The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    I have a digital piano but I don't play it enough to justify the space it occupies. I've been thinking about getting a smaller, portable keyboard. I play the piano mostly to get better at the "piano view" of the concepts and tunes I play on the guitar.

    I love Yamaha everything and these keyboards look and sound awesome. Do you people have any experience with these?
    Yamaha Reface Keyboards: CP, CS, DX, YC –

    Nahre Sol uses the electric piano model (based on Fender Rhodes?) in some of her videos that sounds awesome:

    Last edited by Tal_175; 01-31-2022 at 11:49 AM.


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    This is the $120 m-audio 49 mk3 controller. This is a "controller" and the sounds that come with it (over 2,000 and that's just the presets) are awesome. And, you can add whatever additional sounds you want (not sure why you'd want to though), many of which come free. I highly recommend this.

    One of the many piano sounds and one of the many bass sounds that comes with it (the sounds came with the M-Auido keyboard even though I'm playing with my other Nectar Keyboard controller, the M-audio keyboard now lives in my mountain cabin):
    Attached Images Attached Images Yamaha Reface keyboards-workstaion-small-jpg 

  4. #3

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    I’ve been considering the Reface line myself. The CP and CS in particular. They sound great but haven’t pulled the triggered yet. I would consider them more of a soundbank and hook them to a proper controller and speakers.

  5. #4

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    I have the Reface CP it's just awesome. Very playable little keybed, and the built in speakers are ok to jam by yourself. Don't expect to use it other than with very light acoustic players, but it's very useful.
    The icing on the cake are the excellent effects that can take you from classy subtle quality to spectacular dubby psychedelic crazyness!
    The digital delay can be set to infinite repeats, and with a little tweaking can become as a kind of a looper, which and play leads over lush chords (you have to get used to manipulating the repeat knob all the way down to maximum, but it works).
    I can get early Pink Floyd Rick Wright sounds very fast. If you know the Pink Floyd album "Animals", I recreate spot on the Rhodes intro of Dogs..
    There is even a hidden great quality piano when you start up the keyboard and hold the instrument select knob between two settings (can't remember exactly but Google "reface CP hidden piano and you'll find right away").
    I'm a big fan of electronic keyboards and analog synths of all sorts. I've had loads of them, and the Reface CP is one of the finest ones I've ever had.
    The Reface CS (a virtual analog 8 voices polysynth) is also absolutely stunning
    I wish Yamaha would make a proper sized 61 note keyboard with a mix of the 4 Refaces, with the CP effects, and knobs everywhere..
    But I can't recommend the CP enough, hugely inspiring, fun, and serious sounding at once. I guarantee you will not regret it

  6. #5
    Unfortunately Reface models are out of stock everywhere. Yamaha apparently is having major supply chain issues in the factory that makes these models. In one store they are expecting shipment in August 2022.

    All I could find in Kijiji are WTB ads.

  7. #6

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    I have one and like previous posters have mentioned- it is ace. I would add though
    : batteries- runs off a supplied 12v plug adapter or off 6 AA batteries. Very portable
    : line out to a suitable amp/pa and this tiny thing sounds massive. The analogue delay & reverb alone will have you mesmerised. Line out is mono or stereo.

    small keys. Very small keys, but you know that already if you are looking.

    Aux in, Phones out. midi and sustain pedal options as well.

    $$ is a lot if you just want to play a few notes. You are buying a polyphonic keyboard with pressure sensitive keys. I have seen artists use this device on stage at open air Music festivals. It is pro quality but a simple package

    the organ version looks like fun (to me)

    my use- as an aid in my understanding chord harmony theory and visualisation, consolidating melodies quickly, sometimes I record into a looper a chord progression or vamp to play over, or practice modal scales over a chord for improv training. Granted you don’t need a cp to do that/ anything that has hardware to pipe into a looper could, but it gives me good tone in a register that does not clash with the Guitar’s and it’s what I have at hand.


  8. #7

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    Piano is helpful to me as a guitar player. Bill Evans or Fred Hersch phrasing and voicings, to name a few, are good for the ear. And, I agree that Yamaha synths are remarkable. I had an S90ES for years. Loved it.

  9. #8

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    Some reading on size of keys: Sweetwater's Guide to Keyboard Key Sizes

    I have a Yamaha MX keyboard/synth and an old Hindsberg grand piano. The width of one octave on the grand piano is 16,5cm and on the MX it is 16,0cm (1 in = 2,54 cm). Not a big difference but enough to make a difference to me. I was tempted by the Reface line but decided against it when I realized how narrow these keys are. Someone may be able to supply a measurement of the octave width of the Reface keyboard.

    But we are all built different and adapt differerently to such things.

  10. #9

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    Well all the point of the Reface series is the small portable size.
    And the key acction is really great.
    Hooking up a full size midi keyboard is the solution. In that case you can consider the Reface almost as an expander with a contrel panel.

  11. #10

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    Yamaha Reface keyboards-8469482b-e637-4694-9202-a5083b0a465b-jpgFor US viewers, 5 3/8 inches an octave span

  12. #11

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    Yamaha Reface keyboards-350f12d6-0562-4a8b-826f-be8b7c9536a9-jpgFor the rest of the world: 136mm or thereabouts.

  13. #12

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    Some random thoughts...

    49 keys is the range or a guitar. 61 keys is the range of a guitar plus a bass guitar.

    As a guitar player, I prefer synth action to weighted action. Pretty sure most keyboard players would prefer weighted action.

    Keyboards are key beds, plus knobs/dials/sliders, and brains. The brains are a computer, pretty much all of us already have a computer that is much more powerful than the computers that come with keyboards. The interface on a computer is much easier to see and I'd argue easier to use.

    A controller with a computer and something like Reaper software and sound plugins is plain and simply amazing. The quality and variety of sounds is also amazing.

    Doesn't an M-Audio Keystation give you everything and more than the Yamaha Reface line and you don't have to buy four keyboards? Well, that's not true if you want to perform on stage or use the onboard speakers. Well, yes you don't have to connect to a computer with the Reface keyboards. But other than that... The Reface, I think the biggest issue for me is it only has 37 keys.

    I bought an Ensonic TS-12 keyboard in the early to mid-90s for I think $2800 and sold it this year for $400. My wife questioned why I was pricing it so low. I said to her, "What do you think a computer from 1993 is worth today"? The sound plugins that came with my $100 M-Audio are much better than the sounds on the Ensonic TS-12, that's just the way it goes with the evolution of computers.

    Unfortunately, a lot of plastic keyboards like my M-Audio 49 mk3 Keystation and my Nectar Impact GX61, are disposable. That is, they are so inexpensive that it is cheaper to buy a new one than to repair a broken one. That said, I haven't had any problems with either keyboard.

  14. #13

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    Ironic that this topic came up for me. We have an old Casio Privia electric piano with hammer action that the kids used for lessons until they wanted to quit. It sits in the corner now buried behind a couple of racks of my guitars. It is too bulky for what I want now. Years before that I had a Rhodes 73 which I loved. Not practical for space reasons so I sold it and got the Casio. Loved the action on the Rhodes though.

    Fast forward to this past week. I want to get back into playing the keys now. I searched high and low for something with hammer action. That is a make or break for me. None of the smaller "electric pianos" have decent action. They are the ones that say that they are semi-weighted and I would be very disappointed with that feel right out of the box. I demo'd as many as I could find. They didn't resemble pianos at all for me. I also didn't want to step up to a very expensive controller because I want to take this thing out of the corner and play just like I would a guitar. I also didn't want to spend more than $500-$700, nor do I want a lot of bells and whistles that synth-type controllers with hammer actions have. I just wanted one with speakers. Finding one that has fewer than 88 keys and very compact is a challenge. I wanted one that is as small as possible. Korg makes a nice 73 key version that has the obligatory vacuum tube on the front panel but it is pricey. I settled on a Yamaha P121 that was $630 + tax. It has 73 keys and ticks off all the other boxes. Should arrive in about a week.

    BTW, I ran across this guy that will chop an electric piano to get you the size that you want since nobody offers anything under 73 keys. I think that 73 keys will work for me just fine but this would be another alternative albeit pricey for what it is.

    Last edited by lammie200; 01-31-2022 at 02:27 PM.

  15. #14

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    49 keys is the range or a guitar. 61 keys is the range of a guitar plus a bass guitar.

    worth noting that although the cp has 37 ‘white keys’ span it does have an octave slider that can shift your range +\- 2 octaves.
    not the same I know but it is simple, minimal, compact, portable, self powered and self contained.

    Those were the boxes I need ticked.
    the most important for me that I don’t need a computer to run it. If I was after a music workstation though I would have a different list and the CP likely would not suffice as well.

    horses for courses.

    cheers! M

  16. #15

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    The technology in the Reface CP is a very specific and complex synthesis created by Yamaha.
    A bit like the Roland ACB technology which recreates analog synths by building blocks that simulate discrete chips that interact with each other.
    The Reface works kinda of the same way, a recreation of the analog components, but digital, which interact like the real thing, well tempts to...
    ..and from what I've read has nothing to do with what computer based emulations do.
    And this is why the CP sounds so good. Most would be fine enough with a plug in, but the Reface is not the same thing.

  17. #16

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    For those who are curious enough to read technical stuff, the Reface uses Yamaha's SCM "Spectral Component Modeling" proprietary emulation technology.

    Spectral (component) modeling | Sand, software and sound