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Yamaha Keyboards - On Stage With Adele, Gaga & Jessie J

Published: Wed July 03, 2013  News Feed

Yamaha Keyboards - On Stage With Adele, Gaga & Jessie J

Yamaha Reed OrganYamaha is a name that people rely on for professional equipment, from their renowned motorbikes through mixers for post prodution houses and studios to instruments. Every Yamaha instrument is made to be played, relied upon, used and loved, whether you're just starting out or on the road with Adele. That's why Jake Bugg still plays his first Yamaha acoustic on stage in front of thousands.

Their relationship with keyboards goes right back to the very beginning. In 1887 Queen Victoria was on the throne, America was recovering from the Civil War and Yamaha produced it's first keyboard. Their reed organ even bore the familiar Yamaha type font, no tuning fork logo yet however.

Famous for their acoustic grands and uprights, producing the legendary CF series in the 60's (used by the likes of Chick Corea) right up to today with Jamie Cullum using the S6. Of course Yamaha have always been at the cutting edge of technology as well, developing whole new instruments and helping invent entire genres.

A great example of this (and another favourite of Chick Corea) is the DX7 Synthesiser, Yamaha were the first company in the world to commercially develop a digital Frequency Modulation (FM) synthesiser. Creating a whole new sonic landscape with sounds far more

Yamaha DX7

realistic, interesting and complex than simple analogue synthesis would allow. Inspiring a whole generation of musicians to create a different musical language of synths, drum machines and samples. Love them or hate them a massive amount of the sounds in the 80's can be credited to Yamaha and the DX7 in particular. Brian Eno is an especially big fan, owning half a dozen at one point.

So that's incredible expertise with classic acoustic pianos as well as cutting edge development in synthesis and the sounds of the future. These days we're lucky enough to be able to fit both into a giggable, road tough package. The Motif XF series delivers all this for the performing musician who might need a realistic piano sound one minute and a funky analogue synth bass line the next or why not both at the same time!

Here's just a few of the many artists using Yamaha for stage and studio.

Hannah Vasanth - Jessie J, Rihanna

Hannah Vasanth Rihanna Wembley

Here's Hannah standing in front of her Yamaha keyboard rig (one semi-weighted Motif and one hammer weight), playing with Rihanna at Wembley Stadium. She played with Rihanna on the 'Last Girl On Earth' tour and more recently has been touring with Jessie J.

Coming from a jazz background Hannah got her big break into pop playing with Charlotte Church. That represented quite a shift in style and needed a much bigger palette of sounds, working in large productions with complex changes and lots happening on stage.

The twin Motif keyboards really help to stay on top of things with Hannah shifting sounds at the touch of a button, assigning dramatic pitch changes to a foot controller and having all the sounds on board.

Of course she can still lay down some incredibly tight, soulful playing on acoustic piano when the situation requires. Check out this incredible performance of Cee Lo Greens 'Forget You', playing alongside a group of fellow pro musos. Pure Yamaha sound, not a note dropped.

Miles Robertson - Adele

Another young gun making waves in the pop world, Miles has been working with Adele since she started breaking out in 2008. Given how important piano sounds are to Adele he's naturally developed a close relationship and can be spotted playing alongside her on a number of TV appearances.

And here he is explaining more about working with Adele and getting sounds from his Motif XF.

Walter Milsapp III

Moving onto more of the musical old guard Walter has used Yamaha since the beginning of his career, from the DX7 up to his current Motif XS-8. He also loves the sound of Yamaha acoustic pianos, reaching for the grand piano when inspiration strikes. But if one isn't available then he's more than happy to use the Motif.

"It goes back as far as the Beyonce song I produced, or Alicia Keys--the guitar stuff, the wah-wah sound on 'Heartburn' is all from the Motif. I use a lot of Motif sounds. Some of the old analog sounds they replicate sound really authentic. And Yamaha's piano sounds are incredible. Whenever I'm writing a record, the first sound I go to is the grand piano. It's the closest thing there is to an actual grand piano."

With some great advice for those looking to make it in the music business, explaining what he's up to next and giving the scoop on where's used the Motif.

 Jamie Cullum and Chick Corea - Jazz And The Future Of Music

Not ones to sit on their laurels, the boffins at Yamaha are always looking for ways to move things forward and have developed technology for future generations. Digital technology has really matured to the stage where recreations are indistinguishable from the real thing. While that is an impressive feat in and of itself, what are the real benefits for musicians.

  1. Flexibility - Get a huge range of sounds from your touring rig.
  2. Portability - No need to lug a grand piano around.
  3. Affordability - Making the very best sounds available to everyone.

On top of this Yamaha are one of the first instrument manufacturers to be awarded the Quiet Mark, a seal of approval from the Noise Abatement Society bestowed on technology that operates quietly. With the goal of improving quality of life by reducing background noise in the urban environment.

Here's Jamie Cullum getting truly awesome sound from his Yamaha Silent Piano at 4am.

 Aiming to make great sound available to everyone without impacting the environment is certainly laudable but it's also nice to known that technology is being used to push sonic boundaries as well. The AvantGrand is a mind boggling piece of kit, you can check out the details here. However it might be best left to jazz, synth and piano playing legend Chick Corea to sum it up.

"Oh, yeah. The Yamaha R&D guys are trying to burst the illusions of the physical universe, and they're succeeding! Now, I've been a cynic about digital pianos. They're practical and useful, but the idea of any of them replacing a great concert grand has always been unthinkable. So when I saw the Avant, my first thought was, "Oh, here we go again." Sure, it looked pretty -- the wood quality and design are like a work of art. But when I turned on the Avant and started playing, it won me over. It's got built-in speakers placed in such a way that it disperses the sound acoustically just like a grand piano does. After about twenty seconds I'd gotten over the fact that it was an electric piano and was under the delusion that I was playing an acoustic piano, with the same kind of nuance, expression, and rapport. So it's the best technical advance I've seen so far."


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