Yamaha has just unveiled the next generation of its much-lauded CFX concert grand piano. The original Yamaha CFX was launched back in 2010, and although a hand-crafted instrument, technological advances have enabled Yamaha to enhance both the sound quality and the responsiveness of the piano.
The Yamaha CFX is already the flagship model in the company’s range of grand pianos, so improving it is quite a task.
Back some 20 years before the release of the original CFX, Yamaha’s top of the range model was the CFIIIS concert grand. Although great for many applications, especially jazz, the CFIIIS’s brighter percussive tone wasn’t universally appreciated in the world of classical music.
Following many years of research, Yamaha finally released the original CFX with its powerful, rich, more resonant timbre, and the piano instantly garnered worldwide acclaim.
The 2022 CFX has many new design elements. Some changes are minor—all three legs now have locking castors—whilst others, such as the reshaping of the soundboard, are more substantial. So let’s look at these in a bit more detail.
Yamaha’s Unibody Concept
With the new model, Yamaha has gone for what it calls its “Unibody Concept”. This strives to minimise the loss of expressivity between keys and listener.
Rims and Backposts. The CFX now uses Yamaha’s A.R.E. (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement) technology to treat the rims and back posts of the piano. This wood-reforming process uses moisture control, temperature manipulation, and pressure to enhance the natural tonal characteristics of the wood. Yamaha states that A.R.E. suppresses the unwanted damping of vibrations and can help emulate the warm rich timbres found in instruments built maybe a century ago.
Soundboard. The shape and width of the soundboard have been modified to improve transmission resulting in a richer and more resonant mid-bass sound with a wider dynamic range.
Frame. The sand-casted frame is now lighter and more rigid. It has a new rib shape, and the decorative holes have been repositioned. This helps to generate a more open sound.
Bridge. The bridge has been re-designed to increase effective string length in the mid-treble register. This gives a better balance across the piano’s entire compass.
Action. The entire action has been refined to reduce frictional forces and thus increase responsitivity.
Music Rack. The music rack, supplied as standard with the CFX, is no longer solid—it now features 8 cut-outs (slots). Apparently, this leads to the pianist hearing a more natural sound, even when using sheet music. Incidentally, the Yamaha logo/ID now appears on both sides of the piano.
The new Yamaha CFX has been 12 years in the making. A team of 60, mostly from the Piano Development, R&D, and Component Technology Divisions worked on the new model. And no less than 30 prototypes were built and evaluated in the process.
Yamaha’s Kakegawa factory is renowned for making premium quality acoustic pianos. However, a small part of this facility is reserved for the Concert Piano Workshop. This is where the Yamaha CFX is made—hand-built by the company’s finest craftsmen. As with all the top piano manufacturers, it is the artistry of these highly skilled experts that dictates the final quality of the pianos produced.
Websites: Yamaha USA, Yamaha Europe
Price: $191,399 (US MSRP)
Availability: Highly limited. Please contact local Yamaha dealer.
Specifications: Yamaha CFX Concert Grand Piano
|Yamaha CFX (2022)||Yamaha CFX (2010)|
|Keyboard||88-note, Ivorite (white), Ebony (black)||88-note, Ivorite (white), Ebony (black)|
|Colour/Finish||Polished Ebony / Matte lid top & Prop||Polished Ebony / Matte lid top & Prop|
|Prop Safety Stop||Yes||Yes|
|Casters||3x Large double. All lockable.||3x Large double. Front lockable.|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||160x103x275cm (63”x40.5”x9”)||160x103x275cm (63”x40.5”x9”)|
|Weight||485kg (1069lbs)||491kg (1082lbs)|
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