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#1254627 - 08/23/09 02:32 PM Elton John's Yamaha
JBeck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/09
Posts: 30
I love the sound of Elton's Yamaha, but everytime I try a Yamaha in a store, it just doesn't sound like his... take a quick look at the beginning of this video to really get a feel of the sound:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCNqIBpO2ho

Could anyone with better ears help me out and let me know what kind of "sound" is going on here, and maybe what pianos have this sound that I could get my hands on, whether it be acoustic or digital?

Thanks!

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#1254629 - 08/23/09 02:41 PM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: JBeck]
pno Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 1042
Loc: ♪oron♪o, on♪ario, canada...
That piano sounded very weird, bright and digitalish. I don't like it. I've never played a Yamaha sound like that.
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♫♫♫ ♫♫♫
YAMAHA C2M PE

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#1254688 - 08/23/09 05:01 PM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: JBeck]
Tweedpipe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/08
Posts: 431
Originally Posted By: JBeck
I love the sound of Elton's Yamaha, but everytime I try a Yamaha in a store, it just doesn't sound like his... take a quick look at the beginning of this video to really get a feel of the sound:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCNqIBpO2ho

Could anyone with better ears help me out and let me know what kind of "sound" is going on here, and maybe what pianos have this sound that I could get my hands on, whether it be acoustic or digital?
Thanks!


I wouldn't know how to describe this sound except to say it's bright, and no doubt being processed/ampified/mixed (you name it) by very costly electronic equipment.
It's not exactly to my liking, and I'm pleased that my acoustic piano doesn't sound that way.
However when playing my Yamaha PF1000 digital piano, on selecting one of the 2 'Bright Piano' voices, and layering with 'Midi Grand' voice, I get a sound which is not unlike the one you refer to, but richer and warmer - especially when monitored through Grado SR80 headphones.
_________________________
Dear Noah,
We could have sworn you said the ark wasn't leaving till 5.
Yours sincerely,
The Unicorns



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#1254698 - 08/23/09 05:26 PM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: Tweedpipe]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21674
Loc: Oakland
The piano is a CFIIIS. The recording is awfully buzzy, which is a function of the miking or the record itself, not the piano.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1254958 - 08/24/09 07:30 AM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: BDB]
Piano-on-Hudson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/06
Posts: 107
Loc: New York City
Elton's pianos (indeed, CFIIIS's) are always special editions -- packed with equipment which helps to deliver the stage sound Sir. John requires for touring. Unplugged, off stage, they are hardly usable as pianos. But on-stage, plugged in, they do just as needed. Even the touch is customized. Each piano is named -- one famous one (now-retired) being "Diana", named for the late British Royal.

James

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#1255004 - 08/24/09 09:35 AM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: Piano-on-Hudson]
vandyboy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/09
Posts: 94
My piano tuner works on a lot of pianos used in studios on Nashville's Music Row. She complains that the artists and engineers want the studio pianos tuned so bright they no longer sound like pianos when played. She thinks the sound is even worse once recorded.
_________________________
1902 Steinway A, Ebony Art Case

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#1255041 - 08/24/09 11:01 AM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: JBeck]
rodmichael Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 334
Loc: Maryland
Originally Posted By: JBeck
I love the sound of Elton's Yamaha, but everytime I try a Yamaha in a store, it just doesn't sound like his... take a quick look at the beginning of this video to really get a feel of the sound:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCNqIBpO2ho

Could anyone with better ears help me out and let me know what kind of "sound" is going on here, and maybe what pianos have this sound that I could get my hands on, whether it be acoustic or digital?

Thanks!

Dear JBeck,

If your self esteem isn't totally wrecked by the responses to your question, you are a strong person indeed. Obviously, likes and dislikes when it comes to piano sounds are very subjective. So, take heart and see if you can find that special sound that you're looking for.

Best regards,
_________________________
Rod Michael
Mason & Hamlin AA, SN 93018
Yamaha CGP-1000, SN UCNZ01010
Zoom Q3



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#1255286 - 08/24/09 04:12 PM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: Piano-on-Hudson]
JBeck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/09
Posts: 30
Originally Posted By: Coordinator
Unplugged, off stage, they are hardly usable as pianos.


I'm curious about this... could you explain further?

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#1255350 - 08/24/09 05:44 PM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: JBeck]
Ludwig van Bilge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/13/09
Posts: 204
Sounded great to me.....until he opened his big mouth.

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#1255352 - 08/24/09 05:45 PM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: Ludwig van Bilge]
SeilerFan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/27/09
Posts: 746
Originally Posted By: Ludwig van Bilge
Sounded great to me.....until he opened his big mouth.


Haha! That was a good one.

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#1255563 - 08/25/09 12:14 AM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: SeilerFan]
HappyApple Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/08/09
Posts: 254
Loc: Tennessee, USA
He is a genious. We can't even get close to his world. I believe that kind of talent comes at a price though.

I like the sound of his 'piano' I just enjoy the sound, without having to compare it with this or that.
_________________________
“Some people stay far away from the door if there’s a chance of it opening up. They hear a voice in the hall outside and hope that it just passes by.” Billy Joel

1970 Baldwin Hamilton

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#1255566 - 08/25/09 12:25 AM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: HappyApple]
charleslang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 2080
I don't think it's a great sound in that video and I wonder if it sounds better when you're there. But, that said:

It sounds like there's an electronic pickup. Helpinstill pickups are electronic pickups that slide under the strings for example.

This makes the soundboard a bit less of a factor since the sound is coming from the strings directly (but the soundboard is still a factor in how the strings vibrate of course just like the body of an electric guitar is still important). They produce a thinner, but more clear, cutting sound than regular micing.

They sound best when used together with mics. Like in this recording:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QgqRdbpA7Y&feature=channel

They cost a few hundred bucks. Helpinstill himself has some videos up you can search for that demonstrate the system.
_________________________
Charles Lang
Working on: A Night in Tunisia; Memories of Tomorrow (Keith Jarrett).
Just started: Brazilian Like (Michel Petrucciani)

Baldwin Model R (1974), Hardman 5'9" grand (1915), Rieger-Kloss 42.5" vertical

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#1255722 - 08/25/09 09:56 AM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: charleslang]
HooDoo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 57
Loc: Los Angeles
Even taking into account that it's a You Tube clip, in my opinion the piano sound in that Elton John performance is very poor. It almost sounds like a toy. It's odd since he obviously has the means to get a very nice piano sound in a live setting.

Here' a clip from a show that Elton produces with an acoustic piano performance by Diana Krall. Quite a difference.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM1ZE86Y2qY

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#1255913 - 08/25/09 03:30 PM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: HooDoo]
charleslang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 2080
That's a jazz combo though and the other one's more rock. They might have to pull some of the body out of the sound in order to make it audible against the rock.
_________________________
Charles Lang
Working on: A Night in Tunisia; Memories of Tomorrow (Keith Jarrett).
Just started: Brazilian Like (Michel Petrucciani)

Baldwin Model R (1974), Hardman 5'9" grand (1915), Rieger-Kloss 42.5" vertical

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#1256139 - 08/25/09 09:28 PM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: charleslang]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
Originally Posted By: charleslang
That's a jazz combo though and the other one's more rock. They might have to pull some of the body out of the sound in order to make it audible against the rock.


Maybe that has something to do with it because when she's playing her piano isn't against a backdrop of electric guitars and such. She's also playing in a studio as opposed to an arena or stadium.
_________________________
I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


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#1256167 - 08/25/09 10:15 PM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: JBeck]
Piano-on-Hudson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/06
Posts: 107
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: JBeck
Originally Posted By: Coordinator
Unplugged, off stage, they are hardly usable as pianos.


I'm curious about this... could you explain further?


Sure. The instruments used in pop situations like this can be so totally packed with gear that sans amps and plugs, the instrument isn't setup to sound like much. But used in the setting for which it is intended it can become an incendiary musical tool and very exciting.
_________________________
James M. Steeber
Yamaha Corp. of America professional and manager for 13 years
Yamaha C3E (Midi Grand)
Yamaha CP33
Stride piano -ø- Composition -ø- Photography -ø- Marketing -ø- PR -ø- Artist Management

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#1256227 - 08/26/09 01:25 AM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: Piano-on-Hudson]
HooDoo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 57
Loc: Los Angeles
Not to beleaguer this too much but perhaps someone could enlighten me since I'm not an audio engineer. I understand that it might be necessary to thin out the piano sound once the rock band joins in, but the first half of the Elton John song is solo piano. Would it not be possible for the engineers to adjust the EQ so the piano sounds better at the beginning and then cross fade to a different setting as required? Am I the only one who thinks that when the piano is by itself it sounds woefully thin?

The Krall clip was recorded at the Apollo theater in a live setting so it's certainly possible to get a rich full sounding piano in front of a large audience that sounds pretty close to a studio recording. To get that sound does the microphone setup preclude the brighter, thinner sound that would fit into a rock mix?

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#1256335 - 08/26/09 08:28 AM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: HooDoo]
Piano-on-Hudson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/06
Posts: 107
Loc: New York City
HooDoo:
I'm not qualified to comment on Sir John's taste or direction in sound, but whatever sound is heard at his concerts is by his direction. Yamaha makes the pianos to suit, and his own crew does the voicing and technical setup. Ms. Krall is a jazz pianist whose natural setting would be piano alone, with an emphasis on the acoustic properties of piano and voice. Sir. John is a stalwart of pop/rock, and the intent is just different.
_________________________
James M. Steeber
Yamaha Corp. of America professional and manager for 13 years
Yamaha C3E (Midi Grand)
Yamaha CP33
Stride piano -ø- Composition -ø- Photography -ø- Marketing -ø- PR -ø- Artist Management

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#1256346 - 08/26/09 09:00 AM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: JBeck]
Hop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 654
Loc: Hudson, FL
Originally Posted By: JBeck

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCNqIBpO2ho

Could anyone with better ears help me out and let me know what kind of "sound" is going on here, and maybe what pianos have this sound that I could get my hands on, whether it be acoustic or digital?

Thanks!


To me, this sounds like a digital piano. The type of tone and sustain is more similar to what I have heard on various digitals. You might try some of the more popular ones and see if any of these suit your tastes.

Hop
_________________________
HG178, Roland FP-5, Casio PX 130

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#1257768 - 08/28/09 10:14 AM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: SeilerFan]
Louis H. Bousquet Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/08
Posts: 350
Loc: Stratford, Ontario, Canada
If you liked the sound that much Im not sure that you could customize like uim but always keep in mind a technician can voice the piano anyway you like.
_________________________
Louis Bousquet

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#1270724 - 09/18/09 06:38 PM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: Louis H. Bousquet]
JBeck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/09
Posts: 30
Well, my next question would be, is it possible to get this sound from a digital Yamaha or is the sound outputed to modules which have their own voices? Basically, what makes it possible to get this sound?


Edited by JBeck (09/18/09 06:39 PM)

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#1270977 - 09/19/09 10:48 AM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: SeilerFan]
acortot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 480
Loc: Italy
that almost sounds like a digital built into an empty grand.
_________________________
rhythm must be inborn - Alfred Cortot

An Article on the unusual makeup of original Pleyel hammers, during Chopin's lifetime:

http://acortot.blogspot.it/2012/07/pleyel-hammers-in-chopin-era-i-martelli.html

Max DiMario

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#2021802 - 01/26/13 06:09 PM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: JBeck]
SteveConslaw Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/04/11
Posts: 12
Loc: Indiana, USA
Elton uses many different sounds. He layers sounds frequently, and he uses effects like delays,choruses, etc. His diverse sound pallet is most on display in his solo shows. He has become identified with a bright piano tone that actually comes from an early non-sampled digital piano, the Roland RD1000 (in rack form as the MKS-20). The RD1000 was the first digital piano that sounded good and had an organic response. Roland's sound modelling synthesis made the RD1000 sound more acoustic than the FM pianos of the day. These days Elton is likely to mix the RD1000 tone with acoustic piano samples, strings, or whatever he wants. There are RD1000 soundfonts floating around on the web if you want to experiment with layers. Here's a good Youtube video demonstrating the Elton John sound on a real RD1000. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z0r0QlrIJ8
_________________________
Step Back! he's got a synthesizer, and he isn't afraid to use it.

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#2021810 - 01/26/13 06:29 PM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: HooDoo]
piano_deb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 787
Loc: Memphis, TN
Originally Posted By: HooDoo
Here' a clip from a show that Elton produces with an acoustic piano performance by Diana Krall. Quite a difference.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM1ZE86Y2qY

Well, I started the clip just wanting to hear the difference in piano tone but stayed for that rocking amazing performance. Krall says at the end that that's the piece that made her want to play jazz piano. Heck, it's made me want to play jazz piano and I've never wanted to before!

Just saying.

Okay, back to topic ... Yeah, Elton's piano isn't enjoyable for me at all. But, to each his/her own. smile
_________________________
Deborah
Charles Walter 1500
Happiness is a shiny red piano.

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#2021889 - 01/26/13 09:30 PM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: JBeck]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3876
What I heard, in Orlando a few months ago was at least 12 different piano sounds, changing from one song to another, including the sound posted here. Elton didn't change the sound himself, someone else did.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#2021890 - 01/26/13 09:31 PM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: JBeck]
j&j Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 445
Loc: Southwest
Yeah the YouTube recording seemed pretty buzzy and listening to it on an iPad makes it that much worse.

I guess we can only judge the true Elton Yamaha sound live in concert.

I have heard a CFIII live, never got to play one though, and the sound was wonderful.
_________________________
J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." Pablo Picasso

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#2021944 - 01/27/13 01:31 AM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: JBeck]
Pianolance Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 1192
Loc: Nashville, TN
To me it sounds a lot like a CP80 (Yamaha Electric Grand from the 70's) Maybe Yamaha used the same pickup system they developed for that instrument, or maybe it's midi'd to a sound module using a sample that sounds like a CP80. I don't think the YouTube recording is a good way to judge the results as it surely sounded much different to the audience. Concert sound and recording studio sound are two completely different animals. In a recording studio you never have to deal with feedback, but in concert sound feedback is your constant #1 enemy.
_________________________
Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.

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#2021962 - 01/27/13 02:18 AM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: Pianolance]
fingers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 799
Loc: Westchester, NY
I have my original RD 1000 with a large Peavy amp/speaker- still sounds pretty good.

fingers
_________________________
Playing piano at age 2, it was thought that I was some sort of idiot-savant. As it turns out, I'm just an idiot.

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#2022014 - 01/27/13 06:54 AM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: JBeck]
karlosserio Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 27
Loc: Lisbon, Portugal
From what I read around about Elton's setup he actually uses the sound of his acoustic piano mixed with a digital sound (cp80? I'm not sure). So the actual blend between acoustic and digital give a piano sound with a little more punch and brightness. And his piano is prepared with a MIDI system.

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#2022106 - 01/27/13 10:32 AM Re: Elton John's Yamaha [Re: JBeck]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3708
Loc: Northern England.
I always thought Elton and Steinway were bedfellows . . . but this didn`t mike up well. Not good.
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