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Q: Buying a Yamaha digital piano ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Buying a Yamaha digital piano
Category: Arts and Entertainment
Asked by: billyd-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 18 Aug 2003 19:18 PDT
Expires: 17 Sep 2003 19:18 PDT
Question ID: 246249
I am thinking of buying a Yamaha P-120 digital piano. However, since
it has been on the market since October 2001, and all the other pianos
in the P range have recently been updated, I fear that shortly after buying it,
it will be replaced with a newer model. In this case, I'd rather wait.
How can I find out if and when Yamaha plan to update or replace the

Clarification of Question by billyd-ga on 18 Aug 2003 19:29 PDT
By the way, I've already found various Yamaha press releases with a
phone number, but their customer service is useless over things like
this: the people manning the phones just don't know. Hoping for better
than that!
Subject: Re: Buying a Yamaha digital piano
Answered By: angy-ga on 18 Aug 2003 21:29 PDT
Hi, Billy !

According to press releases that I found the 120 and 120S were
considered to be recent introductions in US winter 2002:

"ANAHEIM, CA—Yamaha Corporation of America, Digital Musical
Instruments, will display the recently-introduced 88-key, ultra
compact P120 Electronic Piano at Winter NAMM 2002. Equipped with a
stunningly realistic piano sound, weighted action and built-in speaker
system, the P120 is equally at home on a professional stage, in an
educational or worship setting, or as an elegant addition to a
contemporary living room. Two models, the P120 and P120S are currently

The more expensive model, the P200, has been upgraded for the first
time in five years in time for the winter exhibition this year - 2003.

"Ever since the P200 was first released over 5 years ago, musical
legends like Michael McDonald, Keith Sweat, Tim Carmon (Eric Clapton
), Clifford Carter (James Taylor), and Steve Hornbeake (Faith Hill)
have used it on stage and in the studio when they needed the
absolutely best piano sound available. Now Yamaha is proud to announce
the next member in the legendary P series family of Professional Stage
Pianos, the new P250. The P250 sets a new standard for sound quality
and raises the bar on what to expect in a professional digital piano.

The P250 features three levels of Yamaha CFIII Grand piano stereo
samples for dynamic selection according to your touch on the keyboard.
The result is a delicacy of tone and expression that emulates the
experience of playing a real piano. And to give the P250 an even more
richly detailed sound, note off samples, string resonance samples and
sound board samples simulate the acoustic interaction between
different notes."

So they do not seem to have a pattern of constant small upgrades to
their products, but rather one of slow development and improvement
over time.

I also made a phone call to Yamaha Music Australia Pty., Ltd. who are
the direct importers. They are located at: Level 1, 99 Queensbridge
Street, Southbank, Victoria 3006, Australia Tel: (61) 3-9693-5111 Fax:
(61) 3-9699-2332

Here I spoke to Brendan in the musical instruments department who says
that the P120 and P120S are still considered to be current models,
offering excellent value at the price, and they know of no immediate
plans to upgrade what is still an excellent seller. Incidentally,
Brendan's brother owns a P120, which he plays as well as playing a
conventional upright piano, and he is apparently extremely pleased
with it. This also meant that Brendan was particularly aware of the

So, although of course large corporations can surprise everybody, it
looks as if the current focus has been on the 200 to 250 upgrade, and
their pattern is a slow cycle of upgrades announced annually. So you
are probably safe if you buy now.

Good luck and have fun with it !

Search terms:
yamaha P-120
yamaha electric pianos press releases

Request for Answer Clarification by billyd-ga on 19 Aug 2003 19:38 PDT
Hmm! I've seen these press releases but I'm still not convinced. The
Winter NAMM exhibitions appear to be at the beginning of the year.
Thus, the P120, introduced in October 2001, was debuted at Winter NAMM
2002. Equally, the P250, debuted at Winter NAMM 2003, has actually
been on the market almost a year. Since then, they've also introduced
the entry level P60 and the P90. The other thing is that all of these
have a sleek all-black look, as opposed to the P120's black/mahogany
combo. I bet there will at least be design refinements very soon.
Wonder if any trade magazines can get inside info.

Clarification of Answer by angy-ga on 19 Aug 2003 22:34 PDT
Well, I can find no evidence that Yamaha are planning a significant
upgrade to the P-120 or a new model between the 120 and the old 150.
That is not to say they might not alter the colour of the casing, if
that really matters to you.

A search through Sound on Sounds news items and forums does not find
any rumour of an upgrade such as you're concerned about - if it's
being planned Yamaha are keeping it very close to their chests. See:

I think you need to look at why you are planning to buy the

A musical instrument is a long term investment for a musician, and the
only thing that determines its value is the quality of the instrument
itself  - the sound that it makes and its ease of playing. A good
violin can be brand new, centuries old, or passed down from your
mother. It doesn't matter. It's still a good violin. It would be a
good violin if it were white with pink polkadots.

If the P-120 does exactly what you want in an electric piano and feels
good to play, then go for it, and don't worry about new models.

If you are a beginner who wants to find out if keyboard is for you, or
a singer who wants a keyboard to help learning notes with accuracy,
then go for the entry-level  P-60 or P-90.

But if what you would really love is the P-200 or 250 with all its
extended technical abilities, but you can't afford it at present then
I suggest you either save up like crazy for the one you really want,
or buy the 120 "for now", go on saving up and remember you can sell
the 120 on E-bay or wherever when you can afford the upgrade.

For that matter, why not buy a second-hand P-120 ?

Remember Yamaha's track record of building concert pianos (and
motorbikes) for constant reliable use over a lot of years. They do not
make computers designed to be outdated in two years.

Have you looked at the P-150 ? It seems to be well regarded and very
reliable, and given the timing (1996 on) it seems to be the next due
for an update. There are some reviews of it at Harmony Central:

and from Sound on Sound:

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