Costco Roadshow: Yamaha Pianos

Big fan of Costco. Occasionally, the local Costco will stage a roadshow featuring some interesting product. If I don’t buy that very day, I sometimes have to find another local Costco (but further away) that will be hosting the same roadshow. It always takes me a few minutes to track down the roadshow calendar through Google. On the Costco website, roadshows are called Special Events. Pick a region to see what is coming to your local store.

I’m passively looking for a piano and spotted a Yamaha roadshow recently. Here’s the model numbers and pricing. The model numbers are indecipherable. Can someone really explain the difference between all the models in a 30 second pitch? Not sure. Had to jot everything down and look them up on the Yamaha website.

Yamaha CLP 220 1,199.99
Yamaha CLP 240M 2,150.99
Yamaha GB1 PE 7,790.99
Yamaha 48 U1 PE 6,999.99
Yamaha 48 T121 PE 5,899.99
Yamaha 46 T118 PE 3,499.99
67 comments… add one
  • cklam Apr 11, 2008 Link

    U1 is top of the line Japan Make, Taiwan Case Student Piano.
    U121 is a cheaper version of U1 assembled in China
    T118 is a new kid in the block resemble U1 48 but completely redesign with Cheap Material but retain the same Sound and make in China
    cheapo U1
    U1 have soft landing but T118 does not.
    U1 is $2000 more than t118

  • kenchu2000 Apr 14, 2008 Link

    >> Yamaha GB1 PE 7,790.99

    I just dropped by Costco in the Bay Area , California this morning and the Yamaha GB1 PE model is selling for $8399.99. I am just wondering how one could get it down to $7790.99?

  • Ken Chan Apr 14, 2008 Link

    Not sure about the price disparity. The price I spotted for the Yamaha GB1 PE was displayed on the piano in the Mountain View warehouse. No negotiating needed to get it down to $7,790.99. When I visited the Fremont warehouse, I noticed a different mix of pianos available. The best approach would be to speak to their salespeople and ask for the pricing to the model you are interested in. That’s how I found out that the Yamaha U1 PE could be purchased for an even lower price of $5,399.99 if you aren’t interested in the silent series features.

  • kenchu2000 Apr 15, 2008 Link

    Thanks for the info. Yeah I was at the Livermore store today, where the $8399.99 price tag was placed right on top of the piano. I talked to the salesperson and he said even though the transaction is going through Costco, but the piano is actually sold and shipped by MusicExchange ( He insisted that $8399.99 is the best price he could offer me on the GB1 model.

    Looks like there will be another Yamaha road show @Mountain View later this month. I might go check out there. The only question is I live in the Central Valley so I am not sure if they are willing to deliver it to my home.

  • Ken Chan Apr 15, 2008 Link

    The dealer at the Fremont store was Pianos Plus in Castro Valley, CA. The delivery fee was $125.00 for service within (I believe) a 25 mile radius of the warehouse. Even if they delivered, I would assume at some point the delivery fee would be prohibitive.

    By Central Valley, I’m guessing you mean in the Stockton / Merced area. The Yamaha roadshow was in Stockton this past weekend according to the Special Events calendar.

  • Ken Chan Apr 26, 2008 Link

    You are right. I stopped by the Yamaha roadshow at the Mountain View Costco today and spotted the GB1 PE listed for $8,399.99.

    The roadshow featured a different mix of pianos than the last one. The Yamaha 5′ 3″ Grand Piano GC1 PE was listed as $12,699.99. I didn’t see that one last time.

  • kenchu2000 Apr 30, 2008 Link

    OK, I finally got a good deal from the Livermore Costco store couple weeks back. The sales guy gave me the $7790 price + tax on the GB1 model. The delivery cost was $225. I think the delivery cost could be better but since I was pretty happy with the final price, so I didn’t bother to negotiate any more. 🙂 The total came out ~$8707 delivered.

    I received the piano last Wednesday and have been pretty happy with it so far. The only downside is the sound can be hear very clearly from my neighbors’ home across the street.

    Yeah, there were a mixed of pianos at Livermore Costco store too. I also saw some higher end Yamaha Baby/Grand Pianos, but I didn’t look at them closely since they were out of my price range.

    The sales guy that I dealt with is a great guy, his name is Ulysses Venci. Email me for his contact if anyone wants to buy a piano from him.

  • jenny Jun 9, 2008 Link

    I am looking for a piano for my 6 years old. She started her first lesson last week. I don’t want to spend too much on the first piano. Is T118 / T121 a good buy instead of U1. Does it really matter if it is make in China or Japan? What is PE? I got a quote for a new U1 by a Yamaha store near Valley Fair. It is $5,800 which is cheaper than Costco by $1,200. However, the same place quoted T118 for $4,000. I am confused. Will someone share their experience with me. Thanks…

  • Ken Chan Jun 9, 2008 Link

    PE is polished ebony, which is a reflective black surface. I think that is the lowest cost finish. The other options are various stained wood finishes.

    As noted in an earlier comment above, the U1 can be purchased at Costco for $6,999 or $5,399. The $1,500 extra gets you the silent series feature that allows you to output the sound through headphones–say if you are practicing at night. There is also an interface for connecting your computer to the U1.

  • jenny Jun 10, 2008 Link

    Thanks, Ken, for answering my quesitons.
    For a 6-year-old beginner, would you buy a new T118 or a used U1? Which one will be easier for resell?

  • Ken Chan Jun 12, 2008 Link

    Jenny: I don’t have to expertise to answer your question. You should ask your child’s piano teacher for advice. For used pianos (or used anything), it all depends on the condition of the product and how well it was maintained. If you have questions on resale values, I would look at how much dealers sell used pianos as well as how much people list them for sale on Craigslist to get a sense of the discount between a new and used piano.

  • jenny Jun 13, 2008 Link

    Thanks, Ken, for your advise.

  • JEssica Jul 9, 2008 Link

    U1 is original make in Japan

  • JEssica Jul 9, 2008 Link

    Hi JEnny,
    Never buy a used U1, unless you know someone who bought from new and want to sell it. otherwise, I will buy a brend new yamaha even smaller size.

  • Ann Baker Jul 10, 2008 Link

    Does anyone know where I can buy a decent ukulele? Is there a Costco road show? If so, I can’t find it. Just need a decent one for a beginner adult that will stay in tune. Also don’t know whether to get tenor or what else? What is the most common? Thanks!

  • Chris Aug 10, 2008 Link

    From my child’s music teacher, I got the response that T118 is a very decent entry level piano.

    We had a roadshow in Oregon and we got a T118 for $3800. We visited the same dealer few weeks back, and got a quote of $4500 (with music teacher’s reference discount).

  • Kay Aug 18, 2008 Link

    I visited a local Yamaha store which is closing for out of busines. The sales quote $6,000 for a U1. Does anyone know if his price is higher than Cosco roadshow’s price?

  • Julie Sep 16, 2008 Link

    Does anyone know where i can get cheaper price for U1 in bay area?

    Where is the store located at close by valley fair?

  • Ken Chan Sep 16, 2008 Link

    I believe the closest Yamaha dealer is at:
    Yamaha Peninsula Music Center
    861 S Winchester Blvd
    San Jose, CA 95128

    You can find U1s through Craigslist if you don’t mind buying used.

  • Julie Sep 16, 2008 Link

    Thank you Ken.
    I am not the piano expert. I am looking one for my kids. What will be different between U1 and T118. What would be the lowest price for a brand new U1?

  • Stephen Sep 20, 2008 Link


    Did you say that you saw the price for GC1 PE was $12,699.99 or $14,699?

  • Ken Chan Sep 27, 2008 Link

    Stephen: The label read: Special Event, Yamaha 5′ 3″ Grand Piano GC1 PE, Piano Only, 12699.99.

  • pianoparent Oct 2, 2008 Link

    Buy a Yamaha Clavinova CLP 200 series piano instead of a cheap upright. Most dealers have great close out prices. For example, you can buy a brand new CLP-270 for a little over $2K, and it is way, way better than a U1.,,CNTID%25253D59015%252526CTID%25253D203500,00.html

  • Matt Hill Nov 15, 2008 Link

    Hi Ken,
    I was at a Costco Roadshow in Folsom, CA. Was having trouble at getting down to that $5399.99 price for the U1. Their pricelist there was $6999.99 and they said that was already without silent feature. The local Yamaha dealer said the price should be $5899.99. A lot of confusion there and I was going in there ready to buy. Would you happen to have any contacts at Costco or Yamaha that might be able to find me the right SKU# to get a $5399.99 price? I’d really appreciate it.

  • Ken Chan Nov 17, 2008 Link

    I have no contacts at Costco or Yamaha. I wonder if Yamaha has raised its prices because we had noticed (see above) that the GB1 PE had increased in price from $7,790 to $8,399. I guess pianos aren’t like LCDs where the prices go down several hundred dollars every few months.

  • Jayanta Samanta Dec 20, 2008 Link

    I just bought a U1 today at $5300 (including tax) out of the door NEW from Local Yamaha Dealer in Alameda County. They initially told me their Costco Price is $5899 + Tax + Delivery. They sell thru Costco also.

    Buying Piano is one of the most confusing experience.

    I do not know whether I paid more or less. But I think it is close to better price one can get a new U1.

  • Sue Dec 23, 2008 Link

    Hi Jayanta Samanta,

    Just curious if we could get the name of the Yamaha dealer in Alameda county. Did you pay for the delivery ? If so how much? I think you got a good deal for U1 ! Does this have the silent mode ?

  • Liqun Cao Feb 1, 2009 Link

    Hi Jayanta Samanta,

    Is the $5300 for U1 after tax? Thanks.

    Liqun Cao

  • schilcote Feb 10, 2009 Link

    I have done some reasearch on the model T-118. It is not a chepo U-1 as some have said. Some Yamaha techs have dismantled them next to a U-1 and have verified the componutes are the same except the bass strings are two inches longer. I have also learned that you need to be very careful buying a used U-1 because some are imports from Japan that are not made for North America climate and develop very serious service issues that Yamaha will not support with parts or service.

  • owenyoung Feb 16, 2009 Link

    got a new T118 for $3,550 (include shipping) at local piano store. I like the sound which is better than M560 and M460. U1 is a little bit better sound but I do not think it is worth #2,000 more. BTW, I am not a expert on piano.

  • JeffHui Mar 7, 2009 Link

    RE: T118 for $3550 include shipping
    does that price include sales tax? if so, what’s your tax rate?
    I am also shopping for a T119 or P22 for my kids and we are upgrading from a Digital Piano

  • Ken Chan Mar 8, 2009 Link

    Prices do not include sales tax. If you are in California, I believe that sales tax may be going up soon, so that may or may not factor into your purchasing timeline.

  • JeffHui Mar 9, 2009 Link

    Hi Ken, Yes, i am in fact in CA, and current tax rate is 8.25%, thank you for your feedback, it’s also a good motivation for me to act fast…

    Since my younger one is only 4, should i also consider the Kawai K2 where it has the softfall fall board as well as the adjustable bench? I think the K2 should be a little bit cheaper because it is only 44.5″

    Any feedback?


  • john Mar 17, 2009 Link


    I just bought for my son (5 years old) a new U1 at a Yamaha dealer – local store for $5600, included tax + delivery + 2 free tunning + 10 years warranty. My research shows that old U1 yamaha (more than 10 years old, some have 20 years old) still asking price more than $3000 in my area (from Craiglist).


  • Jane Mar 26, 2009 Link

    It seems to me that all you mentioned either new U1or T118 are much cheaper than my area, here the new U1 costs around $10K and T118 costs $4895 (already discounted). What do you all think about the grey market piano? Buying a piano is really confusing. I have been thinking about between the used U1 and new T118 for weeks, any comments? thanks!

  • Sonja Apr 4, 2009 Link

    we are going through “buying a piano” experience and it’s all but easy. We live in North Carolina and local Yamaha dealer gave us $4900 price (on sale without tax) for T118 while U1 was around $8000. I was able to find used U1 (year 1991) for $4000 (with tax). Based on what I am reading on this tread, all the prices I got are quite high. My daugther is 9 years old and started playing piano, so we are debating between Yamaha CLP330 ($2300) or acoustic piano, but the search is confusing. I would appreciate if someone has an idea where we can find a bit better priced Yamaha pianos.

  • Ken Chan Apr 6, 2009 Link

    You can always ask Costco if any of their warehouses in North Carolina will be having a Yamaha roadshow any time soon. I don’t know of there are regional differences in pricing; i.e., California v. North Carolina.

  • Sam Li Apr 9, 2009 Link

    There is a Yamaha Costco(Mountain View, CA) roadshow on April 24th, 2009.

  • Paul - SFBA Apr 25, 2009 Link


    $8000 for a U1 is definitely too much. I visit a dealer in SF Bay Area a few days ago, he told me that the list price for U1 is about $10k, but nobody would look at the list price. He gave me a hint that I could get it at a real price between $5600 to $5800. Later I heared that somebody get it at a even lower price.

    When I talked to my son’s teacher. She recommend U3 or about models. I just wonder do I really need a U3 for a beginner at the age of 6.

  • bill clinton May 2, 2009 Link

    We bought a T118 today for 3550 usd, after everything and tax. I was able to bring it lower, but after my wife join the discussion and show great interest, the dealer would not offer any more discount. The piano doesn’t sound too bad compared with the U1, according to my daughter’s teacher. We are located in Ohio. The piano is made in Hangzhou, China. And the price there is 18900 RMB. Just for your reference.

  • john May 11, 2009 Link

    Hi Jane,

    10K for U1 is quite high, I would suggest you could take a vacation trip to Bay area (Santa Clara county, California) or ask friends or relatives in bay area to do a pre-shopping/negotiate price for you – then buy one around 5,6K and ask the seller to ship to your home – I guess it could be cheaper.

    Hi Sonja,
    A digital piano is just a piano with a computer inside, but computer is outdated quite fast because of the rapid change in technology (it does not retain resale value as good as an acoustic piano).


  • Ken Chan May 11, 2009 Link

    At the end of the day, it’s the musician that makes the music and not the piano. The amount of time your child spends practicing will have a greater impact on how the music will sound rather than whether the piano is made in Japan or China.

  • Kris May 21, 2009 Link

    I am looking for a piano for my daughter. I still can’t decide if I should buy a used or new one. I was introduced to new Yamaha T118, Yamaha C109B, Yamaha Cable Nelson, Bergmann 46″ upright and 3 used pianos, Yamaha U1, U3 and Samick 52″ upright. My friend told me not to buy Yamaha lower end models because they were made out of Japan. Samick was highly recommended by the store owner but I don’t know anything about this Korean made piano.

  • Stan Jun 2, 2009 Link

    Hello, I just found this blog. Looks like there’s still a lot of conversation to be had. I’m currently shopping for either a T118 ($3995) or T121($4995) and was wondering what was the best price so far. If I could get them $500+ cheaper, that would be great. I’m in the East Bay and San Jose area so I’ve already been to Pianos Plus in Hayward and Music Exchange in Dublin. Thanks. Stan

  • Stan Smith Jun 16, 2009 Link

    I am looking for a piano for my 10 year old and she has been playing quite well on a $200 keyboard for 2 years, then a $700 weight key keyboard, both Yamahas for the last 3 years. I am now looking at the Suzuki models as I cannot fathom paying $5000 plus for a kids instrument, much like the way I bought myself Mexi Fender Strat , rather than USA Gibson Les Paul. So, any thougths…

  • Jim Jun 27, 2009 Link

    It seems the best price for a Yamaha piano is in CA. I’m in the northeast. My local piano dealer said their instore price is always better than the price they give Costco. The best price I got so far for a new black T118 is $4350 before tax and s/h. The dark red color is $400 more. Should I wait for a roadshow? Thanks.

  • Lynn Jun 29, 2009 Link

    I was debating either new Yamaha T118 , T121 or U1 in the past few days after I visited the local Yamaha piano store. My first choice was T118 is 1 inch lower and 2 inches shorter than U1. The price quote was almost half than U1. I could not tell much the difference between these 2 models of course U1 is better but is worth paying double from T118. I brought my 7 yrs daughter with me with her piano books back to store today. Now I can tell the difference between T118 and U1. I made our decision today with U1. The big reason convinced me was U1’s sound quality is closer with her teacher’s piano that she goes her house 45 minutes weekly which is upright steinway been 30 years. U1 makes sound better than T118. T118 after few tunings might be much better.

  • Loc Jul 17, 2009 Link

    I just bought a Yamaha T118 at Costco San Jose for $3,973 ($3500 + $323 Tax + $150 delivery). One free tuning is included. Yamaha Costco roadshow in San Jose is from July 10 to 19. They do not have U1.

  • Ken Chan Jul 18, 2009 Link

    Even if a particular model does not appear on the floor, you can ask them. They should have a price sheet for all their models.

  • John Aug 16, 2009 Link

    I am looking for a new Yamaha U1. I am very interested in those very good deals posted here.

    Jayanta Samanta, for your amazing $5300 deal, would you please let me know what is the dealer’s name?

    John, for your $5600 deal, would you please let me know the dealer name also?

    I am living in Bay area. I have been shopping around for couple of weeks. I would be very happy if I could get a deal that is close.

    Your help is greatly appreciated.


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