June 2010 Archives

Nineteen years after the introduction of the CFIIIS, Yamaha replaced the top line of the concert grand piano with the 275cm CFX flagship model, 212cm CF6 and 191cm CF4. They were first introduced during the NAMM Show in January and Frankfurt Music Fair in March.

On May 11, right on the day that the company started accepting orders for the pianos, a press conference took place at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall in Hatsudai. (photo from l. to r., Yoshihiro Doi, director & executive officer, Kazune Shimizu, pianist, Mitsuru Umemura, president, Takashi Onoda, Executive Officer and Kimiyasu Ito, Dept. Manager.) 

Mitsuru Umemura, president, commented in his opening speech, "The new concert grand pianos completed after countless evaluations by the world-class artists at name concert halls and feed back of their comments and advices. We are very excited to announce another milestone in our grand piano manufacturing history. The CF Series provides the artists with unimaginable playability and exceptional level of musical expression."

Kazune Shimizu, one of the pianists who helped evaluate the prototypes, explained about the accomplished goals of the pianos, "The CFX has ultimate tonal pureness and most beautiful sound among the pianos in the market. Nearly 10 years of my association with evaluation of the Yamaha pianos tells that the CFX has achieved a true breakthrough."

A debut concert followed in the evening. Shimizu delivered piano solo with the music of von Beethoven, Ravel, Chopin, and the second session invited Kenichiro Kobayashi, conductor, and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. The dealers, conductors, pianists and hall managers enjoyed delicate but overwhelming sound of the CFX. They unanimously applauded the level of completion.

Development works for the concert grand piano is an on-going project all the time at Yamaha. More than 40 experts from different divisions are regularly involved in the project.

Numerous specialists including independent concert tuners, staff of overseas distributors were involved in evaluation of the CF Series to feed back broader comments from different standpoints. Kimiyasu Ito, Dept. Manager, Product Development Dept., Piano Division, says, "Developing the CFIII and CFIIIS, we recognized that the pianos could have enough tonal presence to carry over the sound of full symphony orchestra. Nevertheless, those pianos had high reputation for their tonal beauty and precision key touch. Our goal was to develop new models with highest level of completion, while succeeding acclaimed characters of their predecessors." He joined the CF development project around 1986. Having worked overseas for some years, he was once again a member of the development project in the latter half of 2006.

As extensive ideas were experimented and refinement works continued, one critical subject came up. It was the soundboard that can amplify musical tones initiated by the strings. The engineers sought after the most effective use of its dynamic vibration energy.

The new soundboard for the CF Series features arched ribs fitted to the arch of soundboard and glued. The result was a flexibly vibrating soundboard. Employing new shape for the ribs, the CF Series has totally redesigned soundboard structure with new installation, increased number of the ribs and enhanced durability in order to achieve most effective tension on the soundboard.

Further refinements followed for glue method of bridge and installation of soundboard to back posts. A perfect soundboard with most flexible vibration capability completed around 2001.

Back posts have been redesigned to better fit the refined soundboard. They come in similar size with the old ones but are constructed in new structure for much increased rigidness. They are sturdy enough well responding to the vibration from soundboard, yet provide elasticity transmitting full resonance in bass range to entire cabinet. 

Takashi Onoda, Executive Officer, General Manager, Piano Division, says, "I say the CF Series represents integration of Yamaha's advanced technology and musical instrument manufacturing lasting for over 100 years. It's the result of fine cooperation and communication of piano craftsmen, designers who conducted superior computer technology to analyze structure and mechanical elements of piano, and last but not least, top level artists."

The highly efficient analyzing servers which cost Yamaha 100 million yen can simulate piano performance of its vibration level on every part, air transmission on soundboard, and sound pressure level transmitted from soundboard to frame.  

Redesigning works went on for frame, case, hammer, action and covered wire to optimize overall effectiveness. The bass strings are hand-wound by seasoned specialists to achieve pliability and minimum level of noise. Since it's a work relying hands of a few veterans at Yamaha, it has been a primary issue to maintain their valuable skills for the future piano manufacturing.

The CF pianos come in polished real black cabinet applying a special polishing technology. Completed after 2 years of extensive researches, they are never affected by lightings and keep fine appearance on stage. Onoda explains, "They come in original beauty instantly recognized among other models that also impresses elegance of pianist upon audience. We have established the highest standard in concert grand piano manufacturing with totally refined sound, design and lacquering."

High accolades from artists
Yamaha presented a prototype of the CFX in June, 2008 at the Yamaha International Piano Conference held in Hamamatsu. Surprisingly, not a few European dealers requested larger scale evaluation with European artists involved. Yamaha staged special evaluation sessions at concert halls in August, 2008 in Paris, in March in New York and in May in Tokyo, 2009.

The artists' comments contributed to finalize the detailed specifications of the CFX. Every staff involved in the development works was confident that an unprecedented piano was born at last. Designed with the same concept as the CFX, the CF6 and CF4 have won acclaims from professionals with such remarks as "Powerful and well-projected sound", "Increasingly articulate tone can make better harmony". The CF4 is most suitable for small concert halls with 200 seats or so. The CF6 is excellent for 300-seat halls and string ensemble.

Three CFX pianos are now offered for experiment for top concert pianists with a long list of requests in Japan, U.S. and Germany. It will be offered as an official piano for the International Chopin Piano Competition in October.

Onoda explains about distribution of the CF pianos, "We expect domestic sales of 30 units and international sales of 70 units for the initial year. Our long term prospects are that we share 28% of the world premium piano market with the CF, S Series and, Bösendorfer (a member of Yamaha group) models in 3 years, hopefully of which include 140 to 150 CF pianos."

The CF pianos are the product of exceptional amalgamation of master craftsmanship, years of extensive scientific research and communication with top artists. Yamaha concert grand piano has established a remarkable milestone 60 years after it was first built. They will no doubt be regarded as one of the finest pianos by artists and audience as well in the years to come.

2009 Wind Instruments Manufacturing in China

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China Musical Instruments Association and National Light Industry Information Center Instrument recently released production statistics for wind instruments in the country in 2009 which were based on voluntary reports from 18 manufacturers. 

According to the data, the 18 companies produced a total of 1.383 million units of wind instruments during the year, a 2.2% increase from the previous year. Nine out of them reported rise of their production. Saxophones, flutes and clarinets achieved favorable growth in units. The export shared 78.2%, or 1.0817 million units, that was a 0.9% decrease. 

Because of the stagnant world economy, the export of brass instruments declined 16.9% to 712 thousand units and 12% in value to 69.676 million U.S. dollars. The export of other wind instruments also went down 11.6% to 7.52 million units and 11.3% in value to 33.335 million U.S. dollars.

The U.S. remains the largest business partner for China. Last year, the country imported 144,000 Chinese-made brass instruments which was a 24.8% decline. They also dropped 12.7% in value to 8.13 million U.S. dollars.

Hebei Province, Beijing and Tianjin serve as the largest manufacturing bases for wind instruments. The districts build 78.7% of the wind instruments manufactured in China and 80.9% of the exports. The Chinese industry comprises diversified business operations from independent companies with their stocks publicly traded, privately owned companies, joint-venture firms with overseas manufacturers to government-owned factories. Today, independent companies are major players manufacturing more than 50% of the total output.

A total of 89 local wind instruments manufacturers took part in the Music China 2009 in Shanghai. It was 14.1% more than the year before last. A new spacious manufacturing facility will be added to Xiaoshan Yamaha in Hangzhou in July, 2010. It will be the world's largest manufacturing base which builds wind instruments, percussion and metal parts as well. 
China's wind instruments industry had a heavy impact as demands diminished in the world markets last year. Increasing manufacturing cost, international pressure for low exchange rate of Chinese yuan against major currencies, and soaring materials prices are also critical issues for the Chinese manufacturers.

Yamaha Concert Grand Pianos

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CFX ¥19,000,000 (photo)
CF6 ¥12,400,000
CF4 ¥10,900,000
They are successor models to the CFIIIS built with Yamaha's highest standard of excellence accumulated in a century-long history of grand piano manufacturing.

The CF series pianos are fruits of 19 years commitment and development works with 40 and more specialists picked up from every production segment including woodworking, metal processing and acoustic engineering, as well as manufacturing experts, piano technicians and experienced artists support staff from Yamaha Artist Service from all over the world.

Yamaha invited world-class pianists for 'evaluation' of the CF series pianos in 2008 as basic designs and specifications were regulated. Their comments were fed back, and further refinement continued until very recently.  

The design concept of the CF series is 'Beauty & Power.' In pursuit of exceptionally rich tonal color, ultimate elegance and incomparable musical energy, they were born as true concert grand pianos that support the artists to help derive their maximum expressiveness. Their sounds are distinctive in full orchestra at large halls.

Redesigning every single part of grand piano from body, soundboard, frame to string vibration and interference by relevant materials, the CF series have evolved as summit models of the Yamaha concert grand piano with deep, impressive and rich bass tones, transparent tonal color and well-projected exceptional brilliance.

With the CFX as the flagship model, the series provides the CF6 and CF4 in different depths.

The European spruce soundboard employs newly shaped parts and assembly methods to better meet the requirements of pianists and deliver stress-free vibration.
The redesigned bracings have enabled much improved sturdiness of the entire structure and tonal volume.

They feature new hammers resulted from extensive engineering, and made of materials perfectly fit individual tone ranges.

The frame also comes in new design for increased resonance and string pressure balance. The bass wires hand-wrapped by seasoned craftsmen provide full tonal projection and more brilliant mid and treble tones.

The cabinets are finished in polished real black, and the semi-polished upper top lid for the CFX.

Further information is available from:

Yamaha Digital Pianos & Digital Keyboard

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P-95B (photo)
Two new models in black and silver cabinet joined the P Series digital pianos.

They feature 10 original AWM stereo sampled piano voices including jazz organ and choir to fit into any musical genre, and Grade Hammer Standard (GHS) keyboard action with mat sharp keys. Sound system is refined to provide much improved sound in playback mode.

They offer fifty songs along with scores, recording and metronome functions helpful for practice.

L-85 and L-85S legs and LP-5A pedal unit that responds to half pedal control are sold separately.

NP-V80 (piaggero)
Designed after the NP series keyboard in slim body, it has rich piano voices, Grade Soft Touch keyboard action, 76 acoustic piano type touch-sensitive keys, and automatic playing system.

In addition to exclusively developed AWM stereo sampled piano voice, it provides 127 original voices, 361 XGlite instrument voices, 12 drum/SFX kit voices, 305 music data base that allows player to select voices and backings matched to musical genres of choice, and 165 styles of playing with an ensemble.

Other features include the Self-teach function, USB to Device connectivity to enjoy automatic performance and for lesson with song data downloaded from Yamaha's music data website.

Weighing only 7.1kgs, it runs on AC power and 6 AAA Alkaline batteries.

The new addition to the Portatone digital keyboard features 700 instrument voices, keyboard action with 61 touch-sensitive keys, user-friendly functions including 150 arpeggio patterns, 174 music styles and 305 Music Database to recall instrument voices and music styles of choice, and sound control interface.

Two Live Control knobs and one pitch bend wheel are provided to be capable of changing tonal color of melody, tempo for automatic backings and arpeggio patterns real time.

It has a 1.8MB flash memory to memorize additional songs and record performance of up to 5 songs.

Further information is available from:

Yamaha Silent Violins

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SV250 ¥150,000 (photo left)
SV255 (5-string model) ¥165,000

In response to the requests from professionals, Yamaha developed the SV250 and 5-string SV255 highest models of the Silent violin featuring most advanced functions and play feel for live performance.

By designing instrument body and control unit separately, they have realized weight and balance well comparable with acoustic violin for natural feel on live stage.

In addition to the sensor pickup attached to the lower part of the bridge, they have a newly developed sensor unit to be laid out inside the bridge for advanced detection of string vibration generated by subtle expression of player.

The control unit provides knob controls for tonal volume and color when playing, and a discrete headphone volume knob control for sound monitor. In addition to the line output, it offers an XLR input for direct recording to sound and recording gears.

The extended battery life had enabled 50 hours and 120 hours of use with and without headphone.

The body is made of spruce top and maple back. 

Further information is available from:

Yamaha Trombones

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YSL-882GOR ¥370,000 (photo top)
YSL-882OR ¥350,000 (photo bottom)
The new additions to the Xeno series custom trombones are tenor bass trombone Bь/F models developed in assistance with Larry Zalkind, principal trombone of the Utah Symphony Orchestra.

They employ detachable mouthpipe for selection of different play feel, resistance and tonal color. The wide pitch slide provides greater expression and characteristic sounds ranging from brilliant to exceptionally dark types.

The goose neck and rotary valve are designed with new Balanced Response rotor system that provides advanced air release for comfortable response and feel.

Both models have a yellow brass outer slide with nickel-silver top, 13.89mm bore and are clear lacquered.

The A3Yl detachable mouth pipe in yellow brass is standard, and A3GL in gold brass and A3SL in silver are sold separately at ¥18,000 and ¥40,000, respectively. (photo right: from l. to r., A3YL, A3GL and A3SL)

They come with a matched hard case that has two handles on two faces and a strap.

YBL-822G ¥520,000
Another Bь/F&Bь/F/D bass model developed with help of Douglas Yeo of the Boston Symphony Orchestra joined the Xeno custom series trombones.

It employs offset double rotary system that can be used as bass trombone with the single rotary section replacing the second rotary section. Improved D-slide assembly helps players to increase their expression capability.

It has yellow brass outer slide, nickel-silver inner slide, gold brass bell and main slide, and 14.30mm bore, and is clear lacquer finished. The YEO-S Yeo signature model silver-plated mouthpiece is standard. A matched hard case is provided.

Further information is available from:

Yamaha Drum Kits & Electronic Drum Kit

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Rock Tour Drum Kits
RT2F3M in mat finish ¥95,000
(photo left )
RT2F3A in Textured Ash finish ¥95,000 (photo right )
Developed for rock drummers, they feature Big Leaf Mahogany shells which deliver mid and bass tones matched to every type of rock sound, an R-Version bass drum eliminating tom-mount base for increased capability, and Yamaha's exclusive Y.E.S.S. shell-mount system for full resonance of the shells, broader dynamic range and rich sustain.

The Big Leaf Mahogany is brought by sustainable tree farming.

Besides the mat finish model with all shells, lugs and hoops in subdued paint finish, there is the Textured Ash model featuring 6-ply Big Leaf Mahogany shells covered with 2-ply ash.

Color finishes include Metallic type Silver, Blue and Black for the mat finish model, and Red, Brown and Smoke either in Sunburst or Monotone type for the Textured Ash model.

Both models are consisted of a 22" by 18" bass drum, 12" by 8" tom tom, and 16" by 15" floor tom. Optional models of the 14" by 13" floor tom and 10" by 7" and 13" by 9" tom toms are sold separately.

Two 14" by 6" snare drums, the RTS1460M in mat finish and RTS1460A in Textured Ash finish, are also offered separately at ¥24,000, respectively. (photos right)

DTX550X ¥190,000
It's a new DTX electronic drum kit featuring the DTX-PAD for the snare drum which is standard to the DTX950K/900K flagship models.

The DTX-PAD has a molded Textured Cellular Silicon head developed for ultimate play feel, striking sensitivity, much reduced noise in play and durability.

The DTX550 is consisted of one 10-inch XP100SD snare pad, RHH135 2-zone hi-hats with vertically movable pads, DTX500 drum trigger module, 3-zone PCY135 and PCY155 cymbal pads, KP65 kick pad, TP65 tom pads, HS650A hi-hat stand mounted on RS85A light-weight, compact rack for broader applications from practice at home to live stage.

The new DTX500 sound system provides 427 instrument voices including Yamaha's renowned acoustic drum sounds, percussion and effect voices. Fifty pre-programmed kits using these voices are offered for all musical genres from rock, jazz, funk to Latin. Twenty original kits can be memorized.

Rich training functions include metronome which allows designation of tone type and tuning for individual click sound, Groove Check function, Challenge Mode for fun drumming and Rhythm Gate to respond to correct shot.

Sixty three songs matched to various musical genres are offered for session play muting drum part, or practice recalling bass part using the Bass Solo function.

An AUX IN port is provided for portable music player.    
Further information is available from:

Yamaha Akira Jimbo Special Drum Kit

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Marking 30th year since debut as a drummer of the Casiopea in 1980, Yamaha adds YD9000AJ limited edition drum kit. A total of 30 kits are built to be distributed through the authorized Yamaha drum dealers throughout Japan, and the order is accepted until the end of this year.

Based on the YD9000 painted real wood model which was introduced in 1976, the YD9000AJ (Akira Jimbo) features birch shells equipped with the 60 degree R3 bearings for beautiful exterior and natural and gutsy mid-range sounds, and regular-mount toms to achieve comfortable sound decay.

The original lacquering is replaced with today's advanced materials.

Reflecting Jimbo's exclusive setup,it has one 14"and one 16" hybrid mount toms. The result is thick, well-contoured sounds and increased setup flexibility.

The drum kit is consisted of a 22" by 16" bass drum and five tom toms of 8" by 7.5"/10" by 7.5"/12" by 8"/14" by 11" and 16" by 13". The individual shell has an 'Akira Jimbo 30th Anniversary' emblem.


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Suzuki Keyboard Harmonica

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Melodion F-32 ¥6,200
In celebration of 50th birthday of the Melodion, Suzuki has introduced the F-32 32-key alto model with a matched light-weight semi hard case made of the same material used for personal computer and digital camera.

The case has a slim handle easily held by small hands of children laid out in the best balance to securely hold the instrument. It can be used as a music rack when opened.

The F-32 has f~c3 tone range, and plated reed plates. Mouthpieces for vertical  and horizontal use of the instrument are standard. The instrument and the case are finished in blue.

Further information is available from: