April 19, 2007


by Chris Randall

I stopped in Apple Music in Portland today to pick up some guitar strings, and during a quick run through their "pro audio" section I noticed something special lying in the corner. A Yamaha CP70 (in its traveling configuration) plain as day. There was no tag on it or anything, so I had to do that most painful of things and talk to the salesman. Now, normally I'd rather get my eye teeth pulled then talk to a music store salesman, but needs must when the devil drives.

My normal bias towards that most subhuman of all species was nicely confirmed by his condescending statement that it was "totally mint, and all the tines have been replaced," so we could move along to other things, namely the price. It's on consignment, so there's no wiggle room, and the seller wants $1200. Now, for what it's worth, it has all the accessories and seems, from an external inspection, to be in more or less perfect condition. It also comes with a complete set of road cases.

So, who here has purchased a CP70? Is $1200 a reasonable price? How much of a pain in the ass are these beasts? I'd really love to have one, even just to make my own sample set, but I want to know if I'm being taken for a ride or not. Comments?

As an aside, I also found a store that isn't really a music store, but they have a ton of cool old gear (and a lot of crap, too.) But they have a Wurli 145 (I'd say in about 6/10 condition), two (!!!) L100s, a B3, an M100, and a stack of Leslies I don't even know enough to write about, but there were over a dozen. Also a couple spinet pianos (and yes, I know the difference between a spinet and an upright grand), a player piano, a pump organ, and a metric fuckton of old Italian guitar shit. If anyone needs, I'll be happy to provide the pertinent info.



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Apr.19.2007 @ 9:27 PM
Tines?!? The Yamahas had strings!

Apr.19.2007 @ 9:36 PM
Wow, I work in a music shop and sell things, but I certainly don't see myself as some sort of lower life form. I would however enjoy visiting a shop with weird Italian gear.

Apr.19.2007 @ 9:55 PM
Chris Randall
It's not all music store employees. But there's a certain breed that I find so fucking annoying, and this dude was of that type. "I know more than you about most anything" (almost certainly not true), "my band is more successful" (definitely not true) "I've met more famous people" (definitely not true, unless you count selling them guitar strings, and even then probably not true), "and I really shouldn't be working here but I like the employee discount."

Those sorts of people _really_ get under my skin.

As for the string/tine thing, if you read my post, you'll note that I took the fact that he said "tines" as a mark that he didn't have even the faintest idea of whence he spoke. I thought I made that clear; I just assumed that most anyone still reading this blog at this point would know the CP70 has strings, and it didn't need to be mentioned. But three people have emailed me in the last 10 minutes telling me that the CP70 has strings, not tines, so thanks, but I already knew that. It's like someone not having to write "Microsoft Windows" every time on a computer blog. They can just write "Windows" and the context provides the additional information.



Apr.19.2007 @ 10:34 PM
There's part of me that thinks a CP-70 isn't worth more than $800-900, but they so rarely come up in a local market that once you price shipping ($300-500), you'll find $1200 isn't such a bad deal. Which model of CP-70? I actually prefer the later model of CP-70 before the CP-70B came out. The first run had hinges that made it difficult to mount the harp to the key assembly. The later pre-B units had the B style hinges and some other fixes but still had an internal power supply. For me having an internal power supply with standard IEC connector beats the pants off an external wall-wart with difficult to source 2 pin XLR.

MIDI9 who makes the PNO optical sensor stuff for Gulbransen/QRS has MIDI retrofits available. It'd put you north of $2k including the cost of CP-70. I was hoping to modify a Buchla/Moog PianoBar to work but I can't shave down the PCBs on the unit without loosing a few key components. I could respin the sensor PCBs but it hardly seems worth it for the whole 3 people in the world that would want one. I don't relish hacking my CP70 to install a MIDI9 kit.


Apr.19.2007 @ 11:13 PM
That thing is a beast.. don't the two parts, disassembled, each weigh well over 100 lbs? plus the cases.. start weighlifting.

Apr.19.2007 @ 11:13 PM
Oh man, I bought a used guitar amp from those ass hats about 5 years ago. I think that Apple music might even be worse than GC in that regard (though in my defense the only time I ever went into a guitar center was when someone gave me a gift certificate). The salesman at Apple wanted to be my new bff. He sent me signed postcards for nearly two years. Crazy.

As for that other store...I think I know which one you mean. Do they have a lot of "really good stuff" that needs to be fixed up?


Apr.19.2007 @ 11:16 PM
well, if i would pay say, 100 bucks for a sample set for my exs24 and just 11 others would do the same, you'd be set. if the quality of your fx is any indication, it would be an exhaustive work, impeccably mapped and infinitely playable.

taking pre-orders? cos the ol' peter gabriel piano sound makes me smile everytime and i'm not at all satisfied with the one i use currently. with the current popularity of keane and others, the market could be ripe for a definitive cp70.


Apr.19.2007 @ 11:29 PM
Chris Randall
In no particular order:

1. I've noticed that the guitar salesmen at Apple want to be my BFF as well. It's a little creepy. The one thing I do admire about that place is that the second you walk in, they plop you in front of a boutique amp with a $3400 Gretsch White Falcon and say "have fun." In their honor, I pull out my best Stairway and Smells Like Teen Spirit.

2. hyperjed, yes, that's the one. I don't think I want to publish the name, because they won't have really good stuff any more then. Too many AI readers in the PDX area. Although they probably mostly know about it, now that I think about it.

3. For an instrument like this, I'd make the multi sample set of all multi sample sets. But it's worth noting that I'd need to hire a tuner as well. I can tune a piano okay if one note is off, but I can't do stretch from scratch, if you know what I mean. But after that, all is golden. 96K, Averil 312 -> Apogee converters, 24 bit. Forget about it. You'd need a new hard drive for this sample set.

4. It is the earlier model, not the B.



Apr.20.2007 @ 12:27 AM
i think i paid $700 for mine more than 5 years ago, but this one had ratty tolex, and maybe a couple of missing screws. and a couple of wrong strings. and the pedal-holding system seems to be missing. but the action was in great shape! if "the ol' peter gabriel piano sound makes" you smile, too, you'll shed a fucking tear of joy when you get it tuned and put it into a nice pre-->comp-->chorus-->verb chain. on new year's day. red rain pouring down. enlarging your world. etc.

seriously. i actually bought that old TLA tube pre from you (Chris) to use with the piano. pretty nice that way.

you will need two people to assemble it. but if you're a junkie for *that sound* you might just keep the thing around... you really can't capture the pedal action noise and string-to-string resonances between notes with the damper off in a sample library. it isn't much like a grand, but it absolutely plays like a musical instrument.


Apr.20.2007 @ 12:47 AM
Chris Randall
I'm torn. My research shows that the statements here are pretty much fact: $1200 is about as high a price as you're gonna reasonably pay for one. I think I'll have 'em set it up and go make sure it is minty fresh perfect first.



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