Electric grand piano

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Vierling-Förster piano (1937)[3][4]

An electric grand piano is a particular type of piano manufactured and marketed by Yamaha, Kawai and Helpinstill during the 1970s and 1980s, although experimental instruments of similar type were made as early as the late 1920s. The other versions of Electric Piano did not use strings; the Wurlitzer Electric used by Ray Charles to record "What'd I Say" uses hammer-struck reeds, while the Fender Rhodes uses metal tubes called tines.

Yamaha CP-70 inside
Tim Rice-Oxley (Keane) playing
Yamaha CP-70 on stage

Unlike a digital piano, an electric grand has hammers and strings. What makes an electric grand unique is its means of amplification, which is done via pickups under the strings (like an electric guitar). This method of amplification yields a piano that is smaller, lighter (about 300 pounds or 130-140kg) and easier to move. The amplification-via-pickups method also bypasses the difficulty of having to mic a conventional grand piano, and thus makes an electric grand easier to set up with a sound system. However, production of this type of piano ceased in the 1980s with the advent of the digital piano.

Electric upright pianos were also produced by all three manufacturers mentioned above, but Yamaha's CP-70 and CP-80 pianos were the first to market, and are still being used by many artists today.

The band Keane uses Yamaha's CP-70 exclusively in its music and The Edge of U2 also uses one. Other notable players include Tony Banks of Genesis, who used a Yamaha CP-70 from 1978 to the late 1980s in solo and band albums and tours, as did his bandmate Phil Collins in his solo career, Genesis's original lead singer Peter Gabriel in his solo career, and Split Enz keyboard player Eddie Rayner, who played a CP-80 regularly throughout the group's most successful period in the early-mid 1980s. The band Tokyo Keys uses the CP-70 with guitar effects pedals and amplifiers as a key component of their sound. Aaron Morgan, from the band Seabird, also uses a CP-70. Michael Curtes, of Polite Sleeper also plays a CP-70B as his primary keyboard in live performances. Other notable users of the Yamaha CP series pianos include Billy Joel ("My Life", "All for Leyna", "I Don't Want To Be Alone", "Sleeping With The Television On", "Pressure", "Surprises"), Steve Hillier of Dubstar, who wrote all three of the band's albums for EMI on his CP-70B, Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Hall & Oates ("Kiss On My List", "Private Eyes"), Rainbow ("Since You Been Gone"), Roxy Music ("Oh Yeah") and Toto ("Hold the Line").

The CP-70 may be heard distinctly on the Kansas song "Lonely Wind" from the Platinum-selling live album Two for the Show, featuring a solo by Kerry Livgren. The center photograph on inner sleeve 2 shows Livgren and his CP-70 on the right side.

The electric grand sound is part of the official General MIDI specification, with most instrument manufacturers licensing the CP-70 and/or -80 sound from Yamaha.

Helpinstill models[edit]

See also: Helpinstill
  • Roadmaster 64 (64-note upright)
  • Roadmaster 88 (88-note upright)
  • Portable Grand (88-note grand)

Kawai models[edit]

See also: Kawai (company)
  • EP-608 (76-note upright)
  • EP-705M (75-note upright with MIDI output)
  • EP-308 (88-note grand)
  • EP-308M (as EP-308 but with MIDI output)

Yamaha models[edit]

Yamaha CP-70M
  • CP-60M (76-note upright with MIDI output)
  • CP-70 (73-note grand)
  • CP-70B (like CP-70 with revised action and electronics including balanced outputs)
  • CP-70D (like CP-70B; 73-key grand with 7-band graphic equalizer rather than Bass/Mid/Treble controls)
  • CP-70M (like CP-70D; 73-key grand with MIDI output)
  • CP-80 (88-note grand)
  • CP-80B (like CP-80 with revised action and electronics including balanced outputs)
  • CP-80D (like CP-80B; 88-key grand with 7-band graphic equalizer rather than Bass/Mid/Treble controls)
  • CP-80M (like CP-80D; 88-key grand with MIDI OUT)
  • E201/E-202 (76-key upright with built-in amplifier and speakers but no MIDI out)
  • E-501/E-502 (88-key upright with built-in amplifier and 3 speakers but no MIDI out)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fritz W. Winckel (1931). "Das Radio-Klavier von Bechstein-Siemens-Nernst". Die Umschau 35: 840–843. ISSN 0722-8562. 
  2. ^ Hans-W. Schmitz (April 1990). "Der Bechstein-Siemens-Nernst-Flügel". Das mechanische Musikinstrument. 16. Jahrgang (49): 21–27. ISSN 0721-6092. (Technical report)
  3. ^ Hans-Joachim Braun (2004). "Music Engineers. The Remarkable Career of Winston E. Knock, Electronic Organ Designer and NASA Chief of Electronics" (PDF). IEEE Conference on the History of Electronics. 
  4. ^ Wolfgang Voigt (1988). "Oskar Vierling, ein Wegbereiter der Elektroakustik für den Musikinstrumentenbau". Das Musikinstrument 37 (1/2): 214–221.  (2/3): 172-176.

External links[edit]