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Dear Yamaha, this is an open letter from a long standing Yamaha fan (and producer of Librarians for your “classic products”), who now feels that Yamaha have lost its way for a long time in terms of sonic innovation and flair. You were asking last year on your new forum (and I first posted this letter in response to that):
Yamaha has a new Voice of Customer initiative (driven by the head of engineering in Japan, by the way) and we are trying harder than ever to get the real needs of customers communicated to the product planners and engineers. We want to really understand how you use our synths and what needs you have so that we can get the engineers thinking about creative new solutions to make your musical life easier and more fulfilling
My needs are first and foremost the sound. It has to sound good, but as a synth enthusiast, how those sounds are created is also important to me. I want synthesizer engines that excite me and are fun to program and experiment with and that will keep surprising me after 15 years of ownership (like my EX5). This is where I feel Yamaha has lost its way since the heady days of the EX5. So, to reiterate, my needs are interesting, innovative and creative sound engines that inspire me. But Yamaha seems no longer to be evolving that way.
To show you how I feel, let’s look at my musical journey through the world of Yamaha Synthesis
• CS15 purchased in 1982 (when my interest in synthesis started)
• DX7II purchased in 1998 (when I got back into music after a long hiatus)
• EX5 in 1999
• Motif Rack ES in 2005 (with AN and VL cards subsequently added)
• AN1x and FS1r in 2006
• SY77 in 2008
• SY99 and TG77 in 2012
• WX5 in 2014
Out of all of those I still retain: EX5, SY99, TG77, AN1x, FS1r, WX5 and the Motif Rack ES. Others were sold (with reluctance) as I could get their sounds out of the other units.
Let’s look at that list again and the chronology. In 2005 I purchased a Motif Rack ES as a supplemental sound engine to the EX5 when I need more simultaneous sounds available on stage for a progressive rock project I was doing. The Motif Rack ES was “nice sounding” and had a better (and, more importantly, controllable from a foot pedal) Leslie effect than in the EX5, which is what swayed me to purchase the rack as opposed to another EX5 or EX5R. But the AWM engine was dumbed down compared to the EX5’s.
Legendary sound meets the generation of mobile musicians: With the reface Mobile Mini Keyboards, Yamaha introduces a small revolution. Based on legendary synthesizer models like the DX7 or CS series, the company presents four compact instruments, which play to their strengths on the road, on stage or even in the studio. reface is perfect for songwriters, sound designers, live performers and those looking for access to an instrument which allows them to react when inspiration strikes. The online collaboration with musicians around the globe via Yamaha’s ‘Soundmondo’ sound community and the easy connection to notebook, Apple iPhone and iPad are making the four models ideal for being creative together. Battery power and integrated stereo-speakers make the reface quartet ready to play at all times.
Rellingen, July, 7th 2015 – From Pink Floyd to Michael Jackson to U2 – with over 40 years in synthesizer history, Yamaha influenced Rock and Pop music like no other instrument manufacturer. Legendary models and series like the CS Control Synthesizer or the DX7 are an inherent part of music history. Time for a small revolution: With the reface Mobile Mini Keyboards, Yamaha presents a range of ultra-mobile synthesizers and a stage-piano that impress with their compact design and web-based sound-exchange. They build the bridge between the sound tradition of the legendary prime fathers and the cooperative music production over the internet.
A new mobile instrument generation
It started as a sketch of a young Yamaha design team: Under the concept name “reimagined interfaces of classic Yamaha keyboards” the group presented a series of four compact instruments, in which every single one celebrates the personality of a legendary Yamaha instrument – but with a character of its own reimagined for today’s ‘on-the-go life style’. The concept also integrates a web-based sound exchange between musicians and allows a cooperative sound design. With the introduction of reface, this vision becomes reality.
At home, in a studio, in a park or on a train – the compact design and the powerful integrated stereo speakers allow inspiration in seconds – without any equipment to set up. Creativity can be realised anywhere: Thanks to the battery power, all reface Mobile Mini Keyboards are ready at any time – even when there is no power socket nearby. The setup is done in seconds, even the connection to notebook, iPhone or iPad for the recording and saving of sounds.
It’s (not) a toy!
All four reface models are presenting themselves as a creative toy for sound design. But despite their compact design, they are professional instruments that are inviting to play. All models feature Yamaha’s brand new ‘HQ’ Mini-Action keyboard with 37 keys (3 octaves). The user interfaces were designed separately for each instrument introducing features such as drawbars for the reface YC organ and the capacitive Multi-Touch surface on the reface DX.
Yamaha UK are launching a brand new product named 'reface' in London on July 10th 2015.
There isn't much info about at the moment other than there is likely to be more than one version of reface or possibly one version with interchangeable faceplates. reface is definitely synth based and it no it is NOT another Motif, which in itself is cause for some excitement. Yamaha seem to be bringing there classic synths such as the DX and VL range back to life but more in tune with 2015 so expect good connectivity and wide ranging functionality.
There are currently three 'teaser' videos out there and no doubt there will be a 4th before launch date.
Videos can be seen on www.yamahasynth.com
“I’ve spent years finding amplifiers to suit my tonal quest and discerning criteria to get my sound. I’m excited to work with Roland to create many aspects and persona of that sound in a more compact, tangible, and affordable version for all kinds of players.” — Eric Johnson.
GRAMMY Award-winning guitarist Eric Johnson and the makers of Blues Cube amplifiers have co-produced the new Eric Johnson Blues Cube Tone Capsule. Eric’s expert audio design delivers texture, voicing, and a rich tone giving Blues Cube an amazing likeness of Eric’s remarkable sound. Eric’s personal touch can be heard in many nuances of the amp when the EJ Tone Capsule is engaged. The Eric Johnson Tone Capsule takes the vintage classic Blues Cube amp to both new and vintage levels.
It is no secret that Eric Johnson’s guitar playing and tone are iconic. Also well-known is Eric’s ear for meticulous perfection. Desiring that same high level of vintage tone, the Blues Cube team made the decision to discuss the amp with Eric. “I am very interested in pursuing new paths to getting tone,” Eric explains, “and when the Blues Cube team asked if they could present an amp with new tone capabilities, I was intrigued.” The Blues Cube engineering team visited Eric Johnson at his studio in Austin, Texas, and the EJ Tone Capsule journey began. Eric fired up one of his vintage combo amps for comparison. He played for a while and noted the similarities in texture and also the volume (the Blues Cube Artist touts 80 adjustable watts of power). Eric asked if the amp could be modified for his specific tones. “Yes,” one of the engineers answered, “we can adjust the amp to your specifications.” The first meeting ended on a very positive note and Eric welcomed the Blues Cube team back to Austin at a later time.
So what is the Blues Cube amp that Eric heard that day? The reinvented Blues Cube series launches the classic 1x12 combo amp into a new era, combining genuine tube sound and response with modern reliability and easy portability. Going far beyond modeling, Roland’s Tube Logic design philosophy starts with carefully reproducing the inner workings of the revered tweed-era tube amp in every way, from guitar input to speaker output. Versatile clean and crunch channels can be used independently or combined for a complex range of tones, while variable output power modes let you dial in burning, full-throttle sound at any volume. Road-tested and fine-tuned with feedback from top players, the gig-ready Blues Cube delivers the sweet, magical tone and satisfying feel that makes a great guitar amp a highly expressive musical instrument.
We very proud to announce that #YamahaArtist Mark Mondesir will heading to selected dealerships nationwide next month for the 'Mondesir Duo up close and personal' drum clinic.
Mark (on drums) and his brother Michael Mondesir Bass Guitarist will showcase their extraordinary talents at the following locations. Booking is essential, so please contact the dealers direct.
3rd June - 9Drum, Sheffield
4th June - Drumshop Uk, Washington
9th June - Yamaha Music London
10th June - Pmt Birmingham
20th June - Rhythm Base, Glasgow
The 'King of the Blues' guitarist and singer, BB King, has died aged 89, his lawyer says.
Known for his hits Lucille, Sweet Black Angel and Rock Me Baby, he died in his sleep in Las Vegas.
Born in the Mississippi Delta, he helped bring blues to a wider audience, breaking down racial barriers in music.
His unique style influenced a generation of rock guitarists including Keith Richards and Eric Clapton.
King, known for his hits Lucille, Sweet Black Angel and Rock Me Baby, died in his sleep in Las Vegas.
Born in Mississippi, King began performing in the 1940s, going on to influence a generation of musicians, and working with Eric Clapton and U2.
Once ranked as the third greatest guitarist of all time, he had been suffering ill health in recent months.
He was recently taken to hospital with a diabetes-related illness.
A former farmhand, King was awarded his 15th Grammy award in 2009 for his album One Kind Favor.
He was also inducted into both the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Rolling Stone magazine placed him behind only Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
Until recently, King performed in at least 100 concerts a year.
Nathan East – “A night with Nate!”
TC ELECTRONIC AND YAMAHA ANNOUNCE A SPECIAL ONE OFF NATHAN EAST CLINIC
TC Electronic and Yamaha are pleased to announce a unique and high profile clinic collaboration. Nathan East will represent both companies in a select, “evening with” style workshop in association with Andertons Music in Guildford, UK on the 19th May 2015.
Nathan is currently over in the UK playing with global music icon Eric Clapton at the Royal Albert Hall in seven shows to celebrate Eric’s 70th birthday. Commenting on the clinic Bruce Davidson International Partner Marketing Manager for TC Group said, “We are very lucky to have Nathan here to do this. When we did a mini European dealer clinic tour last year it proved so incredibly popular and insightful to the many that attended, so as Nathan is briefly here in the UK it proved itself to be an opportunity not to be missed. We know that many of his UK bass fans that were not able to see him last year, will be happy we could arrange a clinic, even at such short notice”.
Nathan East is a founding member of the chart-topping and world-renowned jazz quartet Fourplay. He is also a Grammy nominated bassist, songwriter and recording artist in the fields of jazz, rhythm and blues, rock and pop music.
Most recently, Nathan’s playing was featured on Daft Punk’s worldwide hit “Get Lucky” performing this at the 2014 Grammys, along with Stevie Wonder, Nile Rodgers, Omar Hakim, Paul Jackson Jr. and Pharrell Williams. Significantly, Nathan also released his highly acclaimed and Grammy nominated debut solo album last year.
Check the list of legendary artists who collaborated with Nathan on this album: Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald, Sara Bareilles, Bob James, Chuck Loeb and more. “Nathan East” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart and went to No. 1 on both the iTunes and Amazon Jazz album charts.
For more than 40 years, Nathan has been delivering hit songs with celebrated artists such as Beyoncé, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Michael Jackson, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, B.B. King, Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Joe Satriani, Anita Baker, Usher, Ray Charles, Toto and Stevie Wonder to name but a few.
Top producer and international Yamaha demonstrator Bert Smorenburg will be instore on Saturday 9th May 2015 to guide you through the world of producing music at home with the help of our best-selling synthesizers and stage pianos.
Session Line Up:
If you've ever seen Bert on YouTube, you'll already know how brilliantly he explains the incredible possibilities of our synthesizer workstations. In this session, Bert will take you through our Motif XF, MOXF, MX and CP Series synthesizers and stage pianos. You'll hear the sonic power packed into each one, and Bert will show you how easy it is to harness that power both as a producer and as a musician on stage or in the studio. The performance will be followed by a Q&A session.
Jeffrey Beecher is 32, and was born outside New York. The magnificent instrument he hauls on stage each week as principal double bassist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is approximately 10 times as old, and was born at the foot of the Italian Alps. At the time of its creation, most basses “looked like small houses,” Beecher says, but not this one. With its then-radically slim proportions, the instrument, built by the master luthier Giovanni Battista Rogeri, helped set the mould for the three centuries of basses that followed.
We don’t know who Rogeri sold it to, but we do know that by the 19th century it turned up in the possession of various European collectors before being sold for a time to Rodman Wanamaker, scion of the famed Philadelphia department-store family (he apparently staged special concerts to showcase his treasury of priceless instruments).
When Beecher learned the legendary instrument was up for sale in 2007, he flew down to Albuquerque, N.M., to snatch it up – something he was only able to accomplish after a well-connected TSO board member agreed to act as guarantor on what amounts to a very substantial bass mortgage (25-year amortization, variable rate; he’s about halfway done paying it off).
We should be adding music to school curriculum, not eliminating it.
As a 7-year-old pianist, I experienced the joy of learning Beethoven’s “Für Elise.” My eyes deciphered the notes on the page, my ears guided me to depress the right keys, and my fingers translated the symbols on the page with the right speed, rhythm and expression. The benefit in my mind was the pleasure of making music. What I didn’t know was that I was wiring my brain for classroom learning.
Yet in the years since music fed my young mind and laid the groundwork for further intellectual growth, the country has steadily moved away from music instruction. Too many schoolchildren are learning without this effective discipline. Instead, the noisy national debates bounce from one “fix” to the next, whether No Child Left Behind or Common Core. Left on the cutting-room floor are music lessons — yes, music — that new research shows is essential for brain development.
Playing a musical instrument develops an important neurocognitive skill known as executive function. Strong EF is critical for the brain to operate in school and in life. Focusing on a topic, memorizing information, inhibition, cognitive flexibility and paying attention to multiple ideas simultaneously are examples of it. It is at the heart of all learning.
Acquiring these skills starts in early childhood and is crucial for healthy brain development through early adulthood. In fact, recent studies from the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children’s Hospital indicate that EF is a strong predictor of academic achievement, even more than IQ.