April 2009 Archives

TMC started distribution of PURESOUND drum snappies and Canadian Schatten Design pickups for acoustic guitar on March 1. The company represents D'Addario products in the Japanese market. Established in 1998, PURESOUND was purchased by D'Addario in 2008, and Rico factory, a subsidiary of D'Addario, in California, now manufactures the snappies. Nonaka continues distributing the PURESOUND snappies in Japan.



Direct-driven drum pedal

As Pearl unveiled a drum pedal, Eliminator Demon Drive, during the NAMM Show in January, it's features, futuristic design in silver and orange, and impressive product name drew massive attention of drummers. The company starts distribution of it in the end of April. For the first time as the advanced pedals, it employs direct-driven system.

(Photo left: Pearl P-3000D)




Akihito Takekawa, assistant manager of Product Develop-ment Division, says, "Drum pedal represents one of the key lines for drum manu-facturer. We spendmuch of our time in experiment-ing new ideas and designs for our future products. Development project of the Demon Drive started at us 3 years back."

(Photo: from l. to r., Tsukidate Kohji, asst. manager, Sales Div., Yuji Odaka, artist relations, Akihito Takekawa, asst. manager, Product Development  Div., Masahiko Otomo, asst. manager, marketing.)

The company took direct-driven system seriously when U.S. Pearl Corp. had requested it to add to their lines. It has become a main stream in recent years as a number of drum manufacturers put direct driven drum pedals into the market.

Yuji Odaka, artist relations, explains about the background of its popularity, "Trend of drum music has greatly changed these days. Drummers want drum pedals with excellent response to keep pace with fast stroke. Playing style has also changed. Their foot works are more prominent than 10 or 20 years ago. These music styles are quite popular in U.S. and other markets."

(Photo : Direct link system of the Demon Drive. Two alternative positions can be selected at the guided points to customize the system matched to playing style.)

The Pearl design team had produced 3 prototypes of the Eliminator Demon Drive before the final production model completed. Almost all screws and knobs were newly designed from die casting. They reflect that the engineers sought after highest quality in every detail for the new model.


Powerful specifications and multi functions

The Demon Drive had 3 critical points in development; Fastest mechanism to support fast drumming, Most Smooth action mechanism, and Most Versatile settings. Says Takekawa,"We employ high precision, low friction bearings newly designed for drum pedals in collaboration with NiNjA Bearing which is a specialist manufacturer of skate board bearings. Virgil Donati, Mike Mangini and other first class drummers commented that they worked quite efficiently, and completely different from conventional models in the market."

(Photo: NiNjA ball bearing employed for the main shaft.)

Besides the main shaft, the Demon Drive has ball bearings for the direct link system so that they keep best conceivable conditions absorbing minor irregularities caused by pressure from both sides and set-up conditions. The twin pedal model comes with 16 ball bearings to eliminate cluttering and maintain stable conditions of both pedals.

What makes the Demon Drive quite characteristic is the foot board employing Duo Deck System which allows drummers to instantly select either short or long board. While long board is becoming a choice of drummers these days as it doesn't require powerful foot work, not a few artists still favor short board. They can choose desired one depending on their playing style.

Direct link and beater stroke systems also have two alternative positions offering drummers a total of 8 different settings including stomp resistance, control capabilities and power levels.

Odaka explains benefit of the rich settings, "Drum sound greatly differs by stomping the pedal on stage when the sound is picked up by microphone. The Demon drive provides drummers with wider selections. It can efficiently meet diversified requirements on settings of individual drummers in live performance."


Attractive appearance

The characteristic design of the Demon Drive was influenced by automobile, motor cycle, golf apparatuses, radio control system, etc. The eye-catching foot plate incorporates an adjustable traction plate controlling feeling of grip with 5 aluminum dots. Meticulously processed dots emanate radial beams for impressive look on stage.

About the distinctive appearance of the system, Odaka says, "The artists were thrilled with the overall design of the Demon Drive when they first saw it. Then, they were greatly impressed with its features including light weight structure, stable work and comfortable stomp feeling. We were very encouraged by their comments. When I demonstrated switching long and short boards, they looked astounding saying that it reminded them of a transformer robot. (laugh)"

More than 50 drummers examined the Demon Drive. Their comments were fed back and detailed specifications came into real. Takekawa expects that the new drum pedal would further improve in the future. Originally Pearl intended young drummers playing fast stroke as major customers when designing the Demon Drive, but jazz drummers appreciate it as it produces subtle nuances responding directly to foot control. It's a multi drum pedal capable of handling versatile genre.

Pearl is now contemplating sales promotional plans including distribution of a technical session DVD by TOSHI NAGAI. In response to requests from dealers, the company is ready to stage seminars to provide sales staff with detailed information on rich functions of the pedal.

Pearl has popular chain-driven Eliminator P2000, a flagship model of its foot pedal line. The Demon Drive definitely expands drummers' choice.

In the April issue of Japan Music Trades, we have production, sales, import and export statistics data for the music products in Japan provided by different sources, Japan Musical Instruments Manufacturers' Association (JMIMA), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and the Customs Bureau, the Ministry of Finance. Among them the data from MRTI have been trimmed on product categories, and information gathered has been limited year after year. As a result, the statistics don't depict precise profile of the industry. The one single most reliable statistics is that compiled by JMIMA. You are requested to refer domestic sales and export figures to the association statistics, and the import data to the Customs Bureau, the Ministry of Finance.

Total sales of music products in Japan decreased both for domestic market and export in 2008 according to the JMIMA statistics. The domestic sales were 60.9 billion yen, a 5% decline over the previous year. Export also stumbled with a 4% drop to 141.7 billion yen. Slow pace of export isn't a surprise given the higher evaluation of yen against other major currencies, however, what is most affecting the industry is stagnant domestic sales continued for some years. Some industry experts point out that market for used instruments has been viable, but it doesn't necessarily illustrate    desiring nature of the industry. The statistics verify the result of the latest industry market survey Japan Music Trades conducted in January. Majority of music dealers replied the questionnaire said that demands of consumers remained slow last year.

Recent years have seen growing activities in the industry promoting music education in all communities. Apparently we need further intensive and more efficient projects toward development of music market.

Looking into trends in the past, acoustic instruments have enjoyed favorable business. However, sales value of them dropped 8% last year to 95.8 billion yen. While, electric & electronic instruments sales went down 1% in value to 106.8 billion yen.

The statistics show that in 2008 the unit sales of stringed instruments including ukulele and violin, keyboard harmonica, electric guitar, electronic keyboard, amps for musical instruments for domestic market outperformed the results of previous year. Sales of guitar, flute, concert drums, xylophone with legs, keyboard synthesizer also increased in value chiefly because average unit price rose, however, they marked downturn unit wise.

As to export business, unit sales of upright piano, guitar, other stringed instruments, flute, clarinet, saxophone, concert drums, marching drums, jazz drums, other percussion instruments, xylophone with legs, keyboard harmonica, electronic organ, digital piano, etc. increased last year. Among them sales of guitar, other stringed instruments, clarinet, concert drums, jazz drums, xylophone with legs, electronic organ and digital piano went up in value as well. Though unit sales declined, harmonica, other woodwind instruments, other percussion instruments, portable electronic keyboard gained favorable growth in value.

Import data by the Customs Bureau, the Ministry of Finance shows a decrease of 10% (or 5.6 billion yen) over the previous year to 51.9 billion yen.

Chinese made musical instruments significantly increased in the Japanese market    in the past years, however, they marked down first time last year as a total, though some products continuously achieved favorable result. Imports from Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia also declined. Italy shipped more products to Japan last year, but France, Germany, Spain, U.S. and Canada sold less in 2008 than the year before last. Italy exported a slightly fewer 880 bowed instruments to Japan, but in value they nearly tripled the result of previous year to 1.75 billion yen. Demands for violin are steadily surging in Japan these years. It seems that the growing popularity for the instrument helped increase import from Italy.

According to the statistics of the Customs Bureau of the Ministry of Finance, export to U.S. a bit declined in value from 24.7 billion yen in 2007 to 23.6 billion yen last year. But the decline was offset by significant increase to China, Russia and Brazil. Export to China went up 25% to 8.1 billion yen. Russia marked the largest gain of 667%, and export to Brazil nearly doubled. Japanese manufacturers exported more products to South East Asia, Middle and South Americas, and EU bloc as well. As a result, total export in 2008 increased 7% (or 5.6 billion yen) to 83.7 billion yen. Nevertheless, export value will further expand taking direct shipment of Japanese makers from their overseas manufacturing bases into account.


There are some discrepancies between the data provided by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Japan Musical Instruments Manufacturers' Association (JMIMA). The main reason is that both sources are based on different notion and survey system.

The JMIMA statistics are primarily the same as the data provided by METI, however, the government survey excludes small businesses with less than 20 workers. While, the JMIMA survey covers all industry manufacturers regardless of their sizes.

Also, JMIMA defines that production data not only include those manufactured by given companies at their own factories in Japan but also those OEM commissioned to third parties or purchase of finished products from their business partners. On the other hand, METI explains that its data include OEM and semi-finished goods commissioned to complete final manufacturing process to individual manufacturers.

So, please take note that individual figures of the both statistics are somewhat biased in some aspects. JMIMA_Stat_1999-2008.pdf  MI_Sales_Japan_1989-2008.pdf  MI_Export_List_2008.pdf MI_Export_2008.pdf   MI_Import_2008.pdf

Oriente BS-70 Double Bass ¥700,000

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A little more compact than the highest busetto models of Oriente, the BS-70 with 1,050 mm long strings comes in similar size of widely used double bass in Japan. It has solid spruce top, solid maple back and ebony fingerboard.

Designed easy to play for female players and reasonably priced, it delivers fat and well-dispersed sound typically acclaimed for the Oriente instruments.

Further information is available from:








Pearl Drumsets & Snare Drum

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Employing solid maple for the shell, the latest series of the VISION delivers full, professional quality sound. Three 18" deep bass drums come in 20", 22" and 24" diameters and priced between ¥62,000 and ¥73,000.

Three floor drums have 14", 16" and 18" diameters, either in 14" or 16" depth, and priced between ¥32,000 and ¥40,000. Tom toms are available in 6 models from 8" to 16" diameters and from 7" to 13" depth. They are priced between ¥17,000 and ¥34,000.

Pearl provides 4 types of VMX drumset including 4-pc basic type without cymbals at ¥205,000 and 3 types coordinated with selected 14" Sabian hi-hat, 16" crash or 20" ride cymbals priced beween ¥238,000 and ¥287,000.

High quality lacquered color finishes of Terracotta, Vintage Wine, Gracia White and Silver Sparkle are available.



Another popular wood material, solid birch, is used for the shells. Tuning-friendly and sturdy PRO TONE double film drum head is standard to all models.

Bass drums, floor drums and tomtoms come in the same configurations as the VMX. The bass drums are priced between ¥44,000 and ¥49,000, floor toms between ¥20,000 and ¥25,000, and tomtoms between ¥13,000 and ¥23,000.

Four different VBX drumsets are provided: 4-pc complete set with Pearl 900 series hardware priced at ¥144,000, 3 types in coordination of 14" Sabian hi-hat, 16" crash or 20" ride priced between ¥158,000 and ¥208,000.

Three lacquered color finishes include Harvest Fade, Ruby Fade and Black Ice. 



The cost-efficient entry-level models feature plied birch shells. Bass drums, floor drums and tomtoms come in the same configurations as the VMX.

Besides the 4-pc drumset with light-weight and high-quality 890 hardware priced at ¥113,000, 3 other types set up with 14" Sabian hi-hat, 16" crash or 20" ride cymbals priced between ¥128,000 and ¥168,000 are available.

The bass drums are priced between ¥27,000 and ¥31,000, floor drums between ¥14,000 and ¥18,000, and tomtoms between ¥8,500 and ¥15,000.

Four color finishes of Jet Black, Ivory, RB Blue and Red Wine are available.


RT545N Rhythm Traveler Ver.2 ¥53,000

Upgraded Rhythm Traveler Version 2 has impressive black hardware, tom mount system which has increased reliability to be good in standing play. It's suitable as a starter kit for children as well.

Three color finishes of Jet Black, Pure White and Active Red are available.



FBS1445B Snare Drum

Pearl has developed the FBS 2445/B teamed with Tetsu of 'D'ERLANGER' for rock drummers. Measured 14" in diameter and 4.5" depth, it features 1.5mm thick brass shell with center beeds, free-floating system, Super Hoop II and Master Cast Hoop for the top and bottom, 42 super fat Ultra Sound Snappie I wires to deliver, distinctive, clear-cut sound not offset by surrounding music.

Attractive black finish will be appreciated by rock drummers.


Further information is available from:


Pearl Custom Classic 20th Anniversary Snare Drums

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CL1465SN/C ¥93,000
CL1455SN/C ¥90,000
CLR1450SN/C ¥95,000

Since first introduction in 1989, the Pearl Custom Classic snare drums have won broad acclaims of drummers. The company has unveiled new generation of the line retaining 7.5mm thick one-piece maple shell with much improved details.

They have 14" diameter and 6.5", 5.5" or 5" deep shell. The CLR comes with reinforcement hoops. Common features of them include brass hoops, chrome-finished hardware, and perfectly positioned air vent holes to generate fine air stream.

Three color finishes of Nature Maple, Nature Walnut and Nature Wine Red are provided. Pearl accepts custom orders to replacing color finishes with those of the Masters Series.

Further information is available from:







Yamaha Timpani Mallets

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TPM-501B ¥8,400/502B ¥8,800/503B ¥9,200/504B ¥9,400
TPF-521F/522F/523F ¥6,000 each

 Yamaha Music Trading has introduced two new advanced types of mallets having bamboo shafts (B Series) and flannel heads (F Series) designed for Yamaha TP-7000 and upper model timpani.

The B Series mallets are consisted of 4 types suitable for solo staccato, classical staccato, roll play in large tonal volume and distinctive bass tone. Using oak for the head core, the bamboo shaft mallets provide extra elasticity effective for solo play.

The F Series mallets come with a layered flannel head pressed with a screw at top end and a hickory shaft which deliver dynamic sound in large halls. A set of three serves all purposes as individual models feature a head in different hardness.

Further information is available from:

Cakewalk by Roland UA-1G USB Audio Capture

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Capable of handling 96kHz/24bit audio format, it provides high quality sound inputs and outputs. USB bus power-driven UA-1G does not require AC adapter or batteries when plugging with personal computer.

Rich inputs and outputs include standard type guitar/mic input, plug-in powered mini mic input (also serves as a digital input connector), RCA pin line input/output, and a headphone output(digital output).

A large input volume indicator for controlling input level on the top front, and a built-in peak level indicator have realized much improved visual control and maneuvering capabilities.

It comes complete with an Audio Creator LE (for Windows) software for advanced wave edit, noise cancelation, effect control, conversion of audio formats and CD production.

Further information is available from:

Cakewalk by Roland USB MIDI Interface

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They are compact USB bus power-driven MIDI interface employing FPT (Fast Processing Technology of MIDI Transmission) system with 1 each input/output, 2 each inputs/outputs and 3 each inputs/outputs to be selected depending on situations.

All models have an LED input/output level indicator, and MIDI Hardware Through function which sends out input signal even when power is shut down. UM-1G incorporates a MIDI check button to transmit MIDI note data from MIDI Out cable.

UM-2G is good to plug with two different types of keyboards or sound source with 32 parts. Two MIDI THRU switches are provided for discrete control of two different ports.

UM-3G is compatible with a maximum of 3 MIDI inputs and outputs. Since it has 2 USB expansion ports at the rear to which another UM-3G can be plugged with. When 2 UM-3Gs are connected, the expanded system works as a 9 inputs/9 outputs MIDI interface.   

Further information is available from:







Vestax TANK(VAI-80)USB Audio Station

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DJ-mixer specialist Vestax has developed a USB audio interface which can control audio sources real time with no help of software. Having a volume level control and a 2-band equalizer, all mixing works can be done real time.

It meets the strict demands of professionals, i.e., recording works plugging with a guitar or transmit PC-DJ performance to PA, as it has 4 RCA monaural inputs/outputs, a mic/MI phone input, a headphone output and 2 XLR outputs.

It's compatible with Windows XP (SP2 and upper versions)/Vista, Mac X10.2 and upper versions.

Further information is available from:

Kawai Score Maker Expansion Kits

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Song-writing Expansion Kit /Edit Expansion Kit ¥9,333 each
File Management Kit ¥6,667

Kawai started providing download service of the 1st series of Score Maker Expansion Kits for advanced score reading, production, editing, printing and playing. Since first introduction 13 years ago, the Score Maker has been steadily upgraded with increased functions and easiness of use.

The new Expansion Kit enhances capabilities of the FX3 series FX3 Pro most advanced software. Three types of additional functions are available: Song-writing Expansion to support advanced composition/arrangement, Edit Expansion for serious users, and File Management Tool dedicating to all Score Maker users.

The Song-writing Kit provides such additional functions as melody development, changes of pitch by code name and scale, deformation of rhythms and instant insertion and deletion of rests.

The Edit Expansion Kit elaborately improves pains-taking edit works of integration of notes and rests, addition of alert remarks when playing, etc.

The File Management Kit allows users to control all Score Maker files saved in PC with library, score list, loop playback, print, group file conversion and search functions.

All kits are Windows Vista/XP/2000 Japanese language compatible.

Further information is available from:









Korg Clip-on Tuners

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AW-2 ¥5,500 






AW-2G ¥3,500 




The AW-2 comes with 2 clips in different sizes to be applicable to various types of orchestra instruments. While, the AW-2G is designed to best fit to guitar head.

Common features include double ball joint for the display which broadens display angle to all directions, 2 different brightness of back-lit display for greater visibility on dark stage, saving power consumption capability when operated in automatic mode, and piezo or built-in mic application depending on instruments.

Major & minor third pitches are identified on the display screen, and they have horizontal and vertical display of level meter. Calibration range to cope with various concert pitches, automatic power shut down capability and memory back-up function are also standard to both models.

The measurement range is from A0(27.50Hz) to C8(4,186Hz).

Further information is available from:

Yamaha Chromatic Tuners

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TD-35ML ¥3,500






TD-35MS ¥3,500



Specially designed for wind and string instruments, they feature instant selection of piezo or built-in microphones by a simple touch control, major and minor thirds indicators, automatic power shut down and memory backup functions. The ML model has a 360 degree rotating clip, while the MS model comes with a clip finely attached to wind instrument bells.

The TD-35ML is recommended for clarinet, oboe, saxophone, bassoon, horn, euphonium, tuba, violin, viola, cello, double bass, etc.

The TD-35MS is most suitable for trumpet and trombone.

They have measurement range from A0 (27.50Hz) to C8 (4,186Hz), and calibration range between 410Hz and 480Hz in 1Hz steps.        

Further information is available from:

Yamaha Music Stand

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MS-250ALS  ¥4,300

It's an attractively-priced model made in Japan employing light-weight aluminum. Weighing just 625grams, it's easy to carry around accommodated in an exclusive soft case. Height is adjustable between 800mm and 1,510mm when the legs are set up in 450mm expanse. The panel is firmly fastened with a gear type angle adjuster. Black cation-lacquered stand is rugged and has fine appearance.

Further information is available from:




Yamaha Inst. Maintenance Mat & Cleaning Swabs

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MTMT ¥2,500

 It's a 5mm thick resin filled mat to be used for maintenance services of woodwind and brass instruments. It measures 850mm by 450mm. Black-trimmed blue mat comes with black rear lining. Both faces can be used.


Cleaning swabs S: ¥580/ M: ¥650/L: ¥850

Made of newly developed microfiber cloth, the swabs can finely wipe out water and stain of inner body. They are smooth and don't leave thread in the body. S, M and L swabs come in rectangular sizes of 250mm by 300mm, 300mm by 350mm and 500mm by 550mm.

The S model is good for mouthpieces of woodwind instruments and saxophone neck. The M model is applicable to Eb/Bb and alto clarinets. The L model is best used for bass clarinet.

Further information is available from:

Yamaha Mouthpiece Pouches

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Trumpet ¥2,400, 3 trumpets ¥2,900, horn ¥2,200, trombone ¥2,500 and tuba ¥2,700

Five types of nylon pouches for trumpet, 3 trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba are now available from Yamaha. Three Yamaha exclusive anti-corrosion clothes are standard to individual pouches to protect mouthpieces from corrosion and discoloration.

Special anti-bacteria cloth is employed for the inside and cushion.

Three bright colors of black, pink and blue are available for individual pouches.

Further information is available from: