Yamaha C & G series

Second-hand Yamaha C & G series

For many years the Yamaha C Series has provided some of the world’s best-selling pianos, combining fabulous build quality and reliability with exceptional value for money. While the design has moved on significantly in recent years, used examples of the previous generation C & G Series instruments remain popular and we always try to have a good selection in stock.

Each piano is cleaned and polished, before it is transported... Continue reading

What do the pedals do?

What do the pedals do?

Upright and grand pianos normally have three pedals which serve various purposes:

Left pedal

The left pedal on an upright piano is known as the half-blow or soft pedal. It moves the hammers closer to the strings so that they hit them with less velocity – allowing the player to produce a sound which is a little quieter and softer.

On a grand piano the left pedal is known as... Continue reading

Size really does matter

Size really does matter

Physics dictates that the quality of sound produced is largely influenced by the length of the string. A longer string produces larger vibrations which not only make the sound louder, but also richer. The sound is then transmitted through the bridges and into the soundboard, which in turn acts like a loudspeaker to amplify the sound. Therefore, the longer the string and the larger the soundboard, the better the quality... Continue reading

History & anatomy of the piano

History & anatomy of the piano

The fortepiano was invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori around the turn of the 18th century and has since evolved into what we know today as a grand piano. This expressive instrument offers a wide dynamic range, rich resonance, diverse tonality, and a responsive touch, enabling the pianist to accurately reproduce the precise expressive intentions of the composer in their performance.

Owing to critical differences in the action mechanism and overall size... Continue reading

Making a grand piano: 1. The frame

Making a grand piano: 1. The frame

The classic grand piano shape

Layers of wood veneers are glued together with the grain in a uniform direction to form a long, flat piece of wood which will eventually become the outer rim of the piano. These layers are then joined to make a single long piece by being glued and laminated, which depending on the model can be made up of between 6 and 10 layers.

Once the... Continue reading

Making a grand piano: 2. The soundboard

Making a grand piano: 2. The soundboard

The soundboard is very much at the heart of the piano - the striking of the strings causes this to vibrate and it is this component that amplifies the sound. The soundboard is a thin wooden sheet made from carefully selected Sitka spruce or Japanese spruce. Prior to selection, milling and assembly, the wooden planks are air-dried and kiln-dried to a decimal point specific level of moisture content. Many small... Continue reading

Making a grand piano: 3. The keyboard

Making a grand piano: 3. The keyboard

The same Sitka spruce used in the making of the piano soundboard is used to make the keys, pieces which are glued together under tension before the keyboard shape, including the sharps, is cut from one single piece of wood. The keys are finished to their final shape, the holes cut into the wood underneath are lined with a red felt bushing so that they fit over a small metal... Continue reading

Making a grand piano: 4. Strings & action

Making a grand piano: 4. Strings & action

Stringing Is Done by Hand, One String at a Time

By this stage of the manufacturing process, the soundboard has been glued in the piano body, which also houses the frame. Approximately 230 steel strings are individually strung in sections, bass, tenor and treble, with a total tension of all strings on the cast iron frame measuring around 20 tons! The strings come in 20 different diameters or gauges including... Continue reading

Making a grand piano: 5. Final tweaks

Making a grand piano: 5. Final tweaks

The automatic key pressing machine is once again used after the piano has been seasoned, to prepare the piano action for regulation. This involves fine adjustments to the movement of the keyboard and action, ensuring that the instrument responds accurately to the pianist's touch.

The height of the keys and key drop need to be readjusted and the action regulated so that it plays evenly across the range. There are... Continue reading

Yamaha YUS Series

Yamaha YUS Series

There are two models in the YUS Series as follows:

  • YUS1: 121cm
  • YUS3: 131cm 

The Yamaha YUS series builds on the quality of the U series with even further refinement. The YUS1 and YUS3 are each built on the same frames as their U1 and U3 counterparts yet are handcrafted in the concert grand workshops of the Hamamatsu factory. With mahogany hammers rather than maple, the tone is... Continue reading

Yamaha U Series

Yamaha U Series

There are two models in the U Series as follows:

  • U1: 121cm
  • U3: 131cm

For the last fifty years the Japanese built Yamaha U Series has been considered one of the best choices for practice and performance worldwide, and thousands of examples have found their way into schools, practice studios, performance venues and homes the world over. The range is critically important to Yamaha, representing the cornerstone of... Continue reading

Yamaha TransAcoustic pianos

Yamaha TransAcoustic pianos

What is a TransAcoustic Piano?

Yamaha, having pioneered the art of manufacturing a Silent Piano, realised that wearing headphones to practice the piano quietly or privately is not always convenient. Sometimes there may be a teacher or a duet partner to consider, or a parent wishing to make sure that their child is doing their piano practice! Yamaha’s engineers came up with a clever system which enables you to turn... Continue reading

Yamaha Silent pianos

Yamaha Silent pianos

What is a Silent piano?

Yamaha launched the first Silent Piano in 1993. This enabled the pianist to silence the acoustic piano and listen to a digitally generated piano voice through headphones without compromising on feel. Advances in technology have led to improvements in sound quality, and the sampled sound of one of today’s Silent Pianos is almost indistinguishable from the real thing. Incredibly detailed samples of a piano can... Continue reading

Yamaha SE Series

Yamaha SE Series

There are two models in the SE Series as follows:

  • SE122: 122cm
  • SE132: 132cm

Yamaha’s SE series is something very different to the other series in Yamaha’s catalogue. It is hailed as a unique collaboration between East and West, combining the European piano building heritage of Bösendorfer with the precision engineering and expertise of Yamaha’s Japanese artisan craftsmen. A real step up from the U and YUS Series,... Continue reading

Yamaha P Series

Yamaha P Series

There are two models in the P Series as follows:

  • P116: 116cm
  • P121: 121cm 

Yamaha’s P Series pianos are aimed at the European and UK market, and are built in their modern manufacturing facility in Indonesia. The most important differences between the P and U Series are a softer and more “European” tone produced by an Austrian spruce ‘Strunz’ soundboard, a European style voicing of the hammers and... Continue reading

Yamaha GC Series

Yamaha GC Series

There are two models in the GC Series as follows:

  • GC1: 5’3 (161cm)
  • GC2: 5’8 (173cm) 

One step up from the GB1K is the GC Series. There are two models in the range, the GC1 and GC2, and these are the first grand piano models in the line-up to be produced at the main factory in Hamamatsu, Japan. At 5’3 and 5’8 respectively, these models are the same... Continue reading

Yamaha GB1K

Yamaha GB1K

The Yamaha GB1K is 5’0 (151cm) in length and is the smallest grand piano model in Yamaha’s range. It is produced in Yamaha’s Indonesian factory, yet its design is influenced by that of the class leading Conservatoire C Series pianos, including a solid soundboard, soft closing fallboard and a sostenuto pedal to enable selective sustain. It remains one of our most popular new piano models and delivers excellent performance at... Continue reading

Yamaha Disklavier pianos

Yamaha Disklavier pianos

What is a Disklavier piano?

In the 1970s, solenoid-based player systems were added to pianos for the first time. In 1987, Yamaha took that concept to a new level of quality and ease of use by introducing the very first ‘Disklavier’ reproducing piano. The term Disklavier is a combination of the words disk, a nod to the 3 ½ inch floppy disks on which the recordings were first stored, and... Continue reading

Yamaha CX Series

Yamaha CX Series

There are six models in the CX Series as follows:

  • C1X: 5’3 (161cm)
  • C2X: 5’8 (173cm)
  • C3X: 6’1 (186cm)
  • C5X: 6’7 (200cm)
  • C6X: 6’11 (212cm)
  • C7X: 7’6 (227cm)

The Yamaha C Series, formerly known as Conservatoire Series, has been the cornerstone of Yamaha’s grand piano range for decades and has become the industry standard for practice and performance grand pianos the world over. You can find Yamaha C... Continue reading

Yamaha B series

Yamaha B series

There are three models in the b Series as follows:

  • B1: 109cm
  • B2: 113cm
  • B3: 121cm

Yamaha’s entry level range is manufactured in Indonesia in the same factory as the P Series, and consists of three different models, starting with the compact b1. This is Yamaha’s smallest upright piano model at 109cm tall and has modern style cabinetry to give it a compact appearance. This is an excellent... Continue reading

Piano positioning

Piano positioning

The location of your piano can have an impact on the quality of sound produced and the overall longevity of the instrument. An acoustic piano has hundreds of wooden components, it is recommended that you keep your piano away from direct sources of heat, such as radiators, open fires, and wood burning stoves.

Pianos prefer a stable temperature and humidity. If you live in an older house where the piano... Continue reading

Piano covers

Piano covers

A piano cover is a useful investment – it will help keep your instrument protected against accidents, spillages and minor scratches. You may wish to consider purchasing a cover if the piano is to be in a multi-purpose space (for example the school hall), or even in a busy home with young children!

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A-frames & castors

A-frames & castors

A-frames are popular with schools, theatres and churches as it makes a grand piano easy to position and helps retain the overall tuning stability of the instrument, as well as protecting the structure of the piano.

Suitable for practically any size of grand piano they are fitted simply by lifting each piano leg and adjusting the frame underneath. The piano is then lowered gently, and the leg held the correct... Continue reading