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 @ 3:46 PM
I'm a piano tuner and I've been called to work on and tune a few of these here in nyc. From what I can gather talking to the owners, the price you've been quoted seems a little on the high end, but it could be because of the road cases. I don't know if they are necessary though - these things are not portable enough to gig with. They are beasts! They are real fun to play though and have a bit of character. I just feel that it wouldn't be worth it just for a sample set. One thing to note is that it will stay in tune a lot longer than a piano. It doesn't really have a bridge or a soundboard that will affect the tension on the strings over time, causing octaves or unisons to go far out. Also, because the strings seem at a lower tension than pianos, as well as the fact that it has less notes (and so doesn't get as far away from the temperament) and is always heard through pickups and speakers that may not reveal all the harmonics, proper stretch is less critical here in the tuning process than a piano. That's just been my experience with the instrument, I haven't owned one myself.

Apr.20.2007 @ 6:15 PM
I bought my CP70 about 6 months ago in NYC on Craigslist for $650. A little cosmetically banged up, but works fine (except for the volume pot).
Very fond of this instrument. I've also had success micing it and preparing it John Cage style.

Apr.20.2007 @ 6:17 PM
Chris Randall
I think I'm gonna skip this one. While it is in nice condition, the price is about as high as can be for one of these; if I hold out, I'm sure I'll find one for half that. (I found one that sold last month here in Portland for $200, in excellent condition.)



Apr.20.2007 @ 6:19 PM
make sure all it's tines are intact ;)

Apr.20.2007 @ 7:11 PM
Ya know, it might be a fun opportunity to be a righteous prick and extract a little something from the salesdrone. You know, show up all excited, launch into some faux Steely Dan stuff. Then in the middle of a big jazzy chord, stop on a dime with one of the notes. Hit it a few times by itself... bink bink bink. Undergo a complete change of mood to morose. "Yeah, it's in really nice condition". Bink bink bink. "So all the tines got replaced? I thought these Yamahas used real actual strings." Bink bink bink. "I dunno... $1200? Who did the last couple of tunings?" Bink bink bink...

Apr.20.2007 @ 7:18 PM
penzoil washington
What kind of shape was the 145 in? What a piece.

Apr.20.2007 @ 10:48 PM
If you're just going to sample it, get the Prominy sample library. Unless you enjoy sampling pianos...

Apr.21.2007 @ 2:43 AM
penzoil washington
i've owned a 112, a 140B, and a 200a. The 140 and later are not the same clunky-cool action of the earliest models, a lot more refined, not delicate, but anything close to fist action and i suppose they'd fold.
I know i would.

I was talked out of buying a CP 60 by the seller who was a really cool guy and a great player who said that the intonation at the bottom could not be made good enough for recording even after it was throughly tweaked.


Apr.21.2007 @ 4:47 AM
going back a few posts;
Alice Russell - track 10; High up on the hook
whats the first sound you hear, other than guitar?
its so beguiling I'd love to know....

Apr.21.2007 @ 5:39 PM
I wanted to post about this yesterday but I feared I would jinx the potential deal. I just picked a grotesquely mint Wurli 200 from a pro accordian player up in the mountains for one hundred bucks. I didnt bother to ask if he no the actual value of the piano, but thats his problem now, he did ask if i was going to flip it on eBay. I posted some pics here:

link [www.vintagesynth.or...]">link [www.vintagesynth.or...]

good deal?


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