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.20.2007 @ 1:53 AM
Most likely someone's going to have a few problems with a CP-70. I remember playing one in the early 90's for a year and managed to break a string practically every month - on the other hand, those were the original keys from the seventies... and my playing's not exactly richardclayderman-ish. It also hissed like a snake farm.

I'd say it's worth $1000 if the keyboard's even (no key higher or lower than others) and mechanics are similar from key to key and the hammers show no wear. If the pedals are functioning ok and the thing maintains its position physically, it's ok. The one I played had a thing with its physical posture, causing keys to stick unless in an absolute horizontal plane.

With a few effects and some shitty processing it's nice but not great. Definitely more of an instrument than a muthaf*cking digital piano.


Apr.20.2007 @ 2:22 AM
Is the pump organ you saw one of those folding portable WW1 chaplain's organs, or a big nonportable one? If it is one of the portable ones, I know someone around there who is looking for one.

Those old pump organs usually have this thing where you can control the voicing (like the little switches on the front of an accordion) with a pair of knee levers while you play, which gives some very interesting possibilities for phrasing.


Apr.20.2007 @ 3:35 AM
mark r
I purchased a CP70 about 8 years ago in the UK for ?500.
At the time I wanted a 'real' piano action/sound but didn't have the funds for a decent upright/grand piano. I've collected synths/keyboards/organs for many years and the CP70 is one of the best investments I've ever made. The action/sound is just like a real piano...no shock there, it is a real piano.
Ideal for anyone wanting to play/practice at home, where noise/neighbours are a problem. The CP70 can be played without headphones or amplification without disturbing those around you.
I recently recorded the CP70 using the onboard tremelo and onboard pre-amp (plumbed straight in to the desk). It sounds gorgeous, all the subtle imperfections in tuning that you'd expect from an acoustic instrument, and it can be played expressively. Anyone looking for that 80's/Peter Gabriel piano sound need look no further.
I can't believe the relatively low prices the CP70/80 command, given the ludicrous amounts that people are prepared to pay for lesser synths and 'vintage' gear. I've always assumed that it boils down to space/size.....they're not small. That being said they're a lot smaller (and more portable) than an upright/grandpiano. The tuning on mine seems pretty stable.
If you've got the room and the inclination don't hesitate.

Apr.20.2007 @ 3:56 AM
About sample libs of CP models, my favourite one (I use the EXS version) is the one made by Prominy. It works fine together with Scarbee VKFX, and surely better if you have hi-end outboard.

Apr.20.2007 @ 8:15 AM
Genesis went to the shits when banks switched from his RMI 368 to that god awful CP-70. My vote would be to buy a RMI...

Apr.20.2007 @ 9:20 AM
"I can't believe the relatively low prices the CP70/80 command, given the ludicrous amounts that people are prepared to pay for lesser synths and 'vintage' gear."

Very true. Just think how much it would cost to manufacture a cp70 now. Yamaha would laugh at you if you suggested building/selling them for 1200 bucks a pop.


Apr.20.2007 @ 9:35 AM
penzoil washington
Unless portability is paramount or you just have to have that specific sound, I would pass. Real pianos and organs can be had free or cheap on Craigslist daily, and if you don't love 'em, you leave 'em when you move on.

OTOH the wurly 145?? with tubes?? (there were 2 variants) that is THE wurly as far as i'm concerned. I'd trade you my minty 200a for it ...


Apr.20.2007 @ 11:55 AM
Much as I dig the sound of the CP-70, it's starting to seem a little [Cold]played out these days.
I'm with penzoil, if the 145 can be rescued that would be much nicer have around.

Apr.20.2007 @ 12:06 PM
Chris Randall
I learned my lesson with the 112. Wurlitzers and my heavy-handed playing don't go together.



Apr.20.2007 @ 2:59 PM
The CP-70 leads directly to songs like "Illegal Alien"?

Damn, Chris, be careful!


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