It’s from around 1966 that we first see Yamaha pianos imported into Europe. These early models are the ones that sound most like top German pianos, with a deep mellow tone throughout the range. They are well constructed with top quality soundboards, excellent hammers, wooden pedal mechanisms on uprights and mostly wooden action parts. As in the 1990s the Korean and later the Chinese factories began to produce large numbers of pianos in competition with Yamaha, so the Yamaha piano started to be made more economically. Wooden parts were replaced with plastic or aluminium, though lately there has been a return to wooden action flanges. The tone also started to lack the rich depth that it previously had. The gradual brightening of tone is evident until 1994, when Yamaha brought out what they called a hand-built piano, the S series grands which currently start at £35,000 and SU series uprights from £9,400. Yamaha now operate a two tier system with their basic grands and uprights, usually not made in Japan, and the top range series which is still made there. Considering that a Yamaha G3/C3 grand piano cost about £2,800 new in 1971 (600,000yen), the equivalent new price according to inflation since then would be £23,660! A Yamaha U1D upright piano cost about £1000 new in 1965 (197,000yen). The equivalent new price today would be £11,590! The early Yamahas are all of guaranteed high quality, up to about 1985. Since 1994 they developed a two tier system, with the top quality Yamahas still being made in Japan but others increasingly being made in different countries. For further information please see the new and used Yamaha pages.