A Few Noteworthy Facts About The Yamaha Corporation

At almost any single period during the years 1970-1985 there were over 45 brands of new electronic organs on the UK market: Between them they managed to produce, 183 models under £1000, 137 models between £1000 & £2000 and 201 models over £2000+

A Few Noteworthy Facts About The Yamaha Corporation

Postby Mike Bracchi » 14 Jun 2012 19:28

A Few Noteworthy Facts About The Yamaha Corporation

Yamaha Corporation
A lot of people assume Yamaha Music is an off-shoot of the giant Yamaha Corporation that makes motorbikes, marine engines and a whole host of other stuff. The truth is that Yamaha started as a manufacturer of musical instruments right from the beginning.

Yamaha was established in 1887 as a piano and reed organ manufacturer by Torakusu Yamaha as
Nippon Gakki Company, Limited Hamamatsu, Shizuoka prefecture and was incorporated on October
12, 1897.

Torakusu Yamaha

The headquarters of Yamaha Corporation

The company's origins as a musical instrument manufacturer is still reflected today in the group's logo; a trio of interlocking tuning forks.


History of the Tuning Fork Mark

In 1898, one year after the establishment of Nippon Gakki Co., Ltd., forerunner to today's Yamaha Corporation, the company decided to use a tuning fork as its corporate mark, with "a design featuring a hoo (Chinese phoenix) holding a tuning fork in its mouth" as the trademark. Since then, after undergoing a variety of changes that paralleled the growth of the company, the tuning fork mark was finally unified in 1967.


Yamaha has grown to become the world's largest manufacturer of musical instruments (including pianos, "silent" pianos, drums, guitars, brass instruments, woodwinds, violins, violas, celli, and vibraphones)

In July, 2007, Yamaha bought out the minority shareholding of the Kemble family in Yamaha-Kemble Music (UK) Ltd, Yamaha's UK import and musical instrument and professional audio equipment sales arm, and the company was renamed Yamaha Music U.K. Ltd in autumn 2007.

Kemble & Co. Ltd, the UK piano sales & manufacturing business was unaffected.

Yamaha Corporation is also widely known for their music teaching programme that began in the 1950s.

Yamaha electronic have proven to be successful, popular and respected products. For example the Yamaha YPG-625 was given the award "Keyboard of the Year" and "Product of the Year" in 2007 from The Music and Sound Retailer magazine.

Yamaha PSS list.pdf

The Yamaha Electone Series


The Yamaha Electone series debuted in 1959 with the D-1, a home instrument.

Yamaha Electone D-1

By 1970, with the market waning sharply, and some manufacturers ceasing production, the Electone line embraced digital technology. This allowed Electone’s survival as the traditional home electronic organ market dried up.

By the 1980s, many of the most famous names had ceased home production, but the Electone successfully transitioned to the modern world of digital synthesizers now competing with such new electronic products as Moog Music, Wersi, and later Kurzweil.

Electones were to be found not only in homes, especially in Japan and elsewhere in the East Asia, but also in bands and other solo and group public performances.

Notable former models

In 1967. Yamaha began exporting Electones to the United States, starting with the D-2B.

In 1968, Yamaha released the Electone for the 21st Century, the EX-21 prototype.

Image Image
Yamaha Electone prototype EX-21

This Electone was different from prior Electones, as it was expressly designed for stage performances.

Two years later, the EX-42 became Yamaha's first commercially available stage model Electone. The EX-42 was also the first to use integrated circuits, although it was still based on analogue technology.

Yamaha EX-42 Electone

By 1974, Yamaha began designing Electones around synthesizers, instead of organs, starting with the CSY-1 that was based on the SY-1 synthesizer.

The GX-1, released in 1975, was the first polyphonic synthesizer in Electone form, bridging the gap between synthesizer and organ. The GX-1 utilized velocity-sensitive keyboards and the solo keyboard was even pressure, or after-touch, sensitive.

Some notable users of the GX-1 include Richard D. James, Stevie Wonder, Keith Emerson, John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, and Benny Andersson of ABBA.

Yamaha GX-1 with Tone Cabinets

The E-70, from 1977, was one of the first home organs to feature Yamaha's PASS (Pulse Analog Synthesis System) in a console cabinet.

White Yamaha Electone E-70

The FC/FE/FS/FX series from 1983-1986 featured FM tone generators and the FX series featured
the company's first digitally sampled sounds for the onboard percussion/rhythm units. The F series
Electones were the first to allow users to digitally save registrations via pistons and then save them
to RAM packs or an external disk drive unit: MDR-1.

Image Image
The Yamaha FX-1 Electone

Released in 1987 the HS/HX series organs became more digital and used more integrated circuit technology to make components smaller, and allow for a sleeker design. The HX/HS series was the first to use AWM "sampling" technology for both voices and rhythm. The HX series also featured 16-operator FM voices.

In 1991, Yamaha released the EL series of Electones, they included an attached Music Disk Recorder which enabled players to record their registrations and performances.
The EL series introduced new synthesis, filtering, and expression technologies that made instrument voices on the Electone even more realistic.

The First EL Electone - EL3 1990/91

The Last EL Electones - Stagea ELS-01C 2004 & The ELS-1X Pro Stagea 2005

The most prominent new feature of the ELS-01X are the console-sized keyboards. The instrument adds two 61-note keyboards and a full-sized 25-note pedal-board to the STAGEA ELS-01C model. Like the ELX-1m, the ELS-01X has XLR and phono audio-out jacks located at the base of the pedal-board unit. These make it easy to connect the instrument in stage configurations to mixers and external speakers. Since it is a stage model, the instrument does not come standard with built-in amplification and speakers. The speaker unit from the ELS-01C is available as an add-on accessory.

The performance features of the instrument are identical to that of the ELS-01C Custom model STAGEA including 509 built-in voices, 274 built-in rhythms and 300 registration menu music styles. The console layout is the same as the ELS-01C as well with a 6.5 inch touch sensitive TFT color LCD display.

The History of the Yamaha Clavinova

Image Image Image Image
1983: Yamaha unveil the first generation Clavinova , the YP-40 - featuring new proprietary FM ( Frequency Modulation) technology and a new keyboard mechanism.

1986: Yamaha announce the CLP-50 and for the first time Yamaha's acclaimed AWM (Advanced Wave Memory) sampling technology was heard - this new innovation featured digital recordings of the acoustic piano which produced a highly accurate reproduction of its traditional counterpart.

1990: The CLP-760 was launched and for the first time, Yamaha's AWM sampling technology became 'Stereo Sampling' for added realism. This model also featured a new AE ( Action Effect) keyboard mechanism which more accurately replicated the hammer action of the acoustic piano.

1996: A major breakthrough for the Clavinova saw the introduction of the Graded Hammer action and 'Dynamic' stereo sampling. These advances provided the foundation for the modern day Clavinova and saw the instruments being embraced by the music education establishment and conservatoires.

1997: New design styles introduced including mini-grand piano cabinets increased the appeal of Clavinova to style conscious customers.

2005: More design innovation was apparent in the highly acclaimed 'Slimline' Clavinova models aimed at modern living spaces. Launched at London's fashionable 'Sketch' the press preview was attended by design press and VIP guests including Jools Holland, Jonathan 'Jono' Coleman and James Nesbitt.

Image Image

2006: The CGP-1000 was introduced, featuring true grand piano design and new vibro-acoustic technology which produces improved tonal accuracy and a highly resonant sound.

2011: The new 400-series is unveiled marking the most significant breakthrough in touch and tone since 1983
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