December 2011 Archives

2011 Musical Instruments Fair Japan Successfully Closed

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More than expected 24,837 visitors clustered the 2011 Musical Instruments Fair Japan which took place from November 3(Thu.)through 6 (Sun.) at Pacifico Yokohama. The year 2011 was quite challenging for Japan as we confronted Northeastern Japan earthquake and tsunami, Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown and extraordinary strong yen. Under such gloomy environment, not a few in the industry worried whether the event could be staged as planned. After all, It ended quite successfully.

Though number of the exhibitors went down 40% from the previous fair and the exhibit space shrank, it drew nearly the same level of visitors thanks to unified efforts of the exhibitors.

Aside from the positive attendance, the scaled down exhibit might have made the visitors disappointed as it's organized as a consumer show. In addition, the fair has some unsolved problems including site location, whether it should allow direct sales to the visitors on site, and exhibit participation of the music dealers. These points must be cleared at a certain point.

All in all, the organizer and exhibitors were confident for the future course of the fair proven at the site that the music playing experience programs were enthusiastically accepted among young parents with kids. The Outlet Mall and print music exhibit also attracted massive crowds of music players and enthusiasts.


54th String Instruments Fair

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Japan String Instrument Makers Association staged 2011 String Instruments Fair from November 4 (Fri.) through 6 (Sun.) at Science Museum, Tokyo. It has established as an annual event serving the Japanese players of violin family instruments and guitar for more than 30 years. While it's an exhibition of Japanese-made and overseas instruments, it also plays an important role as a business place for the manufacturers and consumer.

 In addition to expanded exhibit of instruments, strings, cases, exotic wood materials, parts and varnish which are usually hard to find through ordinary distribution channels, rich concert programs using new instruments on display drew 3,500 visitors, that is 300 more than last year.

Nobuhiro Sonoda, president of JSIMA, said it was encouraging that regular overseas exhibitors expressed participation in the fair in the hard times resulted from the Northeastern Japan earthquake and tsunami, and the Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis. The exhibit included works of 53 Japanese instrument makers, about 50% of the JSIMA members. As a result, the 2011 Fair was held in almost the same level as the previous fairs.

Twelve industry makers and distributors included S.I.E., T. Kurosawa, Shimokura Violin, Shirakawa Sogyo, Sugito Bow, Sekirei, Tatsunoya, Violin Research, Bunkyo Gakki, Matsuo, Yamaha and Rokkoman. Overseas exhibitors were, A.L.I. Associazione Luteria Italiana, Giorgio Grisales, Alessandro Commendulli, Stefano Trabucchi, Emilio Slaviero, Marco Imer Piccinotti, Kees van Hemert, Dimitry Badiarov, SVS TONEWOOD, CHEVALETS DESPIAU, Nicole Dumond Hassan, Savarez S.A., AUBERT LUTHERIE S.A,S, Casa della Musica di Gallini and MORASSI FAMILY.

Japan Flute Promotion Coalition Founded

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A total of 14 Japanese flute manufacturers and distributors formed Japan Flute Promotion Coalition recently to promote music playing and create young music makers. The organization staged a flute pavilion with help of 6 manufacturer members during the 2011 Musical Instruments Fair in November.

The founding members include Altus, Global, Kotato Flute, Sankyo Flute, Natuki Flute, Nonaka Boeki, Pearl, Prima Gakki, Flute Maters, Muramatsu Flute, Miyazawa Flute, Moridaira, Yamaha and Also Publishing.

Hideo Takei and Yukio Ohashi serve as president and consultant of the coalition, respectively. 

Japan Institute of Design Promotion announced Boss Compact Series effect pedals for the 2011 Good Design Long Life Design Award on November 9. The Award celebrates product design used and supported for over 10 years.

Since the debut of OD-1 Over Drive in 1977, Boss Compact Series effect pedals have been designed with high quality professional features including seamless sound, FET digital switch, sturdy aluminum-dicast chassis, 2-step fail-safe pedal switch, LED power switch, easy replacement of batteries, 2-way battery/AC power operation, etc.

Boss marked 35 years in the market last year, and 12 million units of Compact Series effect pedals have been distributed so far. There are 40 models available today.

Roland V-Drums Friend Jam social tool which provides global level communication among the V-Drums owners on the Internet has won 2011 Good Design Award.

Casio introduced Privia PX-3 multi-functional digital piano specially designed for live performance and music production last April in celebration of its 30th anniversary in music business. It won instant acclaim, and three thousand units were distributed successfully in the world markets. (photos top, Privia PX-3S and CTK-7000 bottom

PX-3S, the production model of PX-3 featuring LED display and refined finish made debut at the 2011Musical Instruments Fair Japan in November. It is one of the latest products targeting high-end market Casio is now focusing under renewed marketing approach. CTK-7000, the company's first high-grade multi-functional keyboard offers the user professional level music creation and audio recording.

Japan Music Trades interviewed Takashi Maeda, Manager, and Akira Sakashita, EMI Planning Section, Consumer Products Marketing Dept., to ask about the new marketing approach to high-end consumers and future plans. (photo: Takashi Maeda, right, and Akira Sakashita)

Q: Why has Casio put multi-functional keyboard into the market as one of the commemorative model of the company's 30th anniversary?

Maeda: Casio understands traditional music dealer network is vital for the business, and we can better serve them with products meeting their expectation. So far, we have heavily promoted Celviano and Privia digital pianos for entry level players to create new music makers. Now, we think we can step into the second stage to serve well-experienced high-end players. The PX-3 Series reflect our new approach to tap new customer group.

Sakashita: The PX Series keyboards are well accepted among male customers in their 30s and 40s with band experience, and musicians seeking instrument for entering music. Younger customers are buying PXs as the first synthesizer featuring piano key touch. In many cases, they are young businessmen just started band activities. Nevertheless, we need products for volume zone, but we also want to present characteristic products developed under Casio's original concepts to specific customers though the market for them is limited.

Q: Will you please define the features of PX-3 Series?

Maeda: They bear Privia brand name because it's familiar to our customers and easy to promote for the dealers. They look like Privia in first glance, but we have designed PX-3s as completely new pianos featuring functions and tonal quality required for stage piano. The development concept is ultimately different from Privias.

Sakashita: PX-3 Series doesn't have onboard speakers and recording functions. Instead, they provide greatly advanced master control capabilities which enable the player to add effects to 4 built-in and external sound generators separately. They provide 250 instrument voices of which 4 can be used simultaneously. In addition to reverb and chorus effects, they have two discrete onboard DSP effects and master EQ which serious musicians will appreciate.

Maeda: As it is standard to Privias, PX-3s feature a specially designed resin body for much improved sturdiness remarkable for its light weight structure. Weighing only 10.8kgs, they are extremely light digital keyboard with built-in 88-key hammer action. They come without speakers. That has contributed to reduce total weight of them, but more than that, it's a distinctive difference from our conventional models, and at the same time, they demonstrate to users and the dealers alike that Casio is seriously taking seasoned musicians, and want to serve their requirements. When I visited a dealer in U.S., they promoted PX-3 plugged with a high output amplifier to efficiently monitor its sound. We hope sound-conscious user can experience high tonal quality and rich ready-to-use preset voices.

Q: How have your high-end keyboards accepted in the market?

Sakashita: More than we expected Japanese and overseas musicians use Privia keyboards at their home and studio. 300 Series, in particular, are well accepted in music production. Not a few musicians we contact for performance at our events say that they privately play Privia. Pianist and keyboard player likely choose Privia as the second piano for night-time practice and studio use. The customers also include guitarist and player of other instruments.

Maeda: It is our pleasure that PX-3 won Keybuy Award in the October 2010 issue of U.S. Keyboard magazine. As to world distribution, we have received good response from the overseas dealers. High remarks in the U.S. market apparently boosted sales in Europe and Japan. Ib the last Summer NAMM Show, CTK-7000 was among the best keyboards chosen for Summer NAMM BEST PRODUCTS. We believe that the latest Casio keyboards for the professionals have been highly recognized in the market.

Q: Will you tell us future plans for the high-end products?

Maeda: As economy continues uncertain, the industry is much expecting a sign of upturn. I believe manufacturers can contribute to generate a new market by offering products with clear concepts. Casio will be able to present some new ideas at the coming NAMM Show.

Suono Italia Staged in Tokyo

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Italian Trade Commission, Italian Acoustic Musical Instrument Makers' Association hosted SUONO ITALIA from October 17 (Mon.) through 19 (Wed.) at Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Tokyo. A total of 25 Italian piano, accordion, stringed, wind instruments and accessory manufacturers, and 1 industry group took part to promote excellent sound of Italian musical instruments and high standard of instrument manufacturing to the Japanese music makers. SUONO ITALIA has been staged in China, Germany, Canada, Brazil, Hungary and other countries in the past 15 years.

Though the event attracted modest 900 visitors, largely because it was open on weekdays, they enjoyed products demonstrations, master classes, and a host of concerts featuring Tokyo Suono Italia Orchestra, Massimo Quarta, world-class violinist, Coba, Japanese renowned accordion player, etc. held at basement Agnelli Hall.

In support of School Music Revival, a project to support school music programs in the hardest hit area by the Northeastern Japan earthquake/tsunami in March, the organizers raised benevolent fund of ¥85,000 during the period which was sent to SMR.

Italian Music Products Industry Data
There are 3 major districts for stringed instrument manufacturing in Italy; Cremona and its vicinity, Firenze and its vicinity, and other areas. Approximately 7,300 stringed instruments are built annually by 590 studios in Italy. Sixty manufacturers mainly in Casterfidardo produce 20,000 accordions. A total of 60 companies are engaged in organ production, and 2,000 professional level wind instruments are built by 10 manufacturers.

SUONO ITALIA Exhibitors:
Violins: Toscana String Instrument Association- Claudio Arezio, Di Pietrantonio Fabrizio Liuteria Toscana, Pietro Gargini, Sorgentone e Mectti, Daniele Canu, Mattia Riva Violin Maker, Paolo Vettori e Figli, Picchinotti Violins, Silvio Levaggi & Anna Tartari

Coriani Paolo (guitars), Lorenzo Lippi (mandolins), Salvi Harps. NSM S.p.A (harps), Fazioli Pianoforti (pianos), Viscount International (organs), Borgani Saxophones and Rampone & Cazzani Handmade Italian Saxophoes (saxophones), Fratelli Patricola (oboes & clarinets), Romeo Briar (saxophone mouthpieces, flute head joints, semi-finished and finished pipes)

Accordions: BB-Ballone Burini B.B., Bugari Armando, Excelsior, Pigini, Victoria Accordions, Zero Sette

UFIP (cymbals)