January 2011 Archives

New Year Greetings from JMIA President

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Starting a new year, I extend the industry members many thanks for the support and cooperation for our activities during the last year. Your continued dedication greatly helps us to pursue the industry project, that is promotion of music making among broad walks of people.

The economic woes since the fall 2008 have spread to Middle East and European countries developing once a century global financial crisis. State-level boost and realigning efforts of businesses look to have prevented further decline, but consumer spending hasn't recovered yet. In Japan, rapid appreciation of the yen is seriously affecting the industries and making future prospects uncertain.

In this disappointing business environment, it's our task to increase music makers which will be a base for the sound industry and its future growth. We are determined to further promote market development under the industry slogan, "Make Music Together, Music for All People."

Trend is friendly to the music products industry as we see growing band boom among high school girl students stimulated by the hit animation movie, "Pop Music," followed by popular music-inspired movies, "BECK" and "Swing Girls" later last year. More recently, a hit TV show featuring symphonic band music is generating interest in music making with friends. Number of students enrolled in symphonic band is increasing these days.

Last year we carried "Family Music Ensemble" campaign that encouraged parents, children and grand parents enjoy music making in family. Though the movement needs further national recognition, we are much expecting in the concept of cross-generation music playing among families. It suggests that manufacture, distribution and retail members can get involved in ways matched to their community, customer and type of business. Naturally, a host of music ensembles will be formed and exposed to audience. Our industry can share "passion" and "aspiration" for music with new music makers. I believe it will bring us expanded music culture that will help grow the industry.

At the seminar 'How to Promote Music for Adults' staged during last Music China 2010 in Shanghai, Mr. An, president of China Musical Instrument Association, pointed that Chinese music products industry regarded adults as prospective market along with education in the future. Mr. Joe Lamond, president of NAMM also commented that the organization would further promote recreational music for all age groups to expand the music market.

Not only Japan and the U.S., which have matured music market, but China with young market are pursuing effective means to increase music makers and promote pleasure of music playing. As part of our activities, we are now advocating Family Music Ensemble that can be a new market development showcase in other parts of the world.

In addition to the Family Music Ensemble campagin, Japan Musical Instrument Association supports activities for June 6 Music Day, further advancement of POS system in the industry, and such issues as business compliance and environmental responsibilities for the society.

We organize Musical Instrument Fair Japan 2011 from November 3 through 6 at Pacifico Yokohama. Coinciding with fall holiday week, it's expected to welcome great number of musicians and music enthusiasts. We much appreciate support of all industry members to achieve maximum results. 

Mitsuru Umemura 

2010 Japanese Music Products Industry Topics

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New edifice of music opened in Ginza, Tokyo
Yamaha Ginza Bldg. completed on February 26 as Yamaha's information/communication center. The new landmark in Ginza comes with 2 buildings, a 12-storied main building and a 7-storied annex where Yamaha Artist Service Tokyo, Atelier Tokyo and Stringed instruments Salon are accommodated to support piano, wind, percussion and stringed instrument players with top-level technical services. While serving as the largest musical instrument store in Japan with 5 billion yen sales expected for the initial year, the new edifice for music and musical instrument offers versatile venues for music makers from live studio, music teaching studios, multi-purpose mini hall to 3,000-seat Yamaha Hall.

Roland V-Drums concert in China
An impressive concert by 300 children performing Roland V-Drums took place in Shanghai in August. The young players drumming with pride and broad smile showed their strong interest in music playing.      

Yamaha consolidated piano production
Yamaha consolidated piano production in Japan to its Kakegawa factory in Shizuoka-ken. The 5-year project completed with the transplant of grand piano assembly lines at the headquarters plant in Hamamatsu to Kakegawa. Yamaha announced that production efficiency improved 12% by reduced energy consumption and shorter manufacturing period.

On-line distribution system launched by 3 print music distributors
Osaka Murakami Gakki, Prima Gakki and Matsuzawa Shoten joined forces to establish a new on-line distribution system, ClaigsWEB that links with music publishers. The system allows music publishers to get access to the data base to know inventory level, order conditions, etc. at the individual distributors. The consolidated data base greatly reduces work of music distributors and increases efficiency.

Other industry news
Kawai added 7 music teaching studios in heavily-populated locations in central and western Japan.
Yamaha Shibuya Store closed its door after 44 years of service at the end of last year. It served pop musicians and music fans as a flagship store in Metropolitan area, however, as many leading music stores opened in Shibuya, Yamaha concluded that it was time to close the store as its original mission was fulfilled. All businesses of the Shibuya store were transferred to Ginza store, and music teaching studio operation moved to near by Music Avenue Shibuya Koen-dori location.
Nakao Boeki, exclusive distributor for Ovation guitars for more than 30 years, withdrew from music products business in December as KMC Music Inc, terminated the distribution agreements with the company for Ovation, Hamer, TOCA and Gibraltar brands in Japan. Kanda Shokai, one of the leading distributors, succeeds the distribution business from Nakao.

2010 Good Design Awards
More music products than ever were chosen for the 2010 Good Design Awards: Yamaha DTX digital drums (Gold Prize), Suzuki Melodion (Long Life Design Prize), and Vestax DJ Controller (Minister of Small and Medium Enterprise Agency Prize).

Value-added new products
The effects of global recession coupled with appreciation of the yen against major currencies continued to affect Japanese manufacturers last year. In an effort of making products differentiated from competitors, they put into the market new items with additional value at competitive price.

Yamaha unveiled flagship CFX concert grand piano at the NAMM Show in January. It was 19 years ago that the company added the CFIIIS to enhance the top line of its concert grands. Built under the "Power and Beauty" design concept, it instantly won acclaim of professional pianists and audiences with its delicate yet distinctive tonal presence that carries over the sound of full symphony orchestra. Yamaha offered the CFX to the contestants at 16th International Chopin Piano Competition held in October. Four out of 10 finalists including Yulianna Avdeeva, first prize winner, played the CFX.

Digital piano manufacturers enjoyed favorable business in 2010. Yamaha added high-quality models for the entry level players to the ARIUS series line. Roland's new models featuring Super Natural sound system were well accepted in the market. Kawai has completed refinement of its pianos in fall. To celebrate 30th anniversary digital music product business, Casio introduced a series of commemorative models. Korg microPIANO found demand in gift market with its compact structure featuring mini-size keys at attractive price.

In the synth arena, Yamaha introduced MOTIF XF 3 years after the initial model was introduced. Roland and Korg concentrated on new models in affordable price points, light-weight structure and easy to use concept. They showed strength in presentation of DAWs which were bundled with software provided by their subsidiaries and affiliates. Hand-held recorder market has expanded as manufacturers added new models specially designed for the needs of wind instruments and guitar users. Music dealers can take advantage of this product suggesting customers solutions matched to their requirements.

Roland is promoting Energy Saving Technology introducing a series of battery-driven synthesizers and amplifiers. They are eco-friendly and contribute to reduce energy consumption. Battery Band consisted of battery-driven gears much appealed to the audience at Japanese and international musical instruments shows.

Thoth Music School Launched

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Roland and Prima Gakki announced on December 9 launch of Thoth Music School in Tokyo and Osaka. Named after Thoth, Egyptian god of wisdom, the new music teaching studios succeed the operations of Roland Music School Shibuya Center, Tokyo and Umeda Center, Osaka, originally set up to give lessons on digital musical instruments. It's managed by Thoto Co., Ltd. with Yuzuru Shimizu as its president, jointly invested by Roland and Prima Gakki. (photo from l. to r.; Katsuyoshi Dan, Hitoshi Ohashi, Masanori Ohashi, Seiji Yokokawa, Yukio Ohashi, Yuzuru Shimizu, Yoko Ogawa and Jiro Kitaguchi, at the press conference held on Dec. 9.)

The courses include broad range of acoustic instrument from orchestra string instruments, E♭clarinet, bass clarinet, piccolo, recorder, ocarina, classical guitar to acoustic piano, hand bell and jazz vocal. The 528 square meter space Shibuya school has 12 renovated sound-proof classrooms and a small hall for 1,500 students which is doubled from the former school. (photo right: reception counter and sitting area.)

Seiji Yokokawa, master of the school served as principal clarinet of NHK Symphony Orchestra until last year, and teaches at Kunitachi College of Music while being active as music director for Karuizawa International Music Festival and an exclusive monitor player for Buffet Crampon, Paris and Rico International.

Yokokawa said, "Having classes for digital and acoustic instruments, we expect that the students experience various types and genre of music. Performing skill is a requisite for musicians, but I believe what comes first before the skill is players feeling and communication capability with players and audience. Music can be best expressed with players' artistic sensibility. I hope that the students feel it."




Miyazawa Flute

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Ibuki ¥650,000

Reasonably priced, however, Ibuki has achieved high-quality sounds of hand-made flute.

Using new 980 Silver for the body joint, it produces mellow and dark sounds.

Miyazawa has reviewed its conventional models and designed completely new scale, New Miyazawa Scale that has gone undercut inside tone holes to realize smooth and powerful resonance on entire tone range. Strobinger pads known for sharp response are employed.

The new head joint has excellent balance in coordination with New Miyazawa Scale, providing comfortable resistance and maximum expression. Many of control levers come updated, and curved head cap and keys give the flute distinctive look.

Optional selections include E mechanism (¥55,000 offset and ¥75,000 in-line), H foot joint (¥115,000).

It comes with a matched case and case cover.

 Further information is available from:

Yamaha Acoustic Guitar

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L-51 CUSTOM re-issue model  ¥1,500.000
Only limited numbers were distributed from November, 1975 through July 1980, and still much demanded today, L-51 CUSTOM, one of the flagship models of Yamaha, is back in 10 units.

Designed precisely the same as the original model, it features characteristic unsymmetrical body shape of original jumbo guitar for the low end and folk type for the top end for well-balanced deep bass and transparent treble sounds. Inlays provided on impressive headstock, dot markers and bridge as well as wooden artworks give the guitar additional value and great appeal.

The solid Ezo pine body top has been enhanced of its tonal quality with A.R.E (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement) technology. Hand selected materials are used: solid jacaranda for sides and back, one-piece Honduras mahogany for the neck, and ebony for fingerboard and bridge.

It comes with a specially designed hard case.

Further information is available from:

Aria Acoustic Guitars

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ASW-STD (photo left)
ASW-CST(photo right
ASF-STD (photo below left)
ASF-CST (photo below right)
Two individual dreadnaught and folk guitars joined the Aria acoustic guitar line. They feature high-quality satin-finished body with wooden binding on body and neck.

The STD models feature solid spruce top, sapelli back, while the CST models have solid red cedar top, and Indonesian rosewood back. They come with mahogany neck, 20 frets Indonesian rosewood fingerboard, and Graph Tech TUSQ nuts and saddle. Since they are equipped with bridge without pins, it's easy to replace strings.

Further information is available from:

ESP Electric guitars and Basses

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ESP Lynn-Silver Sparkle ¥400,000  (photo left)
The latest addition to the Lynn signature model of "SID" bassist Aki features silver sparkle body and a mirror pick guard. It has white ash body, hard maple neck, 24 frets rosewood fingerboard, two Seymour Duncan SJB-1 pickups and a P.U. balancer control.

ESP LIZARD SPECIAL V ¥435,000 (photo right)
The signature model of YUKI, guitarist and original member of "Aucifer," features mahogany body, bolt-on hard maple neck, 22 frets rosewood fingerboard, Seymour Duncan APH-1 Alnico II Pro and TB-5 Custom pickups on the neck and bridge, and Floyd Rose bridge. The pearl white body has a black lizard inlay and red pick guard.

 ESP STARBIRD ¥530,000 (photo left) 
The signature bass of SHINGO with "Sex Machineguns" is now available. It features 3-piece mahogany body with hard maple set in the center, bolt-on hard maple neck, 22 frets ebony fingerboard, HIPSHOT Ultralite machine heads, Two Seymour Duncan SMB-4D humbucking pickups, and Seymour Duncan STC-3M3 3-band equalizer. The body finished in see-through orange and neck come with a mirror pick guard, and star inlays on the fingerboard and the body give the STARBIRD aggressive and pop image.

Bricoleur Takuro Sugawara Model ¥455,000 (photo right)
The signature model of Takuro Sugawara, vocalist and guitarist with "9mm Parabellum Bullet" features a bit lager mahogany traditional double cutaway body, bolt-on mahogany neck, 22 frets rosewood fingerboard, Seymour Duncan SP90-1n and ANTIQUITY P-90 pickups on the neck and bridge, and Gotoh bridge. Finished in black, it comes with an authentication card and an exclusive hard case bearing the band logo.

Cygnus DELUHI/Leda model ¥340,000
Leda, composer and guitarist with "DELUHI", signature model is now available.
It features mahogany body trimmed at waist, hard maple neck, 22 frets rosewood fingerboard, original headstock employing CT system which keeps fine tension balance of strings, Seymour Duncan SPH90-1 Phat Cat and Bill Lawrence L500 pickups, and Gotoh bridge.
Finished in snow white with conspicuous water conducting vessels of the wood, it has a characteristic anodized type pick guard.

Further information is available from:



Ohashi Conductor Stand , Podium & Sax Stand

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AS-100 ¥76,000
CWS-110 ¥77.500
Sturdy steel conductor music stand and podium are now available from Ohashi.
The AS-100 music stand with a wide music desk and 4 casters is designed to adjust height easily. It weighs 21kgs.

The steel-made GWS-110 conductor podium with high quality carpeted base is a good match with the AS-100. It measures 1,032mm wide, 1,032 mm deep and 200 mm high, and weighs 29.5kgs.

WS205 ¥5,900
Designed for alto/tenor saxophone, it's light-weight, compact and easy to set up. It fits alto  or tenor model simply by unwinding the screw and pressing down the pin. A rugged, thick, soft carrying case is standard.

Further information is available from:



ESP Guitar Picks

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PA-SA08 WH Aki Model ¥100
PA-MSG10 SHINGO model ¥100
A white triangle shape pick joined "SID" bassist Aki's signature pick line. The SHINGO  signature pick of the bassist SHINGO with "Sex Machineguns" comes in orange tear drop shape with his star symbol and pop illustration.

Further information is available from: 

Yamaha Sound-proof Doors & Capsules

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Avitecs sliding sound-proof doors
Steel models
   SDH35GKH (R/L) ¥1,030,000
   SDH40GKH (R/L) ¥1,170,000
Wooden models
   WDHGNP18A (D/L) (R/L) ¥640,000
   WDHGNP20A (D/L) (R/L) ¥690,000
Sliding type doors joined the Avitecs line. They employ Yamaha's distinguished light-weight structure and high sound insulation technology coupled with sliding door rail system provided by Fujimori Sangyo Co., ltd. to achieve Dr-35/40 sound insulation level. They fit small rooms which don't have enough space for door fly open. Entering the capsule is easy since the base level comes flat to room floor.

Left and right slide open models are available for both Steel and Wooden models. The steel models provide advanced Dr-40 sound insulation level. Dark and light finishes are offered for the wooden models.

Optional accessories include air-cushion system, automatic door closure system, fulcrum type handle for the steel models, and door key, automatic door closure system, wooden frame and threshold unit are available. Both models can be outfitted with automatic door open system.


AFE  Installation cost varies by room conditions.
Avitecs Free Series for home market has been refined with upgraded materials, design, sound insulation and easy installation.

They feature sound insulation levels of Dr-30, Dr-35 and Dr-40, and 3 types of sound field including Basic, High Grade and Special. A total of 9 types in combination of them are provided.    

The user can select desired space from 0.83 sq. meter to 49.59 sq. meter. They accept unrestricted installation matched to room structure and height, and interior wall fabrics of choice.

Installation can be completed in 4 to 5 days. Total cost for installation of a 9.42 sq. meter space with Dr-35 sound insulation level, High Grade sound field, a door and frame is ¥2,100,000.

Further information is available from: