How quiet is the Yamaha Piano practise pedal? (middle pedal on a U1 or U3)

Many piano owners worry about disturbing their next door neighbours with their piano practise and so Yamaha invented a clever thing called a “Practise Pedal” so that you can really quieten down your piano for those late night sessions when you are thumping through your favourite Beethoven pieces.

I will upload a video showing how it all works at some point but for now here is a quick explanation.

How to activate the practise pedal

Thankfully, you don’t need to keep your foot pressed on the middle pedal during playing. You can instead just press the pedal to the floor and then slide your foot to the left and lock it into place. That way your feet are free to use the other 2 pedals as you would normally. Very clever isn’t it?

How does it dampen the sound?

It is a very (very) simple process. When you press the pedal down, a long thin strip of felt is lowered in between the hammers and the strings so that when you press a key the hammer does not have a direct contact with the string, it has to strike through the felt instead. This creates a much mellower and quieter tone. I would estimate that the volume drops to around half of the normal volume which means you can easily have a conversation in the same room as the piano without raising your voice. Excellent!

Which models have the practise pedal fitted?

Sadly, the newer Yamaha U3 and U1 pianos come with a “sostenuto pedal” fitted instead of the practise pedal. Hardly anybody ever uses a sostenuto pedal so it’s a real shame that they’ve started fitting those to new pianos. I’ve a feeling that they’ve done it to try and make people upgrade to “silent” Yamaha U3 or U1 which costs an extra £1000 – £2000 and lets you play in complete silence with the headphones on.

What kind of pianos are in stock at Mark Goodwin Pianos?

I stock Yamaha U1 and U3 pianos that ALL have this very useful practise pedal fitted. However, if you think you’d like a full silent kit fitting to the piano then I can easily arrange for that. It costs just over £1000 but the end result is excellent in that you get a full silent conversion so that you can pop your headphones on and the hammers are then prevented from hitting any strings at all and all of the sound is triggered by MIDI and played through your headphones. It’s an excellent system if you can stretch your budget.