November 2010 Archives

Yamaha Upright Pianos

| No Comments

b113 (photo), b121, b113SD & b121SD
Attractively priced, the entry model pianos provide natural sound and authentic key touch. 'b' stands for beginner. They are sister models to b2 and b3 inheriting their design concepts which share one third of total piano sales of Yamaha in European market.

They are built in Indonesia where Yamaha has been manufacturing acoustic pianos for more than 35 years under strict quality control.

The b113SD and b121SD come with built-in Silent hybrid sound system. The b113 and b121 accept installation of the RSG series Silent system.

All models feature soft landing fallboard. The b113 and b113SD measure 113cm high, 149cm wide and 53cm deep. While, the b121 and b121SD measure 121cm high, 152cm wide and 61cm deep.

Further information is available from:

Yamaha Woodwind, Brass & Percussion Instruments

| No Comments

Yamaha staged a dealer press meeting to introduce new models of woodwind, brass and concert percussion instruments on October 18 at Yamaha Ginza Studio, Tokyo. (photo right)

Masaaki Itabashi, assistant manager of Yamaha School Market Div., expressed expection for the coming sales season saying that the band activities are still much supported by students and adults, and the new products would help boost businesses of the dealers.


YPC-62R piccolo ¥185,000
The new cost-efficient model designed after the best selling YPC-62 features a selected grenadilla head joint in search of advanced reverberation of sound, wave-shaped mouthpiece suitable for junior and senior high school students and entry level players with its easiness of play and agile response, and grenadilla body, covered key system with E mechanism, and silver-plated nickel silver keys. It comes with a matched case.

YFL-514LPGA flute ¥238,000 (photo left)
YFL-311LPG flute ¥140,000 (photo right)
Two new limited edition flutes with a refined head joint and appearance joined the YFL line. They feature pink gold-plated lip plate and inner wall of the head joint in pursuit of rich and brilliant tonal color.
The head caps come with hand-carved original design to enhance their luxury look.
They have covered keys, E mechanism, silver head joint (EC type for the YFL-514LPGA and CY type for the YFL-311LPG, white copper body, nickel-plated keys, curling tone holes, and comes in silver-plated finish. They are complete with a case and case cover 

The YFL-514LPGA features 9-karat gold discs for the tuning cork which provide superior attack and brilliant sound, and white gold key springs for excellent touch response. A matched case cover in characteristic design is standard.

YOB-831HG Blue Sapphire semi automatic octave oboe ¥1,290,000
YOB-832HG Blue Sapphire full automatic octave oboe ¥1,390,000 (photo)
They are limited edition models with a real blue sapphire studded on the bell featuring body made of selected grenadilla, 18-k gold reed socket, champagne gold-lacquered nickel silver keys and a thick bell. The body is newly designed with refinement on inner wall of sound hole to achieve comfortable resistance and mellow sound with core. As with the H-Limited models, they are developed in collaboration with Tomoyuki Hirota, oboe player.

Both models come with an H resonance key, white leather pads, genuine leather sapphire blue case, patent type off-white case cover and a Hirota's inspection card.



YAS-82ZSNM ¥390,000 (photo right)
YAS-62MA ¥270,000 (photo far right)
Two new alto saxophones equipped with brass thumb hook and thumb rest are introduced.
The B♭YAS-82ZSNM features a newly developed hand-made solid silver custom G1 neck which realizes well dispersed, deep and solemn sound, gold-lacquered body and keys, High F♯ and front F keys. It comes complete with light-weight and sophisticated genuine leather flight case and a 5CM custom mouthpiece.

The B♭ YAS-62MA comes with some accessories helpful for entry level musicians including a Rico Vitalizer reed case, TDM-70 tuner/metronome and a CD of Nobuya Sugawa. It features gold-lacquered body and keys, High F♯ and front F keys. A matched fabric type semi flight case is standard.  

AV1S, silver-plated, ¥31,000
AV1GP, gold-plated,¥53,000
AV1UL no lacquer, ¥31,000
The Custom Necks for alto saxophone have new V1 Series which are suitable for every music genre from classical, jazz to pops.


SAX MT-SET ¥8,000
A set of metal thumb hook and thumb rest exclusive to the Yamaha saxophones are now available. Designed to achieve excellent play feel and response, they are applicable to almost all Yamaha models from soprano to baritone. They can be furnished only by certified technicians.

YCL-CSVmaster ¥403,000 (photo far right)
YCL-CSVmasterA ¥443,000
YCL-SEVmaster ¥403000 (photo right
YCL-SEVmasterA ¥443,000
The upgraded Vmaster Custom clarinets feature thicker silver-plated keys equivalent to those of the most advanced IdealG models, genuine high density, durable leather pads for full sound and easiness to play.

The SEVmaster models provide warm and mellow yet powerful sound, while the CSVmaster models have well projected distinctive sound.

B♭and A pitches are available for both models. They are made of granadilla body, and electro plated nickel silver keys. A matched case and case cover are standard.

YFH-8310Z ¥280,000 (photos from top to bottom)
YFH-8310ZS ¥295,000
YFH-8315G ¥250,000
Three new flugel horns joined the Custom Series. Two Custom Z models were developed under the direction of Bobby Shew, and one Custom model was designed by Yamaha Atelier staff in New York and Los Angeles for next generation players.

The YFH-8310Z has one-piece yellow brass bell, and the YFH-8315G in modern style features two-piece gold brass bell. They are built in B♭ pitch with 151.8mm wide FH1 bell, 10.5mm wide S bore, and outfitted with a new Malone Pipe mouthpipe developed by brass instrument specialist, Bob Malone. The result is much improved playability, tonal quality and play feel.

The new third trigger has realized comfortable hold. The valve caps also come in new design.

In addition to lacquered finish for jazz and studio musicians, a silver-plated YFH-8310ZS for symphonic and classical music players is available. The YFH-8315G is lacquer-plated.

All models come with a newly designed case.


YTR-8335RS20TH Xeno 20th Anniversary Model ¥320,000
In celebration of 20th anniversary of the Xeno series custom trumpets, a commemorative model was developed with help of Sachio Hotokezaka, trumpeter with NHK Philharmonic Orchestra.

Featuring a 134.4mm one-piece yellow brass bell, French bead curling, and side seam structure, it's characterized for bright and warm tonal color.

The B♭YTR-8335RS20TH has medium large bore, silver-plated parts except piston buttons, valve caps and bottom caps which are gold-plated.

The bell comes with Xeno 20th Anniversary engravings, and gold-plated mouthpiece is specially made for the model. A stylish heavy-duty light-weight case is standard.

Concert tomtoms
CT-906, 6″ x 6-1/2″ ¥34,000
CT-908, 8″ x 8″ ¥37,000
CT-910, 10″ x 9″ ¥40,000
CT-912, 12″ x 10″, ¥43,000
CT-913, 13″ x 10-1/2″, ¥46,000
CT-914, 14″ x 11″, ¥49,000
CT-915, 15″ x 11-1/2″, ¥52,000
CT-916, 16″ x 12″, ¥55,000
Double-head concert tom toms are now available. They allow the user to tune front and rear heads separately for more versatile sound making.

They feature high-density oak shell in 8 different diameters and depths, YESS II-m mount system (photo right) that inherits design concept of the PHX top model drumset, holding the shell at nodal point with a special rubber spacer to prevent shell vibration and resonance transferred to stand. Coated Ambassador and Clear Ambassador heads for the front and rear.

The WA865A matched stand is sold separately (\24,000.)

Concert bass drums
CB-832CS (32″) ¥250,000
CB-836CS (36″) ¥290,000
CB-840CS (40″) ¥320,000
CB-832CCBS (32″) ¥510,000
CB-836CCBS (36″) ¥595,000 (photo right)
CB-840CCBS (40″) ¥695,000
They feature 18″ deep standard type shell. With distinct response and clear-cut sound, they are most effective for rhythmic music.

Rear head is designed easy to mute sound for young children. They can be set up freely as they cover wider range of sound projection. They feature maple shell finished in Dark Wood.

Yamaha recommends conventional ultra deep shell models for symphonic music, and the CBs with standard size shells for march and other lighter music.

They are custom models, and the CCBS models feature genuine leather head.

Further information is available from:

ESP Electric Guitars

| No Comments

Sukeroku Kenny King Ken Yokoyama Model ¥460,000
An all black model of the Sukeroku guitar, Ken Yokoyama's signature model and main gear, is now available featuring black parts matched to the body.

The specifications include plain hard maple body top in double-cutaway design, mahogany back, set mahogany neck, 22 frets rosewood fingerboard and one individual Seymour Duncan SH-1n (THE '59) and SH-4 (JB) pickups for the front and rear, and Sperzel trim lock machine heads.

It comes with a hard case and an authorization card.

Gus G. EC "ROCK ART" model ¥580,000
A Gus G. with the 'Ozzy Osbourne' signature model featuring specifications and look of Eclipse-CTM is now available.

Built in traditional style, it has a ROCK ART graphics, mahogany body with hard maple top, hard maple neck, rosewood fingerboard detailed with Gus G original Gus Fire position markers, two Seymour Duncan AHB-1 (Blackout) active type pickups, Sperzel trim lock machine heads and 1 volume, pickup selector and power switch controls.

Further information is available from:

Aria Pro II Electric Guitar

| No Comments

PE-R80KV ¥250,000
It's a limited production model of the PE-R80, a best-selling model in the '80s, with built-in Kahler tremolo system.

It features arched maple top and back with mahogany center, set maple neck, heel-less cutaway design, 22 frets striped ebony fingerboard, cloud pattern position markers, two Aria-original Classic Power pickups and controls of two Dual Sound switches and one PU selector switch for versatile sound making.

Finished in Stained Brown, it comes with a hard case.

Further information is available from:

Steinberg Mastering Software

| No Comments

Steinberg, a subsidiary of Yamaha, has refined WaveLab 4 years after the initial launch announcing WaveLab 7 and WaveLab Elements 7.

They support Macintosh and Windows platforms providing the user with a total system that enables cross-platform music production from sound mixing to mastering based on Cubase and Nuendo software.

The new edit window provides workspace flexibly laid out for audio edit, mastering and other works for smooth workflow. Sonnox noise reduction plug-ins are built-in. 
Other features include pro-quality mastering function for audio CD and DVD-Audio production, rich VST3 plug-in effects, batch processing function and pod cast capability. The upgraded CD/DVD burning engine has increased reliability and stability, supporting DDP format. (The WaveLab Elements 7 supports a part of these functions.)

Further information is available from:

Kawai Music Software

| No Comments

Score Maker FX5 Pro ¥60,000
Score Maker FX5 Std ¥38,000
Score Maker FX5 Lite ¥20,000
Score Maker FX5 Pro Academic ver. ¥48,000
Score maker FX5 Std Academic ver. ¥28,000
The latest versions of the Score Maker music scanning/recognition/production software packages providing upgraded notation and performance capabilitiesare now available. Music recognition function is standard to the Lite package for entry level musicians. The Pro allows the user to designate fermata symbol freely disregarding original positions.

In response to calls from customer, they have advanced features including re-designed tremolo mark, and traditional, square and triangle fermata (for the Pro).    
They support VSTi Standard sound generator in addition to GM2 Standard, enabling the user to play multiple parts with different tone generator, or export voices in designated sound generator in WAV file. They also support ASIO Standard that improves notation response in real time recording with help of matched audio interface.

Advanced user interface provides the user with stress-free works. The recognition capability is greatly enhanced to accurately recognize tablature and music staff.

Kawai also provides downloadable Score Palette FX5 (¥9,000 retail).

The FX5s work on Windows 7/Vista/XP Japanese.

Further information is available from:

Suzuki Harmonica Kit

| No Comments

Invitation to Blues Harmonica ¥3,500
Suzuki introduced blues harmonica kit including an MR-200 Harp Master 10-hole harmonica, matched case, sound data CD and tutorial booklet for first time players.

It's designed that the beginner can experience harmonica without score or knowledge on music theory, simply by playing the harmonica accompanied by music provided in the CD.

The CD contains such standard numbers as "Cross Road Blues", "You Shock Me", "You Gotta Move", "Hoochie Coochie Man" and "Sweet Home Chicago" as well as rich collection of phrases, advanced solo performances, and karaoke soundtracks.

Further information is available from:

Kawai Soundproof Kiosk

| No Comments

Nasal MHF ranging from ¥1,070,000 through ¥1,770,000
Kawai has added upgraded pro model soundproof kiosk that satisfies both excellent sound insulation capability and comfortable environment for piano instructors.

Using original composite steel panels, it has realized Dr-40 level sound insulation to be effective for typical sound range of piano from 125Hz to 1kHz. It can be set up in apartment house and underground shopping mall.

In addition to sound absorption panels, it allows user to replace the cosmetic board for the ceiling with a high sound absorption type.

Further information is available from:

Historical background tells us real value of guitar
"When I launched Arai & Co. in 1956, Japan was amid the great economic boom that lasted for 18 years from 1955 to 1973. It was exactly what's happening in China now. I was quite fortunate to have started my business during the time of vivrant economy. We experienced countless difficulties, but didn't take them as serious challenges. From the outset, we distributed a broad line of products besides musical instruments by necessity. After all, it was a good time, and we caught a big wave.

"I remember those times with very good memories. People I met helped me explore the business. Before starting my own business, I was a guitar craze taking lesson from Mr. Jiro Nakano while working for a trading company. Since I was engaged in import and export businesses, I came to buy myself music scores not distributed in Japan at the time from overseas publishers. Gradually, my personal import expanded to strings and accessories related to guitar.

"Soon I quit the trading company and launched import business myself. We didn't have quality musical instruments made in Japan in 1950s. The Jose Ramirez and Herman Hauser acoustic guitars were the first products I imported in 1954. With these guitars I studied what makes them fine musical instruments. I learned that a slight tonal difference determines value of guitars, and it's reflected on retail price.
"Since the very beginning, it has been my policy to have every product related to guitar in our line. Arai & Co still distributes all items from guitar parts to finished products. Small parts tell us their real value, and why they are used in top class instruments.

Launch high quality Aria student model guitars
"Japan's guitar export started during 1960s. Though, they were in many cases junk items priced at 5 or 6 dollars. They were distributed through mail order merchants and department stores in the U.S. Those dealers didn't have substantial knowledge on guitar.

"When I planned export of Japanese guitars, I thought our partners should be music dealers who know about guitar, but not mail order merchants and department stores. It was 1963 when I first visited U.S. market with some Masaru Kohno guitars. Because Japanese manufacturers didn't fully understand seasoning of wood and other basics of guitar making, the Japanese-made guitars I saw there had various problems such as warped necks and wrong string height. Given the bad conditions of the guitars made in Japan, the U.S. distributors were reluctant at first to see me.

"Though the Kohno guitars quickly won high reputation in the U.S. market, they developed cracks caused by extremely dry weather. It also happened to highly evaluated Spanish guitars. In addition to dry weather, air-conditioned rooms in winter further deteriorated environment for guitar.

"Japan produced quality guitars before the World War II, but they were devastated after the war. It wasn't the right time for manufacturing high quality musical instruments. For some time I taught guitar playing during the after-war catastrophic days. A fine student model cost one-year salary of average businessman.

"Because I knew that the students badly wanted quality guitars at affordable price, I contacted Ryoji Matsuoka, luthier and president of Matsuoka Gakki, to have him build Aria guitars with advanced quality at reasonable price. Matsuoka completed the first guitar perfectly fitted my concept. It was really a beautiful and playable instrument. Guitar instructors favored the gear as they couldn't find guitars of this level in the price range of ¥12,000 in Japan at the time.

Music business of this day
"Serious musicians have good source of product information, and music dealers have accumulated knowledge on their product lines today. However, I think sales staff can upgrade their skill as professional. Product information is easily accessible on the Internet, but they often don't touch instruments themselves. If they experience and feel what they sell, they will better understand instruments.

"Guitar manufacturer can not survive today without philosophy. Otherwise, they will fail to build high quality guitars satisfying requirements in the market. Discerning consumers will buy instruments recognizing and sharing philosophy of makers. Once good reputation is built, they sell themselves. 

"We hardly see old quality guitars built more than 50 years ago still played. That is because seasoning technology for wood materials was not fully developed at that time. Today, we are benefited from the advanced wood processing technology. Luthiers have rich stock of wood materials to get dried under natural conditions. In older times, guitar makers much relied on incomplete seasoning. Woods must be left in the air for certain years to make inside resin stable. Perfect wood seasoning should be done that way. Well-built guitars of today will last for 100 or 200 years.

"I have a Torres guitar made in 1867. Dubbed father of classical guitar, Antonio de Torres built 320 guitars in his life. More than 100 are still reserved in good conditions because they are kept in carefully controlled environment. Dried winter climate and heating system cause devastating damage to guitar. Don't leave guitars in rooms under 10% or 20% humidity. Since guitars are built in condition of 50% humidity, guitar top develops deflection that leads to cracks under extremely dried environment. Restoration of such damaged guitars is quite hard. They don't regain original conditions. We ask our dealers to put guitars into case when stores are closed at night.

Promote guitar ensemble   
"I have been promoting guitar ensemble at school for years. In the past Japan String Instrument Manufacturers Association played a key role in making guitar into school organizing Aichi-ken Guitar Education Initiative Committee. Unfortunately, they failed funding for payment to the instructors, and the activity came to halt. I'm thinking to revive it in a voluntary system.

"Most schools have symphonic band, but no guitar ensemble. JGA (Japan Guitar Association), an industry-wide organization with its purpose to increase classic guitar players and awareness of guitar music, is now working to introduce guitar ensemble to school.

"Students who enjoyed guitar playing at school tend to leave away from guitar after graduated. But it's prospective that we see increasing number of ex-music makers getting involved in certain type of music activities again these days. I expect that launching guitar ensemble at school will generate more guitar players in the years to come."

Born in Nagoya in 1930, Shiro Arai launched Arai & Co., in 1956 with extensive background in import and export business. He contributed a series of articles titled 'Admiring Guitar' to Japan Music Trades from April, 2009 to July, 2010. In his articles he wrote about Japanese guitar industry from its infant age right after the World War II to today and people he met in over 50 years in the music products business. The articles are compiled into a book to be published soon from Gendai Guitar.   

5th Keiko Abe International Marimba Academy

| No Comments

Yamaha Wind/String/Percussion Instruments Division and Toho Gakuen School of Music co-staged 5th Keiko Abe International Marimba Academy from July 31 through August 4 at Toho Gakuen Campus for the first session and Yamaha Ginza Studio, Tokyo for the second session. A total of 22 senior high school and college students including 3 from overseas took part. Thirty seven students and 104 amateur percussionists were invited as auditors.

Keiko Abe, professor emeritus at Toho Gakuen School of Music, now teaches at 90 music academies in the world. The 5th Academy invited Dave Samuels, associate professor at Berkley School of Music, and Jean Geoffroy who teaches at music academies in Lyon and Paris.

After graduated from college, Abe performed mainly Latin music as a member of trio. In course of time, she came to understand needs of music written for marimba players to further promote marimba and establish position of the instrument in music scene. In addition to her own works, she commissioned a host of Japanese and overseas composers to write original music for marimba.

To date, more than 250 works have been world-premiered. They are now widely played and used as teaching materials at music colleges throughout the world. She is highly recognized of her extensive activities to establish marimba as a solo instrument, and to increase exposure of music written by Japanese composers to the international music society.   

While energetically performing and teaching, Abe has been also enthusiastic in improvement of marimba and mallet in cooperation with the manufacturers.

The programs were open clinic/lesson by Abe, Samuels and Geoffroy for the first session, and open audition for the final concert and educational programs by the instructors for the second session. In the last evening, the audience was entertained with a special concert by five winners of the audition and the instructors.

Abe said, "As usual, the students were very enthusiastic to keep communication each other. Good atmosphere filled the session. I want the students to know that pleasure of music making is a gift only given to human being. I'm very happy if players of next generation feel my appreciation for marimba through the experience at the Academy."     

In the past, Abe has served music director at Marimba Academy in Belgium and Korea. Most recently, Switzerland and U.S. have sent her invitation. This year a group of principals from Chiapas state, Mexico, where it's said that marimba was born, visited the Academy in hopes of establishing the area as a modern center of the instrument.