Who are they - Yamaha Pianos with Pete Townshend
As the lead guitarist and composer for The Who for over five decades, Pete Townshend is the driving force behind one of the most powerful, inventive and articulate bodies of work in rock and roll.
He has written over a hundred songs for The Who's eleven studio albums including the rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia.
He has been honoured with numerous awards for his work with The Who and his rock operas, these include the Q lifetime achievement award, a BRIT award for his contribution to British Music, and a living legend award at the International Rock Awards.
Although known mainly as a guitarist, he is also an accomplished pianist and keyboard player and has a huge fondness for Yamaha pianos, having acquired an impressive fleet of the instruments over the years.
His relationship with Yamaha instruments started with a six foot grand piano for his London studio which, when moved to his home studio he fitted with MIDI outputs. He still owns this piano, citing that Yamaha pianos 'improve with age'.
Pete's second Yamaha was a Disklavier concert (9 foot) grand, which he selected because he wanted to simply use 'only a piano' to record his compositions. He would then play the songs back on the Disklavier whilst singing lyrics and bringing his guitar into the scene. Pete says this method was a huge success producing many of his wonderful songs. He found the ability to record, edit and re-record on the instrument vital to his creative process.
He is keen to emphasise that his Disklavier is much more than a 'Player Piano' and comments "I use mine creatively, however good piano samples are these days there's nothing like a real piano bursting into life in a room. I'm often sat at my Disklavier noodling around and realise what I'm playing is good, or might become good so I just hit record and I can sing along with it and knock it into shape at a later stage."
More recently Pete invested in a Yamaha AvantGrand for his acclaimed Grand Cru Studio which is housed in a vintage Dutch Barge in London's St. Katherine's Dock. He says "It sounds fantastic and looks great, and of course the keyboard is a true piano keyboard. It has 88 notes with a small footprint yet looks and feels like a grand."
One of his more recent Yamaha pianos is a C1 TransAcoustic, which is also used by his wife Rachel, a renowned orchestral composer and arranger who prefers an acoustic piano. For Pete, he loves the MIDI connectivity and internal sequencer when combined with a "Great" piano sound. Pete told us ‘The sampled sound, projected from the soundboard is extraordinary, it sounds and feels like a huge acoustic grand but with a volume control!’.
He says TransAcoustic pianos are perfect for the 24/7 modern world, where we often live in smaller homes and need to be considerate of neighbours and families when practising. With this in mind, Pete’s most recent Yamaha piano is the CLP-685, part of the company’s renowned Clavinova line which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.
We'll leave the last word to the living legend that is Pete Townshend "Yamaha have been making pianos for over a century and have really brought the instrument into the new Millennium."