Williams Pianos
P.O. Box 5111
Thousand Oaks
California 91359

Williams digital pianos, a house brand of Guitar Center, are also available through Guitar Center's Musician's Friend e-commerce website and two other e-commerce sites. There are four models from Williams, including three verticals, and one slab with an optional stand. These are entry-level instruments with light-weighted actions.


Baldwin Piano Company
309 Plus Park Blvd.
Nashville, Tennessee 37217

Wurlitzer digital pianos are products of Baldwin Piano Company, a division of Gibson Guitar Corp. Wurlitzer currently offers four digital piano models: two verticals and two grands, one of the latter with moving keys on playback.


Yamaha Corporation of America
P.O. Box 6600
Buena Park, California 90622
714-522-9011, 800-854-1569

For company background, see the Yamaha listing in the "Brands and Company Profiles" for acoustic pianos.

Yamaha Corporation is the world's largest producer of musical instruments -- from the obvious (pianos) to the slightly obscure (bassoon), Yamaha makes it. Yamaha entered the world of electronic instruments in 1959, when it introduced the first all-transistor organ. In 1971, because no manufacturer would develop an integrated circuit (IC) for Yamaha's relatively low-volume demand, the company built its own IC plant. Jumping ahead to 1983, the introduction of the first Clavinoa, the YP-40, marked the beginning of what we now call the digital piano. Today, Yamaha's 34 models of digital piano (not counting different finishes) constitute the broadest range of any manufacturer. The downside is that deciphering the variety of options -- slabs, verticals, grands, stage pianos, ensemble pianos, designer digitals, hybrids -- can be a bit daunting. And then there are the sub-brands: Clavinova, Modus, and Arius.

Clavinova digital pianos include the standard CLP line and the ensemble CVP line, and are available only through piano dealers. New to the CLP line this year, the CLP-S300 sports a more traditional vertical-piano look while retaining the advantage of a small footprint. The Modus models, Yamaha's series of designer digitals, are functionally similar to the CLP line but with modern-looking cabinets. (The Modus H01 and H11 are perhaps the most striking visual designs among digital pianos.) Arius represents Yamaha's economy line of digital verticals, including the long-popular YDP223 model.

Yamaha's Internet Direct Connect (IDC) is unique in the digital-piano world. Available on most Clavinova and Modus models, IDC allows owners to download Yamaha's Digital Music Notebook sheet music, download new styles, listen to music (via a subscription service similar to Disklavier Radio), and take lessons.

Five different actions are used in Yamaha digitals. In order of increasing quality, they are: Graded Hammer Standard (GHS), Graded Hammer Effect (GHE), Graded Hammer 3 (GH3), Natural Wood (NW), and the grand piano actions used in the GranTouch and AvantGrand models.

The Yamaha AvantGrand is one of this year's game-changing product introductions. Only time will tell how hybrid pianos will alter the piano landscape, but we predict that the AvantGrand will displace the sales of many similarly priced acoustic models -- including Yamaha's own. For more information about the AvantGrand, see the article on "Hybrid Pianos" elsewhere in this issue.  ¤


FALL 2009 -- page 256

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