Clavinova CLP-260 Review

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clavinovaking
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Clavinova CLP-260 Review

Post by clavinovaking » 15 Jul 2010, 00:42

Hi all,

Thought I'd help out with the reviewing section by sharing a few thoughts on a Clavinova that I have regular contact with.

The CLP-260 piano sound is by no means perfect. It is *extremely* unique. It is slightly high in pitch and has a pretty sharp and unusually bright and electrical sound to it. Perhaps it is just me and my love of Clavinovas, though, because I find the sound extremely attractive and very powerful.

The 'Clavinova Tone' is again, unique. Not only, is the name of the voice unique to Yamaha Clavinova models, I have also never heard quite the same sound on other clavinovas. I would say that the CLP-260 has the best Clavinova tone I have experienced. It is an extremely *full* and powerful sound. All other models I have come in to contact with have a far duller and less powerful Clavinova tone, which seems to be standard for all other models. The only disadvantage of this tone is an unusually low 'polyphony' of only 8 notes. This means MOST songs, particularly ones which are reliant upon smooth sustained sounds are difficult if not impossible to play. It is however, fairly un-noticeable when accompanied by other instruments, particularly a guitar!

The 'Electric Piano' tone is actually reasonable. Particularly now that there are so many voices on digital pianos, the Electric Piano voice typically sounds like a toy keyboard on most new models. On the CLP-260, playing the Electric Piano voice is quite pleasurable, and the sound is of a good quality. The voice is an 'acquired' one, which will only suit certain songs, however, is a valuable one all the same!

I personally do not use the harpsichord voice on any digital piano as the music I tend to play doesn't 'fit' the sound. In the case of the CLP-260, although having only once or twice during practice used the voice, it is relatively standard and to be expected.

The 'organ' setting has a pretty noticeable 'delay'. The sound is pretty good, and will work well with traditional hymn / organ style music. I am not an organist (and believe me, I make that quite clear to people ... I am a Clavinovist!!) and therefore cannot comment on the resemblence to playing a real organ... my suspicion is that it is most unlike playing an organ, firstly due to the lack of foot-pedals! One setting that proves most successful is the 'dual' mode, where the PIANO and ORGAN sounds are combined. This allows any music to continue at a reasonable pace, without the aforementioned 'delay' with the organ setting slowing the music down. It must be noticed that the piano tone seems to adopt an even more shrill and bright sound when mixed with the organ voice. Having said this, I have found many other older clavinovas have this 'feature' in dual mode!

Even this basic and admittedly old model, is a Clavinova I love to play. The sound it generates is more than acceptable and I personally quite like its unique tone!

One major disadvantage to this model, is that it has a VERY basic 'wire' music stand. This means that particularly sheet music, quite literally on sheets of paper, or un-naturally small books are difficult to 'balance'. My solution has always been to place a piece of A4 card on the music stand to strengthen it and 'fill in the gap'!

The aesthetic quality of the model is excellent considering the age of these machines. In my opinion, they look even more impressive at times than the more modern chunky and slightly less appealing models. The finishing touch in my opinion is the (now discontinued) proud logo on the rear of the piano which tells your listeners / singers quite clearly that it is a 'YAMAHA Clavinova'... I cannot understand why this is no longer printed on the rear of models. In my opinion it makes the piano look far more professional.

One severe disadvantage of the model is that it really rather resembles a cheaper and lesser quality keyboard, particularly from the back. This is unfortunate, and I cannot stand when people accidently call such a beautiful instrument a 'keyboard'.

I would reccomend anyone who is considering buying one to experience one first. As stated, these are particularly unique models. One other thing I must mention... they are not full length! They only have 76 keys, as opposed to 88! Also, the potential buyer should be aware that the particular piano I play is probably in a much larger environment than recommended for a 2x 10W speaker model. The piano has no problem filling a sufficiently large space, but is used on top volume, which I do not like, but is necessary unfortunately. For the home environment and the average pianist , this would be a perfect model. One great thing I have found is that you get what you see with this model. The number of buttons / functions will not confuse you, yet it is absolutely excellent in terms of what it *can* do. Similarly, as I have found with all clavinovas, this is a VERY robust machine. The particular CLP-260 that I play sees regular usage and all sorts of treatment: children have occasionally 'abused' it, it is VERY frequently moved around, and not always particularly carefully. There are a group of about 6 of us who play it, and along side the normal upright piano and the organ, 3 of us will *ONLY* play the clavinova. The other 3 are all extremely complimentary of the instrument and use it as default.


Do ask any questions, and I hope to be able to answer. Although, I suspect my answers will be heavily biased!

Side Comments:

This piano is discontinued. It is not made anymore, but every now and again, one will pop up online in the right place e.g. ebay!

I cannot 'star rate' this piano, as everything highly depends upon intended usage and expectations.

Lastly, for those who expect a state of the art modern piano which can compete at a serious level with contemporary models, please beware, this piano would severely disappoint!

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