top of page
Image by Enzo Lo Presti

A Comprehensive Guide to Yamaha U3 and its Variants

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to the various models based on the renowned Yamaha U3 upright piano. In this article, we'll delve into the details of these exceptional instruments, all of which hail from Japan and are designed to meet the high standards set by Japanese consumers. These models are primarily intended for the domestic Japanese market, emphasizing the meticulous craftsmanship and diversity of options.

Why So Many Different Models?

Japanese consumers are known for their discerning taste when it comes to pianos, which has led to the development of various lines and models. These instruments are not mass-produced for the export market, making them somewhat rare finds outside of Japan.

The letter after U3?

Yamaha's labeling system for their U3 series of upright pianos can be quite puzzling, even for those of us who specialize in piano sales. 

Well, to keep it simple, the letter that follows 'U3' generally signifies subtle variations in manufacturing years, the materials employed, or the specific features integrated into each model. These distinctions often arise from the unique design and purpose of each piano, contributing to the differences in nomenclature and pricing.

Yamaha U3 Manufacture

First and foremost, it's important to note that every Yamaha U-line piano, without exception, originates from the Hamamatsu factory in Japan.


This facility is the birthplace of all top-notch Yamaha pianos, which encompasses not only their renowned grand piano, the CFX, but also their entire range of high-quality instruments.

*The Popular Model Yamaha U1 J built in Indonesia

Common Top U3

The Yamaha U3H and U3G upright pianos stand out for having the lengthiest production history in the Yamaha U3 upright piano lineup. These pianos are cherished for their ability to produce a warm and rich tone, coupled with a touch that falls in the medium range.


What sets these pianos apart is their unwavering commitment to quality; each one undergoes meticulous fine-tuning and adjustments in our workshop before being made available for purchase.


It's not an exaggeration to say that we consider the Yamaha U3H and U3G as some of the most exceptional modern upright pianos ever crafted, a preference shared by many top-tier musicians.

Yamaha U3 "YU" Series

The YU series, known for its exceptional quality and high demand, receives meticulous handcrafted finishing to uphold the most stringent standards in terms of quality and appearance.

Variations in "X" Models

The "X" series, such as the UX models, represents an upgrade of the U3. These pianos are crafted with higher-grade materials and are specially designed for professionals. Some models even incorporate features typically found in grand pianos. Improved materials are used in the action parts and soundboard, enhancing their performance.

String Length of U3 Versus UX

Internally, the bass strings on the UX models are longer than those on the standard U3 models, despite having the same height. Yamaha achieves this by curving the bridge at the bottom of the piano. Furthermore, higher-grade wood and felt are used for hammers and dampers in all UX models.

Famous "X" System

The X-bracing system in the Yamaha piano is like its secret superhero – it's there to make the piano stronger and sound better. This cool X-brace is like the piano's backbone, ensuring that the beautiful music vibrations made by the strings and soundboard are spread out just right. This brings a bunch of wonderful improvements to the piano's sound, making it sound amazing.

Discontinuation of "X" Models

Yamaha has discontinued producing pianos with X-braces due to the associated extra costs. The scarcity of these models can make them more expensive than their U series counterparts.

Production Timeline of Various Japanese Domestic Models

  • Yamaha U3G: 1971-1975

  • Yamaha U3H: 1972-1980

  • YUA 1978-1982 (Large Music Desk, Agraffes, grand piano-style fall board)

  • 1975-1980: UX

  • YUX: 1980-1982

  • U3M: 1980-1982

  • UX3: 1982-1988

  • UX5: 1982-1988 (Same as UX3 plus sostenuto pedal)

  • U3A: 1982-1987

  • UX30BL: 1988-1990(Large Music Desk)

  • UX50BL: 1988-1990(Same as UX30BL plus sostenuto pedal)

  • UX30A: 1990-1994(Large Music Desk)

  • UX50A: 1990-1994(Same as UX30A plus sostenuto pedal)

  • UX300: 1994-1997(Large Music Desk)

  • UX500: 1994-1997(Same as UX300 plus sostenuto pedal)

Difference in Recommended Retail Price (RRP)

  • The original new retail price of X series instruments was approximately 30% higher than that of the U series, and Special X series models were about 60% higher.

Yamaha U30BL (1987-1990)

  • The U30BL, produced in Japan between 1987 and 1990, offers a consistently great playing experience and matches the quality of a U3.

  • Dimensions: 153cm W x 131cm H x 64cm D; Weight: 235 kg.

Yamaha U30A (1990-1991)

  • Made in Japan around 1990-1991, the U30A is consistently top-quality and on par with the Yamaha U3.

  • Size: 153cm W x 131cm H x 65cm D; Weight: 235 kg.

Yamaha U3A (1983-1988)

  • The Yamaha U3A is an official Yamaha U3, produced between 1983-1988. It is made in Japan with great touch and tone.

  • Size: 154cm W x 131cm H x 65cm D; Weight: 242 kg.

Yamaha UX3 (1983-1988)

​Produced in Japan between 1983-1988, Japan introduced the UX-3 piano, an upgraded model of the U3. These UX series pianos are designed with top-notch materials, catering to the needs of professional players. 


Inside, the bass strings on the UX-3 are actually longer than those on the standard U3, despite both pianos having the same height. Yamaha achieved this by giving the bottom of the piano's bridge a curvy shape. It's worth noting that due to the extra production costs, Yamaha ceased making pianos with the famous 'X' brace. Additionally, the front panel is crafted in three separate sections, creating a vital air-gap that enhances the release of higher tones and adds a lovely presence for the player.


The UX3 adds a special touch that makes it stand out from other upright pianos – it borrows many parts from the top-of-the-line CF2 concert grand piano.

The UX-3 series might cost a bit more than the regular U3 model because its scarcity value can push up its relative price.

The UX-3 piano incorporates some of the fantastic features found in grand pianos, plus it utilizes superior materials in the action parts and soundboard.

Size: 154cm W x 131cm H x 65cm D; Weight 242 kg

Yamaha YUX (1980-1984)

  • X strut series

  • The YUX, made in Japan around 1980-1984, is a great model with the "YU" prefix suggesting "hand-finished." Some say that the "X" refers to X-shaped soundboard supports.

  • There is agraffes in the bass, premium Yamaha hammers, boston type fallboard and large music rack

  • The YUA and YUX had a double escapement type action similar to that of a grand. 

  • It's a rare find but equals a Yamaha U3 in quality.

  • Size: 154cm W x 131cm H x 65cm D; Weight: 240 kg.

Yamaha UX (1976-1980)

  • Produced in Japan between 1976-1980, the UX is another U3 variant that closely matches the Yamaha U3. It has an X-shaped wooden support frame around the back.

  • Size: 154cm W x 131cm H x 65cm D; Weight: 250 kg.

Yamaha U300 (mid-1990s)

  • Made in Japan in the mid-1990s, the U300 is a close relative of the Yamaha U3. It shares the same factory and boasts a great touch and tone.

  • Notable for its horizontal beading on the top panel. Size: Varies.

Yamaha YU30 (2001-2004)

  • YU30 is a great but rare model. It differs with its three-section top panel.

  • Size: 152cm W x 131cm H x 65cm D; Weight: 242 kg.

Yamaha UX5 (mid-1980s)

  • Made in Japan in the mid-1980s, the UX5 was replaced by the YUS5.

  • It is similar in height to the U3 and offers comparable string length.

  • Size: 154cm W x 131cm H x 65cm D; Weight: 249 kg.

Yamaha YU3 (1997-2000)

  • The Yamaha YU3 consistently offers exceptional performance and is considered a "hand-finished" model.

  • Size: 153cm W x 131cm H x 65cm D; Weight: 235 kg.

Yamaha YU3S

  • The Yamaha YU3S is identical to the Yamaha YU3 but comes with a silent system.

  • Size: 153cm W x 131cm H x 65cm D; Weight: 239 kg.

Yamaha YU3SXG

  • The YU3SXG is the same as the YU3S but features a self-playing disklavier system.

Yamaha YUS3  (1988 – Present) 

Made in Japan, the YUS3 has a cabinet design very similar to the Yamaha U3, standing at 131cm tall. 

The Yamaha YUS3 series takes the excellence of the U3X series a step further. It's like a sibling to the U3, sharing the same frame but getting a special touch in the concert grand workshops at the Hamamatsu factory.

They're built using premium materials and methods, like mahogany hammers for a powerful sound, denser lamb's wool hammers that create a warm and rich tone, and hand-wound copper bass strings for an even deeper bass resonance. Plus, they come with a touch of elegance – a soft-closing fall board.

These versions are always in high demand, adding an extra level of uniqueness to them.

These pianos are hard to find in the used market.

Yamaha YUS5

  • The YUS5, also made in Japan, resembles the YUS3 but offers upgraded cabinet features, including a folding music stand. It may also feature imitation ivory keys.

Yamaha YU5SXG

  • While specific details are lacking, the YU5SXG is likely an upgraded version of the U3SXG.

Yamaha YUA

  • Second Generation of famous X strut series 

  • Music stand external type

  • The sostenuto pedal works similarly to how it sustains specific notes on a grand piano.

  • There is agraffes in the bass, premium Yamaha hammers and felts , Boston type fallboard and large music rack

  • The YUA and YUX had a double escapement type action similar to that of a grand. 

  • Made in Japan in the late 1970s to early 1980s, the YUA is very similar to the Yamaha U3 but features a folding music stand integrated into the top panel.

  • It is the earlier version of UX-3 and UX-5

Yamaha UX30A

  • Japanese-made with more information forthcoming. Size: Varies.

Other Models

  • If you have information about other U3 variants or large Yamaha uprights not covered in this article, please reach out to


Welcome to our showroom at Melodious Piano Studio Bukit Merah and Hougang 

bottom of page