October 2010 Archives

Kawai Digital Piano and Stage Pianos

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CA13 ¥198,000     
A new competitive model joined the advanced Concert Artist Series digital pianos much acclaimed with their wooden keyboard action.

It features new RM3 Grand keyboard action with ivory type wooden keys complemented with newly designed hammers and hammer weight which provide repeated notes improved by 40% than the conventional models, and sharp keys which offer advanced natural play feel.

The Progressive Harmonic Imaging, 88-key stereo sampled sound engine taken from the EX full concert piano provides increasingly natural and delicate tonal nuance.

The Lesson function provides 126 Beyer and 25 Burgmuller ?tudes for versatile practice in single hand and in different tempo. The Recording function allows the player to save 3 titles (15,000 notes) of music.
The stylish cabinet either in mat Premium Black Satin type or glossy bright Premium Cherry type has same key bed bases as the upper class models. 
  
MP10 ¥260,000 (photo left)
MP6 ¥170,000 (photo right)
Kawai has refined the MP series stage pianos and introduced the MP10 flagship model and the compact size MP6 competitive model. 

The MP10 features wooden RM3 Grand keyboard action with new ivory type moisture-absorbing natural keys to provide the player with comfortable play in fast and intensive passage, newly designed hammers and hammer weight, and let-off feel function. The result is much improved pianissimo just in the same feeling as to play grand piano.

The Ultra Progressive Harmonic Imaging, 88-key stereo sampled sound engine provides 27 voices including electric piano produced with quadrupled wave data of the former models, and 6 amp modeling sounds.

Designed with Tough & Trust concept, the MP10 comes in sturdy glossy black metallic body with matched solid wood panel. The body has been designed 9cm narrower in width than the predecessor to reduce overall weight.

The MP6 features 256 voices including new electric piano, organ and brass, ivory key type Responsive Hammer keyboard action which has realized movement angle of the hammers close to grand piano for authentic play feel and repeated notes. 
   
Both models provide USB connectivity for recording/playback audio files to be saved in WAV or MP3 format for sound edit with DAW software.

MIDI and USB to Host ports are also provided to expand such master keyboard functions as assignable knob and data transport capabilities controlling external devices.

Further information is available from:
http://www.kawai.co.jp/

Roland Digital Pianos, Organ & Digital Accordions

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HPi-7F
HPi-6F
The HPi Digi-Score Series digital piano line has now two greatly upgraded models with integrated piano sounds and key touch.

They feature a large TFT LCD screen laid out on the music rack on which various music symbols and note names can be displayed. The 7F has a 10.4″ wide display twice larger than the other models, capable of showing 16-measure score and grasp entire flow of music. The Digi-Score is also enhanced with the new Finger Practice function with use of Hanon music. When music is played on metronome click, key touch intensity is graphically shown real time on the display. It evaluates performance skills and gives advice so that the player can continue practicing with purpose.

The expanded practice and entertainment applications include Scroll Game for all level players.

They feature SuperNATURAL piano engine, PHA II Ivory Feel keyboard action for the 6F and PHAIII Ivory Feel keyboard action for the 7F for fine repeated notes and expression capability, and come in Rosewood type or Satin Black type cabinet.

FP-7F

The latest addition to the FP Series digital piano features SuperNATURAL piano engine, PHAIII Ivory Feel S keyboard action which gives the player genuine ivory type look and touch of white keys in addition to fine repeated notes and expression capability, Looper function to record layered sound and vocal provided through microphone accompanied by the built-in rhythm patterns, and Harmony function to automatically layer beautiful harmonies matched to melody and chord progression.

C-380-DAS ¥1,350,000
A new model joined the Classic Series home organ line. Featuring the basic functions of the C-330, it has upgraded in solemn cabinet design with the keyed roll top cover, and functions to fit church, hotel banquet hall and institutional applications.

It features 61-key double-manual keyboard, a 30-key concaved pedalboard in parallel design, rich voices to cover various times from baroque age to early 20th century.

The keyboard action designed after Tracker Action key touch can contribute the organist with subtle expression typical to authentic pipe organ. Satellite speakers are provided to place upper on the wall to produce classical pipe sounds flowing over the instrument from the ceiling.

The new pistons allow the organist to select different voices and couplers during performance. The Memory piston has new PREV mode in addition to the existent NEXT mode for instant recall of registration programs. It provides equal and 8 other classical temperaments, and four pitches including baroque.  
     
Having USB connectivity, backing and automatic performance capabilities serve various occasions and purposes from wedding reception to ceremony. Mute function is provided to cancel keyboards and pedalboard performance separately for practice.

It comes in Dark Oak type cabinet.

FR-3X Piano-type
FR-3X Button-type
The two new accordions in medium size and weight inherit PBM sound engine of the FR-7X flagship model. They provide 37 keys or 92 buttons and greatly enhanced expression capability. High sensitive air pressure sensor efficiently detects the bellows movement to reflect the player's expression to the sound.

They feature new French and Italian style accordion sounds built-in the FR-7X as well as expanded orchestra sounds, 10 preset sound produced with the virtual tone wheel organ voices and rotating type effects. They also have 8 percussion voices to be played on bass and chord parts.

The USB connectivity allows the user to save user original settings in USB memory, and enjoy jam session with WAV/MP3 and other audio files stored in USB memory.

It works for about 5 hours with 10 AAA batteries. When the built-in speaker is turned off, the play time is extended to 9 hours.

In addition to black body, they have Pearl White body with impressive soft red bellows and matched red shoulder and left hand belts.

Further information is available from:
http://www.roland.co.jp/

Korg Digital Piano

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microPiano ¥38,000
     

The compact, stylish piano comes with a same type polished top as traditional grand piano. The mini-size 61 keys are designed in search of advanced quality and playability.

It provides 61 instrumental voices including PCM stereo sampled authentic grand piano, electric piano, clavichord, organ, bell, music box and toy piano of which 25 voices come as Short Phrase voices capable of producing phrases automatically simply by pressing keys.

A total of 61 demo music contains classical, J-Pop and movie sound track, and Christmas songs. Every title can be played back in any desired instrumental voice. Weighing only 5.2kgs, it can be instantly set up and move around.
  
It works on mains with the provided AC adapter, or 6 nickel metal hydride or AAA alkaline batteries. A speaker is built-in to be played anywhere. A headphone jack is standard.

It also supports separately sold PS-1 and PS-3 pedal switches (¥2,000, and ¥1,400, respectively) and DS-1H (¥3,800) damper pedal.

Three body colors of Black, Red and White are available.

Further information is available from:
http://www.korg.co.jp/

Roland Synthesizers and Stage Piano

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JUNO-Gi
The latest model of the JUNO series features 5.7kgs weight, 500g lighter than the JUNO-G, user-interactive interface and an easy-to-see LCD screen. 

It provides more than 1,300 instrumental voices including a host of playable voices on live stage. Individual voices can be memorized as Live Sets with settings of tone layer/split, effects and arpeggiator instantly recalled by a button on the front panel. The wave memory doubled from the predecessor has realized much upgraded tonal quality.

An 8-track digital recorder is built-in for recording and playback music and musical inspirations by directly plugging with guitar and microphone. The individual tracks have 8 V tracks, allocating 64 tracks per song. In addition to audio tracks, it offers an additional track for over 300 rhythm patterns including rock, jazz and R&B.

The USB connectivity allows the user to set up PC-based music production system with help of a DAW software.
Cakewalk Production Plus Pack software is bundled.

It works on AC adapter and 8 nickel metal hydride batteries.

AX-Synth Black Sparkle
A new model in black sparkle exterior joined the shoulder type AS-Synth line. UV-lacquered containing glass flakes, it gives remarkable twinkling effects.

It retains the high quality SuperNATURAL sound engine, battery-drive capability, rich controllers and simple operation of its sister model.

RD-700NX
The new stage piano features the SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine and the PHA III Ivory Feel keyboard action to provide much upgraded playability and functions. Combining 88-key stereo multi-sampling technology that Roland has accumulated in the years and advanced SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine, it offers the player continuously variable tonal color and natural decay, the characteristics of acoustic piano.

Electric piano sound has acquired advanced expression, redesigning wave forms and effects of the RD-700GX. The PHA III Ivory Feel keyboard action with escapement provides natural key touch and improved repeated notes.

The new Sound Focus function can control sound dropouts and presence of acoustic and electric pianos. It has tonal presence to carry over the sound of big band.

Split/layer, key touch level of individual player can be assigned to 6 One-Touch buttons for instant recall. A large 240 dot by 128 dot LCD screen is provided. It supports audio sound recording in WAV format.

RPU-3 ¥13,500
A 3-pedal footboard is now available. Standard ports are provided to support RD-700 series, FP-7/7F and Fantom series instruments with 3 pedalboard ports.

Further information is available from:
http://www.roland.co.jp/

Korg MIDI Keyboard Controller

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microKEY ¥12,000
Redesigning black and white keys to be played more comfortable in chord, fast passage and glissando performance, the 37-key velocity-sensitive mini size keyboard efficiently transfers players' musical feeling to software.

The octave shift button provides 4-level shifts with simple control, enabling performance on full MIDI-regulated tone range with help of key transpose function. Pitch bend and modulation wheels are also provided.

It has 2 USB A ports which expand capabilities of the microKEY plugging with nanoPAD, nanoKONTROL and other controllers.

Korg KONTROL Editor software is downloadable from the Korg website to customize production environment.

It comes complete with licensed KORG M1Le, EZdrummer Lite, Lounge Lizard Session software and a discount coupon for the Ableton ″LIVE″ series package.

It supports Windows 7, Vista SP2/XP SP3, and Mac OS X 10.4.

Further information is available from:
http://www.korg.co.jp/

Suzuki Marching Drums

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MDS-10 alto snare ¥21,000
MDT-10 tenor ¥20,000
MBD-14 bass ¥27,000
MBD-16 bass ¥28,000
MBD-18 bass ¥29,000
W-8MR timp tom, twin ¥48,000
TR-8MR timp tom, trio ¥63,000
Specially designed for children with small physique, the compact and light weight Mariquita marching drum line has successfully reduced weight by 20% than the conventional models featuring aluminium hoops while maintaining basic structure as wooden shell, tension bolts fastened at both end. All models come with ring-mute built-in head for clear cut, sharp sounds.

The alto snare and tenor weigh 1.66kgs, and 1.48kgs, respectively, measured 10″ by 5″ and has 6 bolts. They come with an L-shape metal plate for shoulder holder, (photos: MDS-10, left and MDT-10)

The 5.9″ deep bass drums are available in 14″, 16″ and 18″ diameters. They weigh between 2.0kgs and 2.44kgs and have 6 bolts, and a metal plate to attach the holder. (photos: from l. to r., MBD-18, MD-16 & MBD-14)

The timp toms come in two types: twin (8″ and 10″) in 2.54kgs and trio (8″, 10″ and 12″) in 3.62kgs. They are meticulously designed to minimize gap between the hoop and head so that mallets can travel smoothly without hitting edge. A holder is standard. (Photos: W-8MR & TR-8MR)

The line is finished in vivid red. The snare comes complete with sticks. While a pair of mallets are standard to the other models.

Further information is available from:
http://www.suzuki-music.co.jp/ 

Korg Percussion Synthesizer

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WAVEDRUM BLACK
A black model joined the WAVEDRUM. With authentic, versatile sounds and user-friendly interface retained, it comes with a metallic black rim and matched REMO black suede head.

Further information is available from:
http://www.korg.co.jp/

ESP Electric Guitar

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Flying Angel -Fantasia- Takamiy Signature Model ¥2,300,000
ESP has built the artistic guitar in characteristic design with its distinguished woodworking technology and quality standard.

Designed after the FLYING A-IV, it features alder body with elegant angel wings, original headstock, hard maple set neck, 24 frets rosewood fingergoard with T's inlaid position markers, 2 EMG 81 pickups, a pickup selector switch, and Floyd Rose bridge. The angel wings are trimmed with gold to give the guitar an impressive look. A hard case is standard.

Further information is available from:
http://www.espuitars.co.jp/

Aria Classical Guitar

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A-58CWE/M ¥58,000
The 75mm deep thin body classical model features spruce top, framed maple back and sides, mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard detailed with advanced quality machine heads and wooden binding.

The 45mm wide nuts, the neck jointed to the body at 14th fret, and cutaway design have made the guitar really playable.

A Shadow microphone and Nanoflex piezo pickup are built-in for rich acoustic sound. It's suitable as a second guitar for electric and acoustic guitar players.

Further information is available from:
http://www.ariaguitars.com/jp/

Famous Ukuleles

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FS-5G ¥31,000 
The popular FS-5 has now Gotoh gear pegheads specially designed for the Famous which are easier to tune than conventional friction pegheads, and suitable for entry level players. It features layered Hawaiian Koawood body and 15 frets fingerboard jointed to the body at 12th fret.

FS-0 ¥20,000
The first soprano model for the Famous line features 40mm deep body, 525-mm long body, 319g weight, a well balanced compact head, easy-to-play soprano neck, and Gotoh gear pegs. The body is made of newly developed triple-layered mahogany. Tonal quality is rich and warm.

First lot models come with an 18S vinyl case.

FS-0P ¥20,000
The soprano size slim ukulele features light-weight 40mm deep triple-layered mahogany body in pineapple shape, balanced head, Gotoh gear pegheads, and a slim soprano neck.

First lot models come with an 18S vinyl case.

Further information is available from:
http://www.kiwaya.com

 

Roland Guitar Amps

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CUBE-80XL/CUBE-40XL/CUBE-20XL/CUBE-15XL
All models feature power squeezer function which is capable of producing natural distortion of large amplifier even when operated in low volume level, and CLEAN and LEAD channels.

The 80-watt 80XL with a built-in 30cm custom speaker delivers high output power remarkable for its compact and light weight structure. Having a discrete line out and recording out ports, it supports professional level recording. (photos: CUBE-80XL & 40XL)

The LEAD channel provides 11 COSM amp models. The newly developed EXTREME original amp model delivers extra deep distortion not found in conventional models. The vastly expanded effects include new HEAVY OCTAVE to support chord play, and spring reverb in addition to traditional high quality reverb. The Solo function allows the user to memorize panel settings of each channel for instant recall. The LOOPER function magnifies sound layer with 80 seconds recording capability. 

The 40-watt 40XL features a 25cm built-in custom speaker, equivalent quality sounds and functions to the 80XL, 9 COSM amp models including EXTREME, HEAVY OCTAVE and spring reverb effects.

The 20-watt 20XL with a 20cm built-in custom speaker is designed for efficient power consumption yet high output power. The CLEAN and LEAD channels can be selected with a foot switch as well. The LEAD channel provides 6 amp models including EXTREME. In addition to the same effects of the upper models including HEAVY OCTAVE and spring reverb, it has SOLO mode to make distinctive sounds in solo play. (photos: CUBE-20XL & 15XL)

The 15-watt 15XL with a 20cm built-in custom speaker features 4 amp models including EXTREME and new METAL ZONE for deep high-gained distortion.

All models come with an on-board tuner and an AUX In port to plug with portable music player.

Further information is available from:
http://www.roland.co.jp

Boss Distortion and Pitch Shifter

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ST-2
The compact distortion unit provides combined sounds of vintage stacking amp and broad distortion effects produced with Boss' COSM technology. The Sound knob allows the user to variably control "DRIVE", "ULTRA" and "CRUNCH" modes to deliver diversified sound from heavy driven type, ultra high gain distortion to crispy fat crunch.

It not only changes tonal characters, but also instantly follows performance, reflecting delicate distortion effects with picking nuances for increased expression.

PS-6
The PS-5 standard model of pitch shifter is upgraded to PS-6. It has greatly improved processing capability employing high quality DSP, and tonal quality when pitch changes.

The Harmony function has now expanded to triple-voice from former dual-voice. In addition to 12-step key settings, it supports major and minor keys to deliver fat guitar sound. When plugged with a stereo system, different harmonies are produced at right and left fields for well projected stereo sound.

The new Super Bend mode produces extra heavy bass sounds by setting pitch shift between minus 3 and plus 4 octaves. Rise Time and Fall Time for pitch shift can be selected to be capable of controlling pitches in more musical way. Detune mode is also provided to give sounds extra warmth by adding two tones in slightly different pitches.

Plugging with an expression pedal, pitch control is further upgraded with slide and glissando controlled from the pedal.

Further information is available from:
http://www.roland.co.jp

Steinberg Software Synthesizer

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HALION SONIC/R
HALION SONIC/E (Academic Ver.)
With built-in 12GB sample libraries and acoustic, synthesizer and hybrid voices, the all round workstation meets expectations of most discerning composer, producer, musician and sound designer.

The multi-timbre audio synthesizer engine allows the user to play 16 different voices (programs) simultaneously. The 4 modes of Sample Playback, Slice Loop, Drum and Synth are provided for flexible combination of the voices.

The sample libraries contain more than 1,200 voices created by the voicing team of Yamaha MOTIF. Individual voices have 18 articulations to provide diversified sounds from acoustic instruments, legendary synthesizers, club sounds, sound scapes, acoustic drum to latest hip hop loops. It supports Cubase 5 Media Bay to instantly locate voices.

The individual voices are consisted of 4 layers to be discretely edited. The Morphing Filter allows the user to blend 4 filters among 24 in total. Authentic synthesizer mode has a host of components including multi stage envelope, LFO, step modulator, and modulation matrix.
 
Each layer voice has 4 slots for rich effects including professional quality REVerence modes. It provides about 1,500 phrase patterns including Flex Phrases produced with arpeggio and other articulations of the MOTIF synthesizers.

It supports Windows VST3/VST2.4, Macintosh VST3/VST2.4, or works as a stand alone device.

Further details are available from:
http://www.yamaha.co.jp/

Roland USB Audio Interface

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OCTA-CAPTURE

The USB 2.0 audio interface provides 10 individual inputs and outputs, and 8 VS?PREAMP mic preamplifiers with 24bit/192kHz audio quality packed in a heavy-duty compact body. Inheriting high quality analog circuit and A/D converter of the V-STUDIO, it allows the user to import powerful and crispy sound into DAW.

The AUTO SENSE function sets optimal input levels for all preamps simply controlling one single button. The new VS STREAMING technology provides ultra-low latency and stable operation in sync performance with hardware, driver and DAW based on high precision audio clock.

The 4 built-in direct monitor mixers are capable of patching mixing level and output source from the interface or on control surface to set up flexible monitor system.

It supports Windows 7/Vista/XP SP2, and Mac OS X10.4.

Further information is available from:
http://www.roland.co.jp/

Yamaha has introduced 4th generation MOTIF flagship synthesizer in September after 3 years blank. The first MOTIF made debut in 2001 during the time self-contained workstation type synthesizer was appreciated by music makers. It was designed with the distinctive concept to provide artists with musical inspiration and ideas in the form of musical motif to support all types of music production. Rich, high quality sounds based on abundant wave memory, exceeding level of playability and maneuvering capability of the MOTIF won acclaim from musicians and sound creators throughout the world.

The initial model was followed by the MOTIF ES in 2003, MOTIF XS in 2007, and the MOTIF XF this fall. The XF stands for flash memory and fourth model of the line as well. It's unusual in the music scene that one digital synth has a 10-year life of repeated remodeling.

In the time musicians in large shift to PC-based DAW, why does the MOTIF maintain its popularity? Japan Music Trades interviewed two key persons in product development and marketing at Yamaha to know future course of the powerful performing synthesizer. (photo right: Taku Ohno, left, and Shogo Ito.)

4th generation synth born with continuous improvement
Workstation was a mainstream during the 90s. Musicians opted it for music production without keyboardists in band. As PCM technology (AWM for Yamaha) advanced, workstation satisfied diversified applications from movie sound track to club music. The MOTIF synth has upgraded model after model with significantly expanded wave forms and arpeggiatior patterns. The advanced technology has multiplied the total capabilities of the MOTIF.

Taku Ohno, Supervisor, DE Produce Group, DMI Development Department, Digital Musical Instruments Division, says, "Prior to the MOTIF, we introduded S80 synth with piano keyboard action in 1999. Our overseas branches started carrying extensive artist relations, and marketing strategies at distribution level. Comments and requests from musicians and dealers accumulated and they were fed back to the development team. Sales soared as expectation for Yamaha synth grew."  

More wave forms employed, more development works become complicated. The piano voices, in particular, are what Yamaha has most devoted in development. Thousands of arpeggiator patterns provide the player automatic selection of patterns simply by pressing keys, but they seem to be too many to control. Overseas users, however, request that they can be further expanded.

In Performance mode with multiple voices employed, ensemble sounds are instantly produced adding drum and bass sounds. The synth flexibly responds to artistic inspiration of players. (photos: from top to bottom, MOTIF XF6, XF7 & XF8) 

The MOTIF XF has slots for two separately sold flash memories (FL512M and FL1024M, photo left) to which a total of nearly 3GB worth instrument voices, audio loops of sampled sounds and vocal data including preset voices can be saved. Yamaha starts providing sound libraries at its website in September. An English communication site, MOTIFATOR (www.motifator.com/) offers the user programs created by third parties.  

Yasuhiko Fukuda, keyboardist who demonstrated the MOTIF XF at the dealer presentation commented, "The MOTIF greatly upgraded when the XS was introduced with exceptional tonal quality, expressiveness and performance level. Based on the XS, the XF has further improved. Acoustic sounds are really sophisticated. The S6 grand piano voice provides exceptionally authentic mid range sounds. Tremolo effects in string voices have extra fidelity. Such voices as clavichord, accordion, timpani and harp have additional delicate nuance with rich overtones. I say, the acoustic voices are just like the sounds delivered through high fidelity audio system, but not synthesized ones. The wealth of arpeggiator patterns and real time control capability allow the user to enjoy full fledged synth voices. The improved analog output circuit delivers thick, tight and crispy sounds. The sounds and play feel are truly fantastic!"  

PC-friendly structure
The MOTIF has been designed with advanced PC connectivity since much earlier stage. With Cubase AI edit software provided in the package, it offers the user excellent edit and remote-control capabilities in synchronized operation with DAW software.

A Firewire board is sold separately to allow the user to record 16-track audio data into Cubase AI via MOTIF XF as an audio interface. Steinberg software provided by Yamaha subsidiary helps provide the XF user with advanced PC connectivity. A new software HALion Sonic VST workstation to be announced this fall will offer a bunch of MOTIF voices to DAW user.

The well established business cooperation of Yamaha and Steinberg will efficiently support both synthesists and PC-based musicians as the Yamaha hardware are fully backed by the Steinberg PC software.

Yamaha plans distribution of the XF through over 100 exclusive dealers in addition to 17 Yamaha Keyboardist Stage premium shops throughout Japan.
Shogo Ito, Digital Musical Instrument Product Merchandiser, EKB-LM Sales & Marketing Division, says, "Japanese users are most discernible in the world. They exchange ideas about new and advanced features and functions of the XF on twitter. They are quite responsive. We cordially welcome customers to visit any of our stores and find surprisingly intensified value of the MOTIF XF."

Yamaha has been increasingly expanding digital keyboards specially designed for performing musicians these past years. Last year S90, XS, S70 XS synthesizers featuring piano touch keyboard action made debut. They were followed by CP1, flagship model of stage piano. Adding the MOTIF XF, performing musicians will have a broader selection of gears which will definitely explore their musical creativity.

Manji Suzuki, CEO, Chairman, Suzuki Musical Insts. Mfg., Co., Ltd.

 

Left Kawai in 1952, he founded Suzuki Gakki Seisakusho two years later to build his beloved harmonica. Demands for harmonica dramatically grew at school as Course of Study regulated harmonica as one of key materials for music education at elementary and junior high school. It successfully set future course of Suzuki to be a leading educational instrument manufacturer.

In 1961, Suzuki first introduced Melodion, 34-key keyboard harmonica efficiently designed to teach students basics of scale. It was adopted into the Ministry of Education Teaching Materials Standard in 1969.

The Melodion marks 50 years since debut in 2010. A total of 24 million units has been sold with over 50 models to this day.

 

Company policy remains unchanged
"In developing products, I'm always concerned about 1. How do music teachers use our instruments in class?, 2. Do children appreciate them? 3. Do our products effectively serve the purpose of education? When I launched my company, we have set our goal to give children dream and raise healthy mind through music making. We have shared the 3 points I mentioned at Suzuki from the very beginning.

"Educational musical instruments are teaching materials that every child owns. Expensive instruments don't serve the purpose. Consequently, they should be offered at affordable price. How can we build competitive products to meet the requirements? I spend much of my time thinking over these issues. (photo right: Melodion 50th Anniversary models, PRO-37AR, PRO-37AB and PRO-37AS

When we face challenges, I find solutions and ideas in school. I frequently visit schools throughout Japan because I believe it's the basic to see where music is played. That is the reason why I suggest our people at Suzuki to see what's going on at school themselves with their eyes.

In fact we learn a lot from educational front. Music teachers tell us in detail what we can improve in design and manufacturing. These advices and comments are really valuable. Nevertheless, they are reflected on our future products. The music teachers choose Suzuki instruments because we have responded to their requests. Good communication helped us establish respectable relationship with them. Even when we were unable to comply with their expectation, they understand it was somewhat irrational and we have done our best.

Until 10 years ago, music teachers called me by nickname. Yes, they were our customers, but we shared the passion for quality sound and fine musical instruments. The long-lasting friendly relationship with them helped me to this day. Ideas for new technology come up through the communication with the teachers. They suggest, and the rest is our task. It's amazing that our employees come to think and respond as I do. They understand what I think working together. Consequently, we share ideas without words.

To tell you about product development at Suzuki, it's more like meetings of craftsmen rather than of technical engineers. Casual talks finally materialize product designs. Except pianos and violins, we build almost all educational instruments for school at our factories. The basic of manufacturing musical instrument is to make original sound. It's standard to all products we make. (photos right: from top to bottom, Manji M-20,  S-48S and SU-2 Humming) 

I founded the company to make my favorite instrument, harmonica. Since the very beginning we took reed technology as the center of our manufacturing. One of our goals is to continue to developing new reed instruments through extensive study of the core technology.

Diversified manufacturing in Suzuki group
"Suzuki group is consisted of 7 companies each of which has specific role to serve the entire group. I have had personal interest in machinery since young days. In pursuit of manufacturing good quality products in short time, Suzuki has grown to have subsidiaries with differentiated technologies. Tsumori Seiki launched in 1973 designs and develops automated machinery and precision molds. Since we have auto industry in Hamamatsu, the company finds a huge market besides requirements in Suzuki group. Individual subsidiaries have expanded exploring businesses outside of the music products industry accordingly.

"Having many subsidiaries means that I don't have ability to do everything myself. Each subsidiary has experts who help me pursue my interests in various fields. All subsidiaries support and expand businesses of the parent company.
 
"To offer competitive products to the customers, we must have efficient production system capable of manufacturing high quality products in consistent basis at reasonable price. I'm proud that Suzuki has a host of talented people who love creating things. We are a team of craftsmen. I believe the creative atmosphere prevailing in Suzuki group has greatly contributed to support music education and the growth of our business.

"While manufacturing educational instruments, we have promoted music making among general public. For example, Suzuki Harmonica Society has been active promoting harmonica playing with help of name composers and singer/song writer. Music development is closely associated with promotional activities, and we get feedback from players which are naturally reflected on our product development.

Offer products matched to customers' needs
"Sales of Suzuki Melodion keyboard harmonica reached surprising 24 million units. I say, it' an incredible accomplishment. We worked very hard, but were also fortunate because it was associated with Japan's dramatic economic growth of the time.

"We live in an age that we can survive only manufacturing truly innovative, high quality products. I believe recognizing situations we face gives us valuable ideas for product development. NAMM Show, Frankfurt Music Fair and other leading industry events are places of treasure hunting. Seeing products on display is exciting, but it's equally important to watch response of visitors. Visiting the trade shows always provide me with tips for future business. If you have one single product line, it will affect your business in hard times. But you can prepare for economic downturn having new products. I think it's the principle theory for manufacturers.

Take advantage of people power
"With declining birth rate, we can't expect number of school age children goes up in coming years. Today, it's about 1.1 million, half from the first baby boom period. We have experienced countless number of hard times in the past. Suzuki had serious difficulties twice. Both cases involved human resource and financial problem. When one of our business partners went bankrupt, we faced a risk of failure though it was rather a small loss. Banks weren't any help but people power relieved us from the adversities.

"I don't think manufacturing things is difficult. Making good harmony of people is harder. it's often out of human control when it comes to people issue. All managers having staff will agree with me.

"I have been in music products industry since I joined Kawai at 15 years old. Launched my company at 27, I have experienced many good and bad times. Looking back to the past, I say this is a very exciting business and feel pleasure to be a member of the industry. At 87 now, I will retire in a year or two. I hope Suzuki's half century-plus history and tradition in manufacturing educational instruments and precious assets of people power continue to work in harmonious way in the years to come. 
   
Suzuki Group

Universe Seiki Co., Ltd. (Manufactures plastic molds, design & production of jigs, products assembly for various industries.)
Tsumori Seiki Co., Ltd. (Design, development and production of automated machinery for various industries.)
Suzuki Educational Software Co., Ltd. (Development of educational, business and home application software.)
Suzuki Music Enterprise Co., Ltd. (Music promotion)
Suzuki Musical Inst. Sales Co., Ltd. (Distribution of Suzuki products in Japan)
Suzuki Corporation (Overseas distribution for Suzuki and Hammond products)
Hammond Suzuki, Ltd. (Music studio operation mainly based on Hammond instruments)